Isaiah 28-30 Revised Standard Version

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Condemnation of Ephraim

28 1  Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of E'phraim, and to the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine! 2  Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he will cast down to the earth with violence. 3  The proud crown of the drunkards of E'phraim will be trodden under foot; 4  and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer: when a man sees it, he eats it up as soon as it is in his hand. 5  In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people; 6  and a spirit of justice to him 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  For all tables are full of vomit, no place is without filthiness.

9  "Whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the 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  Nay, but by men of strange lips and with an alien tongue the Lord 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; 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, "Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: 'He who believes will not be in haste.' 17  And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and 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 Pera'zim, he will be wroth 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, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord GOD of hosts upon the whole land.

23  Give ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24  Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? does he continually open and harrow his ground? 25  When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cummin, and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border? 26  For he is instructed aright; his God teaches him. 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  Does one crush bread grain? No, he does not thresh it for ever; when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush 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  Ho Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year; let the feasts run their round. 2  Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation, and she shall be to me like an Ariel. 3  And I will encamp against you round about, and will besiege you with towers and I will 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 the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly, 6  you will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with 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 distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. 8  As when a hungry man dreams he is eating and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched, 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 with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink! 10  For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, the prophets, and covered your heads, the seers. 11  And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." 12  And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot read." 13  And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote; 14  therefore, behold, I will again do marvelous things with this people, wonderful and marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hid." 15  Woe to those who hide deep from the Lord their counsel, 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; that the thing made should say of its maker, "He did not make me"; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"?

The Redemption of Israel

17  Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest? 18  In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, 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 poor among men shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. 20  For the ruthless shall come to nought and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off, 21  who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right. 22  Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: "Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more 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 murmur will accept instruction."

The Futility of Reliance on Egypt

30 1  "Woe to the rebellious children," says the Lord, "who carry out a plan, but not mine; and who make a league, but not of my spirit, that they may add 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 shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation. 4  For though his officials are at Zo'an and his envoys reach Ha'nes, 5  every one comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace." 6  An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb. Through a land of trouble and anguish, from where come the lioness and the lion, the viper and the flying serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of asses, 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  And now, go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness for ever. 9  For they are a rebellious people, lying sons, sons who will not hear the instruction of the Lord; 10  who say to the seers, "See not"; and to the prophets, "Prophesy not 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 of the Holy One of Israel." 12  Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, "Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely on them; 13  therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant; 14  and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel which is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a sherd is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up 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." And you would not, 16  but you said, "No! We will speed upon horses," therefore you shall speed away; 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, till 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 exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 19  Yea, O people in Zion who dwell at 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  And though the Lord 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 your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22  Then you will defile your silver-covered graven images and your gold-plated molten images. You will scatter them as unclean things; you will say to them, "Begone!" 23  And 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. In that day your cattle will graze in large pastures; 24  and the oxen and the asses that till the ground will eat salted provender, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25  And upon every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26  Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the hurt of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

The LORD's Judgment on Assyria

27  Behold, the name of the Lord comes from far, 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 astray. 29  You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast 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 Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he smites with his rod. 32  And every stroke of the staff of punishment which the Lord lays upon them will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with them. 33  For a burning place has long been prepared; yea, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, kindles it.

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