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Ezekiel 1-39 Good News Translation (GNT)

EZEKIEL'S FIRST VISION OF GOD (1.1—7.27)

God's Throne

On the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year,[a] I, Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, was living with the Jewish exiles by the Chebar River in Babylonia. The sky opened, and I saw a vision of God. (It was the fifth year since King Jehoiachin had been taken into exile.) There in Babylonia beside the Chebar River, I heard the Lord speak to me, and I felt his power.

I looked up and saw a windstorm coming from the north. Lightning was flashing from a huge cloud, and the sky around it was glowing. Where the lightning was flashing, something shone like bronze. At the center of the storm I saw what looked like four living creatures in human form, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and they had hoofs like those of a bull. They shone like polished bronze. In addition to their four faces and four wings, they each had four human hands, one under each wing. Two wings of each creature were spread out so that the creatures formed a square, with their wing tips touching. When they moved, they moved as a group without turning their bodies.

10 Each living creature had four different faces: a human face in front, a lion's face at the right, a bull's face at the left, and an eagle's face at the back. 11 Two wings[b] of each creature were raised so that they touched the tips of the wings of the creatures next to it, and their other two wings were folded against their bodies. 12 Each creature faced all four directions, and so the group could go wherever they wished, without having to turn.

13 Among[c] the creatures there was something that looked like a blazing torch, constantly moving. The fire would blaze up and shoot out flashes of lightning. 14 The creatures themselves darted back and forth with the speed of lightning.

15 As I was looking at the four creatures I saw four wheels touching the ground, one beside each of them.[d] 16 All four wheels were alike; each one shone like a precious stone, and each had another wheel intersecting it at right angles, 17 so that the wheels could move in any of the four directions. 18 The rims of the wheels were covered with eyes.[e] 19 Whenever the creatures moved, the wheels moved with them, and if the creatures rose up from the earth, so did the wheels. 20 The creatures went wherever they wished, and the wheels did exactly what the creatures did, because the creatures controlled them. 21 So every time the creatures moved or stopped or rose in the air, the wheels did exactly the same.

22 Above the heads of the creatures there was something that looked like a dome made of dazzling crystal. 23 There under the dome stood the creatures, each stretching out two wings toward the ones next to it and covering its body with the other two wings. 24 I heard the noise their wings made in flight; it sounded like the roar of the sea, like the noise of a huge army, like the voice of Almighty God. When they stopped flying, they folded their wings, 25 but there was still a sound coming from above the dome over their heads.

26 Above the dome there was something that looked like a throne made of sapphire, and sitting on the throne was a figure that looked like a human being. 27 The figure seemed to be shining like bronze in the middle of a fire. It shone all over with a bright light 28 that had in it all the colors of the rainbow. This was the dazzling light which shows the presence of the Lord.

God Calls Ezekiel to Be a Prophet

When I saw this, I fell face downward on the ground. Then I heard a voice

saying, “Mortal man, stand up. I want to talk to you.” While the voice was speaking, God's spirit entered me and raised me to my feet, and I heard the voice continue, “Mortal man, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They have rebelled and turned against me and are still rebels, just as their ancestors were. They are stubborn and do not respect me, so I am sending you to tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them. Whether those rebels listen to you or not, they will know that a prophet has been among them.

“But you, mortal man, must not be afraid of them or of anything they say. They will defy and despise you; it will be like living among scorpions. Still, don't be afraid of those rebels or of anything they say. You will tell them whatever I tell you to say, whether they listen or not. Remember what rebels they are.

“Mortal man, listen to what I tell you. Don't be rebellious like them. Open your mouth and eat what I am going to give you.” I saw a hand reaching out toward me, and it was holding a scroll. 10 The hand unrolled the scroll, and I saw that there was writing on both sides—cries of grief were written there, and wails and groans.

God said, “Mortal man, 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. He said, “Mortal man, eat this scroll that I give you; fill your stomach with it.” I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey.

Then God said, “Mortal man, go to the people of Israel and say to them whatever I tell you to say. I am not sending you to a nation that speaks a difficult foreign language, but to the Israelites. If I sent you to great nations that spoke difficult languages you didn't understand, they would listen to you. But none of the people of Israel will be willing to listen; they will not even listen to me. All of them are stubborn and defiant. Now I will make you as stubborn and as tough as they are. I will make you as firm as a rock, as hard as a diamond; don't be afraid of those rebels.”

10 God continued, “Mortal man, pay close attention and remember everything I tell you. 11 Then go to the people of your nation who are in exile and tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them, whether they pay attention to you or not.”

12 Then God's spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the loud roar of a voice that said, “Praise the glory of the Lord in heaven above!” 13 I heard the wings of the creatures beating together in the air, and the noise of the wheels, as loud as an earthquake. 14 The power of the Lord came on me with great force, and as his spirit carried me off, I felt bitter and angry. 15 So I came to Tel Abib beside the Chebar River, where the exiles were living, and for seven days I stayed there, overcome by what I had seen and heard.

The Lord Appoints Ezekiel as a Lookout

16 After the seven days had passed, the Lord spoke to me. 17 “Mortal man,” he said, “I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You will pass on to them the warnings I give you. 18 If I announce that someone evil is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, he will die, still a sinner, but I will hold you responsible for his death. 19 If you do warn an evil man and he doesn't stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared.

20 “If someone truly good starts doing evil and I put him in a dangerous situation, he will die if you do not warn him. He will die because of his sins—I will not remember the good he did—and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21 If you do warn a good man not to sin and he listens to you and doesn't sin, he will stay alive, and your life will also be spared.”

Ezekiel Will Be Unable to Talk

22 I felt the powerful presence of the Lord and heard him say to me, “Get up and go out into the valley. I will talk to you there.”

23 So I went out into the valley, and there I saw the glory of the Lord, just as I had seen it beside the Chebar River. I fell face downward on the ground, 24 but God's spirit entered me and raised me to my feet. The Lord said to me, “Go home and shut yourself up in the house. 25 You will be tied with ropes, mortal man, and you will not be able to go out in public. 26 I will paralyze your tongue so that you won't be able to warn these rebellious people. 27 Then, when I speak to you again and give you back the power of speech, you will tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. Some of them will listen, but some will ignore you, for they are a nation of rebels.”

Ezekiel Acts Out the Siege of Jerusalem

God said, “Mortal man, get a brick, put it in front of you, and scratch lines on it to represent the city of Jerusalem. Then, to represent a siege, put trenches, earthworks, camps, and battering rams all around it. Take an iron pan and set it up like a wall between you and the city. Face the city. It is under siege, and you are the one besieging it. This will be a sign to the nation of Israel.

4-5 “Then lie down on your left side, and I[f] will place on you the guilt of the nation of Israel. For 390 days you will stay there and suffer because of their guilt. I have sentenced you to one day for each year their punishment will last. When you finish that, turn over on your right side and suffer for the guilt of Judah for forty days—one day for each year of their punishment.

“Fix your eyes on the siege of Jerusalem. Shake your fist at the city and prophesy against it. I will tie you up so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until the siege is over.

“Now take some wheat, barley, beans, peas, millet, and spelt. Mix them all together and make bread. That is what you are to eat during the 390 days you are lying on your left side. 10 You will be allowed eight ounces of bread a day, and it will have to last until the next day. 11 You will also have a limited amount of water to drink, two cups a day. 12 You are to build a fire out of dried human excrement, bake bread on the fire, and eat it where everyone can see you.”

13 The Lord said, “This represents the way the Israelites will have to eat food which the Law forbids,[g] when I scatter them to foreign countries.”

14 But I replied, “No, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From childhood on I have never eaten meat from any animal that died a natural death or was killed by wild animals. I have never eaten any food considered unclean.”

15 So God said, “Very well. I will let you use cow dung instead, and you can bake your bread on that.”

16 And he added, “Mortal man, I am going to cut off the supply of bread for Jerusalem. The people there will be distressed and anxious as they measure out the food they eat and the water they drink. 17 They will run out of bread and water; they will be in despair, and they will waste away because of their sins.”

Ezekiel Cuts His Hair

The Lord said, “Mortal man, take a sharp sword and use it to shave off your beard and all your hair. Then weigh the hair on scales and divide it into three parts. Burn up a third of it in the city when the siege is over. Take another third and chop it up with your sword as you move around outside the city. Scatter the remaining third to the winds, and I will pursue it with my sword. Keep back a few hairs and wrap them in the hem of your clothes. Then take a few of them out again, throw them in the fire, and let them burn up. From them fire will spread to the whole nation of Israel.”

The Sovereign Lord said, “Look at Jerusalem. I put her at the center of the world, with other countries all around her. But Jerusalem rebelled against my commands and showed that she was more wicked than the other nations, more disobedient than the countries around her. Jerusalem rejected my commands and refused to keep my laws. Now listen, Jerusalem, to what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. By not obeying my laws or keeping my commands, you have caused more trouble than the nations around you. You have followed the customs of other nations. And so I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you that I am your enemy. I will pass judgment on you where all the nations can see it. Because of all the things you do that I hate, I will punish Jerusalem as I have never done before and will never do again. 10 As a result, parents in Jerusalem will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will punish you and scatter in every direction any who are left alive.

11 “Therefore, as I am the living God—this is the word of the Sovereign Lord—because you defiled my Temple with all the evil, disgusting things you did, I will cut you down without mercy. 12 A third of your people will die from sickness and hunger in the city; a third will be cut down by swords outside the city; and I will scatter the last third to the winds and pursue them with a sword.

13 “You will feel all the force of my anger and rage until I am satisfied. When all this happens, you will be convinced that I, the Lord, have spoken to you because I am outraged at your unfaithfulness. 14 Everyone from the nations around you who passes by will sneer at you and keep their distance.

15 “When I am angry and furious with you and punish you, all the nations around you will be terrified. They will look at you with disgust and make fun of you. 16 I will cut off your supply of food and let you starve. You[h] will feel the pains of hunger like sharp arrows sent to destroy you. 17 I will send hunger and wild animals to kill your children, and will send sickness, violence, and war to kill you. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Lord Condemns Idolatry

The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “look toward the mountains of Israel and give them my message. Tell the mountains of Israel to hear the Sovereign Lord's word—to hear what I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling the mountains, the hills, the gorges, and the valleys: I will send a sword to destroy the places where people worship idols. The altars will be torn down and the incense altars broken. All the people there will be killed in front of their idols. I will scatter the corpses of the people of Israel; I will scatter their bones all around the altars. All the cities of Israel will be destroyed, so that all their altars and their idols will be smashed to pieces, their incense altars will be shattered, and everything they made will disappear. People will be killed everywhere, and those who survive will acknowledge that I am the Lord.

“I will let some escape the slaughter and be scattered among the nations, where they will live in exile. There they will remember me and know that I have punished them and disgraced them,[i] because their faithless hearts deserted me and they preferred idols to me. And they will be disgusted with themselves because of the evil and degrading things they have done. 10 They will know that I am the Lord and that my warnings were not empty threats.”

11 The Sovereign Lord said, “Wring your hands! Stamp your feet! Cry in sorrow because of all the evil, disgusting things the Israelites have done. They are going to die in war or of starvation or disease. 12 Those far away will get sick and die; those nearby will be killed in war; those who survive will starve to death. They will feel all the force of my anger. 13 Corpses will be scattered among the idols and around the altars, scattered on every high hill, on the top of every mountain, under every green tree and every large oak, in every place where they burned sacrifices to their idols. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord. 14 Yes, I will reach out and destroy their country. I will make it a wasteland from the southern desert to the city of Riblah in the north, not sparing any place where the Israelites live. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord.”

The End Is Near for Israel

The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to the land of Israel: This is the end for the whole land!

“Israel, the end has come. You will feel my anger, because I am judging you for what you have done. I will pay you back for all your disgusting conduct. I will not spare you or show you any mercy. I am going to punish you for the disgusting things you have done, so that you will know that I am the Lord.”

This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: “One disaster after another is coming on you. It's all over. This is the end. You are finished. The end is coming for you people who live in the land. The time is near when there will be no more celebrations at the mountain shrines, only confusion.[j]

“Very soon now you will feel all the force of my anger. I am judging you for what you have done, and I will pay you back for all your disgusting conduct. I will not spare you or show you any mercy. I am going to punish you for the disgusting things you have done, so that you will know that I am the Lord and that I am the one who punishes you.”

10 The day of disaster is coming. Violence is flourishing. Pride is at its height.[k] 11 Violence produces more wickedness. Nothing of theirs will remain, nothing of their wealth, their splendor, or their glory.

12 The time is coming. The day is near when buying and selling will have no more meaning, because God's punishment will fall on everyone alike. 13 No merchants will live long enough to get back what they have lost, because God's anger is on everyone. Those who are evil cannot survive.[l] 14 The trumpet blows, and everyone gets ready. But no one goes off to war, for God's anger will fall on everyone alike.

Punishment for Israel's Sins

15 There is fighting in the streets, and sickness and hunger in the houses. Anyone who is out in the country will die in the fighting, and anyone in the city will be a victim of sickness and hunger. 16 Some will escape to the mountains like doves frightened from the valleys. All of them will moan over their sins.[m] 17 Everyone's hands will be weak, and their knees will shake. 18 They will put on sackcloth and they will tremble all over. Their heads will be shaved, and they will all be disgraced. 19 They will throw their gold and silver away in the streets like garbage, because neither silver nor gold can save them when the Lord pours out his fury. They cannot use it to satisfy their desires or fill their stomachs. Gold and silver led them into sin. 20 Once they were proud of their beautiful jewels, but they used them to make disgusting idols. That is why the Lord has made their wealth repulsive to them.

21 “I will let foreigners rob them,” says the Lord, “and lawbreakers will take all their wealth and defile it. 22 I will not interfere when my treasured Temple is profaned, when robbers break into it and defile it.

23 “Everything is in confusion[n]—the land is full of murders and the cities are full of violence. 24 I will bring the most evil nations here and let them have your homes. Your strongest men will lose their confidence when I let the nations profane the places where you worship. 25 Despair is coming. You will look for peace and never find it. 26 One disaster will follow another, and a steady stream of bad news will pour in. You will beg the prophets to reveal what they foresee. The priests will have nothing to teach the people, and the elders will have no advice to give. 27 The king will mourn, the prince will give up hope, and the people will shake with fear. I will punish you for all you have done, and will judge you in the same way as you have judged others. This will show you that I am the Lord.”

EZEKIEL'S SECOND VISION OF GOD (8.1—10.22)

Idolatry in Jerusalem

On the fifth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of our exile, the leaders of the exiles from Judah were sitting in my house with me. Suddenly the power of the Sovereign Lord came on me. I looked up and saw a vision of a fiery human form. From the waist down his body looked like fire, and from the waist up he was shining like polished bronze. He reached out what seemed to be a hand and grabbed me by the hair. Then in this vision God's spirit lifted me high in the air and took me to Jerusalem. He took me to the inner entrance of the north gate of the Temple, where there was an idol that was an outrage to God.

There I saw the dazzling light that shows the presence of Israel's God, just as I had seen it when I was by the Chebar River. God said to me, “Mortal man, look toward the north.” I looked, and there near the altar by the entrance of the gateway I saw the idol that was an outrage to God.

God said to me, “Mortal man, do you see what is happening? Look at the disgusting things the people of Israel are doing here, driving me farther and farther away from my holy place. You will see even more disgraceful things than this.”

He took me to the entrance of the outer courtyard and showed me a hole in the wall. He said, “Mortal man, break through the wall here.” I broke through it and found a door. He told me, “Go in and look at the evil, disgusting things they are doing there.” 10 So I went in and looked. The walls were covered with drawings of snakes and other unclean animals,[o] and of the other things which the Israelites were worshiping. 11 Seventy Israelite leaders were there, including Jaazaniah son of Shaphan. Each one was holding an incense burner, and smoke was rising from the incense. 12 God asked me, “Mortal man, do you see what the Israelite leaders are doing in secret? They are all worshiping in a room full of images. Their excuse is: ‘The Lord doesn't see us! He has abandoned the country.’”

13 Then the Lord said to me, “You are going to see them do even more disgusting things than that.” 14 So he took me to the north gate of the Temple and showed me women weeping over the death of the god Tammuz.[p]

15 He asked, “Mortal man, do you see that? You will see even more disgusting things.” 16 So he took me to the inner courtyard of the Temple. There near the entrance of the sanctuary, between the altar and the porch, were about twenty-five men. They had turned their backs to the sanctuary and were bowing low toward the east, worshiping the rising sun.

17 The Lord said to me, “Mortal man, do you see that? These people of Judah are not satisfied with merely doing all the disgusting things you have seen here and with spreading violence throughout the country. No, they must come and do them right here in the Temple and make me even more angry. Look how they insult me in the most offensive way possible![q] 18 They will feel all the force of my anger. I will not spare them or show them any mercy. They will shout prayers to me as loud as they can, but I will not listen to them.”

Jerusalem Is Punished

Then I heard God shout, “Come here, you men who are going to punish the city. Bring your weapons with you.” At once six men came from the outer north gate of the Temple, each one carrying a weapon. With them was a man dressed in linen clothes, carrying something to write with. They all came and stood by the bronze altar.

Then the dazzling light of the presence of the God of Israel rose up from the winged creatures[r] where it had been, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. The Lord called to the man dressed in linen, “Go through the whole city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of everyone who is distressed and troubled because of all the disgusting things being done in the city.”

And I heard God say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill. Spare no one; have mercy on no one. Kill the old men, young men, young women, mothers, and children. But don't touch anyone who has the mark on his forehead. Start here at my Temple.” So they began with the leaders who were standing there at the Temple.

God said to them, “Defile the Temple. Fill its courtyards with corpses. Get to work!” So they began to kill the people in the city.[s]

While the killing was going on, I was there alone. I threw myself face downward on the ground and shouted, “Sovereign Lord, are you so angry with Jerusalem that you are going to kill everyone left in Israel?”

God answered, “The people of Israel and Judah are guilty of terrible sins. They have committed murder all over the land and have filled Jerusalem with crime. They say that I, the Lord, have abandoned their country and that I don't see them. 10 But I will not have pity on them; I will do to them what they have done to others.”

11 Then the man wearing linen clothes returned and reported to the Lord, “I have carried out your orders.”

The Glory of the Lord Leaves the Temple

10 I looked at the dome over the heads of the living creatures[t] and above them was something that seemed to be a throne made of sapphire. God said to the man wearing linen clothes, “Go between the wheels under the creatures and fill your hands with burning coals. Then scatter the coals over the city.”

I watched him go. The creatures were standing to the south of the Temple when he went in, and a cloud filled the inner courtyard. The dazzling light of the Lord's presence rose up from the creatures and moved to the entrance of the Temple. Then the cloud filled the Temple, and the courtyard was blazing with the light. The noise made by the creatures' wings was heard even in the outer courtyard. It sounded like the voice of Almighty God.

When the Lord commanded the man wearing linen clothes to take some fire from between the wheels that were under the creatures, the man went in and stood by one of the wheels. One of the creatures reached his hand into the fire that was there among them, picked up some coals, and put them in the hands of the man in linen. The man took the coals and left.

I saw that each creature had what looked like a human hand under each of its wings. 9-10 I also saw that there were four wheels, all alike, one beside each creature. The wheels shone like precious stones, and each one had another wheel which intersected it at right angles. 11 When the creatures moved, they could go in any direction without turning. They all moved together in the direction they wanted to go, without having to turn around. 12 Their bodies, backs, hands, wings, and wheels were covered with eyes. 13 I heard a voice calling out, “Whirling wheels.”

14 Each creature had four faces. The first was the face of a bull, the second a human face, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 15 (They were the same creatures that I had seen by the Chebar River.) When the creatures rose in the air 16 and moved, the wheels went with them. Whenever they spread their wings to fly, the wheels still went with them. 17 When the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; and when the creatures flew, the wheels went with them, because the creatures controlled them.

18 Then the dazzling light of the Lord's presence left the entrance of the Temple and moved to a place above the creatures. 19 They spread their wings and flew up from the earth while I was watching, and the wheels went with them. They paused at the east gate of the Temple, and the dazzling light was over them. 20 I recognized them as the same creatures which I had seen beneath the God of Israel at the Chebar River.

21 Each of them had four faces, four wings, and what looked like a human hand under each wing. 22 Their faces looked exactly like the faces[u] I had seen by the Chebar River. Each creature moved straight ahead.

Jerusalem Is Condemned

11 God's spirit lifted me up and took me to the east gate of the Temple. There near the gate I saw twenty-five men, including Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, two leaders of the nation.

God said to me, “Mortal man, these men make evil plans and give bad advice in this city. They say, ‘We will soon be building houses again.[v] The city is like a cooking pot, and we are like the meat in it, but at least it protects us from the fire.’ Now then, denounce them, mortal man.”

The spirit of the Lord took control of me, and the Lord told me to give the people this message: “People of Israel, I know what you are saying and what you are planning. You have murdered so many people here in the city that the streets are full of corpses.

“So this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to you. This city is a cooking pot all right, but what is the meat? The corpses of those you have killed! You will not be here—I will throw you out of the city! Are you afraid of swords? I will bring soldiers with swords to attack you. I will take you out of the city and hand you over to foreigners. I have sentenced you to death, 10 and you will be killed in battle in your own country. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord. 11 This city will not protect you the way a pot protects the meat in it. I will punish you wherever you may be in the land of Israel. 12 You will know that I am the Lord and that while you were keeping the laws of the neighboring nations, you were breaking my laws and disobeying my commands.”

13 While I was prophesying, Pelatiah dropped dead. I threw myself face downward on the ground and shouted, “No, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to kill everyone left in Israel?”

God's Promise to the Exiles

14 The Lord spoke to me. 15 “Mortal man,” he said, “the people who live in Jerusalem are talking about you and those of your nation who are in exile. They say, ‘The exiles are too far away to worship the Lord. He has given us possession of the land.’

16 “Now tell your fellow exiles what I am saying. I am the one who sent them to live in far-off nations and scattered them in other countries. Yet, for the time being I will be present with them in the lands where they have gone.

17 “So tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. I will gather them out of the countries where I scattered them, and will give the land of Israel back to them. 18 When they return, they are to get rid of all the filthy, disgusting idols they find. 19 I will give them a new heart and a new mind. I will take away their stubborn heart of stone and will give them an obedient heart. 20 Then they will keep my laws and faithfully obey all my commands. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But I will punish the people who love to worship filthy, disgusting idols. I will punish them for what they have done.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

God's Glory Leaves Jerusalem

22 The living creatures began to fly, and the wheels went with them. The dazzling light of the presence of the God of Israel was over them. 23 Then the dazzling light left the city and moved to the mountain east of it. 24 In the vision the spirit of God lifted me up and brought me back to the exiles in Babylonia. Then the vision faded, 25 and I told the exiles everything that the Lord had shown me.

The Prophet as a Refugee

12 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “you are living among rebellious people. They have eyes, but they see nothing; they have ears, but they hear nothing, because they are rebellious.

“Now, mortal man, pack a bundle just as a refugee would and start out before nightfall. Let everyone see you leaving and going to another place. Maybe those rebels will notice you.[w] While it is still daylight, pack your bundle for exile, so that they can see you, and then let them watch you leave in the evening as if you were going into exile. While they are watching, break a hole through the wall of your house and take your pack out through it. Let them watch you putting your pack on your shoulder and going out into the dark with your eyes covered, so that you can't see where you are going. What you do will be a warning to the Israelites.”

I did what the Lord told me to do. That day I packed a bundle as a refugee would, and that evening as it was getting dark I dug a hole in the wall with my hands and went out. While everyone watched, I put the pack on my shoulder and left.

The next morning the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “now that those Israelite rebels are asking you what you're doing, 10 tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them. This message is for the prince ruling in Jerusalem and for all the people who live there. 11 Tell them that what you have done is a sign of what will happen to them—they will be refugees and captives. 12 The prince who is ruling them will shoulder his pack in the dark and escape through a hole that they dig for him in the wall. He will cover his eyes and not see where he is going. 13 But I will spread out my net and trap him in it. Then I will take him to the city of Babylon, where he will die without having seen it. 14 I will scatter in every direction all the members of his court and his advisers and bodyguards, and people will search for them to kill them.

15 “When I scatter them among the other nations and in foreign countries, they will know that I am the Lord. 16 I will let a few of them survive the war, the famine, and the diseases, so that there among the nations they will realize how disgusting their actions have been and will acknowledge that I am the Lord.”

The Sign of the Trembling Prophet

17 The Lord spoke to me. 18 “Mortal man,” he said, “tremble when you eat, and shake with fear when you drink. 19 Tell the whole nation that this is the message of the Sovereign Lord to the people of Jerusalem who are still living in their land: They will tremble when they eat and shake with fear when they drink. Their land will be stripped bare, because everyone who lives there is lawless. 20 Cities that are now full of people will be destroyed, and the country will be made a wilderness. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

A Popular Proverb and an Unpopular Message

21 The Lord spoke to me. 22 “Mortal man,” he said, “why do the people of Israel repeat this proverb: ‘Time goes by, and predictions come to nothing’? 23 Now tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, have to say about that. I will put an end to that proverb. It won't be repeated in Israel any more. Tell them instead: The time has come, and the predictions are coming true!

24 “Among the people of Israel there will be no more false visions or misleading prophecies. 25 I, the Lord, will speak to them, and what I say will be done. There will be no more delay. In your own lifetime, you rebels, I will do what I have warned you I would do. I have spoken,” says the Sovereign Lord.

26 The Lord said to me, 27 “Mortal man, the Israelites think that your visions and prophecies are about the distant future. 28 So tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: There will be no more delay. What I have said will be done. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Prophecy against False Male Prophets

13 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce the prophets of Israel who make up their own prophecies. Tell them to listen to the word of the Lord.”

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “These foolish prophets are doomed! They provide their own inspiration and invent their own visions. People of Israel, your prophets are as useless as foxes living among the ruins of a city. They don't guard the places where the walls have crumbled, nor do they rebuild the walls, and so Israel cannot be defended when war comes on the day of the Lord. Their visions are false, and their predictions are lies. They claim that they are speaking my message, but I have not sent them. Yet they expect their words to come true! I tell them: Those visions you see are false, and the predictions you make are lies. You say that they are my words, but I haven't spoken to you!”

So the Sovereign Lord says to them, “Your words are false, and your visions are lies. I am against you. I am about to punish you prophets who have false visions and make misleading predictions. You will not be there when my people gather to make decisions; your names will not be included in the list of the citizens of Israel; you will never return to your land. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.

10 “The prophets mislead my people by saying that all is well. All is certainly not well! My people have put up a wall of loose stones, and then the prophets have come and covered it with whitewash. 11 Tell the prophets that their wall is going to fall down. I will send a pouring rain. Hailstones will fall on it, and a strong wind will blow against it. 12 The wall will collapse, and everyone will ask you what good the whitewash did.”

13 Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “In my anger I will send a strong wind, pouring rain, and hailstones to destroy the wall. 14 I intend to break down the wall they whitewashed, to shatter it, and to leave the foundation stones bare. It will collapse and kill you all. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord.

15 “The wall and those who covered it with whitewash will feel the force of my anger. Then I will tell you that the wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it— 16 those prophets who assured Jerusalem that all was well, when all was not well!” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

Prophecy against False Female Prophets

17 The Lord said, “Now, mortal man, look at the women among your people who make up predictions. Denounce them 18 and tell them what the Sovereign Lord is saying to them:

“You women are doomed! You sew magic wristbands for everyone and make magic scarves for everyone to wear on their heads, so that they can have power over other people's lives. You want to possess the power of life and death over my people and to use it for your own benefit. 19 You dishonor me in front of my people in order to get a few handfuls of barley and a few pieces of bread. You kill people who don't deserve to die, and you keep people alive who don't deserve to live. So you tell lies to my people, and they believe you.”

20 Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I hate the wristbands that you use in your attempt to control life and death. I will rip them off your arms and set free the people that you were controlling.[x] 21 I will rip off your scarves and let my people escape from your power once and for all. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

22 “By your lies you discourage good people, whom I do not wish to hurt. You prevent evil people from giving up evil and saving their lives. 23 So now your false visions and misleading predictions are over. I am rescuing my people from your power, so that you will know that I am the Lord.”

God Condemns Idolatry

14 Some of the leaders of the Israelites came to consult me about the Lord's will. Then the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “these men have given their hearts to idols and are letting idols lead them into sin. Do they think I will give them an answer?

“Now speak to them and tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them: Each of you Israelites who have given your heart to idols and let them lead you into sin and who then come to consult a prophet, will get an answer from me—the answer that your many idols deserve! All those idols have turned the Israelites away from me, but by my answer I hope to win back their loyalty.

“Now then, tell the Israelites what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: Turn back and leave your disgusting idols.

“Whenever one of you Israelites or one of you foreigners who live in the Israelite community turn away from me and worship idols, and then go to consult a prophet, I, the Lord, will give you your answer! I will oppose you. I will make an example of you. I will remove you from the community of my people, so that all of you will know that I am the Lord.

“If any prophets are deceived into giving a false answer, it is because I, the Lord, have deceived them. I will remove them from the people of Israel. 10 Both prophets and anyone who consults them will get the same punishment. 11 I will do this to keep the Israelites from deserting me and defiling themselves by their sins. They are to be my people, and I will be their God.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

Noah, Danel, and Job

12 The Lord spoke to me. 13 “Mortal man,” he said, “if a country sins and is unfaithful to me, I will reach out and destroy its supply of food. I will send a famine and kill people and animals alike. 14 Even if those three men, Noah, Danel,[y] and Job, were living there, their goodness would save only their own lives.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

15 “Or I might send wild animals to kill the people, making the land so dangerous that no one could travel through it, 16 and even if those three men lived there—as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God—they would not be able to save even their own children. They would save only their own lives, and the land would become a wilderness.

17 “Or I might bring war on that country and send destructive weapons to wipe out people and animals alike, 18 and even if those three men lived there—as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God—they would not be able to save even their children, but only their own lives.

19 “If I send an epidemic on that country and in my anger take many lives, killing people and animals, 20 even if Noah, Danel, and Job lived there—as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God—they would not be able to save even their own children. Their goodness would save only their own lives.”

21 This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: “I will send my four worst punishments on Jerusalem—war, famine, wild animals, and disease—to destroy people and animals alike. 22 If some survive and save their children, look at them when they come to you. See how evil they are, and be convinced that the punishment I am bringing on Jerusalem is justified; 23 then you will know that there was good reason for everything I did.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

A Parable about a Vine

15 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “how does a vine compare with a tree? What good is a branch of a grapevine compared with the trees of the forest? Can you use it to make anything? Can you even make a peg out of it to hang things on? It is only good for building a fire. And when the ends are burned up and the middle is charred, can you make anything out of it? It was useless even before it was burned. Now that the fire has burned it and charred it, it is even more useless.”

Now this is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: “Just as a vine is taken from the forest and burned, so I will take the people who live in Jerusalem and will punish them. They have escaped one fire, but now fire will burn them up. When I punish them, you will know that I am the Lord. They have been unfaithful to me, and so I will make the country a wilderness.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

Jerusalem the Unfaithful

16 The Lord spoke to me again. “Mortal man,” he said, “point out to Jerusalem what disgusting things she has done. Tell Jerusalem what the Sovereign Lord is saying to her:

“You were born in the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite.[z] When you were born, no one cut your umbilical cord or washed you[aa] or rubbed you with salt or wrapped you in cloths. No one took enough pity on you to do any of these things for you. When you were born, no one loved you. You were thrown out in an open field.

“Then I passed by and saw you squirming in your own blood. You were covered with blood, but I wouldn't let you die. I made you grow like a healthy plant. You grew strong and tall and became a young woman.[ab] Your breasts were well-formed, and your hair had grown, but you were naked.

“As I passed by again, I saw that the time had come for you to fall in love. I covered your naked body with my coat and promised to love you. Yes, I made a marriage covenant with you, and you became mine.” This is what the Sovereign Lord says.

“Then I took water and washed the blood off you. I rubbed olive oil on your skin. 10 I dressed you in embroidered gowns and gave you shoes of the best leather, a linen headband, and a silk cloak. 11 I put jewels on you—bracelets and necklaces. 12 I gave you a nose ring and earrings and a beautiful crown to wear. 13 You had ornaments of gold and silver, and you always wore clothes of embroidered linen and silk. You ate bread made from the best flour, and had honey and olive oil to eat. Your beauty was dazzling, and you became a queen. 14 You became famous in every nation for your perfect beauty, because I was the one who made you so lovely.” This is what the Sovereign Lord says.

15 “But you took advantage of your beauty and fame to sleep with everyone who came along.[ac] 16 You used some of your clothes to decorate your places of worship, and just like a prostitute,[ad] you gave yourself to everyone. 17 You took the silver and gold jewelry that I had given you, used it to make male images, and committed adultery with them. 18 You took the embroidered clothes I gave you and put them on the images, and you offered to the images the olive oil and incense I had given you. 19 I gave you food—the best flour, olive oil, and honey—but you offered it as a sacrifice to win the favor of idols.” This is what the Sovereign Lord says.

20 “Then you took the sons and the daughters you had borne me and offered them as sacrifices to idols. Wasn't it bad enough to be unfaithful to me, 21 without taking my children and sacrificing them to idols? 22 During your disgusting life as a prostitute you never once remembered your childhood—when you were naked, squirming in your own blood.”

Jerusalem's Life as a Prostitute

23 The Sovereign Lord said, “You are doomed! Doomed! You did all that evil, and then 24 by the side of every road you built places to worship idols and practice prostitution. 25 You dragged your beauty through the mud. You offered yourself to everyone who came by, and you were more of a prostitute every day. 26 You let your lustful neighbors, the Egyptians, go to bed with you, and you used your prostitution to make me angry.

27 “Now I have raised my hand to punish you and to take away your share of my blessing. I have handed you over to the Philistines, who hate you and are disgusted with your immoral actions.

28 “Because you were not satisfied by the others, you went running after the Assyrians. You were their prostitute, but they didn't satisfy you either. 29 You were also a prostitute for the Babylonians, that nation of merchants, but they didn't satisfy you either.”

30 This[ae] is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: “You have done all this like a shameless prostitute. 31 On every street you built places to worship idols and practice prostitution. But you are not out for money like a common prostitute. 32 You are like a woman who commits adultery with strangers instead of loving her husband. 33 A prostitute is paid, but you gave presents to all your lovers and bribed them to come from everywhere to sleep with you. 34 You are a special kind of prostitute. No one forced you to become one. You didn't get paid; you paid them! Yes, you are different.”

God's Judgment on Jerusalem

35 Now then, Jerusalem, you whore! Hear what the Lord is saying.

36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “You stripped off your clothes, and like a prostitute, you gave yourself to your lovers and to all your disgusting idols, and you killed your children as sacrifices to idols. 37 Because of this I will bring all your former lovers together—the ones you liked and the ones you hated. I will bring them around you in a circle, and then I will strip off your clothes and let them see you naked. 38 I will condemn you for adultery and murder, and in my anger and fury I will punish you with death. 39 I will put you in their power, and they will tear down the places where you engage in prostitution and worship idols. They will take away your clothes and jewels and leave you completely naked.

40 “They will stir up a crowd to stone you, and they will cut you to pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn your houses down and let crowds of women see your punishment. I will make you stop being a prostitute and make you stop giving gifts to your lovers. 42 Then my anger will be over, and I will be calm. I will not be angry or jealous any more. 43 You have forgotten how I treated you when you were young, and you have made me angry by all the things you did. That is why I have made you pay for them all. Why did you add sexual immorality to all the other disgusting things you did?” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

44 The Lord said, “People will use this proverb about you, Jerusalem: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You really are your mother's daughter. She detested her husband and her children. You are like your sisters, who hated their husbands and their children. You and your sister cities had a Hittite mother and an Amorite[af] father.

46 “Your older sister, with her villages, is Samaria, in the north. Your younger sister, with her villages, is Sodom, in the south. 47 Were you satisfied to follow in their footsteps and copy their disgusting actions? No, in only a little while you were acting worse than they were in everything you did.

48 “As surely as I am the living God,” the Sovereign Lord says, “your sister Sodom and her villages never did the evil that you and your villages have done. 49 She and her daughters were proud because they had plenty to eat and lived in peace and quiet, but they did not take care of the poor and the underprivileged. 50 They were proud and stubborn and did the things that I hate, so I destroyed them, as you well know.

51 “Samaria did not sin half as much as you have. You have acted more disgustingly than she ever did. Your corruption makes your sisters look innocent by comparison. 52 And now you will have to endure your disgrace. Your sins are so much worse than those of your sisters that they look innocent beside you. Now blush and bear your shame, because you make your sisters look pure.”

Sodom and Samaria Will Be Restored

53 The Lord said to Jerusalem, “I will make them prosperous again—Sodom and her villages and Samaria and her villages. Yes, I will make you prosperous too. 54 You will be ashamed of yourself, and your disgrace will show your sisters how well-off they are. 55 They will become prosperous again, and you and your villages will also be restored. 56 Didn't you joke about Sodom in those days when you were proud 57 and before the evil you did had been exposed? Now you are just like her—a joke to the Edomites, the Philistines, and your other neighbors who hate you. 58 You must suffer for the obscene, disgusting things you have done.” The Lord has spoken.

A Covenant That Lasts Forever

59 The Sovereign Lord says, “I will treat you the way you deserve, because you ignored your promises and broke the covenant. 60 But I will honor the covenant I made with you when you were young, and I will make a covenant with you that will last forever. 61 You will remember how you have acted, and be ashamed of it when you get your older sister and your younger sister back. I will let them be like daughters to you, even though this was not part of my covenant with you. 62 I will renew my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 I will forgive all the wrongs you have done, but you will remember them and be too ashamed to open your mouth.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

The Parable of the Eagles and the Vine

17 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “tell the Israelites a parable to let them know what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them: There was a giant eagle with beautiful feathers and huge wings, spread wide. He flew to the Lebanon Mountains and broke off the top of a cedar tree, which he carried to a land of commerce and placed in a city of merchants. Then he took a young plant from the land of Israel and planted it in a fertile field,[ag] where there was always water to make it grow. The plant sprouted and became a low, wide-spreading grapevine. The branches grew upward toward the eagle, and the roots grew deep. The vine was covered with branches and leaves.

“There was another giant eagle with huge wings and thick plumage. And now the vine sent its roots toward him and turned its leaves toward him, in the hope that he would give it more water than there was in the garden where it was growing.[ah] But the vine had already been planted in a fertile, well-watered field so that it could grow leaves and bear grapes and be a magnificent vine.

“So I, the Sovereign Lord, ask: Will this vine live and grow? Won't the first eagle pull it up by its roots, pull off the grapes, and break off the branches and let them wither? It will not take much strength or a mighty nation to pull it up. 10 Yes, it is planted, but will it live and grow? Won't it wither when the east wind strikes it? Won't it wither there where it is growing?”

The Parable Is Explained

11 The Lord said to me, 12 “Ask these rebels if they know what the parable means. Tell them that the king of Babylonia came to Jerusalem and took the king and his officials back with him to Babylonia. 13 He took one of the king's family, made a treaty with him, and made him swear to be loyal. He took important men as hostages 14 to keep the nation from rising again and to make sure that the treaty would be kept. 15 But the king of Judah rebelled and sent agents to Egypt to get horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Can he get away with that? He cannot break the treaty and go unpunished!

16 “As surely as I am the living God,” says the Sovereign Lord, “this king will die in Babylonia because he broke his oath and the treaty he had made with the king of Babylonia, who put him on the throne. 17 Even the powerful army of the king of Egypt will not be able to help him fight when the Babylonians build earthworks and dig trenches in order to kill many people. 18 He broke his oath and the treaty he had made. He did all these things, and now he will not escape.”

19 The Sovereign Lord says, “As surely as I am the living God, I will punish him for breaking the treaty which he swore in my name to keep. 20 I will spread out a hunter's net and catch him in it. I will take him to Babylonia and punish him there, because he was unfaithful to me. 21 His best soldiers will be killed in battle, and the survivors will be scattered in every direction. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken.”

God's Promise of Hope

22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“I will take the top of a tall cedar
    and break off a tender sprout;
I will plant it on a high mountain,
23     on Israel's highest mountain.
It will grow branches and bear seed
    and become a magnificent cedar.
Birds of every kind will live there
    and find shelter in its shade.
24 All the trees in the land will know
    that I am the Lord.
I cut down the tall trees
    and make small trees grow tall.
I wither up the green trees
    and make the dry trees become green.

I, the Lord, have spoken. I will do what I have said I would do.”

Individual Responsibility

18 The Lord spoke to me and said, “What is this proverb people keep repeating in the land of Israel?

‘The parents ate the sour grapes,
But the children got the sour taste.’

“As surely as I am the living God,” says the Sovereign Lord, “you will not repeat this proverb in Israel any more. The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die.

“Suppose there is a truly good man, righteous and honest. He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife or have intercourse with a woman during her period. He doesn't cheat or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security; he feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. He doesn't lend money for profit. He refuses to do evil and gives an honest decision in any dispute. Such a man obeys my commands and carefully keeps my laws. He is righteous, and he will live,” says the Sovereign Lord.

10 “Then suppose this man has a son who robs and kills, who does any[ai] of these things 11 that the father never did. He eats sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines and seduces other men's wives. 12 He cheats the poor, he robs, he keeps what a borrower gives him as security. He goes to pagan shrines, worships disgusting idols, 13 and lends money for profit. Will he live? No, he will not. He has done all these disgusting things, and so he will die. He will be to blame for his own death.

14 “Now suppose this second man has a son. He sees all the sins his father practiced, but does not follow his example. 15 He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife 16 or oppress anyone or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security. He feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 17 He refuses to do evil[aj] and doesn't lend money for profit. He keeps my laws and obeys my commands. He will not die because of his father's sins, but he will certainly live. 18 His father, on the other hand, cheated and robbed[ak] and always did evil to everyone. And so he died because of the sins he himself had committed.

19 “But you ask, ‘Why shouldn't the son suffer because of his father's sins?’ The answer is that the son did what was right and good. He kept my laws and followed them carefully, and so he will certainly live. 20 It is the one who sins who will die. A son is not to suffer because of his father's sins, nor a father because of the sins of his son. Good people will be rewarded for doing good, and evil people will suffer for the evil they do.

21 “If someone evil stops sinning and keeps my laws, if he does what is right and good, he will not die; he will certainly live. 22 All his sins will be forgiven, and he will live, because he did what is right. 23 Do you think I enjoy seeing evil people die?” asks the Sovereign Lord. “No, I would rather see them repent and live.

24 “But if a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing all the evil, disgusting things that evil people do, will he go on living? No! None of the good he did will be remembered. He will die because of his unfaithfulness and his sins.

25 “But you say, ‘What the Lord does isn't right.’ Listen to me, you Israelites. Do you think my way of doing things isn't right? It is your way that isn't right. 26 When a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing evil and then dies, he dies because of the evil he has done. 27 When someone evil stops sinning and does what is right and good, he saves his life. 28 He realizes what he is doing and stops sinning, so he will certainly not die, but go on living. 29 And you Israelites say, ‘What the Lord does isn't right.’ You think my way isn't right, do you? It is your way that isn't right.

30 “Now I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you Israelites that I will judge each of you by what you have done. Turn away from all the evil you are doing, and don't let your sin destroy you. 31 Give up all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and hearts. Why do you Israelites want to die? 32 I do not want anyone to die,” says the Sovereign Lord. “Turn away from your sins and live.”

A Song of Sorrow

19 The Lord told me to sing this song of sorrow for two princes of Israel:

What a lioness your mother was!
She raised her cubs among the fierce male lions.
She raised a cub and taught him to hunt;
    he learned to eat people.
The nations heard about him
    and trapped him in a pit.
With hooks they dragged him off to Egypt.
She waited until she saw all hope was gone.
Then she raised another of her cubs,
    and he grew into a fierce lion.
When he was full-grown,
    he prowled with the other lions.
He too learned to hunt and eat people.
He wrecked forts,[al] he ruined towns.
The people of the land were terrified
    every time he roared.
The nations gathered to fight him;
    people came from everywhere.
They spread their hunting nets
    and caught him in their trap.
They put him in a cage
    and took him to the king of Babylonia.
They kept him under guard,
    so that his roar would never be heard again
    on the hills of Israel.

10 Your mother was like a grapevine[am]
    planted near a stream.
Because there was plenty of water,
    the vine was covered with leaves and fruit.
11 Its branches were strong
    and grew to be royal scepters.
The vine grew tall enough to reach the clouds;
    everyone saw how leafy and tall it was.
12 But angry hands pulled it up by the roots
    and threw it to the ground.
The east wind dried up its fruit.
Its branches were broken off;
    they dried up and were burned.
13 Now it is planted in the desert,
    in a dry and waterless land.
14 The stem of the vine caught fire;
    fire burned up its branches and fruit.
The branches will never again be strong,
    will never be royal scepters.

This is a song of sorrow; it has been sung again and again.

The Lord's Will and Human Defiance

20 It was the tenth day of the fifth month of the seventh year of our exile. Some of the leaders of the Israelite community came to consult me about the Lord's will, and they sat down in front of me. Then the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “speak to these leaders and tell them that the Sovereign Lord is saying: You have come to ask my will, have you? As surely as I am the living God, I will not let you ask me anything. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.

“Are you ready to pass sentence on them, mortal man? Then do so. Remind them of the disgusting things their ancestors did. Tell them what I am saying. When I chose Israel, I made them a promise. I revealed myself to them in Egypt and told them: I am the Lord your God. It was then that I promised to take them out of Egypt and lead them to a land I had chosen for them, a rich and fertile land, the finest land of all. I told them to throw away the disgusting idols they loved and not to make themselves unclean with the false gods of Egypt, because I am the Lord their God. But they defied me and refused to listen. They did not throw away their disgusting idols or give up the Egyptian gods. I was ready to let them feel the full force of my anger there in Egypt. But I did not, since that would have brought dishonor to my name, for in the presence of the people among whom they were living I had announced to Israel that I was going to lead them out of Egypt.

10 “And so I led them out of Egypt into the desert. 11 I gave them my commands and taught them my laws, which bring life to anyone who obeys them. 12 I made the keeping of the Sabbath a sign of the agreement between us, to remind them that I, the Lord, make them holy. 13 But even in the desert they defied me. They broke my laws and rejected my commands, which bring life to anyone who obeys them. They completely profaned the Sabbath. I was ready to let them feel the force of my anger there in the desert and to destroy them. 14 But I did not, since that would have brought dishonor to my name among the nations which had seen me lead Israel out of Egypt. 15 So I made a vow in the desert that I would not take them to the land I had given them, a rich and fertile land, the finest land of all. 16 I made the vow because they had rejected my commands, broken my laws, and profaned the Sabbath—they preferred to worship their idols.

17 “But then I took pity on them. I decided not to kill them there in the desert. 18 Instead, I warned the young people among them: Do not keep the laws your ancestors made; do not follow their customs or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God. Obey my laws and my commands. 20 Make the Sabbath a holy day, so that it will be a sign of the covenant we made, and will remind you that I am the Lord your God.

21 “But that generation also defied me. They broke my laws and did not keep my commands, which bring life to anyone who obeys them. They profaned the Sabbath. I was ready to let them feel the force of my anger there in the desert and to kill them all. 22 But I did not, since that would have brought dishonor to my name among the nations which had seen me bring Israel out of Egypt. 23 So I made another vow in the desert. I vowed that I would scatter them all over the world. 24 I did this because they had rejected my commands, broken my laws, profaned the Sabbath, and worshiped the same idols their ancestors had served.

25 “Then I gave them laws that are not good and commands that do not bring life. 26 I let them defile themselves with their own offerings, and I let them sacrifice their first-born sons. This was to punish them and show them that I am the Lord.

27 “Now then, mortal man, tell the Israelites what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them. This is another way their ancestors insulted me by their unfaithfulness. 28 I brought them to the land I had promised to give them. When they saw the high hills and green trees, they offered sacrifices at all of them. They made me angry by the sacrifices they burned and by the wine they brought as offerings. 29 I asked them: What are these high places where you go? So they have been called ‘High Places’[an] ever since. 30 Now tell the Israelites what I am saying: Why must you commit the same sins your ancestors did and go running after their idols? 31 Even today you offer the same gifts and defile yourselves with the same idols by sacrificing your children to them in the fire. And then you Israelites still come to ask what my will is! As surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I will not let you ask me anything. 32 You have made up your minds that you want to be like the other nations, like the people who live in other countries and worship trees and rocks. But that will never be.

God Punishes and Forgives

33 “As surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I warn you that in my anger I will rule over you with a strong hand, with all my power. 34 I will show you my power and my anger when I gather you together and bring you back from all the countries where you have been scattered. 35 I will bring you into the ‘Desert of the Nations,’ and there I will condemn you to your face. 36 I will now condemn you just as I condemned your ancestors in the Sinai Desert,” says the Sovereign Lord.

37 “I will take firm control of you and make you obey my covenant. 38 I will take away from among you those who are rebellious and sinful. I will take them out of the lands where they are living now, but I will not let them return to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

39 The Sovereign Lord says, “And now, all you Israelites, suit yourselves! Go on and serve your idols! But I warn you that after this you will have to obey me and stop dishonoring my holy name by offering gifts to your idols. 40 There in the land, on my holy mountain,[ao] the high mountain of Israel, all you people of Israel will worship me. I will be pleased with you and will expect you to bring me your sacrifices, your best offerings, and your holy gifts. 41 After I bring you out of the countries where you have been scattered and gather you together, I will accept the sacrifices that you burn, and the nations will see that I am holy. 42 When I bring you back to Israel, the land that I promised I would give to your ancestors, then you will know that I am the Lord. 43 Then you will remember all the disgraceful things you did and how you defiled yourselves. You will be disgusted with yourselves because of all the evil things you did. 44 When I act to protect my honor, you Israelites will know that I am the Lord, because I do not deal with you as your wicked, evil actions deserve.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

Fire in the South

45 The Lord spoke to me. 46 “Mortal man,” he said, “look toward the south. Speak against the south and prophesy against the forest of the south. 47 Tell the southern forest to hear what the Sovereign Lord is saying: Look! I am starting a fire, and it will burn up every tree in you, whether green or dry. Nothing will be able to put it out. It will spread from south to north, and everyone will feel the heat of the flames. 48 They will all see that I, the Lord, set it on fire and that no one can put it out.”

49 But I protested, “Sovereign Lord, don't make me do it! Everyone is already complaining that I always speak in riddles.”

The Lord's Sword

21 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce Jerusalem. Denounce the places where people worship. Warn the land of Israel that I, the Lord, am saying: I am your enemy. I will draw my sword and kill all of you, good and evil alike. I will use my sword against everyone from south to north. Everyone will know that I, the Lord, have drawn my sword and that I will not put it away.

“Mortal man, groan as if your heart is breaking with despair. Groan in sorrow where everyone can watch you. When they ask you why you are groaning, tell them it is because of the news that is coming. When it comes, their hearts will be filled with fear, their hands will hang limp, their courage will fail, and their knees will tremble. The time has come; it is here.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

The Lord said to me, “Mortal man, prophesy. Tell the people what I, the Lord, am saying:

A sword, a sword is sharpened and polished.
10 It is sharpened to kill,
    polished to flash like lightning.
There can be no rejoicing,
    for my people have disregarded every warning and punishment.[ap]
11 The sword is being polished,
    to make it ready for use.
It is sharpened and polished,
    to be put in the hands of a killer.
12 Howl in grief, mortal man;
    this sword is meant for my people
    and for all the leaders of Israel.
They are going to be killed
    with all the rest of my people.
Beat your breast in despair!
13 I am testing my people,
    and if they refuse to repent,
    all these things will happen to them.[aq]

14 “Now, mortal man, prophesy. Clap your hands, and the sword will strike again and again. It is a sword that kills, a sword that terrifies[ar] and slaughters. 15 It makes my people lose courage and stumble. I am threatening their city with a sword[as] that flashes like lightning and is ready to kill. 16 Cut to the right and the left, you sharp sword! Cut wherever you turn.[at] 17 I also will clap my hands, and my anger will be over. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Sword of the King of Babylonia

18 The Lord spoke to me. 19 “Mortal man,” he said, “mark out two roads by which the king of Babylonia can come with his sword. Both of them are to start in the same country. Put up a signpost where the roads fork.[au] 20 One will show the king the way to the Ammonite city of Rabbah, and the other the way to Judah, to the fortified city, Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylonia stands by the signpost at the fork of the road. To discover which way to go, he shakes the arrows;[av] he consults his idols; he examines the liver of a sacrificed animal. 22 Now! His right hand holds the arrow marked ‘Jerusalem’! It tells him to go and set up battering rams, to shout the battle cry, to place battering rams against the gates, to throw up earthworks, and to dig trenches. 23 The people of Jerusalem won't believe this because of the treaties they have made. But this prediction is to remind them of their sins and to warn them that they will be captured. 24 This then is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: Your sins are exposed. Everyone knows how guilty you are. You show your sins in your every action. You stand condemned, and I will hand you over to your enemies.

25 “You wicked, unholy ruler of Israel, your day, the day of your final punishment, is coming. 26 I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. Take off your crown and your turban. Nothing will be the same again. Raise the poor to power! Bring down those who are ruling! 27 Ruin, ruin! Yes, I will make the city a ruin. But this will not happen until the one comes whom I have chosen to punish the city. To him I will give it.

A Sword and the Ammonites

28 “Mortal man, prophesy. Announce what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to the Ammonites, who are insulting Israel. Say to them:

‘A sword is ready to destroy;
It is polished to kill, to flash like lightning.

29 The visions that you see are false, and the predictions you make are lies. You are wicked and evil, and your day is coming, the day of your final punishment. The sword is going to fall on your necks.

30 “‘Put up the sword! I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land where you were born. 31 You will feel my anger when I turn it loose on you like a blazing fire. And I will hand you over to brutal men, experts at destruction. 32 You will be destroyed by fire. Your blood will be shed in your own country, and no one will remember you any more.’” The Lord has spoken.

The Crimes of Jerusalem

22 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “are you ready to judge the city that is full of murderers? Make clear to her all the disgusting things she has done. Tell the city what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: Because you have murdered so many of your own people and have defiled yourself by worshiping idols, your time is coming. You are guilty of those murders and are defiled by the idols you made, and so your day is coming, your time is up! That is why I have let the nations make fun of you and all the countries sneer at you. Countries nearby and countries far away sneer at you because of your lawlessness. All Israel's leaders trust in their own strength and commit murder. None of you in the city honor your parents. You cheat foreigners and take advantage of widows and orphans. You have no respect for the holy places, and you don't keep the Sabbath. Some of your people tell lies about others in order to have them put to death. Some of them eat sacrifices offered to idols. Some are always satisfying their lusts. 10 Some of them sleep with their father's wife. Some force women to have intercourse with them during their period. 11 Some commit adultery, and others seduce their daughters-in-law or their half sisters. 12 Some of your people murder for pay. Some charge interest on the loans they make to other Israelites and get rich by taking advantage of them. They have forgotten me.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

13 “I will bring my fist down on your robberies and murders. 14 Do you think you will have any courage left or have strength enough to lift your hand when I am finished with you? I, the Lord, have spoken, and I keep my word. 15 I will scatter your people to every country and nation and will put an end to your evil actions. 16 And so the other nations will dishonor you, but you will know that I am the Lord.”

God's Refining Furnace

17 The Lord said to me, 18 “Mortal man, the Israelites are of no use to me. They are like waste metal—copper, tin, iron, and lead—left over after silver has been refined in a furnace. 19 So now I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling them that they are just as useless as that. I will bring them all together in Jerusalem 20 in the same way that the ore of silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin is put in a refining furnace. My anger and rage will melt them the way fire melts ore. 21 Yes, I will gather them in Jerusalem, build a fire under them, and melt them with my anger. 22 They will be melted in Jerusalem the way silver is melted in a furnace, and then they will know that they are feeling the anger of the Lord.”

The Sins of Israel's Leaders

23 The Lord spoke to me again. 24 “Mortal man,” he said, “tell the Israelites that their land is unholy, and so I am punishing it in my anger. 25 The leaders[aw] are like lions roaring over the animals they have killed. They kill the people, take all the money and property they can get, and by their murders leave many widows. 26 The priests break my law and have no respect for what is holy. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. They do not teach the difference between clean and unclean things, and they ignore the Sabbath. As a result the people of Israel do not respect me. 27 The government officials are like wolves tearing apart the animals they have killed. They commit murder in order to get rich. 28 The prophets have hidden these sins like workers covering a wall with whitewash. They see false visions and make false predictions. They claim to speak the word of the Sovereign Lord, but I, the Lord, have not spoken to them. 29 The wealthy cheat and rob. They mistreat the poor and take advantage of foreigners. 30 I looked for someone who could build a wall, who could stand in the places where the walls have crumbled and defend the land when my anger is about to destroy it, but I could find no one. 31 So I will turn my anger loose on them, and like a fire I will destroy them for what they have done.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

The Sinful Sisters

23 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “there were once two sisters. When they were young, living in Egypt, they lost their virginity and became prostitutes. The older one was named Oholah[ax] (she represents Samaria), and the younger one was named Oholibah[ay] (she represents Jerusalem). I married both of them, and they bore me children. Although she was mine, Oholah continued to be a prostitute and was full of lust for her lovers from Assyria. They were soldiers in uniforms of purple, noblemen and high-ranking officers; all of them were handsome young cavalry officers. She was the whore for all the Assyrian officers, and her lust led her to defile herself by worshiping Assyrian idols. She continued what she had begun as a prostitute in Egypt, where she lost her virginity. From the time she was a young woman, men slept with her and treated her like a prostitute. So I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers whom she wanted so much. 10 They stripped her naked, seized her sons and daughters, and then killed her with a sword. Women everywhere gossiped about her fate.

11 “Even though her sister Oholibah saw this, she was wilder and more of a prostitute than Oholah had ever been. 12 She too was full of lust for the Assyrian noblemen and officers—soldiers in bright uniforms—and for the cavalry officers, all of those handsome young men. 13 I saw that she was completely immoral, that the second sister was as bad as the first.

14-15 “She sank deeper and deeper in her immorality. She was attracted by the images of high Babylonian officials carved into the wall and painted bright red, with sashes around their waists and fancy turbans on their heads. 16 As soon as she saw them, she was filled with lust and sent messengers to them in Babylonia. 17 The Babylonians came to have sex with her. They used her and defiled her so much that finally she became disgusted with them. 18 She exposed herself publicly and let everyone know she was a whore. I was as disgusted with her as I had been with her sister. 19 She became more of a prostitute than ever, acting the way she did as a young woman, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 She was filled with lust for oversexed men who had all the lustfulness of donkeys or stallions.” (21 Oholibah, you wanted to repeat the immorality you were guilty of as a young woman in Egypt, where men played with your breasts and you lost your virginity.)

God's Judgment on the Younger Sister

22 “Now then, Oholibah, this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to you. You are tired of those lovers, but I will make them angry with you and bring them to surround you. 23 I will bring all the Babylonians and Chaldeans, men from Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians. I will gather all those handsome young noblemen and officers, all those important officials and high-ranking cavalry officers. 24 They will attack you from the north,[az] bringing a large army with chariots and supply wagons. Protected by shields and helmets, they will surround you. I will hand you over to them, and they will judge you by their own laws. 25 Because I am angry with you, I will let them deal with you in their anger. They will cut off your nose and your ears and kill your children. Yes, they will take your sons and daughters from you and burn them alive. 26 They will tear off your clothes and take your jewels. 27 I will put a stop to your lust and to the obscenities you have committed ever since you were in Egypt. You won't look at any more idols or think about Egypt any more.”

28 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will hand you over to people you hate and are disgusted with. 29 And because they hate you, they will take away everything you have worked for and leave you stripped naked, exposed like a prostitute. Your lust and your prostitution 30 have brought this on you. You were a prostitute for the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You followed in your sister's footsteps, and so I will give you the same cup of punishment to drink.”

32 The Sovereign Lord says,

“You will drink from your sister's cup;
    it is large and deep.
Everyone will scorn and mock you;
    the cup is full.
33 It will make you miserable and drunk,
    that cup of fear and ruin,
    your sister Samaria's cup.
34 You will drink and drain it dry,
    and with its broken pieces
    tear your breast.

I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”

35 Now this is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: “Because you forgot me and turned your back on me, you will suffer for your lust and your prostitution.”

God's Judgment on Both Sisters

36 The Lord said to me, “Mortal man, are you ready to judge Oholah and Oholibah? Accuse them of the disgusting things they have done. 37 They have committed adultery and murder—adultery with idols and murder of the children they bore me. They sacrificed my children to their idols. 38 And that is not all they did. They profaned my Temple and broke the Sabbath, which I had established. 39 The very day that they killed my children as sacrifices to idols, they came to my Temple and profaned it!

40 “Again and again they sent messengers to invite men to come from a great distance, and the men came. The two sisters would bathe and put on eye shadow and jewelry. 41 They would sit on a beautiful couch, and in front of them they would have a table covered with good things, including the incense and the olive oil that I had given them. 42 The sound of a carefree crowd could be heard, a group of men brought in from the desert. They put bracelets on the women's arms and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 And I said to myself that they were using as a prostitute a woman worn out by adultery.[ba] 44 They went back to these prostitutes again and again. They went back to Oholah and Oholibah, those immoral women. 45 Righteous men will condemn them on the charge of adultery and murder, because they practice adultery and their hands are stained with blood.”

46 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Bring a mob to terrorize them and rob them. 47 Let the mob stone them and attack them with swords, kill their children, and burn down their houses. 48 Throughout the land I will put a stop to immorality, as a warning to every woman not to commit adultery as they did. 49 And you two sisters—I will punish you for your immorality and your sin of worshiping idols. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

The Corroded Cooking Pot

24 On the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “write down today's date, because this is the day that the king of Babylonia is beginning the siege of Jerusalem. Tell my rebellious people this parable that I, the Sovereign Lord, have for them:

Set the pot on the fire
    and fill it up with water.
Put in the best pieces of meat—
    the shoulders and the legs—
    fill it with choice bony pieces too.
Use the meat of the finest sheep;
    pile the wood[bb] under the pot.
Let the water boil;
    boil the bones and the meat.”

This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: “The city of murderers is doomed! It is like a corroded pot that is never cleaned. Piece after piece of meat is taken out, and not one is left. There was murder in the city, but the blood was not spilled on the ground where the dust could hide it; it was spilled on a bare rock. I have left the blood there, where it cannot be hidden, where it demands angry revenge.”

This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: “The city of murderers is doomed! I myself will pile up the firewood. 10 Bring more wood! Fan the flames! Cook the meat! Boil away the broth![bc] Burn up the bones! 11 Now set the empty bronze pot on the coals and let it get red-hot. Then the pot will be ritually pure again after the corrosion is burned off, 12 although all that corrosion will not disappear in the flames.[bd] 13 Jerusalem, your immoral actions have defiled you. Although I tried to purify you, you remained defiled. You will not be pure again until you have felt the full force of my anger. 14 I, the Lord, have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not ignore your sins or show pity or be merciful. You will be punished for what you have done.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

The Death of the Prophet's Wife

15 The Lord spoke to me. 16 “Mortal man,” he said, “with one blow I am going to take away the person you love most. You are not to complain or cry or shed any tears. 17 Don't let your sobbing be heard. Do not go bareheaded or barefoot as a sign of mourning. Don't cover your face or eat the food that mourners eat.”

18 Early in the day I was talking with the people. That evening my wife died, and the next day I did as I had been told. 19 The people asked me, “Why are you acting like this?”

20 So I said to them, “The Lord spoke to me and told me 21 to give you Israelites this message: You are proud of the strength of the Temple. You like to look at it and to visit it, but the Lord is going to profane it. And the younger members of your families who are left in Jerusalem will be killed in war. 22 Then you will do what I have done. You will not cover your faces or eat the food that mourners eat. 23 You will not go bareheaded or barefoot or mourn or cry. You will waste away because of your sins, and you will groan to one another. 24 Then I will be a sign to you; you will do everything I have done. The Lord says that when this happens, you will know that he is the Sovereign Lord.”

25 The Lord said, “Now, mortal man, I will take away from them the strong Temple that was their pride and joy, which they liked to look at and to visit. And I will take away their sons and daughters. 26 On the day that I do this, some who escape the destruction will come and tell you about it. 27 That same day you will get back the power of speech which you had lost, and you will talk with them. In this way you will be a sign to the people, and they will know that I am the Lord.”

Prophecy against Ammon

25 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce the country of Ammon. Tell them to listen to what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: You were delighted to see my Temple profaned, to see the land of Israel devastated, to see the people of Judah go into exile. Because you were glad, I will let the tribes from the eastern desert conquer you. They will set up their camps in your country and settle there. They will eat the fruit and drink the milk that should have been yours. I will turn the city of Rabbah into a place to keep camels, and the whole country of Ammon will become a place to keep sheep, so that you will know I am the Lord.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: You clapped your hands and jumped for joy. You despised the land of Israel. Because you did, I will hand you over to other nations who will rob you and plunder you. I will destroy you so completely that you will not be a nation any more or have a country of your own. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

Prophecy against Moab

The Sovereign Lord said, “Because Moab[be] has said that Judah is like all the other nations, I will let the cities that defend the border of Moab be attacked, including even the finest cities—Beth Jeshimoth, Baal Meon, and Kiriathaim. 10 I will let the tribes of the eastern desert conquer Moab, together with Ammon, so that Moab[bf] will no longer be a nation. 11 I will punish Moab, and they will know that I am the Lord.”

Prophecy against Edom

12 The Sovereign Lord said, “The people of Edom took cruel revenge on Judah, and that revenge has brought lasting guilt on Edom. 13 Now I announce that I will punish Edom and kill every person and animal there. I will make it a wasteland, from the city of Teman to the city of Dedan, and the people will be killed in battle. 14 My people Israel will take revenge on Edom for me, and they will make Edom feel my furious anger. Edom will know what it means to be the object of my revenge.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

Prophecy against Philistia

15 The Sovereign Lord said, “The Philistines have taken cruel revenge on their agelong enemies and destroyed them in their hate. 16 And so I am announcing that I will attack the Philistines and wipe them out. I will destroy everyone left living there on the Philistine Plain. 17 I will punish them severely and take full revenge on them. They will feel my anger. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Prophecy against Tyre

26 On the first day of the … month[bg] of the eleventh year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “this is what the people in the city of Tyre are cheering about. They shout, ‘Jerusalem is shattered! Her commercial power is gone! She won't be our rival any more!’

“Now then, this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: I am your enemy, city of Tyre. I will bring many nations to attack you, and they will come like the waves of the sea. They will destroy your city walls and tear down your towers. Then I will sweep away all the dust and leave only a bare rock. Fishermen will dry their nets on it, there where it stands in the sea. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. The nations will plunder Tyre, and with their swords they will kill those who live in her towns on the mainland. Then Tyre will know that I am the Lord.”

The Sovereign Lord says, “I am going to bring the greatest king of all—King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia—to attack Tyre. He will come from the north with a huge army, with horses and chariots and with cavalry. Those who live in the towns on the mainland will be killed in the fighting. The enemy will dig trenches, build earthworks, and make a solid wall of shields against you. They will pound in your walls with battering rams and tear down your towers with iron bars. 10 The clouds of dust raised by their horses will cover you. The noise of their horses pulling wagons and chariots will shake your walls as they pass through the gates of the ruined city. 11 Their cavalry will storm through your streets, killing your people with their swords. Your mighty pillars will be thrown to the ground. 12 Your enemies will help themselves to your wealth and merchandise. They will pull down your walls and shatter your luxurious houses. They will take the stones and wood and all the rubble, and dump them into the sea. 13 I will put an end to all your songs, and I will silence the music of your harps. 14 I will leave only a bare rock where fishermen can dry their nets. The city will never be rebuilt. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”

15 The Sovereign Lord has this to say to the city of Tyre: “When you are being conquered, the people who live along the coast will be terrified at the screams of those who are slaughtered. 16 All the kings of the seafaring nations will come down from their thrones. They will take off their robes and their embroidered clothes and sit trembling on the ground. They will be so terrified at your fate that they will not be able to stop trembling. 17 They will sing this funeral song for you:

The famous city is destroyed!
Her ships have been swept[bh] from the seas.
The people of this city ruled the seas
And terrified all who lived on the coast.
18 Now, on the day it has fallen,
The islands are trembling,
And their people are shocked at such destruction.”

19 The Sovereign Lord says: “I will make you as desolate as ruined cities where no one lives. I will cover you with the water of the ocean depths. 20 I will send you down to the world of the dead to join the people who lived in ancient times. I will make you stay in that underground world among eternal ruins, keeping company with the dead. As a result you will never again be inhabited and take your place[bi] in the land of the living. 21 I will make you a terrifying example, and that will be the end of you. People may look for you, but you will never be found.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

A Funeral Song for Tyre

27 The Lord said to me, “Mortal man, sing a funeral song for Tyre, that city which stands at the edge of the sea and does business with the people living on every seacoast. Tell her what the Sovereign Lord is saying:

“Tyre, you boasted of your perfect beauty.
Your home is the sea.
Your builders made you like a beautiful ship;
They used fir trees from Mount Hermon for timber
And a cedar from Lebanon for your mast.
They took oak trees from Bashan to make oars;
They made your deck out of pine from Cyprus
And inlaid it with ivory.
Your sails were made of linen,
Embroidered linen from Egypt,
Easily recognized from afar.
Your awnings were made of finest cloth,
Of purple from the island of Cyprus.
Your oarsmen were from the cities of Sidon and Arvad.
Your own skillful men were the sailors.
The ship's carpenters
Were well-trained men from Byblos.
Sailors from every seagoing ship
Did business in your shops.

10 “Soldiers from Persia, Lydia, and Libya served in your army. They hung their shields and their helmets in your barracks. They are the men who won glory for you. 11 Soldiers from Arvad guarded your walls, and troops from Gamad guarded your towers. They hung their shields on your walls. They are the ones who made you beautiful.

12 “You did business in Spain and took silver, iron, tin, and lead in payment for your abundant goods. 13 You did business in Greece, Tubal, and Meshech and traded your goods for slaves and for articles of bronze. 14 You sold your goods for workhorses, war-horses, and mules from Beth Togarmah. 15 The people of Rhodes[bj] traded with you; people of many coastal lands gave you ivory and ebony in exchange for your goods. 16 The people of Syria bought your merchandise and your many products. They gave emeralds, purple cloth, embroidery, fine linen, coral, and rubies in payment for your wares. 17 Judah and Israel paid for your goods with wheat,[bk] honey, olive oil, and spices. 18-19 The people of Damascus bought your merchandise and your products, paying for them with wine from Helbon and wool from Sahar.[bl] They traded wrought iron and spices for your goods. 20 The people of Dedan traded saddle blankets for your goods. 21 The Arabians and the rulers of the land of Kedar paid for your merchandise with lambs, sheep, and goats. 22 For your goods the merchants of Sheba and Raamah traded jewels, gold, and the finest spices. 23 The cities of Haran, Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, the cities of Asshur and Chilmad—they all traded with you. 24 They sold you luxurious clothing, purple cloth, and embroidery, brightly colored carpets, and well-made cords and ropes. 25 Your merchandise was carried in fleets of the largest cargo ships.

“You were like a ship at sea
Loaded with heavy cargo.
26 When your oarsmen brought you out to sea,
An east wind wrecked you far from land.
27 All your wealth of merchandise,
All the sailors in your crew,
Your ship's carpenters and your merchants,
Every soldier on board the ship—
All, all were lost at sea
When your ship was wrecked.
28 The shouts of the drowning sailors
Echoed on the shore.

29 “Every ship is now deserted,
And every sailor has gone ashore.
30 They all mourn bitterly for you,
Throwing dust on their heads and rolling in ashes.
31 They shave their heads for you
And dress themselves in sackcloth.
Their hearts are bitter as they weep.
32 They chant a funeral song for you:
‘Who can be compared to Tyre,
To Tyre now silent in the sea?
33 When your merchandise went overseas,
You filled the needs of every nation.
Kings were made rich
By the wealth of your goods.
34 Now you are wrecked in the sea;
You have sunk to the ocean depths.
Your goods and all who worked for you
Have vanished with you in the sea.’

35 “Everyone who lives along the coast is shocked at your fate. Even their kings are terrified, and fear is written on their faces. 36 You are gone, gone forever, and merchants all over the world are terrified, afraid that they will share your fate.”

Prophecy against the King of Tyre

28 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “tell the ruler of Tyre what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to him: Puffed up with pride, you claim to be a god. You say that like a god you sit on a throne, surrounded by the seas. You may pretend to be a god, but, no, you are mortal, not divine. You think you are wiser than Danel,[bm] that no secret can be kept from you. Your wisdom and skill made you rich with treasures of gold and silver. You made clever business deals and kept on making profits. How proud you are of your wealth!

“Now then, this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: Because you think you are as wise as a god, I will bring ruthless enemies to attack you. They will destroy all the beautiful things you have acquired by skill and wisdom. They will kill you and send you to a watery grave. When they come to kill you, will you still claim that you are a god? When you face your murderers, you will be mortal and not at all divine. 10 You will die like a dog at the hand of godless foreigners. I, the Sovereign Lord, have given the command.”

The Fall of the King of Tyre

11 The Lord spoke to me again. 12 “Mortal man,” he said, “grieve for the fate that is waiting for the king of Tyre. Tell him what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: You were once an example of perfection. How wise and handsome you were! 13 You lived in Eden, the garden of God, and wore gems of every kind: rubies and diamonds; topaz, beryl, carnelian, and jasper; sapphires, emeralds, and garnets. You had ornaments of gold. They were made for you[bn] on the day you were created. 14 I put a terrifying angel there to guard you.[bo] You lived on my holy mountain and walked among sparkling gems. 15 Your conduct was perfect from the day you were created until you began to do evil. 16 You were busy buying and selling, and this led you to violence and sin. So I forced you to leave my holy mountain, and the angel who guarded you drove you away from the sparkling gems. 17 You were proud of being handsome, and your fame made you act like a fool. Because of this I hurled you to the ground and left you as a warning to other kings. 18 You did such evil in buying and selling that your places of worship were corrupted. So I set fire to the city and burned it to the ground. All who look at you now see you reduced to ashes. 19 You are gone, gone forever, and all the nations that had come to know you are terrified, afraid that they will share your fate.”

Prophecy against Sidon

20 The Lord said to me, 21 “Mortal man, denounce the city of Sidon. 22 Tell the people there what I, the Sovereign Lord, say about them: I am your enemy, Sidon; people will praise me because of what I do to you. They will know that I am the Lord, when I show how holy I am by punishing those who live in you. 23 I will send diseases on you and make blood flow in your streets. You will be attacked from every side, and your people will be killed. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

Israel Will Be Blessed

24 The Lord said, “None of the surrounding nations that treated Israel with scorn will ever again be like thorns and briers to hurt Israel. And they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

25 The Sovereign Lord said, “I will bring back the people of Israel from the nations where I scattered them, and all the nations will know that I am holy. The people of Israel will live in their own land, the land that I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They will live there in safety. They will build houses and plant vineyards. I will punish all their neighbors who treated them with scorn, and Israel will be secure. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.”

Prophecy against Egypt

29 On the twelfth day of the tenth month of the tenth year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce the king of Egypt. Tell him how he and all the land of Egypt will be punished. Say that this is what the Sovereign Lord is telling the king of Egypt: I am your enemy, you monster crocodile, lying in the river. You say that the Nile is yours and that you made it.[bp] I am going to put a hook through your jaw and make the fish in your river stick fast to you. Then I will pull you up out of the Nile, with all the fish sticking to you. I will throw you and all those fish into the desert. Your body will fall on the ground and be left unburied. I will give it to the birds and animals for food. Then all the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord.”

The Lord says, “The Israelites relied on you Egyptians for support, but you were no better than a weak stick. When they leaned on you, you broke, pierced their armpits, and made them wrench their backs.[bq] Now then, I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you that I will have troops attack you with swords, and they will kill your people and your animals. Egypt will become an empty wasteland. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

“Because you said that the Nile is yours and you made it, 10 I am your enemy and the enemy of your Nile. I will make all of Egypt an empty wasteland, from the city of Migdol in the north to the city of Aswan in the south, all the way to the Ethiopian[br] border. 11 No human being or animal will walk through it. For forty years nothing will live there. 12 I will make Egypt the most desolate country in the world. For forty years the cities of Egypt will lie in ruins, ruins worse than those of any other city. I will make the Egyptians refugees. They will flee to every country and live among other peoples.”

13 The Sovereign Lord says, “After forty years I will bring the Egyptians back from the nations where I have scattered them, 14 and I will let them live in southern Egypt, their original home. There they will be a weak kingdom, 15 the weakest kingdom of all, and they will never again rule other nations. I will make them so unimportant that they will not be able to bend any other nation to their will. 16 Israel will never again depend on them for help. Egypt's fate will remind Israel how wrong it was to rely on them. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

King Nebuchadnezzar Will Conquer Egypt

17 On the first day of the first month of the twenty-seventh year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. 18 “Mortal man,” he said, “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia launched an attack on Tyre. He made his soldiers carry such heavy loads that their heads were rubbed bald and their shoulders were worn raw, but neither the king nor his army got anything for all their trouble. 19 So now this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: I am giving the land of Egypt to King Nebuchadnezzar. He will loot and plunder it and carry off all the wealth of Egypt as his army's pay. 20 I am giving him Egypt in payment for his services, because his army was working for me. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.

21 “When that happens, I will make the people of Israel strong and let you, Ezekiel, speak out where everyone can hear you, so that they will know that I am the Lord.”

The Lord Will Punish Egypt

30 The Lord spoke to me again. “Mortal man,” he said, “prophesy and announce what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. You are to shout these words:

A day of terror is coming!
The day is near, the day when the Lord will act,
A day of clouds and trouble for the nations.
There will be war in Egypt
And great distress in Ethiopia.[bs]
Many in Egypt will be killed;
The country will be plundered
And left in ruins.

“That war will also kill the soldiers hired from Ethiopia,[bt] Libya, Lydia, Arabia, Kub, and even from among my own people.”

The Lord says, “From Migdol in the north to Aswan in the south, all Egypt's defenders will be killed in battle. Egypt's proud army will be destroyed. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. The land will be the most desolate in the world, and its cities will be left totally in ruins. When I set fire to Egypt and all her defenders are killed, then they will know that I am the Lord.

“When that day comes and Egypt is destroyed, I will send messengers in ships to arouse the unsuspecting people of Ethiopia,[bu] and they will be terrified. That day is coming!”

10 The Sovereign Lord says, “I will use King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to put an end to Egypt's wealth. 11 He and his ruthless army will come to devastate the land. They will attack Egypt with swords, and the land will be full of corpses. 12 I will dry up the Nile and put Egypt under the power of evil people. Foreigners will devastate the whole country. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

13 The Sovereign Lord says, “I will destroy the idols and the false gods in Memphis. There will be no one to rule Egypt, and I will terrify all the people. 14 I will make southern Egypt desolate and set fire to the city of Zoan in the north. I will punish the capital city of Thebes. 15 I will let the city of Pelusium, Egypt's great fortress, feel my fury. I will destroy the wealth of Thebes. 16 I will set fire to Egypt, and Pelusium will be in agony. The walls of Thebes will be broken down, and the city will be flooded.[bv] 17 The young men of the cities of Heliopolis and Bubastis will die in the war, and the other people will be taken prisoner. 18 Darkness will fall on Tahpanhes when I break the power of Egypt and put an end to the strength they were so proud of. A cloud will cover Egypt, and the people of all her cities will be taken prisoner. 19 When I punish Egypt in this way, they will know that I am the Lord.”

The Broken Power of the King of Egypt

20 On the seventh day of the first month of the eleventh year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. 21 “Mortal man,” he said, “I have broken the arm of the king of Egypt. No one has bandaged it or put it in a sling so that it could heal and be strong enough to hold a sword again. 22 Now then, this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, say: I am the enemy of the king of Egypt. I am going to break both his arms—the good one and the one already broken—and the sword will fall from his hand. 23 I am going to scatter the Egyptians throughout the world. 24 Then I will make the arms of the king of Babylonia strong and put my sword in his hands. But I will break the arms of the king of Egypt, and he will groan and die in front of his enemy. 25 Yes, I will weaken him and strengthen the king of Babylonia. When I give him my sword and he points it toward Egypt, everyone will know that I am the Lord. 26 I will scatter the Egyptians throughout the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Egypt Is Compared to a Cedar Tree

31 On the first day of the third month of the eleventh year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “say to the king of Egypt and all his people:

How powerful you are!
What can I compare you to?
You are like[bw] a cedar in Lebanon,
With beautiful, shady branches,
A tree so tall it reaches the clouds.[bx]
There was water to make it grow,
And underground rivers to feed it.
They watered the place where the tree was growing
And sent streams to all the trees of the forest.
Because it was well-watered,
It grew taller than other trees.
Its branches grew thick and long.
Every kind of bird built nests in its branches;
The wild animals bore their young in its shelter;
The nations of the world rested in its shade.
How beautiful the tree was—
So tall, with such long branches.
Its roots reached down to the deep-flowing streams.
No cedar in God's garden could compare with it.
No fir tree ever had such branches,
And no plane tree such limbs.
No tree in God's own garden was so beautiful.
I made it beautiful, with spreading branches.
It was the envy of every tree in Eden, the garden of God.

10 “Now then, I, the Sovereign Lord, will tell you what is going to happen to that tree that grew until it reached the clouds.[by] As it grew taller it grew proud; 11 so I have rejected it and will let a foreign ruler have it. He will give that tree what it deserves for its wickedness. 12 Ruthless foreigners will cut it down and leave it. Its branches and broken limbs will fall on every mountain and valley in the country. All the nations that have been living in its shade will go away. 13 The birds will come and perch on the fallen tree, and the wild animals will walk over its branches. 14 And so from now on, no tree, no matter how well-watered it is, will grow that tall again or push its top through the clouds[bz] and reach such a height. All of them are doomed to die like mortals, doomed to join those who go down to the world of the dead.”

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “On the day when the tree goes to the world of the dead, I will make the underground waters cover it as a sign of mourning. I will hold back the rivers and not let the many streams flow out. Because the tree has died, I will bring darkness over the Lebanon Mountains and make all the trees of the forest wither. 16 When I send it down to the world of the dead, the noise of its downfall will shake the nations. All the trees of Eden and all the choice, well-watered trees of Lebanon who have gone to the world below will be pleased at its downfall. 17 They will go with it to the world of the dead to join those that have already fallen. And all who live under its shadow will be scattered among the nations.[ca]

18 “The tree is the king of Egypt and all his people. Not even the trees in Eden were so tall and impressive. But now, like the trees of Eden, it will go down to the world of the dead and join the ungodly and those killed in battle. I have spoken,” says the Sovereign Lord.

The King of Egypt Is Compared to a Crocodile

32 On the first day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “give a solemn warning to the king of Egypt. Give him this message from me: You act like a lion among the nations, but you are more like a crocodile splashing through a river. You muddy the water with your feet and pollute the rivers. When many nations gather, I will catch you in my net and let them drag the net ashore. I will throw you out on the ground and bring all the birds and animals of the world to feed on you. I will cover mountains and valleys with your rotting corpse. I will pour out your blood until it spreads over the mountains and fills the streams. When I destroy you, I will cover the sky and blot out the stars. The sun will hide behind the clouds, and the moon will give no light. I will put out all the lights of heaven and plunge your world into darkness. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.

“Many nations will be troubled when I spread the news of your destruction through countries you never heard of. 10 What I do to you will shock many nations. When I swing my sword, kings will shudder with fright. On the day you fall, all of them will tremble in fear for their own lives.”

11 The Sovereign Lord says to the king of Egypt, “You will face the sword of the king of Babylonia. 12 I will let soldiers from cruel nations draw their swords and kill all your people. All your people and everything else that you are proud of will be destroyed. 13 I will slaughter your cattle at every water hole. There will be no people or cattle to muddy the water any more. 14 I will let your waters settle and become clear and let your rivers run calm. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. 15 When I make Egypt a desolate wasteland and destroy all who live there, they will know that I am the Lord. 16 This solemn warning will become a funeral song. The women of the nations will sing it to mourn for Egypt and all its people. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”

The World of the Dead

17 On the fifteenth day of the first month[cb] of the twelfth year of our exile, the Lord spoke to me. 18 “Mortal man,” he said, “mourn for all the many people of Egypt. Send them down with the other powerful nations to the world of the dead. 19 Say to them:

“Do you think you are more beautiful than anyone else?
You will go down to the world of the dead
    and lie there among the ungodly.

20 “The people of Egypt will fall with those who are killed in battle. A sword is ready to kill them all.[cc] 21 The greatest heroes and those who fought on the Egyptian side welcome the Egyptians to the world of the dead. They shout: ‘The ungodly who were killed in battle have come down here, and here they lie!’

22 “Assyria is there, with the graves of her soldiers all around. They were all killed in battle, 23 and their graves are in the deepest parts of the world of the dead. All her soldiers fell in battle, and their graves surround her tomb. Yet once they terrified the land of the living.

24 “Elam is there, with the graves of her soldiers all around. They were all killed in battle, and they went down, uncircumcised, to the world of the dead. In life they spread terror, but now they lie dead and disgraced. 25 Elam lies down among those killed in battle, and the graves of her soldiers are all around her. They are all uncircumcised, all killed in battle. In life they spread terror, but now they lie dead and disgraced, sharing the fate of those killed in battle.

26 “Meshech and Tubal are there, with the graves of their soldiers all around. They are all uncircumcised, all killed in battle. Yet once they terrified the living. 27 They were not given honorable burial like the heroes of ancient times,[cd] who went fully armed to the world of the dead, their swords placed under their heads and their shields[ce] over their bodies. These heroes were once powerful enough to terrify the living.

28 “That is how the Egyptians will lie crushed among the uncircumcised who were killed in battle.

29 “Edom is there with her kings and rulers. They were powerful soldiers, but now they lie in the world of the dead with the uncircumcised who were killed in battle.

30 “All the princes of the north are there, and so are the Sidonians. Their power once spread terror, but now they go down in disgrace with those killed in battle and are laid to rest, uncircumcised. They share the disgrace of those who go down to the world of the dead.

31 “The sight of all these who were killed in battle will be a comfort to the king of Egypt and his army,” says the Sovereign Lord.

32 “I caused the king of Egypt to terrorize the living, but he and all his army will be killed and laid to rest with all the uncircumcised who die in battle.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

God Appoints Ezekiel as a Lookout

33 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “tell your people what happens when I bring war to a land. The people of that country choose one of their number to be a lookout. When he sees the enemy approaching, he sounds the alarm to warn everyone. If someone hears it but pays no attention and the enemy comes and kills him, then he is to blame for his own death. His death is his own fault, because he paid no attention to the warning. If he had paid attention, he could have escaped. If, however, the lookout sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the lookout responsible for their death.

“Now, mortal man, I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You must pass on to them the warnings I give you. If I announce that an evil person is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, then he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for his death. If you do warn an evil person and he doesn't stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared.”

Individual Responsibility

10 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “repeat to the Israelites what they are saying: ‘We are burdened with our sins and the wrongs we have done. We are wasting away. How can we live?’ 11 Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die?

12 “Now, mortal man, tell the Israelites that when someone good sins, the good he has done will not save him. If an evil person stops doing evil, he won't be punished, and if a good man starts sinning, his life will not be spared. 13 I may promise life to someone good, but if he starts thinking that his past goodness is enough and begins to sin, I will not remember any of the good he did. He will die because of his sins. 14 I may warn someone evil that he is going to die, but if he stops sinning and does what is right and good— 15 for example, if he returns the security he took for a loan or gives back what he stole—if he stops sinning and follows the laws that give life, he will not die, but live. 16 I will forgive the sins he has committed, and he will live because he has done what is right and good.

17 “And your people say that what I do isn't right! No, it's their way that isn't right. 18 When someone righteous stops doing good and starts doing evil, he will die for it. 19 When someone evil quits sinning and does what is right and good, he has saved his life. 20 But Israel, you say that what I do isn't right. I am going to judge you by what you do.”

The News of Jerusalem's Fall

21 On the fifth day of the tenth month of the twelfth year of our exile, someone who had escaped from Jerusalem came and told me that the city had fallen. 22 The evening before he came, I had felt the powerful presence of the Lord. When the man arrived the next morning, the Lord gave me back the power of speech.

The Sins of the People

23 The Lord spoke to me. 24 “Mortal man,” he said, “the people who are living in the ruined cities of the land of Israel are saying: ‘Abraham was only one man, and he was given the whole land. There are many of us, so now the land is ours.’

25 “Tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: You eat meat with the blood still in it. You worship idols. You commit murder. What makes you think that the land belongs to you? 26 You rely on your swords. Your actions are disgusting. Everyone commits adultery. What makes you think that the land is yours?

27 “Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, warn them that as surely as I am the living God, the people who live in the ruined cities will be killed. Those living in the country will be eaten by wild animals. Those hiding in the mountains and in caves will die of disease. 28 I will make the country a desolate wasteland, and the power they were so proud of will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so wild that no one will be able to travel through them. 29 When I punish the people for their sins and make the country a wasteland, then they will know that I am the Lord.”

The Results of the Prophet's Message

30 The Lord said, “Mortal man, your people are talking about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say to one another, ‘Let's go and hear what word has come from the Lord now.’ 31 So my people crowd in to hear what you have to say, but they don't do what you tell them to do. Loving words are on their lips, but they continue their greedy ways. 32 To them you are nothing more than an entertainer singing love songs or playing a harp. They listen to all your words and don't obey a single one of them. 33 But when all your words come true—and they will come true—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

The Shepherds of Israel

34 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce the rulers of Israel. Prophesy to them, and tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, say to them: You are doomed, you shepherds of Israel! You take care of yourselves, but never tend the sheep. You drink the milk, wear clothes made from the wool, and kill and eat the finest sheep. But you never tend the sheep. You have not taken care of the weak ones, healed the ones that are sick, bandaged the ones that are hurt, brought back the ones that wandered off, or looked for the ones that were lost. Instead, you treated them cruelly. Because the sheep had no shepherd, they were scattered, and wild animals killed and ate them. So my sheep wandered over the high hills and the mountains. They were scattered over the face of the earth, and no one looked for them or tried to find them.

“Now, you shepherds, listen to what I, the Lord, am telling you. As surely as I am the living God, you had better listen to me. My sheep have been attacked by wild animals that killed and ate them because there was no shepherd. My shepherds did not try to find the sheep. They were taking care of themselves and not the sheep. So listen to me, you shepherds. 10 I, the Sovereign Lord, declare that I am your enemy. I will take my sheep away from you and never again let you be their shepherds; never again will I let you take care only of yourselves. I will rescue my sheep from you and not let you eat them.

The Good Shepherd

11 “I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them 12 in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. 13 I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures. 14 I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.

16 “I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick; but those that are fat and strong I will destroy, because I am a shepherd who does what is right.

17 “Now then, my flock, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge each of you and separate the good from the bad, the sheep from the goats. 18 Some of you are not satisfied with eating the best grass; you even trample down what you don't eat! You drink the clear water and muddy what you don't drink! 19 My other sheep have to eat the grass you trample down and drink the water you muddy.

20 “So now, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge between you strong sheep and the weak sheep. 21 You pushed the sick ones aside and butted them away from the flock. 22 But I will rescue my sheep and not let them be mistreated any more. I will judge each of my sheep and separate the good from the bad. 23 I will give them a king like my servant David to be their one shepherd, and he will take care of them. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and a king like my servant David will be their ruler. I have spoken. 25 I will make a covenant with them that guarantees their security. I will get rid of all the dangerous animals in the land, so that my sheep can live safely in the fields and sleep in the forests.

26 “I will bless them and let them live around my sacred hill.[cf] There I will bless them with showers of rain when they need it. 27 The trees will bear fruit, the fields will produce crops, and everyone will live in safety on his own land. When I break my people's chains and set them free from those who made them slaves, then they will know that I am the Lord. 28 The heathen nations will not plunder them any more, and the wild animals will not kill and eat them. They will live in safety, and no one will terrify them. 29 I will give them fertile fields and put an end to hunger in the land. The other nations will not sneer at them any more. 30 Everyone will know that I protect Israel and that they are my people. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.

31 “You, my sheep, the flock that I feed, are my people, and I am your God,” says the Sovereign Lord.

God's Punishment of Edom

35 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce the country of Edom. Tell the people what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying:

“I am your enemy, mountains of Edom!
I will make you a desolate wasteland.
I will leave your cities in ruins
And your land desolate;
Then you will know that I am the Lord.

“You were Israel's constant enemy and let her people be slaughtered in the time of her disaster, the time of final punishment for her sins. So then—as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God—death is your fate, and you cannot escape it. You are guilty of[cg] murder, and murder will follow you. I will make the hill country of Edom a wasteland and kill everyone who travels through it. I will cover the mountains with corpses, and the bodies of those who are killed in battle will cover the hills and valleys. I will make you desolate forever, and no one will live in your cities again. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

10 “You said that the two nations, Judah and Israel, together with their lands, belonged to you and that you would possess them, even though I, the Lord, was their God. 11 So then, as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I will pay you back for your anger, your jealousy, and your hate toward my people. They will know that I am punishing you for what you did to them. 12 Then you will know that I, the Lord, heard you say with contempt that the mountains of Israel were desolate and that they were yours to devour. 13 I have heard the wild, boastful way you have talked against me.”

14 The Sovereign Lord says, “I will make you so desolate that the whole world will rejoice at your downfall, 15 just as you rejoiced at the devastation of Israel, my own possession. The mountains of Seir, yes, all the land of Edom, will be desolate. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord.”

God's Blessing on Israel

36 The Lord said, “Mortal man, speak to the mountains of Israel and tell them to listen to the message which I, the Sovereign Lord, have for them: Israel's enemies gloated and said, ‘Now those ancient hills are ours!’

“Prophesy, then, and announce what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. When the neighboring nations captured and plundered the mountains of Israel, everyone made fun of Israel. So now listen to what I, the Sovereign Lord, say to you mountains and hills, to you brooks and valleys, to you places that were left in ruins, and to you deserted cities which were plundered and mocked by all the surrounding nations.

“I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken out in the heat of my anger against the surrounding nations, and especially against Edom. With glee and contempt they captured my land and took possession of its pastures.

“So prophesy to the land of Israel; tell the mountains, hills, brooks, and valleys what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying in jealous anger because of the way the nations have insulted and humiliated them. I, the Sovereign Lord, solemnly promise that the surrounding nations will be humiliated. But on the mountains of Israel the trees will again grow leaves and bear fruit for you, my people Israel. You are going to come home soon. I am on your side, and I will make sure that your land is plowed again and crops are planted on it. 10 I will make your population grow. You will live in the cities and rebuild everything that was left in ruins. 11 I will make people and cattle increase in number. There will be more of you than ever before, and you will have many children. I will let you live there as you used to live, and I will make you more prosperous than ever. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12 I will bring you, my people Israel, back to live again in the land. It will be your own land, and it will never again let your children starve.

13 “I, the Sovereign Lord, say: It is true that people say that the land eats people and that it robs the nation of its children. 14 But from now on it will no longer eat people and rob you of your children. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. 15 The land will no longer have to listen to the nations making fun of it or see the peoples sneer at it. The land will no longer rob the nation of its children. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”

Israel's New Life

16 The Lord spoke to me. 17 “Mortal man,” he said, “when the Israelites were living in their land, they defiled it by the way they lived and acted. I regarded their behavior as being as ritually unclean as a woman is during her monthly period.[ch] 18 I let them feel the force of my anger because of the murders they had committed in the land and because of the idols by which they had defiled it. 19 I condemned them for the way they lived and acted, and I scattered them through foreign countries. 20 Wherever they went, they brought disgrace on my holy name, because people would say, ‘These are the people of the Lord, but they had to leave his land.’ 21 That made me concerned for my holy name, since the Israelites brought disgrace on it everywhere they went.

22 “Now then, give the Israelites the message that I, the Sovereign Lord, have for them: What I am going to do is not for the sake of you Israelites, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have disgraced in every country where you have gone. 23 When I demonstrate to the nations the holiness of my great name—the name you disgraced among them—then they will know that I am the Lord. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. I will use you to show the nations that I am holy. 24 I will take you from every nation and country and bring you back to your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean from all your idols and everything else that has defiled you. 26 I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart. 27 I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from everything that defiles you. I will command the grain to be plentiful, so that you will not have any more famines. 30 I will increase the yield of your fruit trees and your fields, so that there will be no more famines to disgrace you among the nations. 31 You will remember your evil conduct and the wrongs that you committed, and you will be disgusted with yourselves because of your sins and your iniquities. 32 Israel, I want you to know that I am not doing all this for your sake. I want you to feel the shame and disgrace of what you are doing. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”

33 The Sovereign Lord says, “When I make you clean from all your sins, I will let you live in your cities again and let you rebuild the ruins. 34 Everyone who used to walk by your fields saw how overgrown and wild they were, but I will let you farm them again. 35 Everyone will talk about how this land, which was once a wilderness, has become like the Garden of Eden, and how the cities which were torn down, looted, and left in ruins, are now inhabited and fortified. 36 Then the neighboring nations that have survived will know that I, the Lord, rebuild ruined cities and replant waste fields. I, the Lord, have promised that I would do this—and I will.”

37 The Sovereign Lord says, “I will once again let the Israelites ask me for help, and I will let them increase in numbers like a flock of sheep. 38 The cities that are now in ruins will then be as full of people as Jerusalem was once full of the sheep which were offered as sacrifices at a festival. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

The Valley of Dry Bones

37 I felt the powerful presence of the Lord, and his spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones. He led me all around the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal man, can these bones come back to life?”

I replied, “Sovereign Lord, only you can answer that!”

He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the Lord. Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life. I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I had been told. While I was speaking, I heard a rattling noise, and the bones began to join together. While I watched, the bones were covered with sinews and muscles, and then with skin. But there was no breath in the bodies.

God said to me, “Mortal man, prophesy to the wind.[ci] Tell the wind that the Sovereign Lord commands it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life.”

10 So I prophesied as I had been told. Breath entered the bodies, and they came to life and stood up. There were enough of them to form an army.

11 God said to me, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future. 12 So prophesy to my people Israel and tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to open their graves. I am going to take them out and bring them back to the land of Israel. 13 When I open the graves where my people are buried and bring them out, they will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my breath in them, bring them back to life, and let them live in their own land. Then they will know that I am the Lord. I have promised that I would do this—and I will. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Judah and Israel in One Kingdom

15 The Lord spoke to me again. 16 “Mortal man,” he said, “take a wooden stick and write on it the words, ‘The kingdom of Judah.’ Then take another stick and write on it the words, ‘The kingdom of Israel.’ 17 Then hold the two sticks end to end in your hand so that they look like one stick. 18 When your people ask you to tell them what this means, 19 tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to take the stick representing Israel and put it with the one that represents Judah. Out of the two I will make one stick and hold it in my hand.

20 “Hold in your hand the two sticks and let the people see them. 21 Then tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to take all my people out of the nations where they have gone, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. 22 I will unite them into one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. They will have one king to rule over them, and they will no longer be divided into two nations or split into two kingdoms. 23 They will not defile themselves with disgusting idols any more or corrupt themselves with sin. I will free them from all the ways in which they sin and betray me. I will purify them; they will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 A king like my servant David will be their king. They will all be united under one ruler and will obey my laws faithfully. 25 They will live on the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They will live there forever, and so will their children and all their descendants. A king like my servant David will rule them forever. 26 I will make a covenant with them that guarantees their security forever. I will establish them and increase their population, and will see to it that my Temple stands forever in their land. 27 I will live there with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 When I place my Temple there to be among them forever, then the nations will know that I, the Lord, have chosen Israel to be my own people.”

Gog as the Instrument of God

38 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce Gog, chief ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal in the land of Magog. Denounce him and tell him that I, the Sovereign Lord, am his enemy. I will turn him around, put hooks in his jaws, and drag him and all his troops away. His army, with its horses and uniformed riders, is enormous, and every soldier carries a shield and is armed with a sword. Troops from Persia, Ethiopia,[cj] and Libya are with him, and all have shields and helmets. All the fighting men of the lands of Gomer and Beth Togarmah in the north are with him, and so are men from many other nations. Tell him to get ready and have all his troops ready at his command. After many years I will order him to invade a country where the people were brought back together from many nations and have lived without fear of war. He will invade the mountains of Israel, which were desolate and deserted so long, but where all the people now live in safety. He and his army and the many nations with him will attack like a storm and cover the land like a cloud.”

10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Gog: “When that time comes, you will start thinking up an evil plan. 11 You will decide to invade a helpless country where the people live in peace and security in unwalled towns that have no defenses. 12 You will plunder and loot the people who live in cities that were once in ruins. They have been gathered from the nations, and now they have livestock and property and live at the crossroads of the world. 13 The people of Sheba and Dedan and the merchants from the towns of Spain will ask you, ‘Have you assembled your army and attacked in order to loot and plunder? Do you intend to get silver and gold, livestock and property, and march off with all those spoils?’”

14 So the Sovereign Lord sent me to tell Gog what he was saying to him: “Now while my people Israel live in security, you will set out[ck] 15 to come from your place in the far north, leading a large, powerful army of soldiers from many nations, all of them on horseback. 16 You will attack my people Israel like a storm moving across the land. When the time comes, I will send you to invade my land in order to show the nations who I am, to show my holiness by what I do through you. 17 You are the one I was talking about long ago, when I announced through my servants, the prophets of Israel, that in days to come I would bring someone to attack Israel.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

God's Punishment of Gog

18 The Sovereign Lord says, “On the day when Gog invades Israel, I will become furious. 19 I declare in the heat of my anger that on that day there will be a severe earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 Every fish and bird, every animal large and small, and every human being on the face of the earth will tremble for fear of me. Mountains will fall, cliffs will crumble, and every wall will collapse. 21 I will terrify Gog with all sorts of calamities.[cl] I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. His men will turn their swords against one another. 22 I will punish him with disease and bloodshed. Torrents of rain and hail, together with fire and sulfur, will pour down on him and his army and on the many nations that are on his side. 23 In this way I will show all the nations that I am great and that I am holy. They will know then that I am the Lord.”

The Defeat of Gog

39 The Sovereign Lord said, “Mortal man, denounce Gog, the chief ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal, and tell him that I am his enemy. I will turn him in a new direction and lead him out of the far north until he comes to the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock his bow out of his left hand and his arrows out of his right hand. Gog and his army and his allies will fall dead on the mountains of Israel, and I will let their bodies be food for all the birds and wild animals. They will fall dead in the open field. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. I will start a fire in the land of Magog and along all the seacoasts where people live undisturbed, and everyone will know that I am the Lord. I will make sure that my people Israel know my holy name, and I will not let my name be disgraced any more. Then the nations will know that I, the Lord, am the holy God of Israel.”

The Sovereign Lord said, “The day I spoke about is certain to come. The people who live in the cities of Israel will go out and collect the abandoned weapons for firewood. They will build fires with the shields, bows, arrows, spears, and clubs, and have enough to last for seven years. 10 They will not have to gather firewood in the fields or cut down trees in the forest, because they will have the abandoned weapons to burn. They will loot and plunder those who looted and plundered them.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.

The Burial of Gog

11 The Lord said, “When all this happens, I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, in Travelers' Valley, east of the Dead Sea.[cm] Gog and all his army will be buried there, and the valley will be called ‘The Valley of Gog's Army.’ 12 It will take the Israelites seven months to bury all the corpses and make the land clean again. 13 Everyone in the land will help bury them, and they will be honored for this on the day of my victory. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. 14 After the seven months are over, men will be chosen to travel through the land in order to find and bury those bodies[cn] remaining on the ground, so that they can make the land clean. 15 As they go up and down the country, every time they find a human bone, they will put a marker beside it so that the gravediggers can come and bury it in the Valley of Gog's Army. 16 (There will be a town nearby named after the army.) And so the land will be made clean again.”

17 The Sovereign Lord said to me, “Mortal man, call all the birds and animals to come from all around to eat the sacrifice I am preparing for them. It will be a huge feast on the mountains of Israel, where they can eat meat and drink blood. 18 They are to eat the bodies of soldiers and drink the blood of the rulers of the earth, all of whom will be killed like rams or lambs or goats or fat bulls. 19 When I kill these people like sacrifices, the birds and animals are to eat all the fat they can hold and to drink blood until they are drunk. 20 At my table they will eat all they can hold of horses and their riders and of soldiers and fighting men. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 1:1 It is not known to what year this refers.
  2. Ezekiel 1:11 Some ancient translations Two wings; Hebrew Their faces, their wings.
  3. Ezekiel 1:13 Some ancient translations Among; Hebrew And the likeness of.
  4. Ezekiel 1:15 Some ancient translations them; Hebrew their faces.
  5. Ezekiel 1:18 Verse 18 in Hebrew is unclear.
  6. Ezekiel 4:4 Probable text I; Hebrew you.
  7. Ezekiel 4:13 The Law of Moses prohibited the eating of certain foods as being ritually unclean (see Lv 11).
  8. Ezekiel 5:16 Probable text You; Hebrew They.
  9. Ezekiel 6:9 Some ancient translations disgraced them; Hebrew I am disgraced.
  10. Ezekiel 7:7 Probable text celebrations … confusion; Hebrew unclear.
  11. Ezekiel 7:10 Probable text Pride is at its height; Hebrew unclear.
  12. Ezekiel 7:13 Verse 13 in Hebrew is unclear.
  13. Ezekiel 7:16 Verse 16 in Hebrew is unclear.
  14. Ezekiel 7:23 One ancient translation Everything is in confusion; Hebrew unclear.
  15. Ezekiel 8:10 The Law of Moses prohibited the eating of certain animals as being ritually unclean (see 4.13; Lv 11).
  16. Ezekiel 8:14 A god who was thought to die when vegetation died and to come to life the next year. Women would mourn his ritual death.
  17. Ezekiel 8:17 A reference to a pagan rite of putting a branch to the nose.
  18. Ezekiel 9:3 See 1.5-12.
  19. Ezekiel 9:7 work!” So they … city.; or work! Go on and start killing the people in the city!”
  20. Ezekiel 10:1 See 1.5-12.
  21. Ezekiel 10:22 Probable text the faces; Hebrew the faces and them.
  22. Ezekiel 11:3 We will … again; or We won't be building houses any time soon.
  23. Ezekiel 12:3 Maybe those … you; or Maybe they will then realize that they are rebels.
  24. Ezekiel 13:20 In verse 20 in Hebrew a word occurs twice, the meaning of which is unclear.
  25. Ezekiel 14:14 Danel; or Daniel (see 28.3), an ancient hero, known for his righteous life.
  26. Ezekiel 16:3 The Israelites regarded these people as immoral and idolatrous.
  27. Ezekiel 16:4 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear.
  28. Ezekiel 16:7 Probable text young woman; Hebrew unclear.
  29. Ezekiel 16:15 Hebrew has two additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  30. Ezekiel 16:16 Hebrew has four additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  31. Ezekiel 16:30 Verse 30 in Hebrew begins with three words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  32. Ezekiel 16:45 See 16.3.
  33. Ezekiel 17:5 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear.
  34. Ezekiel 17:7 And now the vine … growing; or And now the vine turned away from the garden where it was growing and sent its roots toward him and turned its leaves toward him, in the hope that he would give it water.
  35. Ezekiel 18:10 Some ancient translations who does any; Hebrew unclear.
  36. Ezekiel 18:17 Some ancient translations (see also verse 8) to do evil; Hebrew from the poor.
  37. Ezekiel 18:18 Some ancient translations robbed; Hebrew unclear.
  38. Ezekiel 19:7 One ancient translation wrecked forts; Hebrew unclear.
  39. Ezekiel 19:10 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear.
  40. Ezekiel 20:29 Pagan places of worship which the Hebrews were forbidden to use. The Hebrew word translated “High Places” sounds like the Hebrew for “where you go.”
  41. Ezekiel 20:40 Mount Zion, the hill in Jerusalem which formed part of the Temple and palace area.
  42. Ezekiel 21:10 Probable text There … punishment; Hebrew unclear.
  43. Ezekiel 21:13 Verse 13 in Hebrew is unclear.
  44. Ezekiel 21:14 Some ancient translations terrifies; Hebrew unclear.
  45. Ezekiel 21:15 Probable text threatening … sword; Hebrew unclear.
  46. Ezekiel 21:16 Verse 16 in Hebrew is unclear.
  47. Ezekiel 21:19 Probable text Put … fork; Hebrew unclear.
  48. Ezekiel 21:21 When faced with a decision, people in ancient times would sometimes take a handful of arrows, throw them down, and study the pattern in which they fell, in order to learn what to do.
  49. Ezekiel 22:25 One ancient translation The leaders; Hebrew A conspiracy of her prophets.
  50. Ezekiel 23:4 This name in Hebrew means “her sanctuary.”
  51. Ezekiel 23:4 This name in Hebrew means “my sanctuary is in her.”
  52. Ezekiel 23:24 One ancient translation north; Hebrew unclear.
  53. Ezekiel 23:43 Verses 42-43 in Hebrew are unclear.
  54. Ezekiel 24:5 Probable text wood; Hebrew bones.
  55. Ezekiel 24:10 Some ancient translations Boil away the broth!; Hebrew unclear.
  56. Ezekiel 24:12 Verse 12 in Hebrew begins with two words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  57. Ezekiel 25:8 Some ancient translations Moab; Hebrew Moab and Seir.
  58. Ezekiel 25:10 Probable text Moab; Hebrew Ammon.
  59. Ezekiel 26:1 month; the Hebrew text does not specify the month.
  60. Ezekiel 26:17 Some ancient translations swept; Hebrew inhabited.
  61. Ezekiel 26:20 One ancient translation and take your place; Hebrew unclear.
  62. Ezekiel 27:15 One ancient translation Rhodes; Hebrew Dedan.
  63. Ezekiel 27:17 Hebrew has two additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  64. Ezekiel 27:18 Hebrew has three additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  65. Ezekiel 28:3 Danel; or Daniel (see 14.14).
  66. Ezekiel 28:13 Probable text They were made for you; Hebrew unclear.
  67. Ezekiel 28:14 One ancient translation I put … you; Hebrew unclear.
  68. Ezekiel 29:3 Some ancient translations you made it; Hebrew you made yourself.
  69. Ezekiel 29:7 One ancient translation wrench their backs; Hebrew make their backs stand.
  70. Ezekiel 29:10 Hebrew Cushite (Cush): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  71. Ezekiel 30:4 Hebrew Cushite (Cush): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  72. Ezekiel 30:5 Hebrew Cushite (Cush): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  73. Ezekiel 30:9 Hebrew Cushite (Cush): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  74. Ezekiel 30:16 One ancient translation flooded; Hebrew unclear.
  75. Ezekiel 31:3 Probable text You are like; Hebrew Assyria is.
  76. Ezekiel 31:3 One ancient translation clouds; Hebrew thick branches.
  77. Ezekiel 31:10 One ancient translation clouds; Hebrew thick branches.
  78. Ezekiel 31:14 One ancient translation clouds; Hebrew thick branches.
  79. Ezekiel 31:17 Probable text And all … nations; Hebrew unclear.
  80. Ezekiel 32:17 One ancient translation of the first month; Hebrew does not have these words.
  81. Ezekiel 32:20 Probable text A sword … all; Hebrew unclear.
  82. Ezekiel 32:27 Some ancient translations of ancient times; Hebrew of the uncircumcised.
  83. Ezekiel 32:27 Probable text shields; Hebrew iniquities.
  84. Ezekiel 34:26 See 20.40.
  85. Ezekiel 35:6 One ancient translation are guilty of; Hebrew hate.
  86. Ezekiel 36:17 This is based on the view of ritual uncleanness described in the Law of Moses (see Lv 15.19).
  87. Ezekiel 37:9 wind; or spirit. The same Hebrew word may mean wind, or spirit, or breath.
  88. Ezekiel 38:5 Hebrew Cush: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  89. Ezekiel 38:14 One ancient translation set out; Hebrew know.
  90. Ezekiel 38:21 One ancient translation terrify … calamities; Hebrew unclear.
  91. Ezekiel 39:11 Hebrew has four additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  92. Ezekiel 39:14 Some ancient translations those bodies; Hebrew the travelers.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Ezekiel 1-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Vision of the Chariot

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was on him there.

As I looked, a stormy wind came out of the north: a great cloud with brightness around it and fire flashing forth continually, and in the middle of the fire, something like gleaming amber. In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance: they were of human form. Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; each of them moved straight ahead, without turning as they moved. 10 As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle; 11 such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. 12 Each moved straight ahead; wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. 13 In the middle of[a] the living creatures there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; the fire was bright, and lightning issued from the fire. 14 The living creatures darted to and fro, like a flash of lightning.

15 As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them.[b] 16 As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl; and the four had the same form, their construction being something like a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved. 18 Their rims were tall and awesome, for the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. 19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When they moved, the others moved; when they stopped, the others stopped; and when they rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22 Over the heads of the living creatures there was something like a dome, shining like crystal,[c] spread out above their heads. 23 Under the dome their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another; and each of the creatures had two wings covering its body. 24 When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the thunder of the Almighty,[d] a sound of tumult like the sound of an army; when they stopped, they let down their wings. 25 And there came a voice from above the dome over their heads; when they stopped, they let down their wings.

26 And above the dome over their heads there was something like a throne, in appearance like sapphire;[e] and seated above the likeness of a throne was something that seemed like a human form. 27 Upward from what appeared like the loins I saw something like gleaming amber, something that looked like fire enclosed all around; and downward from what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and there was a splendor all around. 28 Like the bow in a cloud on a rainy day, such was the appearance of the splendor all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of someone speaking.

The Vision of the Scroll

He said to me: O mortal,[f] stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you. And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation[g] of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.” Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them. And you, O mortal, do not be afraid of them, and do not be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words, and do not be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. You shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear; for they are a rebellious house.

But you, mortal, hear what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you. I looked, and a hand was stretched out to me, and a written scroll was in it. 10 He spread it before me; it had writing on the front and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.

He said to me: Mortal, go to the house of Israel and speak my very words to them. For you are not sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel— not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. See, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. Like the hardest stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not fear them or be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 10 He said to me: Mortal, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart and hear with your ears; 11 then go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them. Say to them, “Thus says the Lord God”; whether they hear or refuse to hear.

Ezekiel at the River Chebar

12 Then the spirit lifted me up, and as the glory of the Lord rose[h] from its place, I heard behind me the sound of loud rumbling; 13 it was the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, that sounded like a loud rumbling. 14 The spirit lifted me up and bore me away; I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me. 15 I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who lived by the river Chebar.[i] And I sat there among them, stunned, for seven days.

16 At the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17 Mortal, I have made you a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give them no warning, or speak to warn the wicked from their wicked way, in order to save their life, those wicked persons shall die for their iniquity; but their blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and they do not turn from their wickedness, or from their wicked way, they shall die for their iniquity; but you will have saved your life. 20 Again, if the righteous turn from their righteousness and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before them, they shall die; because you have not warned them, they shall die for their sin, and their righteous deeds that they have done shall not be remembered; but their blood I will require at your hand. 21 If, however, you warn the righteous not to sin, and they do not sin, they shall surely live, because they took warning; and you will have saved your life.

Ezekiel Isolated and Silenced

22 Then the hand of the Lord was upon me there; and he said to me, Rise up, go out into the valley, and there I will speak with you. 23 So I rose up and went out into the valley; and the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. 24 The spirit entered into me, and set me on my feet; and he spoke with me and said to me: Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25 As for you, mortal, cords shall be placed on you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people; 26 and I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be speechless and unable to reprove them; for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God”; let those who will hear, hear; and let those who refuse to hear, refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

The Siege of Jerusalem Portrayed

And you, O mortal, take a brick and set it before you. On it portray a city, Jerusalem; and put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a ramp against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. Then take an iron plate and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it; you shall bear their punishment for the number of the days that you lie there. For I assign to you a number of days, three hundred ninety days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment of the house of Israel. When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, one day for each year. You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and with your arm bared you shall prophesy against it. See, I am putting cords on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.

And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred ninety days, you shall eat it. 10 The food that you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; at fixed times you shall eat it. 11 And you shall drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; at fixed times you shall drink. 12 You shall eat it as a barley-cake, baking it in their sight on human dung. 13 The Lord said, “Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread, unclean, among the nations to which I will drive them.” 14 Then I said, “Ah Lord God! I have never defiled myself; from my youth up until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by animals, nor has carrion flesh come into my mouth.” 15 Then he said to me, “See, I will let you have cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.”

16 Then he said to me, Mortal, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. 17 Lacking bread and water, they will look at one another in dismay, and waste away under their punishment.

A Sword against Jerusalem

And you, O mortal, take a sharp sword; use it as a barber’s razor and run it over your head and your beard; then take balances for weighing, and divide the hair. One third of the hair you shall burn in the fire inside the city, when the days of the siege are completed; one third you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city;[j] and one third you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. Then you shall take from these a small number, and bind them in the skirts of your robe. From these, again, you shall take some, throw them into the fire and burn them up; from there a fire will come out against all the house of Israel.

Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. But she has rebelled against my ordinances and my statutes, becoming more wicked than the nations and the countries all around her, rejecting my ordinances and not following my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not followed my statutes or kept my ordinances, but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations that are all around you; therefore thus says the Lord God: I, I myself, am coming against you; I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations, I will do to you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. 10 Surely, parents shall eat their children in your midst, and children shall eat their parents; I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to every wind. 11 Therefore, as I live, says the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations—therefore I will cut you down;[k] my eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. 12 One third of you shall die of pestilence or be consumed by famine among you; one third shall fall by the sword around you; and one third I will scatter to every wind and will unsheathe the sword after them.

13 My anger shall spend itself, and I will vent my fury on them and satisfy myself; and they shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken in my jealousy, when I spend my fury on them. 14 Moreover I will make you a desolation and an object of mocking among the nations around you, in the sight of all that pass by. 15 You shall be[l] a mockery and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious punishments—I, the Lord, have spoken— 16 when I loose against you[m] my deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will let loose to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you, and break your staff of bread. 17 I will send famine and wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children; pestilence and bloodshed shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword upon you. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Judgment on Idolatrous Israel

The word of the Lord came to me: O mortal, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: I, I myself will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense stands shall be broken; and I will throw down your slain in front of your idols. I will lay the corpses of the people of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you live, your towns shall be waste and your high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined,[n] your idols broken and destroyed, your incense stands cut down, and your works wiped out. The slain shall fall in your midst; then you shall know that I am the Lord.

But I will spare some. Some of you shall escape the sword among the nations and be scattered through the countries. Those of you who escape shall remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I was crushed by their wanton heart that turned away from me, and their wanton eyes that turned after their idols. Then they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. 10 And they shall know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten in vain to bring this disaster upon them.

11 Thus says the Lord God: Clap your hands and stamp your foot, and say, Alas for all the vile abominations of the house of Israel! For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. 12 Those far off shall die of pestilence; those nearby shall fall by the sword; and any who are left and are spared shall die of famine. Thus I will spend my fury upon them. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountain tops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing odor to all their idols. 14 I will stretch out my hand against them, and make the land desolate and waste, throughout all their settlements, from the wilderness to Riblah.[o] Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Impending Disaster

The word of the Lord came to me: You, O mortal, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel:

An end! The end has come
    upon the four corners of the land.
Now the end is upon you,
    I will let loose my anger upon you;
I will judge you according to your ways,
    I will punish you for all your abominations.
My eye will not spare you, I will have no pity.
    I will punish you for your ways,
    while your abominations are among you.

Then you shall know that I am the Lord.

Thus says the Lord God:

Disaster after disaster! See, it comes.
    An end has come, the end has come.
It has awakened against you; see, it comes!
Your doom[p] has come to you,
    O inhabitant of the land.
The time has come, the day is near—
    of tumult, not of reveling on the mountains.
Soon now I will pour out my wrath upon you;
    I will spend my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your ways,
    and punish you for all your abominations.
My eye will not spare; I will have no pity.
    I will punish you according to your ways,
    while your abominations are among you.

Then you shall know that it is I the Lord who strike.

10 See, the day! See, it comes!
    Your doom[q] has gone out.
The rod has blossomed, pride has budded.
11     Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness.
None of them shall remain,
    not their abundance, not their wealth;
    no pre-eminence among them.[r]
12 The time has come, the day draws near;
    let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn,
    for wrath is upon all their multitude.

13 For the sellers shall not return to what has been sold as long as they remain alive. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not be revoked. Because of their iniquity, they cannot maintain their lives.[s]

14 They have blown the horn and made everything ready;
    but no one goes to battle,
    for my wrath is upon all their multitude.
15 The sword is outside, pestilence and famine are inside;
    those in the field die by the sword;
    those in the city—famine and pestilence devour them.
16 If any survivors escape,
    they shall be found on the mountains
    like doves of the valleys,
all of them moaning over their iniquity.
17 All hands shall grow feeble,
    all knees turn to water.
18 They shall put on sackcloth,
    horror shall cover them.
Shame shall be on all faces,
    baldness on all their heads.
19 They shall fling their silver into the streets,
    their gold shall be treated as unclean.

Their silver and gold cannot save them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. They shall not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling block of their iniquity. 20 From their[t] beautiful ornament, in which they took pride, they made their abominable images, their detestable things; therefore I will make of it an unclean thing to them.

21 I will hand it over to strangers as booty,
    to the wicked of the earth as plunder;
    they shall profane it.
22 I will avert my face from them,
    so that they may profane my treasured[u] place;
the violent shall enter it,
    they shall profane it.
23 Make a chain![v]
For the land is full of bloody crimes;
    the city is full of violence.
24 I will bring the worst of the nations
    to take possession of their houses.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the strong,
    and their holy places shall be profaned.
25 When anguish comes, they will seek peace,
    but there shall be none.
26 Disaster comes upon disaster,
    rumor follows rumor;
they shall keep seeking a vision from the prophet;
    instruction shall perish from the priest,
    and counsel from the elders.
27 The king shall mourn,
    the prince shall be wrapped in despair,
    and the hands of the people of the land shall tremble.
According to their way I will deal with them;
    according to their own judgments I will judge them.

And they shall know that I am the Lord.

Abominations in the Temple

In the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, with the elders of Judah sitting before me, the hand of the Lord God fell upon me there. I looked, and there was a figure that looked like a human being;[w] below what appeared to be its loins it was fire, and above the loins it was like the appearance of brightness, like gleaming amber. It stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my head; and the spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, to the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. And the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I had seen in the valley.

Then God[x] said to me, “O mortal, lift up your eyes now in the direction of the north.” So I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, in the entrance, was this image of jealousy. He said to me, “Mortal, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? Yet you will see still greater abominations.”

And he brought me to the entrance of the court; I looked, and there was a hole in the wall. Then he said to me, “Mortal, dig through the wall”; and when I dug through the wall, there was an entrance. He said to me, “Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.” 10 So I went in and looked; there, portrayed on the wall all around, were all kinds of creeping things, and loathsome animals, and all the idols of the house of Israel. 11 Before them stood seventy of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the fragrant cloud of incense was ascending. 12 Then he said to me, “Mortal, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of images? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” 13 He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they are committing.”

14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord; women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz. 15 Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O mortal? You will see still greater abominations than these.”

16 And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord; there, at the entrance of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east, prostrating themselves to the sun toward the east. 17 Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O mortal? Is it not bad enough that the house of Judah commits the abominations done here? Must they fill the land with violence, and provoke my anger still further? See, they are putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will act in wrath; my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; and though they cry in my hearing with a loud voice, I will not listen to them.”

The Slaughter of the Idolaters

Then he cried in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Draw near, you executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.” And six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his weapon for slaughter in his hand; among them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing case at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.

Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. The Lord called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his side; and said to him, “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” To the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and kill; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were in front of the house. Then he said to them, “Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out and killed in the city. While they were killing, and I was left alone, I fell prostrate on my face and cried out, “Ah Lord God! will you destroy all who remain of Israel as you pour out your wrath upon Jerusalem?” He said to me, “The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city full of perversity; for they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see.’ 10 As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity, but I will bring down their deeds upon their heads.”

11 Then the man clothed in linen, with the writing case at his side, brought back word, saying, “I have done as you commanded me.”

God’s Glory Leaves Jerusalem

10 Then I looked, and above the dome that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire,[y] in form resembling a throne. He said to the man clothed in linen, “Go within the wheelwork underneath the cherubim; fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” He went in as I looked on. Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the house when the man went in; and a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord rose up from the cherub to the threshold of the house; the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the glory of the Lord. The sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty[z] when he speaks.

When he commanded the man clothed in linen, “Take fire from within the wheelwork, from among the cherubim,” he went in and stood beside a wheel. And a cherub stretched out his hand from among the cherubim to the fire that was among the cherubim, took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed in linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a human hand under their wings.

I looked, and there were four wheels beside the cherubim, one beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like gleaming beryl. 10 And as for their appearance, the four looked alike, something like a wheel within a wheel. 11 When they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved; but in whatever direction the front wheel faced, the others followed without veering as they moved. 12 Their entire body, their rims, their spokes, their wings, and the wheels—the wheels of the four of them—were full of eyes all around. 13 As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing “the wheelwork.” 14 Each one had four faces: the first face was that of the cherub, the second face was that of a human being, the third that of a lion, and the fourth that of an eagle.

15 The cherubim rose up. These were the living creatures that I saw by the river Chebar. 16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise up from the earth, the wheels at their side did not veer. 17 When they stopped, the others stopped, and when they rose up, the others rose up with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in them.

18 Then the glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house and stopped above the cherubim. 19 The cherubim lifted up their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight as they went out with the wheels beside them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.

20 These were the living creatures that I saw underneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim. 21 Each had four faces, each four wings, and underneath their wings something like human hands. 22 As for what their faces were like, they were the same faces whose appearance I had seen by the river Chebar. Each one moved straight ahead.

Judgment on Wicked Counselors

11 The spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. There, at the entrance of the gateway, were twenty-five men; among them I saw Jaazaniah son of Azzur, and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, officials of the people. He said to me, “Mortal, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel in this city; they say, ‘The time is not near to build houses; this city is the pot, and we are the meat.’ Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, O mortal.”

Then the spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the Lord: This is what you think, O house of Israel; I know the things that come into your mind. You have killed many in this city, and have filled its streets with the slain. Therefore thus says the Lord God: The slain whom you have placed within it are the meat, and this city is the pot; but you shall be taken out of it. You have feared the sword; and I will bring the sword upon you, says the Lord God. I will take you out of it and give you over to the hands of foreigners, and execute judgments upon you. 10 You shall fall by the sword; I will judge you at the border of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord. 11 This city shall not be your pot, and you shall not be the meat inside it; I will judge you at the border of Israel. 12 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, whose statutes you have not followed, and whose ordinances you have not kept, but you have acted according to the ordinances of the nations that are around you.”

13 Now, while I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell down on my face, cried with a loud voice, and said, “Ah Lord God! will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”

God Will Restore Israel

14 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 15 Mortal, your kinsfolk, your own kin, your fellow exiles,[aa] the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, “They have gone far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.” 16 Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while[ab] in the countries where they have gone. 17 Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. 18 When they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19 I will give them one[ac] heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations,[ad] I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, says the Lord God.

22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 23 And the glory of the Lord ascended from the middle of the city, and stopped on the mountain east of the city. 24 The spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen left me. 25 And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.

Judah’s Captivity Portrayed

12 The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, you are living in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, who have ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. Therefore, mortal, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight; you shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile; and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who go into exile. Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry the baggage through it. In their sight you shall lift the baggage on your shoulder, and carry it out in the dark; you shall cover your face, so that you may not see the land; for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.

I did just as I was commanded. I brought out my baggage by day, as baggage for exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my own hands; I brought it out in the dark, carrying it on my shoulder in their sight.

In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, “What are you doing?” 10 Say to them, “Thus says the Lord God: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel in it.” 11 Say, “I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall go into exile, into captivity.” 12 And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage on his shoulder in the dark, and shall go out; he[ae] shall dig through the wall and carry it through; he shall cover his face, so that he may not see the land with his eyes. 13 I will spread my net over him, and he shall be caught in my snare; and I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it; and he shall die there. 14 I will scatter to every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops; and I will unsheathe the sword behind them. 15 And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries. 16 But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, so that they may tell of all their abominations among the nations where they go; then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Judgment Not Postponed

17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18 Mortal, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and with fearfulness; 19 and say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with fearfulness, and drink their water in dismay, because their land shall be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who live in it. 20 The inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord.

21 The word of the Lord came to me: 22 Mortal, what is this proverb of yours about the land of Israel, which says, “The days are prolonged, and every vision comes to nothing”? 23 Tell them therefore, “Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall use it no more as a proverb in Israel.” But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For there shall no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 But I the Lord will speak the word that I speak, and it will be fulfilled. It will no longer be delayed; but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and fulfill it, says the Lord God.

26 The word of the Lord came to me: 27 Mortal, the house of Israel is saying, “The vision that he sees is for many years ahead; he prophesies for distant times.” 28 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be fulfilled, says the Lord God.

False Prophets Condemned

13 The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are prophesying; say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: “Hear the word of the Lord!” Thus says the Lord God, Alas for the senseless prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up into the breaches, or repaired a wall for the house of Israel, so that it might stand in battle on the day of the Lord. They have envisioned falsehood and lying divination; they say, “Says the Lord,” when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they wait for the fulfillment of their word! Have you not seen a false vision or uttered a lying divination, when you have said, “Says the Lord,” even though I did not speak?

Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have uttered falsehood and envisioned lies, I am against you, says the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations; they shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord God. 10 Because, in truth, because they have misled my people, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace; and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets[af] smear whitewash on it. 11 Say to those who smear whitewash on it that it shall fall. There will be a deluge of rain,[ag] great hailstones will fall, and a stormy wind will break out. 12 When the wall falls, will it not be said to you, “Where is the whitewash you smeared on it?” 13 Therefore thus says the Lord God: In my wrath I will make a stormy wind break out, and in my anger there shall be a deluge of rain, and hailstones in wrath to destroy it. 14 I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare; when it falls, you shall perish within it; and you shall know that I am the Lord. 15 Thus I will spend my wrath upon the wall, and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash; and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it— 16 the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for it, when there was no peace, says the Lord God.

17 As for you, mortal, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own imagination; prophesy against them 18 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew bands on all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every height, in the hunt for human lives! Will you hunt down lives among my people, and maintain your own lives? 19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, putting to death persons who should not die and keeping alive persons who should not live, by your lies to my people, who listen to lies.

20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: I am against your bands with which you hunt lives;[ah] I will tear them from your arms, and let the lives go free, the lives that you hunt down like birds. 21 I will tear off your veils, and save my people from your hands; they shall no longer be prey in your hands; and you shall know that I am the Lord. 22 Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not disheartened them, and you have encouraged the wicked not to turn from their wicked way and save their lives; 23 therefore you shall no longer see false visions or practice divination; I will save my people from your hand. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

God’s Judgments Justified

14 Certain elders of Israel came to me and sat down before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and placed their iniquity as a stumbling block before them; shall I let myself be consulted by them? Therefore speak to them, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Any of those of the house of Israel who take their idols into their hearts and place their iniquity as a stumbling block before them, and yet come to the prophet—I the Lord will answer those who come with the multitude of their idols, in order that I may take hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, all of whom are estranged from me through their idols.

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. For any of those of the house of Israel, or of the aliens who reside in Israel, who separate themselves from me, taking their idols into their hearts and placing their iniquity as a stumbling block before them, and yet come to a prophet to inquire of me by him, I the Lord will answer them myself. I will set my face against them; I will make them a sign and a byword and cut them off from the midst of my people; and you shall know that I am the Lord.

If a prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the inquirer and the punishment of the prophet shall be the same— 11 so that the house of Israel may no longer go astray from me, nor defile themselves any more with all their transgressions. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God, says the Lord God.

12 The word of the Lord came to me: 13 Mortal, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it, and break its staff of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it human beings and animals, 14 even if Noah, Daniel,[ai] and Job, these three, were in it, they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, says the Lord God. 15 If I send wild animals through the land to ravage it, so that it is made desolate, and no one may pass through because of the animals; 16 even if these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would save neither sons nor daughters; they alone would be saved, but the land would be desolate. 17 Or if I bring a sword upon that land and say, “Let a sword pass through the land,” and I cut off human beings and animals from it; 18 though these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would save neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be saved. 19 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off humans and animals from it; 20 even if Noah, Daniel,[aj] and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would save neither son nor daughter; they would save only their own lives by their righteousness.

21 For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four deadly acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild animals, and pestilence, to cut off humans and animals from it! 22 Yet, survivors shall be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out; they will come out to you. When you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, for all that I have brought upon it. 23 They shall console you, when you see their ways and their deeds; and you shall know that it was not without cause that I did all that I have done in it, says the Lord God.

The Useless Vine

15 The word of the Lord came to me:

O mortal, how does the wood of the vine surpass all other wood—
    the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest?
Is wood taken from it to make anything?
    Does one take a peg from it on which to hang any object?
It is put in the fire for fuel;
    when the fire has consumed both ends of it
    and the middle of it is charred,
    is it useful for anything?
When it was whole it was used for nothing;
    how much less—when the fire has consumed it,
    and it is charred—
    can it ever be used for anything!

Therefore thus says the Lord God: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will set my face against them; although they escape from the fire, the fire shall still consume them; and you shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly, says the Lord God.

God’s Faithless Bride

16 The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite. As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you out of compassion for you; but you were thrown out in the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.

I passed by you, and saw you flailing about in your blood. As you lay in your blood, I said to you, “Live! and grow up[ak] like a plant of the field.” You grew up and became tall and arrived at full womanhood;[al] your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.

I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off the blood from you, and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you with embroidered cloth and with sandals of fine leather; I bound you in fine linen and covered you with rich fabric.[am] 11 I adorned you with ornaments: I put bracelets on your arms, a chain on your neck, 12 a ring on your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. 13 You were adorned with gold and silver, while your clothing was of fine linen, rich fabric,[an] and embroidered cloth. You had choice flour and honey and oil for food. You grew exceedingly beautiful, fit to be a queen. 14 Your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of my splendor that I had bestowed on you, says the Lord God.

15 But you trusted in your beauty, and played the whore because of your fame, and lavished your whorings on any passer-by.[ao] 16 You took some of your garments, and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore; nothing like this has ever been or ever shall be.[ap] 17 You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and my silver that I had given you, and made for yourself male images, and with them played the whore; 18 and you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. 19 Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with choice flour and oil and honey—you set it before them as a pleasing odor; and so it was, says the Lord God. 20 You took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. As if your whorings were not enough! 21 You slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering to them. 22 And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, flailing about in your blood.

23 After all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! says the Lord God), 24 you built yourself a platform and made yourself a lofty place in every square; 25 at the head of every street you built your lofty place and prostituted your beauty, offering yourself to every passer-by, and multiplying your whoring. 26 You played the whore with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your whoring, to provoke me to anger. 27 Therefore I stretched out my hand against you, reduced your rations, and gave you up to the will of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. 28 You played the whore with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; you played the whore with them, and still you were not satisfied. 29 You multiplied your whoring with Chaldea, the land of merchants; and even with this you were not satisfied.

30 How sick is your heart, says the Lord God, that you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen whore; 31 building your platform at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square! Yet you were not like a whore, because you scorned payment. 32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! 33 Gifts are given to all whores; but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from all around for your whorings. 34 So you were different from other women in your whorings: no one solicited you to play the whore; and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; you were different.

35 Therefore, O whore, hear the word of the Lord: 36 Thus says the Lord God, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whoring with your lovers, and because of all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, 37 therefore, I will gather all your lovers, with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated; I will gather them against you from all around, and will uncover your nakedness to them, so that they may see all your nakedness. 38 I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring blood upon you in wrath and jealousy. 39 I will deliver you into their hands, and they shall throw down your platform and break down your lofty places; they shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful objects and leave you naked and bare. 40 They shall bring up a mob against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. 41 They shall burn your houses and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; I will stop you from playing the whore, and you shall also make no more payments. 42 So I will satisfy my fury on you, and my jealousy shall turn away from you; I will be calm, and will be angry no longer. 43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things; therefore, I have returned your deeds upon your head, says the Lord God.

Have you not committed lewdness beyond all your abominations? 44 See, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you, “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 Your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 You not only followed their ways, and acted according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48 As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it. 51 Samaria has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed. 52 Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have brought about for your sisters a more favorable judgment; because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

53 I will restore their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes along with theirs, 54 in order that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them. 55 As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former state, Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former state, and you and your daughters shall return to your former state. 56 Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you are a mockery to the daughters of Aram[aq] and all her neighbors, and to the daughters of the Philistines, those all around who despise you. 58 You must bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, says the Lord.

An Everlasting Covenant

59 Yes, thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath, breaking the covenant; 60 yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant. 61 Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed when I[ar] take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and give them to you as daughters, but not on account of my[as] covenant with you. 62 I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 in order that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord God.

The Two Eagles and the Vine

17 The word of the Lord came to me: O mortal, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel. Say: Thus says the Lord God:

A great eagle, with great wings and long pinions,
    rich in plumage of many colors,
    came to the Lebanon.
He took the top of the cedar,
    broke off its topmost shoot;
he carried it to a land of trade,
    set it in a city of merchants.
Then he took a seed from the land,
    placed it in fertile soil;
a plant[at] by abundant waters,
    he set it like a willow twig.
It sprouted and became a vine
    spreading out, but low;
its branches turned toward him,
    its roots remained where it stood.
So it became a vine;
    it brought forth branches,
    put forth foliage.

There was another great eagle,
    with great wings and much plumage.
And see! This vine stretched out
    its roots toward him;
it shot out its branches toward him,
    so that he might water it.
From the bed where it was planted
    it was transplanted
to good soil by abundant waters,
    so that it might produce branches
    and bear fruit
    and become a noble vine.

Say: Thus says the Lord God:

Will it prosper?
Will he not pull up its roots,
    cause its fruit to rot[au] and wither,
    its fresh sprouting leaves to fade?
No strong arm or mighty army will be needed
    to pull it from its roots.
10 When it is transplanted, will it thrive?
When the east wind strikes it,
    will it not utterly wither,
    wither on the bed where it grew?

11 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 12 Say now to the rebellious house: Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them: The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took its king and its officials, and brought them back with him to Babylon. 13 He took one of the royal offspring and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath (he had taken away the chief men of the land), 14 so that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and that by keeping his covenant it might stand. 15 But he rebelled against him by sending ambassadors to Egypt, in order that they might give him horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Can one escape who does such things? Can he break the covenant and yet escape? 16 As I live, says the Lord God, surely in the place where the king resides who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant with him he broke—in Babylon he shall die. 17 Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, when ramps are cast up and siege walls built to cut off many lives. 18 Because he despised the oath and broke the covenant, because he gave his hand and yet did all these things, he shall not escape. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: As I live, I will surely return upon his head my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. 20 I will spread my net over him, and he shall be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylon and enter into judgment with him there for the treason he has committed against me. 21 All the pick[av] of his troops shall fall by the sword, and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken.

Israel Exalted at Last

22 Thus says the Lord God:

I myself will take a sprig
    from the lofty top of a cedar;
    I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one
    from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it
    on a high and lofty mountain.
23 On the mountain height of Israel
    I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
    and become a noble cedar.
Under it every kind of bird will live;
    in the shade of its branches will nest
    winged creatures of every kind.
24 All the trees of the field shall know
    that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree,
    I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree
    and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken;
    I will accomplish it.

Individual Retribution

18 The word of the Lord came to me: What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.

If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not take advance or accrued interest, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between contending parties, follows my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances, acting faithfully—such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord God.

10 If he has a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, 11 who does any of these things (though his father[aw] does none of them), who eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 takes advance or accrued interest; shall he then live? He shall not. He has done all these abominable things; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

14 But if this man has a son who sees all the sins that his father has done, considers, and does not do likewise, 15 who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not wrong anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity,[ax] takes no advance or accrued interest, observes my ordinances, and follows my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, he dies for his iniquity.

19 Yet you say, “Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?” When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20 The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own.

21 But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? 24 But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die.

25 Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? 26 When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. 27 Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. 28 Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?

30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin.[ay] 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

Israel Degraded

19 As for you, raise up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

What a lioness was your mother
    among lions!
She lay down among young lions,
    rearing her cubs.
She raised up one of her cubs;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured humans.
The nations sounded an alarm against him;
    he was caught in their pit;
and they brought him with hooks
    to the land of Egypt.
When she saw that she was thwarted,
    that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
    and made him a young lion.
He prowled among the lions;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured people.
And he ravaged their strongholds,[az]
    and laid waste their towns;
the land was appalled, and all in it,
    at the sound of his roaring.
The nations set upon him
    from the provinces all around;
they spread their net over him;
    he was caught in their pit.
With hooks they put him in a cage,
    and brought him to the king of Babylon;
    they brought him into custody,
so that his voice should be heard no more
    on the mountains of Israel.
10 Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard[ba]
    transplanted by the water,
fruitful and full of branches
    from abundant water.
11 Its strongest stem became
    a ruler’s scepter;[bb]
it towered aloft
    among the thick boughs;
it stood out in its height
    with its mass of branches.
12 But it was plucked up in fury,
    cast down to the ground;
the east wind dried it up;
    its fruit was stripped off,
its strong stem was withered;
    the fire consumed it.
13 Now it is transplanted into the wilderness,
    into a dry and thirsty land.
14 And fire has gone out from its stem,
    has consumed its branches and fruit,
so that there remains in it no strong stem,
    no scepter for ruling.

This is a lamentation, and it is used as a lamentation.

Israel’s Continuing Rebellion

20 In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain elders of Israel came to consult the Lord, and sat down before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: Why are you coming? To consult me? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be consulted by you. Will you judge them, mortal, will you judge them? Then let them know the abominations of their ancestors, and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob—making myself known to them in the land of Egypt—I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; not one of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. 10 So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them my statutes and showed them my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live. 12 Moreover I gave them my sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, so that they might know that I the Lord sanctify them. 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness; they did not observe my statutes but rejected my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live; and my sabbaths they greatly profaned.

Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make an end of them. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name, so that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands, 16 because they rejected my ordinances and did not observe my statutes, and profaned my sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless my eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or make an end of them in the wilderness.

18 I said to their children in the wilderness, Do not follow the statutes of your parents, nor observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I the Lord am your God; follow my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances, 20 and hallow my sabbaths that they may be a sign between me and you, so that you may know that I the Lord am your God. 21 But the children rebelled against me; they did not follow my statutes, and were not careful to observe my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live; they profaned my sabbaths.

Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withheld my hand, and acted for the sake of my name, so that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, 24 because they had not executed my ordinances, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their ancestors’ idols. 25 Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live. 26 I defiled them through their very gifts, in their offering up all their firstborn, in order that I might horrify them, so that they might know that I am the Lord.

27 Therefore, mortal, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In this again your ancestors blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. 28 For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing odors, and there they poured out their drink offerings. 29 (I said to them, What is the high place to which you go? So it is called Bamah[bc] to this day.) 30 Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your ancestors and go astray after their detestable things? 31 When you offer your gifts and make your children pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be consulted by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be consulted by you.

32 What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, “Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.”

God Will Restore Israel

33 As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, I will be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out; 35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, says the Lord God. 37 I will make you pass under the staff, and will bring you within the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge out the rebels among you, and those who transgress against me; I will bring them out of the land where they reside as aliens, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.

39 As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: Go serve your idols, every one of you now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.

40 For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, says the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land; there I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred things. 41 As a pleasing odor I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples, and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations. 42 You shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your ancestors. 43 There you shall remember your ways and all the deeds by which you have polluted yourselves; and you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed. 44 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, or corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, says the Lord God.

A Prophecy against the Negeb

45 [bd] The word of the Lord came to me: 46 Mortal, set your face toward the south, preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land in the Negeb; 47 say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched. 49 Then I said, “Ah Lord God! they are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of allegories?’”

The Drawn Sword of God

21 [be] The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries; prophesy against the land of Israel and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: I am coming against you, and will draw my sword out of its sheath, and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh from south to north; and all flesh shall know that I the Lord have drawn my sword out of its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again. Moan therefore, mortal; moan with breaking heart and bitter grief before their eyes. And when they say to you, “Why do you moan?” you shall say, “Because of the news that has come. Every heart will melt and all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint and all knees will turn to water. See, it comes and it will be fulfilled,” says the Lord God.

And the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, prophesy and say: Thus says the Lord; Say:

A sword, a sword is sharpened,
    it is also polished;
10 it is sharpened for slaughter,
    honed to flash like lightning!
How can we make merry?
    You have despised the rod,
    and all discipline.[bf]
11 The sword[bg] is given to be polished,
    to be grasped in the hand;
it is sharpened, the sword is polished,
    to be placed in the slayer’s hand.
12 Cry and wail, O mortal,
    for it is against my people;
it is against all Israel’s princes;
    they are thrown to the sword,
    together with my people.
    Ah! Strike the thigh!

13 For consider: What! If you despise the rod, will it not happen?[bh] says the Lord God.

14 And you, mortal, prophesy;
    strike hand to hand.
Let the sword fall twice, thrice;
    it is a sword for killing.
A sword for great slaughter—
    it surrounds them;
15 therefore hearts melt
    and many stumble.
At all their gates I have set
    the point[bi] of the sword.
Ah! It is made for flashing,
    it is polished[bj] for slaughter.
16 Attack to the right!
    Engage to the left!
    —wherever your edge is directed.
17 I too will strike hand to hand,
    I will satisfy my fury;
    I the Lord have spoken.

18 The word of the Lord came to me: 19 Mortal, mark out two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to come; both of them shall issue from the same land. And make a signpost, make it for a fork in the road leading to a city; 20 mark out the road for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites or to Judah and to[bk] Jerusalem the fortified.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 1:13 Gk OL: Heb And the appearance of
  2. Ezekiel 1:15 Heb of their faces
  3. Ezekiel 1:22 Gk: Heb like the awesome crystal
  4. Ezekiel 1:24 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  5. Ezekiel 1:26 Or lapis lazuli
  6. Ezekiel 2:1 Or son of man; Heb ben adam (and so throughout the book when Ezekiel is addressed)
  7. Ezekiel 2:3 Syr: Heb to nations
  8. Ezekiel 3:12 Cn: Heb and blessed be the glory of the Lord
  9. Ezekiel 3:15 Two Mss Syr: Heb Chebar, and to where they lived. Another reading is Chebar, and I sat where they sat
  10. Ezekiel 5:2 Heb it
  11. Ezekiel 5:11 Another reading is I will withdraw
  12. Ezekiel 5:15 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb It shall be
  13. Ezekiel 5:16 Heb them
  14. Ezekiel 6:6 Syr Vg Tg: Heb and be made guilty
  15. Ezekiel 6:14 Another reading is Diblah
  16. Ezekiel 7:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  17. Ezekiel 7:10 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  18. Ezekiel 7:11 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  19. Ezekiel 7:13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  20. Ezekiel 7:20 Syr Symmachus: Heb its
  21. Ezekiel 7:22 Or secret
  22. Ezekiel 7:23 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  23. Ezekiel 8:2 Gk: Heb like fire
  24. Ezekiel 8:5 Heb he
  25. Ezekiel 10:1 Or lapis lazuli
  26. Ezekiel 10:5 Traditional rendering of Heb El Shaddai
  27. Ezekiel 11:15 Gk Syr: Heb people of your kindred
  28. Ezekiel 11:16 Or to some extent
  29. Ezekiel 11:19 Another reading is a new
  30. Ezekiel 11:21 Cn: Heb And to the heart of their detestable things and their abominations their heart goes
  31. Ezekiel 12:12 Gk Syr: Heb they
  32. Ezekiel 13:10 Heb they
  33. Ezekiel 13:11 Heb rain and you
  34. Ezekiel 13:20 Gk Syr: Heb lives for birds
  35. Ezekiel 14:14 Or, as otherwise read, Danel
  36. Ezekiel 14:20 Or, as otherwise read, Danel
  37. Ezekiel 16:7 Gk Syr: Heb Live! I made you a myriad
  38. Ezekiel 16:7 Cn: Heb ornament of ornaments
  39. Ezekiel 16:10 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  40. Ezekiel 16:13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  41. Ezekiel 16:15 Heb adds let it be his
  42. Ezekiel 16:16 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  43. Ezekiel 16:57 Another reading is Edom
  44. Ezekiel 16:61 Syr: Heb you
  45. Ezekiel 16:61 Heb lacks my
  46. Ezekiel 17:5 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  47. Ezekiel 17:9 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  48. Ezekiel 17:21 Another reading is fugitives
  49. Ezekiel 18:11 Heb he
  50. Ezekiel 18:17 Gk: Heb the poor
  51. Ezekiel 18:30 Or so that they shall not be a stumbling block of iniquity to you
  52. Ezekiel 19:7 Heb his widows
  53. Ezekiel 19:10 Cn: Heb in your blood
  54. Ezekiel 19:11 Heb Its strongest stems became rulers’ scepters
  55. Ezekiel 20:29 That is High Place
  56. Ezekiel 20:45 Ch 21.1 in Heb
  57. Ezekiel 21:1 Ch 21.6 in Heb
  58. Ezekiel 21:10 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  59. Ezekiel 21:11 Heb It
  60. Ezekiel 21:13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  61. Ezekiel 21:15 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  62. Ezekiel 21:15 Tg: Heb wrapped up
  63. Ezekiel 21:20 Gk Syr: Heb Judah in
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 1-21 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles by the K’var River, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, which was during the fifth year of King Y’hoyakhin’s exile, the word of Adonai came to the cohen Yechezk’el son of Buzi, in the land of the Kasdim by the K’var River; there the hand of Adonai was on him.

I looked and saw a windy storm approaching from the north and a huge cloud with flashing fire, glowing brightly all around with the color of gleaming amber from within the fire. Inside, there appeared to be four living creatures that looked like human beings; but each one had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, with feet like calves’ hoofs. They glittered like burnished bronze. Beneath their wings they had human hands on their four sides. The four of them had faces and wings as follows: they touched one another with their wings; they did not turn when they moved, but each one moved straight forward; 10 as for the appearance of their faces, they had human faces [in front], each of the four had a lion’s face on the right, each of the four had a bull’s face on the left, and each of the four had an eagle’s face [toward the rear] — 11 thus their faces. As for their wings, each had two that stretched upward and joined those of others, and two more that covered their bodies. 12 Each [living creature] moved in the direction of any of its faces; in whichever direction the spirit wanted to go, they went, without turning as they moved — 13 thus the appearance of the living creatures.

With them was something that looked like fiery coals burning the way torches do, with the fire flashing here and there between the living creatures; the fire had a brilliance, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 The living creatures kept speeding here and there like flashes of lightning.

15 As I gazed at the living creatures, I saw wheels on the ground, one next to each of the four-faced living creatures. 16 All four wheels looked the same: their inner parts gleamed like beryl, and their structure seemed to be that of a wheel inside a wheel. 17 When they moved, they could go in any of the four directions without turning as they moved. 18 Their rims were tall and fearsome, because the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. 19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved along with them; and when the creatures were lifted off the ground, the wheels went with them. 20 Wherever the spirit was to go, they went, in the direction the spirit wanted to go. The wheels were lifted up next to them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When [the living creatures] moved, [the wheels] moved; when the former stood still, the latter stood still; and when the former were lifted off the ground, the wheels were lifted up next to them; because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22 Over the heads of the living creatures was what appeared to be a dome glittering like ice; it was awesome, spread out over their heads, above them. 23 Under the dome each had a pair of wings spread out straight toward those of others, and each had a pair which covered his body. 24 I heard the sound of their wings when they moved; it was like the sound of rushing water, like the voice of Shaddai, like the noise of a tumultuous crowd or army. When they stopped, they lowered their wings. 25 Whenever there was a sound from above the dome over their heads, they stopped and lowered their wings.

26 Above the dome that was over their heads was something like a throne that looked like a sapphire. On it, above it, was what appeared to be a person. 27 I saw what looked like gleaming, amber-colored fire radiating from what appeared to be his waist upward. Downward from what appeared to be his waist, I saw what looked like fire, giving a brilliant light all around him. 28 This brilliance around him looked like a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was how the appearance of the glory of Adonai looked. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of someone speaking.

He said to me, “Human being! Stand up! I want to speak with you!” As he spoke to me, a spirit entered me and put me on my feet, and I heard him who was speaking to me. He said, “Human being! I am sending you to the people of Isra’el, that nation of rebels who have rebelled against me — they and their ancestors have been transgressing against me to this very day. Because they are defiant, hardhearted children, I am sending you; and you are to tell them, ‘Here is what Adonai Elohim says.’ Whether they listen or not, this rebellious house will still know that a prophet has been among them!

“As for you, human being, don’t be afraid of them or their words, even if briars and thorns surround you, and you sit among scorpions. Don’t be afraid of their words or be upset by their looks, for they are a rebellious house. You are to speak my words to them, whether they listen or not, for they are very rebellious. But you, human being, hear what I am telling you: don’t you be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth, and eat what I am about to give you.”

When I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me, holding a scroll. 10 He spread it out in front of me, and it was covered with writing front and back. Written on it were laments, dirges and woes.

He said to me, “Human being, eat what you see in front of you; eat this scroll. Then go and speak to the house of Isra’el.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat, as he said, “Human being, eat this scroll I am giving you; fill your insides with it.” When I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey.

“Human being,” he said to me, “go to the house of Isra’el, and speak my words to them. For you are not being sent to a people with a difficult language and unintelligible speech, but to the house of Isra’el — not to many peoples with difficult languages and unintelligible speech, whose words you can’t understand when you hear them. Without doubt, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. But the house of Isra’el will not be willing to listen to you, because they aren’t willing to listen to me; since all the house of Isra’el are obstinate and hardhearted. However, I am making you as defiant and obstinate as they are. Yes, I am making your resoluteness harder than flint, as hard as a diamond. So don’t be afraid of them or depressed by how they look at you, because they are a rebellious house.”

10 Then he said to me, “Human being, receive in your heart and hear with your ears all my words that I speak to you. 11 Then go to the exiles, to your countrymen; and speak to them. Tell them, ‘Here is what Adonai Elohim, says,’ whether they listen or not.”

12 A spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a very loud sound — blessed be the glory of Adonai from his place! 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they beat against each other, and the sound of the wheels next to them, a very loud sound. 14 So a spirit lifted me up and took me away. I went in bitterness and the heat of my spirit, with the hand of Adonai strong on me.

15 I went to the exiles who were living in Tel-Aviv, by the K’var River and stayed with them there in a stupefied state for seven days. 16 After seven days the word of Adonai came to me: 17 “Human being, I have appointed you to be a watchman for the house of Isra’el. When you hear a word from my mouth, you are to warn them for me. 18 If I say to a wicked person, ‘You will certainly die’; and you fail to warn him, to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his wicked way and save his life; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 19 On the other hand, if you warn the wicked person, and he doesn’t turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, then he will still die guilty; but you will have saved your own life. 20 Similarly, when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, I will place a stumblingblock before him — he will die; because you failed to warn him, he will die in his sin; his righteous acts which he did will not be remembered; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21 But if you warn the righteous person that a righteous person should not sin, and he doesn’t sin; then he will certainly live, because he took the warning; and you too will have saved your life.”

22 The hand of Adonai came on me there, and he said to me, “Get up, go out to the valley, and I will speak with you there.” 23 So I got up and went out to the valley. The glory of Adonai was there, like the glory I had seen by the K’var River; and I fell on my face. 24 A spirit entered me and put me on my feet. Then he spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25 Human being, you are going to be bound with ropes, unable to go out among the people. 26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, so that you will be mute, unable to reprove them; for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth; and you will say to them, ‘This is what Adonai Elohim says.’ Whoever is inclined to listen will listen, and whoever is inclined to refuse will refuse, because they are a rebellious house.

“As for you, human being, take a clay slab, lay it down in front of you, and draw on it the city of Yerushalayim. Show it under siege — build towers against it, raise earthworks against it, set up camps against it, and surround it with battering rams. Then take an iron griddle and put it in place as a wall of iron between yourself and the city, and fix your gaze on it — the city is under siege, and you are the one besieging it. This will be a sign for the house of Isra’el.

“Next, you are to lie on your left side, and have it bear the guilt of the house of Isra’el — for as many days as you lie on your side, you will bear their guilt. For I am assigning you one day for each year of their guilt; thus you are to bear the guilt of the house of Isra’el for 390 days. Then, when you have finished that, you are to lie on your right side and bear the guilt of the house of Y’hudah for forty days, each day corresponding to a year; this is what I am assigning you. You are to fix your gaze on the siege of Yerushalayim, and, with your arm bared, prophesy against it. I am tying you down with ropes, and you are not to turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.

“Take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and buckwheat; put them together in one bowl; and make bread from it. For as long as you lie on your side, 390 days, this is what you are to eat. 10 Each day the food you eat must weigh only three-quarters of a pound; you may eat it from time to time [during the day]. 11 You are also to drink a limited amount of water, two-thirds of a quart; you may drink it from time to time [during the day]. 12 [The bread] you eat is to be baked like barley cakes; you are to bake it before their eyes, using human dung as fuel.” 13 Adonai said, “This is how the people of Isra’el will eat their food — unclean — in the nations where I am driving them.” 14 I objected: “No, Adonai Elohim! I have never defiled myself — from my youth until now I have never eaten anything that died by itself or was killed by wild animals; no such disgusting food has ever entered my mouth.” 15 He answered, “All right, I will give you cow dung to use instead of human dung, and you can prepare your bread on it.”

16 He then said to me, “Human being, I am going to cut off the supply of bread in Yerushalayim, so that they will anxiously weigh out bread to eat, and, horrified, ration water to drink. 17 Finally, due to lack of bread and water, they will stare at each other in shock, wasting away because of their guilt.”

“Now you, human being, take a sharp sword; and use it like a barber’s razor to shave your head and beard. Then weigh the hair on a balance-scale, and divide it up. A third of it you are to burn in the city when the days of the siege are over. Take another third, and hit it with your sword all around the city. Scatter the last third to the wind, and I will pursue them with drawn sword. Also take a few hairs and tie them up in the folds of your garment. Again, of these take some; throw them in the fire, and burn them up; from there a fire will come out against the entire house of Isra’el.

“Here is what Adonai Elohim, says:

‘This is Yerushalayim!
I have placed her in the middle of the nations;
countries can be found all around her.
But she has rebelled against my rulings
and committed wickedness more than the nations,
against my laws more than the countries around her;
because they have rejected my rulings
and not lived according to my laws.’

“Therefore here is what Adonai Elohim, says: ‘Because you have outdone the nations around you by not living according to my laws or following my rulings or even following the rules of the nations around you,’ therefore here is what Adonai Elohim, says: ‘I too am against you, yes, I; and I will execute judgments among you while all the nations look on. Moreover, because of all your disgusting practices, I will do things to you that I have never done before; and I will never do such things again. 10 Parents among you will eat their children, and children will eat their parents! I will execute judgments among you and scatter to all the winds those of you who remain. 11 For, as I live,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘because you defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and disgusting practices, therefore I swear that I will cut you off — my eye will not spare, I will have no pity. 12 A third of you will die from plague or be consumed by famine inside [Yerushalayim]; a third will fall by the sword all around [Yerushalayim]; and a third I will scatter to all the winds and pursue with the sword.’ 13 In this way my anger will spend itself, my fury against them will die down, and I will be satisfied. Then, when I have spent my fury on them, they will know that I, Adonai, have spoken out of my zeal. 14 ‘I will make you a ruin and an object of reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all passing by. 15 When I execute judgments and furious punishments among you in anger and fury, [Yerushalayim] will be an object of reproach, derision and horror, and a lesson to warn the nations around you. I, Adonai, have announced it. 16 I will send upon them the deadly, destructive arrows of famine, which I will send to destroy you. I will make the famine worse for you by cutting off your food supply. 17 Yes, I will send famine and savage beasts upon you to leave you without children; plague and bloodshed will sweep through you; and I will bring the sword upon you. I, Adonai, have spoken it.’”

The word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, face toward the mountains of Isra’el, and prophesy against them: ‘Mountains of Isra’el, hear the word of Adonai Elohim: here is what Adonai Elohim says about the mountains, hills, ravines and valleys: “I myself will bring a sword against you and destroy your high places. Your altars will be wrecked and your pillars for sun-worship broken, and I will throw down your slain ones in front of your idols. I will lay the corpses of the people of Isra’el in front of their idols and scatter your bones all around your altars. Everywhere you live, the cities will be destroyed and the high places wrecked; so that your altars can be destroyed and wrecked, your idols broken and abolished, your pillars for sun-worship cut down and the things you have made wiped out. The slain will fall among you; then you will know that I am Adonai.

“‘“Nevertheless, I will leave a remnant, some who will escape the sword among the nations, when you have been scattered throughout the countries. Those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they have been exiled. How broken I have been over their whoring hearts that left me, and over their eyes that went whoring after their idols! They are going to loathe themselves for all the evils they committed in their disgusting practices. 10 Then they will know that I am Adonai; it isn’t for nothing that I said I would bring this calamity upon them.”’

11 “Here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘Strike with your hand, and stamp with your foot, and bemoan all the terrible disgusting practices of the house of Isra’el. For they will fall by sword, famine and plague. 12 Those far away will die from the plague, those nearby will fall by the sword, and whoever stays and is besieged will die from famine. This is how I will spend my fury on them. 13 You will know that I am Adonai when their slain men are lying among their idols around their altars on every high hill, on every mountaintop, under every green tree, under every thick pistachio tree, wherever they offered sweet-smelling sacrifices to appease their idols. 14 I will stretch out my hand over them and make the land wherever they live into a desolate waste worse than the Divlah Desert. Then they will know that I am Adonai.’”

The word of Adonai came to me: “As for you, human being, here is what Adonai Elohim says about the land of Isra’el:

‘The end! The end is coming
to the four corners of the land!
Now the end is upon you!
I will send my anger upon you,
I will judge you according to your ways.
I will bring on you all your disgusting practices.
My eye will not spare you, I will have no pity,
but I will bring your ways upon you,
and your disgusting practices will be done among you.
Then you will know that I am Adonai.’

“Here is what Adonai Elohim says:

‘Disaster, unique disaster — here it comes!
The end is coming! The end is coming!
It rouses itself against you — here it comes!
Doom has come to you,
you who live in the land!
The time has come, the day is near,
for tumult, not joyful shouts on the mountains.
Now, soon, I will pour out my fury on you,
I will spend my anger on you;
I will judge you according to your ways
I will bring on you all your disgusting practices.
My eye will not spare you, I will have no pity;
but will bring upon you what your ways deserve;
and your disgusting practices will be among you.
Then you will know it is I, Adonai, striking you.

10 “‘Here is the day! Here it comes!
Doom has gone out, the rod has blossomed,
arrogance has budded. 11 Violence has grown
into a rod of wickedness.
Nothing is left of them,
nothing of their crowds,
nothing of their wealth —
there is nothing of importance in them.
12 The time has come, the day has arrived;
let neither buyer rejoice nor seller regret;
for wrath is coming to all her many people.
13 For the seller will not return to what he sold,
even if he is still alive;
for though the vision was brought to all her many people,
nobody repented.
Each kept living his own wicked life;
they weren’t strong enough [to repent].
14 The shofar has sounded, everything is ready,
but no one goes out to the battle,
for my wrath is coming to all her many people.

15 “‘Outside is the sword, inside plague and famine.
Those in the country will die by the sword.
And as for those in the city,
plague and famine will eat them up.
16 But if any of them manage to escape,
they will head for the mountains
like doves from the valleys,
all of them moaning, each for his sin.
17 All hands will droop, all knees turn to water.
18 They will put on sackcloth;
horror will cover them;
every face will be ashamed,
every head shaved bald.
19 They will throw their silver into the streets;
their gold will be like something unclean.
On the day of Adonai’s wrath their silver and gold
won’t be able to rescue them.
These things won’t satisfy their hunger,
these things won’t fill their stomachs,
because these are what caused them to sin.
20 From their beautiful jewellery,
in which they took such pride,
they made their abominable idols
and their other detestable things;
therefore, for them I have caused it
to be like something unclean.
21 I will hand it over to foreigners as booty,
to the wicked of the earth as spoil,
and they will profane it.
22 I will turn my face away from them;
then [Bavel] will profane my secret place,
robbers will enter and profane it.

23 “‘Forge a chain,
for the land is full of capital crimes
and the city full of violence.
24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the nations
to take possession of their homes;
I will end the arrogance of the strong;
and their holy places will be profaned.
25 When horror comes, they will seek peace;
but there will be none.
26 Calamity will follow calamity,
rumor will follow rumor;
they will seek a vision from the prophet,
but Torah will perish from the cohen
and advice from the leaders.
27 The king will go into mourning,
the prince will be clothed with fright,
and the hands of the people of the land
will tremble in terror.
I will treat them as their way of life deserves
and judge them as they have judged others.
Then they will know
that I am Adonai.’”

On the fifth day of the sixth month of the sixth year, as I was sitting in my house, and the leaders of Y’hudah were sitting there with me, the hand of Adonai Elohim fell on me. I looked and saw what seemed like a man made of fire. From what appeared to be his waist downward was fire, and from his waist upward was what appeared to be a gleaming amber-colored brilliance. The form of a hand was put out, which took me by a lock of my hair; and a spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me, in these visions from God, to Yerushalayim, to the entrance of the inner [courtyard] gate that faces north. There stood the idol that [arouses God’s] jealousy and provokes [his] zealous indignation. There before me was the glory of the God of Isra’el, as in the vision I had seen in the valley.

Then he said to me, “Human being, raise your eyes toward the north.” I raised my eyes toward the north and saw, north of the Altar Gate, this image that [arouses God’s] jealousy in the entryway. He asked me, “Human being, do you see what they are doing, the horribly disgusting practices that the house of Isra’el is committing here, so that I must distance myself from my own sanctuary? But you will see even worse abominations.”

He brought me to the entrance of the courtyard; and when I looked, I saw a hole in the wall. He said to me, “Human being, dig into the wall.” After digging in the wall, I saw a door. “Go in,” he said, “and see the wicked practices they are engaged in here.” 10 So I went in and looked, and there, carved on the walls all around, were every kind of reptile and repulsive animal, along with all the idols of the house of Isra’el. 11 Standing in front of them were seventy of the leading men of the house of Isra’el — in the center stood Ya’azanyahu the son of Shafan. Each man had his incense-burner in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up. 12 Then he said to me, “Human being, did you see what the leaders of the house of Isra’el are doing in the dark, each one in the room of his own carved image, because they say, ‘Adonai can’t see us; Adonai has left the land.’?” 13 He also said to me, “You will see even worse abominations that they are doing.”

14 He brought me to the entrance of the north gate to Adonai’s house; and there before me were women weeping for Tammuz. 15 “Human being,” he asked me, “have you seen this? You will see practices even more disgusting than these.” 16 He brought me into the inner courtyard of Adonai’s house; and there, at the entrance to the temple of Adonai, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of Adonai and their faces toward the east; and they were worshipping the sun toward the east. 17 He asked me, “Human being, have you seen this? Does the house of Y’hudah consider it a casual matter that they commit the disgusting practices they are committing here, thus filling the land with violence, provoking me still more? Look! They are even putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will act in fury, my eye will not spare, I will have no pity. Even if they cry loudly right in my ears, I will not listen to them.”

Then he cried loudly right in my ears: “Summon the commanders of the city, each holding his weapon of destruction.” At once, six men approached on the path from the upper gate, to the north, each man holding his weapon of destruction. Among them was a man clothed in linen, with a scribe’s writing equipment at his waist. They entered and stood by the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Isra’el was made to go up from over the keruv, where it had been, to the threshold of the house. He called to the man clothed in linen, who had the scribe’s writing equipment at his waist. Adonai said to him, “Go throughout the city, through all Yerushalayim, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who are sighing and crying over all the disgusting practices that are being committed in it.” To the others I heard him say, “Go through the city after him and strike! Don’t let your eye spare; have no pity! Kill old men, young men, girls, little children, women — slaughter them all! But don’t go near anyone with the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” They began with the leaders in front of the house. Then he said to them, “Defile the house! Fill the courtyards with corpses! Get going!” So they went out, spreading death in the city.

While the killing was going on, I was left alone. I fell on my face, cried, and said, “Oh, Adonai Elohim! In pouring out your fury on Yerushalayim, are you going to destroy everyone left in Isra’el?” Then he said to me, “The wickedness of the house of Isra’el and Y’hudah is enormous, the land is full of blood, and the city is full of justice denied; because they say, ‘Adonai has left the land, Adonai doesn’t see.’ 10 But as far as I am concerned, my eye will not spare, and I will have no pity, but I will bring [the consequences of] their ways on their own heads.”

11 At this point the man clothed in linen with the writing equipment at his waist returned and reported, “I have done everything you ordered me to do.”

10 Then I looked, and suddenly, on the dome over the heads of the k’ruvim, there appeared above them something like sapphire that seemed to take the form of a throne. He spoke to the man clothed in linen; he said, “Go in between the wheels under the k’ruvim, fill both your hands with fiery coals from between the k’ruvim, and throw them on the city.” As I watched, he went. Now the k’ruvim were standing to the right of the house when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner courtyard. The glory of Adonai rose from above the keruv to the threshold of the house, leaving the house filled with the cloud and the courtyard full of the brilliance of Adonai’s glory. The sound of the wings of the k’ruvim could be heard even in the outer courtyard sounding like the voice of God, Shaddai, when he speaks.

When he ordered the man clothed in linen to take fire from between the wheels, from between the k’ruvim, he went in and stood next to a wheel; and a keruv put out his hand from between the k’ruvim into the fire between the k’ruvim, took some of it, and put it in the hands of the one clothed in linen, who took it and went out.

Now there appeared among the k’ruvim the form of a man’s hand under their wings. I looked and saw four wheels next to the k’ruvim, one wheel next to one keruv and another wheel next to another keruv: the wheels had the color of beryl. 10 Their shape was the same for all four, like a wheel inside a wheel. 11 When they moved, they could go in any of the four directions without turning as they moved; rather, wherever the head looked, they followed without turning as they moved. 12 Their whole bodies, including their backs, hands and wings, and also the wheels, were full of eyes all around — even the wheels of the four k’ruvim. 13 As for the wheels, I heard them called “the wheel apparatus.” 14 Every one [of the k’ruvim] had four faces: the first face was the face of a keruv, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion and the fourth the face of an eagle.

15 Then the k’ruvim rose. These were the living creatures I had seen by the K’var River. 16 When the k’ruvim moved, the wheels went with them; and when the k’ruvim lifted their wings to rise off the ground, these wheels did not stop going with them. 17 When [the k’ruvim] stood still, [the wheels] stood still; and when the former rose, the latter rose with them; because the spirit of the living creatures was in them.

18 Now the glory of Adonai left the threshold of the house and halted above the k’ruvim. 19 The k’ruvim lifted their wings and rose off the earth — I was watching as they went off with the wheels next to them. They paused at the entrance to the east gate of Adonai’s house, with the glory of the God of Isra’el over them, from above.

20 This was the living creature I had seen beneath the God of Isra’el by the K’var River, so I knew they were k’ruvim. 21 Each of the four had four faces, and each had four wings, and what looked like a man’s hands was under their wings. 22 As for how their faces looked, they were the faces I had seen by the K’var River, identical in appearance. Each one moved straight ahead.

11 Then a spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of Adonai’s house, the gate that faces eastward. At the entrance of the gate I saw twenty-five men; among them were Ya’azanyah the son of ‘Azur and P’latyahu the son of B’nayahu, leaders of the people. He said to me, “Human being, these are the men who make evil plans and give wicked advice in this city. They say, ‘The time hasn’t come to build houses. This city is the cooking pot, and we’re the meat!’ Therefore prophesy against them, human being, prophesy!” The Spirit of Adonai fell on me, and he said to me, “Say, ‘Here is what Adonai says: “What you are saying is correct, house of Isra’el; because I know how your minds work. You have killed many in this city, you have filled its streets with the dead.” Therefore Adonai Elohim says this: “Those you have killed and strewn all over it, they are the meat; and this city is indeed the cooking pot; but you will be removed from it. You are afraid of the sword, but I will bring the sword upon you,” says Adonai Elohim. “I will bring you out of it, hand you over to foreigners and execute judgments among you. 10 You will die by the sword; I will judge you at the border of Isra’el; and you will know that I am Adonai. 11 This city will not be your cooking pot, but you will be the meat in it — I will judge you at Isra’el’s frontier; 12 and you will know that I am Adonai. For you have not lived by my laws or obeyed my rulings but have acted according to the rules of the nations surrounding you.”’”

13 As I was prophesying, P’latyahu the son of B’nayah died. I fell down on my face and cried out, “Oh, Adonai Elohim! Are you going to destroy completely those of Isra’el who are left?” 14 Then the word of Adonai came to me: 15 “Human being, it is to your kinsmen — your brothers, your relatives and the whole house of Isra’el — that the people living in Yerushalayim have said, ‘Get away from Adonai! This land has been given to us to possess!’ 16 Therefore, say that Adonai Elohim says this: ‘True, I removed them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries; nevertheless, I have been a little sanctuary for them in the countries to which they have gone.’ 17 Therefore, say that Adonai Elohim says this: ‘“I will gather you from the peoples and collect you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give the land of Isra’el to you.” 18 Then they will go there and remove all its loathsome things and disgusting practices, 19 and I will give them unity of heart. “I will put a new spirit among you.” I will remove from their bodies the hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh; 20 so that they will live by my regulations, obey my rulings and act by them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts go after the heart of their loathsome things and disgusting practices, I will bring [the consequences of] their ways on their own heads,’ says Adonai Elohim.”

22 The k’ruvim lifted their wings, and the wheels were next to them, with the glory of the God of Isra’el over them, above. 23 Next, the glory of Adonai rose from within the city and stood over the mountain which is on the east side of the city. 24 Then a spirit lifted me up and brought me, in the vision, by the Spirit of God, to the exiles in the land of the Kasdim; after which the vision I had seen left me. 25 So I told the exiles everything Adonai had shown me.

12 The word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes that can see, but they don’t take notice; and they have ears that can hear, but they don’t pay attention; because they are a rebellious people. So you, human being, prepare supplies for exile; and during the daytime, as they watch, go away as if you were going into exile — leave your place, and go somewhere else as they watch. Perhaps they will take notice, even though they are a rebellious house. Bring out your belongings during the day while they watch, as supplies for exile; and you yourself, while they watch, are to leave as people do who are going into exile. Dig a hole through the wall while they watch, and carry [your belongings] out through it. While they watch, you are to shoulder your pack and carry it out into the dark, with your face covered, so that you can’t see the ground; for I am making you a sign for the house of Isra’el.”

So I did as I had been ordered — I brought out my belongings during the day as supplies for exile, and in the evening I dug a hole through the wall with my hand; then I carried my pack out on my shoulder in the dark as they watched.

In the morning the word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, the house of Isra’el, that rebellious house, has asked you what you are doing. 10 Tell them that Adonai Elohim says this prophecy concerns the prince in Yerushalayim and all the house of Isra’el there. 11 Say: ‘I am a sign for you. As I have done, so will it be done to them — they will go into exile, into captivity. 12 The prince who is with them will shoulder his pack and leave in the dark. They will dig holes through the wall to carry out their supplies. He will cover his face, so that he won’t be able to see the ground with his eyes. 13 I will spread my net over him, and he will be caught in my snare. Then I will bring him to Bavel, to the land of the Kasdim. But he will not see it, even though he is going to die there. 14 I will scatter to every wind all who are in attendance on him to help him, along with all his troops; and I will pursue them with the sword. 15 They will know that I am Adonai when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them among the countries. 16 But I will spare a few of them from sword, famine and plague; so that they can tell about all their disgusting practices among the nations where they go; thus they too will know that I am Adonai.’”

17 The word of Adonai came to me: 18 “Human being, shake as you eat your food; tremble anxiously as you drink your water; 19 and say to the people of the land, ‘Here is what Adonai Elohim says concerning those living in Yerushalayim in the land of Isra’el: “They will eat their bread in anxiety and drink their water in horror; because the land will be desolated from everything that fills it, due to the violence of those living there. 20 The inhabited cities will be laid waste, the land will be desolate, and you will know that I am Adonai.”’”

21 The word of Adonai came to me: 22 “Human being, don’t you have this proverb in the land of Isra’el, ‘Time keeps passing, and none of the visions are fulfilled’? 23 Therefore tell them that Adonai Elohim says, ‘I will put an end to that proverb; never again will they use it as a proverb in Isra’el.’ Tell them, ‘The time has come for the fulfillment of every vision. 24 There will no longer be empty visions or falsely optimistic divinations in the house of Isra’el, 25 because I am Adonai. I will speak; and whatever statement I make, it will be accomplished. It will no longer be delayed; for in your days, you rebellious house, I will speak the word and accomplish it,’ says Adonai Elohim.”

26 Again, the word of Adonai came to me: 27 “Human being, look! People from the house of Isra’el are saying, ‘The vision he sees concerns the distant future; he is prophesying about a time far off.’ 28 Therefore, say to them that Adonai Elohim says, ‘None of my words will be delayed any more, but the word that I speak will be accomplished,’ says Adonai Elohim.”

13 The word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, prophesy against the prophets of Isra’el who prophesy. Tell those prophesying out of their own thoughts, ‘Listen to what Adonai says! Adonai Elohim says: “Woe to the vile prophets who follow their own spirits and things which they have not seen! Isra’el, your prophets have been like jackals among ruins. You [prophets] have not gone up to the breaks in the barricade or repaired it for the house of Isra’el, so that they can stand fast in battle on the day of Adonai. Their visions are futile and their divination is false; they say, ‘Adonai says,’ when Adonai has not sent them; yet they hope that the word will be confirmed. Haven’t you had a futile vision and spoken a false divination when you say, ‘Adonai says,’ and I have not spoken? Therefore here is what Adonai Elohim does say: ‘Because you have spoken futilities and seen falsehoods, therefore I am against you,’ says Adonai Elohim.

“‘“My hand will be against the prophets who have futile visions and produce false divinations; they will not be allowed into the council of my people, or be written in the register of the house of Isra’el, or enter the land of Isra’el. Then you will know that I am Adonai Elohim. 10 They deserve this, because they have led my people astray by saying there is peace when there is no peace. If someone builds a wall without mortar, they ‘plaster’ it with whitewash [to make it appear strong]. 11 Tell these ‘plasterers’ that a cloudburst is coming, with huge hailstones and gale-force winds; 12 and the wall will fall down. Then people will ask you, ‘Where is the whitewash you used to “plaster” it?’” 13 Therefore Adonai Elohim says: “In my rage I will cause gale-force winds to break out, and in my anger there will come a cloudburst, with huge hailstones to consume it in fury. 14 This is how I will break down the wall you covered with whitewash — I will smash it to the ground, so that its foundation will be revealed. The wall will fall down, and you will be consumed with it. Then you will know that I am Adonai. 15 In this way I will spend my fury on the wall and on those who covered it with whitewash; and I will say to you, ‘The wall is gone, and so are those who “plastered” it,’ 16 that is, the prophets of Isra’el who prophesy about Yerushalayim and see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,” says Adonai Elohim.’

17 “You, human being, turn your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own thoughts. Prophesy against them; 18 tell them that Adonai Elohim says, ‘Woe to the women who sew magic pads for all arm joints and put veils over people of all sizes, in order to hunt human lives! Will you hunt down the lives of my people while you keep your own lives safe? 19 You dishonor me before my people for a few handfuls of barley and crumbs of bread, killing people who should not die and sparing those who should not live, by your lying to my people, who love hearing lies.’ 20 Therefore here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘I am against your pads, with which you hunt human lives like birds; I will tear them from your arms and let the lives go, yes, the human lives that you hunt like birds. 21 I will also tear your veils and rescue my people from your clutches, so that they will no longer be in your power for you to hunt. Then you will know that I am Adonai. 22 Because you have disheartened the righteous with your lies when I was not trying to cause them pain and have encouraged the wicked not to turn from their wicked ways and thus be saved, 23 therefore you will have no more futile visions, and you will produce no more divinations. I will rescue my people from your clutches, and you will know that I am Adonai.’”

14 Then certain of Isra’el’s leaders came to me; and while they were sitting with me, the word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, thus setting in front of themselves the stumblingblock that leads to sin. Should I let them consult me at all? Therefore speak to them, and tell them that Adonai Elohim says, ‘Everyone in the house of Isra’el who takes his idols into his heart, thus setting in front of himself the stumblingblock that leads to sin, and then comes to the prophet, I myself, Adonai, will answer him in a manner suited to his many idols, in order to grab hold of the house of Isra’el in their hearts; since, through their idols, they have all fallen away from me.’

“Therefore say to the house of Isra’el that Adonai Elohim says, ‘Repent! Turn yourselves away from your idols, turn your faces away from all your disgusting practices! For everyone, whether from the house of Isra’el or a foreigner living in Isra’el, who separates himself from me and takes his idols into his heart, thus setting in front of himself the stumblingblock that leads to sin, and then comes to the prophet, asking him to consult me for him, I myself, Adonai, will answer him. I will set my face against that person, make him a warning sign and an example, and cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am Adonai.

“‘Now, whenever a prophet is enticed into speaking a word, it will be I, Adonai, who will have enticed that prophet. I will stretch out my hand over him and destroy him from among my people Isra’el. 10 The prophets will bear the guilt for their sins — the sin of the prophet will be the same as the sin of the inquirer — 11 so that the house of Isra’el will no longer wander away from me or defile themselves with all their crimes; rather, they will be my people and I will be their God,’ says Adonai Elohim.”

12 The word of Adonai came to me: 13 “Human being, when a land sins against me by dealing treacherously with me, so that I stretch out my hand over it and break off its food supply, sending it famine and eliminating both its humans and its animals; 14 even if these three men were in it — Noach, Dani’el and Iyov — they would by their righteousness save only themselves,” says Adonai Elohim.

15 “If I unleash wild beasts on the land, and they kill its children and desolate it, so that no one can pass through because of the animals; 16 even if these three men were in it, as I live,” says Adonai Elohim, “they would save neither sons nor daughters; only they themselves would be saved, and the land would remain barren.

17 “Or if I bring the sword down on that land, saying, ‘Let the sword pass through the land,’ so that I eliminate both its humans and its animals; 18 even if these three men were in it, as I live,” says Adonai Elohim, “they would save neither sons nor daughters; only they themselves would be saved.

19 “Or if I bring a plague into that land and pour out my fury on it in bloodshed, so that I eliminate both its humans and its animals; 20 even if Noach, Dani’el and Iyov were in it, as I live,” says Adonai Elohim, “they would save neither a son nor a daughter; they would save only themselves by their righteousness.”

21 For here is what Adonai Elohim says: “Even if I inflict my four dreadful judgments on Yerushalayim — sword, famine, wild animals and plagues — to eliminate both its humans and its animals; 22 there will still be left a remnant in it to be brought out, including both sons and daughters. When they come out to you, and you see their way of life and how they act, then you will be consoled over the calamity I have brought upon Yerushalayim, over everything I have done to it. 23 Yes, they will console you when you see their way of life and how they act; and you will understand that it was not without good reason that I did what I did in [Yerushalayim],” says Adonai Elohim.

15 The word of Adonai came to me:

“Human being, why should wood from a grapevine be better
than some other kind of wood,
than some branch that one might find
among the trees of the forest?
Its wood can’t be used to make anything,
not even a pin on which to hang a pot.
So now it is thrown in the fire as fuel,
the fire consumes both ends of it,
and the middle of it is singed —
is it useful now for making something?
When it was whole, it was good for nothing;
so how much less, when the fire
has consumed it, and it is singed,
will it be useful for making something!

“So Adonai Elohim says this:
‘Like wood from the vine among the trees of the forest,
which I consign to the fire as fuel,
so I give those living in Yerushalayim.
I will set my face against them —
they may have escaped one fire,
but the fire will consume them yet.
When I set my face against them,
you will know that I am Adonai.
I will make the land desolate
because they have dealt so treacherously,’
says Adonai Elohim.”

16 The word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, make Yerushalayim realize how disgusting her practices are. Say that Adonai Elohim is telling Yerushalayim, ‘By origin and birth you are of the land of the Kena‘ani — your father was an Emori, and your mother was a Hitti. As for your birth — on the day you were born nobody cut your umbilical cord, washed you in water to clean you off, rubbed salt on you or wrapped you in cloth. No one seeing you had enough pity on you to do any of these things for you — no one had any compassion on you. Instead, you were thrown into an open field in your own filth on the day you were born.

“‘I passed by and saw you there, wallowing in your own blood; and as you lay in your blood I said to you, “Live!” Yes, I said to you, as you lay in your blood, “Live! I will increase your numbers just like plants growing in the field.” And you did increase, you developed, you reached puberty, your breasts appeared, and your hair grew long; but you were naked and exposed.

“‘Again I passed by you, looked at you and saw that your time had come, the time for love. So I spread my cloak over you to cover your private parts and entered into a covenant with you,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘and you became mine. Then I bathed you in water, washed the blood off you, and anointed you with oil. 10 I also clothed you with an embroidered gown, gave you fine leather sandals to wear, put a fine linen headband on your head and covered you with silk. 11 I gave you jewelry to wear, bracelets for your hands, a necklace for your neck, 12 a ring for your nose, earrings for your ears and a beautiful crown for your head. 13 Thus you were decked out in gold and silver; your clothing was of fine linen, silk and richly embroidered cloth; you ate the finest flour, honey and olive oil. You grew increasingly beautiful — you were fit to be queen. 14 Your fame spread among the nations because of your beauty, because it was perfect, due to my having bestowed my own splendor on you’ says Adonai Elohim.

15 “‘But you put your trust in your own beauty and began prostituting yourself because of your fame, soliciting everyone passing by and accepting all comers. 16 You took your clothes and used them to decorate with bright colors the high places you made for yourself, and there you continued prostituting yourself. Such things shouldn’t happen, and in the future they won’t. 17 You also took your beautiful jewels made of my gold and my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images, with which you continued to prostitute yourself. 18 You took your embroidered clothing and covered them; you set my olive oil and my incense in front of them; 19 and you took my food, which I had given you — my fine flour, olive oil and honey, that I had given you to eat — and set it in front of them to give a pleasant aroma. That is how it was,’ says Adonai Elohim.

20 “‘Moreover, your sons and daughters, whom you bore me, you took and sacrificed for them to devour. Were these fornications of yours a casual matter? — 21 killing my children, handing them over and setting them apart for [these idols]? 22 In all your disgusting practices and fornications you never remembered the condition you were in when you were young — naked, exposed and wallowing in your own blood.

23 “‘So, after all this wickedness of yours — woe, woe to you!’ says Adonai Elohim 24 ‘you built platforms and made yourself high places in every open space. 25 You built your high places at every streetcorner, turning your beauty into an abomination, spreading your legs for every passer-by, and multiplying your acts of fornication. 26 You had sex with your big-membered Egyptian neighbors and engaged in fornication over and over, just to provoke me. 27 So now I have stretched out my hand over you, diminished your ration of food and put you at the mercy of those who hate you, the daughters of the P’lishtim, who find your lewd behavior revolting.

28 “‘Still unsatisfied, you acted like a whore also with the people of Ashur; yes, you fornicated with them and were still not satisfied. 29 You multiplied your acts of fornication with the land of traders, the Kasdim, and still weren’t satisfied.

30 “‘You are so weak-willed!’ says Adonai Elohim. ‘You do all these things, behaving like a shameless whore, 31 building your platforms on every streetcorner, making your high places in every open space — and yet you aren’t like a whore, because you scorn getting paid. 32 Here is a wife who commits adultery, who goes to bed with strangers instead of her husband; 33 but also instead of receiving gifts like every other prostitute, you give gifts to all your lovers, you bribe them to come to you from all over the place and have sex with you! 34 You are the opposite of other women — you solicit the fornication, you aren’t solicited; and you pay them, they don’t pay you — you’re the opposite!

35 “‘All right, you whore, listen to the word of Adonai!’ 36 Adonai Elohim says: ‘Because your filth has been poured out and your privates exposed through your acts of fornication with your lovers, and because of all the idols of your disgusting practices, and because of the blood of your children, which you gave them, 37 therefore, look! I am going to gather all your lovers, to whom you have been so very nice, all the ones you hate right along with all the ones you love — I will gather them against you from all over the place and expose your private parts to them, so that they will see you completely naked. 38 I will pronounce on you the sentence that applies to women who commit adultery and murder; I will bring on you the death [decreed for] furious jealousy. 39 Yes, I will hand you over to them; and they will make a ruin of your platforms, tear down your high places, strip you of your clothes, take away your jewels, and leave you naked and exposed. 40 They will also bring up a mob against you, who will stone you to death and hack you to pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn your houses to the ground and execute judgments against you in the presence of many women. I will make you stop fornicating, and you will never again pay for a lover.

42 “‘Yes, I will satisfy my fury against you. But after that, my jealousy will leave you; and I will calm down and no longer be angry.

43 “‘Because you didn’t remember the condition you were in when you were young, but enraged me with all these things, therefore I will bring [the consequences of] your ways on your own head’ says Adonai Elohim.

“‘You committed these obscenities in addition to all your other disgusting practices! 44 Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb against you, “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 Yes, you are your mother’s daughter, who despises her husband and children; you are the sister of your sisters, who despise their husbands and children; your mother was a Hitti and your father an Emori. 46 Moreover, your older sister is Shomron, who lives at your left, she and her daughters; and your younger sister, living at your right, is S’dom with her daughters. 47 You didn’t merely live by their ways and act according to their disgusting practices, but in a very short time you acted more corruptly than they in all your ways.

48 “‘As I live’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘your sister S’dom has not done, neither she nor her daughters, [as much evil] as you have done, you and your daughters. 49 The crimes of your sister S’dom were pride and gluttony; she and her daughters were careless and complacent, so that they did nothing to help the poor and needy. 50 They were arrogant and committed disgusting acts before me; so that when I saw it, I swept them away. 51 Shomron did not commit even half as many sins as you did. You committed many more disgusting acts than your sisters; in fact, in comparison with all the disgusting acts you have committed, they seem innocent! 52 But you too must bear your disgrace; for by your passing judgment that your sisters were innocent, through your having committed sins worse than theirs, they are shown to be more righteous than you. So be ashamed, and bear the disgrace you deserve for making your [guilty] sisters seem innocent!

53 “‘I will end their exile — the exile of S’dom and her daughters, the exile of Shomron and her daughters, and the exile of your captives there among them; 54 so that you can bear your own shame and experience the disgrace you deserve for all you have done to shield them from feeling their own guilt. 55 Your sisters, S’dom with her daughters and Shomron with her daughters, will return to their previous condition; and you with your daughters will return to your previous condition. 56 When you were so proud, you spoke with contempt about your sister S’dom, 57 before your own wickedness was exposed. But now the daughters of Aram mock you, as do her neighbors; and the daughters of the P’lishtim on every side are repulsed by you. 58 You have brought it all on yourself with your depravities and disgusting practices,’ says Adonai.

59 “For here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘I will do to you as you have done — you treated the oath with contempt by breaking the covenant. 60 Nevertheless, I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl and will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your behavior and be ashamed of it as you receive your older and younger sisters and make them your daughters, even though the covenant with you does not cover that; 62 and I will re-establish my covenant with you. Then you will know that I am Adonai; 63 so that you will remember and be so ashamed that you will never open your mouth again, so ashamed will you be when I have forgiven you all that you have done,’ says Adonai Elohim.”

17 The word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, propound this riddle, tell the house of Isra’el this allegory, say that Adonai Elohim says this: ‘A big eagle having great wings and long pinions full of varicolored feathers came to the L’vanon and took over the top of the cedar. He cropped off the topmost of its young twigs, carried them to a land of traders and set them down in a city of merchants. He also took some of the seed in the land and planted it in fertile soil, placing it where there was abundant water, as one would a willow. It grew to become a fruitful vine sprawling over the ground; its branches turned toward him, and its roots were under him — thus it became a vine, sprouting branches and putting forth shoots.

“‘There was another big eagle with great wings and many feathers; and the vine bent its roots toward him and put forth its branches toward him, so that he might water it more than in the bed where it was planted. It had been planted in good soil, near plenty of water, so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a noble vine.’

“Say that Adonai Elohim asks: ‘Will it succeed? Won’t he pull it up by the roots and cut off its fruit; so that it dries up; and all its sprouting leaves wither? There will be no great power and few people there when it is plucked up by the roots. 10 Will it thrive just because it was planted? Won’t it wither altogether when the east wind strikes it? Yes, it will wither right there in the beds where it was growing.’”

11 The word of Adonai came to me: 12 “Say to the rebellious house: ‘Don’t you know what these things mean?’ Tell them: ‘Here, the king of Bavel came to Yerushalayim, took its king and princes and brought them to himself in Bavel. 13 Then he took a member of the royal family and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath. He removed the powerful leaders of the land, 14 so that this kingdom of his would stay humble and not develop aspirations of its own; rather, it would keep his covenant and live accordingly. 15 But this man rebelled and sent representatives to Egypt, in order to obtain horses and a sizeable army. Can he succeed? Can someone who does such things escape punishment? Can he break the covenant and still escape punishment?

16 “‘As I live,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘in the place where the king who gave him his throne lives, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke, there with him in Bavel I swear that he will die. 17 Pharaoh with his mighty army and numerous troops will give him no help in the war, when they raise siege-works and build fortified towers to destroy many people; 18 because he despised the oath by breaking the covenant to which he had sworn allegiance; having done all these things, he will not escape unpunished.’ 19 Therefore Adonai Elohim says: ‘As I live, I swear that it is my oath he has despised and my covenant he has broken, and I will bring this on his own head. 20 I will spread my net over him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Bavel and bring him to judgment there for breaking faith with me. 21 The elite troops among his forces will die by the sword, and those who survive will be scattered to every wind. Then you will know that I, Adonai, said it.’

22 Adonai Elohim says, ‘From the top of this tall cedar, from its highest branch, I will take a shoot and plant it myself on a high and prominent mountain. 23 I will plant it on the highest mountain in Isra’el, where it will put out branches, bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it will live all kinds of birds; winged creatures of every description will live there in the shadow of its branches. 24 Then all the trees of the field will know that I, Adonai, bring down the tall tree and raise up the low tree, wither the green tree and make the withered tree bear fruit. I, Adonai, have spoken; and I will do it.’”

18 The word of Adonai came to me: “What does it mean, that you keep quoting this proverb in the land of Isra’el —

‘When parents eat sour grapes,
their children’s teeth are set on edge’?

“As I live,” says Adonai Elohim, “I swear that you will never again quote this proverb in Isra’el. Look, all lives belong to me — both the parent’s life and the child’s life are equally mine — so it is the person who sins, himself, who must die.

“Consider someone who is righteous, who does what is lawful and right. He doesn’t eat on the mountains or raise his eyes toward the idols of the house of Isra’el; he doesn’t defile his neighbor’s wife or touch a woman during her time of menstrual impurity; he doesn’t wrong anyone; he returns any pledged property a debtor has given as collateral for a loan; he takes nothing by robbery, but gives his food to the hungry and clothing to those who need it; he neither demands nor accepts interest on a loan; he refrains from what is evil; and he judges honestly between one person and another. In short, he lives according to my laws and observes my rulings, so as to act faithfully. Such a person is righteous, and he will certainly live,” says Adonai Elohim.

10 “Now suppose he is the father of a son who is a robber, a murderer, or who does any of these things to a brother — 11 whereas the father himself does none of them. He eats on the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 wrongs the poor and needy, takes by robbery, doesn’t restore pledged property, raises his eyes toward the idols, engages in disgusting practices, 13 demands and accepts interest. Should he live? He will not live, because he has engaged in all these disgusting practices — he must be put to death; his blood is on him.

14 “But now suppose he has a son who sees all the sins his father committed, thinks about them, and behaves differently. 15 He doesn’t eat on the mountains, raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Isra’el, defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 wrong others, keep pledged property or take by robbery, but gives his food to the hungry and clothing to those in need of it; 17 he refrains from oppressing the poor; and he neither demands nor accepts interest. He obeys my rulings and lives according to my laws. So he will not die for his father’s sins but will certainly live. 18 Yet his father, because he oppressed so cruelly, committed robbery against his brother and never did anything good among his people — he will die for his sins.

19 “You ask, ‘Why doesn’t the son bear his father’s guilt?’ When the son has done what is lawful and right, has kept all my laws and obeyed them, he will certainly live. 20 The person who sins is the one that will die — a son is not to bear his father’s guilt with him, nor is the father to bear his son’s guilt with him; but the righteousness of the righteous will be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked will be his own.

21 “However, if the wicked person repents of all the sins he committed, keeps my laws and does what is lawful and right; then he will certainly live, he will not die. 22 None of the transgressions he has committed will be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure at all in having the wicked person die?” asks Adonai Elohim. “Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?

24 “On the other hand, when the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness by acting in accordance with all the disgusting practices that the wicked person does, will he live? None of the righteous deeds he has done will be remembered; for the trespasses and sins he has committed, he will die.

25 “So now you say, ‘Adonai’s way isn’t fair.’ Listen, house of Isra’el! Is it my way that is unfair? or your ways that are unfair? 26 When the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, he will die for it — for the wickedness he commits he will die. 27 And when the wicked person turns away from all the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he will save his life. 28 Because he thinks it over and repents of all the transgressions he committed, he will certainly live, not die. 29 Yet the house of Isra’el says, ‘Adonai’s way isn’t fair.’ House of Isra’el, is it my ways that are unfair, or your ways that are unfair? 30 Therefore, house of Isra’el, I will judge each of you according to his ways,” says Adonai Elohim. “Repent, and turn yourselves away from all your transgressions, so that they will not be a stumblingblock that brings guilt upon you. 31 Throw far away from yourselves all your crimes that you committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit; for why should you die, house of Isra’el? 32 I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” says Adonai Elohim, “so turn yourselves around, and live!

19 “Moreover, raise a lament for the leaders of Isra’el; say:

‘What a mother you had —
a lioness among lions!
She lay down among young lions
and reared her cubs.
One of her cubs she singled out:
he became a young lion,
he learned to seize his prey,
he became a man-eater.
The nations sounded an alarm against him;
and he was caught in their pit.
With hooks they dragged him off
to the land of Egypt.
When she saw that she had been thwarted,
that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
and made a young lion of him.
He prowled among the lions,
grew to be a young lion,
learned to seize his prey
and became a man-eater.
He raped their widows
and destroyed their cities;
the land and all in it were appalled
at the sound of his roaring.
The nations set a snare for him
from the provinces all around,
they spread their net over him,
and he was caught in their pit.
With hooks they put him in a cage
and brought him to the king of Bavel
to imprison him in a fortress,
so that his roar would be heard no more
on the mountains of Isra’el.

10 “‘Your mother was like a strong grapevine
planted by the water.
It was fruitful and luxuriant
because of the abundant water.
11 It had strong branches
to be used as scepters by rulers;
besides having thick foliage,
it grew taller and taller,
until its height was noticed,
with its mass of branches.
12 But it was torn up in fury
and flung on the ground.
An east wind withered her fruit,
her strong branches were broken off;
they dried up; and fire consumed the vine.
13 It has been transplanted to the desert,
to a dry, thirsty land.
14 Fire has gone out from its own branches,
burning up its fruit,
so that now it has no strong branch
to be a ruler’s scepter.’”

This lamentation became very well known.

20 On the tenth day of the fifth month of the seventh year, some of Isra’el’s leaders came to consult Adonai and sat with me; and the word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, speak to Isra’el’s leaders; tell them that Adonai Elohim asks, ‘Have you come to consult me? As I live,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘I swear that I will not let you consult me.’

“Are you going to judge them? Human being, are you going to judge them? Then have them realize how disgusting their ancestors’ practices were. Tell them that Adonai Elohim says this: ‘Back on the day when I chose Isra’el, I raised my hand to the descendants of the house of Ya‘akov. I revealed myself to them in the land of Egypt when I raised my hand to them and said, “I am Adonai your God.” On the day I raised my hand to them, pledging to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land I had reconnoitered for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands, I told them, “Each of you is to throw away the detestable things that draw your eyes. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am Adonai your God.”

“‘But they rebelled against me and wouldn’t listen to me; they did not, each of them, throw away the detestable things that drew their eyes; and they did not abandon the idols of Egypt. Then I said I would pour out my fury on them and spend my anger on them there in the land of Egypt. But concern for my own reputation kept me from letting it be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they were living, in the sight of whom I had made myself known to them, in order to bring them out of the land of Egypt. 10 So I had them leave the land of Egypt and brought them into the desert. 11 I gave them my laws and showed them my rulings; if a person obeys them, he will have life through them. 12 I gave them my shabbats as a sign between me and them, so that they would know that I, Adonai, am the one who makes them holy.

13 “‘But the house of Isra’el rebelled against me in the desert. They did not live by my laws; and they rejected my rulings, which, if a person does, he will have life through them; moreover, they greatly profaned my shabbats. Then I said I would pour out my fury on them in the desert, in order to destroy them. 14 But concern for my own reputation kept me from letting it be profaned in the sight of the nations who had seen when I brought them out. 15 Yet I also raised my hand and swore to them in the desert that I would not bring them into the land I was giving them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands; 16 because they had rejected my rulings, did not live by my laws and profaned my shabbats; since their hearts went after their idols. 17 However, I spared them from complete destruction; I did not completely finish them off in the desert.

18 “‘I said to their children in the desert, “Don’t live by the laws of your fathers, observe their rulings or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am Adonai your God; live by my laws, observe my rulings, and obey them, 20 and keep my shabbats holy; and they will be a sign between me and you, so that you will know that I am Adonai your God.”

21 “‘But the children too rebelled against me. They did not live by my laws or observe my rulings, to obey them, which, if a person does, he will have life by them; and they profaned my shabbats. Then I said I would pour out my fury on them and spend my anger on them in the desert. 22 Nevertheless, I withdrew my hand and allowed concern for my own reputation to keep me from letting it be profaned in the sight of the nations who had seen when I brought them out.

23 “‘I also raised my hand and swore to them in the desert that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries; 24 because they hadn’t obeyed my rulings but had rejected my laws and profaned my shabbats, and their eyes had turned toward their fathers’ idols. 25 I also gave them laws which did them no good and rulings by which they did not live; 26 and I let them become defiled by their own gifts, in that they offered up their firstborn sons, so that I could fill them with revulsion, so that they would [finally] realize that I am Adonai.’

27 “Therefore, human being, speak to the house of Isra’el; tell them that Adonai Elohim says, ‘Moreover, your ancestors blasphemed me by breaking faith with me in still another way: 28 for after I had brought them into the land, which I had raised my hand in pledge to give them, they noted all its high hills and leafy trees and offered there their sacrifices; there they made offerings that provoked my anger, there they set out their sweet aromas, and there they poured out their drink offerings. 29 When I asked them, “This high place where you go, what is the meaning of it?” they gave it the name Bamah* which it retains to this day.’

30 “So tell the house of Isra’el that Adonai Elohim says, ‘You are defiling yourselves in the same way as your ancestors, following their abominations and fornicating with them; 31 and when offering your gifts, you make your children pass through the fire and defile yourselves with all your idols — to this day. So, am I supposed to allow you to consult me, house of Isra’el? As I live,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘I swear that I won’t have you consult me, 32 and that what you have in mind when you say, “We will be like the Goyim, like the families of the other countries, serving wood and stone,” will certainly not happen. 33 As I live,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘I swear that surely with a mighty hand, with a stretched-out arm and with poured-out fury I myself will be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you were scattered, with a mighty hand, with a stretched-out arm and with poured-out fury; 35 then I will bring you into the desert of the peoples and judge you face to face. 36 Just as I judged your ancestors in the desert of the land of Egypt, so will I judge you,’ says Adonai Elohim. 37 ‘I will make you pass under the crook and bring you into the obligations of the covenant. 38 I will rid you of the rebels who are in revolt against me — I will bring them out from the land where they are living, but they will not enter the land of Isra’el; then you will know that I am Adonai.’

39 “As for you, house of Isra’el, here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘Go on serving your idols, every one of you! But afterwards, [I swear that] you will listen to me, and you will no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and with your idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Isra’el,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘the whole house of Isra’el, all of them, will serve me in the land. I will accept them there, and there I will require your contributions, your best gifts and all your consecrated things. 41 I will accept you with your sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you were scattered; and through you I will manifest my holiness in the sight of the nations.

42 “‘You will know that I am Adonai when I bring you into the land of Isra’el, into the country which I pledged, by raising my hand, to give to your ancestors. 43 There you will remember your behavior and all the things you did by which you defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evils you committed. 44 You will know that I am Adonai when I have dealt with you in a manner that preserves my reputation, and not according to your evil ways and corrupt actions, house of Isra’el’ says Adonai Elohim.”

21 (20:45) The word of Adonai came to me: (20:46) “Human being, turn your face southward, preach to the south and prophesy to the scrublands of the Negev; (20:47) say to the Negev forest: ‘Hear the word of Adonai. Adonai Elohim says, “I will light a fire in you; it will devour every tree in you, green and dry alike; a blazing, unquenchable flame that will scorch every face from the Negev to the north. (20:48) All humanity will see that I, Adonai, lit it; it will not be put out.”’” (20:49) I said, “Oh, Adonai Elohim! They complain that I speak only in parables.”

(1) Then the word of Adonai came to me: (2) “Human being, turn your face toward Yerushalayim, preach to the sanctuaries and prophesy to the land of Isra’el; (3) tell the land of Isra’el that Adonai Elohim says, ‘I am against you. I will draw my sword from its scabbard and cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. (4) Since I am going to rid you of both righteous and evildoers, my sword will also go out of its scabbard against everyone, from the Negev to the north. 10 (5) Everyone alive will know that I, Adonai, drew my sword from its scabbard; it will not be sheathed again.’

11 (6) “Therefore, human being, groan! Groan bitterly, as if your heart would break, as they watch. 12 (7) Then, when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you will answer, ‘Because of the news, because it’s coming. All hearts will melt, all hands hang limp, all spirits faint and all knees turn to water; here, it’s coming, it will happen,’ says Adonai Elohim.”

13 (8) The word of Adonai came to me: 14 (9) “Human being, prophesy. Say that Adonai Elohim says to say this:

‘A sword, a sword has been sharpened and polished,
15 (10) sharpened in order to slaughter and slaughter,
polished to flash like lightning.
But how can we rejoice?
My son rejects the rod
and every other stick.
16 (11) The sword was given to be polished,
so that it could be wielded;
it was sharpened and polished
to be placed in the slaughterer’s hand.’

17 (12) “Shout and wail, human being, because it’s coming upon my people, upon all the leaders of Isra’el — they will be victims of the sword along with my people. Strike your thigh in remorse! 18 (13) For a test is coming, and what if he rejects the rod again then? He will cease to exist,” says Adonai Elohim.

19 (14) “Therefore, human being, prophesy and clap your hands together. Then the sword will strike twice, three times, the sword for victims, the sword for a great slaughter, coming from every direction. 20 (15) So that their hearts will melt, and many will stumble and fall, I have posted the point of the sword at every one of their gates. See how it flashes, sharpened for the kill!

21 (16) “Sword!
Slash to the right; destroy to the left,
whichever way your edge is aimed!
22 (17) I too will clap my hands together
and satisfy my fury.

I, Adonai, have spoken.”

23 (18) The word of Adonai came to me: 24 (19) “Now, human being, designate two roads for the sword of the king of Bavel to follow, both coming out of one country. Put up a signpost at the start of the road leading to the city. 25 (20) Make a road, so that the sword can come to Rabbah of the people of ‘Amon and to Y’hudah in fortified Yerushalayim.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 1-48 The Message (MSG)

Wheels Within Wheels, Like a Gyroscope

When I was thirty years of age, I was living with the exiles on the Kebar River. On the fifth day of the fourth month, the sky opened up and I saw visions of God.

2-3 (It was the fifth day of the month in the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin that God’s Word came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, on the banks of the Kebar River in the country of Babylon. God’s hand came upon him that day.)

4-9 I looked: I saw an immense dust storm come from the north, an immense cloud with lightning flashing from it, a huge ball of fire glowing like bronze. Within the fire were what looked like four creatures vibrant with life. Each had the form of a human being, but each also had four faces and four wings. Their legs were as sturdy and straight as columns, but their feet were hoofed like those of a calf and sparkled from the fire like burnished bronze. On all four sides under their wings they had human hands. All four had both faces and wings, with the wings touching one another. They turned neither one way nor the other; they went straight forward.

10-12 Their faces looked like this: In front a human face, on the right side the face of a lion, on the left the face of an ox, and in back the face of an eagle. So much for the faces. The wings were spread out with the tips of one pair touching the creature on either side; the other pair of wings covered its body. Each creature went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit went, they went. They didn’t turn as they went.

13-14 The four creatures looked like a blazing fire, or like fiery torches. Tongues of fire shot back and forth between the creatures, and out of the fire, bolts of lightning. The creatures flashed back and forth like strikes of lightning.

15-16 As I watched the four creatures, I saw something that looked like a wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. This is what the wheels looked like: They were identical wheels, sparkling like diamonds in the sun. It looked like they were wheels within wheels, like a gyroscope.

17-21 They went in any one of the four directions they faced, but straight, not veering off. The rims were immense, circled with eyes. When the living creatures went, the wheels went; when the living creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off. Wherever the spirit went, they went, the wheels sticking right with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures went, the wheels went; when the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; when the creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22-24 Over the heads of the living creatures was something like a dome, shimmering like a sky full of cut glass, vaulted over their heads. Under the dome one set of wings was extended toward the others, with another set of wings covering their bodies. When they moved I heard their wings—it was like the roar of a great waterfall, like the voice of The Strong God, like the noise of a battlefield. When they stopped, they folded their wings.

25-28 And then, as they stood with folded wings, there was a voice from above the dome over their heads. Above the dome there was something that looked like a throne, sky-blue like a sapphire, with a humanlike figure towering above the throne. From what I could see, from the waist up he looked like burnished bronze and from the waist down like a blazing fire. Brightness everywhere! The way a rainbow springs out of the sky on a rainy day—that’s what it was like. It turned out to be the Glory of God!

When I saw all this, I fell to my knees, my face to the ground. Then I heard a voice.

It said, “Son of man, stand up. I have something to say to you.”

The moment I heard the voice, the Spirit entered me and put me on my feet. As he spoke to me, I listened.

3-7 He said, “Son of man, I’m sending you to the family of Israel, a rebellious nation if there ever was one. They and their ancestors have fomented rebellion right up to the present. They’re a hard case, these people to whom I’m sending you—hardened in their sin. Tell them, ‘This is the Message of God, the Master.’ They are a defiant bunch. Whether or not they listen, at least they’ll know that a prophet’s been here. But don’t be afraid of them, son of man, and don’t be afraid of anything they say. Don’t be afraid when living among them is like stepping on thorns or finding scorpions in your bed. Don’t be afraid of their mean words or their hard looks. They’re a bunch of rebels. Your job is to speak to them. Whether they listen is not your concern. They’re hardened rebels.

“Only take care, son of man, that you don’t rebel like these rebels. Open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

9-10 When I looked he had his hand stretched out to me, and in the hand a book, a scroll. He unrolled the scroll. On both sides, front and back, were written lamentations and mourning and doom.

Warn These People

He told me, “Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this book. Then go and speak to the family of Israel.”

2-3 As I opened my mouth, he gave me the scroll to eat, saying, “Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!”

So I ate it. It tasted so good—just like honey.

4-6 Then he told me, “Son of man, go to the family of Israel and speak my Message. Look, I’m not sending you to a people who speak a hard-to-learn language with words you can hardly pronounce. If I had sent you to such people, their ears would have perked up and they would have listened immediately.

7-9 “But it won’t work that way with the family of Israel. They won’t listen to you because they won’t listen to me. They are, as I said, a hard case, hardened in their sin. But I’ll make you as hard in your way as they are in theirs. I’ll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don’t let them intimidate you. Don’t be afraid of them, even though they’re a bunch of rebels.”

10-11 Then he said, “Son of man, get all these words that I’m giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own. And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, ‘This is the Message of God, the Master.’ Speak your piece, whether they listen or not.”

12-13 Then the Spirit picked me up. Behind me I heard a great commotion—“Blessed be the Glory of God in his Sanctuary!”—the wings of the living creatures beating against each other, the whirling wheels, the rumble of a great earthquake.

14-15 The Spirit lifted me and took me away. I went bitterly and angrily. I didn’t want to go. But God had me in his grip. I arrived among the exiles who lived near the Kebar River at Tel Aviv. I came to where they were living and sat there for seven days, appalled.

16 At the end of the seven days, I received this Message from God:

17-19 “Son of man, I’ve made you a watchman for the family of Israel. Whenever you hear me say something, warn them for me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You are going to die,’ and you don’t sound the alarm warning them that it’s a matter of life or death, they will die and it will be your fault. I’ll hold you responsible. But if you warn the wicked and they keep right on sinning anyway, they’ll most certainly die for their sin, but you won’t die. You’ll have saved your life.

20-21 “And if the righteous turn back from living righteously and take up with evil when I step in and put them in a hard place, they’ll die. If you haven’t warned them, they’ll die because of their sins, and none of the right things they’ve done will count for anything—and I’ll hold you responsible. But if you warn these righteous people not to sin and they listen to you, they’ll live because they took the warning—and again, you’ll have saved your life.”

22 God grabbed me by the shoulder and said, “Get up. Go out on the plain. I want to talk with you.”

23 So I got up and went out on the plain. I couldn’t believe my eyes: the Glory of God! Right there! It was like the Glory I had seen at the Kebar River. I fell to the ground, prostrate.

24-26 Then the Spirit entered me and put me on my feet. He said, “Go home and shut the door behind you.” And then something odd: “Son of man: They’ll tie you hand and foot with ropes so you can’t leave the house. I’ll make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so you won’t be able to talk and tell the people what they’re doing wrong, even though they are a bunch of rebels.

27 “But then when the time is ripe, I’ll free your tongue and you’ll say, ‘This is what God, the Master, says: . . .’ From then on it’s up to them. They can listen or not listen, whichever they like. They are a bunch of rebels!”

This Is What Sin Does

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.

“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

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.

“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

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

1-4 God’s Word came to me, saying, “You, son of man—God, the Master, has this Message for the land of Israel:

“‘Endtime.
    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!
Endtime—
    the end comes.
The end is ripe. Watch out, it’s coming!
    This is your fate, you who live in this land.
Time’s up.
    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,
Violence strutting,
    brandishing the evil scepter.
But there’s nothing to them,
    and nothing will be left of them.
Time’s up.
    Countdown: five, four, three, two . . .
Buyer, don’t crow; 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:
    “Present arms!”
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—
    sorry scarecrows,
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.’”

The Spirit Carried Me in Visions

1-4 In the sixth year, in the sixth month and the fifth day, while I was sitting at home meeting with the leaders of Judah, it happened that the hand of my Master, God, gripped me. When I looked, I was astonished. What I saw looked like a man—from the waist down like fire and from the waist up like highly burnished bronze. He reached out what looked like a hand and grabbed me by the hair. The Spirit swept me high in the air and carried me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the Temple’s inside court where the image of the sex goddess that makes God so angry had been set up. Right before me was the Glory of the God of Israel, exactly like the vision I had seen out on the plain.

He said to me, “Son of man, look north.” I looked north and saw it: Just north of the entrance loomed the altar of the sex goddess, Asherah, that makes God so angry.

Then he said, “Son of man, do you see what they’re doing? Outrageous obscenities! And doing them right here! It’s enough to drive me right out of my own Temple. But you’re going to see worse yet.”

He brought me to the door of the Temple court. I looked and saw a gaping hole in the wall.

He said, “Son of man, dig through the wall.”

I dug through the wall and came upon a door.

He said, “Now walk through the door and take a look at the obscenities they’re engaging in.”

10-11 I entered and looked. I couldn’t believe my eyes: Painted all over the walls were pictures of reptiles and animals and monsters—the whole pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses—being worshiped by Israel. In the middle of the room were seventy of the leaders of Israel, with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing in the middle. Each held his censer with the incense rising in a fragrant cloud.

12 He said, “Son of man, do you see what the elders are doing here in the dark, each one before his favorite god-picture? They tell themselves, ‘God doesn’t see us. God has forsaken the country.’”

13 Then he said, “You’re going to see worse yet.”

14-15 He took me to the entrance at the north gate of the Temple of God. I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz, the Babylonian fertility god. He said, “Have you gotten an eyeful, son of man? You’re going to see worse yet.”

16 Finally, he took me to the inside court of the Temple of God. There between the porch and the altar were about twenty-five men. Their backs were to God’s Temple. They were facing east, bowing in worship to the sun.

17-18 He said, “Have you seen enough, son of man? Isn’t it bad enough that Judah engages in these outrageous obscenities? They fill the country with violence and now provoke me even further with their obscene gestures. That’s it. They have an angry God on their hands! From now on, no mercy. They can shout all they want, but I’m not listening.”

A Mark on the Forehead

Then I heard him call out loudly, “Executioners, come! And bring your deadly weapons with you.”

Six men came down the road from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying his lethal weapon. With them was a man dressed in linen with a writing case slung from his shoulder. They entered and stood by the bronze altar.

3-4 The Glory of the God of Israel ascended from his usual place above the cherubim-angels, moved to the threshold of the Temple, and called to the man with the writing case who was dressed in linen: “Go through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of everyone who is in anguish over the outrageous obscenities being done in the city.”

5-6 I listened as he went on to address the executioners: “Follow him through the city and kill. Feel sorry for no one. Show no compassion. Kill old men and women, young men and women, mothers and children. But don’t lay a hand on anyone with the mark. Start at my Temple.”

They started with the leaders in front of the Temple.

7-8 He told the executioners, “Desecrate the Temple. Fill it with corpses. Then go out and continue the killing.” So they went out and struck the city.

While the massacre went forward, I was left alone. I fell on my face in prayer: “Oh, oh, God, my Master! Are you going to kill everyone left in Israel in this pouring out of your anger on Jerusalem?”

9-10 He said, “The guilt of Israel and Judah is enormous. The land is swollen with murder. The city is bloated with injustice. They all say, ‘God has forsaken the country. He doesn’t see anything we do.’ Well, I do see, and I’m not feeling sorry for any of them. They’re going to pay for what they’ve done.”

11 Just then, the man dressed in linen and carrying the writing case came back and reported, “I’ve done what you told me.”

The Temple, Filled with the Presence of God

10 When I next looked, oh! Above the dome over the heads of the cherubim-angels was what looked like a throne, sky-blue, like a sapphire!

2-5 God said to the man dressed in linen, “Enter the place of the wheels under the cherubim-angels. Fill your hands with burning coals from beneath the cherubim and scatter them over the city.”

I watched as he entered. The cherubim were standing on the south side of the Temple when the man entered. A cloud filled the inside courtyard. Then the Glory of God ascended from the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the Temple. The cloud filled the Temple. Court and Temple were both filled with the blazing presence of the Glory of God. And the sound! The wings of the cherubim were audible all the way to the outer court—the sound of the voice was like The Strong God in thunder.

6-8 When God commanded the man dressed in linen, “Take fire from among the wheels, from between the cherubim,” he went in and stood beside a wheel. One of the cherubim reached into the fire, took some coals, and put them in the hands of the man dressed in linen. He took them and went out. Something that looked like a human hand could be seen under the wings of the cherubim.

9-13 And then I saw four wheels beside the cherubim, one beside each cherub. The wheels radiating were sparkling like diamonds in the sun. All four wheels looked alike, each like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they went in any of the four directions but in a perfectly straight line. Where the cherubim went, the wheels went straight ahead. The cherubim were full of eyes in their backs, hands, and wings. The wheels likewise were full of eyes. I heard the wheels called “wheels within wheels.”

14 Each of the cherubim had four faces: the first, of an angel; the second, a human; the third, a lion; the fourth, an eagle.

15-17 Then the cherubim ascended. They were the same living creatures I had seen at the Kebar River. When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved. When the cherubim spread their wings to take off from the ground, the wheels stayed right with them. When the cherubim stopped, the wheels stopped. When the cherubim rose, the wheels rose, because the spirit of the living creatures was also in the wheels.

18-19 Then the Glory of God left the Temple entrance and hovered over the cherubim. I watched as the cherubim spread their wings and left the ground, the wheels right with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Temple. The Glory of the God of Israel was above them.

20-22 These were the same living creatures I had seen previously beneath the God of Israel at the Kebar River. I recognized them as cherubim. Each had four faces and four wings. Under their wings were what looked like human hands. Their faces looked exactly like those I had seen at the Kebar River. Each went straight ahead.

A New Heart and a New Spirit

11 Then the Spirit picked me up and took me to the gate of the Temple that faces east. There were twenty-five men standing at the gate. I recognized the leaders, Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah.

2-3 God said, “Son of man, these are the men who draw up blueprints for sin, who think up new programs for evil in this city. They say, ‘We can make anything happen here. We’re the best. We’re the choice pieces of meat in the soup pot.’

“Oppose them, son of man. Preach against them.”

5-6 Then the Spirit of God came upon me and told me what to say: “This is what God says: ‘That’s a fine public speech, Israel, but I know what you are thinking. You’ve murdered a lot of people in this city. The streets are piled high with corpses.’

7-12 “Therefore this is what God, the Master, says: ‘The corpses that you’ve piled in the streets are the meat and this city is the soup pot, and you’re not even in the pot! I’m throwing you out! You fear war, but war is what you’re going to get. I’m bringing war against you. I’m throwing you out of this city, giving you over to foreigners, and punishing you good. You’ll be killed in battle. I’ll carry out judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you’ll realize that I am God. This city will not be your soup pot and you won’t be the choice pieces of meat in it either. Hardly. I will carry out judgment on you at the borders of Israel and you’ll realize that I am God, for you haven’t followed my statutes and ordinances. Instead of following my ways, you’ve sunk to the level of the laws of the nations around you.’”

13 Even while I was preaching, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. I fell down, face to the ground, and prayed loudly, “O Master, God! Will you completely wipe out what’s left of Israel?”

14-15 The answer from God came back: “Son of man, your brothers—I mean the whole people of Israel who are in exile with you—are the people of whom the citizens of Jerusalem are saying, ‘They’re in the far country, far from God. This land has been given to us to own.’

16-20 “Well, tell them this, ‘This is your Message from God, the Master. True, I sent you to the far country and scattered you through other lands. All the same, I’ve provided you a temporary sanctuary in the countries where you’ve gone. I will gather you back from those countries and lands where you’ve been scattered and give you back the land of Israel. You’ll come back and clean house, throw out all the rotten images and obscene idols. I’ll give you a new heart. I’ll put a new spirit in you. I’ll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart. Then you’ll obey my statutes and be careful to obey my commands. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!

21 “‘But not those who are self-willed and addicted to their rotten images and obscene idols! I’ll see that they’re paid in full for what they’ve done.’ Decree of God, the Master.”

22-23 Then the cherubim spread their wings, with the wheels beside them and the Glory of the God of Israel hovering over them. The Glory of God ascended from within the city and rested on the mountain to the east of the city.

24-25 Then, still in the vision given me by the Spirit of God, the Spirit took me and carried me back to the exiles in Babylon. And then the vision left me. I told the exiles everything that God had shown me.

Put the Bundle on Your Shoulder and Walk into the Night

12 1-6 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, you’re living with a bunch of rebellious people. They have eyes but don’t see a thing, they have ears but don’t hear a thing. They’re rebels all. So, son of man, pack up your exile duffel bags. Leave in broad daylight with everyone watching and go off, as if into exile. Maybe then they’ll understand what’s going on, rebels though they are. You’ll take up your baggage while they watch, a bundle of the bare necessities of someone going into exile, and toward evening leave, just like a person going off into exile. As they watch, dig through the wall of the house and carry your bundle through it. In full sight of the people, put the bundle on your shoulder and walk out into the night. Cover your face so you won’t have to look at what you’ll never see again. I’m using you as a sign for the family of Israel.”

I did exactly as he commanded me. I got my stuff together and brought it out in the street where everyone could see me, bundled it up the way someone being taken off into exile would, and then, as the sun went down, made a hole in the wall of the house with my hands. As it grew dark and as they watched, I left, throwing my bundle across my shoulders.

8-10 The next morning God spoke to me: “Son of man, when anyone in Israel, that bunch of rebels, asks you, ‘What are you doing?’ Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says that this Message especially concerns the prince in Jerusalem—Zedekiah—but includes all the people of Israel.’

11 “Also tell them, ‘I am drawing a picture for you. As I am now doing, it will be done to all the people of Israel. They will go into exile as captives.’

12-15 “The prince will put his bundle on his shoulders in the dark and leave. He’ll dig through the wall of the house, covering his face so he won’t have to look at the land he’ll never see again. But I’ll make sure he gets caught and is taken to Babylon. Blinded, he’ll never see that land in which he’ll die. I’ll scatter to the four winds those who helped him escape, along with his troops, and many will die in battle. They’ll realize that I am God when I scatter them among foreign countries.

16 “I’ll permit a few of them to escape the killing, starvation, and deadly sickness so that they can confess among the foreign countries all the disgusting obscenities they’ve been involved in. They will realize that I am God.”

17-20 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, eat your meals shaking in your boots, drink your water trembling with fear. Tell the people of this land, everyone living in Jerusalem and Israel, God’s Message: ‘You’ll eat your meals shaking in your boots and drink your water in terror because your land is going to be stripped bare as punishment for the brutality rampant in it. All the cities and villages will be emptied out and the fields destroyed. Then you’ll realize that I am God.’”

21-22 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, what’s this proverb making the rounds in the land of Israel that says, ‘Everything goes on the same as ever; all the prophetic warnings are false alarms’?

23-25 “Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, This proverb’s going to have a short life!’

“Tell them, ‘Time’s about up. Every warning is about to come true. False alarms and easygoing preaching are a thing of the past in the life of Israel. I, God, am doing the speaking. What I say happens. None of what I say is on hold. What I say, I’ll do—and soon, you rebels!’ Decree of God the Master.”

26-28 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, do you hear what Israel is saying: that the alarm the prophet raises is for a long time off, that he’s preaching about the far-off future? Well, tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, “Nothing of what I say is on hold. What I say happens.”’ Decree of God, the Master.”

People Who Love Listening to Lies

13 1-2 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, preach against the prophets of Israel who are making things up out of their own heads and calling it ‘prophesying.’

2-6 “Preach to them the real thing. Tell them, ‘Listen to God’s Message!’ God, the Master, pronounces doom on the empty-headed prophets who do their own thing and know nothing of what’s going on! Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals scavenging through the ruins. They haven’t lifted a finger to repair the defenses of the city and have risked nothing to help Israel stand on God’s Day of Judgment. All they do is fantasize comforting illusions and preach lying sermons. They say ‘God says . . .’ when God hasn’t so much as breathed in their direction. And yet they stand around thinking that something they said is going to happen.

7-9 “Haven’t you fantasized sheer nonsense? Aren’t your sermons tissues of lies, saying ‘God says . . .’ when I’ve done nothing of the kind? Therefore—and this is the Message of God, the Master, remember—I’m dead set against prophets who substitute illusions for visions and use sermons to tell lies. I’m going to ban them from the council of my people, remove them from membership in Israel, and outlaw them from the land of Israel. Then you’ll realize that I am God, the Master.

10-12 “The fact is that they’ve lied to my people. They’ve said, ‘No problem; everything’s just fine,’ when things are not at all fine. When people build a wall, they’re right behind them slapping on whitewash. Tell those who are slapping on the whitewash, ‘When a torrent of rain comes and the hailstones crash down and the hurricane sweeps in and the wall collapses, what’s the good of the whitewash that you slapped on so liberally, making it look so good?’

13-14 “And that’s exactly what will happen. I, God, the Master, say so: ‘I’ll let the hurricane of my wrath loose, a torrent of my hailstone-anger. I’ll make that wall you’ve slapped with whitewash collapse. I’ll level it to the ground so that only the foundation stones will be left. And in the ruin you’ll all die. You’ll realize then that I am God.

15-16 “‘I’ll dump my wrath on that wall, all of it, and on those who plastered it with whitewash. I will say to them, There is no wall, and those who did such a good job of whitewashing it wasted their time, those prophets of Israel who preached to Jerusalem and announced all their visions telling us things were just fine when they weren’t at all fine. Decree of God, the Master.’

17-19 “And the women prophets—son of man, take your stand against the women prophets who make up stuff out of their own minds. Oppose them. Say ‘Doom’ to the women who sew magic bracelets and head scarves to suit every taste, devices to trap souls. Say, ‘Will you kill the souls of my people, use living souls to make yourselves rich and popular? You have profaned me among my people just to get ahead yourselves, used me to make yourselves look good—killing souls who should never have died and coddling souls who shouldn’t live. You’ve lied to people who love listening to lies.’

20-21 “Therefore God says, ‘I am against all the devices and techniques you use to hunt down souls. I’ll rip them out of your hands. I’ll free the souls you’re trying to catch. I’ll rip your magic bracelets and scarves to shreds and deliver my people from your influence so they’ll no longer be victimized by you. That’s how you’ll come to realize that I am God.

22-23 “‘Because you’ve confounded and confused good people, unsuspecting and innocent people, with your lies, and because you’ve made it easy for others to persist in evil so that it wouldn’t even dawn on them to turn to me so I could save them, as of now you’re finished. No more delusion-mongering from you, no more sermonic lies. I’m going to rescue my people from your clutches. And you’ll realize that I am God.’”

Idols in Their Hearts

14 1-5 Some of the leaders of Israel approached me and sat down with me. God’s Message came to me: “Son of Man, these people have installed idols in their hearts. They have embraced the wickedness that will ruin them. Why should I even bother with their prayers? Therefore tell them, ‘The Message of God, the Master: All in Israel who install idols in their hearts and embrace the wickedness that will ruin them and still have the gall to come to a prophet, be on notice: I, God, will step in and personally answer them as they come dragging along their mob of idols. I am ready to go to work on the hearts of the house of Israel, all of whom have left me for their idols.’

6-8 “Therefore, say to the house of Israel: ‘God, the Master, says, Repent! Turn your backs on your no-god idols. Turn your backs on all your outrageous obscenities. To every last person from the house of Israel, including any of the resident aliens who live in Israel—all who turn their backs on me and embrace idols, who install the wickedness that will ruin them at the center of their lives and then have the gall to go to the prophet to ask me questions—I, God, will step in and give the answer myself. I’ll oppose those people to their faces, make an example of them—a warning lesson—and get rid of them so you will realize that I am God.

9-11 “‘If a prophet is deceived and tells these idolaters the lies they want to hear, I, God, get blamed for those lies. He won’t get by with it. I’ll grab him by the scruff of the neck and get him out of there. They’ll be equally guilty, the prophet and the one who goes to the prophet, so that the house of Israel will never again wander off my paths and make themselves filthy in their rebellions, but will rather be my people, just as I am their God. Decree of God, the Master.’”

12-14 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, when a country sins against me by living faithlessly and I reach out and destroy its food supply by bringing on a famine, wiping out humans and animals alike, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job—the Big Three—were alive at the time, it wouldn’t do the population any good. Their righteousness would only save their own lives.” Decree of God, the Master.

15-16 “Or, if I make wild animals go through the country so that everyone has to leave and the country becomes wilderness and no one dares enter it anymore because of the wild animals, even if these three men were living there, as sure as I am the living God, neither their sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only those three, and the country would revert to wilderness.

17-18 “Or, if I bring war on that country and give the order, ‘Let the killing begin!’ leaving both people and animals dead, even if those three men were alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, neither sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only these three.

19-20 “Or, if I visit a deadly disease on that country, pouring out my lethal anger, killing both people and animals, and Noah, Daniel, and Job happened to be alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, not a son, not a daughter, would be rescued. Only these three would be delivered because of their righteousness.

21-23 “Now then, that’s the picture,” says God, the Master, “once I’ve sent my four catastrophic judgments on Jerusalem—war, famine, wild animals, disease—to kill off people and animals alike. But look! Believe it or not, there’ll be survivors. Some of their sons and daughters will be brought out. When they come out to you and their salvation is right in your face, you’ll see for yourself the life they’ve been saved from. You’ll know that this severe judgment I brought on Jerusalem was worth it, that it had to be. Yes, when you see in detail the kind of lives they’ve been living, you’ll feel much better. You’ll see the reason behind all that I’ve done in Jerusalem.” Decree of God, the Master.

Used as Fuel for the Fire

15 1-3 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, how would you compare the wood of a vine with the branches of any tree you’d find in the forest? Is vine wood ever used to make anything? Is it used to make pegs to hang things from?

“I don’t think so. At best it’s good for fuel. Look at it: A flimsy piece of vine, thrown in the fire and then rescued—the ends burned off and the middle charred. Now is it good for anything?

“Hardly. When it was whole it wasn’t good for anything. Half-burned is no improvement. What’s it good for?

6-8 “So here’s the Message of God, the Master: Like the wood of the vine I selected from among the trees of the forest and used as fuel for the fire, just so I’ll treat those who live in Jerusalem. I am dead set against them. Even though at one time they got out of the fire charred, the fire’s going to burn them up. When I take my stand against them, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll turn this country into a wilderness because they’ve been faithless.” Decree of God, the Master.

Your Beauty Went to Your Head

16 1-3 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her outrageous violations. Say this: ‘The Message of God, the Master, to Jerusalem: You were born and bred among Canaanites. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.

4-5 “‘On the day you were born your umbilical cord was not cut, you weren’t bathed and cleaned up, you weren’t rubbed with salt, you weren’t wrapped in a baby blanket. No one cared a fig for you. No one did one thing to care for you tenderly in these ways. You were thrown out into a vacant lot and left there, dirty and unwashed—a newborn nobody wanted.

6-7 “‘And then I came by. I saw you all miserable and bloody. Yes, I said to you, lying there helpless and filthy, “Live! Grow up like a plant in the field!” And you did. You grew up. You grew tall and matured as a woman, full-breasted, with flowing hair. But you were naked and vulnerable, fragile and exposed.

8-14 “‘I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine. I gave you a good bath, washing off all that old blood, and anointed you with aromatic oils. I dressed you in a colorful gown and put leather sandals on your feet. I gave you linen blouses and a fashionable wardrobe of expensive clothing. I adorned you with jewelry: I placed bracelets on your wrists, fitted you out with a necklace, emerald rings, sapphire earrings, and a diamond tiara. You were provided with everything precious and beautiful: with exquisite clothes and elegant food, garnished with honey and oil. You were absolutely stunning. You were a queen! You became world-famous, a legendary beauty brought to perfection by my adornments. Decree of God, the Master.

15-16 “‘But your beauty went to your head and you became a common whore, grabbing anyone coming down the street and taking him into your bed. You took your fine dresses and made “tents” of them, using them as brothels in which you practiced your trade. This kind of thing should never happen, never.

What a Sick Soul!

17-19 “‘And then you took all that fine jewelry I gave you, my gold and my silver, and made pornographic images of them for your brothels. You decorated your beds with fashionable silks and cottons, and perfumed them with my aromatic oils and incense. And then you set out the wonderful foods I provided—the fresh breads and fruits, with fine herbs and spices, which were my gifts to you—and you served them as delicacies in your whorehouses. That’s what happened, says God, the Master.

20-21 “‘And then you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had given birth to as my children, and you killed them, sacrificing them to idols. Wasn’t it bad enough that you had become a whore? And now you’re a murderer, killing my children and sacrificing them to idols.

22 “‘Not once during these years of outrageous obscenities and whorings did you remember your infancy, when you were naked and exposed, a blood-smeared newborn.

23-24 “‘And then to top off all your evil acts, you built your bold brothels in every town square. Doom! Doom to you, says God, the Master! At every major intersection you built your bold brothels and exposed your sluttish sex, spreading your legs for everyone who passed by.

25-27 “‘And then you went international with your whoring. You fornicated with the Egyptians, seeking them out in their sex orgies. The more promiscuous you became, the angrier I got. Finally, I intervened, reduced your borders and turned you over to the rapacity of your enemies. Even the Philistine women—can you believe it?—were shocked at your sluttish life.

28-29 “‘You went on to fornicate with the Assyrians. Your appetite was insatiable. But still you weren’t satisfied. You took on the Babylonians, a country of businessmen, and still you weren’t satisfied.

30-31 “‘What a sick soul! Doing all this stuff—the champion whore! You built your bold brothels at every major intersection, opened up your whorehouses in every neighborhood, but you were different from regular whores in that you wouldn’t accept a fee.

32-34 “‘Wives who are unfaithful to their husbands accept gifts from their lovers. And men commonly pay their whores. But you pay your lovers! You bribe men from all over to come to bed with you! You’re just the opposite of the regular whores who get paid for sex. Instead, you pay men for their favors! You even pervert whoredom!

35-38 “‘Therefore, whore, listen to God’s Message: I, God, the Master, say, Because you’ve been unrestrained in your promiscuity, stripped down for every lover, flaunting your sex, and because of your pornographic idols and all the slaughtered children you offered to them, therefore, because of all this, I’m going to get all your lovers together, all those you’ve used for your own pleasure, the ones you loved and the ones you loathed. I’ll assemble them as a courtroom of spectators around you. In broad daylight I’ll strip you naked before them—they’ll see what you really look like. Then I’ll sentence you to the punishment for an adulterous woman and a murderous woman. I’ll give you a taste of my wrath!

39-41 “‘I’ll gather all your lovers around you and turn you over to them. They’ll tear down your bold brothels and sex shrines. They’ll rip off your clothes, take your jewels, and leave you naked and exposed. Then they’ll call for a mass meeting. The mob will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. They’ll burn down your houses. A massive judgment—with all the women watching!

41-42 “‘I’ll have put a full stop to your whoring life—no more paying lovers to come to your bed! By then my anger will be played out. My jealousy will subside.

43 “‘Because you didn’t remember what happened when you were young but made me angry with all this behavior, I’ll make you pay for your waywardness. Didn’t you just exponentially compound your outrageous obscenities with all your sluttish ways?

44-45 “‘Everyone who likes to use proverbs will use this one: “Like mother, like daughter.” You’re the daughter of your mother, who couldn’t stand her husband and children. And you’re a true sister of your sisters, who couldn’t stand their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.

46-48 “‘Your older sister is Samaria. She lived to the north of you with her daughters. Your younger sister is Sodom, who lived to the south of you with her daughters. Haven’t you lived just like they did? Haven’t you engaged in outrageous obscenities just like they did? In fact, it didn’t take you long to catch up and pass them! As sure as I am the living God!—Decree of God, the Master—your sister Sodom and her daughters never even came close to what you and your daughters have done.

49-50 “‘The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury—proud, gluttonous, and lazy. They ignored the oppressed and the poor. They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them.

51-52 “‘And Samaria. Samaria didn’t sin half as much as you. You’ve committed far more obscenities than she ever did. Why, you make your two sisters look good in comparison with what you’ve done! Face it, your sisters look mighty good compared with you. Because you’ve outsinned them so completely, you’ve actually made them look righteous. Aren’t you ashamed? But you’re going to have to live with it. What a reputation to carry into history: outsinning your two sisters!

53-58 “‘But I’m going to reverse their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters. And—get this—your fortunes right along with them! Still, you’re going to have to live with your shame. And by facing and accepting your shame, you’re going to provide some comfort to your two sisters. Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will become what they were before, and you will become what you were before. Remember the days when you were putting on airs, acting so high and mighty, looking down on sister Sodom? That was before your evil ways were exposed. And now you’re the butt of contempt, despised by the Edomite women, the Philistine women, and everybody else around. But you have to face it, to accept the shame of your obscene and vile life. Decree of God, the Master.

59-63 “‘God, the Master, says, I’ll do to you just as you have already done, you who have treated my oath with contempt and broken the covenant. All the same, I’ll remember the covenant I made with you when you were young and I’ll make a new covenant with you that will last forever. You’ll remember your sorry past and be properly contrite when you receive back your sisters, both the older and the younger. I’ll give them to you as daughters, but not as participants in your covenant. I’ll firmly establish my covenant with you and you’ll know that I am God. You’ll remember your past life and face the shame of it, but when I make atonement for you, make everything right after all you’ve done, it will leave you speechless.’” Decree of God, the Master.

The Great Tree Is Made Small and the Small Tree Great

17 1-6 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, make a riddle for the house of Israel. Tell them a story. Say, ‘God, the Master, says:

“‘A great eagle
    with a huge wingspan and long feathers,
In full plumage and bright colors,
    came to Lebanon
And took the top off a cedar,
    broke off the top branch,
Took it to a land of traders,
    and set it down in a city of shopkeepers.
Then he took a cutting from the land
    and planted it in good, well-watered soil,
    like a willow on a riverbank.
It sprouted into a flourishing vine,
    low to the ground.
Its branches grew toward the eagle
    and the roots became established—
A vine putting out shoots,
    developing branches.

7-8 “‘There was another great eagle
    with a huge wingspan and thickly feathered.
This vine sent out its roots toward him
    from the place where it was planted.
Its branches reached out to him
    so he could water it
    from a long distance.
It had been planted
    in good, well-watered soil,
And it put out branches and bore fruit,
    and became a noble vine.

9-10 “‘God, the Master, says,
    Will it thrive?
Won’t he just pull it up by the roots
    and leave the grapes to rot
And the branches to shrivel up,
    a withered, dead vine?
It won’t take much strength
    or many hands to pull it up.
Even if it’s transplanted,
    will it thrive?
When the hot east wind strikes it,
    won’t it shrivel up?
Won’t it dry up and blow away
    from the place where it was planted?’”

11-12 God’s Message came to me: “Tell this house of rebels, ‘Do you get it? Do you know what this means?’

12-14 “Tell them, ‘The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and took its king and its leaders back to Babylon. He took one of the royal family and made a covenant with him, making him swear his loyalty. The king of Babylon took all the top leaders into exile to make sure that this kingdom stayed weak—didn’t get any big ideas of itself—and kept the covenant with him so that it would have a future.

15 “‘But he rebelled and sent emissaries to Egypt to recruit horses and a big army. Do you think that’s going to work? Are they going to get by with this? Does anyone break a covenant and get off scot-free?

16-18 “‘As sure as I am the living God, this king who broke his pledge of loyalty and his covenant will die in that country, in Babylon. Pharaoh with his big army—all those soldiers!—won’t lift a finger to fight for him when Babylon sets siege to the city and kills everyone inside. Because he broke his word and broke the covenant, even though he gave his solemn promise, because he went ahead and did all these things anyway, he won’t escape.

19-21 “‘Therefore, God, the Master, says, As sure as I am the living God, because the king despised my oath and broke my covenant, I’ll bring the consequences crashing down on his head. I’ll send out a search party and catch him. I’ll take him to Babylon and have him brought to trial because of his total disregard for me. All his elite soldiers, along with the rest of the army, will be killed in battle, and whoever is left will be scattered to the four winds. Then you’ll realize that I, God, have spoken.

22-24 “‘God, the Master, says, I personally will take a shoot from the top of the towering cedar, a cutting from the crown of the tree, and plant it on a high and towering mountain, on the high mountain of Israel. It will grow, putting out branches and fruit—a majestic cedar. Birds of every sort and kind will live under it. They’ll build nests in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will recognize that I, God, made the great tree small and the small tree great, made the green tree turn dry and the dry tree sprout green branches. I, God, said it—and I did it.’”

Judged According to the Way You Live

18 1-2 God’s Message to me: “What do you people mean by going around the country repeating the saying,

The parents ate green apples,
The children got the stomachache?

3-4 “As sure as I’m the living God, you’re not going to repeat this saying in Israel any longer. Every soul—man, woman, child—belongs to me, parent and child alike. You die for your own sin, not another’s.

5-9 “Imagine a person who lives well, treating others fairly, keeping good relationships—

    doesn’t eat at the pagan shrines,
    doesn’t worship the idols so popular in Israel,
    doesn’t seduce a neighbor’s spouse,
    doesn’t indulge in casual sex,
    doesn’t bully anyone,
    doesn’t pile up bad debts,
    doesn’t steal,
    doesn’t refuse food to the hungry,
    doesn’t refuse clothing to the ill-clad,
    doesn’t exploit the poor,
    doesn’t live by impulse and greed,
    doesn’t treat one person better than another,
But lives by my statutes and faithfully
    honors and obeys my laws.
This person who lives upright and well
    shall live a full and true life.
        Decree of God, the Master.

10-13 “But if this person has a child who turns violent and murders and goes off and does any of these things, even though the parent has done none of them—

eats at the pagan shrines,
seduces his neighbor’s spouse,
bullies the weak,
steals,
piles up bad debts,
admires idols,
commits outrageous obscenities,
exploits the poor

“—do you think this person, the child, will live? Not a chance! Because he’s done all these vile things, he’ll die. And his death will be his own fault.

14-17 “Now look: Suppose that this child has a child who sees all the sins done by his parent. The child sees them, but doesn’t follow in the parent’s footsteps—

    doesn’t eat at the pagan shrines,
    doesn’t worship the popular idols of Israel,
    doesn’t seduce his neighbor’s spouse,
    doesn’t bully anyone,
    doesn’t refuse to loan money,
    doesn’t steal,
    doesn’t refuse food to the hungry,
    doesn’t refuse to give clothes to the ill-clad,
    doesn’t live by impulse and greed,
    doesn’t exploit the poor.
He does what I say;
    he performs my laws and lives by my statutes.

17-18 “This person will not die for the sins of the parent; he will live truly and well. But the parent will die for what the parent did, for the sins of—

oppressing the weak,
robbing brothers and sisters,
doing what is dead wrong in the community.

19-20 “Do you need to ask, ‘So why does the child not share the guilt of the parent?’

“Isn’t it plain? It’s because the child did what is fair and right. Since the child was careful to do what is lawful and right, the child will live truly and well. The soul that sins is the soul that dies. The child does not share the guilt of the parent, nor the parent the guilt of the child. If you live upright and well, you get the credit; if you live a wicked life, you’re guilty as charged.

21-23 “But a wicked person who turns his back on that life of sin and keeps all my statutes, living a just and righteous life, he’ll live, really live. He won’t die. I won’t keep a list of all the things he did wrong. He will live. Do you think I take any pleasure in the death of wicked men and women? Isn’t it my pleasure that they turn around, no longer living wrong but living right—really living?

24 “The same thing goes for a good person who turns his back on an upright life and starts sinning, plunging into the same vile obscenities that the wicked person practices. Will this person live? I don’t keep a list of all the things this person did right, like money in the bank he can draw on. Because of his defection, because he accumulates sin, he’ll die.

25-28 “Do I hear you saying, ‘That’s not fair! God’s not fair!’?

“Listen, Israel. I’m not fair? You’re the ones who aren’t fair! If a good person turns away from his good life and takes up sinning, he’ll die for it. He’ll die for his own sin. Likewise, if a bad person turns away from his bad life and starts living a good life, a fair life, he will save his life. Because he faces up to all the wrongs he’s committed and puts them behind him, he will live, really live. He won’t die.

29 “And yet Israel keeps on whining, ‘That’s not fair! God’s not fair.’

“I’m not fair, Israel? You’re the ones who aren’t fair.

30-32 “The upshot is this, Israel: I’ll judge each of you according to the way you live. So turn around! Turn your backs on your rebellious living so that sin won’t drag you down. Clean house. No more rebellions, please. Get a new heart! Get a new spirit! Why would you choose to die, Israel? I take no pleasure in anyone’s death. Decree of God, the Master.

“Make a clean break! Live!”

A Story of Two Lions

19 1-4 Sing the blues over the princes of Israel. Say:

What a lioness was your mother
    among lions!
She crouched in a pride of young lions.
    Her cubs grew large.
She reared one of her cubs to maturity,
    a robust young lion.
He learned to hunt.
    He ate men.
Nations sounded the alarm.
    He was caught in a trap.
They took him with hooks
    and dragged him to Egypt.

5-9 When the lioness saw she was luckless,
    that her hope for that cub was gone,
She took her other cub
    and made him a strong young lion.
He prowled with the lions,
    a robust young lion.
He learned to hunt.
    He ate men.
He rampaged through their defenses,
    left their cities in ruins.
The country and everyone in it
    was terrorized by the roars of the lion.
The nations got together to hunt him.
    Everyone joined the hunt.
They set out their traps
    and caught him.
They put a wooden collar on him
    and took him to the king of Babylon.
No more would that voice be heard
    disturbing the peace in the mountains of Israel!

10-14 Here’s another way to put it:
    Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard,
    transplanted alongside streams of water,
Luxurious in branches and grapes
    because of the ample water.
It grew sturdy branches
    fit to be carved into a royal scepter.
It grew high, reaching into the clouds.
    Its branches filled the horizon,
    and everyone could see it.
Then it was ripped up in a rage
    and thrown to the ground.
The hot east wind shriveled it up
    and stripped its fruit.
The sturdy branches dried out,
    fit for nothing but kindling.
Now it’s a stick stuck out in the desert,
    a bare stick in a desert of death,
Good for nothing but making fires,
    campfires in the desert.
Not a hint now of those sturdy branches
    fit for use as a royal scepter!

(This is a sad song, a text for singing the blues.)

Get Rid of All the Things You’ve Become Addicted To

20 In the seventh year, the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, some of the leaders of Israel came to ask for guidance from God. They sat down before me.

2-3 Then God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, talk with the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, “Have you come to ask me questions? As sure as I am the living God, I’ll not put up with questions from you. Decree of God, the Master.”’

4-5 “Son of man, why don’t you do it? Yes, go ahead. Hold them accountable. Confront them with the outrageous obscenities of their parents. Tell them that God, the Master, says:

5-6 “‘On the day I chose Israel, I revealed myself to them in the country of Egypt, raising my hand in a solemn oath to the people of Jacob, in which I said, “I am God, your personal God.” On the same day that I raised my hand in the solemn oath, I promised them that I would take them out of the country of Egypt and bring them into a country that I had searched out just for them, a country flowing with milk and honey, a jewel of a country.

“‘At that time I told them, “Get rid of all the vile things that you’ve become addicted to. Don’t make yourselves filthy with the Egyptian no-god idols. I alone am God, your God.”

8-10 “‘But they rebelled against me, wouldn’t listen to a word I said. None got rid of the vile things they were addicted to. They held on to the no-gods of Egypt as if for dear life. I seriously considered inflicting my anger on them in force right there in Egypt. Then I thought better of it. I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt. And I acted in a way that would evoke honor, not blasphemy, from the nations around them, nations who had seen me reveal myself by promising to lead my people out of Egypt. And then I did it: I led them out of Egypt into the desert.

11-12 “‘I gave them laws for living, showed them how to live well and obediently before me. I also gave them my weekly holy rest days, my “Sabbaths,” a kind of signpost erected between me and them to show them that I, God, am in the business of making them holy.

13-17 “‘But Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They didn’t follow my statutes. They despised my laws for living well and obediently in the ways I had set out. And they totally desecrated my holy Sabbaths. I seriously considered unleashing my anger on them right there in the desert. But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations who had seen me bring them out. But I did lift my hand in a solemn oath there in the desert and promise them that I would not bring them into the country flowing with milk and honey that I had chosen for them, that jewel among all lands. I canceled my promise because they despised my laws for living obediently, wouldn’t follow my statutes, and went ahead and desecrated my holy Sabbaths. They preferred living by their no-god idols. But I didn’t go all the way: I didn’t wipe them out, didn’t finish them off in the desert.

18-20 “‘Then I addressed myself to their children in the desert: “Don’t do what your parents did. Don’t take up their practices. Don’t make yourselves filthy with their no-god idols. I myself am God, your God: Keep my statutes and live by my laws. Keep my Sabbaths as holy rest days, signposts between me and you, signaling that I am God, your God.”

21-22 “‘But the children also rebelled against me. They neither followed my statutes nor kept my laws for living upright and well. And they desecrated my Sabbaths. I seriously considered dumping my anger on them, right there in the desert. But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations who had seen me bring them out.

23-26 “‘But I did lift my hand in solemn oath there in the desert, and swore that I would scatter them all over the world, disperse them every which way because they didn’t keep my laws nor live by my statutes. They desecrated my Sabbaths and remained addicted to the no-god idols of their parents. Since they were determined to live bad lives, I myself gave them statutes that could not produce goodness and laws that did not produce life. I abandoned them. Filthy in the gutter, they perversely sacrificed their firstborn children in the fire. The very horror should have shocked them into recognizing that I am God.’

27-29 “Therefore, speak to Israel, son of man. Tell them that God says, ‘As if that wasn’t enough, your parents further insulted me by betraying me. When I brought them into that land that I had solemnly promised with my upraised hand to give them, every time they saw a hill with a sex-and-religion shrine on it or a grove of trees where the sacred whores practiced, they were there, buying into the whole pagan system. I said to them, “What hill do you go to?”’ (It’s still called “Whore Hills.”)

30-31 “Therefore, say to Israel, ‘The Message of God, the Master: You’re making your lives filthy by copying the ways of your parents. In repeating their vile practices, you’ve become whores yourselves. In burning your children as sacrifices, you’ve become as filthy as your no-god idols—as recently as today!

“‘Am I going to put up with questions from people like you, Israel? As sure as I am the living God, I, God, the Master, refuse to be called into question by you!

32 “‘What you’re secretly thinking is never going to happen. You’re thinking, “We’re going to be like everybody else, just like the other nations. We’re going to worship gods we can make and control.”

33-35 “‘As sure as I am the living God, says God, the Master, think again! With a mighty show of strength and a terrifying rush of anger, I will be King over you! I’ll bring you back from the nations, collect you out of the countries to which you’ve been scattered, with a mighty show of strength and a terrifying rush of anger. I’ll bring you to the desert of nations and haul you into court, where you’ll be face-to-face with judgment.

36-38 “‘As I faced your parents with judgment in the desert of Egypt, so I’ll face you with judgment. I’ll scrutinize and search every person as you arrive, and I’ll bring you under the bond of the covenant. I’ll cull out the rebels and traitors. I’ll lead them out of their exile, but I won’t bring them back to Israel.

“‘Then you’ll realize that I am God.

39-43 “‘But you, people of Israel, this is the Message of God, the Master, to you: Go ahead, serve your no-god idols! But later, you’ll think better of it and quit throwing filth and mud on me with your pagan offerings and no-god idols. For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, I, God, the Master, tell you that the entire people of Israel will worship me. I’ll receive them there with open arms. I’ll demand your best gifts and offerings, all your holy sacrifices. What’s more, I’ll receive you as the best kind of offerings when I bring you back from all the lands and countries in which you’ve been scattered. I’ll demonstrate in the eyes of the world that I am The Holy. When I return you to the land of Israel, the land that I solemnly promised with upraised arm to give to your parents, you’ll realize that I am God. Then and there you’ll remember all that you’ve done, the way you’ve lived that has made you so filthy—and you’ll loathe yourselves.

44 “‘But, dear Israel, you’ll also realize that I am God when I respond to you out of who I am, not by what I feel about the evil lives you’ve lived, the corrupt history you’ve compiled. Decree of God, the Master.’”

Nobody Will Put Out the Fire

45-46 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, face south. Let the Message roll out against the south. Prophesy against the wilderness forest of the south.

47-48 “Tell the forest of the south, ‘Listen to the Message of God! God, the Master, says, I’ll set a fire in you that will burn up every tree, dead trees and live trees alike. Nobody will put out the fire. The whole country from south to north will be blackened by it. Everyone is going to see that I, God, started the fire and that it’s not going to be put out.’”

49 And I said, “O God, everyone is saying of me, ‘He just makes up stories.’”

A Sword! A Sword!

21 1-5 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, now face Jerusalem and let the Message roll out against the Sanctuary. Prophesy against the land of Israel. Say, ‘God’s Message: I’m against you. I’m pulling my sword from its sheath and killing both the wicked and the righteous. Because I’m treating everyone the same, good and bad, everyone from south to north is going to feel my sword! Everyone will know that I mean business.’

“So, son of man, groan! Double up in pain. Make a scene!

“When they ask you, ‘Why all this groaning, this carrying on?’ say, ‘Because of the news that’s coming. It’ll knock the breath out of everyone. Hearts will stop cold, knees turn to rubber. Yes, it’s coming. No stopping it. Decree of God, the Master.’”

8-10 God’s Message to me: “Son of man, prophesy. Tell them, ‘The Master says:

“‘A sword! A sword!
    razor-sharp and polished,
Sharpened to kill,
    polished to flash like lightning!

“‘My child, you’ve despised the scepter of Judah
    by worshiping every tree-idol.

11 “‘The sword is made to glisten,
    to be held and brandished.
It’s sharpened and polished,
    ready to be brandished by the killer.’

12 “Yell out and wail, son of man.
    The sword is against my people!
The princes of Israel
    and my people—abandoned to the sword!
Wring your hands!
    Tear out your hair!

13 “‘Testing comes.
    Why have you despised discipline?
You can’t get around it.
    Decree of God, the Master.’

14-17 “So, prophesy, son of man!
    Clap your hands. Get their attention.
Tell them that the sword’s coming down
    once, twice, three times.
It’s a sword to kill,
    a sword for a massacre,
A sword relentless,
    a sword inescapable—
People collapsing right and left,
    going down like dominoes.
I’ve stationed a murderous sword
    at every gate in the city,
Flashing like lightning,
    brandished murderously.
Cut to the right, thrust to the left,
    murderous, sharp-edged sword!
Then I’ll clap my hands,
    a signal that my anger is spent.
        I, God, have spoken.”

18-22 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, lay out two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to take. Start them from the same place. Place a signpost at the beginning of each road. Post one sign to mark the road of the sword to Rabbah of the Ammonites. Post the other to mark the road to Judah and Fort Jerusalem. The king of Babylon stands at the fork in the road and he decides by divination which of the two roads to take. He draws straws, he throws god-dice, he examines a goat liver. He opens his right hand: The omen says, ‘Head for Jerusalem!’ So he’s on his way with battering rams, roused to kill, sounding the battle cry, pounding down city gates, building siege works.

23 “To the Judah leaders, who themselves have sworn oaths, it will seem like a false divination, but he will remind them of their guilt, and so they’ll be captured.

24 “So this is what God, the Master, says: ‘Because your sin is now out in the open so everyone can see what you’ve been doing, you’ll be taken captive.

25-27 “‘O Zedekiah, blasphemous and evil prince of Israel: Time’s up. It’s “punishment payday.” God says, Take your royal crown off your head. No more “business as usual.” The underdog will be promoted and the top dog will be demoted. Ruins, ruins, ruins! I’ll turn the whole place into ruins. And ruins it will remain until the one comes who has a right to it. Then I’ll give it to him.’

28-32 “But, son of man, your job is to prophesy. Tell them, ‘This is the Message from God, the Master, against the Ammonites and against their cruel taunts:

“‘A sword! A sword!
    Bared to kill,
Sharp as a razor,
    flashing like lightning.
Despite false sword propaganda
    circulated in Ammon,
The sword will sever Ammonite necks,
    for whom it’s punishment payday.
Return the sword to the sheath! I’ll judge you in your home country,
    in the land where you grew up.
I’ll empty out my wrath on you,
    breathe hot anger down your neck.
I’ll give you to vicious men
    skilled in torture.
You’ll end up as stove-wood.
    Corpses will litter your land.
Not so much as a memory will be left of you.
    I, God, have said so.’”

The Scarecrow of the Nations

22 1-5 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, are you going to judge this bloody city or not? Come now, are you going to judge her? Do it! Face her with all her outrageous obscenities. Tell her, ‘This is what God, the Master, says: You’re a city murderous at the core, just asking for punishment. You’re a city obsessed with no-god idols, making yourself filthy. In all your killing, you’ve piled up guilt. In all your idol-making, you’ve become filthy. You’ve forced a premature end to your existence. I’ll put you on exhibit as the scarecrow of the nations, the world’s worst joke. From far and near they’ll deride you as infamous in filth, notorious for chaos.

6-12 “‘Your leaders, the princes of Israel among you, compete in crime. You’re a community that’s insolent to parents, abusive to outsiders, oppressive against orphans and widows. You treat my holy things with contempt and desecrate my Sabbaths. You have people spreading lies and spilling blood, flocking to the hills to the sex shrines and fornicating unrestrained. Incest is common. Men force themselves on women regardless of whether they’re ready or willing. Sex is now anarchy. Anyone is fair game: neighbor, daughter-in-law, sister. Murder is for hire, usury is rampant, extortion is commonplace.

“‘And you’ve forgotten me. Decree of God, the Master.

13-14 “‘Now look! I’ve clapped my hands, calling everyone’s attention to your rapacious greed and your bloody brutalities. Can you stick with it? Will you be able to keep at this once I start dealing with you?

14-16 “‘I, God, have spoken. I’ll put an end to this. I’ll throw you to the four winds. I’ll scatter you all over the world. I’ll put a full stop to your filthy living. You will be defiled, spattered with your own mud in the eyes of the nations. And you’ll recognize that I am God.’”

17-22 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, the people of Israel are slag to me, the useless byproduct of refined copper, tin, iron, and lead left at the smelter—a worthless slag heap. So tell them, ‘God, the Master, has spoken: Because you’ve all become worthless slag, you’re on notice: I’ll assemble you in Jerusalem. As men gather silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin into a furnace and blow fire on it to melt it down, so in my wrath I’ll gather you and melt you down. I’ll blow on you with the fire of my wrath to melt you down in the furnace. As silver is melted down, you’ll be melted down. That should get through to you. Then you’ll recognize that I, God, have let my wrath loose on you.’”

23-25 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, tell her, ‘You’re a land that during the time I was angry with you got no rain, not so much as a spring shower. The leaders among you became desperate, like roaring, ravaging lions killing indiscriminately. They grabbed and looted, leaving widows in their wake.

26-29 “‘Your priests violated my law and desecrated my holy things. They can’t tell the difference between sacred and secular. They tell people there’s no difference between right and wrong. They’re contemptuous of my holy Sabbaths, profaning me by trying to pull me down to their level. Your politicians are like wolves prowling and killing and rapaciously taking whatever they want. Your preachers cover up for the politicians by pretending to have received visions and special revelations. They say, “This is what God, the Master, says . . .” when God hasn’t said so much as one word. Extortion is rife, robbery is epidemic, the poor and needy are abused, outsiders are kicked around at will, with no access to justice.’

30-31 “I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one. So I’ll empty out my wrath on them, burn them to a crisp with my hot anger, serve them with the consequences of all they’ve done. Decree of God, the Master.”

Wild with Lust

23 1-4 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became whores in Egypt, whores from a young age. Their breasts were fondled, their young bosoms caressed. The older sister was named Oholah, the younger was Oholibah. They were my daughters, and they gave birth to sons and daughters.

“Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

5-8 “Oholah started whoring while she was still mine. She lusted after Assyrians as lovers: military men smartly uniformed in blue, ambassadors and governors, good-looking young men mounted on fine horses. Her lust was unrestrained. She was a whore to the Assyrian elite. She compounded her filth with the idols of those to whom she gave herself in lust. She never slowed down. The whoring she began while young in Egypt she continued, sleeping with men who played with her breasts and spent their lust on her.

9-10 “So I left her to her Assyrian lovers, for whom she was so obsessed with lust. They ripped off her clothes, took away her children, and then, the final indignity, killed her. Among women her name became Shame—history’s judgment on her.

11-18 “Her sister Oholibah saw all this, but she became even worse than her sister in lust and whoring, if you can believe it. She also went crazy with lust for Assyrians: ambassadors and governors, military men smartly dressed and mounted on fine horses—the Assyrian elite. And I saw that she also had become incredibly filthy. Both women followed the same path. But Oholibah surpassed her sister. When she saw figures of Babylonians carved in relief on the walls and painted red, fancy belts around their waists, elaborate turbans on their heads, all of them looking important—famous Babylonians!—she went wild with lust and sent invitations to them in Babylon. The Babylonians came on the run, fornicated with her, made her dirty inside and out. When they had thoroughly debased her, she lost interest in them. Then she went public with her fornication. She exhibited her sex to the world.

18-21 “I turned my back on her just as I had on her sister. But that didn’t slow her down. She went at her whoring harder than ever. She remembered when she was young, just starting out as a whore in Egypt. That whetted her appetite for more virile, vulgar, and violent lovers—stallions obsessive in their lust. She longed for the sexual prowess of her youth back in Egypt, where her firm young breasts were caressed and fondled.

22-27 “‘Therefore, Oholibah, this is the Message from God, the Master: I will incite your old lovers against you, lovers you got tired of and left in disgust. I’ll bring them against you from every direction, Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all Assyrians—good-looking young men, ambassadors and governors, elite officers and celebrities—all of them mounted on fine, spirited horses. They’ll come down on you out of the north, armed to the teeth, bringing chariots and troops from all sides. I’ll turn over the task of judgment to them. They’ll punish you according to their rules. I’ll stand totally and relentlessly against you as they rip into you furiously. They’ll mutilate you, cutting off your ears and nose, killing at random. They’ll enslave your children—and anybody left over will be burned. They’ll rip off your clothes and steal your jewelry. I’ll put a stop to your sluttish sex, the whoring life you began in Egypt. You won’t look on whoring with fondness anymore. You won’t think back on Egypt with stars in your eyes.

28-30 “‘A Message from God, the Master: I’m at the point of abandoning you to those you hate, to those by whom you’re repulsed. They’ll treat you hatefully, leave you publicly naked, your whore’s body exposed in the cruel glare of the sun. Your sluttish lust will be exposed. Your lust has brought you to this condition because you whored with pagan nations and made yourself filthy with their no-god idols.

31-34 “‘You copied the life of your sister. Now I’ll let you drink the cup she drank.

“‘This is the Message of God, the Master:

“‘You’ll drink your sister’s cup,
    a cup canyon-deep and ocean-wide.
You’ll be shunned and taunted
    as you drink from that cup, full to the brim.
You’ll be falling-down-drunk and the tears will flow
    as you drink from that cup titanic with terror:
    It’s the cup of your sister Samaria.
You’ll drink it dry,
    then smash it to bits and eat the pieces,
    and end up tearing at your breasts.
I’ve given the word—
    Decree of God, the Master.

35 “‘Therefore God, the Master, says, Because you’ve forgotten all about me, pushing me into the background, you now must pay for what you’ve done—pay for your sluttish sex and whoring life.’”

36-39 Then God said to me, “Son of man, will you confront Oholah and Oholibah with what they’ve done? Make them face their outrageous obscenities, obscenities ranging from adultery to murder. They committed adultery with their no-god idols, sacrificed the children they bore me in order to feed their idols! And there is also this: They’ve defiled my holy Sanctuary and desecrated my holy Sabbaths. The same day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they walked into my Sanctuary and defiled it. That’s what they did—in my house!

40-42 “Furthermore, they even sent out invitations by special messenger to men far away—and, sure enough, they came. They bathed themselves, put on makeup and provocative lingerie. They reclined on a sumptuous bed, aromatic with incense and oils—my incense and oils! The crowd gathered, jostling and pushing, a drunken rabble. They adorned the sisters with bracelets on their arms and tiaras on their heads.

43-44 “I said, ‘She’s burned out on sex!’ but that didn’t stop them. They kept banging on her doors night and day as men do when they’re after a whore. That’s how they used Oholah and Oholibah, the worn-out whores.

45 “Righteous men will pronounce judgment on them, giving out sentences for adultery and murder. That was their lifework: adultery and murder.”

46-47 God says, ‘Let a mob loose on them: Terror! Plunder! Let the mob stone them and hack them to pieces—kill all their children, burn down their houses!

48-49 “‘I’ll put an end to sluttish sex in this country so that all women will be well warned and not copy you. You’ll pay the price for all your obsessive sex. You’ll pay in full for your promiscuous affairs with idols. And you’ll realize that I am God, the Master.’”

Bring the Pot to a Boil

24 1-5 The Message of God came to me in the ninth year, the tenth month, and the tenth day of the month: “Son of man, write down this date. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. Tell this company of rebels a story:

“‘Put on the soup pot.
    Fill it with water.
Put chunks of meat into it,
    all the choice pieces—loin and brisket.
Pick out the best soup bones
    from the best of the sheep in the flock.
Pile wood beneath the pot.
    Bring it to a boil
    and cook the soup.

“‘God, the Master, says:

“‘Doom to the city of murder,
    to the pot thick with scum,
    thick with a filth that can’t be scoured.
Empty the pot piece by piece;
    don’t bother who gets what.

7-8 “‘The blood from murders
    has stained the whole city;
Blood runs bold on the street stones,
    with no one bothering to wash it off—
Blood out in the open to public view
    to provoke my wrath,
    to trigger my vengeance.

9-12 “‘Therefore, this is what God, the Master, says:

“‘Doom to the city of murder!
    I, too, will pile on the wood.
Stack the wood high,
    light the match,
Cook the meat, spice it well, pour out the broth,
    and then burn the bones.
Then I’ll set the empty pot on the coals
    and heat it red-hot so the bronze glows,
So the germs are killed
    and the corruption is burned off.
But it’s hopeless. It’s too far gone.
    The filth is too thick.

13-14 “‘Your encrusted filth is your filthy sex. I wanted to clean you up, but you wouldn’t let me. I’ll make no more attempts at cleaning you up until my anger quiets down. I, God, have said it, and I’ll do it. I’m not holding back. I’ve run out of compassion. I’m not changing my mind. You’re getting exactly what’s coming to you. Decree of God, the Master.’”

No Tears

15-17 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, I’m about to take from you the delight of your life—a real blow, I know. But, please, no tears. Keep your grief to yourself. No public mourning. Get dressed as usual and go about your work—none of the usual funeral rituals.”

18 I preached to the people in the morning. That evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I’d been told.

19 The people came to me, saying, “Tell us why you’re acting like this. What does it mean, anyway?”

20-21 So I told them, “God’s Word came to me, saying, ‘Tell the family of Israel, This is what God, the Master, says: I will desecrate my Sanctuary, your proud impregnable fort, the delight of your life, your heart’s desire. The children you left behind will be killed.

22-24 “‘Then you’ll do exactly as I’ve done. You’ll perform none of the usual funeral rituals. You’ll get dressed as usual and go about your work. No tears. But your sins will eat away at you from within and you’ll groan among yourselves. Ezekiel will be your example. The way he did it is the way you’ll do it.

“‘When this happens you’ll recognize that I am God, the Master.’”

25-27 “And you, son of man: The day I take away the people’s refuge, their great joy, the delight of their life, what they’ve most longed for, along with all their children—on that very day a survivor will arrive and tell you what happened to the city. You’ll break your silence and start talking again, talking to the survivor. Again, you’ll be an example for them. And they’ll recognize that I am God.”

Acts of Vengeance

25 1-5 God’s Message came to me:

“Son of man, face Ammon and preach against the people: Listen to the Message of God, the Master. This is what God has to say: Because you cheered when my Sanctuary was desecrated and the land of Judah was devastated and the people of Israel were taken into exile, I’m giving you over to the people of the east. They’ll move in and make themselves at home, eating the food right off your tables and drinking your milk. I’ll turn your capital, Rabbah, into pasture for camels and all your villages into corrals for flocks. Then you’ll realize that I am God.

6-7 God, the Master, says, Because you clapped and cheered, venting all your malicious contempt against the land of Israel, I’ll step in and hand you out as loot—first come, first served. I’ll cross you off the roster of nations. There’ll be nothing left of you. And you’ll realize that I am God.”

8-11 God, the Master, says: Because Moab said, ‘Look, Judah’s nothing special,’ I’ll lay wide open the flank of Moab by exposing its lovely frontier villages to attack: Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim. I’ll lump Moab in with Ammon and give them to the people of the east for the taking. Ammon won’t be heard from again. I’ll punish Moab severely. And they’ll realize that I am God.”

12-14 God, the Master, says: Because Edom reacted against the people of Judah in spiteful revenge and was so criminally vengeful against them, therefore I, God, the Master, will oppose Edom and kill the lot of them, people and animals both. I’ll waste it—corpses stretched from Teman to Dedan. I’ll use my people Israel to bring my vengeance down on Edom. My wrath will fuel their action. And they’ll realize it’s my vengeance. Decree of God the Master.”

15-17 God, the Master, says: Because the Philistines were so spitefully vengeful—all those centuries of stored-up malice!—and did their best to destroy Judah, therefore I, God, the Master, will oppose the Philistines and cut down the Cretans and anybody else left along the seacoast. Huge acts of vengeance, massive punishments! When I bring vengeance, they’ll realize that I am God.”

As the Waves of the Sea, Surging Against the Shore

26 1-2 In the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, Tyre cheered when they got the news of Jerusalem, exclaiming,

“‘Good! The gateway city is smashed!
    Now all her business comes my way.
She’s in ruins
    and I’m in clover.’

3-6 “Therefore, God, the Master, has this to say:

“‘I’m against you, Tyre,
    and I’ll bring many nations surging against you,
    as the waves of the sea surging against the shore.
They’ll smash the city walls of Tyre
    and break down her towers.
I’ll wash away the soil
    and leave nothing but bare rock.
She’ll be an island of bare rock in the ocean,
    good for nothing but drying fishnets.
Yes, I’ve said so.’ Decree of God, the Master.
    ‘She’ll be loot, free pickings for the nations!
Her surrounding villages will be butchered.
    Then they’ll realize that I am God.’

7-14 God, the Master, says: Look! Out of the north I’m bringing Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king’s king, down on Tyre. He’ll come with chariots and horses and riders—a huge army. He’ll massacre your surrounding villages and lay siege to you. He’ll build siege ramps against your walls. A forest of shields will advance against you! He’ll pummel your walls with his battering rams and shatter your towers with his iron weapons. You’ll be covered with dust from his horde of horses—a thundering herd of war horses pouring through the breaches, pulling chariots. Oh, it will be an earthquake of an army and a city in shock! Horses will stampede through the streets. Your people will be slaughtered and your huge pillars strewn like matchsticks. The invaders will steal and loot—all that wealth, all that stuff! They’ll knock down your fine houses and dump the stone and timber rubble into the sea. And your parties, your famous good-time parties, will be no more. No more songs, no more lutes. I’ll reduce you to an island of bare rock, good for nothing but drying fishnets. You’ll never be rebuilt. I, God, have said so. Decree of God, the Master.

Introduced to the Terrors of Death

15 “This is the Message of God, the Master, to Tyre: Won’t the ocean islands shake at the crash of your collapse, at the groans of your wounded, at your mayhem and massacre?

16-18 “All up and down the coast, the princes will come down from their thrones, take off their royal robes and fancy clothes, and wrap themselves in sheer terror. They’ll sit on the ground, shaken to the core, horrified at you. Then they’ll begin chanting a funeral song over you:

“‘Sunk! Sunk to the bottom of the sea,
    famous city on the sea!
Power of the seas,
    you and your people,
Intimidating everyone
    who lived in your shadows.
But now the islands are shaking
    at the sound of your crash,
Ocean islands in tremors
    from the impact of your fall.’

19-21 “The Message of God, the Master: ‘When I turn you into a wasted city, a city empty of people, a ghost town, and when I bring up the great ocean deeps and cover you, then I’ll push you down among those who go to the grave, the long, long dead. I’ll make you live there, in the grave in old ruins, with the buried dead. You’ll never see the land of the living again. I’ll introduce you to the terrors of death and that’ll be the end of you. They’ll send out search parties for you, but you’ll never be found. Decree of God, the Master.’”

Tyre, Gateway to the Sea

27 1-9 God’s Message came to me: “You, son of man, raise a funeral song over Tyre. Tell Tyre, gateway to the sea, merchant to the world, trader among the far-off islands, ‘This is what God, the Master, says:

“‘You boast, Tyre:
    “I’m the perfect ship—stately, handsome.”
You ruled the high seas from
    a real beauty, crafted to perfection.
Your planking came from
    Mount Hermon junipers.
A Lebanon cedar
    supplied your mast.
They made your oars
    from sturdy Bashan oaks.
Cypress from Cyprus inlaid with ivory
    was used for the decks.
Your sail and flag were of colorful
    embroidered linen from Egypt.
Your purple deck awnings
    also came from Cyprus.
Men of Sidon and Arvad pulled the oars.
    Your seasoned seamen, O Tyre, were the crew.
Ship’s carpenters
    were old salts from Byblos.
All the ships of the sea and their sailors
    clustered around you to barter for your goods.

10-11 “‘Your army was composed of soldiers
    from Paras, Lud, and Put,
Elite troops in uniformed splendor.
    They put you on the map!
Your city police were imported from
    Arvad, Helech, and Gammad.
They hung their shields from the city walls,
    a final, perfect touch to your beauty.

12 “‘Tarshish carried on business with you because of your great wealth. They worked for you, trading in silver, iron, tin, and lead for your products.

13 “‘Greece, Tubal, and Meshech did business with you, trading slaves and bronze for your products.

14 “‘Beth-togarmah traded work horses, war horses, and mules for your products.

15 “‘The people of Rhodes did business with you. Many far-off islands traded with you in ivory and ebony.

16 “‘Edom did business with you because of all your goods. They traded for your products with agate, purple textiles, embroidered cloth, fine linen, coral, and rubies.

17 “‘Judah and Israel did business with you. They traded for your products with premium wheat, millet, honey, oil, and balm.

18 “‘Damascus, attracted by your vast array of products and well-stocked warehouses, carried on business with you, trading in wine from Helbon and wool from Zahar.

19 “‘Danites and Greeks from Uzal traded with you, using wrought iron, cinnamon, and spices.

20 “‘Dedan traded with you for saddle blankets.

21 “‘Arabia and all the Bedouin sheiks of Kedar traded lambs, rams, and goats with you.

22 “‘Traders from Sheba and Raamah in South Arabia carried on business with you in premium spices, precious stones, and gold.

23-24 “‘Haran, Canneh, and Eden from the east in Assyria and Media traded with you, bringing elegant clothes, dyed textiles, and elaborate carpets to your bazaars.

25 “‘The great Tarshish ships were your freighters, importing and exporting. Oh, it was big business for you, trafficking the seaways!

26-32 “‘Your sailors row mightily,
    taking you into the high seas.
Then a storm out of the east
    shatters your ship in the ocean deep.
Everything sinks—your rich goods and products,
    sailors and crew, ship’s carpenters and soldiers,
Sink to the bottom of the sea.
    Total shipwreck.
The cries of your sailors
    reverberate on shore.
Sailors everywhere abandon ship.
    Veteran seamen swim for dry land.
They cry out in grief,
    a choir of bitter lament over you.
They smear their faces with ashes,
    shave their heads,
Wear rough burlap,
    wildly keening their loss.
They raise their funeral song:
    “Who on the high seas is like Tyre!”

33-36 “‘As you crisscrossed the seas with your products,
    you satisfied many peoples.
Your worldwide trade
    made earth’s kings rich.
And now you’re battered to bits by the waves,
    sunk to the bottom of the sea,
And everything you’ve bought and sold
    has sunk to the bottom with you.
Everyone on shore looks on in terror.
    The hair of kings stands on end,
    their faces drawn and haggard!
The buyers and sellers of the world
    throw up their hands:
This horror can’t happen!
    Oh, this has happened!’”

The Money Has Gone to Your Head

28 1-5 God’s Message came to me, “Son of man, tell the prince of Tyre, ‘This is what God, the Master, says:

“‘Your heart is proud,
    going around saying, “I’m a god.
I sit on God’s divine throne,
    ruling the sea”—
You, a mere mortal,
    not even close to being a god,
A mere mortal
    trying to be a god.
Look, you think you’re smarter than Daniel.
    No enigmas can stump you.
Your sharp intelligence
    made you world-wealthy.
You piled up gold and silver
    in your banks.
You used your head well,
    worked good deals, made a lot of money.
But the money has gone to your head,
    swelled your head—what a big head!

6-11 “‘Therefore, God, the Master, says:

“‘Because you’re acting like a god,
    pretending to be a god,
I’m giving fair warning: I’m bringing strangers down on you,
    the most vicious of all nations.
They’ll pull their swords and make hash
    of your reputation for knowing it all.
They’ll puncture the balloon
    of your god-pretensions.
They’ll bring you down from your self-made pedestal
    and bury you in the deep blue sea.
Will you protest to your assassins,
    “You can’t do that! I’m a god”?
To them you’re a mere mortal.
    They’re killing a man, not a god.
You’ll die like a stray dog,
    killed by strangers—
Because I said so.
    Decree of God, the Master.’”

11-19 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, raise a funeral song over the king of Tyre. Tell him, A Message from God, the Master:

“You had everything going for you.
    You were in Eden, God’s garden.
You were dressed in splendor,
    your robe studded with jewels:
Carnelian, peridot, and moonstone,
    beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald,
    all in settings of engraved gold.
A robe was prepared for you
    the same day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub.
    I placed you on the mountain of God.
You strolled in magnificence
    among the stones of fire.
From the day of your creation
    you were sheer perfection . . .
    and then imperfection—evil!—was detected in you.
In much buying and selling
    you turned violent, you sinned!
I threw you, disgraced, off the mountain of God.
    I threw you out—you, the anointed angel-cherub.
    No more strolling among the gems of fire for you!
Your beauty went to your head.
    You corrupted wisdom
    by using it to get worldly fame.
I threw you to the ground,
    sent you sprawling before an audience of kings
    and let them gloat over your demise.
By sin after sin after sin,