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Isaiah 28 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Ephraim’s False Hope

28 Woe to the pride of Israel’s[a] drunkards,

    worn like a garland on their heads!
    Their glory is but wilted flowers,
    worn like a crown on the heads of those
    bloated with rich food and overcome by wine.
Behold! The Lord has one who is strong and mighty,
    and he will come like a hailstorm and like a destroying wind!
    With a storm of massive, flooding waters,
    his mighty power will knock it to the ground.[b]
That proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim
    will be trampled underfoot,
and the glory of these proud leaders will fade and disappear
    like the first figs of the season, which are picked and eaten
    as soon they are ripe.
In that day, Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies,
    will be a crown of glory[c] and a diadem of beauty
    for the remnant of his people.
He will be a Spirit of justice
    for judges to render right decisions.
    And he will be strength and bravery
    for those who turn back the battle at the gate.

Judah’s Drunken Prophets

Moreover, the prophets and priests are drunk.
    They stagger because of wine
    and stumble around because of strong drink.
    They are confused[d] with wine,
    stumbling because of strong drink.
    They’re too drunk to understand their prophetic visions.
    They’re too drunk to render right decisions in judgment.
All of their banqueting tables are covered with filthy vomit;
    vomit is everywhere!
They say,
    “Who does this prophet[e] think he is to try to teach us?
    Who really cares about his message?
    It’s only good for babies just learning to talk.[f]
10 Do, do this, and do, do that,
    a rule about this and a rule about that,
    here a little, there a little.”[g]
11 Since they won’t listen to me,
    God[h] will use another mouthpiece to speak to them.
    With stammering lips
    and in a foreign language,[i] he will speak to this people.
12 For he has said to them,
    “This is your rest, so let the weary rest;[j]
    this is your comfort”—but they would not listen.
13 Therefore, the word of Yahweh will be to them
    “Do, do this, and do, do that,
    a rule about this and a rule about that,
    here a little, there a little,”[k]
    in order that they will stumble backwards
    and be broken and captured.

A False Covenant with Death

14 Therefore, listen to the word of Yahweh,
    you scornful jesters—rulers of Jerusalem.[l]
15 For you have said,
    “We have made a covenant with death
    and a pact with the underworld,[m]
    so when the overwhelming scourge sweeps over us,
    it will not harm us.
    For we have made lies our refuge[n]
    and find our shelter in falsehood.”[o]

Zion’s Foundation Stone

16 Here’s what the Lord God says:
    “Behold, I set in place in Zion a Foundation Stone,[p]
    fully tested and proven to be faithful and secure.[q]
    And written upon this precious cornerstone is this:
    ‘Those who trust in him will not act in haste.’[r]
17 I will set justice as the true measurement
    and integrity its plumb line.
    My hailstorm[s] will sweep away your refuge of lies,
    and my floodwaters will overwhelm your hiding place.
18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled
    and your pact with the underworld will not stand.
    And when the overwhelming scourge sweeps over you,
    it will sweep you away![t]
19 As often as disaster passes by, it will carry you away;
    morning by morning, day after day, it will sweep you away!”
    When you fully understand this message,
    it will bring nothing but terror to you!
20 Your bed is too short to stretch yourself out on,
    and your covering is too narrow to wrap yourself in.[u]
21 The Lord Yahweh will suddenly arise
    as on Mount Perazim[v] and in the valley of Gibeon.[w]
    He arises to accomplish his strange work—peculiar as it is—
    his strange work of judgment?[x]
22 So do not mock, or your bonds will grow tighter.
    For I have heard the decree from my Lord Yahweh,
    Commander of Angel Armies.
    He spoke a decree of destruction against the whole land.

The Wonderful Ways of God

23 Hear my voice, listen to my words,
    and pay close attention to my parable.[y]
24 Does a farmer plow continually at planting time
    and never plant a crop?[z]
    Does he continually break open the clods of the ground[aa]
    and never sow his seed?
25 Once he has leveled its surface, does he not sow dill and cumin,
    planting his wheat in rows, his barley in its proper place,
    and his rye in a patch?
26 Yes, his God has instructed him
    and taught him the right way of farming the land.
27 Dill, a small seed, is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
    nor is a wagon wheel rolled over cumin.[ab]
    Dill is beaten with a rod and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain is crushed[ac] and milled for bread,
    but it is not threshed endlessly.
    One drives the wagon’s wheels over it,
    but his horses’ hooves do not pulverize it.
29 This counsel also comes from Lord Yahweh,
    Commander of Angel Armies.
    For his guidance is unfathomable,
    and the heavenly wisdom he imparts is magnificent.[ad]


  1. Isaiah 28:1 Or “Ephraim,” a likely metonymy for the northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria). Read through this chapter to see the vivid contrast between the fading glory of mankind and the greater glory of God.
  2. Isaiah 28:2 There are three fulfillments to this prophecy: (1) The immediate fulfillment of this was the Assyrian army coming to invade the northern kingdom of Israel in 740 BC. (2) The distant fulfillment was the advent of Jesus, the Mighty One, whom the Father sent with the sword of truth to demolish the lies and pride of man. (3) The future fulfillment will be the appearing of the overcomers (Rev. 2–3) who follow the Lamb as dread champions and who overturn the tables of religion and the arrogance of man.
  3. Isaiah 28:5 God himself is to be our “crown,” not human pride. See Heb. 2:9.
  4. Isaiah 28:7 This is a play on words, for the word bala’ is a homophone for “confused” and “to swallow (wine).” It could be translated “The wine they swallow swallows them.”
  5. Isaiah 28:9 Or “he.”
  6. Isaiah 28:9 Or “babies just weaned.”
  7. Isaiah 28:10 The meaning of the Hebrew text of this verse is uncertain. The Septuagint reads “You expect trouble upon trouble, hope upon hope; yet a little and yet a little.”
  8. Isaiah 28:11 Or “he.”
  9. Isaiah 28:11 That is, the foreign language of the Assyrians, which was Aramaic. See also Deut. 28:49; 1 Cor. 14:21-22.
  10. Isaiah 28:12 See Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:9.
  11. Isaiah 28:13 The meaning of the Hebrew text of this verse is uncertain. The Septuagint reads “You expect trouble upon trouble, hope upon hope; yet a little and yet a little.” The Tanakh is “Mutter upon mutter; murmur upon murmur. Now here, now there.”
  12. Isaiah 28:14 Starting with 28:14 and going through 31:9, Isaiah speaks warnings to Judah and Jerusalem.
  13. Isaiah 28:15 Or “Sheol.” Some scholars conclude that death and the underworld are metaphors for an alliance with Egypt and its false gods. However, it is more likely that they had made an actual pact with evil spirits, such as Death (Mot) and the Underworld (Resheph), to protect them from the plague. Christ has broken the covenant with death, for we are crucified to death in him (Gal. 2:20). Now death “belongs” to the believer, for we have been given a life that triumphs over man’s covenant with death (Rom. 8:38-39; 1 Cor. 3:21-22).
  14. Isaiah 28:15 Many today still hide behind lies, refusing to come to the truth in Christ.
  15. Isaiah 28:15 Or “false gods.”
  16. Isaiah 28:16 The Foundation Stone is Christ, set in place in the councils of eternity. The Hebrew word for “stone” is taken from the root word for “son” (ben). God’s Foundation Stone is his Son, Jesus Christ. See Rom. 9:33. Now the Son/Stone has become many (1 Peter 2:5-7). From these stones/sons, the Father is building us into his holy temple.
  17. Isaiah 28:16 The promised one, Jesus Christ, is the Chief Cornerstone on which we rest our faith, because we are those who dwell in Zion’s realm (Heb. 12:22). Believers throughout all time have proven that he is faithful. See Ps. 118:22; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:19-20.
  18. Isaiah 28:16 Or “will never run away (in fear).” Faith, firmly set upon Christ, is patient and never rushes, for faith leaves the timing of all things in God’s hands. Peter quotes this verse, saying, “Whoever believes in him will certainly not be disappointed” (1 Peter 2:6).
  19. Isaiah 28:17 Hail is a biblical metaphor for divine judgment. See v. 2; Ex. 9–10; Josh. 10:11; Ps. 18:12-13; 148:8; Isa. 32:19; Rev. 8:7; 11:19; 16:21.
  20. Isaiah 28:18 Or “It will trample you down.”
  21. Isaiah 28:20 The bed is a metaphor for their confidence in lies—resting in illusions, not the truth. Those who trust in lies will not be comfortable. The covering being too narrow means their nakedness (like hiding behind fig leaves) will still be exposed. They will be too cramped and too cold. Every resting place and shelter will fail them.
  22. Isaiah 28:21 This mountain is also called Baal-Perazim (“lord of the breakthrough”), the place where the Lord broke through, enabling David to conquer the Philistines. See 2 Sam. 5:20.
  23. Isaiah 28:21 In this valley, Yahweh rained down hailstones on the Amorites. See Josh. 10:8-14.
  24. Isaiah 28:21 The prophet describes God’s work of judgment as strange or foreign to what he delights in doing. God is love and longs to pour out his love upon his people, those he has chosen and established as his own. Yet God is holy, and although in mercy he may delay judgment, he will judge his people. To see God’s work of judgment as strange (alien) is to understand that heaven’s default is always mercy. See also James 2:13.
  25. Isaiah 28:23 Or “to my speech.” Isaiah uses the parable of a farmer preparing his field to sow seed as a description of God’s ways within us. He begins by essentially saying, “If your ears are opened by my Spirit, then hear what I have to say.”
  26. Isaiah 28:24 The sharp teeth and cutting edge of God’s Word as it plows on the soil of our hearts will result in planting the life and glory of Jesus within us. God knows how the purpose of his painful plowing in our hearts is to prepare us for the beautiful Jesus to come forth from within. The outward shell, the hardened clods of soil, must be broken open so that Christ may be our true life. See Hos. 10:12.
  27. Isaiah 28:24 The clods of the ground are an apt metaphor for human nature, for we have been taken from the dust of the ground.
  28. Isaiah 28:27 God knows how fragile we are as “seeds of the kingdom.” He will thresh us, but only according to what is needed to lay bare our hearts and cause the seed to grow. See 1 Cor. 10:13.
  29. Isaiah 28:28 God does not crush the grain but only frees it from the chaff.
  30. Isaiah 28:29 Or “He makes counsel wonderful; he makes wisdom great.” See also Rom. 11:33.
The Passion Translation (TPT)

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