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Isaiah 28 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

The Lord Will Judge the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

28 How terrible it will be for the city of Samaria!
    It sits on a hill like a wreath of flowers.
The leaders of Ephraim are drunk.
    They take pride in their city.
It sits above a valley that has rich soil.
    How terrible it will be for the glorious beauty of that fading flower!
The Lord will bring the strong and powerful king of Assyria against Samaria.
    The Lord will throw that city down to the ground with great force.
It will be like a hailstorm.
    It will be like a wind that destroys everything.
    It will be like a driving rain and a flooding storm.
That city is like a wreath.
    The leaders of Ephraim are drunk.
They take pride in their city.
    But its enemies will walk all over it.
It sits on a hill above a rich valley.
    The city is like a wreath of flowers whose glorious beauty is fading away.
But it will become like figs that are ripe before harvest.
    As soon as people see them,
    they pick them and swallow them.

At that time the Lord who rules over all
    will be like a glorious crown.
He will be like a beautiful wreath
    for those of his people who will be left alive.
He will help those
    who are fair when they judge.
He will give strength to those
    who turn back their enemies at the city gate.

Israel’s leaders are drunk from wine.
    They can’t walk straight.
They are drunk from beer.
    They are unsteady on their feet.
Priests and prophets drink beer.
    They can’t walk straight.
    They are mixed up from drinking too much wine.
They drink too much beer.
    They are unsteady on their feet.
The prophets see visions but don’t really understand them.
    The priests aren’t able to make good decisions.
They throw up. All the tables are covered
    with the mess they’ve made.
There isn’t one spot on the tables
    that isn’t smelly and dirty.

The Lord’s people are making fun of him. They say,
    “Who does he think he’s trying to teach?
    Who does he think he’s explaining his message to?
Is it to children who do not need their mother’s milk anymore?
    Is it to those who have just been taken from her breast?
10 Here is how he teaches.
    Do this and do that.
There is a rule for this and a rule for that.
    Learn a little here and learn a little there.”

11 All right then, these people won’t listen to me.
    So God will speak to them.
He will speak by using people who speak unfamiliar languages.
    He will speak by using the mouths of strangers.
12 He said to his people,
    “I am offering you a resting place.
    Let those who are tired rest.”
He continued, “I am offering you a place of peace and quiet.”
    But they wouldn’t listen.
13 So then, here is what the Lord’s message will become to them.
    Do this and do that.
There is a rule for this and a rule for that.
    Learn a little here and learn a little there.
So when they try to go forward,
    they’ll fall back and be wounded.
    They’ll be trapped and captured.

14 Listen to the Lord’s message,
    you who make fun of the truth.
    Listen, you who rule over these people in Jerusalem.
15 You brag, “We have entered into a covenant with the place of the dead.
    We have made an agreement with the grave.
When a terrible plague comes to punish us,
    it can’t touch us.
That’s because we depend on lies to keep us safe.
    We hide behind what isn’t true.”

16 So the Lord and King speaks. He says,

“Look! I am laying a stone in Zion.
    It is a stone that has been tested.
It is the most important stone for a firm foundation.
    The one who depends on that stone will never be shaken.
17 I will use a measuring line to prove that you have not been fair.
    I will use a plumb line to prove that you have not done what is right.
Hail will sweep away the lies you depend on to keep you safe.
    Water will flood your hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death will be called off.
    The agreement you made with the place of the dead will not stand.
When the terrible plague comes to punish you,
    you will be struck down by it.
19 As often as it comes, it will carry you away.
    Morning after morning, day and night,
    it will come to punish you.”

If you understand this message,
    it will bring you absolute terror.
20 You will be like someone whose bed is too short to lie down on.
    You will be like those whose blankets are too small to wrap themselves in.
21 The Lord will rise up to judge, just as he did at Mount Perazim.
    He will get up to act, just as he did in the Valley of Gibeon.
He’ll do his work, but it will be strange work.
    He’ll carry out his task, but it will be an unexpected one.
22 Now stop making fun of me.
    If you don’t, your chains will become heavier.
The Lord who rules over all has spoken to me.
    The Lord has told me he has ordered that the whole land be destroyed.

23 Listen and hear my voice.
    Pay attention to what I’m saying.
24 When a farmer plows in order to plant, does he plow without stopping?
    Does he keep on breaking up the soil and making the field level?
25 When he’s made the surface even, doesn’t he plant caraway seeds?
    Doesn’t he scatter cumin seeds?
Doesn’t he plant wheat in its proper place?
    Doesn’t he plant barley where it belongs?
    Doesn’t he plant spelt along the edge of the field?
26 His God directs him.
    He teaches him the right way to do his work.

27 Caraway seeds are beaten out with a rod.
    They aren’t separated out under a threshing sled.
Cumin seeds are beaten out with a stick.
    The wheel of a cart isn’t rolled over them.
28 Grain must be ground up to make bread.
    A farmer separates it out.
    But he doesn’t go on doing it forever.
He drives the wheels of a threshing cart over it.
    But he doesn’t use horses to grind the grain.
29 All these insights come from the Lord who rules over all.
    His advice is wonderful. His wisdom is glorious.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 28 New International Version (NIV)

Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

28 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
    to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley
    to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong.
    Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind,
like a driving rain and a flooding downpour,
    he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
    will be trampled underfoot.
That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
    set on the head of a fertile valley,
will be like figs ripe before harvest—
    as soon as people see them and take them in hand,
    they swallow them.

In that day the Lord Almighty
    will be a glorious crown,
a beautiful wreath
    for the remnant of his people.
He will be 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.

And these also stagger from wine
    and reel from beer:
Priests and prophets stagger from beer
    and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
    they stagger when seeing visions,
    they stumble when rendering decisions.
All the tables are covered with vomit
    and there is not a spot without filth.

“Who is it he is trying to teach?
    To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
    to those just taken from the breast?
10 For it is:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that[a];
    a little here, a little there.

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
    God will speak to this people,
12 to whom he said,
    “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
    but they would not listen.
13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that;
    a little here, a little there
so that as they go they will fall backward;
    they will be injured and snared and captured.

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
    who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,
    with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement.
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
    it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie our refuge
    and falsehood[b] our hiding place.

16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
    a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
    will never be stricken with panic.
17 I will make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
    and water will overflow your hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death will be annulled;
    your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
    you will be beaten down by it.
19 As often as it comes it will carry you away;
    morning after morning, by day and by night,
    it will sweep through.”

The understanding of this message
    will bring sheer terror.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out on,
    the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.
21 The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
    he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon
to do his work, his strange work,
    and perform his task, his alien task.
22 Now stop your mocking,
    or your chains will become heavier;
the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me
    of the destruction decreed against the whole land.

23 Listen and hear my voice;
    pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
    Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
    does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,[c]
    barley in its plot,[d]
    and spelt in its field?
26 His God instructs him
    and teaches him the right way.

27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
    nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
    and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
    so one does not go on threshing it forever.
The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it,
    but one does not use horses to grind grain.
29 All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,
    whose plan is wonderful,
    whose wisdom is magnificent.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 28:10 Hebrew / sav lasav sav lasav / kav lakav kav lakav (probably meaningless sounds mimicking the prophet’s words); also in verse 13
  2. Isaiah 28:15 Or false gods
  3. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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