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E. The Lord Alone, Israel’s and Judah’s Salvation

Chapter 28

The Fate of Samaria[a]

Ah! majestic garland
    of the drunkards of Ephraim,[b]
Fading blooms of his glorious beauty,
    at the head of the fertile valley,
    upon those stupefied with wine.(A)

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  1. 28:1–6 These verses once constituted an independent oracle against the Northern Kingdom, probably originally spoken during the time between its overthrow by Assyria in 732 and its destruction in 722/721. Isaiah has reused them as an introduction to his oracle against Judah (vv. 7–22), because the leaders of Judah were guilty of the same excesses that had once marked Ephraim’s leadership.
  2. 28:1 Ephraim: the Northern Kingdom. Its capital, Samaria, was built upon a hill, suggestive of a majestic garland adorning a human head. The characterization of the leadership of Ephraim as drunken underscores its inattention to justice and good government (cf. 5:11–13; Am 6:1–6).