Isaiah 28:1

Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley— to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!

Isaiah 28:1 in Other Translations

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!
1 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!
1 What sorrow awaits the proud city of Samaria— the glorious crown of the drunks 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.
1 Doom to the pretentious drunks of Ephraim, shabby and washed out and seedy - Tipsy, sloppy-fat, beer-bellied parodies of a proud and handsome past.
1 Woe to the majestic crown of Ephraim's drunkards, and to the fading flower of its beautiful splendor, which is on the summit above the rich valley. [Woe] to those overcome with wine.

Isaiah 28:1 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 28:1

Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim
Or, "of the drunkards of Ephraim": or, "O crown of pride, O drunkards of Ephraim F12"; who are both called upon, and a woe denounced against them. Ephraim is put for the ten tribes, who were drunk either in a literal sense, for to the sin of drunkenness were they addicted, ( Hosea 7:5 ) ( Amos 6:6 ) . The Jews say F13, that wine of Prugiatha (which perhaps was a place noted for good wine), and the waters of Diomasit (baths), cut off the ten tribes from Israel; which both Jarchi and Kimchi, on the place, make mention of; that is, as Buxtorf F14 interprets it, pleasures and delights destroyed the ten tribes. The inhabitants of Samaria, and the places adjacent, especially were addicted to this vice; these places abounding with excellent wines. Sichem, which were in these parts, is thought to be called, from the drunkenness of its inhabitants, Sychar, ( John 4:5 ) this is a sin very uncomely in any, but especially in professors of religion, as these were, and ought to be declaimed against: or they were drunkards in a metaphorical sense, either with idolatry, the two calves being set up in Dan and Bethel, which belonged to the ten tribes; just as the kings of the earth are said to be drunk with the wine of antichrist's fornication, or the idolatry of the church of Rome, ( Revelation 17:2 ) or with pride and haughtiness, being elated with the fruitfulness of their country, their great affluence and riches, and numbers of people; in all which they were superior to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and in which they piqued themselves, and are therefore called "the crown of pride"; and especially their king may be meant, who was lifted up with pride that he ruled over such a country and people; or rather the city of Samaria, the metropolis of the ten tribes, and the royal city. Perhaps there may be an allusion to the crowns wore by drunkards at their revels, and particularly by such who were mighty to drink wine or strong drink, and overcame others, and triumphed in it: pride and sensuality are the vices condemned, and they often go together: whose glorious beauty;
which lay in the numbers of their inhabitants, in their wealth and riches, and in their fruits of corn and wine: [is] a fading flower;
not to be depended on, soon destroyed, and quickly gone: which [are] on the head of the fat valleys;
meaning particularly the corn and wine, the harvest and vintage, with which the fruitful valleys being covered, looked very beautiful and glorious: very probably particular respect is had to Samaria, the head of the kingdom, and which was situated on a hill, and surrounded with fruitful valleys; for not Jerusalem is here meant, as Cocceius; nor Gethsemane, by the fat valleys, as Jerom: of them that are overcome with wine;
or smitten, beaten F15 knocked down with it, as with a hammer, and laid prostrate on the ground, where they lie fixed to it, not able to get up; a true picture of a drunkard, that is conquered by wine, and enslaved unto it; see ( Isaiah 28:3 ) .


F12 (Myrpa yrkv twag trje ywh) "vae coronae erectionis ebriorum Ephraimi", Cocceius, Gataker.
F13 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 147. 2.
F14 Lex. Talmud. col. 529.
F15 (Nyy ymwlh) "concussi vino", Pagninus, "percussi vino", so some in Vatablus; "conquassantur vel conculcantur a vino", Forerius; "contusorum a vino", Cocceius.

Isaiah 28:1 In-Context

1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley— to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, will be trampled underfoot.
4 That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like figs ripe before harvest— as soon as people see them and take them in hand, they swallow them.
5 In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 29:1; Isaiah 30:1; Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 33:1
  • 2. ver 3; Isaiah 7:2; Isaiah 9:9
  • 3. ver 4
  • 4. S Leviticus 10:9; Isaiah 5:11; Hosea 7:5; Amos 6:6
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