Ezekiel’s Inaugural Vision

In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles(A) by the Kebar River,(B) the heavens were opened(C) and I saw visions(D) of God.

On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin(E) the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel(F) the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians.[a] There the hand of the Lord was on him.(G)

I looked, and I saw a windstorm(H) coming out of the north(I)—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,(J) and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures.(K) In appearance their form was human,(L) but each of them had four faces(M) and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.(N) Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands.(O) All four of them had faces and wings, and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.(P)

10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.(Q) 11 Such were their faces. They each had two wings(R) spreading out upward, each wing touching that of the creature on either side; and each had two other wings covering its body. 12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went.(S) 13 The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals(T) of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning(U) flashed out of it. 14 The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.(V)

15 As I looked at the living creatures,(W) I saw a wheel(X) on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. 16 This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz,(Y) and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 17 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction(Z) as the creatures went. 18 Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes(AA) all around.

19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go,(AB) and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.(AC)

22 Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault,(AD) sparkling like crystal, and awesome. 23 Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing(AE) waters, like the voice(AF) of the Almighty,[b] like the tumult of an army.(AG) When they stood still, they lowered their wings.

25 Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. 26 Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne(AH) of lapis lazuli,(AI) and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.(AJ) 27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.(AK) 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow(AL) in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.(AM)

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory(AN) of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown,(AO) and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel’s Call to Be a Prophet

He said to me, “Son of man,[c](AP) stand(AQ) up on your feet and I will speak to you.(AR) As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me(AS) to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day.(AT) The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.(AU) Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’(AV) And whether they listen or fail to listen(AW)—for they are a rebellious people(AX)—they will know that a prophet has been among them.(AY) And you, son of man, do not be afraid(AZ) of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns(BA) are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.(BB) You must speak(BC) my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.(BD) But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel(BE) like that rebellious people;(BF) open your mouth and eat(BG) what I give you.”

Then I looked, and I saw a hand(BH) stretched out to me. In it was a scroll,(BI) 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.(BJ)

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate(BK) it, and it tasted as sweet as honey(BL) in my mouth.

He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.(BM) You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language,(BN) but to the people of Israel— not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you.(BO) But the people of Israel are not willing to listen(BP) to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate.(BQ) But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.(BR) I will make your forehead(BS) like the hardest stone, harder than flint.(BT) Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.(BU)

10 And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart(BV) all the words I speak to you. 11 Go(BW) now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’(BX) whether they listen or fail to listen.(BY)

12 Then the Spirit lifted me up,(BZ) and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound as the glory of the Lord rose from the place where it was standing.[d] 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures(CA) brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound.(CB) 14 The Spirit(CC) then lifted me up(CD) and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord(CE) on me. 15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Aviv near the Kebar River.(CF) And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days(CG)—deeply distressed.

Ezekiel’s Task as Watchman

16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me:(CH) 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman(CI) for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.(CJ) 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,(CK)’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[e] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.(CL) 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn(CM) from their wickedness(CN) or from their evil ways, they will die(CO) for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.(CP)

20 “Again, when a righteous person turns(CQ) from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block(CR) before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.(CS) 21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.(CT)

22 The hand of the Lord(CU) was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go(CV) out to the plain,(CW) and there I will speak to you.” 23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River,(CX) and I fell facedown.(CY)

24 Then the Spirit came into me and raised me(CZ) to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house.(DA) 25 And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people.(DB) 26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof(DC) of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious people.(DD) 27 But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’(DE) Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people.(DF)

Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp(DG) up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it.(DH) Then take an iron pan,(DI) place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward(DJ) it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign(DK) to the people of Israel.(DL)

“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself.[f] You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.

“After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin(DM) of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year.(DN) Turn your face(DO) toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.(DP)

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt;(DQ) put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10 Weigh out twenty shekels[g](DR) of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11 Also measure out a sixth of a hin[h] of water and drink it at set times.(DS) 12 Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement(DT) for fuel.” 13 The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”(DU)

14 Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord!(DV) I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead(DW) or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.(DX)

15 “Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”

16 He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off(DY) the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair,(DZ) 17 for food and water will be scarce.(EA) They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of[i] their sin.(EB)

God’s Razor of Judgment

“Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor(EC) to shave(ED) your head and your beard.(EE) Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. When the days of your siege come to an end, burn(EF) a third(EG) of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind.(EH) For I will pursue them with drawn sword.(EI) But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment.(EJ) Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire(EK) and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.(EL) Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.(EM)

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even[j] conformed to the standards of the nations around you.(EN)

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations.(EO) Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again.(EP) 10 Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents.(EQ) I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds.(ER) 11 Therefore as surely as I live,(ES) declares the Sovereign(ET) Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary(EU) with all your vile images(EV) and detestable practices,(EW) I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you.(EX) 12 A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds(EY) and pursue with drawn sword.(EZ)

13 “Then my anger will cease and my wrath(FA) against them will subside, and I will be avenged.(FB) And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal.(FC)

14 “I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by.(FD) 15 You will be a reproach(FE) and a taunt, a warning(FF) and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke.(FG) I the Lord have spoken.(FH) 16 When I shoot at you with my deadly and destructive arrows of famine, I will shoot to destroy you. I will bring more and more famine upon you and cut off your supply of food.(FI) 17 I will send famine and wild beasts(FJ) against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed(FK) will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.(FL)

Doom for the Mountains of Israel

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face(FM) against the mountains(FN) of Israel; prophesy against them(FO) and say: ‘You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys:(FP) I am about to bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places.(FQ) Your altars will be demolished and your incense altars(FR) will be smashed; and I will slay your people in front of your idols.(FS) I will lay the dead bodies of the Israelites in front of their idols, and I will scatter your bones(FT) around your altars.(FU) Wherever you live,(FV) the towns will be laid waste and the high places(FW) demolished, so that your altars will be laid waste and devastated, your idols(FX) smashed and ruined, your incense altars(FY) broken down, and what you have made wiped out.(FZ) Your people will fall slain(GA) among you, and you will know that I am the Lord.(GB)

“‘But I will spare some, for some of you will escape(GC) the sword when you are scattered among the lands and nations.(GD) Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember(GE) me—how I have been grieved(GF) by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols.(GG) They will loathe themselves for the evil(GH) they have done and for all their detestable practices.(GI) 10 And they will know that I am the Lord;(GJ) I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them.(GK)

11 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Strike your hands together and stamp your feet and cry out “Alas!” because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the people of Israel, for they will fall by the sword, famine and plague.(GL) 12 One who is far away will die of the plague, and one who is near will fall by the sword, and anyone who survives and is spared will die of famine. So will I pour out my wrath(GM) on them.(GN) 13 And they will know that I am the Lord, when their people lie slain among their idols(GO) around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops, under every spreading tree and every leafy oak(GP)—places where they offered fragrant incense to all their idols.(GQ) 14 And I will stretch out my hand(GR) against them and make the land a desolate waste from the desert to Diblah[k]—wherever they live. Then they will know that I am the Lord.(GS)’”

The End Has Come

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to the land of Israel:

“‘The end!(GT) The end has come
    upon the four corners(GU) of the land!
The end is now upon you,
    and I will unleash my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct(GV)
    and repay you for all your detestable practices.(GW)
I will not look on you with pity;(GX)
    I will not spare you.
I will surely repay you for your conduct
    and for the detestable practices among you.

“‘Then you will know that I am the Lord.’(GY)

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘Disaster!(GZ) Unheard-of[l] disaster!
    See, it comes!
The end(HA) has come!
    The end has come!
It has roused itself against you.
    See, it comes!
Doom has come upon you,
    upon you who dwell in the land.
The time has come! The day(HB) is near!(HC)
    There is panic, not joy, on the mountains.
I am about to pour out my wrath(HD) on you
    and spend my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct
    and repay you for all your detestable practices.(HE)
I will not look on you with pity;
    I will not spare you.(HF)
I will repay you for your conduct
    and for the detestable practices among you.(HG)

“‘Then you will know that it is I the Lord who strikes you.(HH)

10 “‘See, the day!
    See, it comes!
Doom has burst forth,
    the rod(HI) has budded,
    arrogance has blossomed!
11 Violence(HJ) has arisen,[m]
    a rod to punish the wicked.
None of the people will be left,
    none of that crowd—
none of their wealth,
    nothing of value.(HK)
12 The time has come!
    The day has arrived!
Let not the buyer(HL) rejoice
    nor the seller grieve,
    for my wrath is on the whole crowd.(HM)
13 The seller will not recover
    the property that was sold—
    as long as both buyer and seller live.
For the vision concerning the whole crowd
    will not be reversed.
Because of their sins, not one of them
    will preserve their life.(HN)

14 “‘They have blown the trumpet,(HO)
    they have made all things ready,
but no one will go into battle,
    for my wrath(HP) is on the whole crowd.
15 Outside is the sword;
    inside are plague and famine.
Those in the country
    will die by the sword;
those in the city
    will be devoured by famine and plague.(HQ)
16 The fugitives(HR) who escape
    will flee to the mountains.
Like doves(HS) of the valleys,
    they will all moan,
    each for their own sins.(HT)
17 Every hand will go limp;(HU)
    every leg will be wet with urine.(HV)
18 They will put on sackcloth(HW)
    and be clothed with terror.(HX)
Every face will be covered with shame,
    and every head will be shaved.(HY)

19 “‘They will throw their silver into the streets,(HZ)
    and their gold will be treated as a thing unclean.
Their silver and gold
    will not be able to deliver them
    in the day of the Lord’s wrath.(IA)
It will not satisfy(IB) their hunger
    or fill their stomachs,
    for it has caused them to stumble(IC) into sin.(ID)
20 They took pride in their beautiful jewelry
    and used it to make(IE) their detestable idols.
They made it into vile images;(IF)
    therefore I will make it a thing unclean for them.(IG)
21 I will give their wealth as plunder(IH) to foreigners
    and as loot to the wicked of the earth,
    who will defile it.(II)
22 I will turn my face(IJ) away from the people,
    and robbers will desecrate the place I treasure.
They will enter it
    and will defile it.(IK)

23 “‘Prepare chains!
    For the land is full of bloodshed,(IL)
    and the city is full of violence.(IM)
24 I will bring the most wicked of nations
    to take possession of their houses.
I will put an end to the pride of the mighty,
    and their sanctuaries(IN) will be desecrated.(IO)
25 When terror comes,
    they will seek peace in vain.(IP)
26 Calamity upon calamity(IQ) will come,
    and rumor upon rumor.
They will go searching for a vision from the prophet,(IR)
    priestly instruction in the law will cease,
    the counsel of the elders will come to an end.(IS)
27 The king will mourn,
    the prince will be clothed with despair,(IT)
    and the hands of the people of the land will tremble.
I will deal with them according to their conduct,(IU)
    and by their own standards I will judge them.

“‘Then they will know that I am the Lord.(IV)’”

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 1:3 Or Chaldeans
  2. Ezekiel 1:24 Hebrew Shaddai
  3. Ezekiel 2:1 The Hebrew phrase ben adam means human being. The phrase son of man is retained as a form of address here and throughout Ezekiel because of its possible association with “Son of Man” in the New Testament.
  4. Ezekiel 3:12 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text sound—may the glory of the Lord be praised from his place
  5. Ezekiel 3:18 Or in; also in verses 19 and 20
  6. Ezekiel 4:4 Or upon your side
  7. Ezekiel 4:10 That is, about 8 ounces or about 230 grams
  8. Ezekiel 4:11 That is, about 2/3 quart or about 0.6 liter
  9. Ezekiel 4:17 Or away in
  10. Ezekiel 5:7 Most Hebrew manuscripts; some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac You have
  11. Ezekiel 6:14 Most Hebrew manuscripts; a few Hebrew manuscripts Riblah
  12. Ezekiel 7:5 Most Hebrew manuscripts; some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac Disaster after
  13. Ezekiel 7:11 Or The violent one has become

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