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A Vision of the Avenging Sword of Yahweh

21 And the word of Yahweh came[a] to me, saying,[b] “Son of man,[c] set your face toward Jerusalem, and preach to the sanctuaries, and prophesy to the land of Israel. And you must say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says Yahweh: “Look! I am against you, and I will draw out my sword from its sheath, and I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. Because[d] I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword will go out from its sheath to[e] all creatures[f] from south to north. And they will know, all creatures, that I, Yahweh, I will bring out my sword from its sheath; it will not return again!”’ And you, son of man,[g] groan with shaking hips,[h] and you must groan with bitterness before their eyes. And then[i] when they say to you, ‘On account of what are you groaning?’ then you must say, ‘On account of the report, for it is coming, and every heart will be weak and all hands will hang limp and every spirit will be disheartened, and all knees will go like water.’ Look! It is coming, and it will happen!” declares[j] the Lord Yahweh.

And the word of Yahweh came[k] to me, saying,[l] “Son of man,[m] prophesy, and you must say, ‘Thus says the Lord,’ say, ‘A sword, a sword is sharpened and is also polished. 10 It is sharpened to slaughter a slaughter, polished to flash like lightning![n] Or will we rejoice?[o] A rod, my son, is despising every tree.[p] 11 And he gives it to be polished, to be seized by the hand.[q] It is sharpened—a sword—and it is polished to give it into the hand of the killer. 12 Cry and wail, son of man,[r] for it is against my people; it is against all of the princes of Israel. They are thrown to the sword with my people; therefore strike your thigh.[s] 13 For examine![t] And what if also the rod will not be despising?’ declares[u] the Lord Yahweh. 14 And you, son of man,[v] prophesy and clap your hands.[w] And the sword will strike twice;[x] let it happen a third time. It is a sword of the dead, the sword of the great dead that is surrounding them, 15 so that a heart melts, and the fallen multiply[y] at all of their gates. I gave a sword for slaughter, and alas! It is made for flashing, it is grasped[z] for slaughtering. 16 Gather together, strike to the right; cause to go to the left, where your edge[aa] is directed. 17 And also I myself[ab] will clap my hands,[ac] and I will satisfy my rage! I, Yahweh, I have spoken.”

18 And the word of Yahweh came[ad] to me, saying,[ae] 19 “And you, son of man,[af] mark out for yourself[ag] two roads for the coming of the sword of the king of Babylon; they must both[ah] go out from the same land. And hew out a signpost;[ai] hew it at the head of the road of the city. 20 You must mark a road for the coming of the sword to Rabbah of the Ammonites[aj] and to Judah, in Jerusalem the fortified. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the fork of the road at the head of the two roads to practice divination. He shakes the arrows,[ak] he inquires with the teraphim, he examines[al] the liver. 22 In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem, to put up battering rams, to open a mouth for slaughter,[am] to raise the battle cry,[an] to put up battering rams against gates, to build a siege ramp, to build siege works.[ao] 23 And it will be to them like practicing divination falsely[ap] in their eyes; they have sworn oaths for themselves.[aq] But[ar] he will bring their guilt to remembrance so as to seize them.

24 “Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: ‘Because you have brought to remembrance your guilt by the uncovering of your transgressions, so that your sins in all of your deeds appear—because of your being remembered, you will be captured in the hand.’ 25 And as for you, profane one, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come with the time of the punishment of the end, 26 thus says the Lord Yahweh: ‘Remove the turban and lift off the crown; things are no longer the same. Exalt the low and bring low the high. 27 A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I will make it! Also[as] this has not ever happened;[at] it will remain until the coming of the one to whom the judgment belongs and I have given it to him.’ 28 And you, son of man,[au] prophesy, and you must say, ‘Thus says the Lord Yahweh to the Ammonites[av] and concerning their disgrace,’ and you must say, ‘A sword, a sword is drawn for slaughtering; it is polished for holding, for flashing like lightning,[aw] 29 when seeing a false vision for you in vain, when practicing divination for you falsely, to give[ax] you on the neck of the profane ones of the wicked, whose day has come,[ay] the time of final punishment.[az] 30 Return it to its sheath in the place where you were created. In the land of your origin I will judge you! 31 And I will pour out my anger on you; I will blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and I will give you into the hand of brutal men, skilled craftsmen of destruction. 32 You will be as fuel for the fire; your blood will be in the midst of the earth. You will not be remembered, for I, Yahweh, I have spoken.’”


  1. Ezekiel 21:1 Literally “was”
  2. Ezekiel 21:1 Literally “to say”
  3. Ezekiel 21:2 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  4. Ezekiel 21:4 Hebrew “Because that”
  5. Ezekiel 21:4 Or “against”
  6. Ezekiel 21:4 Hebrew “creature”
  7. Ezekiel 21:6 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  8. Ezekiel 21:6 Literally “with destruction of loins”
  9. Ezekiel 21:7 Literally “and it will be”
  10. Ezekiel 21:7 Literally “declaration of”
  11. Ezekiel 21:8 Literally “was”
  12. Ezekiel 21:8 Literally “to say”
  13. Ezekiel 21:9 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  14. Ezekiel 21:10 Literally “so that there be for her lightning”
  15. Ezekiel 21:10 Or “be pleased”
  16. Ezekiel 21:10 Or “stick” of correction; Hebrew is uncertain in meaning here
  17. Ezekiel 21:11 Literally “to take hold of in the palm of the hand”
  18. Ezekiel 21:12 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  19. Ezekiel 21:12 Literally “strike on the thigh”
  20. Ezekiel 21:13 Literally “it was tested”
  21. Ezekiel 21:13 Literally “declaration of”
  22. Ezekiel 21:14 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  23. Ezekiel 21:14 Literally “strike hand to hand”
  24. Ezekiel 21:14 Literally “be doubled”
  25. Ezekiel 21:15 Literally “be made many”
  26. Ezekiel 21:15 Or “polished”
  27. Ezekiel 21:16 Literally “face”
  28. Ezekiel 21:17 Literally “I, I”
  29. Ezekiel 21:17 Literally “strike my hand to my hand”
  30. Ezekiel 21:18 Literally “was”
  31. Ezekiel 21:18 Literally “to say”
  32. Ezekiel 21:19 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  33. Ezekiel 21:19 Hebrew “you”
  34. Ezekiel 21:19 Literally “the two of them”
  35. Ezekiel 21:19 Literally “hand”
  36. Ezekiel 21:20 Literally “sons of Ammon”
  37. Ezekiel 21:21 Literally “he casts the lot with the arrows” (cf. NASB, NRSV)
  38. Ezekiel 21:21 Literally “sees with”
  39. Ezekiel 21:22 Or “open the mouth of Sheol”; or “give the command to slaughter” (cf. NRSV, NASB)
  40. Ezekiel 21:22 Literally “to raise a voice in shouting”
  41. Ezekiel 21:22 Hebrew “siege work”
  42. Ezekiel 21:23 Or “in vain”
  43. Ezekiel 21:23 Literally “swearers of oaths will be for them”
  44. Ezekiel 21:23 Or “And”
  45. Ezekiel 21:27 Or “indeed”
  46. Ezekiel 21:27 Or “will not happen until” (cf. NASB and NRSV)
  47. Ezekiel 21:28 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  48. Ezekiel 21:28 Literally “sons of Ammon”
  49. Ezekiel 21:28 Literally “for the sake of lightening”
  50. Ezekiel 21:29 Or “place”
  51. Ezekiel 21:29 Literally “who has come their day”
  52. Ezekiel 21:29 Literally “in the time of the punishment of the end”