28 ·How terrible it will be for [L Woe to] Samaria [C the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel], the pride of ·Israel’s [L Ephraim’s] drunken people! That beautiful ·crown [wreath; garland] of flowers is ·just a dying plant [fading] set on ·a hill above [L the head of] a rich valley ·where drunkards live [of those overcome with wine]. 2 Look, the Lord has someone who is strong and powerful. Like a storm of hail and ·strong [destructive] wind, like a sudden flood of water pouring over the country, he will throw Samaria down to the ground [L with his hand]. 3 That city, the pride of ·Israel’s [L Ephraim’s] drunken people, will be trampled underfoot. 4 That beautiful ·crown [wreath; garland] of flowers is ·just a dying plant [fading] set on ·a hill above [L the head of] a rich valley. That city will be like the first ripe fig of summer. Anyone who sees it quickly ·picks it [takes it in hand] and ·eats [swallows] it.
5 ·At that time [L In that day] the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] ·will be like [L will be] a beautiful crown, ·like a wonderful [a beautiful] ·crown of flowers [wreath; garland; diadem] for ·his people who are left alive [the remnant of his people]. 6 Then he will give ·wisdom [a spirit of justice/judgment] to ·the judges who must decide cases [L those who sit in judgment] and strength to those who battle at the city gate. 7 But now those leaders ·are drunk [reel] with wine; they ·stumble [stagger] from drinking too much ·beer [T strong drink; C alcoholic beverage made from grain]. The priests and prophets ·are drunk [stagger] with ·beer [T strong drink] and are ·filled with [swallowed by; or confused because of] wine. They stumble from too much ·beer [T strong drink]. ·The prophets [L They] ·are drunk [stagger] when they see their visions; ·the judges [they] stumble ·when they make their decisions [in judgment]. 8 Every table is covered with vomit, so there is not a clean place anywhere.
9 ·The Lord is trying to teach the people a lesson [L Who is he teaching knowledge?]; ·he is trying to make them understand his teachings [L To whom is he explaining the message?]. ·But the people are like babies too old for breast milk [Those weaned from milk?], ·like those who no longer nurse at their mother’s breast [Those taken from the breast?]. 10 So ·they make fun of the Lord’s prophet and say [or the Lord must repeat himself again and again; L For it is]: “·A command here, a command there [T Precept upon precept, precept upon precept]. ·A rule here, a rule there [T Line upon line, line upon line; C Hebrew: tsav latsav tsav latsav / kav lakav kav lakav; it may be the people mocking the words of the prophets as nonsense; or it may refer to God repeating himself because the people will not listen]. A little lesson here, a little lesson there [L A little there, a little there].” 11 So the Lord will use ·strange words [mocking/stammering lips] and foreign ·languages [tongues] to speak to these people. 12 God said to them, “Here is a place of rest; let the ·tired people [weary] come and rest. This is the place of peace.” But the people would not listen. 13 So the words of the Lord will be, “·A command here, a command there [T Precept upon precept, precept upon precept]. ·A rule here, a rule there [T Line upon line, line upon line]. ·A little lesson here, a little lesson there [L A little there, a little there; C see v. 10; God now uses the same words to mimic the foreign language of the Assyrian invaders].” They will fall back and be ·defeated [broken]; they will be ·trapped and captured [snared and taken].
14 So listen to the Lord’s message, you who ·brag [mock; scoff; Prov. 1:22; 9:7, 8, 12; 13:1], you ·leaders [L who rule this people] in Jerusalem. 15 You say, “We have made an ·agreement [treaty; covenant] with death; we have a ·contract [agreement; pact] with ·death [or the grave; L Sheol]. When ·terrible punishment [an overwhelming scourge/flood] passes by, it won’t ·hurt [touch; reach] us. Our lies ·will keep us safe [L are our refuge], and ·our tricks [falsehood] ·will hide us [is our refuge/shelter].”
16 Because of these things, this is what the Lord God says:
“I will ·put [lay; establish] a stone in the ground in ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple], a tested stone. ·Everything will be built on this important and precious rock [L …a precious cornerstone for a firm foundation]. Anyone who trusts in it will never ·be disappointed [or panic; waver; be shaken; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6]. 17 I will use justice as a measuring line and ·goodness [righteousness] as the ·standard [plumb line]. The lies you ·hide behind [take refuge in] will be ·destroyed [swept away] as if by hail. ·They [Your hiding place/shelter] will be washed away as if in a flood. 18 Your ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with death will be ·erased [annulled]; your contract with ·death [or the grave; L Sheol] will not ·help you [stand; last]. When ·terrible punishment [overwhelming scourge/flood] comes, you will be ·crushed [beaten down] by it. 19 Whenever ·punishment [L it] comes, it will take you away. It will come morning after morning; it will ·defeat you [sweep through] by day and by night. Those who understand this punishment will be terrified.” 20 ·You will be like the person who tried to sleep on a bed that was too short [L For the bed is too short to stretch out on] and ·with a blanket that [L the blanket] was too narrow to wrap around himself. 21 The Lord will ·fight [L rise up] as he did at Mount Perazim [2 Sam. 5:20]. He will be ·angry [rouse himself] as he was in the Valley of Gibeon [Josh. 10:10–14]. He will do his work, his ·strange [peculiar] work. He will finish his job, his ·strange [unusual] job. 22 Now, ·you must not make fun of these things [do not mock; or stop your mocking], or the ·ropes [or chains; bonds] around you will become ·tighter [or heavier]. The Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] has ·told me [decreed to me] how the whole ·earth [land] will be destroyed.
The Lord Punishes Fairly
23 Listen closely to ·what I tell you [my voice]; ·listen carefully to [pay attention to; heed] what I say. 24 ·A farmer does not [L Does the plower…?] plow his field all the time; ·he does not [L does he…?] go on working the soil. 25 ·He makes [Does he not make…?] the ground flat and smooth. Then he plants the dill and scatters the cumin. ·He plants [Does he not plant…?] the wheat in rows, the barley in its special place, and other wheat as a border around the field. 26 His God ·teaches [instructs] him and ·shows [teaches] him the right way. 27 A farmer doesn’t use ·heavy boards to crush [a sledge to thresh] dill; he doesn’t use a wagon wheel to crush cumin. He uses a small stick to break open the dill, and with a ·stick [rod; flail] he opens the cumin. 28 The grain is ground to make bread. People do not ruin it by ·crushing [threshing] it forever. The farmer separates the wheat from the chaff with his cart, but he does not let his horses ·grind [crush] it. 29 This lesson [C that the Lord’s punishment fits the sin] also comes from the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], who gives wonderful ·advice [counsel; 9:6], who ·is very wise [or gives excellent/great wisdom].
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