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Samaria Will Be Punished

28 The city of Samaria
above a fertile valley
    is in for trouble!
Its leaders are drunkards,
who stuff themselves
    with food and wine.
But they will be like flowers
    that dry up and wilt.
Only the Lord is strong
    and powerful!
His mighty hand
    will strike them down
with the force of a hailstorm
or a mighty whirlwind
    or an overwhelming flood.

Every drunkard in Ephraim[a]
takes pride in Samaria,
    but it will be crushed.
Samaria above a fertile valley
    will quickly lose its glory.
It will be gobbled down
like the first ripe fig
    at harvest season.

When this time comes,
    the Lord All-Powerful
will be a glorious crown
    for his people who survive.
He will see that justice rules
and that his people
are able
    to defend their cities.

Corrupt Leaders Will Be Punished

Priests and prophets stumble
    because they are drunk.
Their minds are too confused
to receive God’s messages
    or give honest decisions.
Their tables are covered,
completely covered,
    with their stinking vomit.

You drunken leaders
    are like babies!
How can you possibly understand
    or teach the Lord’s message?
10 You don’t even listen—
all you hear is senseless sound
    after senseless sound.[b]

11 So, the Lord will speak
    to his people
in strange sounds
    and foreign languages.[c]
12 He promised you
perfect peace and rest,
    but you refused to listen.
13 Now his message to you
will be senseless sound
    after senseless sound.[d]
Then you will fall backwards,
    injured and trapped.

False Security Is Fatal

14 You rulers of Jerusalem
    do nothing but sneer;
now you must listen
    to what the Lord says.
15 Do you think you have
an agreement with death
    and the world of the dead?
Why do you trust in your lies
to keep you safe from danger
    and the mighty flood?

16 And so the Lord says,
“I’m laying a firm foundation
    for the city of Zion.
It’s a valuable cornerstone
    proven to be trustworthy;
no one who trusts it
    will ever be disappointed.
17 Justice and fairness
will be the measuring lines
    that help me build.”

Hailstones and floods
will destroy and wash away
    your shelter of lies.
18 Your agreement with death
and the world of the dead
    will be broken.
Then angry, roaring waves
    will sweep over you.
19 Morning, noon, and night
an overwhelming flood
    will wash you away.
The terrible things that happen
    will teach you this lesson:
20 Your bed is too short,
    your blanket too skimpy.[e]

21 The Lord will fiercely attack
as he did at Mount Perazim[f]
    and in Gibeon Valley.[g]
But this time the Lord
will do something surprising,
    not what you expect.
22 So you had better stop sneering
or you will be in worse shape
    than ever before.
I heard the Lord All-Powerful
threaten the whole country
    with destruction.

All Wisdom Comes from the Lord

23 Pay close attention
    to what I am saying.
24 Farmers don’t just plow
    and break up the ground.
25 When a field is ready,
they scatter the seeds
    of dill and cumin;
they plant the seeds
of wheat and barley
    in the proper places.
26 They learn this from their God.

27 After dill and cumin
    have been harvested,
the stalks are pounded,
    not run over with a wagon.
28 Wheat and barley are pounded,
    but not beaten to pulp;
they are run over with a wagon,
    but not ground to dust.
29 This wonderful knowledge comes
from the Lord All-Powerful,
    who has such great wisdom.

Jerusalem Will Suffer

The Lord said:

29 Jerusalem, city of David,
the place of my altar,[h]
    you are in for trouble!
Celebrate your festivals
    year after year.
I will still make you suffer,
and your people will cry
    when I make an altar of you.[i]
I will surround you and prepare
    to attack from all sides.[j]
From deep in the earth,
you will call out for help
    with only a faint whisper.

Then your cruel enemies
will suddenly be swept away
    like dust in a windstorm.
I, the Lord All-Powerful,
    will come to your rescue
with a thundering earthquake
    and a fiery whirlwind.

Every brutal nation
that attacks Jerusalem
    and makes it suffer
will disappear like a dream
    when night is over.
Those nations that attack
    Mount Zion
will suffer from hunger
    and thirst.
They will dream of food and drink
but wake up weary and hungry
    and thirsty as ever.

Prophets Who Fool Themselves

Be shocked and stunned,
    you prophets!
Refuse to see.
Get drunk and stagger,
    but not from wine.
10 The Lord has made you drowsy;
he put you into a deep sleep
    and covered your head.

11 Now his message is like a sealed letter to you. Some of you say, “We can’t read it, because it’s sealed.” 12 Others say, “We can’t read it, because we don’t know how to read.”

13 The Lord has said:

“These people praise me
    with their words,
but they never really
    think about me.
They worship me by repeating
    rules
made up by humans.
14 So once again I will do things
    that shock and amaze them,
and I will destroy the wisdom
of those who claim to know
    and understand.”

15 You are in for trouble,
if you try to hide your plans
    from the Lord!
Or if you think what you do
    in the dark can’t be seen.
16 You have it all backwards.
A clay dish doesn’t say
    to the potter,
“You didn’t make me.
    You don’t even know how.”

Hope for the Future

17 Soon the forest of Lebanon
will become a field with crops,
    thick as a forest.[k]
18 The deaf will be able to hear
    whatever is read to them;
the blind will be freed
    from a life of darkness.
19 The poor and the needy
    will celebrate and shout
because of the Lord,
    the holy God of Israel.

20 All who are cruel and arrogant
    will be gone forever.
Those who live by crime
    will disappear,
21 together with everyone
    who tells lies in court
and keeps innocent people
    from getting a fair trial.

22 The Lord who rescued Abraham
has this to say
    about Jacob’s descendants:
“They will no longer
    be ashamed and disgraced.
23 When they see how great
    I have made their nation,
they will praise and honor me,
    the holy God of Israel.
24 Everyone who is confused
    will understand,
and all who have complained
    will obey my teaching.”

Don’t Expect Help from Egypt

30 This is the Lord’s message for his rebellious people:

“You follow your own plans
    instead of mine;
you make treaties
without asking me,
    and you keep on sinning.
You trust Egypt for protection.
    So you refuse my advice
and send messengers to Egypt
    to beg their king for help.

You will be disappointed,
completely disgraced
    for trusting Egypt.
The king’s power reaches
from the city of Zoan
    as far south as Hanes.[l]
But Egypt can’t protect you,
and to trust that nation
    is useless and foolish.”

This is a message
about the animals
    of the Southern Desert:
You people carry treasures
    on donkeys and camels.
You travel to a feeble nation
through a troublesome desert
    filled with lions
    and flying fiery dragons.
Egypt can’t help you!
That’s why I call that nation
    a helpless monster.”[m]

Israel Refuses To Listen

The Lord told me to write down his message for his people, so that it would be there forever. They have turned against the Lord and can’t be trusted. They have refused his teaching 10 and have said to his messengers and prophets:

Don’t tell us what God has shown you and don’t preach the truth. Just say what we want to hear, even if it’s false. 11 Stop telling us what God has said! We don’t want to hear any more about the holy God of Israel.

12 Now this is the answer
    of the holy God of Israel:
“You rejected my message,
and you trust in violence
    and lies.
13 This sin is like a crack
    that makes a high wall
quickly crumble 14 and shatter
    like a crushed bowl.
There’s not a piece left
big enough to carry hot coals
    or to dip out water.”

Trust the Lord

15 The holy Lord God of Israel
    had told all of you,
“I will keep you safe
if you turn back to me
    and calm down.
I will make you strong
    if you quietly trust me.”

Then you stubbornly 16 said,
“No! We will safely escape
    on speedy horses.”

But those who chase you
    will be even faster.
17 As few as five of them,
or even one,
will be enough
    to chase a thousand of you.
Finally, all that will be left
    will be a few survivors
as lonely as a flag pole
    on a barren hill.

The Lord Will Show Mercy

18 The Lord God is waiting
to show how kind he is
    and to have pity on you.
The Lord always does right;
he blesses those who trust him.

19 People of Jerusalem, you don’t need to cry anymore. The Lord is kind, and as soon as he hears your cries for help, he will come. 20 The Lord has given you trouble and sorrow as your food and drink. But now you will again see the Lord, your teacher, and he will guide you. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, “This is the road! Now follow it.” 22 Then you will treat your idols of silver and gold like garbage; you will throw them away like filthy rags.

23 The Lord will send rain to water the seeds you have planted—your fields will produce more crops than you need, and your cattle will graze in open pastures. 24 Even the oxen and donkeys that plow your fields will be fed the finest grain.[n]

25 On that day people will be slaughtered and towers destroyed, but streams of water will flow from high hills and towering mountains. 26 Then the Lord will bandage his people’s injuries and heal the wounds he has caused. The moon will shine as bright as the sun, and the sun will shine seven times brighter than usual. It will be like the light of seven days all at once.

Assyria Will Be Punished

27 The Lord is coming
    from far away
with his fiery anger
    and thick clouds of smoke.[o]
His angry words flame up
    like a destructive fire;
28 he breathes out a flood
    that comes up to the neck.
He sifts the nations
    and destroys them.
Then he puts a bridle
in every foreigner’s mouth
    and leads them to doom.

29 The Lord’s people will sing as they do when they celebrate a religious festival[p] at night. The Lord is Israel’s mighty rock,[q] and his people will be as happy as they are when they follow the sound of flutes to the mountain where he is worshiped.

30 The Lord will get furious. His fearsome voice will be heard, his arm will be seen ready to strike, and his anger will be like a destructive fire, followed by thunderstorms and hailstones. 31 When the Assyrians hear the Lord’s voice and see him striking with his iron rod, they will be terrified. 32 He will attack them in battle, and each time he strikes them, it will be to the music of tambourines and harps.

33 Long ago the Lord got a place ready for burning the body of the dead king.[r] The place for the fire is deep and wide, the wood is piled high, and the Lord will start the fire by breathing out flaming sulfur.

Footnotes

  1. 28.3 Ephraim: The northern kingdom of Israel; Samaria was its capital.
  2. 28.10 sound: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 9,10.
  3. 28.11 in. . . foreign languages: This probably refers to the language of the Assyrians.
  4. 28.13 Now. . . sound: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 28.20 Your bed. . . skimpy: Isaiah quotes a popular saying to teach that the treaty made with Egypt (verse 18) cannot give the nation security from its enemies.
  6. 28.21 Mount Perazim: This may refer to David’s defeat of the Philistines at Baal Perazim (2 Samuel 5.17-21).
  7. 28.21 Gibeon Valley: This refers to Joshua’s victory at Gibeon (Joshua 10.1-11).
  8. 29.1 the place of my altar: One possible meaning for “ariel, ariel” of the Hebrew text. In Hebrew “ariel” can mean “God’s hero” or “God’s lion” or “God’s altar.”
  9. 29.2 when. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 29.3 from all sides: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. One ancient translation has “like David.”
  11. 29.17 with. . . forest: Or “and Mount Carmel will be covered with forests.”
  12. 30.4 Zoan. . . Hanes: Or “Your messengers have reached the city of Zoan and gone as far as Hanes.” Zoan was in northeast Egypt; Hanes was to the south.
  13. 30.7 a helpless monster: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  14. 30.24 the finest grain: The Hebrew text refers to grain with the husks removed.
  15. 30.27 with. . . smoke: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  16. 30.29 a religious festival: Probably Passover.
  17. 30.29 mighty rock: See the note at 17.10.
  18. 30.33 burning. . . king: Or “sacrificing the king” or “sacrificing to Molech.” Human sacrifices were sometimes offered to Molech, a god whose name sounds like the Hebrew word for “king” (see 2 Kings 23.10; Jeremiah 32.35).