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Ezekiel 1-6 Common English Bible (CEB)

First vision

In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, I was with the exiles at the Chebar River when the heavens opened and I saw visions of God. (It happened on the fifth day of the month, in the fifth year after King Jehoiachin’s deportation. The Lord’s word burst in on the priest Ezekiel, Buzi’s son, in the land of Babylon at the Chebar River. There the Lord’s power overcame him.)

As I watched, suddenly a driving storm came out of the north, a great cloud flashing fire, with brightness all around. At its center, in the middle of the fire, there was something like gleaming amber. And inside that were forms of four living creatures. This was what they looked like: Each had the form of a human being, though each had four faces and four wings. Their feet looked like proper feet, but the soles of their feet were like calves’ hooves, and they shone like burnished bronze. Human hands were under their wings on all four sides. All four creatures had faces and wings, and their wings touched each other’s wings. When they moved, they each went straight ahead without turning. 10 As for the form of their faces: each of the four had a human face, with a lion’s face on the right and a bull’s face on the left, and also an eagle’s face. 11 The pairs of wings[a] that stretched out overhead touched each other, while the other pairs covered their bodies. 12 Each moved straight ahead wherever the wind propelled them; they moved without turning. 13 Regarding the creatures’ forms: they looked like blazing coals, like torches. Fire darted about between the creatures and illuminated them, and lightning flashed from the fire. 14 The creatures looked like lightning streaking back and forth.

15 As I looked at the creatures, suddenly there was a wheel on the earth corresponding to all four faces of the creatures. 16 The appearance and composition of the wheels were like sparkling topaz. There was one shape for all four of them, as if one wheel were inside another. 17 When they moved in any of the four directions, they moved without swerving. 18 Their rims were tall and terrifying, because all four of them were filled with eyes all around. 19 When the creatures moved, the wheels moved next to them. Whenever the creatures rose above the earth, the wheels also rose up. 20 Wherever the wind would appear to go, the wind would make them go there too. The wheels rose up beside them, because the spirit[b] of the creatures was in the wheels. 21 When they moved, the wheels[c] moved; when they stood still, the wheels stood still; and when they rose above the earth, the wheels rose up along with them, because the spirit[d] of the creatures was in the wheels.

22 The shape above the heads of the creatures[e] was a dome; it was like glittering ice stretched out over their heads. 23 Just below the dome, their outstretched wings touched each other. They each also had two wings to cover their bodies. 24 Then I heard the sound of their wings when they moved forward. It was like the sound of mighty waters, like the sound of the Almighty,[f] like the sound of tumult or the sound of an army camp. When they stood still, their wings came to rest. 25 Then there was a sound from above the dome over their heads. They stood still, and their wings came to rest.

26 Above the dome over their heads, there appeared something like lapis lazuli in the form of a throne. Above the form of the throne there was a form that looked like a human being. 27 Above what looked like his waist, I saw something like gleaming amber, something like fire enclosing it all around. Below what looked like his waist, I saw something that appeared to be fire. Its brightness shone all around. 28 Just as a rainbow lights up a cloud on a rainy day, so its brightness shone all around. This was how the form of the Lord’s glory appeared. When I saw it, I fell on my face. I heard the sound of someone speaking.

Ezekiel’s commissioning

The voice said to me: Human one, stand on your feet, and I’ll speak to you. As he spoke to me, a wind[g] came to me and stood me on my feet, and I heard someone addressing me. He said to me: Human one, I’m sending you to the Israelites, a traitorous and rebellious people. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. I’m sending you to their hardheaded and hard-hearted descendants, and you will say to them: The Lord God proclaims. Whether they listen or whether they refuse, since they are a household of rebels, they will know that a prophet has been among them.

And as for you, human one, don’t be afraid of them or their words. Don’t be afraid! You possess thistles and thorns that subdue scorpions.[h] Don’t be afraid of their words or shrink from their presence, because they are a household of rebels. You’ll speak my words to them whether they listen or whether they refuse. They are just a household[i] of rebels!

As for you, human one, listen to what I say to you. Don’t become rebellious like that household of rebels. Open your mouth and eat what I give you. Then I looked, and there in a hand stretched out to me was a scroll. 10 He spread it open in front of me, and it was filled with writing on both sides, songs of mourning, lamentation, and doom.

Then he said to me: Human one, eat this thing that you’ve found. Eat this scroll and go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. He said to me: Human one, feed your belly and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you. So I ate it, and in my mouth it became as sweet as honey.

Then he said to me: Human one, go! Go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. You aren’t being sent to a people whose language and speech are difficult and obscure but to the house of Israel. No, not to many peoples who speak difficult and obscure languages, whose words you wouldn’t understand. If I did send you to them, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel—they will refuse to listen to you because they refuse to listen to me. The whole house of Israel is hardheaded and hard-hearted too. I’ve now hardened your face so that you can meet them head-on. I’ve made your forehead like a diamond, harder than stone. Don’t be afraid of them or shrink away from them, because they are a household of rebels.

10 He said to me: Human one, listen closely, and take to heart every word I say to you. 11 Then go to the exiles, to your people’s children. Whether they listen or not, speak to them and say: The Lord God proclaims!

12 Then a wind lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great quaking sound from his place. Blessed is the Lord’s glory! 13 The sound was the creatures’ wings beating against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them; it was a great rumbling noise. 14 Then the wind picked me up and took me away. With the Lord’s power pressing down against me I went away, bitter and deeply angry, 15 and I came to the exiles who lived beside the Chebar River at Tel-abib. I stayed there among them for seven desolate days.

16 At the end of the seven days, the Lord’s word came to me: 17 Human one, I’ve made you a lookout for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from me, deliver my warning. 18 If I declare that the wicked will die but you don’t warn them, if you say nothing to warn them from their wicked ways so that they might live, they will die because of their guilt, but I will hold you accountable for their deaths. 19 If you do warn the wicked and they don’t turn from their wickedness or their wicked ways, they will die because of their guilt, but you will save your life.

20 Or suppose righteous people turn away from doing the right thing. If they act dishonestly, and I make them stumble because of it, they will die because you didn’t warn them of their sin. Their righteous deeds won’t be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their deaths. 21 But if you do warn the righteous not to sin, and they don’t sin, they will be declared righteous. Their lives will be preserved because they heeded the warning, and you will save your life.

22 The Lord’s power overcame me, and he said to me: Get up! Go out to the valley, and I’ll speak to you there. 23 So I got up and went out to the valley. Suddenly, the Lord’s glory stood there, like the glory that I had seen at the Chebar River, and I fell on my face. 24 When a wind came to me and stood me on my feet, he spoke to me and said: Go, shut yourself up inside your house. 25 Look at you, human one! They’ve now put cords on you and bound you up so that you can’t go out among them. 26 I’ll make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth and take away your ability to speak. You won’t be able to correct them, because they are a household of rebels. 27 But whenever I speak to you, I’ll open your mouth, and you will say to them: The Lord God proclaims. Those who hear will understand, but those who refuse will not. They are just a household of rebels.

Jerusalem’s siege

You, human one, take a brick. Put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Prepare the siege: Build a wall, construct ramps, set up army camps, and place battering rams all around. Take an iron plate and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city. Face it directly. When it is under siege like this, press hard against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

Now, lie on your left side, and set the guilt of the house of Israel on it. For the length of time that you lie on your side, you will bear their punishment. I appoint to you three hundred ninety days, one day for each year of their guilt. So you will bear the punishment of the house of Israel. When you have completed these days, lie on your right side to bear the guilt of the house of Judah. I appoint forty days to you, one day for each year. With your arm stretched out, face the siege of Jerusalem directly and prophesy against it. I’ve now bound you with cords so that you can’t turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.

You, gather some wheat and barley, beans and lentils, and millet and spelt. Put them in a bowl and make your bread from them. Eat it during the three hundred ninety days that you lie on your side. 10 At fixed times you will eat your food by weight, fourteen ounces a day.[j] 11 You will also ration your water by measure, drinking a sixth of a hin[k] at fixed times each day. 12 Eat it like barley bread, and bake it on human excrement while they watch. 13 The Lord says: In this same way the Israelites will eat their unclean bread among the nations where I am scattering them.

14 And I said: “Ah, Lord God! I’ve never been unclean! From my childhood until now I’ve never eaten anything that wasn’t properly slaughtered,[l] and no unclean meat has ever entered my mouth!”

15 He answered me: “Then I’ll let you use cow dung instead of human excrement. You can make your bread over that.”

16 Then he said to me: Human one, I’m destroying the food supply in Jerusalem. They will anxiously ration and eat their food, and in dismay they will dole out and drink their water. 17 When their food and water dwindles away, everyone will be horrified, and they will waste away because of their guilt.

You, human one, take a sharp sword. Use it like a razor and shave your head and beard. Then use scales to divide the hair. At the end of the siege, burn one-third of it in the city. Strike another third with the sword left and right. Then scatter one-third to the wind and let loose[m] the sword after it. From that third, take a few strands and hide them in your garment. From that hair, take yet another batch and throw it into the fire and burn it up. From there, fire will spread to the whole house of Israel.

The Lord God proclaims: This is Jerusalem! I have set her in the middle of the nations and surrounding countries. But she rebelled against my case laws and my regulations with greater treachery than these nations and surrounding countries, who also rejected my case laws and didn’t follow my regulations. Therefore, the Lord God proclaims: You have become more turbulent than these nations around you because you haven’t obeyed my regulations or followed my case laws. You haven’t even followed the case laws of the nations around you! So now the Lord God proclaims: I myself am now against you! I will impose the case law penalties on you in the sight of the nations. Because of you, I will do what I’ve never done before and will never do again—all because of your detestable practices. 10 Therefore, parents among you will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will impose penalties from case laws on you and scatter all that is left of you to the winds. 11 Therefore, as surely as I live, this is what the Lord God says: Because you made my sanctuary unclean with all your disgusting practices and detestable things, I myself will shave you. I will not shed a tear. You will have no compassion, even from me. 12 One-third of you will die of plague and waste away by famine among you. One-third will fall by the sword all around you. And one-third I will scatter to all the winds, letting loose a sword to pursue them. 13 My anger will be complete. I will exhaust my wrath against them and take my revenge. Then they will know that I, the Lord, have spoken against them in my zeal and consumed them in my wrath. 14 I will turn you into a desolation to the ridicule of the nations all around you, in the sight of all who pass by. 15 You will become an object of ridicule, a mockery, and a horrifying lesson to the nations all around you, when I impose penalties from case laws against you in anger, wrath, and overflowing fury. I, the Lord, have spoken. 16 When I launch my deadly arrows of famine against you, I have released them for your destruction! I will add to your famine and completely cut off your food supply. 17 I will send famine and wild animals against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will come to you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Against the mountains of Israel

The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, face Israel’s mountains, and prophesy to them. Say:

Hear the Lord God’s word, mountains of Israel!
The Lord God proclaims to the mountains and hills,
    to the valleys and their deepest ravines:
I’m about to bring a sword against you
    and destroy your shrines.
Your altars will be destroyed,
    your incense altars broken.
    And I’ll make your slain fall in front of your idols.
I’ll throw the Israelites’ corpses in front of their idols,
    and I’ll scatter your bones all around your altars.
Wherever you live,
    cities will be in ruins, shrines made desolate,
    turned into utter ruin.
Your altars will be punished
    and then broken down.
Your idols will be demolished,
    your incense altars shattered,
    and all your works wiped out.
The slain will fall among you,
    and you will know that I am the Lord.

But I will spare a few.
    Some of you will escape the nations’ swords
    when you are scattered throughout the lands.
Your fugitives will remember me
    in the nations to which they’ve been banished,
    how I was crushed when their roving hearts turned away from me,
    and their roving eyes went after their idols.
They will loathe themselves
    for their treacherous acts and detestable practices,
10         and they will know that I am the Lord.
Not in vain have I threatened to bring this evil against them.

11 The Lord God proclaims: Clap your hands, stamp your feet, and cry “Horror” over all the detestable practices of the house of Israel. They will fall by the sword, famine, and plague. 12 Whoever is far off will die of plague, whoever is nearby will fall to the sword, and whoever finds refuge will die of famine. I’ll satisfy my wrath against them! 13 They will know that I am the Lord when their slain appear among their idols and around their altars, wherever they offered up pleasing aromas for all their idols, on every high hill and mountaintop, and under every lofty tree and leafy oak. 14 Wherever they live, I will direct my power against them. I will turn the land into a greater wasteland than the Riblah desert. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 1:11 LXX; MT adds and their faces.
  2. Ezekiel 1:20 Or wind
  3. Ezekiel 1:21 Or they
  4. Ezekiel 1:21 Or wind
  5. Ezekiel 1:22 LXX; MT creature
  6. Ezekiel 1:24 Heb Shaddai or Mountain One
  7. Ezekiel 2:2 Or spirit
  8. Ezekiel 2:6 Or thistles and thorns are with you, and you sit on scorpions.
  9. Ezekiel 2:7 LXX, Syr, Tg; MT lacks household.
  10. Ezekiel 4:10 Or twenty shekels
  11. Ezekiel 4:11 A hin is approximately one pint.
  12. Ezekiel 4:14 Or what died of itself or was torn by wild beasts
  13. Ezekiel 5:2 Or I will let loose
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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