Isaiah 28-30 New Revised Standard Version

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Condemnation of Ephraim

28 1  Ah, the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of those bloated with rich food, of those overcome with wine! 2  See, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters; with his hand he will hurl them down to the earth. 3  Trampled under foot will be the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim. 4  And the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of those bloated with rich food, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer; whoever sees it, eats it up as soon as it comes to hand. 5  In that day the Lord of hosts will be a garland of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people; 6  and a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. 7  These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment. 8  All tables are covered with filthy vomit; no place is clean.

9  "Whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from milk, those taken from the breast? 10  For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little." 11  Truly, with stammering lip and with alien tongue he will speak to this people, 12  to whom he has said, "This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose"; yet they would not hear. 13  Therefore the word of the Lord will be to them, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little;" in order that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

The Warning to Jerusalem

14  Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. 15  Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement; when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter"; 16  therefore thus says the Lord God, See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: "One who trusts will not panic." 17  And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter. 18  Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it. 19  As often as it passes through, it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message. 20  For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it. 21  For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim, he will rage as in the valley of Gibeon to do his deed-strange is his deed!- and to work his work-alien is his work! 22  Now therefore do not scoff, or your bonds will be made stronger; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts upon the whole land.

23  Listen, and hear my voice; Pay attention, and hear my speech. 24  Do those who plow for sowing plow continually? Do they continually open and harrow their ground? 25  When they have leveled its surface, do they not scatter dill, sow cummin, and plant wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border? 26  For they are well instructed; their God teaches them. 27  Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin; but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cummin with a rod. 28  Grain is crushed for bread, but one does not thresh it forever; one drives the cart wheel and horses over it, but does not pulverize it. 29  This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.

Ariel and Her Enemies

29 1  Ah, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year; let the festivals run their round. 2  Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation, and Jerusalem shall be to me like an Ariel. 3  And like David I will encamp against you; I will besiege you with towers and raise siegeworks against you. 4  Then deep from the earth you shall speak, from low in the dust your words shall come; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and your speech shall whisper out of the dust. 5  But the multitude of your foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of tyrants like flying chaff. And in an instant, suddenly, 6  you will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. 7  And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold, and who distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. 8  Just as when a hungry person dreams of eating and wakes up still hungry, or a thirsty person dreams of drinking and wakes up faint, still thirsty, so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.

The Blindness and Hypocrisy of Israel

9  Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor, blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not from wine; stagger, but not from strong drink! 10  For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep; he has closed your eyes, you prophets, and covered your heads, you seers. 11  The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command, "Read this," they say, "We cannot, for it is sealed." 12  And if it is given to those who cannot read, saying, "Read this," they say, "We cannot read." 13  The Lord said: Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote; 14  so I will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing. The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden. 15  Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the Lord, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?" 16  You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay? Shall the thing made say of its maker, "He did not make me"; or the thing formed say of the one who formed it, "He has no understanding"?

The Redemption of Israel

17  Shall not Lebanon in a very little while become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest? 18  On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. 19  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. 20  For the tyrant shall be no more, and the scoffer shall cease to be; all those alert to do evil shall be cut off- 21  those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit, who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate, and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right. 22  Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no longer shall his face grow pale. 23  For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24  And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.

The Futility of Reliance on Egypt

30 1  Oh, rebellious children, says the Lord, who carry out a plan, but not mine; who make an alliance, but against my will, adding sin to sin; 2  who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my counsel, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh, and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt; 3  Therefore the protection of Pharaoh shall become your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt your humiliation. 4  For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes, 5  everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace. 6  An oracle concerning the animals of the Negeb. Through a land of trouble and distress, of lioness and roaring lion, of viper and flying serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people that cannot profit them. 7  For Egypt's help is worthless and empty, therefore I have called her, "Rahab who sits still."

8  Go now, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, so that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. 9  For they are a rebellious people, faithless children, children who will not hear the instruction of the Lord; 10  who say to the seers, "Do not see"; and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11  leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel." 12  Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: Because you reject this word, and put your trust in oppression and deceit, and rely on them; 13  therefore this iniquity shall become for you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant; 14  its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a sherd is found for taking fire from the hearth, or dipping water out of the cistern. 15  For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused 16  and said, "No! We will flee upon horses"- therefore you shall flee! and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"- therefore your pursuers shall be swift! 17  A thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, until you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill.

The Promise of God's Grace to Israel

18  Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 19  Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. 20  Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21  And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." 22  Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, "Away with you!" 23  He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures; 24  and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25  On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water-on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26  Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

The LORD's Judgment on Assyria

27  See, the name of the Lord comes from far away, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; 28  his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck- to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray. 29  You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 30  And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and tempest and hailstones. 31  The Assyrian will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32  And every stroke of the staff of punishment that the Lord lays upon him will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with him. 33  For his burning place has long been prepared; truly it is made ready for the king, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

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