Isaiah 28

Samaria Will Be Punished


1The 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.
2  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.
3  Every drunkard in Ephraim
     takes pride in Samaria,
        but it will be crushed.
4  Samaria above a fertile valley
        will quickly lose its glory.
     It will be gobbled down
     like the first ripe fig
        at harvest season.
5  When this time comes,
        the Lord All-Powerful
     will be a glorious crown
        for his people who survive.
6  He will see that justice rules
     and that his people are able
        to defend their cities.

Corrupt Leaders Will Be Punished

7  Priests and prophets stumble
        because they are drunk.
     Their minds are too confused
     to receive God’s messages
        or give honest decisions.
8  Their tables are covered,
     completely covered,
        with their stinking vomit.
9 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.
11 So, the Lord will speak
        to his people
     in strange sounds
        and foreign languages.
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.
     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.

21 The Lord will fiercely attack
     as he did at Mount Perazim
        and in Gibeon Valley.
     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.

The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary