Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of E'phraim, and to 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 will cast down to the earth with violence.
The proud crown of the drunkards of E'phraim will be trodden under foot;
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 a man sees it, he eats it up 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 confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.
For all tables are full of vomit, no place is without filthiness.
"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."
Nay, but by men of strange lips and with an alien 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.
Therefore 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.
Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem!
Because 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";
therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: 'He who believes will not be in haste.'
And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter."
Then 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.
As 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.
For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.
For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Pera'zim, he will be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; to do his deed--strange is his deed! and to work his work--alien is his work!
Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord GOD of hosts upon the whole land.
Give ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.
Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? does he continually open and harrow his ground?
When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cummin, and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border?
For he is instructed aright; his God teaches him.
Dill 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.
Does one crush bread grain? No, he does not thresh it for ever; when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it.
This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)