12 Again a message came to me from the Lord:
2 “Son of dust,” he said, “you live among rebels who could know the truth if they wanted to, but they don’t want to; they could hear me if they would listen, but they won’t, 3 for they are rebels. So now put on a demonstration to show them what being exiled will be like. Pack whatever you can carry on your back and leave your home—go somewhere else. Go in the daylight so they can see, for perhaps even yet they will consider what this means, even though they are such rebels. 4 Bring your baggage outside your house during the daylight so they can watch. Then leave the house at night, just as captives do when they begin their long march to distant lands. 5 Dig a tunnel through the city wall while they are observing and carry your possessions out through the hole. 6 As they watch, lift your pack to your shoulders and walk away into the night; muffle your face and don’t gaze around. All this is a sign to the people of Israel of the evil that will come upon Jerusalem.”
7 So I did as I was told. I brought my pack outside in the daylight—all I could take into exile—and in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I went out into the darkness with my pack on my shoulder while the people looked on. 8 The next morning this message came to me from the Lord:
9 “Son of dust, these rebels, the people of Israel, have asked what all this means. 10 Tell them the Lord God says it is a message to King Zedekiah[a] in Jerusalem and to all the people of Israel. 11 Explain that what you did was a demonstration of what is going to happen to them, for they shall be driven out of their homes and sent away into exile.
12 “Even King Zedekiah shall go out at night through a hole in the wall, taking only what he can carry with him, with muffled face, for he won’t be able to see.[b] 13 I will capture him in my net and bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans; but he shall not see it,* and he shall die there. 14 I will scatter his servants and guards to the four winds and send the sword after them. 15 And when I scatter them among the nations, then they shall know I am the Lord. 16 But I will spare a few of them from death by war and famine and disease. I will save them to confess to the nations how wicked they have been, and they shall know I am the Lord.”
17 Then this message came to me from the Lord:
18 “Son of dust, tremble as you eat your meals; ration out your water as though it were your last, 19 and say to the people, the Lord God says that the people of Israel and Jerusalem shall ration their food with utmost care and sip their tiny portions of water in utter despair because of all their sins. 20 Your cities shall be destroyed and your farmlands deserted, and you shall know I am the Lord.”
21 Again a message came to me from the Lord:
22 “Son of dust, what is that proverb they quote in Israel—‘The days as they pass make liars out of every prophet.’ 23 The Lord God says: I will put an end to this proverb and they will soon stop saying it. Give them this one instead: ‘The time has come for all these prophecies to be fulfilled.’
24 “Then you will see what becomes of all the false predictions of safety and security for Jerusalem. 25 For I am the Lord! What I threaten always happens. There will be no more delays, O rebels of Israel! I will do it in your own lifetime!” says the Lord God.
26 Then this message came:
27 “Son of dust, the people of Israel say, ‘His visions won’t come true for a long, long time.’ 28 Therefore say to them: ‘The Lord God says: All delay has ended! I will do it now!’”
- Ezekiel 12:10 to King Zedekiah, literally, “to the prince in Jerusalem.”
- Ezekiel 12:12 for he won’t be able to see, literally, “that he may not see the land with his eyes.” Apparently a reference to the fact that his eyes were put out before he was taken to Babylon; see Jeremiah 52:11. Also in v. 13.
New International Version
The Exile Symbolized
12 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people.(A) They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.(B)
3 “Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps(C) they will understand,(D) though they are a rebellious people.(E) 4 During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile.(F) 5 While they watch, dig through the wall(G) and take your belongings out through it. 6 Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign(H) to the Israelites.”
7 So I did as I was commanded.(I) During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.
8 In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “Son of man, did not the Israelites, that rebellious people, ask you, ‘What are you doing?’(J)
10 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This prophecy concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites who are there.’ 11 Say to them, ‘I am a sign(K) to you.’
“As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives.(L)
12 “The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk(M) and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land.(N) 13 I will spread my net(O) for him, and he will be caught in my snare;(P) I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans,(Q) but he will not see(R) it, and there he will die.(S) 14 I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will pursue them with drawn sword.(T)
15 “They will know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations(U) and scatter them through the countries. 16 But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the Lord.(V)”
17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food,(W) and shudder in fear as you drink your water. 19 Say to the people of the land: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything(X) in it because of the violence of all who live there.(Y) 20 The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord.(Z)’”
There Will Be No Delay
21 The word of the Lord came to me: 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb(AA) you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’?(AB) 23 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near(AC) when every vision will be fulfilled.(AD) 24 For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations(AE) among the people of Israel. 25 But I the Lord will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay.(AF) For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill(AG) whatever I say, declares the Sovereign Lord.(AH)’”
26 The word of the Lord came to me: 27 “Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’(AI)
28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”