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Judgment on Corrupt Rulers, Priests, and Prophets

1Ah, the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim,

and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,

which is on the head of those bloated with rich food, of those overcome with wine!

2See, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;

like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,

like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters;

with his hand he will hurl them down to the earth.

3Trampled under foot will be

the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim.

4And the fading flower of its glorious beauty,

which is on the head of those bloated with rich food,

will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer;

whoever sees it, eats it up

as soon as it comes to hand.

5In that day the Lord of hosts will be a garland of glory,

and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people;

6and a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment,

and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

7These also reel with wine

and stagger with strong drink;

the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,

they are confused with wine,

they stagger with strong drink;

they err in vision,

they stumble in giving judgment.

8All tables are covered with filthy vomit;

no place is clean.

9“Whom will he teach knowledge,

and to whom will he explain the message?

Those who are weaned from milk,

those taken from the breast?

10For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,

line upon line, line upon line,

here a little, there a little.”

11Truly, with stammering lip

and with alien tongue

he will speak to this people,

12to whom he has said,

“This is rest;

give rest to the weary;

and this is repose”;

yet they would not hear.

13Therefore the word of the Lord will be to them,

“Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,

line upon line, line upon line,

here a little, there a little;”

in order that they may go, and fall backward,

and be broken, and snared, and taken.

14Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers

who rule this people in Jerusalem.

15Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,

and with Sheol we have an agreement;

when the overwhelming scourge passes through

it will not come to us;

for we have made lies our refuge,

and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;

16therefore thus says the Lord God,

See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,

a tested stone,

a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:

“One who trusts will not panic.”

17And I will make justice the line,

and righteousness the plummet;

hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,

and waters will overwhelm the shelter.

18Then your covenant with death will be annulled,

and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;

when the overwhelming scourge passes through

you will be beaten down by it.

19As often as it passes through, it will take you;

for morning by morning it will pass through,

by day and by night;

and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.

20For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it,

and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.

21For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim,

he will rage as in the valley of Gibeon

to do his deed—strange is his deed!—

and to work his work—alien is his work!

22Now therefore do not scoff,

or your bonds will be made stronger;

for I have heard a decree of destruction

from the Lord God of hosts upon the whole land.

23Listen, and hear my voice;

Pay attention, and hear my speech.

24Do those who plow for sowing plow continually?

Do they continually open and harrow their ground?

25When they have leveled its surface,

do they not scatter dill, sow cummin,

and plant wheat in rows

and barley in its proper place,

and spelt as the border?

26For they are well instructed;

their God teaches them.

27Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,

nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin;

but dill is beaten out with a stick,

and cummin with a rod.

28Grain is crushed for bread,

but one does not thresh it forever;

one drives the cart wheel and horses over it,

but does not pulverize it.

29This also comes from the Lord of hosts;

he is wonderful in counsel,

and excellent in wisdom.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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