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Isaiah 28 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

28 Against the pride and drunkenness of Israel. 9 The untowardness of them that should learn the word of God. 24 God doeth all things in time and place.

Woe to the [a]crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim: for his glorious beauty shall be a fading flower, which is upon the head of the [b]valley of them that be fat, and are overcome with wine.

Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and [c]strong host like a tempest of hail, and a whirlwind that overthroweth, like a tempest of mighty waters that overflow, which throw to the ground mightily.

They shall be trodden under foot, even the crown and the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim.

For his glorious beauty shall be a fading flower, which is upon the head of the valley of them that be fat, and as [d]the hasty fruit afore Summer, which when he hath looketh upon it, seeth it, while it is in his hand, he eateth it.

In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the [e]residue of his people:

And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for [f]strength unto them that turn away the battle to the gate.

But [g]they have erred because of wine, and are out of the way by strong drink: the Priest and the prophet have erred by strong drink: they are swallowed up with wine: they have gone astray through strong drink: they fail in vision: they stumble in judgment.

For all their tables are full of filthy vomiting: no place is clean.

[h]Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand the things that he heareth? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10 For [i]precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line unto line, line unto line, there a little, and there a little.

11 For with a stammering [j]tongue, and with a strange language shall he speak unto this people.

12 Unto whom [k]he said, [l]This is the rest: [m]give rest unto him that is weary, and this is the refreshing, but they would not hear.

13 Therefore shall the word of the [n]Lord be unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line unto line, line unto line, there a little and there a little: that they may go and fall backward, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people, which is at Jerusalem.

15 Because ye have said, We have made a [o]covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement: though a scourge run over, and pass through, it shall not come at us: for we have made [p]falsehood our refuge, and under vanity are we hid,

16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lay in Zion a stone, a [q]tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation. He that believeth, [r]shall not make haste.

17 Judgment also will I lay to the rule, and [s]righteousness to the balance, and the [t]hail shall sweep away the vain confidence, and the waters shall overflow [u]the secret place.

18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand: when a scourge shall run over and pass through, then shall ye be trodden down by it.

19 When it passeth over, it shall take you away: for it shall pass through every morning in the day and in the night, and there shall be only [v]fear, to make you to understand the hearing.

20 For the bed is [w]strait, that it cannot suffice, and the covering narrow, that one cannot wrap himself.

21 For the Lord shall stand as in mount [x]Perazim: he shall be wroth as in the valley [y]of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work, and bring to pass his act, his strange act.

22 Now therefore be no mockers, lest your bonds increase: for I have heard of the Lord of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.

23 Hearken ye, and hear my voice: hearken ye, and hear my speech.

24 Doth the plowman plow all the day, to sow? doth he open, and break the clots of his ground?

25 When he hath made it [z]plain, will he not then sow the fitches, and sow cumin, and cast in wheat by measure, and the appointed barley and rye in their place?

26 For his God doth instruct him to have discretion, and doth teach him.

27 For fitches shall not be threshed with a threshing instrument, neither shall a cartwheel be turned about upon the cumin: but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and cumin with a rod.

28 Bread corn when it is threshed, he doth not always thresh it, neither doth the wheel of his cart still make a noise, neither will he break it with the teeth thereof.

29 This also cometh from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in works.


  1. Isaiah 28:1 Meaning, the proud kingdom of the Israelites, which were drunken with worldly prosperity.
  2. Isaiah 28:1 Because the Israelites for the most part dwelt in plentiful valleys, he meaneth hereby the valley of them that had abundance of worldly prosperity, and were as it were crowned therewith as with garlands.
  3. Isaiah 28:2 He seemeth to mean the Assyrians, by whom the ten tribes were carried away.
  4. Isaiah 28:4 Which is not of long continuance, but is soon ripe and first eaten.
  5. Isaiah 28:5 Signifying, that the faithful, which put not their trust in any worldly prosperity, but made God their glory, shall be preserved.
  6. Isaiah 28:6 He will give counsel to the governor, and strength to the captain, to drive the enemies in at their own gates.
  7. Isaiah 28:7 Meaning, the hypocrites which were among them, and were altogether corrupt in life and doctrine, which is here meant by drunkenness and vomiting.
  8. Isaiah 28:9 For there was none that was able to understand any good doctrine: but were foolish and as unmeet as young babes.
  9. Isaiah 28:10 They must have one thing ofttimes told.
  10. Isaiah 28:11 Let one teach what he can, yet they shall no more understand him, than if he spake in a strange language.
  11. Isaiah 28:12 That is, the Prophet, whom God should send.
  12. Isaiah 28:12 This is the doctrine, whereupon ye ought to stay and rest.
  13. Isaiah 28:12 Show to them that are weary and have need of rest, what is the true rest.
  14. Isaiah 28:13 Because they will not receive the word of God, when it is offered, it cometh of their own malice, if after their hearts be so hardened, that they care not for it, as before, Isa. 6:9.
  15. Isaiah 28:15 They thought they had shifts to avoid God’s judgments, and that they could escape though all others perished.
  16. Isaiah 28:15 Though the prophets condemned their idols and vain trust of falsehood and vanity, yet the wicked thought in themselves that they would trust in these things.
  17. Isaiah 28:16 That is, Christ, by whom all the building must be tried and upheld, Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6.
  18. Isaiah 28:16 He shall be quiet, and seek none other remedies, but be content with Christ.
  19. Isaiah 28:17 In the restitution of his Church, judgment and justice shall reign.
  20. Isaiah 28:17 God’s corrections and afflictions.
  21. Isaiah 28:17 Affliction shall discover their vain confidence, which they kept secret to themselves.
  22. Isaiah 28:19 Terror and destruction shall make you to learn that, which exhortations and gentleness could not bring you unto.
  23. Isaiah 28:20 Your affliction shall be so sore, that you are not able to endure it.
  24. Isaiah 28:21 When David overcame the Philistines, 2 Sam. 5:20; 1 Chron. 14:11.
  25. Isaiah 28:21 Where Joshua discomfited five kings of the Amorites, Josh. 10:12.
  26. Isaiah 28:25 As the plowman hath his appointed time, and divers instruments for his labor, so hath the Lord for his vengeance: for he punisheth some at one time, and some at another, some after one sort, and some after another, so that his chosen seed is beaten and tried, but not broken, as are the wicked.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in articles, reviews, and broadcasts.

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.


  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)

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