Woe to Drunken Rulers (Isaiah 28-29)

Having established God's sovereignty over the nations both in particular (13-13) and in general (24-27), Isaiah now returns to particular situations in Israel and Judah (28-33) that illustrate the folly of trusting the nations instead of God. The Assyria with which Ahaz had allied himself is first finishing up with Samaria (28:1-13) and then turning its unwanted attentions on Judah (29:7-8). The flood which Isaiah had foretold (8:6, 8) is about to burst full force against the southern kingdom, Judah. Between Samaria's fall (722 BC) and Sennacherib's attack on Jerusalem (701 BC), it appears that Judah's foreign-policy makers turned more and more toward alliance with Egypt (Isa 30:3; 31:1). To Isaiah, this alliance was just as stupid as the earlier one with Assyria. Though Egypt would not seek to devour Judah as Assyria did, any help she could give was unreliable (30:3-7; 31:3; 20:1-6). To trust Egypt instead of God was incredible (30:15-33). This exposed a faithless leadership drunk on its own power and privilege (Isa 28:7-8; 29:15-16; 30:1; 1:23; 7:13; 9:14-16; 19:11-15).

The structure of 28-33:

  1. 28-29: Foolish leaders--false counsel that something must be done at once, for there is no hope in God.
  2. 30-31: The proposed solution--dependence on Egypt and the folly of doing so.
  3. 32-33: The true solution--the revelation of the King and his presence in their midst.
28:1-13 - Ephraim
28:14-29:24 - Jerusalem