Babylon, the Sword of God

21 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, (A)“Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, (B)preach[a] against the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am (C)against you, and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off both (D)righteous and wicked from you. Because I will cut off both righteous and wicked from you, therefore My sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh (E)from south to north, that all flesh may know that I, the Lord, have drawn My sword out of its sheath; it (F)shall not return anymore.” ’ (G)Sigh therefore, son of man, with [b]a breaking heart, and sigh with bitterness before their eyes. And it shall be when they say to you, ‘Why are you sighing?’ that you shall answer, ‘Because of the news; when it comes, every heart will melt, (H)all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord God.”

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ Say:

(I)‘A sword, a sword is sharpened
And also polished!
10 Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter,
Polished to flash like lightning!
Should we then make mirth?
It despises the scepter of My son,
As it does all wood.
11 And He has given it to be polished,
That it may be handled;
This sword is sharpened, and it is polished
To be given into the hand of (J)the slayer.’

12 “Cry and wail, son of man;
For it will be against My people,
Against all the princes of Israel.
Terrors including the sword will be against My people;
Therefore (K)strike your thigh.

13 “Because it is (L)a testing,
And what if the sword despises even the scepter?
(M)The scepter shall be no more,

says the Lord God.

14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy,
And (N)strike your hands together.
The third time let the sword do double damage.
It is the sword that slays,
The sword that slays the great men,
That enters their (O)private chambers.
15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates,
That the heart may melt and many may stumble.
Ah! (P)It is made bright;
It is grasped for slaughter:

16 “Swords(Q)[c] at the ready!
Thrust right!
Set your blade!
Thrust left—
Wherever your [d]edge is ordered!

17 “I also will (R)beat My fists together,
And (S)I will cause My fury to rest;
I, the Lord, have spoken.”

18 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying: 19 “And son of man, appoint for yourself two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to go; both of them shall go from the same land. Make a sign; put it at the head of the road to the city. 20 Appoint a road for the sword to go to (T)Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah, into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the [e]images, he looks at the liver. 22 In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem: to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to (U)lift the voice with shouting, (V)to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a wall. 23 And it will be to them like a false divination in the eyes of those who (W)have sworn oaths with them; but he will bring their iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken.

24 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand.

25 ‘Now to you, O (X)profane, wicked prince of Israel, (Y)whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, 26 thus says the Lord God:

“Remove the turban, and take off the crown;
Nothing shall remain the same.
(Z)Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.
27 [f]Overthrown, overthrown,
I will make it overthrown!
(AA)It shall be no longer,
Until He comes whose right it is,
And I will give it to (AB)Him.” ’

A Sword Against the Ammonites

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God (AC)concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach,’ and say:

‘A sword, a sword is drawn,
Polished for slaughter,
For consuming, for flashing—
29 While they (AD)see false visions for you,
While they divine a lie to you,
To bring you on the necks of the wicked, the slain
(AE)Whose day has come,
Whose iniquity shall end.

30 ‘Return(AF) it to its sheath.
(AG)I will judge you
In the place where you were created,
(AH)In the land of your [g]nativity.
31 I will (AI)pour out My indignation on you;
I will (AJ)blow against you with the fire of My wrath,
And deliver you into the hands of brutal men who are skillful to (AK)destroy.
32 You shall be fuel for the fire;
Your blood shall be in the midst of the land.
(AL)You shall not be remembered,
For I the Lord have spoken.’ ”

Sins of Jerusalem

22 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Now, son of man, (AM)will you judge, will you judge (AN)the bloody city? Yes, show her all her abominations! Then say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “The city sheds (AO)blood in her own midst, that her time may come; and she makes idols within herself to defile herself. You have become guilty by the blood which you have (AP)shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; (AQ)therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries. Those near and those far from you will mock you as [h]infamous and full of tumult.

“Look, (AR)the princes of Israel: each one has used his [i]power to shed blood in you. In you they have (AS)made light of father and mother; in your midst they have (AT)oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the [j]fatherless and the widow. You have despised My holy things and (AU)profaned My Sabbaths. In you are (AV)men who slander to cause bloodshed; (AW)in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness. 10 In you men (AX)uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are (AY)set apart during their impurity. 11 One commits abomination (AZ)with his neighbor’s wife; (BA)another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; and another in you violates his sister, his father’s (BB)daughter. 12 In you (BC)they take bribes to shed blood; (BD)you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and (BE)have forgotten Me,” says the Lord God.

13 “Behold, therefore, I (BF)beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst. 14 (BG)Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you? (BH)I, the Lord, have spoken, and will do it. 15 (BI)I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and (BJ)remove your filthiness completely from you. 16 You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then (BK)you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”

Israel in the Furnace

17 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, (BL)the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a (BM)furnace; they have become dross from silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to (BN)melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. 21 Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have (BO)poured out My fury on you.’ ”

Israel’s Wicked Leaders

23 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is (BP)not [k]cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’ 25 (BQ)The conspiracy of her [l]prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they (BR)have devoured [m]people; (BS)they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 (BT)Her priests have [n]violated My law and (BU)profaned My holy things; they have not (BV)distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her (BW)princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy [o]people, and to get dishonest gain. 28 (BX)Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, (BY)seeing false visions, and divining (BZ)lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully (CA)oppress the stranger. 30 (CB)So I sought for a man among them who would (CC)make a wall, and (CD)stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have (CE)poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed (CF)their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.

Two Harlot Sisters

23 The word of the Lord came again to me, saying:

“Son of man, there were (CG)two women,
The daughters of one mother.
(CH)They committed harlotry in Egypt,
They committed harlotry in (CI)their youth;
Their breasts were there embraced,
Their virgin bosom was there pressed.
Their names: [p]Oholah the elder and [q]Oholibah (CJ)her sister;
(CK)They were Mine,
And they bore sons and daughters.
As for their names,
Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.

The Older Sister, Samaria

“Oholah played the harlot even though she was Mine;
And she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring (CL)Assyrians,
Who were clothed in purple,
Captains and rulers,
All of them desirable young men,
Horsemen riding on horses.
Thus she committed her harlotry with them,
All of them choice men of Assyria;
And with all for whom she lusted,
With all their idols, she defiled herself.
She has never given up her harlotry brought (CM)from Egypt,
For in her youth they had lain with her,
Pressed her virgin bosom,
And poured out their immorality upon her.

“Therefore I have delivered her
Into the hand of her lovers,
Into the hand of the (CN)Assyrians,
For whom she lusted.
10 They uncovered her nakedness,
Took away her sons and daughters,
And slew her with the sword;
She became a byword among women,
For they had executed judgment on her.

The Younger Sister, Jerusalem

11 “Now (CO)although her sister Oholibah saw this, (CP)she became more corrupt in her lust than she, and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister’s harlotry.

12 “She lusted for the neighboring (CQ)Assyrians,
(CR)Captains and rulers,
Clothed most gorgeously,
Horsemen riding on horses,
All of them desirable young men.
13 Then I saw that she was defiled;
Both took the same way.
14 But she increased her harlotry;
She looked at men portrayed on the wall,
Images of (CS)Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion,
15 Girded with belts around their waists,
Flowing turbans on their heads,
All of them looking like captains,
In the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea,
The land of their nativity.
16 (CT)As soon as her eyes saw them,
She lusted for them
And sent (CU)messengers to them in Chaldea.

17 “Then the [r]Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love,
And they defiled her with their immorality;
So she was defiled by them, (CV)and alienated herself from them.
18 She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness.
Then (CW)I (CX)alienated Myself from her,
As I had alienated Myself from her sister.

19 “Yet she multiplied her harlotry
In calling to remembrance the days of her youth,
(CY)When she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
20 For she lusted for her [s]paramours,
Whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys,
And whose issue is like the issue of horses.
21 Thus you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth,
When the (CZ)Egyptians pressed your bosom
Because of your youthful breasts.

Judgment on Jerusalem

22 “Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord God:

(DA)‘Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you,
From whom you have alienated yourself,
And I will bring them against you from every side:
23 The Babylonians,
All the Chaldeans,
(DB)Pekod, Shoa, Koa,
(DC)All the Assyrians with them,
All of them desirable young men,
Governors and rulers,
Captains and men of renown,
All of them riding on horses.
24 And they shall come against you
With chariots, wagons, and war-horses,
With a horde of people.
They shall array against you
Buckler, shield, and helmet all around.

‘I will delegate judgment to them,
And they shall judge you according to their judgments.
25 I will set My (DD)jealousy against you,
And they shall deal furiously with you;
They shall remove your nose and your ears,
And your remnant shall fall by the sword;
They shall take your sons and your daughters,
And your remnant shall be devoured by fire.
26 (DE)They shall also strip you of your clothes
And take away your beautiful jewelry.

27 ‘Thus (DF)I will make you cease your lewdness and your (DG)harlotry
Brought from the land of Egypt,
So that you will not lift your eyes to them,
Nor remember Egypt anymore.’

28 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hand of (DH)those you hate, into the hand of those (DI)from whom you alienated yourself. 29 (DJ)They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and (DK)leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. 30 I will do these things to you because you have (DL)gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols. 31 You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her (DM)cup in your hand.’

32 “Thus says the Lord God:

‘You shall drink of your sister’s cup,
The deep and wide one;
(DN)You shall be laughed to scorn
And held in derision;
It contains much.
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,
The cup of horror and desolation,
The cup of your sister Samaria.
34 You shall (DO)drink and drain it,
You shall break its [t]shards,
And tear at your own breasts;
For I have spoken,’
Says the Lord God.

35 “Therefore thus says the Lord God:

‘Because you (DP)have forgotten Me and (DQ)cast Me behind your back,
Therefore you shall bear the penalty
Of your lewdness and your harlotry.’ ”

Both Sisters Judged

36 The Lord also said to me: “Son of man, will you (DR)judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then (DS)declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and (DT)blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons (DU)whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. 38 Moreover they have done this to Me: They have (DV)defiled My sanctuary on the same day and (DW)profaned My Sabbaths. 39 For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed (DX)thus they have done in the midst of My house.

40 “Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, (DY)to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you (DZ)washed yourself for them, (EA)painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately (EB)couch, with a table prepared before it, (EC)on which you had set My incense and My oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and [u]Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their [v]wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, ‘Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them? 44 Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women. 45 But righteous men will (ED)judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and (EE)blood is on their hands.

46 “For thus says the Lord God: (EF)‘Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder. 47 (EG)The assembly shall stone them with stones and [w]execute them with their swords; (EH)they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire. 48 Thus (EI)I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, (EJ)that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness. 49 They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall (EK)pay for your idolatrous sins. (EL)Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.’ ”

Symbol of the Cooking Pot(EM)

24 Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day—the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem (EN)this very day. (EO)And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God:

(EP)“Put on a pot, set it on,
And also pour water into it.
Gather pieces of meat in it,
Every good piece,
The thigh and the shoulder.
Fill it with choice [x]cuts;
Take the choice of the flock.
Also pile fuel bones under it,
Make it boil well,
And let the cuts simmer in it.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Woe to (EQ)the bloody city,
To the pot whose scum is in it,
And whose scum is not gone from it!
Bring it out piece by piece,
On which no (ER)lot has fallen.
For her blood is in her midst;
She set it on top of a rock;
(ES)She did not pour it on the ground,
To cover it with dust.
That it may raise up fury and take vengeance,
(ET)I have set her blood on top of a rock,
That it may not be covered.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

(EU)“Woe to the bloody city!
I too will make the pyre great.
10 Heap on the wood,
Kindle the fire;
Cook the meat well,
Mix in the spices,
And let the [y]cuts be burned up.

11 “Then set the pot empty on the coals,
That it may become hot and its bronze may burn,
That (EV)its filthiness may be melted in it,
That its scum may be consumed.
12 She has [z]grown weary with [aa]lies,
And her great scum has not gone from her.
Let her scum be in the fire!
13 In your (EW)filthiness is lewdness.
Because I have cleansed you, and you were not cleansed,
You will (EX)not be cleansed of your filthiness anymore,
(EY)Till I have caused My fury to rest upon you.
14 (EZ)I, the Lord, have spoken it;
(FA)It shall come to pass, and I will do it;
I will not hold back,
(FB)Nor will I spare,
Nor will I relent;
According to your ways
And according to your deeds
[ab]They will judge you,”
Says the Lord God.’ ”

The Prophet’s Wife Dies

15 Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 16 “Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall (FC)neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. 17 Sigh in silence, (FD)make no mourning for the dead; (FE)bind your turban on your head, and (FF)put your sandals on your feet; (FG)do not cover your [ac]lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.

18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.

19 And the people said to me, (FH)“Will you not tell us what these things signify to us, that you behave so?”

20 Then I answered them, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 21 ‘Speak to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, (FI)I will profane My sanctuary, [ad]your arrogant boast, the desire of your eyes, the [ae]delight of your soul; (FJ)and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. 22 And you shall do as I have done; (FK)you shall not cover your [af]lips nor eat man’s bread of sorrow. 23 Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; (FL)you shall neither mourn nor weep, but (FM)you shall pine away in your iniquities and mourn with one another. 24 Thus (FN)Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; (FO)and when this comes, (FP)you shall know that I am the Lord God.’ ”

25 ‘And you, son of man—will it not be in the day when I take from them (FQ)their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and [ag]that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters: 26 that on that day (FR)one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears? 27 (FS)On that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the Lord.’ ”


  1. Ezekiel 21:2 proclaim, lit. drop
  2. Ezekiel 21:6 Emotional distress, lit. the breaking of your loins
  3. Ezekiel 21:16 Lit. Sharpen yourself! or Unite yourself!
  4. Ezekiel 21:16 Lit. face
  5. Ezekiel 21:21 Heb. teraphim
  6. Ezekiel 21:27 Or Distortion, Ruin
  7. Ezekiel 21:30 Or origin
  8. Ezekiel 22:5 Lit. defiled of name
  9. Ezekiel 22:6 Lit. arm
  10. Ezekiel 22:7 Lit. orphan
  11. Ezekiel 22:24 So with MT, Syr., Vg.; LXX showered upon
  12. Ezekiel 22:25 So with MT, Vg.; LXX princes; Tg. scribes
  13. Ezekiel 22:25 Lit. souls
  14. Ezekiel 22:26 Lit. done violence to
  15. Ezekiel 22:27 Lit. souls
  16. Ezekiel 23:4 Lit. Her Own Tabernacle
  17. Ezekiel 23:4 Lit. My Tabernacle Is in Her
  18. Ezekiel 23:17 Lit. sons of Babel
  19. Ezekiel 23:20 Illicit lovers
  20. Ezekiel 23:34 Earthenware fragments
  21. Ezekiel 23:42 Or drunkards
  22. Ezekiel 23:42 Lit. hands
  23. Ezekiel 23:47 Lit. cut down
  24. Ezekiel 24:4 Lit. bones
  25. Ezekiel 24:10 Lit. bones
  26. Ezekiel 24:12 Or wearied Me
  27. Ezekiel 24:12 Or toil
  28. Ezekiel 24:14 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. I
  29. Ezekiel 24:17 Lit. moustache
  30. Ezekiel 24:21 Lit. the pride of your strength
  31. Ezekiel 24:21 Lit. compassion
  32. Ezekiel 24:22 Lit. moustache
  33. Ezekiel 24:25 Lit. the lifting up of their soul

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