28 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!
This verse is what inspired “Wicked John”. During this time, Ephraim was working with Assyria in order to overthrow Judah. So, “The Crown of Pride” is the leaders over Ephraim. Ephraim was beautiful at the beginning, and it describes how a wicked person, intent on overthrowing the righteous, especially one who was once righteous, is going to lose their beauty. And, it says that they drink “Wine”. The “Wine” alleviates their guilty conscience.
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.
The “Mighty and strong one” is Christ. The whole prophesy is a prophesy about Christ, and His salvation. Christ, when he comes to heal His people, will throw down the forces that work against Israel.
3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:
Jesus will throw down Ephraim. Ephraim has a “Crown of Pride.” That is, they use their authority wrong, and subvert the righteous in their work.
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 real metaphor here is those who gain riches by theft. The whole type here is an allegory of that. How people who use their authority wrong in order to oppress the righteous, and take advantage of them through abuse of authority will be thrown down. So, it is talking about how the unrighteous who are high and abuse authority eat up the righteous’ labor, and consume it.
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,
So, in the day that the “Valley” fades and becomes consumed, the LORD will be like a “Diadem” that is a gem in a crown, to his people. The day that the wicked believe they have fully prospered, and have consumed all of the poor’s labor, that is the day that the LORD will destroy them.
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.
And those of the righteous who sit upon the throne will have a spirit of judgment, and thsoe who turn the battle at the gate will have strength.
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.
This is talking about the people. Most of the people have erred through drinking too much alcohol. They drank it to the dregs, including the prophets and the priests, therefore they have erred in their vision. They stumbled in judgment. They didn’t loose the bonds of the captives, nor did they say, “This that the kings and queens of Ephraim have stolen, it belongs to him.”
8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
This is because they are drunk. The people are drunk. The crown of Ephraim is drunk on power, but is also drunk on wine. They “Vomit” on their tables. That’s because they are dirty thieves, who make filthy the very table they eat on.
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.
Who shall God make to understand doctrine and knowledge? Him who is weaned from “Milk.” The Milk is the basic tenant of scripture of Grace Salvation. That we are saved through Christ’s sacrifice. But the LORD said, “I desired Mercy and not sacrifice.” And he also says, “You have bought me no sweet cane with your money.” That is, the people who claim to be “Christian” have not helped the poor in judgment, nor have they loosed the bonds of the captives. They have, instead, simply called upon Christ’s sacrifice, and sufficed to say that was all religion was, even though the LORD has refused their sacrifice because they have not done what was right.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
This is in line with the previous. But, the reason people did not execute judgment, now and then, was because of “Theology” and because of rules written outside of the scripture. At the time of Christ it was the Pharisees. Today it is Theologians who have created an entire explanation of scripture outside of what scripture teaches, relying on the teachings of Sacrifice without good works. When the LORD says “Thanksgiving” the word means to give with thanks. The preachers have taught this means the offering plate, when it actually meant giving to the poor.
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
The LORD, when he speaks a prophetic message, will speak in a different language. In the case of the Old Testament it was Greek.
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.
The rest they were to fall into was the rest of Christ, which was to clear their conscience of sin, so they could perform good works without a burdened conscience. The prophets spoke in Greek to the people, to proclaim this message.
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.
Instead, the people thought the counsel at the time of Christ was to obey the law to the letter. Today, we obey it to the letter again, by misinterpreting the scripture to mean that men ought not do good works. This reason is that it has been a misinterpretation of the scripture. The LORD has repeatedly said he desired us to be good, not to “Deal with our sins” continually.
14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
The people who rule the Israelites are scornful of the poor who are being thieved by Ephraim. Remember the leadership are in league with Assyria at the time of this prophecy, and they are not making a “Conspiracy” but rather because of sin, the nobles are oppressing the people of God by stealing from them.
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:
The nobles believed they could make “Covenants” with the grave. They believed they could escape God’s wrath by hiding in the grave, and doing what was evil on the earth because the Grave would give them paradise.
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.
The foundation is Jesus Christ. He who believes on Jesus shall not make haste. That is, he who believes in Jesus will not hasten their work in order to try and prevent theft. Because the nobles are stealing from Israel, it would seem like the Israelites would be wise to hasten their work in order to eat. But that is not the way it is. The people who do right before God will do a good job, rather than work fast paced in order to eat. This is how the peoples are being oppressed, is that they are being told to “Hasten” in order to get the prize, but the prize is Jesus, and their haste would be sin.
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.
The LORD will use curses to sweep away the wicked. “Hail” was one of the last curses in the book of Revelation. God will use this to sweep away the kingdoms of the wicked. But the righteous will have peace—as said in previous chapters.
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.
And the enemies of God’s who made covenant with death will be “disanulled.” Their “agreement with hell shall not stand.” This is because they will be destroyed. They will be trodden down in the mire.
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.
It’s talking about Zecheriah’s plague, the plague that sweeps through and destroys the enemies of Israel.
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.
This is an unusual curse, bit it’s one that has frightened me my whole life. I’ve simply called on Jesus my whole life to avoid it because this is the most frightening part of it. Imagine Zecheriah’s Plague, and you can’t even lay down on your bed because it’s too short, and your cover is too short. It’s very scary.
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.
This is his strange work. And the LORD shall execute it on the heathen nations who oppress and steal from Israel. He shall rise up and fight for us.
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.
This is saying do not mock the poor who have been thieved. For “I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. Consumption means “Illness.”
23 Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.
The LORD is telling us to give ear, and hear his voice and speech. He wants us to turn and repent, and come to Him before this wrath comes to pass.
24 Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?
The upcoming portion was always hard for me to understand, but it means something specific. “Does the plowman plow all day to sow? Doth he open and break the clods of his ground?” The answer is no. They plow all day in order to eat and enjoy.
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?
“Fitches” are the foxes and wild animals that come in to ruin the crop; these the farmer is intent on getting rid of, so the skilled laborer is not in a hurry to get rich, nor to get successful. I stop here because it is very scary to think… the people of Israel do not rush to get their work done because in their slow pace, the enemies of God, the “Fitches” get caught. Israel follows through and is skilled from point to point, each step becoming clear only when the last step was followed.
26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.
God instructs the righteous to discretion, and does teach him. The person who is working is taught by God how to work. He is told, from each step, what his steps should be. He is not in a rush to get his work done, but is rather going to work, slowly and methodically, each step being revealed what the next step will be. He is taught, and it looks foolish to the nations because they know Israel is being robbed. But, the judgment is on those nations for not doing anything to prevent it.
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.
Foxes are not “Threshed”, that is, evil people are not broken by God’s momentary wrath. They have had a prosperous life, and have no discipline from God. Cummin—a spice—is beaten with the rod because it is good, therefore, to make it ready to eat it is beaten. The fitches are beaten out with a “staff” which kills them; the staff keeps away wolves, while the rod disciplines.
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.
Good foods are bruised. They are disciplined and given to a curse for a little while in order to make them good for eating. It does not get broken by a “Cart” nor get bruised by a “Horsemen.” The metaphor is about the righteous not being punished like the rest of the world because they had their discipline before everyone else.
29 This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
This is how the LORD chooses to save his people, through discipline. The Pharisees have taught that “Grace is sufficient” and that “Mercy” is how God corrects a man. But, Mercy is extended only to those who have suffered the rebuke of God and Grace is appointed to the humble and righteous who do the work of God because it is like rest for them. They have a clean conscience.