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Ezekiel 21-22 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 21

The Sword of the Lord. The word of the Lord came to me: [a]Son of man, turn your face to the south: preach against the south, prophesy against the forest land in the south. Say to the forest in the south: Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: See! I am kindling a fire in you that shall devour every green tree as well as every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched so that from south to north every face shall be scorched by it. All flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.

But I said, “Ah! Lord God, they are saying about me, ‘Is not this the one who is forever spinning parables?’” Then the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, turn your face toward Jerusalem: preach against its sanctuary, prophesy against the land of Israel. Say to the land of Israel: Thus says the Lord: See! I am coming against you; I will draw my sword from its scabbard and cut off from you the righteous and the wicked.[b] Thus my sword shall come out from its scabbard against all flesh from south to north 10 and all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, have drawn my sword from its scabbard. It cannot return again.

Act Symbolic of the City’s Fall. 11 As for you, son of man, groan! with shattered loins and bitter grief, groan in their sight. 12 When they ask you, “Why are you groaning?” you shall say: Because of what I heard![c] When it comes every heart shall melt, every hand fall helpless; every spirit will grow faint, and every knee run with water. See, it is coming, it is here!—oracle of the Lord God.

Song of the Sword. 13 The word of the Lord came to me: 14 Son of man, prophesy! say: Thus says the Lord:

A sword, a sword has been sharpened,
    a sword, a sword has been burnished:
15 Sharpened to make a slaughter,
    burnished to flash lightning!
Why should I stop now?
    You have rejected the rod and every judgment!
16 I have given it over to the burnisher
    that he might hold it in his hand,
A sword sharpened and burnished
    to be put in the hands of an executioner.
17 Cry out and howl, son of man,
    for it is destined for my people,
For all the princes of Israel,
    victims of the sword with my people.
Therefore, slap your thigh,[d]
18     for it is tested, and why not?
Since you rejected my staff,
    should it not happen?—
    oracle of the Lord God.
19 As for you, son of man, prophesy,
    and clap your hands!
Let the sword strike twice, a third time.
    It is a sword of slaughter,
A sword for slaughtering,
    whirling around them all,
20 That every heart may tremble;
    for many will be made to stumble.
At all their gates
    I have stationed the sword for slaughter,
Made it flash lightning,
    drawn for slaughter.
21 Slash to the right!
    turn to the left,
    Wherever your edge is directed!
22 Then I, too, shall clap my hands,[e]
    and spend my fury.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

Nebuchadnezzar at the Crossroads. 23 The word of the Lord came to me: 24 Son of man, make for yourself two roads over which the sword of the king of Babylon can come. Both roads shall start out from the same land. Then put a signpost at the head of each road 25 so the sword can come to Rabbah of the Ammonites or to Judah and its fortress, Jerusalem. 26 For the king of Babylon is standing at the fork of the two roads to read the omens:[f] he shakes out the arrows, inquires of the teraphim, inspects the liver. 27 Into his right hand has fallen the lot marked “Jerusalem”:[g] to order the slaughter, to raise the battle cry, to set the battering rams against the gates, to throw up a ramp, to build siege works. 28 In the eyes of those bound by oath this seems like a false omen; yet the lot taken in hand exposes the wickedness for which they, still bound by oath, will be taken in hand.

29 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because your guilt has been exposed, your crimes laid bare, your sinfulness revealed in all your deeds—because you have been exposed, you shall be taken in hand. 30 And as for you, depraved and wicked prince of Israel, a day is coming to end your life of crime. 31 Thus says the Lord God: Off with the turban and away with the crown! Nothing shall be as it was! Exalt the lowly and bring the exalted low! 32 A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I shall make it! Nothing will be the same until the one comes to whom I have given it for judgment.

To the Ammonites.[h] 33 As for you, son of man, prophesy: Thus says the Lord God to the Ammonites and their insults:

O sword, sword drawn for slaughter,
    burnished to consume, to flash lightning!
34 Your false visions and lying omens,
Set you over the necks of the slain,
    the wicked whose day had come—
    an end to their life of crime.
35 Return to your scabbard!
    In the place you were created,
In the land of your origin,
    I will judge you.
36 I will pour out my anger upon you,
    breathing my fiery wrath against you;
I will hand you over to ravagers,
    artisans of destruction!
37 You shall be fuel for the fire,
    your blood shall flow throughout the land;
You shall not be remembered,
    for I, the Lord, have spoken.

Chapter 22

Crimes of Jerusalem. The word of the Lord came to me: You,[i] son of man, will you judge? will you judge the city of bloodshed? Then make known all its abominations, and say: Thus says the Lord God: O city that sheds blood within itself so that its time has come, that has made idols for its own defilement: By the blood you shed you have become guilty, and by the idols you made you have become defiled. You have brought on your day, you have come to the end of your years. Therefore I make you an object of scorn for the nations and a laughingstock for all lands. Those near and those far off will mock you: “Defiled of Name! Queen of Tumult!” See! the princes of Israel within you use their power to shed blood.[j] Within you, father and mother are dishonored; they extort the resident alien in your midst; within you, they oppress orphans and widows. What I consider holy you have rejected, and my sabbaths you have desecrated. [k]In you are those who slander to cause bloodshed; within you are those who feast on the mountains; in your midst are those whose actions are depraved. 10 In you are those who uncover the nakedness of their fathers; in you those who coerce women to intercourse during their period. 11 There are those in you who do abominable things with their neighbors’ wives, men who defile their daughters-in-law by incest, men who coerce their sisters to intercourse, the daughters of their own fathers. 12 There are those in you who take bribes to shed blood. You exact interest and usury; you extort profit from your neighbor by violence. But me you have forgotten—oracle of the Lord God.

13 See, I am clapping my hands because of the profits you extorted and the blood shed in your midst. 14 Will your heart remain firm, will your hands be strong, in the days when I deal with you? I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will act! 15 I will disperse you among the nations and scatter you over other lands, so that I may purge your filth. 16 In you I will allow myself to be desecrated in the eyes of the nations; thus you shall know that I am the Lord.

17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18 [l]Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me. All of them are copper, tin, iron, and lead within a furnace; they have become the dross from silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because all of you have become dross, See! I am gathering you within Jerusalem. 20 Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are gathered within a furnace to be blasted with fire to smelt it, so I will gather you together in my furious wrath, put you in, and smelt you. 21 When I have assembled you, I will blast you with the fire of my anger and smelt you with it. 22 Just as silver is smelted in a furnace, so you shall be smelted in it. Thus you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out my fury on you.

23 The word of the Lord came to me: 24 [m]Son of man, say to her: You are an unclean land receiving no rain at the time of my fury. 25 A conspiracy of its princes is like a roaring lion tearing prey; they devour people, seizing their wealth and precious things, making many widows within her. 26 Her priests violate my law and desecrate what I consider holy; they do not distinguish between holy and common, nor teach the difference between unclean and clean; they pay no attention to my sabbaths, so that I have been desecrated in their midst. 27 Within her, her officials are like wolves tearing prey, shedding blood and destroying lives to extort profit. 28 And her prophets cover them with whitewash, seeing false visions and performing lying divinations, saying, “Thus says the Lord God,” although the Lord has not spoken. 29 The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they wrong the poor and the needy, and oppress the resident alien without justice. 30 Thus I have searched among them for someone who would build a wall or stand in the breach before me to keep me from destroying the land; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out my fury upon them; with my fiery wrath I have consumed them, bringing down their ways upon their heads—oracle of the Lord God.


  1. 21:2–4 In Babylon Ezekiel looks toward Judah, pictured as a forest about to be destroyed by fire.
  2. 21:8 Cut off from you the righteous and the wicked: a more complete devastation of Jerusalem than that described in 9:6.
  3. 21:12 What I heard: the news of the fall of Jerusalem; cf. 33:21–22.
  4. 21:17 Slap your thigh: a gesture signifying grief and dread; cf. Jer 31:19.
  5. 21:22 Clap my hands: the Lord declares himself no longer responsible for Judah; cf. 22:13; Nm 24:10; Jb 27:23; Lam 2:15.
  6. 21:26 Three forms of divination are mentioned: arrow divination, consisting in the use of differently marked arrows extracted or shaken from a case at random; the consultation of the teraphim or household idols; and liver divination, scrutiny of the configurations of the livers of newly slaughtered animals, a common form of divination in Mesopotamia.
  7. 21:27–28 A lot marked “Jerusalem” falls out, which marks the guilt of the city’s inhabitants.
  8. 21:33–37 In vv. 23–32 Ezekiel imagines Nebuchadnezzar deciding whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbath-Ammon. As it happened, the Babylonians decided to attack Jerusalem first. Here (vv. 33–37) Ezekiel prophesies to the Ammonites that a nation which serves as an instrument of the Lord’s judgment will itself be judged.
  9. 22:2–16 This first oracle focuses on Jerusalem as a “city of bloodshed” (cf. Na 3:1). Here transgressions involving blood, the oppression of the poor, and improper cultic practices are seen as interrelated, for blood as the carrier of life is fundamental to both the cultic and social spheres of life.
  10. 22:6 To shed blood: a very serious charge in light of the solemn command of God to Noah in Gn 9:6 against human bloodshed.
  11. 22:9–11 The charges against Jerusalem echo the commandments of Lv 20:10–18.
  12. 22:18–22 The image of smelting metals for purifying the people by the attacks of their enemies is common among the prophets; cf. Is 1:22, 25; Jer 6:27–30.
  13. 22:24–31 For a similar oracle, cf. Zep 3:1–8.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 31:1-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 31

The Proper Attitude Toward Riches[a]

Wakefulness over wealth wastes away the flesh,
    and anxiety over it drives away sleep.
Wakeful anxiety banishes slumber;
    more than a serious illness it disturbs repose.
The rich labor to pile up wealth,
    and if they rest, it is to enjoy pleasure;
The poor labor for a meager living,
    and if they ever rest, they become needy.
The lover of gold will not be free from sin;
    whoever pursues money will be led astray by it.
Many have come to ruin for the sake of gold,
    yet destruction lay before their very eyes;
It is a stumbling block for fools;
    any simpleton will be ensnared by it.

Happy the rich person found without fault,
    who does not turn aside after wealth.
Who is he, that we may praise him?
    For he has done wonders among his people.
10 Who has been tested by gold and been found perfect?
    Let it be for him his glory;
Who could have sinned but did not,
    and could have done evil but did not?
11 So his good fortune is secure,
    and the assembly will recount his praises.

Table Etiquette[b]

12 Are you seated at the table of the great?
    Bring to it no greedy gullet,
Nor say, “How much food there is here!”
13     Remember that the greedy eye is evil.
What has been created more greedy than the eye?
    Therefore, it weeps for any cause.
15 Recognize that your neighbor feels as you do,
    and keep in mind everything you dislike.
14 Toward what he looks at, do not put out a hand;
    nor reach for the same dish when he does.


  1. 31:1–11 Solicitude for acquiring wealth and anxiety over preserving it disturb repose and easily lead to sin and ruin (vv. 1–7). Cf. Mt 6:25–34. The rich who have not sinned or been seduced by wealth are worthy of highest praise (vv. 8–11).
  2. 31:12–32:13 Whoever observes etiquette at table avoids greed and selfishness (31:12–13), is considerate of a neighbor’s likes and dislikes and is generous toward him (31:15, 14, 23, 24), observes proper manners (31:16–18), is moderate in eating and drinking (31:19–20, 25–30). A good host is solicitous for the guests (32:1–2), provides conversation and diversion (32:3–6), is modest in speech (32:7, 8, 10), is respectful of elders (32:9), polite in comportment and grateful to God for his favors (32:11–13).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 John 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

[a]See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed[b] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.

Avoiding Sin. Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.[c] You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.[d] 10 In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.

III. Love for One Another

11 [e]For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, 12 unlike Cain who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. 13 Do not be amazed, [then,] brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. 16 The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? 18 Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.

Confidence Before God.[f] 19 [Now] this is how we shall know that we[g] belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him 20 in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. 21 Beloved, if [our] hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God 22 and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. 24 Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us.


  1. 3:1–3 The greatest sign of God’s love is the gift of his Son (Jn 3:16) that has made Christians true children of God. This relationship is a present reality and also part of the life to come; true knowledge of God will ultimately be gained, and Christians prepare themselves now by virtuous lives in imitation of the Son.
  2. 3:2 When it is revealed: or “when he is revealed” (the subject of the verb could be Christ).
  3. 3:4 Lawlessness: a reference to the activity of the antichrist, so it is expressed as hostility toward God and a rejection of Christ. The author goes on to contrast the states of sin and righteousness. Christians do not escape sin but realize that when they sin they cease to have fellowship with God. Virtue and sin distinguish the children of God from the children of the devil.
  4. 3:9 A habitual sinner is a child of the devil, while a child of God, who by definition is in fellowship with God, cannot sin. Seed: Christ or the Spirit who shares the nature of God with the Christian.
  5. 3:11–18 Love, even to the point of self-sacrifice, is the point of the commandment. The story of Cain and Abel (1 Jn 3:12–15; Gn 4:1–16) presents the rivalry of two brothers, in a contrast of evil and righteousness, where envy led to murder. For Christians, proof of deliverance is love toward others, after the example of Christ. This includes concrete acts of charity, out of our material abundance.
  6. 3:19–24 Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another.
  7. 3:19b–20 This difficult passage may also be translated “we shall be at peace before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for…” or “and before God we shall convince our hearts, if our hearts condemn us, that God is greater than our hearts.”
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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