Ephraim’s Captivity Predicted
28 Woe (judgment is coming) to [Samaria] the splendid crown of the drunkards of [a]Ephraim,
And to the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
Which is at the head of the rich valley
Of those who are overcome with wine!
Listen carefully, the Lord has a strong and mighty agent [the Assyrian];
Like a tempest of hail, a disastrous storm,
Like a tempest of mighty overflowing waters,
He has cast it down to the earth with His hand.
The splendid crown of the drunkards of Ephraim is trampled by [the foreigners’] feet.
And the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
Which is at the head of the rich valley,
Will be like the early fig before the summer,
Which one sees,
And as soon as it is in his hand
He [greedily] swallows it [and so will the Assyrians rapidly devour Samaria, Israel’s capital].
In that day the Lord of hosts will become a magnificent crown
And a glorious diadem to the [converted] remnant of His people,
A spirit of justice for him who sits in judgment [administering the law],
A strength to those who drive back the battle at the gate.
But even these reel with wine and stagger from strong drink:
The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink;
They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink;
They reel while seeing visions,
They stagger when pronouncing judgment.
For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, so that there is no place [that is clean.]
They say “To whom would He teach knowledge?
And to whom would He explain the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just taken from the breast?
“For He says,
‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
Rule upon rule, rule upon rule,
Here a little, there a little.’”
Indeed, the Lord will teach this people [in a more humiliating way]
By [men with] stammering lips and a foreign tongue,
He who said to them, “This is the place of quiet, give rest to the weary,”
And, “This is the resting place,” yet they would not listen.
Therefore the word of the Lord to them will be [merely monotonous repetitions]:
“Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
Rule upon rule, rule upon rule,
Here a little, there a little.”
That they may go and stumble backward, and be broken, ensnared, and taken captive.
Judah Is Warned
Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, you arrogant men
Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem!
Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol (the place of the dead) we have made an agreement,
When the overwhelming scourge passes by, it will not reach us,
For we have made lies our refuge and we have concealed ourselves in deception.”
16 Therefore the Lord God says this,
“Listen carefully, I am laying in Zion a Stone, a tested Stone,
A precious Cornerstone for the [secure] foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes [who trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone] will not [b]be disturbed or give way [in sudden panic].(A)
“I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the mason’s level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And waters will flood over the secret [hiding] place.
“Your covenant with death will be annulled,
And your agreement with Sheol (the place of the dead) will not stand;
When the overwhelming scourge passes through,
Then you will become its trampling ground.
“As often as it passes through, it will seize you;
For morning after morning it will pass through, by day and by night,
And it will be sheer terror to understand what it means.”
For the bed is too short to stretch out on,
And the blanket is too narrow to wrap around oneself [and likewise all their preparations are inadequate].
For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim,
He will be stirred up as in the Valley of Gibeon,
To do His work, His unusual and incredible work,
And to accomplish His work, His extraordinary work.(B)
Now do not carry on as scoffers,
Or the bands which bind you will be made stronger;
For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts [a decree]
Of decisive destruction on all the earth.
Listen and hear my voice;
Listen carefully and hear my words.
Does the farmer plow all day to plant seed?
Does he continually dig furrows and harrow his ground [after it is prepared]?
When he has leveled its surface,
Does he not sow [the seed of] dill and scatter cumin,
And plant wheat in rows,
And barley in its [intended] place and [c]rye within its border?
For his God instructs [him correctly] and teaches him properly.
For dill is not threshed with a sharp threshing sledge,
Nor is a cartwheel rolled over cumin;
But dill is beaten out with a staff, and cumin with a rod.
Bread grain is crushed fine,
Indeed, the farmer does not continue to thresh it forever.
Because the wheel of his cart and his horses eventually damage it,
He does not thresh it longer.
This also comes from the Lord of hosts,
Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.
- Isaiah 28:1 I.e. the ten northern tribes of Israel.
- Isaiah 28:16 The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) reads “be put to shame,” a phrase which occurs frequently in pleas to God.
- Isaiah 28:25 A subspecies of common wheat.