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Isaiah 28 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

28 Woe to the haughty crown of Efrayim’s drunks,
to the fading flower of its proud splendor,
located at the head of the rich valley
belonging to people overcome by wine!
Adonai has someone strong and powerful.
He comes like a hailstorm, a destructive tempest,
like a flood of water, rushing, overwhelming;
with his hand he hurls them to the ground.
The haughty crown of Efrayim’s drunks
is trampled underfoot;
and the fading flower of its proud splendor,
located at the head of the rich valley,
is like the first ripe fig of summer —
whoever sees it picks and eats it.
On that day, Adonai-Tzva’ot
will be a glorious crown,
a brilliant diadem
for the remnant of his people.
He will also be a spirit of justice
for whoever sits as a judge,
and a source of strength for those
repelling enemy attacks at the gate.

But there are others reeling from wine,
staggering about because of strong liquor;
cohen and prophet reel from strong liquor,
they are confused by wine.
Led astray by strong liquor,
they err in their visions and stumble when judging.
All tables are covered with vomit and feces,
not a single place is clean.
Can no one be taught anything?
Can no one understand the message?
Must one teach barely weaned toddlers,
babies just taken from the breast,
10 so that [one has to use nursery rhymes]? —
Tzav la-tzav, tzav la-tzav,
kav la-kav, kav la-kav
z‘eir sham, z‘eir sham
[Precept by precept, precept by precept,
line by line, line by line,
a little here, a little there].
11 So with stammering lips, in a foreign accent,
[Adonai] will speak to this people.
12 He once told this people, “It’s time to rest,
the exhausted can rest, now you can relax” —
but they wouldn’t listen.
13 So now the word of Adonai for them comes
“precept by precept, precept by precept,
line by line, line by line,
a little here, a little there,”
so that when they walk, they stumble backward,
and are broken, trapped and captured!
14 So listen to the word of Adonai, you scoffers,
composing taunts for this people in Yerushalayim:

15 Because you said, “We made a covenant with death,
we made a contract with Sh’ol.
When the raging flood passes through,
it will not touch us.
For we have made lies our refuge
and hid ourselves in falsehoods” —

16 therefore here is what Adonai Elohim says:

“Look, I am laying in Tziyon
a tested stone, a costly cornerstone,
a firm foundation-stone;
he who trusts will not rush here and there.
17 I will make justice the plumbline
and righteousness the plumb-bob;
hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
water will overflow the hiding place,
18 your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your contract with Sh’ol will not stand.
When the raging flood passes through,
you will be trampled down by it.
19 As often as it passes through, it will take you,
for it will pass through every morning,
day after day, night after night;
understanding the message will be sheer terror.”

20 For, [as the saying goes,]
“The bed is too short for a person to stretch,
and the blanket too narrow [to protect him from cold]
even if he crams himself in.”
21 For Adonai will arise, as at Mount P’ratzim,
and storm with rage, as in the Giv‘on Valley;
so he can do his deed, his strange deed,
and perform his task, his alien task.
22 Therefore, now, stop your scoffing,
or your bonds will be further tightened;
for I have heard from Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot
that destruction is decreed for the whole land.

23 Listen and hear my voice;
pay attention, and hear what I say:
24 Does a farmer sowing keep plowing forever?
Does he never stop breaking up and harrowing his land?
25 No — when he finishes levelling it,
he scatters his dill-seed, sows his cumin,
puts wheat in rows, barley where it belongs,
and plants buckwheat around the edges;
26 because his God has taught him this,
has given him instruction.
27 Dill must not be threshed with a sledge
or cartwheels driven over cumin;
rather, dill one beats with a stick
and cumin with a flail.
28 When crushing grain for bread,
one doesn’t thresh it forever;
one drives the horse and cart wheels over it
but doesn’t crush it to powder.
29 This too comes from Adonai-Tzva’ot —
his counsel is wonderful, his wisdom great.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 28 New International Version (NIV)

Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

28 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
    to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley
    to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong.
    Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind,
like a driving rain and a flooding downpour,
    he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
    will be trampled underfoot.
That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
    set on the head of a fertile valley,
will be like figs ripe before harvest—
    as soon as people see them and take them in hand,
    they swallow them.

In that day the Lord Almighty
    will be a glorious crown,
a beautiful wreath
    for the remnant of his people.
He will be a spirit of justice
    to the one who sits in judgment,
a source of strength
    to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

And these also stagger from wine
    and reel from beer:
Priests and prophets stagger from beer
    and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
    they stagger when seeing visions,
    they stumble when rendering decisions.
All the tables are covered with vomit
    and there is not a spot without filth.

“Who is it he is trying to teach?
    To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
    to those just taken from the breast?
10 For it is:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that[a];
    a little here, a little there.

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
    God will speak to this people,
12 to whom he said,
    “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
    but they would not listen.
13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that;
    a little here, a little there
so that as they go they will fall backward;
    they will be injured and snared and captured.

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[b] 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 plows for planting, does he plow continually?
    Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
    does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,[c]
    barley in its plot,[d]
    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 wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
    and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
    so one does not go on threshing it forever.
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.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 28:10 Hebrew / sav lasav sav lasav / kav lakav kav lakav (probably meaningless sounds mimicking the prophet’s words); also in verse 13
  2. Isaiah 28:15 Or false gods
  3. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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