Ephraim’s Captivity Predicted
28 Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, And to the fading flower of its glorious beauty, Which is at the head of the fertile valley Of those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has a strong and mighty agent; As a storm of hail, a tempest of destruction, Like a storm of mighty overflowing waters, He has cast it down to the earth with His hand. 3 The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim is trodden under foot. 4 And the fading flower of its glorious beauty, Which is at the head of the fertile valley, Will be like the first-ripe fig prior to summer, Which one sees, And as soon as it is in his hand, He swallows it. 5 In that day the Lord of hosts will become a beautiful crown And a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people; 6 A spirit of justice for him who sits in judgment, A strength to those who repel the onslaught at the gate. 7 And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink: The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink; They reel while having visions, They totter when rendering judgment. 8 For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, without a single clean place.
9 “To whom would He teach knowledge, And to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? 10 “For He says, ‘Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’” 11 Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, 12 He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary,” And, “Here is repose,” but they would not listen. 13 So the word of the Lord to them will be, “Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there,” That they may go and stumble backward, be broken, snared and taken captive.
Judah Is Warned
14 Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, 15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”
16 Therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. 17 “I will make justice the measuring line And righteousness the level; Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies And the waters will overflow the secret place. 18 “Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, Then you become its trampling place. 19 “As often as it passes through, it will seize you; For morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night, And it will be sheer terror to understand what it means.” 20 The bed is too short on which to stretch out, And the blanket is too small to wrap oneself in. 21 For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the valley of Gibeon, To do His task, His unusual task, And to work His work, His extraordinary work. 22 And now do not carry on as scoffers, Or your fetters will be made stronger; For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts Of decisive destruction on all the earth.
23 Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my words. 24 Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed? Does he continually turn and harrow the ground? 25 Does he not level its surface And sow dill and scatter cummin And plant wheat in rows, Barley in its place and rye within its area? 26 For his God instructs and teaches him properly. 27 For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; But dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club. 28 Grain for bread is crushed, Indeed, he does not continue to thresh it forever. Because the wheel of his cart and his horses eventually damage it, He does not thresh it longer. 29 This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.
Jerusalem Is Warned
29 Woe, O Ariel, Ariel the city where David once camped! Add year to year, observe your feasts on schedule. 2 I will bring distress to Ariel, And she will be a city of lamenting and mourning; And she will be like an Ariel to me. 3 I will camp against you encircling you, And I will set siegeworks against you, And I will raise up battle towers against you. 4 Then you will be brought low; From the earth you will speak, And from the dust where you are prostrate Your words will come. Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground, And your speech will whisper from the dust.
5 But the multitude of your enemies will become like fine dust, And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; And it will happen instantly, suddenly. 6 From the Lord of hosts you will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, With whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire. 7 And the multitude of all the nations who wage war against Ariel, Even all who wage war against her and her stronghold, and who distress her, Will be like a dream, a vision of the night. 8 It will be as when a hungry man dreams— And behold, he is eating; But when he awakens, his hunger is not satisfied, Or as when a thirsty man dreams— And behold, he is drinking, But when he awakens, behold, he is faint And his thirst is not quenched. Thus the multitude of all the nations will be Who wage war against Mount Zion.
9 Be delayed and wait, Blind yourselves and be blind; They become drunk, but not with wine, They stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers.
11 The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, “Please read this,” he will say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, “Please read this.” And he will say, “I cannot read.”
13 Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, 14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.”
15 Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” 16 You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
Blessing after Discipline
17 Is it not yet just a little while Before Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field, And the fertile field will be considered as a forest? 18 On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord, And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished, Indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off; 21 Who cause a person to be indicted by a word, And ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate, And defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments.
22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
“Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; 23 But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, They will sanctify My name; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob And will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 “Those who err in mind will know the truth, And those who criticize will accept instruction.
Judah Warned against Egyptian Alliance
30 “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin; 2 Who proceed down to Egypt Without consulting Me, To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! 3 “Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation. 4 “For their princes are at Zoan And their ambassadors arrive at Hanes. 5 “Everyone will be ashamed because of a people who cannot profit them, Who are not for help or profit, but for shame and also for reproach.”
6 The oracle concerning the beasts of the Negev.
Through a land of distress and anguish, From where come lioness and lion, viper and flying serpent, They carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys And their treasures on camels’ humps, To a people who cannot profit them; 7 Even Egypt, whose help is vain and empty. Therefore, I have called her “Rahab who has been exterminated.” 8 Now go, write it on a tablet before them And inscribe it on a scroll, That it may serve in the time to come As a witness forever. 9 For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who refuse to listen To the instruction of the Lord; 10 Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions. 11 “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
“Since you have rejected this word And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them, 13 Therefore this iniquity will be to you Like a breach about to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant, 14 Whose collapse is like the smashing of a potter’s jar, So ruthlessly shattered That a sherd will not be found among its pieces To take fire from a hearth Or to scoop water from a cistern.”
15 For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing, 16 And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses,” Therefore you shall flee! “And we will ride on swift horses,” Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift. 17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one man; You will flee at the threat of five, Until you are left as a flag on a mountain top And as a signal on a hill.
God Is Gracious and Just
18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
19 O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. 20 Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. 21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. 22 And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”
23 Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture.24 Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the Lord binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.
27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from a remote place; Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke; His lips are filled with indignation And His tongue is like a consuming fire; 28 His breath is like an overflowing torrent, Which reaches to the neck, To shake the nations back and forth in a sieve, And to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridle which leads to ruin. 29 You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival, And gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute, To go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 30 And the Lord will cause His voice of authority to be heard, And the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger, And in the flame of a consuming fire In cloudburst, downpour and hailstones. 31 For at the voice of the Lord Assyria will be terrified, When He strikes with the rod. 32 And every blow of the rod of punishment, Which the Lord will lay on him, Will be with the music of tambourines and lyres; And in battles, brandishing weapons, He will fight them. 33 For Topheth has long been ready, Indeed, it has been prepared for the king. He has made it deep and large, A pyre of fire with plenty of wood; The breath of the Lord, like a torrent of brimstone, sets it afire.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)