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ISAIAH
The Gospel To Israel
Book 2

LESSON  THIRTEEN
Isaiah 28:1 - 29:8

THE BOOK OF WOES
Or Historical Discourses relating to Asshur and the Egyptian Alliance
Chapters 28 - 35

These chapters carry us to the earliest years of Hezekiah's reign, probably to the second and third; as Samaria has not yet been destroyed.

They run parallel to the book of  Micah,  which also takes its start from the destruction of  Samaria,  and are as faithful a mirror of  the condition of  the people under Hezekiah,  as ch. 7-12 were of  their condition under Ahaz.

The time of Ahaz was characterized by a spiritless submission to the Assyrian yoke;  that of  Hezekiah by a casual striving after liberty.  The people tried to throw off  the yoke of  Assyria;

not with confidence in Jehovah,  however,
but in reliance upon the help of Egypt.
This Egypticizing policy is traced step by step by Isaiah, in ch. 28-32.

The gradual rise of  these addresses may be seen from the fact that they follow the gradual growth of  the alliance with Egypt through all its stages,  until it is fully concluded.

By the side of  this casual ground of  trust,  which Jehovah will sweep away,
the prophet exhibits the precious corner stone in Zion as the true,  firm ground of confidence.

We might therefore call these chapters (28-33)  "the book of  the precious corner-stone,"  just as we called ch. 7-12  "the book of Immanuel."

But the prophecy in Isa 28:16 does not determine and mould the whole of  this section,  in the same manner in which the other section is molded and governed by the prophecy of  the Son of  the Virgin.

We therefore prefer to call this cycle of prophecy  "the book of woes;"  for censure and threatening are uttered here in repeated utterances of  "woe,"  not against Israel only,  but more especially against Judah and Jerusalem,  until at last,  in ch. 33,  the  "woe concerning Jerusalem"  is changed into a  "woe concerning Asshur."

All the independent and self-contained addresses in this cycle of  prophecy commence with hoi ("woe:" ch. 28, 29, 30, 31-32, 33).  The sections which do not begin with hoi (viz., Isa 32:9-20) is the last and dependent part of the long address commencing with Isa 31:1;  and (Isa 34:1) which is the finale against all the world nations.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Woes - Alternated with Jehovah’s Glories
Isaiah 28:1-35:10

Isaiah 28:1-22 Ephraim (Samaria and Israel) Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim
Isaiah 28:23-29 Jehovah the Instructor
Isaiah 29:1-21 Jerusalem and Lebanon Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!
Isaiah 29:22-24 Jehovah the Redeemer
Isaiah 30:1-17 The Egyptian League Woe to the rebellious children...who walk to go down to Egypt
Isaiah 30:18-33 Jehovah the Gracious One
Isaiah 31:1-9 Apostates Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
Isaiah 32:1-20 Jehovah the Righteous King
Isaiah 33:1-12 The Assyrian spoiler Woe to you who plunder
Isaiah 33:13-24 Jehovah the King in His Beauty
Isaiah 34:1-17 Gentile nations For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations
Isaiah 35:1-10 Jehovah, the King in His Glory

Isaiah 28:1
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(1) Ah, the proud crowns of the
drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious
beauty is but wilted flowers on the
heads of men bloated with rich food,
who are overcome by wine!
Woe to the crown of pride, the
hirelings of Ephraim, the flower that
has fallen from the glory of the top
of the fertile mountain, they that are
drunken without wine.
Woe to him that giveth a crown to the proud and foolish one, even to the prince of Israel, and giveth a turban to the wicked one of the sanctuary of his praise, who are at the head of the fat valley, even to those who are overcome with wine.
From the NKJV
(1)  Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim,  whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys, to those who are overcome with wine!

Isaiah,  like Micah,  commences with the fall of  the proud and intoxicated Samaria.
The allusion is to Samaria,  which is called

(1) "The pride-crown of  the drunken of  Ephraim"
The crown of which the intoxicated and blinded Ephraimites were proud (Isa 29:9; 19:14)
(2) "The fading flower of  the ornament of  his splendor"
The flower now fading,  which had once been the ornament with which they made a show. This flower stood  "upon the head of the valley of fatnesses of  those slain with wine" (cf., Isa 16:8), i.e., of  the valley so exuberant with fruitfulness,  belonging to the Ephraimites,  who were thoroughly enslaved by wine.

There can be no doubt that it refers to the capital of  the kingdom of  Ephraim;  that is,  to Samaria.

This city was built by Omri,  who purchased  'the hill Samaria' of  Shemer,  for two talents of  silver,  and built the city on the hill,  and called it,  after the name of  Shemer,  Samaria (1 Kings 16:24).
Omri was king of Israel (925 BC),  and he made this city the capital of  his kingdom.
The city was built on a pleasant and fertile hill, and surrounded with a rich valley, with a circle of hills beyond; and the beauty of the hill on which the city was built suggested the idea of a wreath or chaplet of flowers, or a "crown."
After having been destroyed and reduced to an inconsiderable place, it was restored by Herod the Great, 21 BC, who called it "Sebaste" (Latin, "Augusta"), in honor of the Emperor Augustus.
The situation was commanding;  the hill terraced up to the very top;  and the surrounding country splendid and fruitful  (Ritter, Erdkunde, xvi. 660, 661).  The expression used by the prophet is intentionally bombastic.  He heaps genitives upon genitives, as in Isa 10:12; 21:17. The words are linked together in pairs.

The epithet noobheel  (fading),  which is introduced here into the midst of  this picture of  splendor,  indicates that this entire splendor is not only destined to fade,  but is beginning to fade already.

Shemâniim (fatnesses - verdant)   Intended to produce the impression of  excessive worldly luxuriance and pleasure,  upon which the woe is pronounced.

Isaiah 28:2-4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(2)  Lo, my Lord has something
strong and mighty, like a storm of
hail, a shower of pestilence.
Something like a storm of massive
torrential rain shall be hurled with
force to the ground.
Behold, the anger of the Lord is
strong and severe, as descending
hail where there is no shelter,
violently descending; as a great
body of water sweeping away the
soil, he shall make rest for the land.
Behold great and mighty plagues are coming from before the Lord; as a storm of hail in a whirlwind, as a storm of mighty flooding waters, so shall the nations come upon them, and shall carry them into exile from their land to another land, because of the transgressions that are in their hands.
(3)  Trampled underfoot shall be the
proud crowns of the drunkards of
Ephraim,
The crown of pride, the hirelings of
Ephraim, shall be beaten down with
the hands and with the feet.
The crown of the proud and foolish one, even the prince of Israel, shall be trodden under foot.
(4)  The wilted flowers – on the heads
of men bloated with rich food – that
are his glorious beauty. They shall
be like an early fig before the fruit
harvest; whoever sees it devours it
while it is still in his hand.
And the fading flower of the (hope
of glory –Greek) glorious hope on
the top of the high mountain shall
be as the early fig; he that sees it,
before he takes it into his hand, will
desire to swallow it down.
And he that giveth a turban to the wicked one of the sanctuary of his praise which is at the head of the fat valley, shall be as an early ripe fig before the summer; when he that looketh on it seeth it, as if it were in his hand, he eateth it up.
From the NKJV
(2)  Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand.
(3)  The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, will be trampled underfoot;   (4)  And the glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valley, like the first fruit before the summer,
Which an observer sees; He eats it up while it is still in his hand.

In the next three verses the hoi (woe) is expanded.

The declining Northern Kingdom is set forth as a warning example to the Kingdom of Judah.
Though God's mighty and strong one,  Assyria,  was poised to deliver the final blow of  destruction,  the Ephraimites continued to trust in the fertility of  their soil and in economic prosperity,  and to lead a life of  unrestrained debauchery - in which even the clergy participated with disgusting excess (vv. 7,8).
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

The gathering of  figs takes place about August.
Now,  if any one sees a fig as early as June,  he fixes his eyes upon it,  and hardly touches it with his hand before he swallows it,  and that without waiting to masticate it long.  Like such a dainty bit will the luxuriant Samaria vanish.  The fact that Shalmanassar,  or his successor Sargon,  did not conquer Samaria till after the lapse of  three years (2 Kings 18:10),  does not detract from the truth of  the prophecy;  it is enough that both the thirst of  the conqueror and the utter destruction of  Samaria answered to it.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

So soon as the Assyrian should see Samaria he would rush upon it,  and destroy it.
It was usual for conquerors to preserve the cities which they took in war for future use,  and to make them a part of  the strength or ornament of  their kingdom.  But Samaria was to be at once destroyed.  Its inhabitants were to be carried away,  and it would be demolished as greedily as a hungry man plucks and eats the first fig that ripens on the tree.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 28:5, 6
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(5)  In that day, the Lord of Hosts
shall become a crown of beauty and
a diadem of glory for the remnant of
His people,
In that day the Lord of hosts shall be
the crown of hope, the woven crown
of glory, to the remnant of the people.
At that time the Anointed One (or, Messiah) of the Lord of hosts shall be for a diadem of joy and for a crown of glory unto the residue of his people:
(6)  and a spirit of judgment for him
who sits in judgment and of valor
for those who repel attacks at the
gate.
They shall be left in the spirit of
judgment for judgment, and for
the strength of them that hinder
slaying.
and for a word (Memra) of righteous judgment to them that sit in the house of judgment; to judge righteous judgment, and to give victory to them that go forth to war; to bring them back in peace to their homes.
From the NKJV
(5)  In that day the LORD of  hosts will be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people,   (6)  for a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

The threat is now followed by a promise. This is essentially the same in character as Isa 4:2-6.
The place of  the false glory thus overthrown is now filled by a glory that is divine and true.

Yahweh tsŞbaa'owt  (The LORD of hosts) shall be:

(1) For a Crown of Glory He shall reign there as its king, and he shall guard and defend the remnant of his people there.
This reign of Yahweh shall be to them better than palaces, towers, walls, and fruitful fields, and shall be a more glorious ornament than the proud city of Samaria was to the kingdom of Israel.
(2) For a Diadem of  Beauty A beautiful garland. The phrase stands opposed to the wreath of flowers or the diadem which was represented (Isa 28:1,3) as adorning the kingdom and capital of Israel.
Yahweh and his government would be to them their chief glory and ornament.
(3) For a Spirit of  Judgment The sense of this passage is, that JEHOVAH would enlighten the judges of  the land,  so that they should understand what was right,  and be disposed to do it.
(4) For Strength To the very gate of  their enemies;  who not only repel their foes from their own city,  but who drive them even to the gates of  their own cities,  and besiege them there.  Thus 2 Sam 11:23:  'And we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate;'  that is,  we drove them back unto their own gates.

The remnant of His people   (shŞ'aar (OT:7605) with a fixed kametz)
This is not Judah,  as distinguished from Ephraim that had utterly perished;
but Judah and the remaining portion of  Ephraim,  as distinguished from the portion which had perished.
After the perishable thin in which they gloried had been swept away,  the eternal person of  Jehovah Himself would be the ornament and pride of  His people.  He,  the Lord (Isa 11:1),  would be to this remnant of  His people the spirit of  right and heroic strength.

Isaiah 28:7, 8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(7)  But these are also muddled by
wine and dazed by liquor: Priest and
prophet are muddled by liquor; they
are confused by wine, they are dazed
by liquor; They are muddled in their
visions, they stumble in judgment.
For these have trespassed through
wine; they have erred through strong
drink: the priest and the prophet are
mad through strong drink, they are
swallowed up y reason of wine, they
have staggered (lit. from) through
drunkenness; they have erred: this
is their vision.
But these also are drunken with wine, and are undone through old wine; the priest and the scribe are drunken with old wine, they are undone because of wine, they are gone astray because of old wine: her judges are turned aside after pleasant food, they have gone astray.
(8)  Yea, all tables are covered with
vomit and filth, so that no space is
left.
A curse shall devour this counsel, for
this is their counsel for the sake of
covetousness.
For all their tables are full of polluted and abominable food; they have no place which is free from oppression.
From the NKJV
(7)  But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
(8)  For all tables are full of vomit and filth; no place is clean.

The priest and the prophet have erred
With the words,  "they also,"  the prophet commences the second half of  the address,  and passes from Ephraim to Judah.

The Judaeans are not less overcome with wine than the Ephraimites,  and especially the rulers of  Judah.
In wicked violation of  the law of  God,  which prohibited the priests from drinking strong drink when performing priestly service,  and that on pain of  death (Lev 10:9, cf., Ezek 44:21),  they were intoxicated

even in the midst of  their prophetic visions (haaro'eh (OT:7200),
literally  "the thing seeing,"
then the act of seeing,
and when passing judicial sentences.

Leviticus 10:9-11
"Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean.     (NKJV)
Ezekiel 44:21-22
No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court.     (NKJV)

They   (The priest and the prophet)    are swallowed up by wine
They are completely absorbed by it;  they not only themselves indulge in its use,  but they are themselves,  as it were,  swallowed up by it,  so that their reason,  and strength,  and virtue are all gone - as a vessel is absorbed in a maelstrom or whirlpool.

They   (The priest and the prophet)    err in vision
The prophet here states the effect of  the use of  wine and strong drink on their mental and moral powers.
It was the office of  the prophets

to declare the will of God;
to explain the sense of  the sacred Scriptures,  and
to address the people on their duty.
Here the prophet says that the effect of  their intemperance was that they themselves had no correct and clear views of  the truth,  and that they led the people into error.

They   (The priest and the prophet)    stumble in judgment
There were many important subjects on which the priests sat in judgment among the Hebrews,  particularly in all matters pertaining to religion.

By the influence of  intoxicating liquors they were disqualified for the high and holy functions of  their office;  and the consequence was that
the nation was corrupt,  and
the nation was exposed to the heavy judgments of God.

No place is clean
How far they had fallen from where they started in Exodus 19:6  "And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'     (NKJV)

Isaiah 28:9, 10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(9)   “To whom would he give
instruction? To whom expound a
message? To those newly weaned
from milk, just taken away from the
breast?
To whom have we reported evils?
And to whom have we reported a
message? Even to those that are
weaned from the milk, who are
drawn from the breast.
To whom was the law given, and who was commanded to understand wisdom? Was it not to the house of Israel, who were beloved above all the nations, and cherished above all the kingdoms?
(10)  That same mutter upon mutter,
Murmur upon murmur, Now here,
now there!”
Expect thou affliction on affliction,
hope upon hope: yet a little, and yet
a little,
They were commanded to observe the law, and that which they were commanded they would not do; the prophets prophesied unto them, that if they would return, they should be forgiven; but they hearkened not to the words of the prophets; they walked after the desire of their soul, and desired not to do my will; they hoped that the service of idols would be established for them, and hoped not for the service of my sanctuary; as a small thing in their eyes was my sanctuary that they should serve there; as a small thing in their eyes was my Shekinah there.
From the NKJV
(9)  "Whom will he teach knowledge?
And whom will he make to understand the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just drawn from the breasts?
(10)  For precept must be upon precept,  precept upon precept,
Line upon line,  line upon line,
Here a little,  there a little."

They sneer at the prophet, that intolerable moralist.
They are of  age, and free;   and he does not need to bring knowledge to them,  or make them understand the proclamation. They know of  old to what he would lead.
Are they little children that have just been weaned,  and who must let themselves be tutored?

They were as unapt to learn as young children newly weaned from the milk,  and it was as impossible to fasten any thing upon them.  One would choose rather to teach a child of  two years old than undertake to teach them; for they have not only  (like such a child)  no capacity to receive what is taught them, but they are prejudiced against it.  As children,  they have need of milk,  and cannot bear strong meat, Heb 5:12.

Hebrews 5:12
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.    (NKJV)

Precept upon precept - line upon line
Tsaw laatsaaw - qaw laaqaaw
It was unto them precept upon precept, and line upon line;  they went on in a road of external performances;  they kept up the old custom of attending upon the prophet's preaching -

It was continually sounding in their ears,
but that was all; - it made no impression upon them;
They had the letter of  the precept,
but no experience of  the power and spirit of it;
It was continually beating upon them,
but it instilled nothing into them.

The word of the Lord was unto them Tsaw  laatsaawqaw laaqaaw.
In the original it is in rhyme;  they made a song of  the prophet's words,  and sang it when they were merry over their wine.  It is great impiety,  and a high affront to God,  thus to make a jest of  sacred things,  to speak of  that vainly which should make us serious.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

This is probably designed to ridicule the concise and sententious manner of  the prophets,  and especially the fact that they dwelt much upon the same elementary truths.
In teaching children we are obliged to do it by often repeating the same simple lesson.  So the profane and scoffing teachers of  the people said it had been with the prophets of  God.
It had been precept upon precept,  and line upon line,  in the same way as children had been instructed.  The meaning is,  'there is a constant repetition of the command,  without ornament,  imagery, or illustration;  without an appeal to our understanding,  or respect for our reason;  it is simply one mandate after another,  just as lessons are inculcated upon children.'
Here it seems to be used in the sense of  "a rule,"  "law,"  or  "precept."
Grotius thinks that the idea is taken from schoolmasters who instruct their pupils by making lines or marks for them which they are to trace or imitate.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Here a little and there a little
In the manner of instructing children,  inculcating elementary lessons constantly.
 It may be observed here that God's method of  imparting truth has often appeared to a scoffing world to be undignified and foolish.  Unbelievers suppose that he does not sufficiently respect their understanding,  and pay a tribute to the dignity of  their nature.  The truths of God,  and his modes of  frequent repetitions,  are said to be adapted to the understandings of  childhood and of  age;  to imbecility of  years,  or to times when the mind is enfeebled by disease.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The NIV has it:
For it is:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there."

Isaiah 28:11-13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(11)  Truly, as one who speaks to
that people in a stammering jargon
and an alien tongue
By reason of the contemptuous
words of the lips, by means of
another language: for they shall
speak to this people saying to them.
For with strange speech and with mocking tongue were this people scoffing at the prophets who prophesied to them:
(12)   is he who declares to them,
“This is the resting place, let the
weary rest; this is the place of
repose.”  They refuse to listen.
This is the rest to him that is hungry,
and this is the calamity but they
would not hear.
to whom the prophets were saying, This is the sanctuary, serve in it; and this is the inheritance of the house of rest; but they would not receive instruction.
(13)  To them the word of the Lord is:
“Mutter upon mutter, Murmur upon
murmur, now here, now there.” And
so they will march, but they shall fall
backward, and be injured and snared
and captured.
Therefore the oracle of God shall be
to them affliction on affliction, hope
on hope, yet a little, and yet a little,
that they may go and fall backward;
and they shall be crushed and shall
be in danger, and shall be taken.
And this shall be the cup of their punishment because they have transgressed the word of the Lord, and because they were commanded to observe the law and would not do that which they were commanded; therefore shall they be delivered up to the nations who know not the law; and because they walked after the desire of their soul, and desired not to do my will; therefore shall they look for help at the time when I bring distress upon them, and shall have neither help nor support; and because my sanctuary was a small thing in their eyes that they should serve there, therefore shall they be left few in number among the nations whither they shall go into exile, in order that they may go and stumble backwards, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
From the NKJV
(11)  For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,  (12)   to whom He said,  "This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,"  and, "This is the refreshing";  yet they would not hear.
(13)  But the word of the LORD was to them, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,"  That they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught.

For = Yea, verily.
Taking the words out of  their own taunting lips,  and turning them against themselves.
This verse is quoted in 1 Cor. 14:21.

1 Corinthians 14:21-22
It is written in the Law,

by men of strange languages and by the lips of  foreigners
will I speak to this people,
and not even then will they listen to Me,
says the Lord.    (AMP)

Another tongue = foreign.
Referring to the Assyrian language they were (alas!) soon to hear (Deuteronomy 28:49).

Deuteronomy 28:49
The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar,  from the end of the earth,  as swift as the eagle flies,  a nation whose language you will not understand.     (NKJV)

The prophet takes the ki ("for") out of  their mouths,  and carries it on in his own way.
It was quite right that their ungodliness should show itself in such a way as this,  for it would meet with an appropriate punishment.  Jehovah would speak to the scoffing people of  stammering tongue a language of  the same kind,  since He would speak to them by a people that stammered in their estimation,  i.e.,  who talked as barbarians.

The Assyrian Semitic had the same sound in the ear of  an Israelite,  as Low Saxon (a provincial dialect) in the ear of  an educated German;  in addition to which,  it was plentifully mixed up with Iranian,  and possibly also with Tatar elements

This is the rest
God,  by his prophets,  said to them,

"This way that we are directing you to,  and directing you in,
is the rest,  the only rest,
wherewith you may cause the weary to rest;
and this will be the refreshing of your own souls,
and will bring rest to your country from the wars and other calamities
with which it has been long harassed."
God by his word calls us to nothing but what is really for our advantage;  for the service of  God is the only true rest for those that are weary of  the service of  sin and there is no refreshing but under the easy yoke of  the Lord Jesus.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

They would not hear
Jehovah had directed them,  through His prophets,  after the judgments which they had experienced with sufficient severity,  into the true way to rest and refreshing (Jer 6:16),  and had exhorted them to give rest to the nation,  which had suffered so much under Ahaz through the calamities of  war (2 Chron 28),  and not to drag it into another way by goading it on to rise against Assyria,  or impose a new burden in addition to the tribute to Assyria by purchasing the help of Egypt.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus says the LORD:
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'      (NKJV)

Their policy was a very different one from being still,  or believing and waiting.

And therefore the word of  Jehovah,  which they regarded as en endless series of  trivial commands,  would be turned in their case into an endless series of  painful sufferings.

To those who thought themselves so free,  and lived so free,

it would become a stone on which they would go to pieces,
a net in which they would be snared,
a trap in which they would be caught
(compare Isa 8:14-15).
1. vs 12 They would not Hear
They had no mind to hear it.
The word of God commanded their serious attention,  but could not gain it.
They were where it was preached,  but they turned a deaf ear to it,  or as it came in at one ear it went out at the other.
2. vs 13 They would not Heed
The word of Jehovah,  which they regarded as en endless series of trivial commands,  would be turned in their case into an endless series of  painful sufferings.

Go and fall backward
An image appropriately from  "drunkards"  (vs 7-8),  who, in trying to  "go"  forward,  instead "fall backward."
To those who thought themselves so free,  and lived so free,  it would become a stone on which they would go to pieces,  a net in which they would be snared, a trap in which they would be caught

Isaiah 28:14, 15
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(14)  Hear now the word of the Lord,
you men of mockery, Who govern
that people in Jerusalem!
Therefore hear ye the word of the
Lord, ye afflicted men, and ye princes
of this people that is in Jerusalem.
Wherefore hearken unto the word of the Lord, ye wicked men, ye rulers of this people that is in Jerusalem.
(15)  For you have said, “We have
made a covenant with Death,
concluded a pact with Sheol. When
the sweeping flood passes through,
it shall not reach us; for we have
made falsehood our refuge, taken
shelter in treachery.”
Because ye have said, We have
made a covenant with Hades, and
agreements with death; if the rushing
storm should pass, it shall not come
upon us: we have made falsehood
our hope, and by falsehood shall we
be protected:
Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death (Lit. slaughter), and made peace with the destroyer, the stroke of the enemy shall come upon you like a mighty river, even that of which ye say, It shall not come upon us, for we have put our trust in lies, and in the shelter of falsehoods have we hid ourselves.
From the NKJV
(14)  Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,  (15)   because you have said,  "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement.  When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves."

With  lâkheen  (therefore)  the announcement of  punishment is once more suspended
This verse commences a direct address to the scoffing and scornful nation, which is continued to the close of Isa 28:22.

It is addressed particularly to
the rulers in Jerusalem
as being the
leaders in crime, and
eminently deserving of the wrath of God

A covenant with death
These scoffers are identified as the top officials in the government,  who had backed Ahaz' foreign policy of bribing Assyria to engage in a treaty of alliance.  Assyria wielded her power in the interests of  Hell,  and she spread death and destruction in her wake.

Yet the Jews had chosen her,  rather than God,  to be their protector,  vainly supposing they would thus escape her devastating might.
They had made a compact with a heathen power that regarded inconvenient treaties as mere scraps of  paper - we have made lies our refuge.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

But they did not learn from all of this:
Matthew 27:24-26
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing,  but that rather a tumult was made,  he took water,  and washed his hands before the multitude,  saying,  I am innocent of  the blood of this just person:  see ye to it.
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Then released he Barabbas unto them:  and when he had scourged Jesus,  he delivered him to be crucified.
(KJV)


A  CORNERSTONE  IN  ZION

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Isaiah 28:16, 17
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(16)  Assuredly, thus said the Lord
God:  “Behold, I will found in Zion,
Stone by stone,  a tower of precious
cornerstones,  exceedingly firm;
He who trusts need not fear.
therefore thus saith the Lord, even
the Lord,  Behold, I lay for the
foundations of Sion (Zion) a costly
stone, a choice, a corner-stone, a
precious stone, for its foundations;
and he that believes on him shall by
no means be ashamed.
Therefore thus saith the Lord Elohim, Behold, I will appoint in Zion a king, a strong king, powerful and terrible. I will make him strong and powerful, saith the prophet; but the righteous who have believed in these things shall not be dismayed when distress cometh.
(17)  But I will apply judgment as a
measuring line and retribution as
weights; hail shall sweep away the
refuge of falsehood, and flood-waters
engulf your shelter.
And I will cause judgment to be for
hope, and my compassion shall be
for just measures, and ye that trust
vainly in falsehood shall fall: for the
storm shall by no means pass by you,
And I will make judgment straight as a building line, and righteousness as a plummet; and my anger shall set fire to your refuge of lies; and because ye hid yourselves from before the oppressor, the nations shall carry you into exile:
From the NKJV
(16)  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
whoever believes will not act hastily.   (17)   Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place.

The prophet now directly attacks the great men of  Jerusalem,  and holds up a Messianic prophecy before their eyes,  which turns its dark side to them,  as chapter 7 did to Ahaz. (Vv. 14-17).

Behold I lay
Literally  -  "Behold me,  as Him who has laid - namely,  in my divine counsels: none except I could lay it (Isa 63:5; Rom 3:25).

Isaiah 63:5
I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold;
Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me;   (NKJV)
Romans 3:22-25
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference,  for all have sinned and fall short of  the glory of  God,  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.   (NIV)

A Stone
This is a distinct reference to Genesis 49:24.
"But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of  the hand of  the Mighty One of  Jacob, because of the Shepherd,  the Rock of  Israel"     (NIV)

It is the
Immanuel (of  Isaiah 7)
Promised Son (of  Isaiah 9)
Rod from Jesse’s stem (of  Isaiah 11)

A Tried Stone
Not just a stone, but a tried (proven) stone - tried by

The Devil Luke 4:1-2
Jesus,  full of  the Holy Spirit,  returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,  where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.    (NIV)
Men Luke 20:1-38
One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel,  the chief priests and the teachers of  the law,  together with the elders,  came up to him.  "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,"  they said.  "Who gave you this authority?"     (NIV)
Human Nature Matt 26:39
Going a little farther,  he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,  "My Father,  if it is possible,  may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."      (NIV)
God Matt 27:46
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice,  "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" - which means, "My God,  my God,  why have you forsaken me?"      (NIV)

A Precious Cornerstone
Not just any stone - but a precious cornerstone

The cornerstone was the stone at the corner of  two walls that unites them;   specifically,  the stone built into one corner of  the foundation of  an edifice as the actual or nominal starting point of  a building.
From a comparison of  passages we find mention of

(Isa 28:16) A precious,  or costly,  cornerstone for the foundation
(Jer 51:26) A stone for a corner
From which it would appear that cornerstones were placed in different positions as regards elevation
The expressions  "the chief corner stone"  (Ps 118:22;  "capstone"  in NIV)  and the  "top stone"  (Zech 4:7; "capstone" in NIV)  seem to warrant the conclusion that the "cornerstone" is a term equally applicable to
the chief stone at the top and
the chief stone in the foundation

Figuratively,  the term  "cornerstone"  is sometimes used to denote any principal person,  such as the princes of  Egypt (Isa 19:13).  Christ is called the "corner stone" in reference to His being the foundation of  the Christian faith (Eph 2:20) and the importance and conspicuousness of  the place He occupies (Matt 21:42; 1 Peter 2:6).
(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

A sure foundation
A foundation founded;  i.e. a  well founded foundation,  or a firm or sure foundation.

Just as on a former occasion, when Ahaz refused to ask for a sign, the prophet announced to him a sign of Jehovah's own selection; so here Jehovah opposes to the false ground of confidence on which the leaders relied, the foundation stone laid in Zion, which would bear the believing in immoveable safety, but on which the unbelieving would be broken to pieces (Matt 21:44).

Matthew 21:44
He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."    (NIV)

This stone is called  'ebhen boochan,  a stone of proving, i.e., a proved and self-proving stone.
This stone was not the Davidic sovereignty,  but the true seed of  David that appeared in Jesus (Rom 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6-7).

Romans 9:31-33
Whereas Israel,  though ever in pursuit of a law [for the Securing] of righteousness (right standing with God), actually did not succeed in fulfilling the Law.
For what reason?  Because [they pursued it] not through faith, relying [instead] on the merit of their works [they did not depend on faith but on what they could do].   They have stumbled over the Stumbling Stone.
As it is written,  Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone that will make men stumble,  a Rock that will make them fall;  but he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations.     (AMP)
1 Peter 2:5-8
For thus it stands in Scripture:  Behold,  I am laying in Zion a chosen ( honored),  precious chief Cornerstone,  and he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall never be disappointed or put to shame.
To you then who believe (who adhere to, trust in, and rely on Him) is the preciousness; but for those who disbelieve [it is true], The [very] Stone which the builders rejected has become the main Cornerstone,  and, A Stone that will cause stumbling and a Rock that will give [men] offense; they stumble because they disobey and disbelieve [God's] Word, as those [who reject Him] were destined (appointed) to do.     (AMP)

The figure of a stone is not opposed to the personal reference,  since the prophet in Isa 8:14 speaks even of  Jehovah Himself under the figure of  a stone.  The majestically unique description renders it quite impossible that Hezekiah can be intended.  Micah,  whose book forms the sidepiece of this cycle of  prophecy,  also predicted,  under similar historical circumstances,  the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem Ephratah (Mic 5:1).

Micah 5:2
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."     (NKJV)

What Micah expresses in the words,  "His goings forth is from of old,"  is indicated here in the preterite yissad connected with hineni.  It denotes

that which has been determined by Jehovah,
and therefore is as good as accomplished.

What is historically realized has had an eternal existence, and indeed an ideal pre-existence even in the heart of  history itself (Isa 22:11; 25:1; 37:26).  Ever since there had been a Davidic government at all,  this stone had lain in Zion.  The Davidic monarchy not only had in this its culminating point,  but the ground of  its continuance also.

It was not only the Omega,
but also the Alpha.
Whatever escaped from wrath,  even under the Old Testament,  stood upon this stone.

But against unbelievers Jehovah would proceed according to His punitive justice.
He would make this (justice and righteousness, mishpât and tsedâqâh) a norm, i.e., a line and level.

What Jehovah is about to do is depicted as a building which He is carrying out,  and which He will carry out,  so far as the despisers are concerned,  on no other plan than that of  strict retribution.

His punitive justice comes like a hailstorm and like a flood.

The hail Smites the refuge of  lies of  the great men of  Jerusalem,  and clears it away
(yaa`aah (OT:3261), hence yaa` (OT:3257),  a shovel);
the flood Buries their hiding-place in the waters,  and carries it away.
Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Note:  The First and Secondary results of Prophecy.

The Primary Purpose of  the Prophecy is God dealing with Israel in their sin and foolishness in looking to Egypt for help in this coming war. God uses Isaiah the Prophet to deal with this matter.
So you must first of all look at the historical information to arrive at any conclusion.
Isaiah uses figures of  things and the language to get the message across to Israel.
But this is not the only thing to look at.

The Scripture also states that God is their rock and chief corner stone,  that ties all things together,  and it is to this that Israel should look at and not other sources.

So the secondary, and I believe the most important part of  this study of  Isaiah,  is that we see examples from the Scriptures of  Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Paul the Learner

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets,  he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.     (KJV)
Luke 24:32
And they said one to another,  Did not our heart burn within us,  while he talked with us by the way,  and while he opened to us the scriptures?     (KJV)

John 5:39   THE KEY
You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently,  because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them.  And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!    (AMP)

Isaiah 28:18-20
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(18)  Your covenant with Death shall
be annulled, your pact with Sheol
shall not endure; when the sweeping
flood passes through, you shall be
its victims.
(Or, shall it not also? Etc.) except it
also take away your covenant of
death, and your trust in Hades shall
by no means stand: if the rushing
storm should come upon you, ye
shall be beaten down by it.
And your covenant with death (lit. slaughter) shall be annulled and your peace with the destroyer shall not be established: when the stroke of the enemy shall come upon you like a mighty torrent ye shall be trodden down by it.
(19)  It shall catch you every time it
passes through; it shall pass through
every morning, every day and every
night. And it shall be sheer horror to
grasp the message.”
Whenever it shall pass by, it shall
take you; morning-by-morning it
shall pass by in the day, and in the
night there shall be an evil hope.
When it passes through, it shall carry you into exile; for morning by morning shall it pass through, by day and by night; and it shall be that before the time of the curse cometh ye shall understand the words of the prophets.
(20)  The couch is too short for stretching out, and the cover too narrow for curling up!   For their strength shall be cut off by reason of the hard servitude, and the oppressing ruler shall increase his dominion.
From the NKJV
(18)  Your covenant with death will be annulled,  and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;  when the overflowing scourge passes through,  then you will be trampled down by it.   (19)  As often as it goes out it will take you;  for morning by morning it will pass over,  and by day and by night;  it will be a terror just to understand the report."
(20)  For the bed is too short to stretch out on,  and the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it.

And the whip,  which Jehovah swings,  will not be satisfied with one stroke,  but will rain strokes.

The covenant will be  "struck out,"  as you strike out a wrong word.
They fancy that they have fortified themselves against death and Hades;  but Jehovah gives to both of  these unlimited powers over them.   When the swelling scourge shall come,   they will become to it as mirmâs, i.e.,   they will be overwhelmed by it,  and their corpses become like dirt of  the streets (Isa 10:6; 5:5).

As verse 11 affirmed that Jehovah would take up the word against them,  the drunken stammerers,  through a stammering people;  so here the scourging without end is called the shemuu'âh,  or sermon,  which Jehovah preaches to them.  At the same time,  the word hâbhiin is not causative here,  as in verse 9,  viz.,  "to give to understand,"  but signifies simply  "to understand,"  or have an inward perception.  To receive into one's comprehension such a sermon as that,  which was now being delivered to them,  was raq-zevâ'âh,  nothing but shaking or shuddering.

The alarming character of  the lecture is depicted in verse 20,  in a figure that was probably proverbial.
The situation into which they are brought is like a bed too short for a man to stretch himself in,  and like a covering which,  according to the measure of  the man who covers himself up in it  (or perhaps still better in a temporal sense,  "when a man covers or wraps himself up in it"),  is too narrow or too tight.
So would it be in their case with the Egyptian treaty,  in which they fancied that there were rest and safety for them.  They would have to acknowledge its insufficiency.

They had made themselves a bed,  and procured bedclothes;
but how mistaken they had been in the measure,
how miserably and ridiculously they had miscalculated!

Isaiah 28:21
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(21)  For the Lord will arise, as on the
hill of Perazim, He will rouse Himself
as in the vale of Gibeon, to do His
work – strange is His work! And to
perform His task – astounding is His
task! He will inflict punishment.
The Lord shall rise up as a mountain
of ungodly men, and shall be in the
valley of Gabaon; he shall perform
his works with wrath, even a work
of bitterness, and his wrath shall|
deal strangely, and his destruction
shall be strange.
For as the mountains shook when the glory of the Lord was revealed in the days of Uzziah the king, and like the wonders (or, miracles) which he did for Joshua in the plain of Gibeon, that he might be avenged on the wicked who had transgressed against his Memra, so shall he be revealed that he may be avenged on them that work strange works as their works, and on them that serve the service of idols as their service.
From the NKJV
(21)   For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim,  He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon —
that He may do His work, His awesome work, and bring to pass His act, His unusual act.

It would be with them as it was with the Philistines when David turned their army into water at Baal-perazim (2 Sam 5:20; 1 Chron 14:11), or when on another occasion he drove them before him from Gibeon to Gezer (1 Chron 14:13 ff.).

The Targum supposes the first historical reminiscence to refer to the earthquake in the time of Uzziah,  and the second to Joshua's victory over the Amorites.

Keil & Delitzsch suggest that the allusion really is to the two shameful defeats that David inflicted upon the Philistines.
There was a very good reason why victories over the Philistines especially should serve as similes.

The same fate awaited the Philistines at the hands of  the Assyrians,  as predicted by the prophet in Isaiah 14:28.
And the strangeness and verity of  Jehovah's work were just this, that it would fare no better with the magnates of  Judah at the hand of  Asshur, than it had with the Philistines at the hand of  David on both those occasions.

The very same thing would now happen to the people of  the house of  David as formerly to its foes.
Jehovah would have to act in opposition to His gracious purpose.  He would have to act towards His own people as He once acted towards their foes.  This was the most paradoxical thing of  all that they would have to experience.

A key to understanding:
Perazim…Gibeon
This could not be known or understood without reference to 2 Samuel 5:20, and Joshua 10:10;  and this reference must have been in writing: too long before (700 years) to be a matter of  mere memory.

2 Samuel 5:20
And David came to Baal-perazim,  and he smote them there,  and said,  The Lord has broken through my enemies before me,  like the bursting out of great waters.  So he called the name of  that place Baal-perazim [Lord of breaking through].     (AMP)
Joshua 10:10
And the Lord caused [the enemies] to panic before Israel,  who slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon and chased them along the way that goes up to Beth-horon and smote them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.     (AMP)

The Pentateuch as a whole must have had a prior existence;  and must have been well known by the prophets,  and understood by those who heard the prophetic utterances and read the prophetic writings.

Isaiah 28:22
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(22)  Therefore, refrain from mockery,
lest your bonds be tightened. For I
have heard a decree of destruction
from my Lord God of Hosts against
all the land.
Therefore do not ye rejoice, neither
let your bands be made strong; for I
have heard of works finished and cut
short by the Lord of hosts, which he
will execute upon all the earth.
And now act not wickedly, lest your bands be made strong; for a consummation and a destruction have I heard from before the Lord God of hosts (Elohim Zebaoth) on all the inhabitants of the earth.
From the NKJV
(22)   Now therefore, do not be mockers,  lest your bonds be made strong;  for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts, a destruction determined even upon the whole earth.

But the possibility of  repentance was still open to them,  and at least a modification of  what had been threatened was attainable.
It is assumed that they are already in fetters,  namely,  the fetters of  Asshur.  Out of these fetters they wanted to escape by a breach of  faith,  and with the help of  Egypt without Jehovah,  and consequently they mocked at the warnings of  the prophet.

He therefore appeals to them to stop their mocking,

lest they should fall out of  the bondage in which they now ere,
into one that would bind them still more closely
lest the judgment should become even more severe than it would otherwise be.
For it was coming without fail.

It might be modified,  and with thorough repentance they might even escape;  but that it would come,  and that upon the whole earth,  had been revealed to the prophet by Jehovah of  hosts.

This was the  shemuu'âh  which the prophet had heard from Jehovah,  and which he gave them to hear and understand,  though hitherto he had only been scoffed at by their wine-bibbing tongues.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


LISTEN  TO  THE  TEACHING  OF  GOD

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Isaiah 28:23-26
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(23)  Give diligent ear to my words,
attend carefully to what I say.
Hearken, and hear my voice; attend,
and hear my words.
The prophet saith, Give ear and hear my voice; turn ye and hearken to my word (Memra).
(24)  Does he who plows to sow
plow all the time, breaking up and
furrowing his land?
Will the ploughman plough all the
day? Or will be prepare the seed
beforehand, before he tills the
ground?
Continually do the prophets prophesy to instruct, if perchance the ears of the guilty may be opened and they may receive instruction.
(25)  When he has smoothed its
surface, does he not rather broadcast
black cumin and scatter cumin, or set
wheat in a row, barley in a strip, and
emmer in a patch?
Does he not, when he has leveled
the surface thereof, then sow the
small black poppy, or cumin, and
afterwards sow wheat, and barley,
and millet, and bread-corn in thy
borders?
If the house of Israel would but set their faces to observe the law, would he not gather them again from among the nations, amongst whom they are scattered, even as the fitches (or black cummin) and the cummin which is cast abroad; and bring them near families by families to their tribes, even as the seeds of wheat in rows, and barley in the appointed places, and spelt by the boundaries?
26 For He teaches him the right manner, his God instructs him. So thou shalt be chastened by the
judgment of thy God, and shalt
rejoice.
Behold all these things are meant for them for instruction in judgment that they may know that God announces to them the right way wherein they should walk.
From the NKJV
(23)  Give ear and hear my voice,  listen and hear my speech.   (24)  Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow?  Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods?   (25)  When he has leveled its surface, does he not sow the black cummin and scatter the cummin, plant the wheat in rows, the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in its place?   (26)  For He instructs him in right judgment, his God teaches him.

The address of  the prophet is here apparently closed.
But an essential ingredient is still wanting to the second half,  to make it correspond to the first.
There is still wanting the fringe of  promise coinciding with vv. 5, 6.
The prophet has not only to alarm the scoffers,  that if possible he may pluck some of  them out of  the fire through fear;  he has also to comfort believers,  who yield themselves as disciples to him and to the word of  God (Isa 8:16). He does this here in a very peculiar manner.

He has several times assumed the tone of  the mashal  (Isa 14:10 16:13,1426:7);  but here the consolation is dressed up in a longer parabolic address,  which sets forth in figures drawn from husbandry the disciplinary and saving wisdom of  God.  Isaiah here proves himself a master of  the mashal.  In the usual tone of a mashal song,  he first of  all claims the attention of  his audience as a teacher of  wisdom.

Attention is all the more needful,  that the prophet leaves his hearers to interpret and apply the parable themselves.  The work of  a husbandman is very manifold,  as he tills,  sows,  and plants his field.

And He has instructed him how to act rightly:  his God teaches it him ." The ploughing (chârash) which opens the soil,  i.e.,  turns it up in furrows,  and the harrowing (siddeed) which breaks the clods,  take place to prepare for the sowing,  and therefore not interminably,  but only so long as it necessary to prepare the soil to receive the seed.

When the seed-furrows have been drawn in the leveled surface of  the ground (shivvâh),  then the sowing and planting begin;  and this also takes place in various ways,  according to the different kinds of fruit.

Black cummin -   Qetsach - the black poppy,  belonging to the ranunculaceae.
A small species of  pea.  The Hebrew word,  however,  which occurs nowhere else but here,  probably denotes fennel,  or dill,  an herb whose seed the ancients mixed with their bread in order to give it a more agreeable relish
Cummin - Kammoon - was the cummin (cuminum cyminum), i.e.,  he does not scatter it about carelessly,  but lays the grains carefully in the furrows,  because otherwise when they sprang up they would get massed together,  and choke one another.
Wheat - Vulgate translates:  Per ordinem-`In its proper order, place, proportion.'
Barnes says: Our translators have rendered the word sowraah (OT:7795), 'principal,'  as if it were derived from saaraah (OT:8283),  "to rule,"  and seem to have supposed that it denoted wheat that was especially excellent,  or distinguished for its good qualities. Probably the word is designed to denote  "quality,"  and to convey the idea that wheat is the principal,  or chief grain that is sown;  it is that which is most valued and esteemed.
Barley - The barley is sown in a piece of the field specially marked off  for it,  or specially furnished with signs (siimâniim); and kussemeth.
The barley is a well-known grain. The word rendered 'appointednicmaan (OT:5567), and it is supposed by some to have been derived from a Hebrew word which does not now occur-[caaman],  "to designate, to mark, to seal."
The idea is probably that expressed by Grotius, of  barley that had been selected as seed-barley on account of its excellent quality.
Spelt - Kucemet (OT:3698) or rye.
The Amplified translates it: "And spelt [an inferior kind of wheat] as the border?"
The several grains have their own places in the field - the wheat in the middle,  the best and safest place.

It is by a divine instinct that the husbandman acts in this manner;  for God,  who established agriculture at the creation  (i.e., Jehovah, not Osiris),  has also given men understanding.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 28:27-29
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(27)  So, too, black cumin is not
threshed with a threshing board, nor
is the wheel of a threshing sledge
rolled over cumin; but black cumin is
beated out with a stick and cumin
with a rod.
For the black poppy is not cleansed
with harsh treatment, nor will a
wagon wheel pass over the cumin;
but the black poppy is threshed with
a rod, and the cumin shall be eaten
with bread;
For they thresh not fitches (or, black cummin) with threshing instruments of iron, nor do they turn about cart wheels over cummin; for fitches are beaten out with a staff, and cummin with a rod.
(28)  It is cereal that is crushed. For
he threshes it thoroughly, and the
wheel of his sledge and his horses
overwhelm it; he does not crush it.
For (Greek has I am) I will not be
wroth with you for ever, neither shall
the voice of my (Greek has bitterness
trample you) anger crush you.
Corn indeed do they thresh, but not for ever will they go on threshing it; and he scatters it with the wheels of his cart, and separates the corn and casts the chaff to the winds.
29 That, too, is ordered by the Lord
of Hosts; His counsel is
unfathomable, His wisdom
marvelous.
And these signs came forth from the
Lord of hosts. Take counsel, exalt
vain comfort.
This also hath come forth from before the Lord of hosts, who has established the world by the thoughts of his great knowledge, and multiplied the works of creation by his infinite wisdom.

From the NKJV

(27)  For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin; but the black cummin is beaten out with a stick, and the cummin with a rod.
(28)  Bread flour must be ground; therefore he does not thresh it forever, break it with his cartwheel, or crush it with his horsemen.
(29)  This also comes from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.

Again, the labor of  the husbandman is just as manifold after the reaping has been done.

Ki  (for)  introduces another proof  that God instructs the husbandman,  from what he still further does.
He does not use the threshing machine,  or the threshing cart,  which would entirely destroy the more tender kinds of  fruit,  but knocks them out with a staff  (baculo excutit: see at Isa 27:12).

The expression is one of  such grandeur,  that we perceive at once that the prophet has in his mind the wisdom of  God in a higher sphere.  The wise,  divinely inspired course adopted by the husbandman in the treatment of  the field and fruit,  is a type of  the wise course adopted by the divine Teacher Himself  in the treatment of  His nation.

Israel is Jehovah's field.
The punishments and chastisements of Jehovah are the ploughshare and harrow, with which He forcibly breaks up, turns over, and furrows this field.
But this does not last forever.
When the field has been thus loosened, smoothed, and rendered fertile once more, the painful process of ploughing is followed by a beneficent sowing and planting in a multiform and wisely ordered fullness of grace.

Again,  Israel is Jehovah's child of  the threshing-floor (Isa 21:10).
He threshes it;  but He does not thresh it only:  He also knocks;  and when He threshes,  He does not continue threshing for ever,  i.e., as Caspari has well explained it,  "He does not punish all the members of  the nation with the same severity;  and those whom He punishes with greater severity than others He does not punish incessantly,  but as soon as His end is attained,  and the husks of  sin are separated from those that have been punished,  and the punishment ceases,  and only the worst in the nation,  who are nothing but husks,  and the husks on the nation itself,  are swept away by the punishments."

This is the solemn lesson and affectionate consolation hidden behind the veil of  the parable.

Jehovah punishes,
but it is in order that He may be able to bless.
He sifts,
but He does not destroy.
He does not thresh His own people,
but He knocks them;
Even when He threshes,
they may console themselves in the face of the approaching period of judgment, that they are never crushed or injured.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Matthew 13:10-16
(10)  Then the disciples came to Him and said, Why do You speak to them in parables?
(11)  And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
(12)  For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
(13)  This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand.
(14)  In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive.
(15)  For this nation's heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. [Isa 6:9,10.]
(16)  But blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear.    (AMP)

The Kingdom of  Heaven is liken unto…said Jesus.
Those that did hear were saved;  those that did not were lost.

Revelations 2:29
He who is able to hear let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).     (AMP)


WOE  TO  JERUSALEM

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Isaiah 29:1-4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(1)  “Ah, Ariel, Ariel, city where
David camped! Add year to year,
let festivals come in their cycles!
Alas for the city Ariel, which David
besieged. Gather ye fruits year by
year; eat ye, for ye shall eat with
Moab
Woe to the altar, the altar which they built in the city where David dwelt: on account of the gathering of the armies which gather together against it within a year the feasts shall cease in thee:
(2)  And I will harass Ariel, and there
shall be sorrow and sighing. –  She
shall be to Me like Ariel.
For I will grievously afflict Ariel: and
her strength and her wealth shall be
mine.
and I will distress the city wherein is the altar, and it shall be desolate and empty, and it shall be surrounded before me with the blood of the slain, as an altar is surrounded with the blood of the holy sacrifices round about on a feast day.
(3)  And I will camp against you
round about;  I will lay siege to you
with a mound, and I will set up siege
works against you.
And I will compass thee about like
David, and will raise a mound about
thee, and set up towers round thee.
And I will cause armies to encamp against thee, and will build siege works against thee, and heap up a mound against thee.
(4)  And you shall speak from lower
than the ground, your speech shall
e humbler than the sod; your speech
shall sound like a ghost’s from the
ground, your voice shall chirp from
the sod.
And thy words shall be brought
down to the earth, and thy words
shall sink down to the earth, and thy
voice shall be as they that speak out
of the earth, and thy voice shall be
lowered to the ground.
And thou shalt be brought down; out of the ground shalt thou speak, and out of the dust shall thy words whisper; and thy voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar spirit coming out of the ground, and out of the dust shall thy words whisper.
From the NKJV
(1)  Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!   Add year to year; let feasts come around.
(2)  Yet I will distress Ariel; there shall be heaviness and sorrow, and it shall be to Me as Ariel.
(3)  I will encamp against you all around, I will lay siege against you with a mound, and I will raise siegeworks against you.   (4)  You shall be brought down, you shall speak out of the ground; your speech shall be low, out of the dust; your voice shall be like a medium's, out of the ground;  and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.

The prophecy here passes from the fall of  Samaria,  the crown of  flowers,  to its formal parallel.
Jerusalem takes its place by the side of  Samaria,  the crown of  flowers,  and under the emblem of  a hearth of  God.

Ariel
'Arii'eel  might,  indeed,  mean a lion of  God.
It occurs in this sense as

The name of certain Moabitish heroes (2 Sam 23:20; 1 Chron 11:22)
Benaiah ... had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab.     (NKJV)
Isaiah himself used the shorter form 'erŞ'el (OT:691) for the heroes of  Judah (Isa 33:7)
"their valiant ones"
'Ariy'eel (OT:739) is the name given in Ezek 43:15-16, to the altar of burnt-offering in the new temple
  (God's heart,  interchanged with harŞ'eel (OT:2025), God's height)
Isaiah could not say anything more characteristic of  Jerusalem,  than that Jehovah had a fire and hearth there (Isa 31:9);  and,  moreover,  as Jerusalem the city and community within the city would have been compared to a lioness.

I will encamp against you
That is, I will cause an army to pitch their tents there for a siege.
God regards the armies which he would employ as under his control, and speaks of them as if he would do it himself

A mound
A rampart;  a fortification.
Or,  perhaps,  the word mutsaab (OT:4674)  means a post,  a military station,  from yaatsab (OT:3320),  "to place, to station."

Siegeworks
That is, ramparts, such as were usually thrown up against a besieged city, meaning that it should be subjected to the regular process of a siege.

The prophet commences in his own peculiar way with a grand summary introduction,  which passes in a few gigantic strides over the whole course from threatening to promise.
By the fact that David fixed his headquarters in Jerusalem,  and then brought the sacred ark there,  Jerusalem became a hearth of  God.  Within a single year,  after only one more round of  feasts (to be interpreted according to Isa 32:10,  and probably spoken at the Passover),  Jehovah would make Jerusalem a besieged city,  full of  sighs (vahatsiiqoothii);  but  "she becomes to me like an Arîel,"  i.e.,  being qualified through me,  she will prove herself a hearth of  God,  by consuming the foes like a furnace,  or by their meeting with their destruction at Jerusalem,  like wood piled up on the altar and then consumed in flame.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The prophecy has thus passed over the whole ground in a few majestic words.
It now starts from the very beginning again, and first of  all expands the hoi (therefore).
It would have to go so far with Ariel first of  all,  that it would be besieged by a hostile force,  and would lie upon the ground in the greatest extremity,  and then would whisper with a ghostlike softness,  like a dying man,  or like a spirit without flesh and bones.

You shall be brought down

That the souls of the dead uttered a feeble stridulous sound,  very different from the natural human voice,  was a popular notion among the pagans as well as among the Jews.  This appears from several passages of  their poets;  Homer,  Virgil,  Horace.  The pretenders to the art of  necromancy,  who were chiefly women,  had an art of  speaking with a reigned voice,  so as to deceive those who applied to them,  by making them believe that it was the voice of the ghost.  They had a way of uttering sounds,  as if they were formed,  not by the organs of speech,  but deep in the chest,  or in the belly;  and were thence called engastrimuthoi, ventriloqui:  they could make the voice seem to come from beneath the ground,  from a distant part,  in another direction,  and not from themselves;  the better to impose upon those who consulted them.  From these arts of  the necromancers the popular notion seems to have arisen,  that the ghost's voice was a weak,  stridulous,  almost inarticulate sort of sound,  very different from the speech of the living.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Those that despise God's judgments shall be humbled by them;  for the proudest sinners shall either bend or break before him.  They had talked big,  had lifted up the horn on high,  and had spoken with a stiff neck (Ps 75:5);  but now thou shalt speak out of  the ground,  out of the dust,  as one that has a familiar spirit,  whispering out of  the dust. This intimates,

(1) That they should be faint and feeble
Not able to speak up,  nor to say all they would say;  but as those who are sick,  or whose spirits are ready to fail,  their speech shall be low and interrupted.
(2) That they should be fearful, and in consternation
Forced to speak low as being afraid lest their enemies should overhear them and take advantage against them.
(3) That they should be tame, and obliged to submit to the conquerors.
When Hezekiah submitted to the king of  Assyria,  saying,  "I have offended,  that which thou puttest on me I will bear"  (2 Kings 18:14),  then his speech was low,  out of the dust.
God can make those to crouch that have been most daring, and quite dispirit them.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 29:5-8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(5)  And like fine dust shall be the
multitude of your strangers; and like
flying chaff, the multitude of tyrants.”
And suddenly, in an instant,
But the wealth of the ungodly shall
be as dust from a wheel, and the
multitude of them that oppress thee
as flying chaff, and it shall be
suddenly as a moment,
But the multitude of them that scatter thee shall be as small dust, and as chaff that passed away the tumult of the mighty; and there shall be a tumult suddenly.
(6)  She shall be remembered of the
Lord of Hosts with roaring, and
shaking, and deafening noise,
storm, and tempest, and blaze of
consuming fire
from the Lord of hosts: for there
shall be a visitation with thunder,
and earthquake, and a loud noise,
a rushing tempest, and devouring
flame of fire.
From before the Lord of hosts shall it be ordained with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest (or, wind) and the flame of a destroying fire.
(7) Then, like a dream, a vision of
the night, shall be the multitude of
nations that war upon Ariel, and all
her besiegers, and the siege works
against her, and those who harass
her.
And the wealth of all the nations
together, as many as have fought
against Ariel, and all they that war
against Jerusalem, and all who are
gathered against her, and they that
distress her, shall be as one that
dreams in sleep by night.
And the multitude of all the nations that assemble against the city wherein is the altar, and all their hosts and their armies and they that oppress them, shall be as the dreaming of a nightmare.
(8)  Like one who is hungry and
dreams he is eating, but wakes to
find himself empty; and like one who
is thirsty and dreams he is drinking,
but wakes to find himself faint and
utterly parched – so shall be all the
multitude of nations that war upon
Mount Zion.
And as men drink and eat in sleep,
and when they have arisen, the dream
is vain: and as a thirsty man dreams
as if he drank, and having arisen is
still thirsty, and his soul has desired
in vain: so shall be the wealth of all
the nations, as many as have fought
against the mount Sion.
And it shall be as when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he eateth; but he awakes, and his soul still lacks: or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he drinks; but he wakes, and behold, he is faint, and his soul faints; so shall the multitude of all the nations be that assemble against Mount Zion.
From the NKJV
(5)  "Moreover the multitude of your foes shall be like fine dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones
Like chaff that passes away; yes, it shall be in an instant, suddenly.
(6)  You will be punished by the LORD of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire.
(7)  The multitude of all the nations who fight against Ariel, even all who fight against her and her fortress, and distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.  (8)  It shall even be as when a hungry man dreams, and look — he eats; but he awakes, and his soul is still empty; or as when a thirsty man dreams, and look — he drinks; but he awakes, and indeed he is faint, and his soul still craves: so the multitude of all the nations shall be, who fight against Mount Zion."

Thus far does the unfolding of  the hoi reach.  Now follows an unfolding of  the words of  promise,  which stand at the end of  verse 1.  The hostile army,  described four times as hâmoona groaning multitude,  is utterly annihilated through the terrible co-operation of  the forces of  nature which are let loose upon them (Isa 17:13).   The simile of the dream is applied in two different ways:

(1) verse 7 They will dissolve into nothing,  as if they had only the same apparent existence as a vision in a dream.
(2) verse 8 Their plan for taking Jerusalem will be put to shame,  and as utterly brought to naught as the eating or drinking of  a dreamer,  which turns out to be a delusion as soon as he awakes.
The hungry stomach is simply the object of  feeling,  and everything sensitive in the bodily organism is merely the medium of  sensation or feeling;  that which really feels is the soul.  The soul no sooner passes out of  the dreaming state into a waking condition,  than it feels that its desires are as unsatisfied as ever.  Just like such a dream will the army of  the enemy,  and that victory of  which it is so certain before the battle is fought,  fade away into nothing.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
 


LESSON  13  FROM  THE  AMPLIFIED  VERSION

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Isaiah 28:1 - 29:8 - from the Amplified Version

28:1   WOE TO [Samaria] the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim [the ten tribes], and to the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome and smitten down with wine!
(2)   Behold, the Lord has a strong and mighty one [the Assyrian]; like a tempest of hail, a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty overflowing waters, he will cast it down to the earth with violent hand.
(3)   With [alien] feet [Samaria] the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden down.
(4)   And the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like the early fig before the fruit harvest, which, when anyone sees it, he snatches and eats it up greedily at once. [So in an amazingly short time will the Assyrians devour Samaria, Israel's capital.]
(5)  [But] in that [future Messianic] day the Lord of hosts shall become a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the [converted] remnant of His people,
(6)   And a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment and administers the law, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
(7)   But even these reel from wine and stagger from strong drink: the priest and the prophet reel from strong drink; they are confused from wine, they stagger and are gone astray through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble when pronouncing judgment.
(8)   For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, so that there is no place that is clean.
(9)   To whom will He teach knowledge? [Ask the drunkards.] And whom will He make to understand the message? Those who are babies, just weaned from the milk and taken from the breasts? [Is that what He thinks we are?]
(10)  For it is [His prophets repeating over and over]: precept upon precept, precept upon precept, rule upon rule, rule upon rule; here a little, there a little.
Isa 28:11-21
(11)  No, but [the Lord will teach the rebels in a more humiliating way] by men with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people [says Isaiah, and teach them His lessons].
(12)  To these [complaining Jews the Lord] had said, This is the true rest [the way to true comfort and happiness] that you shall give to the weary, and, This is the [true] refreshing — yet they would not listen [to His teaching].
(13)  Therefore the word of the Lord will be to them [merely monotonous repeatings of]: precept upon precept, precept upon precept, rule upon rule, rule upon rule; here a little, there a little — that they may go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken.
(14)  Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem!
(15)  Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol (the place of the dead) we have an agreement — when the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter.
(16)  Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic]. [Ps 118:22; Matt 21:42; Acts 4:11; Rom 9:33; Eph 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4-6.]
(17)  I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the hiding place (the shelter).
(18)  And your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol (the place of the dead) shall not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you will be trodden down by it.
(19)  As often as it passes through, it [the enemy's scourge] will take you; for morning by morning will it pass through, by day and by night. And it will be utter terror merely to hear and comprehend the report and the message of it [but only hard treatment and dispersion will make you understand God's instruction].
(20)  For [they will find that] the bed is too short for a man to stretch himself on and the covering too narrow for him to wrap himself in. [All their sources of confidence will fail them.]
(21)  For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim, He will be wrathful as in the Valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work, and bring to pass His act, His strange act. [2 Sam 5:20; 1 Chron 14:16.]
Isa 28:22-29:8
(22)  Now therefore do not be scoffers, lest the bands which bind you be made strong; for a decree of destruction have I heard from the Lord God of hosts upon the whole land and the whole earth.
(23)  Give ear and hear my [Isaiah's] voice; listen and hear my words.
(24)  Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continue to plow and harrow the ground after it is smooth?
(25)  When he has leveled its surface, does he not cast abroad [the seed of] dill or fennel and scatter cummin [a seasoning], and put the wheat in rows, and barley in its intended place, and spelt [an inferior kind of wheat] as the border?
(26)  [And he trains each of them correctly] for his God instructs him correctly and teaches him.
(27)  For dill is not threshed with a sharp threshing instrument, nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin; but dill is beaten off with a staff, and cummin with a rod [by hand].
(28)  Does one crush bread grain? No, he does not thresh it continuously. But when he has driven his cartwheel and his horses over it, he scatters it [tossing it up to the wind] without having crushed it.
(29)  This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who is wonderful in counsel [and] excellent in wisdom and effectual working.

29:1   WOE TO Ariel [Jerusalem], to Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add yet another year; let the feasts run their round [but only one year more].
(2)   Then will I distress Ariel; and there shall be mourning and lamentation, yet she shall be to Me like an Ariel [an altar hearth, a hearth of burning, the altar of God].
(3)   And I will encamp against you round about; and I will hem you in with siege works and I will set up fortifications against you.
(4)   And you shall be laid low [Jerusalem], speaking from beneath the ground, and your speech shall come humbly from the dust. And your voice shall be like that of a ghost [produced by a medium] coming from the earth, and your speech shall whisper and squeak as it chatters from the dust.
(5)   But the multitude of your [enemy] strangers that assail you shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless and terrible ones like chaff that blows away. And in an instant, suddenly,
(6)   You shall be visited and delivered by the Lord of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a devouring fire.
(7)   And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel [Jerusalem], even all that fight against her and her stronghold and that distress her, shall be as a dream, a vision of the night.
(8)   It shall be as when a hungry man dreams that he is eating, but he wakens with his craving not satisfied; or as when a thirsty man dreams that he is drinking, but he wakens and is faint, and his thirst is not quenched. So shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.

 

(End of  Lesson 13)


 

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