Condemnation of Ephraim

281 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

291 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.

Pressing toward the Mark

31 For the rest, my brothers, be glad in the Lord. Writing the same things to you is no trouble to me, and for you it is safe. 2 Be on the watch against dogs, against the workers of evil, against those of the circumcision: 3 For we are the circumcision, who give worship to God and have glory in Jesus Christ, and have no faith in the flesh:

4 Even though I myself might have faith in the flesh: if any other man has reason to have faith in the flesh, I have more: 5 Being given circumcision on the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in relation to the law, a Pharisee: 6 In bitter hate I was cruel to the church; I kept all the righteousness of the law to the last detail. 7 But those things which were profit to me, I gave up for Christ. 8 Yes truly, and I am ready to give up all things for the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, which is more than all: for whom I have undergone the loss of all things, and to me they are less than nothing, so that I may have Christ as my reward,

9 And be seen in him, not having my righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may have knowledge of him, and of the power of his coming back from the dead, and a part with him in his pains, becoming like him in his death; 11 If in any way I may have the reward of life from the dead. 12 Not as if I had even now got the reward or been made complete: but I go on in the hope that I may come to the knowledge of that for which I was made the servant of Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, it is clear to me that I have not come to that knowledge; but one thing I do, letting go those things which are past, and stretching out to the things which are before, 14 I go forward to the mark, even the reward of the high purpose of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Then let us all, who have come to full growth, be of this mind: and if in anything you are of a different mind, even this will God make clear to you: 16 Only, as far as we have got, let us be guided by the same rule.

17 Brothers, take me as your example, and take note of those who are walking after the example we have given. 18 For there are those, of whom I have given you word before, and do so now with sorrow, who are haters of the cross of Christ; 19 Whose end is destruction, whose god is the stomach, and whose glory is in their shame, whose minds are fixed on the things of the earth. 20 For our country is in heaven; from where the Saviour for whom we are waiting will come, even the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 By whom this poor body of ours will be changed into the image of the body of his glory, in the measure of the working by which he is able to put all things under himself.