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Warnings to Israel

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].
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].
That city, the pride of ·Israel’s [L Ephraim’s] drunken people,
    will be trampled underfoot.
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.

·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].
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.
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].
Every table is covered with vomit,
    so there is not a clean place anywhere.

·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].