Chapter 28

1Ah, the proud crowns of the drunkards of Efraim, Whose glorious beauty is but wilted flowers On the heads of men bloated with rich food, Who are overcome by wine!

אהוֹי עֲטֶרֶת גֵּאוּת שִׁכֹּרֵי אֶפְרַיִם וְצִיץ נֹבֵל צְבִי תִפְאַרְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עַל־רֹאשׁ גֵּיא־שְׁמָנִים הֲלוּמֵי יָיִן׃

2Lo, my Lord has something strong and mighty, Like a storm of hail, A shower of pestilence. Something like a storm of massive, torrential rain Shall be hurled with force to the ground.

בהִנֵּה חָזָק וְאַמִּץ לַאדֹנָי כְּזֶרֶם בָּרָד שַׂעַר קָטֶב כְּזֶרֶם מַיִם כַּבִּירִים שֹׁטְפִים הִנִּיחַ לָאָרֶץ בְּיָד׃

3Trampled underfoot shall be The proud crowns of the drunkards of Efraim,

גבְּרַגְלַיִם תֵּרָמַסְנָה עֲטֶרֶת גֵּאוּת שִׁכּוֹרֵי אֶפְרָיִם׃

4The wilted flowers— On the heads of men bloated with rich food— That are his glorious beauty. They shall be like an early fig Before the fruit harvest; Whoever sees it devours it While it is still in his hand.

דוְהָיְתָה צִיצַת נֹבֵל צְבִי תִפְאַרְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עַל־רֹאשׁ גֵּיא שְׁמָנִים כְּבִכּוּרָהּ בְּטֶרֶם קַיִץ אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה הָרֹאֶה אוֹתָהּ בְּעוֹדָהּ בְּכַפּוֹ יִבְלָעֶנָּה׃

5In that day, the lord of Hosts shall become a crown of beauty and a diadem of glory for the remnant of His people,

הבַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת לַעֲטֶרֶת צְבִי וְלִצְפִירַת תִּפְאָרָה לִשְׁאָר עַמּוֹ׃

6and a spirit of judgment for him who sits in judgment and of valor for those who repel attacks at the gate.

ווּלְרוּחַ מִשְׁפָּט לַיּוֹשֵׁב עַל־הַמִּשְׁפָּט וְלִגְבוּרָה מְשִׁיבֵי מִלְחָמָה שָׁעְרָה׃

7But these are also muddled by wine And dazed by liquor: Kohen and Navi Are muddled by liquor; They are confused by wine, They are dazed by liquor; They are muddled in their visions, They stumble in judgment.

זוְגַם־אֵלֶּה בַּיַּיִן שָׁגוּ וּבַשֵּׁכָר תָּעוּ כֹּהֵן וְנָבִיא שָׁגוּ בַשֵּׁכָר נִבְלְעוּ מִן־הַיַּיִן תָּעוּ מִן־הַשֵּׁכָר שָׁגוּ בָּרֹאֶה פָּקוּ פְּלִילִיָּה׃

8Yea, all tables are covered With vomit and filth, So that no space is left.

חכִּי כָּל־שֻׁלְחָנוֹת מָלְאוּ קִיא צֹאָה בְּלִי מָקוֹם׃

9“To whom would he give instruction? To whom expound a message? To those newly weaned from milk, Just taken away from the breast?

טאֶת־מִי יוֹרֶה דֵעָה וְאֶת־מִי יָבִין שְׁמוּעָה גְּמוּלֵי מֵחָלָב עַתִּיקֵי מִשָּׁדָיִם׃

10That same mutter upon mutter, Murmur upon murmur, Now here, now there!”

יכִּי צַו לָצָו צַו לָצָו קַו לָקָו קַו לָקָו זְעֵיר שָׁם זְעֵיר שָׁם׃

11Truly, as one who speaks to that people in a stammering jargon and an alien tongue

יאכִּי בְּלַעֲגֵי שָׂפָה וּבְלָשׁוֹן אַחֶרֶת יְדַבֵּר אֶל־הָעָם הַזֶּה׃

12is he who declares to them, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest; this is the place of re pose.” They refuse to listen.

יבאֲשֶׁר אָמַר אֲלֵיהֶם זֹאת הַמְּנוּחָה הָנִיחוּ לֶעָיֵף וְזֹאת הַמַּרְגֵּעָה וְלֹא אָבוּא שְׁמוֹעַ׃

13To them the word of Hashem is: “Mutter upon mutter, Murmur upon murmur, Now here, now there.” And so they will march, But they shall fall backward, And be injured and snared and captured.

יגוְהָיָה לָהֶם דְּבַר־יְהֹוָה צַו לָצָו צַו לָצָו קַו לָקָו קַו לָקָו זְעֵיר שָׁם זְעֵיר שָׁם לְמַעַן יֵלְכוּ וְכָשְׁלוּ אָחוֹר וְנִשְׁבָּרוּ וְנוֹקְשׁוּ וְנִלְכָּדוּ׃

14Hear now the word of Hashem, You men of mockery, Who govern that people In Yerushalayim!

ידלָכֵן שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אַנְשֵׁי לָצוֹן מֹשְׁלֵי הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

15For you have said, “We have made a covenant with Death, Concluded a pact with Sheol. When the sweeping flood passes through, It shall not reach us; For we have made falsehood our refuge, Taken shelter in treachery.”

טוכִּי אֲמַרְתֶּם כָּרַתְנוּ בְרִית אֶת־מָוֶת וְעִם־שְׁאוֹל עָשִׂינוּ חֹזֶה שיט [שׁוֹט] שׁוֹטֵף כִּי־עבר [יַעֲבֹר] לֹא יְבוֹאֵנוּ כִּי שַׂמְנוּ כָזָב מַחְסֵנוּ וּבַשֶּׁקֶר נִסְתָּרְנוּ׃

16Assuredly, Thus said Hashem: “Behold, I will found in Tzion, Stone by stone, A tower of precious cornerstones, Exceedingly firm; He who trusts need not fear.

la-KHAYN KO a-MAR a-do-NAI e-lo-HEEM hi-n'-NEE yi-SAD b'-tzi-YON A-ven E-ven BO-khan pi-NAT yik-RAT mu-SAD mu-SAD ha-ma-a-MEEN LO ya-KHEESH

טזלָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיּוֹן אָבֶן אֶבֶן בֹּחַן פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ׃

 28:16 I will found in Tzion, stone by stone

The Hebrew word for ‘stone’ is even (אבן). What is interesting about this word is that it contains within it the Hebrew words for ‘father,’ av (אב), and ‘son,’ ben (בן). Once again, the Hebrew root of a simple word teaches a profound lesson, by alluding to the fact that the bond between a father and his son is as strong as a rock, and as precious as a fine stone.

17But I will apply judgment as a measuring line And retribution as weights; Hail shall sweep away the refuge of falsehood, And flood-waters engulf your shelter.

יזוְשַׂמְתִּי מִשְׁפָּט לְקָו וּצְדָקָה לְמִשְׁקָלֶת וְיָעָה בָרָד מַחְסֵה כָזָב וְסֵתֶר מַיִם יִשְׁטֹפוּ׃

18Your covenant with Death shall be annulled, Your pact with Sheol shall not endure; When the sweeping flood passes through, You shall be its victims.

יחוְכֻפַּר בְּרִיתְכֶם אֶת־מָוֶת וְחָזוּתְכֶם אֶת־שְׁאוֹל לֹא תָקוּם שׁוֹט שׁוֹטֵף כִּי יַעֲבֹר וִהְיִיתֶם לוֹ לְמִרְמָס׃

19It shall catch you Every time it passes through; It shall pass through every morning, Every day and every night. And it shall be sheer horror To grasp the message.”

יטמִדֵּי עָבְרוֹ יִקַּח אֶתְכֶם כִּי־בַבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר יַעֲבֹר בַּיּוֹם וּבַלָּיְלָה וְהָיָה רַק־זְוָעָה הָבִין שְׁמוּעָה׃

20The couch is too short for stretching out, And the cover too narrow for curling up!

ככִּי־קָצַר הַמַּצָּע מֵהִשְׂתָּרֵעַ וְהַמַּסֵּכָה צָרָה כְּהִתְכַּנֵּס׃

21For Hashem will arise As on the hill of Perazim, He will rouse Himself As in the vale of Givon, To do His work— Strange is His work! And to perform His task— Astounding is His task!

כאכִּי כְהַר־פְּרָצִים יָקוּם יְהֹוָה כְּעֵמֶק בְּגִבְעוֹן יִרְגָּז לַעֲשׂוֹת מַעֲשֵׂהוּ זָר מַעֲשֵׂהוּ וְלַעֲבֹד עֲבֹדָתוֹ נָכְרִיָּה עֲבֹדָתוֹ׃

22Therefore, refrain from mockery, Lest your bonds be tightened. For I have heard a decree of destruction From my Lord God of Hosts Against all the land.

כבוְעַתָּה אַל־תִּתְלוֹצָצוּ פֶּן־יֶחְזְקוּ מוֹסְרֵיכֶם כִּי־כָלָה וְנֶחֱרָצָה שָׁמַעְתִּי מֵאֵת אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה צְבָאוֹת עַל־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ׃

23Give diligent ear to my words, Attend carefully to what I say.

כגהַאֲזִינוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ קוֹלִי הַקְשִׁיבוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ אִמְרָתִי׃

24Does he who plows to sow Plow all the time, Breaking up and furrowing his land?

כדהֲכֹל הַיּוֹם יַחֲרֹשׁ הַחֹרֵשׁ לִזְרֹעַ יְפַתַּח וִישַׂדֵּד אַדְמָתוֹ׃

25When he has smoothed its surface, Does he not rather broadcast black cumin And scatter cumin, Or set wheat in a row, Barley in a strip, And emmer in a patch?

ha-LO im shi-VAH fa-NE-ha v'-hay-FEETZ KE-tzakh v'-kha-MON yiz-ROK v'-SAM khi-TAH so-RAH us-o-RAH nis-MAN v'-khu-SE-met g'-vu-la-TO

כההֲלוֹא אִם־שִׁוָּה פָנֶיהָ וְהֵפִיץ קֶצַח וְכַמֹּן יִזְרֹק וְשָׂם חִטָּה שׂוֹרָה וּשְׂעֹרָה נִסְמָן וְכֻסֶּמֶת גְּבֻלָתוֹ׃

 28:25   Or set wheat in a row

Wheat, the first of the seven special agricultural products of Eretz Yisrael (Deuteronomy 8:8), has been one of the world’s major crops since biblical times. The first mention of wheat in the Bible is found in Sefer Bereishit (30:14): “Once, at the time of the wheat harvest, Reuven came upon some mandrakes in the field…” So important is wheat flour that the Rabbis taught: “Where there is no flour, there is no Torah; and where there is no Torah, there is no flour” (Ethics of the Fathers), emphasizing the mutual dependency of the physical world and spiritual pursuits.

Bales of wheat drying in the sun after harvest.

A wheat field in the Elah Valleh

26For He teaches him the right manner, His Hashem instructs him.

כווְיִסְּרוֹ לַמִּשְׁפָּט אֱלֹהָיו יוֹרֶנּוּ׃

27So, too, black cumin is not threshed with a threshing board, Nor is the wheel of a threshing sledge rolled over cumin; But black cumin is beaten out with a stick And cumin with a rod.

כזכִּי לֹא בֶחָרוּץ יוּדַשׁ קֶצַח וְאוֹפַן עֲגָלָה עַל־כַּמֹּן יוּסָּב כִּי בַמַּטֶּה יֵחָבֶט קֶצַח וְכַמֹּן בַּשָּׁבֶט׃

28It is cereal that is crushed. For even if he threshes it thoroughly, And the wheel of his sledge and his horses overwhelm it, He does not crush it.

כחלֶחֶם יוּדָק כִּי לֹא לָנֶצַח אָדוֹשׁ יְדוּשֶׁנּוּ וְהָמַם גִּלְגַּל עֶגְלָתוֹ וּפָרָשָׁיו לֹא־יְדֻקֶּנּוּ׃

29That, too, is ordered by the lord of Hosts; His counsel is unfathomable, His wisdom marvelous.

כטגַּם־זֹאת מֵעִם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת יָצָאָה הִפְלִיא עֵצָה הִגְדִּיל תּוּשִׁיָּה׃