Isaiah 28:17

17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place.

Read Isaiah 28:17 Using Other Translations

Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter."
I 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.

What does Isaiah 28:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Isaiah 28:17

Judgment also will I lay to the line
A metaphor taken from builders, who in building use the line and plummet to carry on their work even and regular, retaining such stones as agree thereunto, and rejecting such as do not; signifying, that in the spiritual building, where Christ is the foundation and cornerstone, such as are built thereon shall continue and grow up regularly into a holy temple; but those that set at nought this precious stone, and build upon the sandy foundation of their own righteousness, betake themselves to a refuge of lies, and cover themselves in their own hiding places, as well as all such who go on in their sins, shall be rejected by the righteous judgment of God: and righteousness to the plummet;
meaning the same as before; or, "I will lay judgment by the line, and righteousness by the plummet" {w}; the rule of the divine law, by which it will appear whether their actions are agreeable to it, or the righteousness they trust in answerable to it; or the sense is, that at the same time that God would preserve and secure his own people upon the sure foundation Christ, he would punish others, according to the strict rules of justice, as his righteous law required, and according to the just demerit of sin. Kimchi interprets it, but very wrongly, of the justice and equity that should take place in the reign of Hezekiah, which were wanting at the time of this prophecy; but the preceding prophecy regards Christ, and not Hezekiah; and therefore is rather to be understood of the right and equal distribution of justice and judgment in the administration of government by him: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies;
the lies they made their refuge, ( Isaiah 28:15 ) their lying prophets, their idols, their riches, their righteousness, and everything in which they placed their confidence; for all refuges, be they what they will, are lying ones, and will deceive, excepting Christ and his righteousness; all which are easily and at once swept away, with the besom of avenging justice, when God takes it in hand. The phrase denotes the facility and suddenness of the destruction, and the entirety of it, which should be brought about by means of a "hail" storm, the same with that in ( Isaiah 28:2 ) which designs the Assyrian, or rather the Roman army, since the prophecy preceding relates to the times of Christ; and it may be, by the refuge of lies may be meant the temple, in which the Jews greatly placed their confidence, as Cocceius thinks: and the waters shall overflow the hiding place;
the city of Jerusalem, where they hid, and thought themselves safe: a mighty army rushing into a city, and putting the inhabitants to the sword, or to flight, or obliging them to surrender, may be fitly signified by an inundation of water; see ( Isaiah 8:7 Isaiah 8:8 ) very probably the army of the Romans under Vespasian.


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