Corruption of Israel

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In the next three chapters Isaiah pronounces five woes on those who scorn God’s word. A sixth “woe” is found in (Isa. 33:1). Interspersed with these “woes” of judgment are promises of restoration and glory. Isaiah is pronouncing this series of “woes” primarily against those who are opposing his words. He is addressing the leaders of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms for their failure to heed God’s word.

The first “woe” is pronounced on the crown of pride and the drunkards of Ephraim (vv. 1-4). This reference is obviously to Samaria, the capital of Ephraim. The Northern Kingdom was throwing away the blessing of God as a drunkard throws away his money trying to obtain more drink (vv. 5-13). Isaiah refers to the people and their leaders as being drunk at a banquet table covered with vomit (v. 8). No wonder the nation was ripe for judgment.

The people are complaining that all they ever hear from this prophet is one rule and one standard after another and they are weary of it. This is because they have never learned to obey the one who is the source of all standards. They will not listen to God’s message and they consider it as a repetition of annoying rules and regulations (v. 10). Isaiah tells them that if they do not want to listen to his “lecturing” then they will be “lectured” to by another people who have a different speech.


I need to listen to those that God places in my path as leaders and authority in my life. If I refuse to listen to them, I may have serious consequences come into my life.

Isaiah 28:1-13 (English Standard Version)

Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand. The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot; and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand. In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment. For all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left. "To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little." For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the LORD will speak to this people, to whom he has said, "This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose"; yet they would not hear. And 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, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

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