Add parallel Print Page Options

28 Oh, it will be bad for you drunkards of Ephraim.
    That once proud elegance of yours
Now droops and falls like a fading flower.
    You leaders of the fertile valley are now drowning in your own wine.

Samaria overlooks the finest land in Israel. But these are the last days for this fading flower because God has selected Assyria as His agent of judgment.

Look well—the Eternal has called up one who is fierce and mighty.
    Like a powerful hailstorm followed by destructive winds,
Like a storm that spawns devastating floods,
    God’s agent will drive Ephraim down and smash him to earth.
Then the tarnished elegance of intoxicated Ephraim
    will lie trampled in the dirt.
And the fading flower of its glorious beauty
    that crowned Ephraim’s fertile valley
Will be snatched up and consumed as soon as someone sees it,
    like the first ripened fig before summer.
In that day the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will be a beautiful crown,
    a glorious diadem, for His people who survive.
He will be a spirit of justice to those who sit in judgment
    and a source of strength to those who battle at the gate.
Ah, what contrast to the drunken and bumbling priests and prophets
    who can’t even see straight, whose minds are addled,
Whose steps wobble, whose visions mislead,
    whose judgments waver, because of all their drinking.
There’s vomit on all of the tables,
    filth all over the place.
The priests and prophets mock:
    “Who is left for God to instruct in knowledge?
    Who will listen and understand His message?
Maybe those infants just weaned off of milk,
    those innocents just taken from the breast?
10 For here is how it goes: Command after command. Command on top of command.
    Rule after rule. Rule on top of rule. A little here, A little there.”
11 For now that God’s people reject His message,
    He will speak to them through the stammering lips
And foreign language of an invader.[a]

Eternal One: 12 This is the way: here is rest for the weary.
        I am showing you rest.

But they wouldn’t listen to Him.[b]
13 And so the word of the Eternal One to them will be just as they said:
    “Command after command. Command on top of command.
Rule after rule. Rule on top of rule. A little here, a little there.”
    But they’ll go and fail. They’ll fall back, broken and trapped,
    and be taken away by another people.
14 Let this be a warning, the Eternal’s word to you sarcastic jokesters,
    you leaders in Jerusalem.
15 For you have made an audacious claim:

Leaders: We have made a pact with death; we’ve made a deal with the grave.
        When the scourge of disease and doom comes our way, they won’t touch us.
    Death and the grave will pass us by
        for our fraud disguises us, and deception is our shield.

16 So the Lord, the Eternal, has this to say:

Eternal One: See here, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone—
        a cornerstone, chosen and precious—for a firm foundation.
    Whoever trusts in it will never be disgraced.[c]

17     Justice will be the line by which I lay out its floor plan,
        and righteousness will be My leveling tool.
    A hailstorm will pulverize and wash away the fraud and deception behind which people hide,
        and floodwaters will overrun their hiding place.

18 Then your pact with death and the grave will be annulled.
    When the scourge that you fear comes along,
It will find you and pummel you down.
19 Whenever it does come your way, it will grab you.
    It could be anytime—morning, noon, or night.
To fathom its message will be sheer terror.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out and the blanket is too small
    for you to hide in or pretend you are not here.

21 For the Eternal will stand as He did at Mount Perazim
    and shake it all up as He did in Gibeon Valley,
To accomplish whatever it is that God wills to accomplish—
    strange deeds indeed.
22 So don’t keep laughing it off,
    or your chains will be made even stronger.
For I heard from the Lord, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,
    that an absolute end has been determined for the whole earth.
23 Pay attention! Listen well;
    take care to hear my words.
24 Does a farmer constantly plow and turn the soil to plant his seed?
    No, of course not.
25 When he’s leveled and tilled the soil,
    doesn’t he plant each seed according to its specifications?
He scatters the dill, sows the cummin, plants the wheat in rows,
    puts barley and spelt where they grow best.
26 God instructs and directs the farmer
    in how best to manage the land.
27 For dill isn’t threshed with a sledge,
    and you don’t roll a cart over the cummin.
Dill is properly beaten free with one kind of stick,
    and cummin with another.
28 Similarly, you have to grind grain to have flour for bread,
    but you don’t grind it endlessly.
When the wheel on the cart and the horses go over the grain,
    you must be careful not to crush it.
29 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,
    is the source of such wisdom.
    His advice is wonderful.

Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

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

In that day(M) the Lord Almighty
    will be a glorious(N) crown,(O)
a beautiful wreath
    for the remnant(P) of his people.
He will be a spirit of justice(Q)
    to the one who sits in judgment,(R)
a source of strength
    to those who turn back the battle(S) at the gate.

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

“Who is it he is trying to teach?(AA)
    To whom is he explaining his message?(AB)
To children weaned(AC) from their milk,(AD)
    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.(AE)

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues(AF)
    God will speak to this people,(AG)
12 to whom he said,
    “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;(AH)
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(AI)
so that as they go they will fall backward;
    they will be injured(AJ) and snared and captured.(AK)

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

16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

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

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

23 Listen(BM) and hear my voice;
    pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer plows for planting,(BN) 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?(BO)
Does he not plant wheat in its place,[c]
    barley(BP) in its plot,[d]
    and spelt(BQ) in its field?
26 His God instructs him
    and teaches(BR) him the right way.

27 Caraway is not threshed(BS) with a sledge,(BT)
    nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,(BU)
    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(BV) 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,(BW)
    whose wisdom is magnificent.(BX)


  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.