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Isaiah 28:24-29

Context

28:24 Does a farmer just keep on plowing at planting time? 1 

Does he keep breaking up and harrowing his ground?

28:25 Once he has leveled its surface,

does he not scatter the seed of the caraway plant,

sow the seed of the cumin plant,

and plant the wheat, barley, and grain in their designated places? 2 

28:26 His God instructs him;

he teaches him the principles of agriculture. 3 

28:27 Certainly 4  caraway seed is not threshed with a sledge,

nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin seed. 5 

Certainly caraway seed is beaten with a stick,

and cumin seed with a flail.

28:28 Grain is crushed,

though one certainly does not thresh it forever.

The wheel of one’s wagon rolls over it,

but his horses do not crush it.

28:29 This also comes from the Lord who commands armies,

who gives supernatural guidance and imparts great wisdom. 6 

1 tn Heb “All the day does the plowman plow in order to plant?” The phrase “all the day” here has the sense of “continually, always.” See BDB 400 s.v. יוֹם.

2 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “place wheat [?], and barley [?], and grain in its territory.” The term שׂוֹרָה (shorah) is sometimes translated “[in] its place,” but the word is unattested elsewhere. It is probably due to dittography of the immediately following שְׂעֹרָה (sÿorah, “barley”). The meaning of נִסְמָן (nisman) is also uncertain. It may be due to dittography of the immediately following כֻסֶּמֶת (kussemet, “grain”).

3 tn Heb “he teaches him the proper way, his God instructs him.”

4 tn Or “For” (KJV, ASV, NASB).

5 sn Both of these seeds are too small to use the ordinary threshing techniques.

6 sn Verses 23-29 emphasize that God possesses great wisdom and has established a natural order. Evidence of this can be seen in the way farmers utilize divinely imparted wisdom to grow and harvest crops. God’s dealings with his people will exhibit this same kind of wisdom and order. Judgment will be accomplished according to a divinely ordered timetable and, while severe enough, will not be excessive. Judgment must come, just as planting inevitably follows plowing. God will, as it were, thresh his people, but he will not crush them to the point where they will be of no use to him.



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