Condemnation of Ephraim
28 1 What sorrow awaits the proud city of Samaria- the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel. It sits at the head of a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower. It is the pride of a people brought down by wine. 2 For the Lord will send a mighty army against it. Like a mighty hailstorm and a torrential rain, they will burst upon it like a surging flood and smash it to the ground. 3 The proud city of Samaria- the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel - will be trampled beneath its enemies' feet. 4 It sits at the head of a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower. Whoever sees it will snatch it up, as an early fig is quickly picked and eaten. 5 Then at last the Lord of Heaven's Armies will himself be Israel's glorious crown. He will be the pride and joy of the remnant of his people. 6 He will give a longing for justice to their judges. He will give great courage to their warriors who stand at the gates. 7 Now, however, Israel is led by drunks who reel with wine and stagger with alcohol. The priests and prophets stagger with alcohol and lose themselves in wine. They reel when they see visions and stagger as they render decisions. 8 Their tables are covered with vomit; filth is everywhere.
9 "Who does the Lord think we are?" they ask. "Why does he speak to us like this? Are we little children, just recently weaned? 10 He tells us everything over and over- one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!" 11 So now God will have to speak to his people through foreign oppressors who speak a strange language! 12 God has told his people, "Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest." But they would not listen. 13 So the Lord will spell out his message for them again, one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there, so that they will stumble and fall. They will be injured, trapped, and captured.
The Warning to Jerusalem
14 Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord, you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem. 15 You boast, "We have struck a bargain to cheat death and have made a deal to dodge the grave. The coming destruction can never touch us, for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception." 16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken. 17 I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away. 18 I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death, and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave. When the terrible enemy sweeps through, you will be trampled into the ground. 19 Again and again that flood will come, morning after morning, day and night, until you are carried away." This message will bring terror to your people. 20 The bed you have made is too short to lie on. The blankets are too narrow to cover you. 21 The Lord will come as he did against the Philistines at Mount Perazim and against the Amorites at Gibeon. He will come to do a strange thing; he will come to do an unusual deed: 22 For the Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, has plainly said that he is determined to crush the whole land. So scoff no more, or your punishment will be even greater.
23 Listen to me; listen, and pay close attention. 24 Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? 25 Does he not finally plant his seeds- black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat- each in its proper way, and each in its proper place? 26 The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding. 27 A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin; rather, it is beaten with a light stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin; instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail. 28 Grain for bread is easily crushed, so he doesn't keep on pounding it. He threshes it under the wheels of a cart, but he doesn't pulverize it. 29 The Lord of Heaven's Armies is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom.