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Ezekiel Packs for Exile

12 This message came to me from the Lord: “Son of Man, you live in a rebellious house that has eyes to see, but they can’t see, and ears to hear, but they can’t hear, since they’re a rebellious house.

“So now, Son of Man, you are to prepare your luggage for a trip into exile, and then you are to leave during the daytime so they see you leaving. Leave from your place to another while they’re watching. Then perhaps they’ll realize that they’re a rebellious house.

“Bring out your luggage, like you’re packing to go into exile, and do this during the daytime while they’re watching you.[a] Later that evening, leave while they’re watching you like someone heading into exile. While they continue to watch, dig a hole for yourself in the wall and enter through it.

“While they’re watching, carry your luggage[b] on your shoulder and go out in total[c] darkness. Cover your face so that you won’t see the land, because I’m using you as a sign to Israel’s house.”

I did just as I was commanded. I brought out the luggage as if it were luggage for exile. I did this during the day. Then in the evening I dug a hole in the wall with my hand and brought the luggage out in total[d] darkness and carried it out on my shoulder while they were watching.

The Meaning of the Message

The next morning, this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of Man, didn’t the house of Israel, that rebellious house, ask you, ‘What are you doing?’ 10 Answer them, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “This oracle concerns the prince of Jerusalem and the whole of Israel’s house that is in their midst. 11 Tell them, ‘I’m a sign for you. Just as I enacted it,[e] it’s going to happen to them. They’ll go into exile and captivity. 12 Then the prince, who will be one of them, will carry his luggage[f] on his shoulder in the dark and will go out. They’ll dig a hole in the wall for him to go through. His face will be covered so that he won’t be able to see the land with his eyes. 13 But I’ll throw my net over him. As a result, he’ll be captured with my net, and with it I’ll bring him to Babel, the land of the Chaldeans. He won’t see it, though he’ll die there. 14 I’ll scatter every attendant who surrounds him, along with his entire army, to every wind. When I unsheathe my sword to pursue them, 15 they’ll learn[g] that I am the Lord, when I’ve dispersed them among the nations and scattered them throughout the earth.”’”

The Purpose of the Surviving Remnant

16 “But I’ll preserve[h] a few people out of the violent death,[i] famine, and pestilence, so they can recount their detestable practices among the nations when they’ll go there. Then they’ll know that I am the Lord.”

The Coming Devastation

17 This message came to me from the Lord: 18 “Son of Man, eat your bread with trembling and drink your water with quivering and anxiety. 19 Then tell the people of the land, ‘This is what the Lord says to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to Israel’s land: “They’ll eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in trepidation, because their land will be desolate in its entirety due to all the violence committed by all who live in it. 20 The towns that are inhabited will lie in ruins, because the land will be devastated. Then they’ll learn[j] that I am the Lord.”’”

The Coming Fulfillment of Visions

21 Later, this message came to me from the Lord: 22 “Son of Man, what’s this proverb you have concerning Israel’s land that says, ‘The days pass slowly and every vision ends in nothing.’?[k] 23 Therefore you are to tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “I’m about to put an end to use of this proverb in Israel. It will never be used again as a proverb in Israel. Instead, tell them that the days are drawing near when every vision will be fulfilled. 24 There will no longer be worthless visions and flattering divinations in the midst of Israel’s house. 25 Because I am the Lord, I’ll speak and the message that I communicate will be accomplished without delay. While you continue to be a rebellious house, I’ll speak the message and then fulfill it,” declares the Lord God.’”

The Imminent Fulfillment

26 Later, this message came to me from the Lord: 27 “Son of Man, pay attention! The house of Israel keeps on saying, ‘The vision that he’s talking about concerns the distant future. He’s prophesying concerning times that are far in the future!’ 28 Therefore tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “None of my messages will be delayed any longer. Any message that I speak will be fulfilled,” declares the Lord God.’”


  1. Ezekiel 12:4 Lit. before their eyes; and so through v. 7
  2. Ezekiel 12:6 Lit. carry it
  3. Ezekiel 12:6 Lit. thick
  4. Ezekiel 12:7 Lit. thick
  5. Ezekiel 12:11 Lit. did
  6. Ezekiel 12:12 The Heb. lacks his luggage
  7. Ezekiel 12:15 Or know
  8. Ezekiel 12:16 Or retain
  9. Ezekiel 12:16 Lit. the sword
  10. Ezekiel 12:20 Or know
  11. Ezekiel 12:22 Lit. vision is destroyed