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Isaiah 28-29 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

E. The Lord Alone, Israel’s and Judah’s Salvation

Chapter 28

The Fate of Samaria[a]

Ah! majestic garland
    of the drunkards of Ephraim,[b]
Fading blooms of his glorious beauty,
    at the head of the fertile valley,
    upon those stupefied with wine.
See, the Lord has a strong one, a mighty one,[c]
    who, like an onslaught of hail, a destructive storm,
Like a flood of water, great and overflowing,
    levels to the ground with violence;
With feet that will trample
    the majestic garland of the drunkards of Ephraim.
The fading blooms of his glorious beauty
    at the head of the fertile valley
Will be like an early fig before summer:
    whoever sees it,
    swallows it as soon as it is in hand.
On that day the Lord of hosts
    will be a glorious crown
And a brilliant diadem
    for the remnant of his people,
A spirit of judgment
    for the one who sits in judgment,
And strength for those
    who turn back the battle at the gate.

Against Judah

But these also stagger from wine
    and stumble from strong drink:
Priest and prophet stagger from strong drink,
    overpowered by wine;
They are confused by strong drink,
    they stagger in their visions,
    they totter when giving judgment.
Yes, all the tables
    are covered with vomit,
    with filth, and no place left clean.
[d]“To whom would he impart knowledge?
To whom would he convey the message?
To those just weaned from milk,
    those weaned from the breast?
10 For he says,
‘Command on command, command on command,
    rule on rule, rule on rule,
    here a little, there a little!’”
11 [e]Yes, with stammering lips and in a strange language
    he will speak to this people,
12     to whom he said:
“This is the resting place,
    give rest to the weary;
And this is the place of repose”—
    but they refused to hear.
13 So for them the word of the Lord shall be:
    “Command on command, command on command,
Rule on rule, rule on rule,
    here a little, there a little!”
So that when they walk, they shall stumble backward,
    broken, ensnared, and captured.
14 Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
    who rule[f] this people in Jerusalem:
15 You have declared, “We have made a covenant with death,
    with Sheol[g] we have made a pact;
When the raging flood passes through,
    it will not reach us;
For we have made lies our refuge,
    and in falsehood we have found a hiding place,”—
16 Therefore, thus says the Lord God:
    See, I am laying a stone in Zion,[h]
    a stone that has been tested,
A precious cornerstone as a sure foundation;
    whoever puts faith in it will not waver.
17 I will make judgment a measuring line,
    and justice a level.—[i]
Hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies,
    and waters shall flood the hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death shall be canceled
    and your pact with Sheol shall not stand.
When the raging flood passes through,
    you shall be beaten down by it.
19 Whenever it passes, it shall seize you;
    morning after morning it shall pass,
    by day and by night.
Sheer terror
    to impart the message!
20 For the bed shall be too short to stretch out in,
    and the cover too narrow to wrap in.
21 For the Lord shall rise up as on Mount Perazim,
    bestir himself as in the Valley of Gibeon,[j]
To carry out his work—strange his work!
    to perform his deed—alien his deed!
22 Now, cease scoffing,
    lest your bonds be tightened,
For I have heard a decree of destruction
    from the Lord, the God of hosts,
    for the whole land.

The Parable of the Farmer

23 [k]Give ear and hear my voice,
    pay attention and hear my word:
24 Is the plowman forever plowing in order to sow,
    always loosening and harrowing the field?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
    does he not scatter caraway and sow cumin,[l]
Put in wheat and barley,
    with spelt as its border?
26 His God has taught him this rule,
    he has instructed him.
27 For caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
    nor does a cartwheel roll over cumin.
But caraway is beaten out with a staff,
    and cumin with a rod.
28 Grain is crushed for bread, but not forever;
    though he thresh it thoroughly,
    and drive his cartwheel and horses over it,
    he does not pulverize it.
29 This too comes from the Lord of hosts;
    wonderful is his counsel and great his wisdom.

Chapter 29

Judgment and Deliverance of Jerusalem

Ah! Ariel, Ariel,[m]
    city where David encamped!
Let year follow year,
    and feast follow feast,
But I will bring distress upon Ariel,
    and there will be mourning and moaning.
You shall be to me like Ariel:
    I will encamp like David against you;
I will circle you with outposts
    and set up siege works against you.
You shall speak from beneath the earth,
    and from the dust below, your words shall come.
Your voice shall be that of a ghost from the earth,
    and your words shall whisper from the dust.
The horde of your arrogant shall be like fine dust,
    a horde of tyrants like flying chaff.
Then suddenly, in an instant,
    you shall be visited by the Lord of hosts,
With thunder, earthquake, and great noise,
    whirlwind, storm, and the flame of consuming fire.
[n]Then like a dream,
    a vision of the night,
Shall be the horde of all the nations
    who make war against Ariel:
All the outposts, the siege works against it,
    all who distress it.
As when a hungry man dreams he is eating
    and awakens with an empty stomach,
Or when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking
    and awakens faint, his throat parched,
So shall the horde of all the nations be,
    who make war against Mount Zion.

Blindness and Perversity

[o]Stupefy yourselves and stay stupid;
    blind yourselves and stay blind!
You who are drunk, but not from wine,
    who stagger, but not from strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out on you
    a spirit of deep sleep.
He has shut your eyes (the prophets)
    and covered your heads (the seers).[p]

11 For you the vision of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll. When it is handed to one who can read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot, because it is sealed.” 12 When the scroll is handed to one who cannot read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot read.”

13     The Lord said:
Since this people draws near with words only
    and honors me with their lips alone,
    though their hearts are far from me,
And fear of me has become
    mere precept of human teaching,
14 Therefore I will again deal with this people
    in surprising and wondrous fashion:
The wisdom of the wise shall perish,
    the prudence of the prudent shall vanish.
15 Ah! You who would hide a plan
    too deep for the Lord!
Who work in the dark, saying,
    “Who sees us, who knows us?”
16 Your perversity is as though the potter
    were taken to be the clay:
As though what is made should say of its maker,
    “He did not make me!”
Or the vessel should say of the potter,
    “He does not understand.”

Redemption[q]

17 Surely, in a very little while,
    Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
    and the orchard be considered a forest!
18 On that day the deaf shall hear
    the words of a scroll;
And out of gloom and darkness,
    the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The lowly shall again find joy in the Lord,
    the poorest rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the tyrant shall be no more,
    the scoffer shall cease to be;
All who are ready for evil shall be cut off,
21     those who condemn with a mere word,
Who ensnare the defender at the gate,
    and leave the just with an empty claim.
22 Therefore thus says the Lord,
    the God of the house of Jacob,
    who redeemed Abraham:[r]
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
    no longer shall his face grow pale.
23 For when his children see
    the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall sanctify my name;
    they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
    be in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
    those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Footnotes:

  1. 28:1–6 These verses once constituted an independent oracle against the Northern Kingdom, probably originally spoken during the time between its overthrow by Assyria in 732 and its destruction in 722/721. Isaiah has reused them as an introduction to his oracle against Judah (vv. 7–22), because the leaders of Judah were guilty of the same excesses that had once marked Ephraim’s leadership.
  2. 28:1 Ephraim: the Northern Kingdom. Its capital, Samaria, was built upon a hill, suggestive of a majestic garland adorning a human head. The characterization of the leadership of Ephraim as drunken underscores its inattention to justice and good government (cf. 5:11–13; Am 6:1–6).
  3. 28:2 A strong one, a mighty one: Assyria (cf. 8:7–8).
  4. 28:9–10 The words of those who ridicule Isaiah. The Hebrew of v. 10, by its very sound, conveys the idea of mocking imitation of what the prophet says, as though he spoke like a stammering child: “sau lasau, sau lasau, kau lakau, kau lakau, ze’er sham, ze’er sham.” But in v. 13 God repeats these words in deadly earnest, putting them in the mouth of the victorious Assyrian army.
  5. 28:11 God will answer the mockers and defend Isaiah. Strange language: spoken by the invading army.
  6. 28:14 Who rule: there is a play on words; the same expression could also mean, “Proverb makers,” that is, scoffers of this people.
  7. 28:15, 18 A covenant with death, with Sheol: an alliance with foreign powers, such as Egypt and Babylon. Have made lies…a hiding place: this confidence in human aid will prove to be false and deceitful, incapable of averting the dreaded disaster. Raging flood: the Assyrian invasion; cf. 8:7–8.
  8. 28:16 A stone in Zion: the true and sure foundation of salvation, i.e., the presence of God, who had chosen and founded Zion as his city (Ps 78:68–69; Is 14:32) and had chosen the Davidic dynasty to rule over his people (Ps 78:70–72; Is 9:1–6; 11:1–10). Cornerstone: the assurance of salvation, rejected by the people of Judah in the prophet’s time, is picked up in Ps 118:22 and later applied to Christ; cf. Mt 21:42; Lk 20:17; Acts 4:11; Rom 9:33; 1 Pt 2:7. Chapters 28–31 alternate between threats of the danger of rebelling against Assyria (with implied trust in Egypt) with assurances of the power and protection of the Lord.
  9. 28:17 Line…level: instruments used in constructing a building, to keep it true. They are used metaphorically here to refer to the qualities that Zion, the city of God, must manifest, judgment and justice, not bloodshed (Mi 3:10), nor deceit and violence, which would result in a bulging unstable wall doomed to destruction (Is 30:12–14). Cf. 1 Cor 3:10–17.
  10. 28:21 Mount Perazim…Valley of Gibeon: where David defeated the Philistines; cf. 2 Sm 5:20, 25; 1 Chr 14:11, 16. God’s new work will be strange, because instead of fighting for Judah as the Lord did in David’s time, God will now fight against Jerusalem (see 29:1–4).
  11. 28:23–29 The practical variation of the farmer’s work reflects the way God deals with his people, wisely adapted to circumstances; he does not altogether crush them in their weakness.
  12. 28:25 Caraway…cumin: herbs used in seasoning food. Spelt: a variety of wheat.
  13. 29:1–2 Ariel: a poetic name for Jerusalem. It has been variously interpreted to mean “lion of God,” “altar hearth of God” (Ez 43:15–16), “city of God,” or “foundation of God.” In v. 2 the term refers to “altar hearth,” i.e., a place of burning for its people (cf. 30:33; 31:9). God will attack Jerusalem, as David did long ago.
  14. 29:7–8 Just when the attackers think their capture of Jerusalem is certain, the Lord will snatch victory from their hands and save the city. The sudden shift from the Lord’s attack on the city to its deliverance by him is surprising and unexplained; it may reflect the account related in 37:36.
  15. 29:9–16 Despite their show of piety, Judah’s leaders refused to accept the prophet’s words of assurance. They rejected prophetic advice (cf. 30:10–11), did not consult the prophetic oracle in forming their political plans (30:1–2; 31:1), and tried to hide their plans even from God’s prophet (v. 15), who, they thought, simply did not understand military and political reality.
  16. 29:10 Prophets…seers: interpretive glosses.
  17. 29:17–24 The prophet presents the positive aspects of God’s plan in terms of a series of reversals: an end to pride, ignorance, and injustice. Cf. 32:3–5.
  18. 29:22 Who redeemed Abraham: perhaps by revealing himself and delivering Abraham from idolatrous worship; cf. Gn 12:1–3; 17:1; Jos 24:2–3.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Wisdom 18:10-25 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

10 But the discordant cry of their enemies echoed back,
    and the piteous wail of mourning for children was borne to them.
11 And the slave was smitten with the same retribution as the master;
    even the commoner suffered the same as the king.
12 And all alike by one common form of death
    had countless dead;
For the living were not even sufficient for the burial,
    since at a single instant their most valued offspring had been destroyed.
13 For though they disbelieved at every turn on account of sorceries,
    at the destruction of the firstborn they acknowledged that this people[a] was God’s son.
14 [b]For when peaceful stillness encompassed everything
    and the night in its swift course was half spent,
15 Your all-powerful word from heaven’s royal throne
    leapt into the doomed land,
16     a fierce warrior bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree,
And alighted, and filled every place with death,
    and touched heaven, while standing upon the earth.
17 Then, at once, visions in horrible dreams perturbed them
    and unexpected fears assailed them;
18 And cast half-dead, one here, another there,
    they revealed why they were dying.
19 For the dreams that disturbed them had proclaimed this beforehand,
    lest they perish unaware of why they endured such evil.

20 The trial of death touched even the righteous,
    and in the desert a plague struck the multitude;
Yet not for long did the anger last.
21 For the blameless man[c] hastened to be their champion,
    bearing the weapon of his special office,
    prayer and the propitiation of incense;
He withstood the wrath and put a stop to the calamity,
    showing that he was your servant.
22 He overcame the bitterness
    not by bodily strength, not by force of arms;
But by word he overcame the smiter,[d]
    recalling the sworn covenants with their ancestors.
23 For when corpses had already fallen one on another in heaps,
    he stood in the midst and checked the anger,
    and cut off its way to the living.
24 For on his full-length robe was the whole world,
    and ancestral glories were carved on the four rows of stones,
    and your grandeur[e] was on the crown upon his head.
25 To these the destroyer yielded, these he feared;
    for this sole trial of anger sufficed.

Footnotes:

  1. 18:13 People: the Israelites (cf. Ex 4:22).
  2. 18:14–16 These verses attribute to the personified “word” the actions of the Lord mentioned in Ex 12:13–17 (note the role of the “destroyer” in Ex 12:23 and compare Wis 18:22, 25).
  3. 18:21 Blameless man: Aaron, acting according to his office of high priest and intercessor (cf. Nm 17:9–15; Ex 28:15–21, 31–38).
  4. 18:22 Smiter: the destroying angel; cf. v. 25.
  5. 18:24 Glories…grandeur: the name of God and the names of the tribes were inscribed on the high priest’s apparel.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 Peter 4 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 4

Christian Restraint.[a] Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same attitude (for whoever suffers in the flesh has broken with sin), so as not to spend what remains of one’s life in the flesh on human desires, but on the will of God. For the time that has passed is sufficient for doing what the Gentiles like to do: living in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and wanton idolatry. They are surprised that you do not plunge into the same swamp of profligacy, and they vilify you; but they will give an account to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead[b] that, though condemned in the flesh in human estimation, they might live in the spirit in the estimation of God.

Christian Charity.[c] The end of all things is at hand. Therefore, be serious and sober for prayers. Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.[d] Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 11 Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.[e]

IV. Advice to the Persecuted

Trial of Persecution.[f] 12 Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer. 16 But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name. 17 For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God?

18 “And if the righteous one is barely saved,
    where will the godless and the sinner appear?”

19 As a result, those who suffer in accord with God’s will hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:1–6 Willingness to suffer with Christ equips the Christian with the power to conquer sin (1 Pt 4:1). Christ is here portrayed as the judge to whom those guilty of pagan vices must render an account (1 Pt 4:5; cf. Jn 5:22–27; Acts 10:42; 2 Tm 4:1).
  2. 4:6 The dead: these may be the sinners of the flood generation who are possibly referred to in 1 Pt 3:19. But many scholars think that there is no connection between these two verses, and that the dead here are Christians who have died since hearing the preaching of the gospel.
  3. 4:7–11 The inner life of the eschatological community is outlined as the end (the parousia of Christ) and the judgment draws near in terms of seriousness, sobriety, prayer, and love expressed through hospitality and the use of one’s gifts for the glory of God and of Christ.
  4. 4:8 Love covers a multitude of sins: a maxim based on Prv 10:12; see also Ps 32:1; Jas 5:20.
  5. 4:11 Some scholars feel that this doxology concludes the part of the homily addressed specifically to the newly baptized, begun in 1 Pt 1:3; others that it concludes a baptismal liturgy. Such doxologies do occur within a New Testament letter, e.g., Rom 9:5. Some propose that 1 Pt 4:11 was an alternate ending, with 1 Pt 4:12–5:14 being read in places where persecution was more pressing. But such doxologies usually do not occur at the end of letters (the only examples are 2 Pt 3:18, Jude 25, and Rom 16:27, the last probably a liturgical insertion).
  6. 4:12–19 The suffering to which the author has already frequently referred is presented in more severe terms. This has led some scholars to see these verses as referring to an actual persecution. Others see the heightening of the language as only a rhetorical device used at the end of the letter to emphasize the suffering motif.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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