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)

Woe to David’s City

29 Woe(BY) to you, Ariel, Ariel,(BZ)
    the city(CA) where David settled!
Add year to year
    and let your cycle of festivals(CB) go on.
Yet I will besiege Ariel;(CC)
    she will mourn and lament,(CD)
    she will be to me like an altar hearth.[e](CE)
I will encamp against you on all sides;
    I will encircle(CF) you with towers
    and set up my siege works(CG) against you.
Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
    your speech will mumble(CH) out of the dust.(CI)
Your voice will come ghostlike(CJ) from the earth;
    out of the dust your speech will whisper.(CK)

But your many enemies will become like fine dust,(CL)
    the ruthless(CM) hordes like blown chaff.(CN)
Suddenly,(CO) in an instant,
    the Lord Almighty will come(CP)
with thunder(CQ) and earthquake(CR) and great noise,
    with windstorm and tempest(CS) and flames of a devouring fire.(CT)
Then the hordes of all the nations(CU) that fight against Ariel,(CV)
    that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,(CW)
    with a vision in the night—
as when a hungry person dreams of eating,
    but awakens(CX) hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,
    but awakens faint and thirsty still.(CY)
So will it be with the hordes of all the nations
    that fight against Mount Zion.(CZ)

Be stunned and amazed,(DA)
    blind yourselves and be sightless;(DB)
be drunk,(DC) but not from wine,(DD)
    stagger,(DE) but not from beer.
10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep:(DF)
    He has sealed your eyes(DG) (the prophets);(DH)
    he has covered your heads (the seers).(DI)

11 For you this whole vision(DJ) is nothing but words sealed(DK) in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”

13 The Lord says:

“These people(DL) come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,(DM)
    but their hearts are far from me.(DN)
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.[f](DO)
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
    with wonder upon wonder;(DP)
the wisdom of the wise(DQ) will perish,
    the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.(DR)
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
    to hide(DS) their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
    “Who sees us?(DT) Who will know?”(DU)
16 You turn things upside down,
    as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!(DV)
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed(DW) it,
    “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,(DX)
    “You know nothing”?(DY)

17 In a very short time,(DZ) will not Lebanon(EA) be turned into a fertile field(EB)
    and the fertile field seem like a forest?(EC)
18 In that day(ED) the deaf(EE) will hear the words of the scroll,
    and out of gloom and darkness(EF)
    the eyes of the blind will see.(EG)
19 Once more the humble(EH) will rejoice in the Lord;
    the needy(EI) will rejoice in the Holy One(EJ) of Israel.
20 The ruthless(EK) will vanish,(EL)
    the mockers(EM) will disappear,
    and all who have an eye for evil(EN) will be cut down—
21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,
    who ensnare the defender in court(EO)
    and with false testimony(EP) deprive the innocent of justice.(EQ)

22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed(ER) Abraham,(ES) says to the descendants of Jacob:

“No longer will Jacob be ashamed;(ET)
    no longer will their faces grow pale.(EU)
23 When they see among them their children,(EV)
    the work of my hands,(EW)
they will keep my name holy;(EX)
    they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One(EY) of Jacob,
    and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who are wayward(EZ) in spirit will gain understanding;(FA)
    those who complain will accept instruction.”(FB)

Woe to the Obstinate Nation

30 “Woe(FC) to the obstinate children,”(FD)
    declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
    forming an alliance,(FE) but not by my Spirit,
    heaping sin upon sin;
who go down to Egypt(FF)
    without consulting(FG) me;
who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,(FH)
    to Egypt’s shade for refuge.(FI)
But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame,
    Egypt’s shade(FJ) will bring you disgrace.(FK)
Though they have officials in Zoan(FL)
    and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,
everyone will be put to shame
    because of a people(FM) useless(FN) to them,
who bring neither help(FO) nor advantage,
    but only shame and disgrace.(FP)

A prophecy(FQ) concerning the animals of the Negev:(FR)

Through a land of hardship and distress,(FS)
    of lions(FT) and lionesses,
    of adders and darting snakes,(FU)
the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’(FV) backs,
    their treasures(FW) on the humps of camels,
to that unprofitable nation,
    to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless.(FX)
Therefore I call her
    Rahab(FY) the Do-Nothing.

Go now, write it on a tablet(FZ) for them,
    inscribe it on a scroll,(GA)
that for the days to come
    it may be an everlasting witness.(GB)
For these are rebellious(GC) people, deceitful(GD) children,
    children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.(GE)
10 They say to the seers,(GF)
    “See no more visions(GG)!”
and to the prophets,
    “Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,(GH)
    prophesy illusions.(GI)
11 Leave this way,(GJ)
    get off this path,
and stop confronting(GK) us
    with the Holy One(GL) of Israel!”

12 Therefore this is what the Holy One(GM) of Israel says:

“Because you have rejected this message,(GN)
    relied on oppression(GO)
    and depended on deceit,
13 this sin will become for you
    like a high wall,(GP) cracked and bulging,
    that collapses(GQ) suddenly,(GR) in an instant.
14 It will break in pieces like pottery,(GS)
    shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
    for taking coals from a hearth
    or scooping water out of a cistern.”

15 This is what the Sovereign(GT) Lord, the Holy One(GU) of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest(GV) is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust(GW) is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.(GX)
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee(GY) on horses.’(GZ)
    Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
    Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
    at the threat of one;
at the threat of five(HA)
    you will all flee(HB) away,
till you are left(HC)
    like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a banner(HD) on a hill.”

18 Yet the Lord longs(HE) to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.(HF)
For the Lord is a God of justice.(HG)
    Blessed are all who wait for him!(HH)

19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.(HI) How gracious he will be when you cry for help!(HJ) As soon as he hears, he will answer(HK) you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread(HL) of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers(HM) will be hidden(HN) no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice(HO) behind you, saying, “This is the way;(HP) walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols(HQ) overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold;(HR) you will throw them away like a menstrual(HS) cloth and say to them, “Away with you!(HT)

23 He will also send you rain(HU) for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich(HV) and plentiful.(HW) In that day(HX) your cattle will graze in broad meadows.(HY) 24 The oxen(HZ) and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder(IA) and mash, spread out with fork(IB) and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter,(IC) when the towers(ID) fall, streams of water will flow(IE) on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun,(IF) and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals(IG) the wounds he inflicted.

27 See, the Name(IH) of the Lord comes from afar,
    with burning anger(II) and dense clouds of smoke;
his lips are full of wrath,(IJ)
    and his tongue is a consuming fire.(IK)
28 His breath(IL) is like a rushing torrent,(IM)
    rising up to the neck.(IN)
He shakes the nations in the sieve(IO) of destruction;
    he places in the jaws of the peoples
    a bit(IP) that leads them astray.
29 And you will sing
    as on the night you celebrate a holy festival;(IQ)
your hearts will rejoice(IR)
    as when people playing pipes(IS) go up
to the mountain(IT) of the Lord,
    to the Rock(IU) of Israel.
30 The Lord will cause people to hear his majestic voice(IV)
    and will make them see his arm(IW) coming down
with raging anger(IX) and consuming fire,(IY)
    with cloudburst, thunderstorm(IZ) and hail.(JA)
31 The voice of the Lord will shatter Assyria;(JB)
    with his rod he will strike(JC) them down.
32 Every stroke the Lord lays on them
    with his punishing club(JD)
will be to the music of timbrels(JE) and harps,
    as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.(JF)
33 Topheth(JG) has long been prepared;
    it has been made ready for the king.
Its fire pit has been made deep and wide,
    with an abundance of fire and wood;
the breath(JH) of the Lord,
    like a stream of burning sulfur,(JI)
    sets it ablaze.(JJ)

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.
  5. Isaiah 29:2 The Hebrew for altar hearth sounds like the Hebrew for Ariel.
  6. Isaiah 29:13 Hebrew; Septuagint They worship me in vain; / their teachings are merely human rules