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Isaiah 28Common English Bible (CEB)

Judgment on Ephraim and Judah

28 Oh, the majestic garland of Ephraim’s drunks
    and the fading flower of its splendid beauty
    on the head that flows with perfume[a]
    of those hammered with wine.
Look! The Lord has someone who is powerful and strong;
    like a hailstorm, a disastrous tempest,
    like a downpour of mighty, overflowing waters,
    he can level them to the ground with his hand.
The majestic garland of Ephraim’s drunks
    will be trampled underfoot.
    The withered flower, which is a thing of beauty[b]
        as it sits on the head of those bloated with fat,[c]
        will be like an early fig before the summer harvest:
    whoever sees it swallows it as soon as it is in hand.

On that day, the Lord of heavenly forces will be a splendid garland and a beautiful wreath for the people who survive, and a spirit of justice for the one who sits in judgment, and a strength for those who repel the assault at the gate.

These also stagger from wine and stumble from beer:
    priest and prophet stagger from beer;
    they are confused by wine;
    they stray on account of beer;
    they err when receiving visions;
    they stumble when making judgments.
All the tables are covered with vomit;
    filth overruns the place.

To whom will God teach knowledge?
    To whom will he explain the message?
    To those just weaned from milk?
    To those who have hardly outgrown the breast?
10 It is “tsav letsav, tsav lestav; qav leqav, qav leqav,”[d]
    a little of this, a little of that.
11 With derisive speech and a foreign tongue,
    he will speak to this people.
12 He has said to them,
    “This is the place of rest;
    give rest to the weary;
    this is the place of repose”;
        but they refused to listen.
13 So the Lord’s word will be for them:
    “tsav letsav, tsav letsav; qav leqav, qav leqav,”
    a little of this, a little of that.
So that they will go and stagger backward,
    they will be broken, snared, and captured.

The covenant with death overturned

14 Therefore, hear the Lord’s word,
    you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 You said, “We’ve cut a deal with death;[e]
    with the underworld[f] we made a pact.
When the overflowing flood passes through, it won’t reach us;
    for we have made lies our hiding place,
    and in falsehood we take shelter.”
16 Therefore, the Lord God says:
Look! I’m laying in Zion a stone,
    a tested stone, a valuable cornerstone,
    a sure foundation:
    the one who trusts won’t tremble.
17 I will make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the plumb line.
But hail will sweep away the hiding place of lies,
    and water will overflow the shelter.
18 Your deal with death[g] will be dissolved,
    and your pact with the grave[h] won’t stand.
The rushing flood: when it passes through,
    you will be annihilated by it.
19 Every time it passes through it will take you,
    for morning by morning it will pass,
    by day and by night.
    It will be nothing but terror to understand the message.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out,
    and the shroud is too narrow to cover oneself.

21 Just as on Mount Perazim, the Lord will rise up;
    as in the Gibeon Valley he will rage to do his deed—strange is his deed!—
    And to work his work—foreign is his work!
22 So now stop your scoffing,
        or your chains will be tightened,
    because destruction has been ordered—I have heard it!—
        by the Lord God of heavenly forces against the whole land.

Plowing and threshing

23 Listen and hear my voice;
    pay attention and hear my word:
24 Does the plowman plow without stopping for planting,
    opening and harrowing their ground?
25 When he has smoothed its surface,
    doesn’t he scatter fennel,[i] and sow cumin,
    and plant wheat and barley in their places,
    and spelt as a border?
26 They are properly ordered;
    their God directs them.[j]
27 Fennel[k] isn’t threshed with a threshing sledge,
    nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
    but fennel[l] is beaten with a staff,
    and cumin with a rod.
28 Bread grain is crushed,
    but the thresher[m] doesn’t thresh it forever.
    He drives the cart wheel over it;
        he spreads it out but doesn’t crush it.
29 This also comes from the Lord of heavenly forces,
    who gives wondrous counsel and increases wisdom.


  1. Isaiah 28:1 DSS (1QIsaa)
  2. Isaiah 28:4 Heb uncertain
  3. Isaiah 28:4 Or at the head of the fat valley
  4. Isaiah 28:10 A Hebrew version of baby talk or gibberish
  5. Isaiah 28:15 Heb Maveth
  6. Isaiah 28:15 Heb Sheol
  7. Isaiah 28:18 Heb Maveth
  8. Isaiah 28:18 Heb Sheol
  9. Isaiah 28:25 Or black cumin
  10. Isaiah 28:26 Or waters them
  11. Isaiah 28:27 Or black cumin
  12. Isaiah 28:27 Or black cumin
  13. Isaiah 28:28 DSS (1QIsaa)
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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