This Is What Sin Does
4 1-3 “Now, son of man, take a brick and place it before you. Draw a picture of the city Jerusalem on it. Then make a model of a military siege against the brick: Build siege walls, construct a ramp, set up army camps, lay in battering rams around it. Then get an iron skillet and place it upright between you and the city—an iron wall. Face the model: The city shall be under siege and you shall be the besieger. This is a sign to the family of Israel.
4-5 “Next lie on your left side and place the sin of the family of Israel on yourself. You will bear their sin for as many days as you lie on your side. The number of days you bear their sin will match the number of years of their sin, namely, 390. For 390 days you will bear the sin of the family of Israel.
6-7 “Then, after you have done this, turn over and lie down on your right side and bear the sin of the family of Judah. Your assignment this time is to lie there for forty days, a day for each year of their sin. Look straight at the siege of Jerusalem. Roll up your sleeve, shake your bare arm, and preach against her.
8 “I will tie you up with ropes, tie you so you can’t move or turn over until you have finished the days of the siege.
9-12 “Next I want you to take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, dried millet and spelt, and mix them in a bowl to make a flat bread. This is your food ration for the 390 days you lie on your side. Measure out about half a pound for each day and eat it on schedule. Also measure out your daily ration of about a pint of water and drink it on schedule. Eat the bread as you would a muffin. Bake the muffins out in the open where everyone can see you, using dried human dung for fuel.”
13 God said, “This is what the people of Israel are going to do: Among the pagan nations where I will drive them, they will eat foods that are strictly taboo to a holy people.”
14 I said, “God, my Master! Never! I’ve never contaminated myself with food like that. Since my youth I’ve never eaten anything forbidden by law, nothing found dead or violated by wild animals. I’ve never taken a single bite of forbidden food.”
15 “All right,” he said. “I’ll let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human dung.”
16-17 Then he said to me, “Son of man, I’m going to cut off all food from Jerusalem. The people will live on starvation rations, worrying where the next meal’s coming from, scrounging for the next drink of water. Famine conditions. People will look at one another, see nothing but skin and bones, and shake their heads. This is what sin does.”
A Jealous God, Not to Be Trifled With
5 1-2 “Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a straight razor, shaving your head and your beard. Then, using a set of balancing scales, divide the hair into thirds. When the days of the siege are over, take one-third of the hair and burn it inside the city. Take another third, chop it into bits with the sword and sprinkle it around the city. The final third you’ll throw to the wind. Then I’ll go after them with a sword.
3-4 “Retrieve a few of the hairs and slip them into your pocket. Take some of them and throw them into the fire—burn them up. From them, fire will spread to the whole family of Israel.
5-6 “This is what God, the Master, says: This means Jerusalem. I set her at the center of the world, all the nations ranged around her. But she rebelled against my laws and ordinances, rebelled far worse than the nations ranged around her—sheer wickedness!—refused my guidance, ignored my directions.
7 “Therefore this is what God, the Master, says: You’ve been more headstrong and willful than any of the nations around you, refusing my guidance, ignoring my directions. You’ve sunk to the gutter level of those around you.
8-10 “Therefore this is what God, the Master, says: I’m setting myself against you—yes, against you, Jerusalem. I’m going to punish you in full sight of the nations. Because of your disgusting no-god idols, I’m going to do something to you that I’ve never done before and will never do again: turn families into cannibals—parents eating children, children eating parents! Punishment indeed. And whoever’s left over I’ll throw to the winds.
11-12 “Therefore, as sure as I am the living God—Decree of God, the Master—because you’ve polluted my Sanctuary with your obscenities and disgusting no-god idols, I’m pulling out. Not an ounce of pity will I show you. A third of your people will die of either disease or hunger inside the city, a third will be killed outside the city, and a third will be thrown to the winds and chased by killers.
13 “Only then will I calm down and let my anger cool. Then you’ll know that I was serious about this all along, that I’m a jealous God and not to be trifled with.
14-15 “When I get done with you, you’ll be a pile of rubble. Nations who walk by will make coarse jokes. When I finish my angry punishment and searing rebukes, you’ll be reduced to an object of ridicule and mockery, turned into a horror story circulating among the surrounding nations. I, God, have spoken.
16-17 “When I shoot my lethal famine arrows at you, I’ll shoot to kill. Then I’ll step up the famine and cut off food supplies. Famine and more famine—and then I’ll send in the wild animals to finish off your children. Epidemic disease, unrestrained murder, death—and I will have sent it! I, God, have spoken.”
Turn Israel into Wasteland
6 1-7 Then the Word of God came to me: “Son of man, now turn and face the mountains of Israel and preach against them: ‘O Mountains of Israel, listen to the Message of God, the Master. God, the Master, speaks to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and the valleys: I’m about to destroy your sacred god and goddess shrines. I’ll level your altars, bust up your sun-god pillars, and kill your people as they bow down to your no-god idols. I’ll stack the dead bodies of Israelites in front of your idols and then scatter your bones around your shrines. Every place where you’ve lived, the towns will be torn down and the pagan shrines demolished—altars busted up, idols smashed, all your custom-made sun-god pillars in ruins. Corpses everywhere you look! Then you’ll know that I am God.
8-10 “‘But I’ll let a few escape the killing as you are scattered through other lands and nations. In the foreign countries where they’re taken as prisoners of war, they’ll remember me. They’ll realize how devastated I was by their betrayals, by their voracious lust for gratifying themselves in their idolatries. They’ll be disgusted with their evil ways, disgusting to God in the way they’ve lived. They’ll know that I am God. They’ll know that my judgment against them was no empty threat.
11-14 “‘This is what God, the Master, says: Clap your hands, stamp your feet, yell out, “No, no, no!” because of all the evil obscenities rife in Israel. They’re going to be killed, dying of hunger, dying of disease—death everywhere you look, people dropping like flies, people far away dying, people nearby dying, and whoever’s left in the city starving to death. Why? Because I’m angry, furiously angry. They’ll realize that I am God when they see their people’s corpses strewn over and around all their ruined sex-and-religion shrines on the bare hills and in the lush fertility groves, in all the places where they indulged their sensual rites. I’ll bring my hand down hard on them, demolish the country wherever they live, turn it into wasteland from one end to the other, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they’ll know that I am God!’”
Fate Has Caught Up with You
7 1-4 God’s Word came to me, saying, “You, son of man—God, the Master, has this Message for the land of Israel:
The end of business as usual for everyone.
It’s all over. The end is upon you.
I’ve launched my anger against you.
I’ve issued my verdict on the way you live.
I’ll make you pay for your disgusting obscenities.
I won’t look the other way,
I won’t feel sorry for you.
I’ll make you pay for the way you’ve lived:
Your disgusting obscenities will boomerang on you,
and you’ll realize that I am God.’
5-9 “I, God, the Master, say:
‘Disaster after disaster! Look, it comes!
the end comes.
The end is ripe. Watch out, it’s coming!
This is your fate, you who live in this land.
It’s zero hour.
No dragging of feet now,
no bargaining for more time.
Soon now I’ll pour my wrath on you,
pay out my anger against you,
Render my verdict on the way you’ve lived,
make you pay for your disgusting obscenities.
I won’t look the other way,
I won’t feel sorry for you.
I’ll make you pay for the way you’ve lived.
Your disgusting obscenities will boomerang on you.
Then you’ll realize
that it is I, God, who have hit you.
10-13 “‘Judgment Day!
Fate has caught up with you.
The scepter outsized and pretentious,
pride bursting all bounds,
brandishing the evil scepter.
But there’s nothing to them,
and nothing will be left of them.
Countdown: five, four, three, two . . .
Buyer, don’t boast; seller, don’t worry:
Judgment wrath has turned the world topsy-turvy.
The bottom has dropped out of buying and selling.
It will never be the same again.
But don’t fantasize an upturn in the market.
The country is bankrupt because of its sins,
and it’s not going to get any better.
14-16 “‘The trumpet signals the call to battle:
But no one marches into battle.
My wrath has them paralyzed!
On the open roads you’re killed,
or else you go home and die of hunger and disease.
Either get murdered out in the country
or die of sickness or hunger in town.
Survivors run for the hills.
They moan like doves in the valleys,
Each one moaning
for his own sins.
17-18 “‘Every hand hangs limp,
every knee turns to rubber.
They dress in rough burlap—
Shifty and shamefaced,
with their heads shaved bald.
19-27 “‘They throw their money into the gutters.
Their hard-earned cash stinks like garbage.
They find that it won’t buy a thing
they either want or need on Judgment Day.
They tripped on money
and fell into sin.
Proud and pretentious with their jewels,
they deck out their vile and vulgar no-gods in finery.
I’ll make those god-obscenities a stench in their nostrils.
I’ll give away their religious junk—
strangers will pick it up for free,
the godless spit on it and make jokes.
I’ll turn my face so I won’t have to look
as my treasured place and people are violated,
As violent strangers walk in
and desecrate place and people—
A bloody massacre,
as crime and violence fill the city.
I’ll bring in the dregs of humanity
to move into their houses.
I’ll put a stop to the boasting and strutting
of the high-and-mighty,
And see to it that there’ll be nothing holy
left in their holy places.
Catastrophe descends. They look for peace,
but there’s no peace to be found—
Disaster on the heels of disaster,
one rumor after another.
They clamor for the prophet to tell them what’s up,
but nobody knows anything.
Priests don’t have a clue;
the elders don’t know what to say.
The king holds his head in despair;
the prince is devastated.
The common people are paralyzed.
Gripped by fear, they can’t move.
I’ll deal with them where they are,
judge them on their terms.
They’ll know that I am God.’”