King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Isaiah 28

The desolations of Samaria. (1-4) The prosperity of Judah; with reproofs for sinfulness and unbelief. (5-15) Christ is pointed out as the sure Foundation for all believers. (16-22) God’s dealings with his people. (23-29)

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The desolations of Samaria

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!

2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:

4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

The prosperity of Judah; with reproofs for sinfulness and unbelief

5 In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.

7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

Christ is pointed out as the sure Foundation for all believers

16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

17 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.

18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.

20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.

21 For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.

22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.

God’s dealings with his people

23 Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.

24 Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?

25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?

26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.

27 For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.

28 Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.

29 This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Ephraim. That is, the kingdom of the ten tribes. Ch. — Flower. The pride of the kingdom shall thus decay. M. — Head. Samaria, situated on a hill, having under it a most fertile valley. Ch. — See Amos ii. 6. and iv. 2. Samaria was taken in the sixth year of Ezechias.

Ver. 2. The Lord. By his instrument, Salmanasar. H. — Heb. “behold the strong one, and the mighty to the Lord, as,” &c. C. — Sept. “behold the Lord’s fury…as,” &c. H.

Ver. 4. Up. Theglathphalassar was captivated with the beauty of the country, and made it tributary. But Salmanasar, fearing a revolt, destroyed it. 4 K. xvii. 4.

Ver. 5. People, who returned to the service of God; or it refer to the kingdom of Juda.

Ver. 6. Gate. Ezechias reunited the divided kingdoms, and inspired his troops with courage, bringing them back victorious. 2 Par. xxx. 1. and 4 K. xviii. 7. C.

Ver. 7. These also. The kingdom of Juda. Ch. — Ezechias could not correct every abuse; though what is here specified, regards rather the reigns of his successors.

Ver. 8. Place. All was defiled: they gloried in their shame.

Ver. 9. Breasts? S. Paul seems to allude to this text. 1 Cor. iii. 2. C. — The abandoned Jews ask contemptuously, if they be to be taught like children? H.

Ver. 10. Command, &c. This is said in the person of the Jews, resisting the repeated commands of God, and still putting him off. Ch. — They deride the prophets, speaking words of no meaning, as if their predictions were no better. S. Jer. — Think they that we have to learn the first elements, or to join syllables together? C. — Heb. Tsau latsau, &c. H. — The Nicholaites abused these words. S. Epiph. 25. — Why do they not speak plain? Sometimes terrible things are denounced, God will lead them into a country where they shall indeed have to learn the language, like children. C. xxix. 11. C. — Prot. “for precept must be upon precept…line upon line…here a little, and there a little. For with stammering lips,” &c. H.

Ver. 12. Hear. To leave off their wicked practices, and cruelty. The Jews would not understand: therefore Christ spoke to them in parables. C. vi. 9. Mat. xiii. 14. &c.

Ver. 13. Taken. God will make his prophets speak, notwithstanding your repugnance; or he will reduce you to the necessity of learning an unknown language. C.

Ver. 14. Men, who make a parade of your knowledge, (H.) to turn the most sacred things into ridicule.

Ver. 15. Protected. Their conduct spoke this language. They would not fail to make alliances with Egypt, and to trust in idols, whatever the prophets might say to dissuade them. C.

Ver. 16. Stone. Christ. Ch. — The Jews and Grotius would apply it to Ezechias. But he was already on the throne, and never could realize these glorious promises. The people were not to believe in him, &c. C. — Hasten. Let him expect his coming with patience. Ch. — It would be delayed some time. Heb. may also signify “stagger;” (C.) in which sense the Sept. and the authors of the New Test. seem to have taken it. “Whosoever believeth in him, shall not be confounded.” See Rom. ix. 33. H. — Isaias promises a Redeemer, though these people were unworthy; and then returns to his own times. M.

Ver. 17. Measure. In the days of the Redeemer, they shall lead a virtuous life, (C.) or the scorners shall be treated with rigour. — Protection. The wall, (M.) or lies, (v. 15. C.) on which you depend, shall turn to your confusion. H.

Ver. 19. Hear. Under the last kings of Juda, the misery was continual. Captivity opened the eyes of the people, and they were afterwards more docile. The murder of Christ, and the subsequent evils which befell the nation, seem to have had a quite different effect. They will at last submit to his yoke. C.

Ver. 20. Straitened. It is too narrow to hold two: God will have the bed of our heart all to himself. Ch. 1 Cor. x. 20. and 2 Cor. vi. 14. S. Jer. &c. — The Jews explain it of the utmost distress, to which the people would be reduced, so that they would not be able to assist a friend. Amos iii. 12. Forcr. C.

Ver. 21. As in, &c. As the Lord fought against the Philistines in Baal Pharisim, (2 K. v.) and against the Chanaanites, in the valley of Gabaon. Jos. x. Ch. — Strange. He punished unwillingly. C. — “It is not God’s work to ruin what he has created.” S. Jer. — He will punish in an extraordinary manner those scoffers. v. 15. Num. xvi. 29. Piscat.

Ver. 22. Earth. Nabuchodonosor will take a complete and speedy vengeance. C. x. 22.

Ver. 24. Sow. The works of the husbandman vary, so will God’s punishments be inflicted with measure, according to each one’s deserts. v. 27. Wisd. vi. 7. C.

Ver. 25. Gith. Heb. ketsach. Sept. melanthion. H. Pliny xx. 17. M. — Sept. have not expressed all the terms of the original, (H.) being perhaps ignorant of their meaning. S. Jer.

Ver. 26. God. From him proceeds every useful invention. The pagans attributed the discovery of corn, &c. to their idols.

Ver. 27. Saws, or heavy instruments. It would be thus crushed too much. C.

Ver. 28. But. Sept. “it shall be eaten with bread. For I will not be angry with you for ever, nor shall the sounds of my bitter wrath trample upon you.” H.

Ver. 29. This also, &c. Such also is the proceeding of the Lord with his land, and the diverse seeds he sows therein. Ch.