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Isaiah 28:14-29:21 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
    who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 You boast, ‘We have entered into a covenant with death,
    with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement.
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
    it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie our refuge
    and falsehood[a] our hiding-place.’

16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
    a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
    will never be stricken with panic.
17 I will make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the plumb-line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
    and water will overflow your hiding-place.
18 Your covenant with death will be annulled;
    your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
    you will be beaten down by it.
19 As often as it comes it will carry you away;
    morning after morning, by day and by night,
    it will sweep through.’

The understanding of this message
    will bring sheer terror.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out on,
    the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.
21 The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
    he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon –
to do his work, his strange work,
    and perform his task, his alien task.
22 Now stop your mocking,
    or your chains will become heavier;
the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me
    of the destruction decreed against the whole land.

23 Listen and hear my voice;
    pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer ploughs for planting, does he plough continually?
    Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has levelled the surface,
    does he not sow caraway and scatter cummin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,[b]
    barley in its plot,[c]
    and spelt in its field?
26 His God instructs him
    and teaches him the right way.

27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
    nor is the cartwheel rolled over cummin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
    and cummin with a stick.
28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
    so one does not go on threshing it for ever.
The wheels of a threshing-cart 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,
    whose wisdom is magnificent.

Woe to David’s city

29 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David settled!
Add year to year
    and let your cycle of festivals go on.
Yet I will besiege Ariel;
    she will mourn and lament,
    she will be to me like an altar hearth.[d]
I will encamp against you on all sides;
    I will encircle you with towers
    and set up my siege works against you.
Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
    your speech will mumble out of the dust.
Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;
    out of the dust your speech will whisper.

But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
    the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
    the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
    with whirlwind and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
    that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
    with a vision in the night –
as when a hungry person dreams of eating,
    but awakens hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,
    but awakens faint and thirsty still.
So will it be with the hordes of all the nations
    that fight against Mount Zion.

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

11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed 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 come near to me with their mouth
    and honour me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.[e]
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
    with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
    the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.’
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
    to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
    ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’
16 You turn things upside down,
    as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
    ‘You did not make me’?
Can the pot say to the potter,
    ‘You know nothing’?

17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field
    and the fertile field seem like a forest?
18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,
    and out of gloom and darkness
    the eyes of the blind will see.
19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
    the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 The ruthless will vanish,
    the mockers will disappear,
    and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down –
21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,
    who ensnare the defender in court
    and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 28:15 Or false gods
  2. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Isaiah 29:2 The Hebrew for altar hearth sounds like the Hebrew for Ariel.
  5. Isaiah 29:13 Hebrew; Septuagint They worship me in vain; / their teachings are merely human rules
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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