Isaiah 28 – “Doom for Ephraim and Judah; A Rationale for Discipline”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Ephraim’s drunkards will be killed and Judah’s sinners will be swept away. Isaiah explains that God punishes his people for a reason, much like a farmer who beats a crop of cumin.

II. Photo
God punishes his people for a reason: “For [God] teaches him the right manner… [much like] black cumin which is beaten out with a stick and cumin with a rod.” (vv. 26-27)

III. Important Verses
7-13: 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. Yea, all tables are covered With vomit and filth, So that no space is left.  “To whom would he give instruction? To whom expound a message? To those newly weaned from milk, Just taken away from the breast? That same mutter upon mutter, Murmur upon murmur, Now here, now there!” Truly, as one who speaks to that people in a stammering jargon and an alien tongue 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. 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.
23-28:  Give diligent ear to my words, Attend carefully to what I say. Does he who plows to sow Plow all the time, Breaking up and furrowing his land?  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? For He teaches him the right manner, His God instructs him. 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 beaten out with a stick And cumin with a rod. It is cereal that is crushed. For even if he threshes it thoroughly, And the wheel of his sledge and his horses overwhelm it, He does not crush it.
29: That, too, is ordered by the LORD of Hosts; His counsel is unfathomable, His wisdom marvelous.

IV. Outline

1-13. Condemnation for Ephraim
    1-4. Doom for the drunkards of Ephraim
    5-6. The coming glory of God
    7-13. Doom for the drunken leaders of Ephraim
14-22. Condemnation of Judah’s arrogance
    14. Exhortation
    15. The pride of the Judeans
    16-19. Oracle: God will protect those who trust in him and punish the sinners
    20-22. Summation: God will perform his task
23-28. Analogy: God punishes his people like a farmer beats cumin
29. Praise of God’s wisdom

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. “Isaiah 1-39” The Anchor Bible vol. 19 (New York: Doubleday, 2000).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Sweeney, Marvin A. “Isaiah 1-39 with an Introduction to Prophetic Literature” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 16 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1996).
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