Isaiah – Chapter 28

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 28


1 Woe to the majestic garland of the drunkard Ephraim, To the fading blooms of his glorious beauty, on the head of him who is stupefied with wine.


2 Behold, the LORD has a strong one and a mighty, who, like a downpour of hail, a destructive storm, Like a flood of water, great and overflowing, levels to the ground with violence;


With feet that will trample the majestic garland of the drunkard Ephraim.


The fading blooms of his glorious beauty on the head of the fertile valley Will be like an early fig before summer: when a man sees it, he picks and swallows it at once.


On that day the LORD of hosts will be a glorious crown And a brilliant diadem to the remnant of his people,


A spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, And strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.


But these also stagger from wine and stumble from strong drink: Priest and prophet stagger from strong drink, overpowered by wine; Led astray by strong drink, staggering in their visions, tottering when giving judgment.


Yes, all the tables are covered with filthy vomit, with no place left clean.


3 «To whom would he impart knowledge? To whom would he convey the message? To those just weaned from milk, those taken from the breast?


For he says, ‘Command on command, command on command, rule on rule, rule on rule, here a little, there a little!'»


4 Yes, with stammering lips and in a strange language he will speak to this people


to whom he said: This is the resting place, give rest to the weary; Here is repose –  but they would not listen.


So for them the word of the LORD shall be: «Command on command, command on command, Rule on rule, rule on rule, here a little, there a little!» So that when they walk, they stumble backward, broken, ensnared, and captured.


Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, you arrogant, who rule this people in Jerusalem:


5 Because you say, «We have made a covenant with death, and with the nether world we have made a pact; When the overwhelming scourge passes, it will not reach us; For we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have found a hiding place,» – 


6 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a stone that has been tested, A precious cornerstone as a sure foundation; he who puts his faith in it shall not be shaken.


I will make of right a measuring line, of justice a level. –  Hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters shall flood the hiding place.


Your covenant with death shall be canceled and your pact with the nether world shall not stand. When the overwhelming scourge passes, you shall be trampled down by it.


Whenever it passes, it shall take you; morning after morning it shall pass, By day and by night; terror alone shall convey the message.


For the bed shall be too short to stretch out in, and the cover too narrow to wrap in.


7 For the LORD shall rise up as on Mount Perazim, bestir himself as in the Valley of Gibeon, To carry out his work, his singular work, to perform his deed, his strange deed.


Now, be arrogant no more lest your bonds be tightened, For I have heard from the Lord, the GOD of hosts, the destruction decreed for the whole earth.


8 Give ear and hear my voice, pay attention and listen to what I say:


Is the plowman forever plowing, always loosening and harrowing his land for planting?


9 When he has leveled the surface, does he not scatter gith and sow cumin, Put in wheat and barley, with spelt as its border?


He has learned this rule, instructed by his God.


Gith is not threshed with a sledge, nor does a cartwheel roll over cumin. But gith is beaten out with a staff, and cumin crushed for food with a rod.


No, he does not thresh it unendingly, nor does he crush it with his noisy cartwheels and horses.


This too comes from the LORD of hosts; wonderful is his counsel and great his wisdom.


1 [1] Ephraim: the northern kingdom. Its capital, Samaria, was built upon a hill, suggestive of a majestic garland adorning the head of the drunken kingdom.

2 [2] A strong one and a mighty: Assyria.

3 [9-10] The words of those who ridicule Isaiah. The Hebrew of  Isaiah 28:10 by its very sound, conveys the idea of mocking imitation of what the prophet says, as though he spoke like a stammering child: SAU LASAU, SAU LASAU, CAU LACAU, CAU LACAU, ZE’ER SHAM, ZE’ER SHAM. But in v 13 God repeats these words in deadly earnest, putting them in the mouth of the victorious pagan army.

4 [11] God will answer the mockers and defend Isaiah. Strange language: spoken by the invading army.

5 [15,18] A covenant with death, and with the nether world: an alliance with foreign powers, such as Egypt and Babylon, to prevent death and destruction. Have made lies . . . a hiding place: this confidence in human aid proves to be false and deceitful, incapable of averting the dreaded disaster. Overwhelming scourge: the flood of the Assyrian invasion; cf ⇒ Isaiah 8:7-8.

6 [16] A stone in Zion: the true and sure foundation of salvation promised by God to the Davidic dynasty (cf ⇒ Isaiah 7:13-16; ⇒ 9:1-6), which the Apostles saw fulfilled in Christ the universal Savior; cf ⇒ 1 Peter 2:6-8; ⇒ Romans 9:33; ⇒ 10:9-11. Cornerstone: the assurance of salvation rejected by Israel in the prophet’s time, is reflected by the psalmist (⇒ Psalm 118:22) and fulfilled in the Person of Christ; cf ⇒ Matthew 21:42; ⇒ Luke 20:17; ⇒ Acts 4:11; ⇒ Romans 9:33; ⇒ 1 Peter 2:7.

7 [21] Mount Perazim . . . Valley of Gibeon: where David defeated the Philistines; cf ⇒ 2 Sam 5:20, ⇒ 25; ⇒ 1 Chron 14:11, ⇒ 16.

8 [23-29] The practical variation of the farmer’s work taught him by God reflects God’s dealing with his people, wisely adapted to circumstances; he does not crush their weakness altogether; cf Isaiah 29.

9 [25] Gith . . . cumin: herbs used in seasoning food. Spelt: a variety of wheat.