Isaiah 28:1
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New American Standard Bible
Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, And to the fading flower of its glorious beauty, Which is at the head of the fertile valley Of those who are overcome with wine!

King James Bible
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!

Darby Bible Translation
Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious adornment, which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are overcome with wine.

World English Bible
Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fertile valley of those who are overcome with wine!

Young's Literal Translation
Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim. And the fading flower of the beauty of his glory, That is on the head of the fat valley of the broken down of wine.

Isaiah 28:1 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Wo - (see the note at Isaiah 18:1). The word here is used to denounce impending judgment.

To the crown of pride - This is a Hebrew mode of expression, denoting the proud or haughty crown. There can be no doubt that it refers to the capital of the kingdom of Ephraim; that is, to Samaria. This city was built by Omri, who purchased 'the hill Samaria' of Shemer, for two talents of silver, equal in value to 792 British pounds, 11 shillings, 8d., and built the city on the hill, and called it, after the name of Shemer, Samaria 1 Kings 16:24. Omri was king of Israel (925 b.c.), and he made this city the capital of his kingdom. The city was built on a pleasant and fertile hill, and surrounded with a rich valley, with a circle of hills beyond; and the beauty of the hill on which the city was built suggested the idea of a wreath or chaplet of flowers, or a "crown." After having been destroyed and reduced to an inconsiderable place, it was restored by Herod the Great, 21 b.c., who called it "Sebaste" (Latin, "Augusta"), in honor of the Emperor Augustus. It is usually mentioned by travelers under the name of Sebaste. Maundrell (Travels, p. 58) says, 'Sebaste, the ancient Samaria, is situated on a long mount of an oval figure; having first a fruitful valley, and then a ring of hills running round it.' The following is the account which is given by Richardson: 'Its situation is extremely beautiful, and strong by nature; more so, I think, than Jerusalem. It stands on a fine large insulated hill, compassed all round by a broad, deep valley.

The valley is surrounded by four hills, one on each side, which are cultivated in terraces to the top, sown with grain, and planted with fig and olive trees, as is also the valley. The hill of Samaria, likewise, rises in terraces to a height equal to any of the adjoining mountains.' Dr. Robinson, who visited this place in 1838, says, 'The find round swelling hill, or almost mountain of Samaria, stands alone in the midst of the great basin of some two hours (seven or eight miles) in diameter, surrounded by higher mountains on every side. It is near the eastern side of the basin; and is connected with the eastern mountains, somewhat after the manner of a promontory, by a much lower ridge, having a wady both on the south and on the north. The mountains and the valleys around are to a great extent arable, and enlivened by many villages and the hand of cultivation. From all these circumstances, the situation of the ancient Samaria is one of great beauty.

The hill itself is cultivated to the top; and, at about midway of the ascent, is surrounded by a narrow terrace of level land like a belt, below which the roots of the hill spread off more gradually into the valleys. The whole hill of Sebastich (the Arabic form for the name Sebaste) consists of fertile soil; it is cultivated to the top, and has upon it many olive and fig trees. It would be difficult to find, in all Palestine, a situation of equal strength, fertility, and beauty combined. In all these particulars, it has very greatly the advantage over Jerusalem.' (Bib. Researches, vol. iii. pp. 136-149). Standing thus by itself, and cultivated to the top, and exceedingly fertile, it was compared by the prophet to a crown, or garland of flowers - such as used to be worn on the head, especially on festival occasions.

To the drunkards of Ephraim - Ephraim here denotes the kingdom of Israel, whose capital was Samaria (see the note at Isaiah 7:2). That intemperance was the prevailing sin in the kingdom of Israel is not improbable. It prevailed to a great extent also in the kingdom of Judah (see Isaiah 28:7-8 : compare Isaiah 5:11, note; Isaiah 5:22, note).

Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower - That is, it shall soon be destroyed, as a flower soon withers and fades away. This was fulfilled in the destruction that came upon Samaria under the Assyrians when the ten tribes were carried into captivity 2 Kings 17:3-6. The allusion in this verse to the 'crown' and 'the fading flower' encircling Samaria, Grotius thinks is derived from the fact that among the ancients, drunkards and revellers were accustomed to wear a crown or garland on their heads, or that a wreath or chaplet of flowers was usually worn on their festival occasions. That this custom prevailed among the Jews as well as among the Greeks and Romans, is apparent from a statement by the author of the Book of Wisdom:

'Let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ornaments,

And let no flower of the spring pass by us;

Let us crown ourselves with rose-buds before they are withered.'

- Wisdom Romans 2:7, Romans 2:8.

Which are on the head - Which flowers or chaplets are on the eminence that rises over the fat valleys; that is, on Samaria, which seemed to stand as the head rising from the valley.

Of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine - That are occupied by, or in the possession of, those who are overcome with wine. Margin, 'Broken' with wine. Hebrew, (יין הלוּמי hălûmēy yâyin) 'Smitten with wine;' corresponding to the Greek ὀινοπλὴξ oinoplēx; that is, they were overcome or subdued by it. A man's reason, conscience, moral feelings, and physical strength are all overcome by indulgence in wine, and the entire man is prostrate by it. This passage is a proof of what has been often denied, but which further examination has abundantly confirmed, that the inhabitants of wine countries are as certainly intemperate as those which make rise of ardent spirits.

Isaiah 28:1 Parallel Commentaries

God's Strange Work
'That He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.'--ISAIAH xxviii. 21. How the great events of one generation fall dead to another! There is something very pathetic in the oblivion that swallows up world- resounding deeds. Here the prophet selects two instances which to him are solemn and singular examples of divine judgment, and we have difficulty in finding out to what he refers. To him they seemed the most luminous illustrations he could find of the principle
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Husbandman and his Operations
'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 lie 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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

How to Make Use of Christ for Steadfastness, in a Time when Truth is Oppressed and Borne Down.
When enemies are prevailing, and the way of truth is evil spoken of, many faint, and many turn aside, and do not plead for truth, nor stand up for the interest of Christ, in their hour and power of darkness: many are overcome with base fear, and either side with the workers of iniquity, or are not valiant for the truth, but being faint-hearted, turn back. Now the thoughts of this may put some who desire to stand fast, and to own him and his cause in a day of trial, to enquire how they shall make
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Of Orders.
Of this sacrament the Church of Christ knows nothing; it was invented by the church of the Pope. It not only has no promise of grace, anywhere declared, but not a word is said about it in the whole of the New Testament. Now it is ridiculous to set up as a sacrament of God that which can nowhere be proved to have been instituted by God. Not that I consider that a rite practised for so many ages is to be condemned; but I would not have human inventions established in sacred things, nor should it be
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

Cross References
Leviticus 26:19
'I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze.

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!

Isaiah 9:9
And all the people know it, That is, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, Asserting in pride and in arrogance of heart:

Isaiah 28:7
And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink: The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink; They reel while having visions, They totter when rendering judgment.

Hosea 5:9
Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke; Among the tribes of Israel I declare what is sure.

Hosea 7:5
On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers,

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