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28 Woe to the city of Samaria, surrounded by her rich valley—Samaria, the pride and delight of the drunkards of Israel! Woe to her fading beauty, the crowning glory of a nation of men lying drunk in the streets! For the Lord will send a mighty army (the Assyrians) against you; like a mighty hailstorm he will burst upon you and dash you to the ground. The proud city of Samaria—yes, the joy and delight of the drunkards of Israel—will be hurled to the ground and trampled beneath the enemies’ feet. Once glorious, her fading beauty surrounded by a fertile valley will suddenly be gone, greedily snatched away as an early fig is hungrily snatched and gobbled up!

Then at last the Lord Almighty himself will be their crowning glory, the diadem of beauty to his people who are left. He will give a longing for justice to your judges and great courage to your soldiers who are battling to the last before your gates. But Jerusalem is now led by drunks! Her priests and prophets reel and stagger, making stupid errors and mistakes. Their tables are covered with vomit; filth is everywhere.

“Who does Isaiah think he is,” the people say, “to speak to us like this! Are we little children, barely old enough to talk? 10 He tells us everything over and over again, a line at a time and in such simple words!”

11 But they won’t listen; the only language they can understand is punishment! So God will punish them by sending against them foreigners who speak strange gibberish! Only then will they listen to him! 12 They could have rest in their own land if they would obey him, if they were kind and good. He told them that, but they wouldn’t listen to him. 13 So the Lord will spell it out for them again, repeating it over and over in simple words whenever he can; yet over this simple, straightforward message they will stumble and fall and be broken, trapped and captured.

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem:

15 You have struck a bargain with death, you say, and sold yourselves to the devil[a] in exchange for his protection against the Assyrians. “They can never touch us,” you say, “for we are under the care of one who will deceive and fool them.”

16 But the Lord God says, “See, I am placing a Foundation Stone in Zion—a firm, tested, precious Cornerstone that is safe to build on. He who believes need never run away again. 17 I will take the line and plummet of justice to check the foundation wall you built; it looks so fine, but it is so weak a storm of hail will knock it down! The enemy will come like a flood and sweep it away, and you will be drowned. 18 I will cancel your agreement of compromise with death and the devil, so when the terrible enemy floods in, you will be trampled into the ground. 19 Again and again that flood will come and carry you off, until at last the unmixed horror of the truth of my warnings will finally dawn on you.”

20 The bed you have made is far too short to lie on; the blankets are too narrow to cover you. 21 The Lord will come suddenly and in anger, as at Mount Perazim and Gibeon, to do a strange, unusual thing—to destroy his own people! 22 So scoff no more, lest your punishment be made even greater, for the Lord God has plainly told me that he is determined to crush you.

23-24 Listen to me, listen as I plead: Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever harrowing the soil and never planting it? 25 Does he not finally plant his many kinds of grain, each in its own section of his land? 26 He knows just what to do, for God has made him see and understand. 27 He doesn’t thresh all grains the same. A sledge is never used on dill, but it is beaten with a stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cummin, but it is beaten softly with a flail. 28 Bread grain is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it. 29 The Lord Almighty is a wonderful teacher and gives the farmer wisdom.


  1. Isaiah 28:15 to the devil, literally, “with Sheol,” “the underworld.”

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