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Isaiah 28 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Ephraim Will Fall

    How horrible it will be for the arrogant drunks of Ephraim.
    Their glorious beauty is like a withered flower.
        They are at the entrance to a fertile valley
            where they lie drunk from wine.
The Lord has one who is strong and powerful.
    He is like a hailstorm, a destructive wind.
    He is like a thunderstorm, an overwhelming flood.
        He will throw them to the ground forcefully.
The arrogant drunks of Ephraim will be trampled underfoot.
    Their glorious beauty is like a withered flower.
        They are at the entrance to a fertile valley.
            They will be like figs that ripened early.
                As soon as someone sees them,
                    they will be taken and eaten.

When that day comes, the Lord of Armies will be
    like a glorious crown for his few remaining people.
He will give a spirit of justice to those who judge.
He will give strength to those who defend the city gates in battle.

Priests and prophets stagger from wine and wobble from too much liquor.
    They stagger from too much liquor
        and become confused from too much wine.
    They wobble because of their liquor.
    They stagger when they see visions.
    They swerve as they judge.
All the tables are covered with vomit and excrement.
    There isn’t a clean place left.
To whom will they make the message understood?
To whom will they explain this message?
    To children just weaned from milk?
    To those just taken from their mother’s breasts?
10 They speak utter nonsense.[a]

11 The Lord will speak to these people.
    He will mock them by speaking in a foreign language.
12 He will say to them,
    “This is a place for comfort.
        This is a place of rest for those who are tired.
            This is a place for them to rest.”
But they weren’t willing to listen.
13 The Lord speaks utter nonsense to them.
    That is why they will fall backwards.
    That is why they will be hurt, trapped, and captured.

A Message to Jerusalem

14 So hear the Lord’s word, you foolish talkers
    who rule the people in Jerusalem.
15 You say, “We made a treaty with death
    and an agreement with the grave.
When the overwhelming disaster passes by,
    it won’t matter to us,
        because we have taken refuge in our lies,
            and falsehood is our hiding place.”

16 This is what the Almighty Lord says:

I am going to lay a rock in Zion,
    a rock that has been tested,
    a precious cornerstone,
    a solid foundation.
        Whoever believes in him will not worry.
17 I will make justice a measuring line
    and righteousness a plumb line.
Hail will sweep away your refuge of lies,
    and floodwaters will wash away your hiding place.
18 Your treaty with death will be wiped away.
Your agreement with the grave will not stand.
When the overwhelming disaster passes by,
    you will be trampled by it.
19         Each time it passes by it will take you.
            It will pass by morning after morning,
                during the day and during the night.
                    Understanding this message brings only terror.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out on.
The blanket is too narrow to serve as a cover.
21 The Lord will rise as he did on Mount Perazim.
He will wake up as he did in Gibeon Valley.
    He will do his work, his unexpected work,
        and perform his deeds, his mysterious deeds.
22 Now stop laughing, or your chains will be tightened,
    because I have heard that the Almighty Lord of Armies
        has finally determined to destroy the whole land.

23 Open your ears, and listen to me!
Pay attention, and hear me!
24 Does a farmer go on plowing every day so he can plant?
Does he continue to break up the soil and make furrows in the ground?
25     When he has smoothed its surface,
        doesn’t he scatter black cumin seed and plant cumin?
        Doesn’t he plant wild wheat in rows?
        Doesn’t he put barley in its own area
            and winter wheat at its borders?
26 God will guide him in judgment,
    and his God will teach him.

27 Black cumin isn’t threshed[b] with a sledge,
    and wagon wheels aren’t rolled over cumin.
Black cumin is beaten with a rod
    and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain is ground into flour, but the grinding eventually stops.
It will be threshed.
    The wheels of his cart will roll over it,
        but his horses won’t crush it.
29 All of this has come from the Lord of Armies.
    His counsel is wonderful, and his wisdom is great.


  1. Isaiah 28:10 Or “Command for command, command for command, line for line, line for line, a little here, a little there.” Also in verse 13.
  2. Isaiah 28:27 Threshing is the process of beating stalks to separate them from the grain.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God's Word Mission Society.

Isaiah 28 New International Version (NIV)

Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

28 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
    to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley
    to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong.
    Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind,
like a driving rain and a flooding downpour,
    he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
    will be trampled underfoot.
That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
    set on the head of a fertile valley,
will be like figs ripe before harvest—
    as soon as people see them and take them in hand,
    they swallow them.

In that day the Lord Almighty
    will be a glorious crown,
a beautiful wreath
    for the remnant of his people.
He will be a spirit of justice
    to the one who sits in judgment,
a source of strength
    to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

And these also stagger from wine
    and reel from beer:
Priests and prophets stagger from beer
    and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
    they stagger when seeing visions,
    they stumble when rendering decisions.
All the tables are covered with vomit
    and there is not a spot without filth.

“Who is it he is trying to teach?
    To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
    to those just taken from the breast?
10 For it is:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that[a];
    a little here, a little there.

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
    God will speak to this people,
12 to whom he said,
    “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
    but they would not listen.
13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that;
    a little here, a little there
so that as they go they will fall backward;
    they will be injured and snared and captured.

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
    who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,
    with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement.
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
    it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie our refuge
    and falsehood[b] our hiding place.

16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
    a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
    will never be stricken with panic.
17 I will make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
    and water will overflow your hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death will be annulled;
    your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
    you will be beaten down by it.
19 As often as it comes it will carry you away;
    morning after morning, by day and by night,
    it will sweep through.”

The understanding of this message
    will bring sheer terror.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out on,
    the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.
21 The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
    he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon
to do his work, his strange work,
    and perform his task, his alien task.
22 Now stop your mocking,
    or your chains will become heavier;
the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me
    of the destruction decreed against the whole land.

23 Listen and hear my voice;
    pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
    Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
    does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,[c]
    barley in its plot,[d]
    and spelt in its field?
26 His God instructs him
    and teaches him the right way.

27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
    nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
    and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
    so one does not go on threshing it forever.
The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it,
    but one does not use horses to grind grain.
29 All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,
    whose plan is wonderful,
    whose wisdom is magnificent.


  1. Isaiah 28:10 Hebrew / sav lasav sav lasav / kav lakav kav lakav (probably meaningless sounds mimicking the prophet’s words); also in verse 13
  2. Isaiah 28:15 Or false gods
  3. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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