A Message about Samaria
1What sorrow awaits the proud city of Samaria—
the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel.#  Hebrew What sorrow awaits the crowning glory of the drunks of Ephraim, referring to Samaria, capital of the northern kingdom of Israel.
It sits at the head of a fertile valley,
but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower.
It is the pride of a people
brought down by wine.
2For the Lord will send a mighty army against it.
Like a mighty hailstorm and a torrential rain,
they will burst upon it like a surging flood
and smash it to the ground.
3The proud city of Samaria—
the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel#  Hebrew The crowning glory of the drunks of Ephraim; see note on 28:1.
will be trampled beneath its enemies’ feet.
4It sits at the head of a fertile valley,
but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower.
Whoever sees it will snatch it up,
as an early fig is quickly picked and eaten.
5Then at last the lord of Heaven’s Armies
will himself be Israel’s glorious crown.
He will be the pride and joy
of the remnant of his people.
6He will give a longing for justice
to their judges.
He will give great courage
to their warriors who stand at the gates.
7Now, however, Israel is led by drunks
who reel with wine and stagger with alcohol.
The priests and prophets stagger with alcohol
and lose themselves in wine.
They reel when they see visions
and stagger as they render decisions.
8Their tables are covered with vomit;
filth is everywhere.
9“Who does the lord think we are?” they ask.
“Why does he speak to us like this?
Are we little children,
just recently weaned?
10He tells us everything over and over—
one line at a time,
one line at a time,
a little here,
and a little there!”
11So now God will have to speak to his people
through foreign oppressors who speak a strange language!
12God has told his people,
“Here is a place of rest;
let the weary rest here.
This is a place of quiet rest.”
But they would not listen.
13So the lord will spell out his message for them again,
one line at a time,
one line at a time,
a little here,
and a little there,
so that they will stumble and fall.
They will be injured, trapped, and captured.
14Therefore, listen to this message from the lord,
you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem.
15You boast, “We have struck a bargain to cheat death
and have made a deal to dodge the grave.#  Hebrew Sheol; also in 28:18.
The coming destruction can never touch us,
for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception.”
16Therefore, this is what the Sovereign lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,#  Hebrew in Zion.
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.#  Greek version reads Look! I am placing a stone in the foundation of Jerusalem [literally Zion], / a precious cornerstone for its foundation, chosen for great honor. / Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced. Compare Rom 9:33; 1 Pet 2:6.
17I will test you with the measuring line of justice
and the plumb line of righteousness.
Since your refuge is made of lies,
a hailstorm will knock it down.
Since it is made of deception,
a flood will sweep it away.
18I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death,
and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave.
When the terrible enemy sweeps through,
you will be trampled into the ground.
19Again and again that flood will come,
morning after morning,
day and night,
until you are carried away.”
This message will bring terror to your people.
20The bed you have made is too short to lie on.
The blankets are too narrow to cover you.
21The lord will come as he did against the Philistines at Mount Perazim
and against the Amorites at Gibeon.
He will come to do a strange thing;
he will come to do an unusual deed:
22For the Lord, the lord of Heaven’s Armies,
has plainly said that he is determined to crush the whole land.
So scoff no more,
or your punishment will be even greater.
23Listen to me;
listen, and pay close attention.
24Does a farmer always plow and never sow?
Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting?
25Does he not finally plant his seeds—
black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—
each in its proper way,
and each in its proper place?
26The farmer knows just what to do,
for God has given him understanding.
27A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin;
rather, it is beaten with a light stick.
A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin;
instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail.
28Grain for bread is easily crushed,
so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.
He threshes it under the wheels of a cart,
but he doesn’t pulverize it.
29The lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher,
and he gives the farmer great wisdom.
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Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188. All rights reserved.