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Isaiah 28 The Message (MSG)

God Will Speak in Baby Talk

28 1-4 Doom to the pretentious drunks of Ephraim,
    shabby and washed out and seedy—
Tipsy, sloppy-fat, beer-bellied parodies
    of a proud and handsome past.
Watch closely: God has someone picked out,
    someone tough and strong to flatten them.
Like a hailstorm, like a hurricane, like a flash flood,
    one-handed he’ll throw them to the ground.
Samaria, the party hat on Israel’s head,
    will be knocked off with one blow.
It will disappear quicker than
    a piece of meat tossed to a dog.

5-6 At that time, God-of-the-Angel-Armies will be
    the beautiful crown on the head of what’s left of his people:
Energy and insights of justice to those who guide and decide,
    strength and prowess to those who guard and protect.

7-8 These also, the priest and prophet, stagger from drink,
    weaving, falling-down drunks,
Besotted with wine and whiskey,
    can’t see straight, can’t talk sense.
Every table is covered with vomit.
    They live in vomit.

9-10 “Is that so? And who do you think you are to teach us?
    Who are you to lord it over us?
We’re not babies in diapers
    to be talked down to by such as you—
‘Da, da, da, da,
    blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s a good little girl,
    that’s a good little boy.’”

11-12 But that’s exactly how you will be addressed.
    God will speak to this people
In baby talk, one syllable at a time—
    and he’ll do it through foreign oppressors.
He said before, “This is the time and place to rest,
    to give rest to the weary.
This is the place to lay down your burden.”
    But they won’t listen.

13 So God will start over with the simple basics
    and address them in baby talk, one syllable at a time—
“Da, da, da, da,
    blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s a good little girl,
    that’s a good little boy.”
And like toddlers, they will get up and fall down,
    get bruised and confused and lost.

14-15 Now listen to God’s Message, you scoffers,
    you who rule this people in Jerusalem.
You say, “We’ve taken out good life insurance.
    We’ve hedged all our bets, covered all our bases.
No disaster can touch us. We’ve thought of everything.
    We’re advised by the experts. We’re set.”

The Meaning of the Stone

16-17 But the Master, God, has something to say to this:

“Watch closely. I’m laying a foundation in Zion,
    a solid granite foundation, squared and true.
And this is the meaning of the stone:
    a trusting life won’t topple.
I’ll make justice the measuring stick
    and righteousness the plumb line for the building.
A hailstorm will knock down the shantytown of lies,
    and a flash flood will wash out the rubble.

18-22 “Then you’ll see that your precious life insurance policy
    wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
Your careful precautions against death
    were a pack of illusions and lies.
When the disaster happens,
    you’ll be crushed by it.
Every time disaster comes, you’ll be in on it—
    disaster in the morning, disaster at night.”
Every report of disaster
    will send you cowering in terror.
There will be no place where you can rest,
    nothing to hide under.
God will rise to full stature,
    raging as he did long ago on Mount Perazim
And in the valley of Gibeon against the Philistines.
    But this time it’s against you.
Hard to believe, but true.
    Not what you’d expect, but it’s coming.
Sober up, friends, and don’t scoff.
    Scoffing will just make it worse.
I’ve heard the orders issued for destruction, orders from
    God-of-the-Angel-Armies—ending up in an international disaster.

23-26 Listen to me now.
    Give me your closest attention.
Do farmers plow and plow and do nothing but plow?
    Or harrow and harrow and do nothing but harrow?
After they’ve prepared the ground, don’t they plant?
    Don’t they scatter dill and spread cumin,
Plant wheat and barley in the fields
    and raspberries along the borders?
They know exactly what to do and when to do it.
    Their God is their teacher.

27-29 And at the harvest, the delicate herbs and spices,
    the dill and cumin, are treated delicately.
On the other hand, wheat is threshed and milled, but still not endlessly.
    The farmer knows how to treat each kind of grain.
He’s learned it all from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    who knows everything about when and how and where.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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.

Footnotes:

  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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