Destruction is certain for the city of Samaria -- the pride and joy of the drunkards of Israel a ! It sits in a rich valley, but its glorious beauty will suddenly disappear. Destruction is certain for that city -- the pride of a people brought low by wine.
For the Lord will send the mighty Assyrian army against it. Like a mighty hailstorm and a torrential rain, they will burst upon it and dash it to the ground.
The proud city of Samaria -- the pride and joy of the drunkards of Israel -- will be trampled beneath its enemies' feet.
It sits in a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will suddenly disappear. It will be greedily snatched up, as an early fig is hungrily picked and eaten.
Then at last the LORD Almighty will himself be Israel's crowning glory. He will be the pride and joy of the remnant of his people.
He will give a longing for justice to their judges. He will give great courage to their warriors who stand at the gates.
Now, however, Israel is being led by drunks! The priests and prophets reel and stagger from beer and wine. They make stupid mistakes as they carry out their responsibilities.
Their tables are covered with vomit; filth is everywhere.
They say, "Who does the LORD think we are? Why does he speak to us like this? Are we little children, barely old enough to talk?
He tells us everything over and over again, a line at a time, in very simple words! b "
Since they refuse to listen, God will speak to them through foreign oppressors who speak an unknown language!
God's people could have rest in their own land if they would only obey him, but they will not listen.
So the LORD will spell out his message for them again, repeating it over and over, a line at a time, in very simple words. Yet they will stumble over this simple, straightforward message. They will be injured, trapped, and captured.
Therefore, listen to this message from the LORD, you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem.
You boast that you have struck a bargain to avoid death and have made a deal to dodge the grave. c You say, "The Assyrians can never touch us, for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception."
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem. d It is firm, a tested and precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never run away again. e17
"I will take the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness to check the foundation wall you have built. Your refuge looks strong, but since it is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, the enemy will come like a flood to sweep it away.
I will cancel the bargain you made to avoid death, and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave. When the terrible enemy floods in, you will be trampled into the ground.
Again 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.
For you have no place of refuge -- the bed you have made is too short to lie on. The blankets are too narrow to cover you.
The LORD will come suddenly and in anger, as he did against the Philistines at Mount Perazim and against the Amorites at Gibeon. He will come to do a strange, unusual thing: He will destroy his own people!
So scoff no more, or your punishment will be even greater. For the Lord, the LORD Almighty, has plainly told me that he is determined to crush you.
Listen to me; listen as I plead!
Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting it?
Does he not finally plant his seeds for dill, cumin, wheat, barley, and spelt, each in its own section of his land?
The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding.
He doesn't thresh all his crops the same way. A heavy sledge is never used on dill; rather, it is beaten with a light stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin; instead, it is beaten softly with a flail.
Bread grain 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.
The LORD Almighty is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)