Isaiah 28-

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!

Ephraim was the leading tribe in Israel. They were once gloriously rich, but are now fading fast.

2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one (army), which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

“Assyria is going to beat you up.”

3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:

This would be the capital city, Samaria.

4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

Samaria will be demolished like a piece of fresh summer fruit.

5 In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

Those that love the Lord will shine beautifully.

6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.

The judges and soldiers will become brave and honest.

7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

But alcoholism will distort things and cause a lot of problems.

8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

Everything is contaminated.

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

Who can God educate to lead? Those who are old enough to except responsibility.

Or, according to the Living Bible, “Who does Isaiah think he is? Are we just little kids?”

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

We don’t any of us suddenly become mature and wise. It is added a little at a time, each lesson built on previous lessons.

Or “Isaiah keeps repeating the same thing over and over, and in simplistic language like he thinks we are stupid.”

11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people.

There will come a time when God will not limit Himself to speaking to His people through prophets. He will speak through each believer individually.

Peter said this verse was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. From that time forward, God has spoken to the hearts of His people and used the mouths of any believer willing to give Him control.

12 To whom He said, “This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing:” yet they would not hear.

Jesus is our rest. He is our Sabbath.

God actually offered this intimate relationship to all of Israel back in the days of Moses, but they were too afraid and stubborn to accept it. So God reserved it for the Christian church.

13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

“13 So the Lord will spell it out for them again, repeating it over and over in simple words whenever he can; yet over this simple, straightforward message they will stumble and fall and be broken, trapped and captured.” -LB

14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

The leaders are the worst of the unbelievers, probably thinking themselves better than anyone else and even above listening to God.

15 Because ye have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:”

Israel had made a treaty with Assyria in order to protect themselves from other enemies. They think this will protect them from Assyria, too, but it won’t.

16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”

Jesus is that Corner Stone. If we build on Him we have no need to be afraid and run away.

17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

A plummet is a string with a weight on the end that is used to see if a wall is straight.

Jesus is our plummet. He measures if we are righteous or not. Israel failed this measurement and all their efforts to protect themselves will fail.

18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

Assyria will break their treaty and will destroy Israel.

19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.

20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.

Imagine the discomfort and annoyance of trying to sleep in a bed that is way too small with nothing but a baby blanket for a covering. This is what Israel has done.

21 For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.

After all of God's protecting Israel, He is going to do a strange thing and let Assyria destroy them.

22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.

“Earth” here means “land” not planet.

23 Give ye ear, and hear My voice; hearken, and hear My speech.

“Please, PLEASE listen to Me!”

24 Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? Doth he open and break the clods of his ground?

“Does a farmer only plow?”

25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place?

“Doesn’t he eventually plant his seeds?”

26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.

God has shown farmers how to properly grow crops.

27 For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.

This is speaking of the special each type of crop needs. Wheat you harvest and then beat hard with a threshing stick or roll over it with a threshing wheel drawn by an ox. But fitches (dill?) and cumin are too fragile for that. Those treat gentler.

28 Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.

“Corn” is the 16th century English term for whatever the major local grain is; in this case, wheat. They did not know about what we call corn (maize) today.

Grains are also different depending on their toughness. If you aren’t careful, you can grind some grains to flour during the threshing. You have to be wise.

29 This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.