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Ezekiel 13-18 Common English Bible (CEB)

Against the prophets

13 The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, prophesy to Israel’s prophets who prophesy from their own imaginations. Say, Hear the Lord’s word! The Lord God proclaims: Doom to the foolish prophets who follow their own whims but see nothing. Israel, your prophets have been like jackals among ruins. You haven’t gone up into the breach or reinforced the wall of the house of Israel, so that it might withstand the battle on the day of the Lord. They saw worthless visions and performed deceptive divinations. Even though the Lord didn’t send them, they said, “This is what the Lord says” and expected their word to stand. Didn’t you see worthless visions? And didn’t you report deceptive divinations and say, “This is what the Lord says,” even though I didn’t speak?

Therefore, the Lord God proclaims: Because you spoke worthless things and had false visions, I’m against you. This is what the Lord God says! I’ll wield my power against the prophets, those seers of nothingness and diviners of lies. They won’t be included in my people’s council, or recorded in the house of Israel’s official records, or enter Israel’s fertile land. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

10 Without a doubt, they led my people astray, saying “Peace” when there was no peace, and “He is building a wall” when they were the ones who laid on the plaster. 11 Say to those who laid on the plaster that it will fall. When the flooding rains appear and I send hailstones, it will collapse, and the storm winds will break it apart. 12 The wall will certainly fall. Won’t it be said about you, “Where is your plaster now?”

13 Therefore, the Lord God proclaims: In my fury I will make a storm wind break out, and in my anger there will be flooding rains and hailstones in consuming wrath. 14 I will tear down the wall on which you laid plaster. I will raze it to the ground and expose its foundation. When it falls, you will be destroyed with it, and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 I will exhaust my fury on the wall and on those who laid plaster on it. Then I will say to you, “Where is the wall?”[a] and “Where are those who plastered it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and envisioned peace when there was no peace?” This is what the Lord God says!

17 You, human one, face the daughters of your people, those women who prophesy from their imaginations. Prophesy against them 18 and say, The Lord God proclaims: Doom to the women who sew bands on every wrist and make veils for heads of all sizes to entrap human lives. Will you ensnare my people’s lives but preserve your own? 19 When you degrade me to my people for handfuls of barley and bread crumbs, you mislead my gullible people, and you bring about the death of those who shouldn’t die and keep alive those who shouldn’t live.

20 Therefore, the Lord God proclaims: I’m against the bands that you use to trap human lives.[b] I will tear them from your arms, and I will set free the lives that you’ve trapped like birds. 21 I will tear off your veils and snatch my people out of your clutches. They will be prey in your clutches no longer. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 22 You hurt the righteous with slander—I didn’t wound them!—and you strengthened the hands of the wicked so that they survived without changing their evil ways! 23 Therefore, you will no longer see empty visions or perform divinations. I will rescue my people from your clutches, and you will know that I am the Lord.

False devotion

14 When some of the elders of the house of Israel came to sit in my presence, the Lord’s word came to me: Human one, these men decide on their own to set up their idols, so the cause of their downfall is right in front of them. Why should I allow them to ask me anything? Therefore, speak to them and tell them, The Lord God proclaims: If anyone from the house of Israel decides on his own to set up his idols and puts the cause of his downfall right in front him, but then comes to the prophet, I, the Lord, will require an answer from him through his many idols. So I’ll seize the hearts of the house of Israel, whose idols have made them all strangers to me.

Therefore, say to the house of Israel, The Lord God proclaims: Come back! Turn away from your idols and from all your detestable practices. Turn away! Or anyone of the house of Israel or any immigrant in Israel who becomes estranged from me by deciding on their own to set up their idols and puts the cause of their downfall right in front of them, but then comes to the prophet to ask me something through him, I, the Lord, will require an answer. I will confront that one. I will set them up as a sign and an object lesson, and I will cut them off from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

As for the prophet who was seduced into speaking a word, even though it was I, the Lord, who seduced that prophet, I will use my power against him and cut him off completely from my people Israel. 10 The prophet and the inquirer alike will bear their guilt, 11 so that the house of Israel won’t stray away from me again or make themselves impure with any of their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God. This is what the Lord God says!

Failed request

12 The Lord’s word came to me: 13 Human one, suppose a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, so that I use my power against it, break off its food supply, let famine run rampant, and eliminate both humans and animals. 14 If these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, lived there, their lives alone would be saved because they were righteous. This is what the Lord God says. 15 Or suppose I allow wild animals to roam through the land, and it becomes so wild that no one can live there or even travel through it on account of the wild animals. 16 If these three men lived there, as surely as I live, proclaims the Lord God, they wouldn’t be able to rescue even their sons or daughters. They alone would be rescued, but the land would become a ruin. 17 Or suppose I bring a sword against that land and command the sword to pass through and eliminate both humans and animals. 18 If these three men lived there, as surely as I live, proclaims the Lord God, they wouldn’t be able to rescue even their sons or daughters. They alone would be rescued. 19 Or suppose I send a plague against that land and pour out my fury on it. With great bloodshed I would eliminate both humans and animals. 20 If Noah, Daniel, and Job lived there, as surely as I live, proclaims the Lord God, they wouldn’t be able to rescue either sons or daughters. But they would save their lives because they were righteous.

21 The Lord God proclaims: How much more if I send all four of these terrible acts of judgment—sword, famine, wild animals, and plague—against Jerusalem, to eliminate both humans and animals? 22 Yet a few survivors will be left. Sons and daughters will be brought out to you. When you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the evil that I inflicted on Jerusalem, for all that I brought against it. 23 Seeing their ways and their deeds will bring you some consolation, because then you will understand what I’ve done, and that I didn’t do any of these things without cause. This is what the Lord God says.

The vine’s wood

15 The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, how is the vine’s wood better than the wood of all the trees in the forest? Can you make anything useful from its wood? Can you make a peg from it and hang objects on it? If not, can it be used as firewood? Fire would consume its two ends, but its middle part would only get charred. So is it useful for anything? Look, even when it was whole, it was worthless. Now that the fire has consumed it, and it is charred, it’s even more useless.

Therefore, the Lord God proclaims: Of all the trees in the forest, I have decreed that the vine’s wood is destined to be consumed by fire. So also have I decreed for those who live in Jerusalem, and I have confronted them. They may try to go out from the fire, but the fire will consume them. You will know that I am the Lord, because I confronted them. I will turn the land into a ruin because they acted faithlessly, proclaims the Lord God.

Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness

16 The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, show Jerusalem her detestable practices. Say, The Lord God proclaims to Jerusalem: By origin and birth you are from the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite, your mother a Hittite. This is how you were treated on the day you were born: Your umbilical cord wasn’t cut, you weren’t washed clean with water or rubbed with salt, and you weren’t wrapped in blankets. No one took pity or cared enough to do any of these things for you. You were despised on the day of your birth and thrown out on the open field. When I happened to come by, I saw you flailing about in your blood. I said to you while you were still bloody, “Live!” I helped you to flourish like a young plant in the field, and you grew tall and became wonderfully endowed. Your breasts were firm, your hair beautifully thick. And you were completely naked.

When I passed by you, I realized that you were ready for love. So I spread my cloak over you and covered your nakedness. I made a solemn promise and entered into a covenant with you, and you became mine. This is what the Lord God says. Then I washed you with water, rinsed off your blood, and poured oil on you. 10 I clothed you with colorful garments, put fine sandals on you, wrapped your head in linen, and covered you with jewels. 11 I adorned you with fine jewelry, and put bracelets on your wrists and a necklace around your neck. 12 I put a ring in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 I adorned you with gold and silver, and your garments were made of the finest linen and brocade. You ate the finest flour, honey, and oil. You became very beautiful, fit for royalty. 14 Among the nations you were famous for your beauty. It was perfect because of the splendor that I had given you. This is what the Lord God says.

15 But you trusted in your beauty and traded on your fame. At every opportunity, you seduced all who came by. 16 You took some of your clothing to make colorful shrines and prostituted yourself in them. 17 You took the beautiful gold and silver jewelry that I had given to you, and you made male images for yourself and prostituted yourself with them. 18 You took your fine garments and clothed them. You set my oil and incense before them. 19 You set my food that I had given you to eat—fine wheat, oil, and honey—before them as a pleasing aroma. This is what the Lord God says. 20 You took your sons and daughters, which you had borne to me, and you sacrificed these to them so they could consume them. Was this promiscuity of yours a small thing? 21 You slaughtered my sons and placed them in the fire for them! 22 In all your detestable practices and promiscuities, you didn’t remember the days of your infancy when you lay completely naked, flailing about in your blood.

23 After all your wickedness—doom, doom to you, proclaims the Lord God— 24 you built a pavilion for yourself and set up platforms in every square. 25 At every crossroad you built your platform and degraded your beauty by spreading your legs to all comers. And so you encouraged even more promiscuity. 26 You prostituted yourself with the Egyptians, your neighbors with the large sexual organs, and as you added to your seductions, you provoked me to anger. 27 So I used my power against you, cut off your allowance, and gave you up to the passions of the Philistine women who had been confounded by your infamous ways and had rejected you. 28 Still not satisfied, you prostituted yourself to the Assyrians, but they weren’t enough for you either. 29 So you prostituted yourself with the Babylonians, the land of traders, but again you weren’t satisfied. 30 How sick was your heart—the Lord God proclaims—that you could do all these things, the deeds of a hardened prostitute. 31 But you weren’t like an ordinary prostitute! When you built your pavilion at the head of every street and made your platform in every square, you refused to be paid. 32 You are like an adulterous wife: you take in strangers instead of your husband. 33 Ordinary prostitutes are given gifts, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers. From every direction you even bribed them to come to you for your sexual favors. 34 As a prostitute, you were more perverse than other women. No one approached you for sexual favors, but you yourself gave gifts instead of receiving them. You are perversion itself! 35 Therefore, you prostitute, hear the Lord’s word!

36 The Lord God proclaims: You were in a constant state of arousal[c] and exposed yourself when you acted like a prostitute with your lovers and with the idols to which you gave your children’s blood. 37 Therefore, I will now gather all of your lovers whom you pleased, the ones you loved and the ones you rejected. I will gather them against you from all around, and I will expose you to them. They will see it all. 38 I will convict you of adultery and murder, and I will hand you over in bloody fury and zeal. 39 I will hand you over to them, and they will tear down your pavilion and destroy your platforms. They will strip you of your garments, take your beautiful jewels, and they will leave you completely naked. 40 They will bring an army against you, pelt you with stones, and slaughter you with their swords. 41 They will burn down your houses and execute judgments against you in the sight of many women. I will bring an end to your prostitution; indeed, you will never again give payment. 42 When I’ve satisfied my anger, and my rage has turned away from you, I will be calm and no longer angry. 43 Because you didn’t remember your youthful days, and infuriated me with all these things, I will hold you accountable for what you’ve done. This is what the Lord God says.

Have you not added bad reputation to all your detestable acts? 44 Now everyone who speaks in proverbs will say this about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are your mother’s daughter! She loathed her husband and also her children. You are just like your sisters too! They also loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite, and your father was an Amorite. 46 Your older sister is Samaria, who lives with her daughters in the north. Your younger sister is Sodom, who lives with her daughters in the south. 47 You didn’t follow in their ways or engage in their detestable practices in any small way. You were far more destructive. 48 As surely as I live, says the Lord God, not even your sister Sodom and her daughters did what you and your daughters have done! 49 This is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were proud, had plenty to eat, and enjoyed peace and prosperity; but she didn’t help the poor and the needy. 50 They became haughty and did detestable things in front of me, and I turned away from them as soon as I saw it.

51 Samaria didn’t sin even half as much as you did. You’ve so outstripped her in multiplying your detestable practices, with all the detestable things you’ve done, that you’ve even made your sisters seem innocent. 52 Bear your disgrace, which has actually improved your sisters’ position. Because your sins and detestable acts were greater than theirs, they are now more righteous than you. Be ashamed, and bear the disgrace of making your sisters righteous! 53 I will improve the circumstances of Sodom and her daughters and the circumstances of Samaria and her daughters. And what’s left of your fortune will go to them, 54 so that you will bear your disgrace and be humiliated by all that you’ve done to make them feel better. 55 Then your sister Sodom and her daughters will return to their former state, and your sister Samaria and her daughters will return to their former state. You and your daughters will return to your former state, 56 but you will no longer talk about your sister Sodom as in your haughty days 57 before your wickedness was exposed. You are now the reproach of all the daughters of Edom[d] and all those around her, including the daughters of the Philistines. They mock you on every side. 58 You alone must bear your bad reputation and your detestable ways. This is what the Lord says.

59 The Lord God proclaims: I will do to you just as you have done, despising solemn pledges and breaking covenants. 60 Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with you when you were young, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 And you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when in spite of your covenant I[e] take your big sisters and little sisters from you and give them back to you as daughters. 62 I myself will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 Then you will remember and be ashamed, and you won’t even open your mouth because of your shame, after I’ve forgiven you for all that you’ve done. This is what the Lord God says.

Transplanted cedar

17 The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, compose a riddle and a parable about the house of Israel. Say, The Lord God proclaims: The great eagle with great wings, long feathers, and full, colorful plumage came to Lebanon and took the top branch of the cedar. He plucked a twig from the cedar’s crown, brought it to the land of traders, and set it down in a city of merchants. He took a native seed and planted it in a prepared field, placing it like a willow beside plentiful water. It grew and became a low-spreading vine. Its foliage turned toward him, and its roots developed under him. And so it became a vine, and it produced branches and sent out its shoots.

Now there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage. This vine bent its roots and turned its branches toward him so that it might draw more water from him than from its own bed, a good field with plentiful water where it was planted to grow branches, bear fruit, and become a splendid vine. Say, The Lord God proclaims: Will it thrive? Won’t he tear out its roots, strip its fruit, and cause all the leaves of its branches to wither? It will dry up, and no one will need a strong arm or a mighty army to uproot it. 10 Though it is planted, will it thrive? When the east wind touches it, won’t it completely wither? On the bed in which it was planted, it will wither away.

11 The Lord’s word came to me: 12 Say now to the rebellious household: Don’t you know what these things mean? Say: The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and carried its king and its officers away with him to Babylon. 13 Then he took a prince from the royal line, made an agreement with him, and made him take a solemn pledge of loyalty. He also took away the land’s officials. 14 Thus it would be a lowly kingdom, not asserting its own interests but observing the agreement so that it would survive. 15 But the prince rebelled against him and sent messengers to Egypt to supply him with horses and a great army. Can such a person succeed? Can one who does these things escape? Can he overturn the agreement and escape capture? 16 As surely as I live, says the Lord God, he will die in Babylon, in the place of the king who gave him the authority to rule, whose solemn pledge he scorned and whose agreement he overturned. 17 Pharaoh won’t help him. There will be no strong force or mighty army in battle when siege ramps are set up and towers are built to eliminate many lives. 18 He scorned the solemn pledge and overturned the agreement! Even though he made a promise, he did all these things, and he won’t escape capture. 19 So now the Lord God proclaims: As surely as I live, it was my solemn pledge that he scorned and my agreement that he overturned, and I will hold him accountable. 20 I will spread my net over him, and he will be caught in my trap. I will bring him to Babylon, and I myself will enter into judgment with him there for rebelling against me. 21 All his elite fighters[f] along with all his troops will fall by the sword, and those who are left will be scattered to the winds. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken.

22 The Lord God proclaims: I myself will take one of the top branches from the tall cedar. I will pluck a tender shoot from its crown, and I myself will plant it on a very high and lofty mountain. 23 On Israel’s mountainous highlands I will plant it, and it will send out branches and bear fruit. It will grow into a mighty cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it and find shelter in the shade of its boughs. 24 Then all the trees in the countryside will know that I, the Lord, bring down the tall tree and raise up the lowly tree, and make the green tree wither and the dry tree bloom. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.

Sins of parents and children

18 The Lord’s word came to me: What do you mean by this proverb of yours about the land of Israel: “When parents eat unripe grapes, the children’s teeth suffer”? As surely as I live, says the Lord God, no longer will you use this proverb in Israel! All lives are mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child belong to me. Only the one who sins will die.

People are declared innocent when they act justly and responsibly. They don’t eat on the hills or give their attention to the idols of the house of Israel. They don’t defile the wives of their neighbors or approach menstruating women. They don’t cheat anyone, but fulfill their obligations. They don’t rob others, but give food to the hungry and clothes to the naked. They don’t impose interest or take profit. They refrain from evil and settle cases between people fairly. They follow my regulations, keep my case laws, and act faithfully. Such people are innocent, and they will live, proclaims the Lord God.

10 But suppose one of them has a violent child who sheds blood or does any one of these things, 11 even though his parents didn’t do any of them. He eats on the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, robs others and doesn’t fulfill his obligations, pays attention to the idols and does detestable things, 13 and takes interest and profit. Should he live? He should not. He engaged in all these detestable practices. He will surely die, and his blood will be on him.

14 But suppose he has a child who sees all the sins that his father committed. He becomes alarmed and doesn’t do them. 15 He doesn’t eat on the mountains or pay attention to the idols of the house of Israel. He doesn’t defile his neighbor’s wife. 16 He doesn’t cheat anyone, either by seizing collateral for loans or committing robbery. He gives his food to the hungry and clothes to the naked. 17 He refrains from oppressing the poor by taking neither interest nor profit. He observes my case laws and follows my regulations. He won’t die because of his father’s guilt. He will surely live. 18 As for his father: If he exploited the weak or committed robbery, or did anything else that wasn’t good for the people, he will die because of his own guilt.

19 You will say, “Why doesn’t the child bear his parent’s guilt?” The child has acted justly and responsibly. The child kept all my regulations and observed them. The child will surely live. 20 Only the one who sins will die. A child won’t bear a parent’s guilt, and a parent won’t bear a child’s guilt. Those who do right will be declared innocent, and the wicked will be declared guilty.

21 But if the wicked turn away from all the sins that they have committed, keep all my regulations, and act justly and responsibly, they will surely live and not die. 22 None of the sins that they committed will be held against them, but they will live because they do the right things. 23 Do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord God. Certainly not! If they change their ways, they will live.

24 If those who do the right thing turn from righteousness and engage in the same detestable practices that the wicked committed, can they do these things and live? None of their righteous deeds will be remembered. They will die because of their treacheries and sins. 25 But you say, “My Lord’s way doesn’t measure up.” Listen, house of Israel, is it my ways that don’t measure up? Isn’t it your ways that don’t measure up? 26 When those who do the right thing turn from their responsible ways and act maliciously, they will die because of it. For their malicious acts they will die. 27 And when the wicked turn from their wicked deeds and act justly and responsibly, they will preserve their lives. 28 When they become alarmed and turn away from all their sins, they will surely live; they won’t die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, “My Lord’s way doesn’t measure up.” Is it my ways that don’t measure up? Isn’t it your ways that don’t measure up, house of Israel? 30 Therefore, I will judge each of you according to your ways, house of Israel. This is what the Lord God says. Turn, turn away from all your sins. Don’t let them be sinful obstacles for you. 31 Abandon all of your repeated sins. Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? 32 I most certainly don’t want anyone to die! This is what the Lord God says. Change your ways, and live!


  1. Ezekiel 13:15 Syr, cf 13:12; MT There is no wall.
  2. Ezekiel 13:20 LXX; MT adds like birds.
  3. Ezekiel 16:36 Heb uncertain
  4. Ezekiel 16:57 Syr; MT Aram
  5. Ezekiel 16:61 LXX; MT you
  6. Ezekiel 17:21 LXX, Syr, Tg; MT his fugitives
Common English Bible (CEB)

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