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Ezekiel 35-37 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 35

Against Edom.[a] The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it. Say to it: Thus says the Lord God: Watch out! I am against you, Mount Seir. I will stretch out my hand against you and turn you into a desolate waste. Your cities I will turn into ruins, and you shall be a desolation; then you shall know that I am the Lord.

Because you nursed a long-standing hatred and handed the Israelites over to the sword at the time of their collapse, at the time of their final punishment,[b] therefore, as I live—oracle of the Lord God—you are guilty of blood, and blood, I swear, shall pursue you. I will make Mount Seir a desolate waste and cut off from it anyone who travels across it and back. I will fill its mountains with the slain; those slain by the sword shall fall on your hills, into your valleys and all your ravines.

I will make you a desolation forever,
    your cities will not be inhabited,
    and you shall know that I am the Lord.

10 Because you said: The two nations and the two lands[c] belong to me; let us take possession of them—although the Lord was there— 11 therefore, as I live—oracle of the Lord God—I will deal with you according to the anger and envy you dealt out to them in your hatred, and I will make myself known to them when I execute judgment on you, 12 then you shall know that I am the Lord.

I have heard all the insults you spoke against the mountains of Israel, saying: They are desolate; they have been given to us to devour. 13 You boasted against me with your mouths and used insolent words against me. I heard everything! 14 Thus says the Lord God: Because you rejoiced that the whole land was desolate, so I will do to you. 15 As you rejoiced over the devastation of the heritage of the house of Israel, the same I will do to you: you will become a ruin, Mount Seir, and the whole of Edom, all of it! Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Chapter 36

Regeneration of the Land. As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say: Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: Because the enemy said about you, “Ha! the ancient heights have become our possession,” therefore prophesy and say: Thus says the Lord God: because you have been ridiculed and hounded on all sides for becoming a possession for the remaining nations and have become a byword and a popular jeer, therefore, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and abandoned cities, plundered and mocked by the nations remaining around you: therefore thus says the Lord God: Truly, with burning jealousy I speak against the remaining nations and against Edom; they all took possession of my land for plunder with wholehearted joy and utter contempt. Therefore, prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: Thus says the Lord God: See! in my jealous fury I speak, because you endured the reproach of the nations. Therefore, thus says the Lord God: I raise my hand and swear: the nations around you shall bear their own reproach.

But you, mountains of Israel, you will sprout branches and bear fruit for my people Israel, for they are coming soon. Look! I am for you! I will turn my face toward you; you will be plowed and planted. 10 Upon you I will multiply the whole house of Israel; cities shall be resettled and ruins rebuilt. 11 Upon you I will multiply people and animals so they can multiply and be fruitful. I will resettle you as in the past, and make you more prosperous than at your beginning; then you shall know that I am the Lord.

12 Upon you I will have them walk, my people Israel. They shall possess you, and you shall be their heritage. Never again shall you rob them of their children.

13 Thus says the Lord God: Because they say of you, “You devour your own people,[d] you rob your nation of its children,” 14 therefore, you shall never again devour your people or rob your nation of its children—oracle of the Lord God. 15 I will no longer make you listen to the reproach of nations. You will never again endure insults from the peoples. Never again shall you rob your nation of its children—oracle of the Lord God.

Regeneration of the People. 16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17 Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in its land, they defiled it with their behavior and their deeds. In my sight their behavior was like the impurity of a woman in menstruation. 18 So I poured out my fury upon them for the blood they poured out on the ground and for the idols with which they defiled it. 19 I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through other lands; according to their behavior and their deeds I carried out judgment against them. 20 [e]But when they came to the nations, where they went, they desecrated my holy name, for people said of them: “These are the people of the Lord, yet they had to leave their land.” 21 So I relented because of my holy name which the house of Israel desecrated among the nations to which they came. 22 Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: Not for your sake do I act, house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you desecrated among the nations to which you came. 23 But I will show the holiness of my great name, desecrated among the nations, in whose midst you desecrated it. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord—oracle of the Lord God—when through you I show my holiness before their very eyes. 24 I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you back to your own soil. 25 [f]I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them. 28 You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your impurities. I will summon the grain and make it plentiful; I will not send famine against you. 30 I will increase the fruit on your trees and the crops in your fields so that you no longer endure reproach from the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil behavior and your deeds that were not good; you will loathe yourselves for your sins and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I act—oracle of the Lord God. Let this be known to you! Be ashamed and humbled because of your behavior, house of Israel.

33 Thus says the Lord God: When I cleanse you of all your guilt, I will resettle the cities and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be tilled—once a wasteland in the eyes of every passerby. 35 They will say, “This once-desolate land has become like the garden of Eden. The cities once ruined, laid waste and destroyed, are now resettled and fortified.” 36 Then the surrounding nations that remain shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt what was destroyed and replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken: I will do it. 37 Thus says the Lord God: This also I will be persuaded to do for the house of Israel: to multiply them like sheep. 38 Like sheep for sacrifice, like the sheep of Jerusalem on its feast days, the ruined cities shall be filled with flocks of people; then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Chapter 37

Vision of the Dry Bones.[g] The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he led me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the broad valley. It was filled with bones. He made me walk among them in every direction. So many lay on the surface of the valley! How dry they were! He asked me: Son of man, can these bones come back to life? “Lord God,” I answered, “you alone know that.” Then he said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Listen! I will make breath enter you so you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put breath into you so you may come to life. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. I prophesied as I had been commanded. A sound started up, as I was prophesying, rattling like thunder. The bones came together, bone joining to bone. As I watched, sinews appeared on them, flesh grew over them, skin covered them on top, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me: Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man! Say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: From the four winds come, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.[h] 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army. 11 He said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel! They are saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: Look! I am going to open your graves; I will make you come up out of your graves, my people, and bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 You shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and make you come up out of them, my people! 14 I will put my spirit in you that you may come to life, and I will settle you in your land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. I have spoken; I will do it—oracle of the Lord.

The Two Sticks. 15 [i]Thus the word of the Lord came to me: 16 As for you, son of man, take one stick and write on it, “Judah and those Israelites associated with it.” Then take another stick and write on it: “Joseph, Ephraim’s stick, and the whole house of Israel associated with it.” 17 Join the two sticks together so they become one stick in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, “Will you not tell us what you mean by all this?” 19 answer them: Thus says the Lord God: I will take the stick of Joseph, now in Ephraim’s hand, and the tribes of Israel associated with it, and join to it the stick of Judah, making them one stick; they shall become one in my hand. 20 The sticks on which you write, you must hold in your hand in their sight. 21 Say to them: Thus says the Lord God: I will soon take the Israelites from among the nations to which they have gone and gather them from all around to bring them back to their land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and there shall be one king for them all. They shall never again be two nations, never again be divided into two kingdoms.

23 No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols, their abominations, and all their transgressions. I will deliver them from all their apostasy through which they sinned. I will cleanse them so that they will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 David my servant shall be king over them; they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my ordinances, observe my statutes, and keep them. 25 They shall live on the land I gave to Jacob my servant, the land where their ancestors lived; they shall live on it always, they, their children, and their children’s children, with David my servant as their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them. I will multiply them and put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations shall know that I, the Lord, make Israel holy, by putting my sanctuary among them forever.

Footnotes:

  1. 35:1–15 After the fall of Jerusalem, Edom assisted the Babylonians in devastating the land and subduing the population in order to occupy part of Judah’s former territory. For this reason these oracles against Edom are found in the context of the city’s fall.
  2. 35:5 Final punishment: throughout this oracle the prophet echoes the threat against the mountains of Israel found in chaps. 6–7.
  3. 35:10 The two nations and the two lands: by presenting Edom’s excursion into the southern territory of Judah as its claim to both kingdoms, Ezekiel exaggerates Edom’s greed and arrogance. Lord was there: Edom’s betrayal of Judah becomes an attack on Judah’s God, the land’s sovereign. In 11:15 and 33:24, Ezekiel condemns Judahites who annex land that does not belong to them. Now the exiles in Babylon learn that even though God had left Jerusalem (chap. 11), he witnesses Edom’s insolence and pronounces judgment against it. Cf. 48:35, “The Lord is there!”
  4. 36:13 You devour your own people: i.e., the land destroys its own population; this phrase also occurs in Nm 13:32, where Israelite spies describe Canaan as “a land that devours its inhabitants.”
  5. 36:20–24 These verses make clear that Israel’s restoration is God’s initiative, independent of the people’s shame and repentance (v. 31). By their wickedness, Israel provoked the exile; its presence among the nations gave the impression that God could not protect his people. God’s gracious return of Israel to its land will restore his honor among these same nations.
  6. 36:25–26 God’s initiative to cleanse Israel (cf. 24:13–14) is the first act in the creation of a new people, no longer disposed to repeating Israel’s wicked past (chap. 20). To make this restoration permanent, God replaces Israel’s rebellious and obdurate interiority (“heart of stone”) with an interiority (“heart of flesh”) susceptible to and animated by God’s intentions (“my spirit,” v. 27).
  7. 37:1–14 This account is a figurative description of God’s creation of a new Israel. Even though that creation begins with the remains of the old Israel, the exiles under the image of dry bones, depicting a totally hopeless situation, the new Israel is radically different: it is an ideal people, shaped by God’s spirit to live the covenant faithfully, something the old Israel, exiles included, were unable to do. While this passage in its present context is not about the doctrine of individual or communal resurrection, many Jewish and Christian commentators suggest that the doctrine is foreshadowed here.
  8. 37:9 The Hebrew word rûah has multiple related meanings expressed by different English words: wind, spirit, breath. In this translation, rûah is rendered “spirit,” a powerful force that creates vision and insight (v. 1); “breath,” physical energy that quickens and enlivens (vv. 5–6); “wind,” invisible physical energy, sometimes destructive, sometimes invigorating (e.g., the rain-bearing winter winds), also a metaphor for restoration and new life (vv. 9–10); “my spirit,” a share in God’s power so the people observe the law that assures them life in the land (v. 14).
  9. 37:15–22 The symbolic action of joining two sticks into one continues Ezekiel’s description of God’s future saving action: the unification of Judah and Israel under an ideal ruler.
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 34:14-26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

14 Living is the spirit of those who fear the Lord,
15     for their hope is in their savior.
16 Whoever fear the Lord are afraid of nothing
    and are never discouraged, for he is their hope.
17 Happy the soul that fears the Lord!
18     In whom does he trust, and who is his support?
19 The eyes of the Lord are upon those who love him;
    he is their mighty shield and strong support,
A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun,
    a guard against stumbling, a help against falling.
20 He lifts up spirits, brings a sparkle to the eyes,
    gives health and life and blessing.

True Worship of God[a]

21 Ill-gotten goods offered in sacrifice are tainted.
22     Presents from the lawless do not win God’s favor.
23 The Most High is not pleased with the gifts of the godless,
    nor for their many sacrifices does he forgive their sins.
24 One who slays a son in his father’s presence—
    whoever offers sacrifice from the holdings of the poor.
25 The bread of charity is life itself for the needy;
    whoever withholds it is a murderer.
26 To take away a neighbor’s living is to commit murder;

Footnotes:

  1. 34:21–31 To be acts of true religion, sacrifice and penance must be accompanied by the proper moral dispositions. To offer to God goods taken from the poor (vv. 21–27), or to practice penance without interior reform, is a mockery, worthless in the sight of God (vv. 28–31). Cf. Mt 15:4–7; Mk 7:9–13.
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.

Revelation 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

To Sardis.[a] “To the angel of the church in Sardis,[b] write this:

“‘The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you. However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy.

“‘“The victor will thus be dressed in white,[c] and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels.

“‘“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

To Philadelphia.[d] “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia,[e] write this:

“‘The holy one, the true,
    who holds the key of David,
    who opens and no one shall close,
    who closes and no one shall open,

says this:

“‘“I know your works (behold, I have left an open door[f] before you, which no one can close). You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the assembly of Satan who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying, behold I will make them come and fall prostrate at your feet, and they will realize that I love you. 10 Because you have kept my message of endurance,[g] I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11 I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.

12 “‘“The victor I will make into a pillar[h] in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name.

13 “‘“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

To Laodicea.[i] 14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea,[j] write this:

“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation, says this: 15 “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot.[k] I wish you were either cold or hot. 16 [l]So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 [m]For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire[n] so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

20 “‘“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.[o] 21 I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.

22 “‘“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1–6 The letter to Sardis does not praise the community but admonishes its members to watchfulness, mutual support, and repentance (Rev 3:2–3). The few who have remained pure and faithful will share Christ’s victory and will be inscribed in the book of life (Rev 3:4–5).
  2. 3:1 Sardis: this city, located ca. thirty miles southeast of Thyatira, was once the capital of Lydia, known for its wealth at the time of Croesus (6th century B.C.). Its citadel, reputed to be unassailable, was captured by surprise, first by Cyrus and later by Antiochus. The church is therefore warned to be on guard.
  3. 3:5 In white: white is a sign of victory and joy as well as resurrection; see note on Rev 2:17. The book of life: the roll in which the names of the redeemed are kept; cf. Rev 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; Phil 4:3; Dn 12:1. They will be acknowledged by Christ in heaven; cf. Mt 10:32.
  4. 3:7–13 The letter to Philadelphia praises the Christians there for remaining faithful even with their limited strength (Rev 3:8). Members of the assembly of Satan are again singled out (Rev 3:9; see Rev 2:9). There is no admonition; rather, the letter promises that they will be kept safe at the great trial (Rev 3:10–11) and that the victors will become pillars of the heavenly temple, upon which three names will be inscribed: God, Jerusalem, and Christ (Rev 3:12).
  5. 3:7 Philadelphia: modern Alasehir, ca. thirty miles southeast of Sardis, founded by Attalus II Philadelphus of Pergamum to be an “open door” (Rev 3:8) for Greek culture; it was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 17. Rebuilt by money from the Emperor Tiberius, the city was renamed Neo-Caesarea; this may explain the allusions to “name” in Rev 3:12. Key of David: to the heavenly city of David (cf. Is 22:22), “the new Jerusalem” (Rev 3:12), over which Christ has supreme authority.
  6. 3:8 An open door: opportunities for sharing and proclaiming the faith; cf. Acts 14:27; 1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12.
  7. 3:10 My message of endurance: this does not refer to a saying of Jesus about patience but to the example of Christ’s patient endurance. The inhabitants of the earth: literally, “those who live on the earth.” This expression, which also occurs in Rev 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 17:2, 8, always refers to the pagan world.
  8. 3:12 Pillar: this may be an allusion to the rebuilding of the city; see note on v 7. New Jerusalem: it is described in Rev 21:10–22:5.
  9. 3:14–22 The letter to Laodicea reprimands the community for being lukewarm (Rev 3:15–16), but no particular faults are singled out. Their material prosperity is contrasted with their spiritual poverty, the violet tunics that were the source of their wealth with the white robe of baptism, and their famous eye ointment with true spiritual perception (Rev 3:17–18). But Christ’s chastisement is inspired by love and a desire to be allowed to share the messianic banquet with his followers in the heavenly kingdom (Rev 3:19–21).
  10. 3:14 Laodicea: ca. forty miles southeast of Philadelphia and ca. eighty miles east of Ephesus, a wealthy industrial and commercial center, with a renowned medical school. It exported fine woolen garments and was famous for its eye salves. It was so wealthy that it was proudly rebuilt without outside aid after the devastating earthquake of A.D. 60/61. The Amen: this is a divine title (cf. Hebrew text of Is 65:16) applied to Christ; cf. 2 Cor 1:20. Source of God’s creation: literally, “the beginning of God’s creation,” a concept found also in Jn 1:3; Col 1:16–17; Hb 1:2; cf. Prv 8:22–31; Wis 9:1–2.
  11. 3:15–16 Halfhearted commitment to the faith is nauseating to Christ; cf. Rom 12:11.
  12. 3:16 Spit: literally, “vomit.” The image is that of a beverage that should be either hot or cold. Perhaps there is an allusion to the hot springs of Hierapolis across the Lycus river from Laodicea, which would have been lukewarm by the time they reached Laodicea.
  13. 3:17 Economic prosperity occasioned spiritual bankruptcy.
  14. 3:18 Gold…fire: God’s grace. White garments: symbol of an upright life; the city was noted for its violet/purple cloth. Ointment…eyes: to remove spiritual blindness; one of the city’s exports was eye ointment (see note on Rev 3:14).
  15. 3:20 Christ invites all to the messianic banquet in heaven; cf. Is 25:6; Lk 14:15; 22:30.
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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