they stumble around because of beer –
priests and prophets stagger because of beer,
they are confused 2 because of wine,
they stumble around because of beer;
they stagger while seeing prophetic visions, 3
they totter while making legal decisions. 4
28:8 Indeed, all the tables are covered with vomit;
no place is untouched. 5
To whom is he explaining a message? 7
Those just weaned from milk!
Those just taken from their mother’s breast! 8
28:10 Indeed, they will hear meaningless gibberish,
a syllable here, a syllable there. 9
28:11 For with mocking lips and a foreign tongue
he will speak to these people. 10
“This is where security can be found.
Provide security for the one who is exhausted!
This is where rest can be found.” 12
But they refused to listen.
28:13 So the Lord’s word to them will sound like
a syllable here, a syllable there. 13
As a result, they will fall on their backsides when they try to walk, 14
and be injured, ensnared, and captured. 15
28:14 Therefore, listen to the Lord’s word,
you who mock,
you rulers of these people
who reside in Jerusalem! 16
28:15 For you say,
“We have made a treaty with death,
When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by 19
it will not reach us.
For we have made a lie our refuge,
we have hidden ourselves in a deceitful word.” 20
28:16 Therefore, this is what the sovereign master, the Lord, says:
“Look, I am laying 21 a stone in Zion,
an approved 22 stone,
set in place as a precious cornerstone for the foundation. 23
The one who maintains his faith will not panic. 24
28:17 I will make justice the measuring line,
fairness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away the unreliable refuge, 25
the floodwaters will overwhelm the hiding place.
When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by, 29
you will be overrun by it. 30
28:19 Whenever it sweeps by, it will overtake you;
indeed, 31 every morning it will sweep by,
it will come through during the day and the night.” 32
When this announcement is understood,
it will cause nothing but terror.
28:20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on,
and the blanket is too narrow to wrap around oneself. 33
he will rouse himself, as he did in the Valley of Gibeon, 35
to accomplish his work,
his peculiar work,
to perform his task,
his strange task. 36
28:22 So now, do not mock,
or your chains will become heavier!
For I have heard a message about decreed destruction,
from the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, against the entire land. 37
Be attentive and listen to what I have to say! 39
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? 41
28:26 His God instructs him;
he teaches him the principles of agriculture. 42
nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin seed. 44
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. 45
1 tn Heb “these.” The demonstrative pronoun anticipates “priests and prophets” two lines later.
3 tn Heb “in the seeing.”
4 tn Heb “[in] giving a decision.”
5 tn Heb “vomit, without a place.” For the meaning of the phrase בְּלִי מָקוֹם (bÿli maqom, “without a place”), see HALOT 133 s.v. בְּלִי.
6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
7 tn Heb “Who is he teaching knowledge? For whom is he explaining a message?” The translation assumes that the Lord is the subject of the verbs “teaching” and “explaining,” and that the prophet is asking the questions. See v. 12. According to some vv. 9-10 record the people’s sarcastic response to the Lord’s message through Isaiah.
8 tn Heb “from the breasts.” The words “their mother’s” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The translation assumes that this is the prophet’s answer to the questions asked in the first half of the verse. The Lord is trying to instruct people who are “infants” morally and ethically.
9 tn The meaning of this verse has been debated. The text has literally “indeed [or “for”] a little there, a little there” ( כִּי צַו לָצָו צַו לָצָו קַו לָקָו קַו, ki tsav latsav, tsav latsav, qav laqav, qav laqav). The present translation assumes that the repetitive syllables are gibberish that resembles baby talk (cf v. 9b) and mimics what the people will hear when foreign invaders conquer the land (v. 11). In this case זְעֵיר (zÿ’er, “a little”) refers to the short syllabic structure of the babbling (cf. CEV). Some take צַו (tsav) as a derivative of צָוָה (tsavah, “command”) and translate the first part of the statement as “command after command, command after command.” Proponents of this position (followed by many English versions) also take קַו (qav) as a noun meaning “measuring line” (see v. 17), understood here in the abstract sense of “standard” or “rule.”
10 sn This verse alludes to the coming Assyrian invasion, when the people will hear a foreign language that sounds like gibberish to them. The Lord is the subject of the verb “will speak,” as v. 12 makes clear. He once spoke in meaningful terms, but in the coming judgment he will speak to them, as it were, through the mouth of foreign oppressors. The apparent gibberish they hear will be an outward reminder that God has decreed their defeat.
11 tn Heb “who said to them.”
12 sn This message encapsulates the Lord’s invitation to his people to find security in his protection and blessing.
13 tn Heb “And the word of the Lord will be to them, ‘tsahv latsahv,’ etc.” See the note at v. 10. In this case the “Lord’s word” is not the foreigner’s strange sounding words (as in v. 10), but the Lord’s repeated appeals to them (like the one quoted in v. 12). As time goes on, the Lord’s appeals through the prophets will have no impact on the people; they will regard prophetic preaching as gibberish.
14 tn Heb “as a result they will go and stumble backward.” Perhaps an infant falling as it attempts to learn to walk is the background image here (cf. v. 9b). The Hebrew term לְמַעַן (lÿma’an) could be taken as indicating purpose (“in order that”), rather than simple result. In this case the people’s insensitivity to the message is caused by the Lord as a means of expediting their downfall.
15 sn When divine warnings and appeals become gibberish to the spiritually insensitive, they have no guidance and are doomed to destruction.
17 sn Sheol is the underworld, land of the dead, according to the OT world view.
18 tn Elsewhere the noun חֹזֶה (khozeh) refers to a prophet who sees visions. In v. 18 the related term חָזוּת (khazut, “vision”) is used. The parallelism in both verses (note “treaty”) seems to demand a meaning “agreement” for both nouns. Perhaps חֹזֶה and חזוּת are used in a metonymic sense in vv. 15 and 18. Another option is to propose a homonymic root. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:514, and HALOT 301 s.v. II חֹזֶה.
19 tn Heb “the overwhelming scourge, when it passes by” (NRSV similar).
20 sn “Lie” and “deceitful word” would not be the terms used by the people. They would likely use the words “promise” and “reliable word,” but the prophet substitutes “lie” and “deceitful word” to emphasize that this treaty with death will really prove to be disappointing.
21 tc The Hebrew text has a third person verb form, which does not agree with the first person suffix that precedes. The form should be emended to יֹסֵד (yosed), a Qal active participle used in a present progressive or imminent future sense.
22 tn Traditionally “tested,” but the implication is that it has passed the test and stands approved.
23 sn The reality behind the metaphor is not entirely clear from the context. The stone appears to represent someone or something that gives Zion stability. Perhaps the ideal Davidic ruler is in view (see 32:1). Another option is that the image of beginning a building project by laying a precious cornerstone suggests that God is about to transform Zion through judgment and begin a new covenant community that will experience his protection (see 4:3-6; 31:5; 33:20-24; 35:10).
24 tn Heb “will not hurry,” i.e., act in panic.
26 tn On the meaning of כָּפַר (kafar) in this context, see HALOT 494 s.v. I כפר and J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:515, n. 9.
28 tn Or “will not stand” (NIV, NRSV).
30 tn Heb “you will become a trampling place for it.”
31 tn Or “for” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).
32 tn The words “it will come through” are supplied in the translation. The verb “will sweep by” does double duty in the parallel structure.
33 sn The bed and blanket probably symbolize their false sense of security. A bed that is too short and a blanket that is too narrow may promise rest and protection from the cold, but in the end they are useless and disappointing. In the same way, their supposed treaty with death will prove useless and disappointing.
36 sn God’s judgment of his own people is called “his peculiar work” and “his strange task,” because he must deal with them the way he treated their enemies in the past.
37 tn Or “the whole earth” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NCV).
38 tn Heb “to my voice.”
39 tn Heb “to my word”; cf. KJV, ASV, NRSV “hear my speech.”
40 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.
41 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 (sÿo’rah, “barley”). The meaning of נִסְמָן (nisman) is also uncertain. It may be due to dittography of the immediately following כֻסֶּמֶת (kussemet, “grain”).
42 tn Heb “he teaches him the proper way, his God instructs him.”
43 tn Or “For” (KJV, ASV, NASB).
44 sn Both of these seeds are too small to use the ordinary threshing techniques.
45 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.