Notes for Isa 28:1LEB

"Woe [to] the crown [or "wreath"] of the splendor [or "pride"] of the drunkards of Ephraim." The "crown" is Samaria, the capital city of the northern kingdom (Ephraim). Priests and prophets are included among these drunkards in v. 7.


"the beauty of his splendor." In the translation the masculine pronoun ("his") has been replaced by "its" because the referent (the "crown") is the city of Samaria.


"which [is]."


"ones overcome with wine." The words "the crown of" are supplied in the translation for clarification. The syntactical relationship of the final phrase to what precedes is uncertain. הֲלוּמֵי יָיִן (halume yayin, "ones overcome with wine") seems to correspond to שִׁכֹּרֵי אֶפְרַיִם (shikkore efrayim, "drunkards of Ephraim") in line 1. The translation assumes that the phrase "the splendid crown" is to be understood in the final line as well.


Notes for Isa 28:2LEB

The Hebrew term translated "sovereign master" here and in vv. 16, 22 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).


"Look, a strong and powerful [one] belongs to Yahweh."


"like a rainstorm of hail, a wind of destruction."


"like a rainstorm of mighty, overflowing waters."


The words "that crown" are supplied in the translation for clarification. The object of the verb is unexpressed in the Hebrew text.


Or "by [his] power."


Notes for Isa 28:4LEB

"which the one seeing sees, while still it is in his hand he swallows it."


Notes for Isa 28:5LEB

Or "in that day" (KJV).


Notes for Isa 28:6LEB

"and [he will become] a spirit of justice for the one who sits [i.e., presides] over judgment, // and strength [for] the ones who turn back battle at the city gate." The Lord will provide internal stability and national security.


Notes for Isa 28:7LEB

"these." The demonstrative pronoun anticipates "priests and prophets" two lines later.


According to HALOT 135 s.v. III בלע, the verb form is derived from בָּלַע (bala’, "confuse"), not the more common בָּלַע ("swallow"). See earlier notes at 3:12 and 9:16.


"in the seeing."


"[in] giving a decision."


Notes for Isa 28:8LEB

"vomit, without a place." For the meaning of the phrase בְּלִי מָקוֹם (béli maqom, "without a place"), see HALOT 133 s.v. בְּלִי.


Notes for Isa 28:9LEB

"he"; the referent (Yahweh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


"Who is he teaching knowledge? For whom is he explaining a message?" The translation assumes that Yahweh is the subject of the verbs "teaching" and "explaining," and that the prophet is asking the questions. See v. 12. According to some vv. 9–10 record the people’s sarcastic response to Yahweh’s message through Isaiah.


"from the breasts." The words "their mother’s" are supplied in the translation for clarification. The translation assumes that this is the prophet’s answer to the questions asked in the first half of the verse. The Lord is trying to instruct people who are "infants" morally and ethically.


Notes for Isa 28:10LEB

The meaning of this verse has been debated. The text has literally "indeed [or "for"] a little there, a little there" (ִּי צַו לָצָו צַו לָצָו קַו לָקָו קַו, ki tsav latsav, tsav latsav, qav laqav, qav laqav). The present translation assumes that the repetitive syllables are gibberish that resembles baby talk (cf v. 9b) and mimics what the people will hear when foreign invaders conquer the land (v. 11). In this case זְעֵיר (er, "a little") refers to the short syllabic structure of the babbling (cf. CEV). Some take צַו (tsav) as a derivative of צָוָה (tsavah, "command") and translate the first part of the statement as "command after command, command after command." Proponents of this position (followed by many English versions) also take קַו (qav) as a noun meaning "measuring line" (see v. 17), understood here in the abstract sense of "standard" or "rule."


Notes for Isa 28:11LEB

This verse alludes to the coming Assyrian invasion, when the people will hear a foreign language that sounds like gibberish to them. The Lord is the subject of the verb "will speak," as v. 12 makes clear. He once spoke in meaningful terms, but in the coming judgment he will speak to them, as it were, through the mouth of foreign oppressors. The apparent gibberish they hear will be an outward reminder that Yahweh has decreed their defeat.


Notes for Isa 28:12LEB

"who said to them."


This message encapsulates Yahweh’s invitation to his people to find security in his protection and blessing.


Notes for Isa 28:13LEB

"And the word of Yahweh will be to them, ‘tsahv latsahv,’ etc." See the note at v. 10. In this case the "Lord’s word" is not the foreigner’s strange sounding words (as in v. 10), but Yahweh’s repeated appeals to them (like the one quoted in v. 12). As time goes on, Yahweh’s appeals through the prophets will have no impact on the people; they will regard prophetic preaching as gibberish.


"as a result they will go and stumble backward." Perhaps an infant falling as it attempts to learn to walk is the background image here (cf. v. 9b). The Hebrew term לְמַעַן (lémaan) could be taken as indicating purpose ("in order that"), rather than simple result. In this case the people’s insensitivity to the message is caused by Yahweh as a means of expediting their downfall.


When divine warnings and appeals become gibberish to the spiritually insensitive, they have no guidance and are doomed to destruction.


Notes for Isa 28:15LEB

Sheol is the underworld, land of the dead, according to the OT world view.


Elsewhere the noun חֹזֶה (khozeh) refers to a prophet who sees visions. In v. 18 the related term חָזוּת (khazut, "vision") is used. The parallelism in both verses (note "treaty") seems to demand a meaning "agreement" for both nouns. Perhaps חֹזֶה and חזוּת are used in a metonymic sense in vv. 15 and 18. Another option is to propose a homonymic root. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:514, and HALOT 301 s.v. II חֹזֶה.


"the overwhelming scourge, when it passes by" (NRSV similar).


"Lie" and "deceitful word" would not be the terms used by the people. They would likely use the words "promise" and "reliable word," but the prophet substitutes "lie" and "deceitful word" to emphasize that this treaty with death will really prove to be disappointing.


Notes for Isa 28:16LEB

The Hebrew text has a third person verb form, which does not agree with the first person suffix that precedes. The form should be emended to יֹסֵד (yosed), a Qal active participle used in a present progressive or imminent future sense.


Traditionally "tested," but the implication is that it has passed the test and stands approved.


The reality behind the metaphor is not entirely clear from the context. The stone appears to represent someone or something that gives Zion stability. Perhaps the ideal Davidic ruler is in view (see 32:1). Another option is that the image of beginning a building project by laying a precious cornerstone suggests that Yahweh is about to transform Zion through judgment and begin a new covenant community that will experience his protection (see 4:3–6; 31:5; 33:20–24; 35:10).


"will not hurry," i.e., act in panic.


Notes for Isa 28:17LEB

"[the] refuge, [the] lie." See v. 15.


Notes for Isa 28:18LEB

On the meaning of כָּפַר (kafar) in this context, see HALOT 494 s.v. I כפר and J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:515, n. 9.


Normally the noun חָזוּת (khazut) means "vision." See the note at v. 15.


Or "will not stand" (NIV, NRSV).


See the note at v. 15.


"you will become a trampling place for it."


Notes for Isa 28:19LEB

Or "for" (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).


The words "it will come through" are supplied in the translation. The verb "will sweep by" does double duty in the parallel structure.


Notes for Isa 28:20LEB

The bed and blanket probably symbolize their false sense of security. A bed that is too short and a blanket that is too narrow may promise rest and protection from the cold, but in the end they are useless and disappointing. In the same way, their supposed treaty with death will prove useless and disappointing.


Notes for Isa 28:21LEB

This probably alludes to David’s victory over the Philistines at Baal Perazim. See 2 Sam 5:20LEB.


This probably alludes to Yahweh’s victory over the Canaanites at Gibeon, during the days of Joshua. See Josh 10:10–11LEB.


Yahweh's judgment of his own people is called "his peculiar work" and "his strange task," because he must deal with them the way he treated their enemies in the past.


Notes for Isa 28:22LEB

Or "the whole earth" (KJV, ASV, NAB, NCV).


Notes for Isa 28:23LEB

"to my voice."


"to my word"; cf. KJV, ASV, NRSV "hear my speech."


Notes for Isa 28:24LEB

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


Notes for Isa 28:25LEB

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


Notes for Isa 28:26LEB

"he teaches him the proper way, his Yahweh instructs him."


Notes for Isa 28:27LEB

Or "For" (KJV, ASV, NASB).


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


Notes for Isa 28:29LEB

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