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The Captivity of Ephraim

28 How terrible it will be for that arrogant garland—
the drunks of Ephraim!
How terrible it will be for that fading flower of his glorious beauty,
    which sits on the heads of people bloated with food,[a]
        of people overcome with wine!
Look! The Lord[b] has one who is mighty and strong,
    like a hailstorm and destructive tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing water—
    and[c] he will give rest to the land.
With hands[d] and feet, that proud garland[e]
    those drunks of Ephraim—will be trampled.
And that fading flower, his glorious beauty,
    which sits on the heads of people bloated with food,
will be like an early fig before summer—
    whenever someone sees it, he swallows it
        as soon as it’s in his hand.

At that time,[f] the Lord of the Heavenly Armies will become a glorious crown,
    a beautiful diadem for the remnant of his people,
and a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment,
    a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

These people also[g] stagger from wine
    and reel from strong drink.
Priests and prophets stagger from strong drink;
    they’re drunk from[h] wine;
they reel from strong drink,
    waver when seeing visions,
        and stumble when rendering decisions.
For all the tables are covered in vomit and filth,
    with no clean[i] space left.

Misuse of God’s Word

To whom will he teach knowledge,
    and to whom will he explain the message?
To children just weaned from milk?
    To those just taken from the breast?
10 For it is: “Do this and do that,
    do this and do that,
Line upon line, line upon line,
    a little here, a little there.”

11 Very well, then, through the mouths of foreigners[j]
    and foreign languages
        the Lord will speak to this people
12 to whom he said,
    “This is the resting place,
        so give rest to the weary”’
    “This is the place of repose”—
        but they would not listen.
13 So, then, the message from the Lord to them will become:
    “Do this and do that,
        do this and do that,
    line upon line,
        line upon line,
    a little here,
        a little there,”
so that they will go,
    but fall backward,
        and be injured, snared, and captured.

God’s Precious Cornerstone

14 “Therefore hear[k] the message from the Lord, you scoffers
    who rule this people that are in Jerusalem.
15 Because you said:
    ‘We have entered into a covenant with death,
        and we have an agreement with Sheol,[l]
    so when the overwhelming scourge makes its choice,[m]
        it cannot reach us,
    since we have made lies our refuge
        and have concealed ourselves inside falsehood,’
16 therefore this is what the Lord God[n] says:
    “Look! I am laying[o] a foundation stone in Zion, a tested stone,
        a precious cornerstone for a sure[p] foundation:
    Whoever believes firmly will not act hastily.
17 And I will make justice the measuring line,
    and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge of lies,
    and floods[q] will overflow your hiding place.

18 “Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
    and your agreement with Sheol[r] will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
    you will be trampled by it.
19 As often as it sweeps through,
    it will carry you away,
for it will sweep by morning after morning in the day;
    but understanding this message will bring sheer terror at night,[s]
20 because the bed is too short to stretch out on,
    and its blankets too narrow to wrap around oneself!

God is on Mount Perazim

21 For the Lord will stand upon[t] Mount Perazim,[u]
    he will rouse himself in[v] the Valley of Gibeon;
to carry out his work—
    his strange deed,
and to perform his task—
    his alien task!
22 But as for you,[w] don’t start mocking,
    or your chains will become tighter;
for I have heard from the Lord[x] of the Heavenly Armies about destruction,
    and it is decreed against the whole land.

The God who Plows and Harvests

23 “Pay attention!
    Listen to what I have to say;
Pay attention,
    and hear my speech.
24 Does he who plows for sowing plow all the time?
    Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing his field?
25 When he has leveled its surface,
    he scatters caraway[y] and sows cumin, doesn’t he?
He plants wheat in rows,
    barley in its designated place,
and feed for livestock[z] around its borders,[aa] doesn’t he?
26 His God instructs him regarding the correct way,
    directing him how to plant.[ab]

27 For caraway is not threshed with a sharp sledge,
    nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin.
Instead, caraway is winnowed with a stick,
    and cumin with a rod.
28 It[ac] must be ground;[ad]
    one cannot keep threshing it forever.
Even if he drives his cart[ae] and horses over it,
    he cannot crush it.
29 This insight also comes from the Lord of the Heavenly Armies,
    who is distinguished[af] in practical advice
        and[ag] magnificent in sound wisdom.”


  1. Isaiah 28:1 Lit. the valley of those grown fat
  2. Isaiah 28:2 So 1QIsaa; MT reads Lord
  3. Isaiah 28:2 So 1QIsaa; the Heb. lacks and
  4. Isaiah 28:3 So 1QIsaa; cf. LXX; or He will throw them forcefully down to the ground; cf. MT
  5. Isaiah 28:3 So 1QIsaa LXX; or Underfoot that proud garland; cf. MT
  6. Isaiah 28:5 Lit. On that day
  7. Isaiah 28:7 1QIsaa lacks people also; MT lacks people
  8. Isaiah 28:7 Lit. are devoured by
  9. Isaiah 28:8 1QIsaa MT lack clean
  10. Isaiah 28:11 Or through foreign lips
  11. Isaiah 28:14 So 1QIsaa; 4QIsac MT LXX read hear (pl.)
  12. Isaiah 28:15 I.e. the place where the dead dwell in the afterlife
  13. Isaiah 28:15 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX read sweeps by
  14. Isaiah 28:16 So 1QIsaa corrector
  15. Isaiah 28:16 So 1QIsaa 1QIsab; MT reads I have laid
  16. Isaiah 28:16 So 1QIsaa MT; MTmss LXX lack sure
  17. Isaiah 28:17 Lit. waters
  18. Isaiah 28:18 I.e. the place where the dead dwell in the afterlife
  19. Isaiah 28:19 So 1QIsaa; MT reads by day and by night; and there will be sheer terror.
  20. Isaiah 28:21 So 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads as
  21. Isaiah 28:21 I.e. a mountain near Jerusalem, perhaps the Mount of Olives; cf. 2Sam 6:8
  22. Isaiah 28:21 So 1QIsaa; MT reads as
  23. Isaiah 28:22 So 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads So now
  24. Isaiah 28:22 So 1QIsaa MTmss LXX Syr; MT reads the Lord God
  25. Isaiah 28:25 Or scatters black cumin
  26. Isaiah 28:25 Lit. and spelt; i.e. a grass grown and used as fodder
  27. Isaiah 28:25 So 1QIsaa; MT reads its border; LXX reads your borders
  28. Isaiah 28:26 DSS MT lack how to plant
  29. Isaiah 28:28 I.e. grain; so 1QIsaa MT; 4QIsak reads And it
  30. Isaiah 28:28 So 1QIsaa; 4QIsak MT read must be ground for bread
  31. Isaiah 28:28 So 1QIsaa; 1QIsaa corrector MT read the wheel of his cart
  32. Isaiah 28:29 So 1QIsaa; MT reads wonderful
  33. Isaiah 28:29 So 1QIsaa; the Heb. lacks and