Condemnation of Ephraim
28 1 Ho! crown of pride of those who are given up to wine in Ephraim, and the dead flower of his glory which is on the head of those who are overcome by strong drink! 2 See, the Lord has a strong and cruel one; like a rain of ice, a storm of destruction, like the overflowing of a strong river, he will violently overcome them. 3 The crown of pride of those who are given up to wine in Ephraim will be crushed under foot; 4 And the dead flower of his glory, which is on the head of the fertile valley, will be like the first early fruit before the summer; which a man takes and puts in his mouth the minute he sees it. 5 In that day will the Lord of armies be a crown of glory, and a fair ornament, to the rest of his people; 6 And a spirit of wisdom to the judge, and strength to those who keep back the attackers at the door of the town. 7 And further, these are uncertain through wine, and have gone out of the right way through strong drink: the priest and the prophet are uncertain through strong drink, they are overcome by wine, they have gone out of the way through strong drink; their vision is false, they go wrong in their decisions. 8 For all the tables are covered with coughed-up food, so that there is not a clean place.
9 To whom will he give knowledge? and to whom will he make clear the word? Will it be to those who have newly given up milk, and who have only now been taken from the breast? 10 For it is one rule after another; one line after another; here a little, there a little. 11 No, but with broken talk, and with a strange tongue, he will give his word to this people: 12 To whom he said, This is the rest, give rest to him who is tired; and by this you may get new strength; but they would not give ear. 13 For this cause the word of the Lord will be to them rule after rule, line after line, here a little, there a little; so that they may go on their way, and falling back may be broken, and taken in the net.
The Warning to Jerusalem
14 Give ear then to the word of the Lord, you men of pride, the rulers of this people in Jerusalem: 15 Because you have said, We have made death our friend, and with the underworld we have made an agreement; when the overflowing waters come through they will not come near us; for we are looking to false words for help, taking cover in what is untrue: 16 For this cause says the Lord God, See, I am placing in Zion as a base, a stone, a tested stone, an angle-stone which is certain and of great value: and he who has faith will not give way. 17 And I will make right decision the measuring-line, and righteousness the weight: and the ice-storm will take away the safe place of false words, and the secret place will be covered by the flowing waters. 18 And the help you were looking for from death will come to nothing, and your agreement with the underworld will be broken; when the overflowing waters come through, then you will be overcome by them. 19 Whenever they come through they will overtake you; for they will come through morning after morning, by day and by night: and the news will be nothing but fear. 20 For the bed is not long enough for a man to be stretched out on: and the cover is not wide enough for him to be covered with. 21 For the Lord will come up as on Mount Perazim, he will be moved to wrath as in the valley of Gibeon; so that he may do his work—strange is his work; and give effect to his act—unnatural is his act. 22 And now, take care that you do not make sport of him, or your bands will be made strong; for I have had word from the Lord, the Lord of armies, of an end, of a complete end, which is to come on all the land.
23 Let your ears be open to my voice; give attention to what I say. 24 Is the ploughman for ever ploughing? does he not get the earth ready and broken up for the seed? 25 When the face of the earth has been levelled, does he not put in the different sorts of seed, and the grain in lines, and the barley in its place, and the spelt at the edge? 26 For his God is his teacher, giving him the knowledge of these things. 27 For the fitches are not crushed with a sharp instrument, and a cart-wheel is not rolled over the cummin; but the grain of the fitches is hammered out with a stick, and of the cummin with a rod. 28 Is the grain for bread crushed? He does not go on crushing it for ever, but he lets his cart-wheels and his horses go over it without crushing it. 29 This comes from the Lord of armies, purposing wonders, and wise in all his acts.
Ariel and Her Enemies
29 1 Ho! Ariel, Ariel, the town against which David made war; put year to year, let the feasts come round: 2 And I will send trouble on Ariel, and there will be weeping and cries of grief; and she will be to me as Ariel. 3 And I will make war on you like David, and you will be shut in by earthworks, and I will make towers round you. 4 And you will be made low, and your voice will come out of the earth, and your words will be low out of the dust; and your voice will come out of the earth like that of a spirit, making bird-like noises out of the dust. 5 And the army of your attackers will be like small dust, and all the cruel ones like dry stems gone before the wind; suddenly it will come about. 6 The Lord of armies will come in with thunder and earth-shaking and great noise, with rushing wind and storm, and the flame of burning fire. 7 And all the nations making war on Ariel, and all those who are fighting against her and shutting her in with their towers, will be like a dream, like a vision of the night. 8 And it will be like a man desiring food, and dreaming that he is feasting; but when he is awake there is nothing in his mouth: or like a man in need of water, dreaming that he is drinking; but when he is awake he is feeble and his soul is full of desire: so will all the nations be which make war on Mount Zion.
The Blindness and Hypocrisy of Israel
9 Be surprised and full of wonder; let your eyes be covered and be blind: be overcome, but not with wine; go with uncertain steps, but not because of strong drink. 10 For the Lord has sent on you a spirit of deep sleep; and by him your eyes, the prophets, are shut, and your heads, the seers, are covered. 11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book which is shut, which men give to one who has knowledge of writing, saying, Make clear to us what is in the book: and he says, I am not able to, for the book is shut: 12 And they give it to one without learning, saying, Make clear to us what is in the book: and he says, I have no knowledge of writing. 13 And the Lord said, because this people come near to me with their mouths, and give honour to me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, and their fear of me is false, a rule given them by the teaching of men; 14 For this cause I will again do a strange thing among this people, a thing to be wondered at: and the wisdom of their wise men will come to nothing, and the sense of their guides will no longer be seen. 15 Cursed are those who go deep to keep their designs secret from the Lord, and whose works are in the dark, and who say, Who sees us? and who has knowledge of our acts? 16 You are turning things upside down! Is the wet earth the same to you as the one who is forming it? will the thing made say of him who made it, He made me not: or the thing formed say of him who gave it form, He has no knowledge?
The Redemption of Israel
17 In a very short time Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will seem like a wood. 18 And in that day those whose ears are stopped will be hearing the words of the book; and the eyes of the blind will see through the mist and the dark. 19 And the poor will have their joy in the Lord increased, and those in need will be glad in the Holy One of Israel. 20 For the cruel one has come to nothing; and those who make sport of the Lord are gone; and those who are watching to do evil are cut off: 21 Who give help to a man in a wrong cause, and who put a net for the feet of him who gives decisions in the public place, taking away a man's right without cause. 22 For this reason the Lord, the saviour of Abraham, says about the family of Jacob, Jacob will not now be put to shame, or his face be clouded with fear. 23 But when they, the children of Jacob, see the work of my hands among them, they will give honour to my name; yes, they will give honour to the Holy One of Jacob, and go in fear of the God of Israel. 24 Those whose hearts were turned away from him will get knowledge, and those who made an outcry against him will give attention to his teaching.
The Futility of Reliance on Egypt
30 1 Ho! uncontrolled children, says the Lord, who give effect to a purpose which is not mine, and who make an agreement, but not by my spirit, increasing their sin: 2 Who make a move to go down into Egypt, without authority from me; who are looking to the strength of Pharaoh for help, and whose hope is in the shade of Egypt. 3 And the strength of Pharaoh will be your shame, and your hope in the shade of Egypt will come to nothing. 4 For his chiefs are at Zoan, and his representatives have come to Hanes. 5 For they have all come with offerings to a people of no use to them, in whom is no help or profit, but only shame and a bad name. 6 The word about the Beasts of the South. Through the land of trouble and grief, the land of the she-lion and the voice of the lion, of the snake and the burning winged snake, they take their wealth on the backs of young asses, and their stores on camels, to a people in whom is no profit. 7 For there is no use or purpose in the help of Egypt: so I have said about her, She is Rahab, who has come to an end.
8 Now go, put it in writing before them on a board, and make a record of it in a book, so that it may be for the future, a witness for all time to come. 9 For they are an uncontrolled people, false-hearted, who will not give ear to the teaching of the Lord: 10 Who say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Do not give us word of what is true, but say false things to give us pleasure: 11 Get out of the good way, turning from the right road; do not keep the Holy One of Israel before our minds. 12 For this cause the Holy One of Israel says, Because you will not give ear to this word, and are looking for help in ways of deceit and evil, and are putting your hope in them: 13 This sin will be to you like a crack in a high wall, causing its fall suddenly and in a minute. 14 And he will let it be broken as a potter's vessel is broken: it will be smashed to bits without mercy; so that there will not be a bit in which one may take fire from the fireplace, or water from the spring. 15 For the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, said, In quiet and rest is your salvation: peace and hope are your strength: but you would not have it so. 16 Saying, No, for we will go in flight on horses; so you will certainly go in flight: and, We will go on the backs of quick-running beasts; so those who go after you will be quick-footed. 17 A thousand will go in fear before one; even before five you will go in flight: till you are like a pillar by itself on the top of a mountain, and like a flag on a hill.
The Promise of God's Grace to Israel
18 For this cause the Lord will be waiting, so that he may be kind to you; and he will be lifted up, so that he may have mercy on you; for the Lord is a God of righteousness: there is a blessing on all whose hope is in him. 19 O people, living in Zion, at Jerusalem, your weeping will be ended; he will certainly have mercy on you at the sound of your cry; when it comes to his ear, he will give you an answer. 20 And though the Lord will give you the bread of trouble and the water of grief, you will no longer put your teacher on one side, but you will see your teacher: 21 And at your back, when you are turning to the right hand or to the left, a voice will be sounding in your ears, saying, This is the way in which you are to go. 22 And you will make unclean what is covering your pictured images of silver, and the plating of your images of gold: you will send them away as an unclean thing, saying, Be gone! 23 And he will give rain for your seed, so that you may put it in the earth; and you will have bread from the produce of the earth, good and more than enough for your needs: in that day the cattle will get their food in wide grass-lands. 24 And the oxen and the young asses which are used for ploughing, will have salted grain which has been made free from the waste with fork and basket. 25 And there will be rivers and streams of water on every tall mountain and on every high hill, in the day when great numbers are put to the sword, when the towers come down. 26 And the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times greater, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord puts oil on the wounds of his people, and makes them well from the blows they have undergone.
The LORD's Judgment on Assyria
27 See, the name of the Lord is coming from far, burning with his wrath, with thick smoke going up: his lips are full of passion, and his tongue is like a burning fire: 28 And his breath is as an overflowing stream, coming up even to the neck, shaking the nations for their destruction, like the shaking of grain in a basket: and he will put a cord in the mouths of the people, turning them out of their way. 29 You will have a song, as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and you will be glad in heart, as when they go with music of the pipe to the mountain of the Lord, the Rock of Israel. 30 And the Lord will send out the sound of his great voice, and they will see his arm stretched out, with the heat of his wrath, and the flame of a burning fire; with a cloud-burst, and storm, and a rain of ice. 31 For through the voice of the Lord the Assyrian will be broken, and the Lord's rod will be lifted up against him. 32 And every blow of the rod of his punishment, which the Lord will send on him, will be with the sound of music: and with the waving of his sword the Lord will make war against him. 33 For a place of fire has long been ready; yes, it has been made ready for the king; he has made it deep and wide: it is massed with fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of fire, puts a light to it.