79. The Role of Ephraim in Isaiah’s Prophecy

by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Ephraim consists mostly of censure. Ephraim lives in the past, acting as if former glories were current ones: “Woe to the garlands of glory of the drunkards of Ephraim! Their crowning splendor has become as fading wreaths on the heads of the opulent overcome with wine” (Isaiah 28:1). The king of Assyria—a new Flood (Isaiah 8:7–8)—will invade Ephraim’s land: “My Lord has in store one mighty and strong: as a ravaging hailstorm sweeping down, or like an inundating deluge of mighty waters, he will hurl them to the ground by his hand. The proud garlands of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden underfoot” (Isaiah 28:2–3).

Ephraim plows the same ground over and over, never moving beyond the basic principle of “line upon line and precept upon precept” to personal revelation (Isaiah 28:9–13, 24–29). Its prophets, too, are drunk: “These too have indulged in wine and are giddy with strong drink: priests and prophets have gone astray through liquor. They are intoxicated with wine and stagger because of strong drink; they err as seers, they blunder in their decisions” (Isaiah 28:7). When God “lays in Zion a stone,” many don’t believe it: “Scoff not, lest your bonds grow severe, for I have heard utter destruction decreed by my Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, upon the whole earth” (Isaiah 28:16, 22).

2. 22. 2012