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Ezekiel 19-24 Common English Bible (CEB)

A mother’s sons

19 You, raise a lament for Israel’s princes. Say:

What a lioness among lionesses was your mother!
    She bedded down among the strong young lions and reared her cubs.
    She singled out one of her cubs and he became a strong young lion;
    he learned to tear flesh and devour humans.
When the nations heard about him, they caught him in their trap
    and carried him with hooks to the land of Egypt.
When she realized that she waited in vain, her hope faded.
    So she took another of her cubs and set him up as a strong young lion.
He went on the prowl with the other lions and became a strong young lion.
    He learned to tear flesh and devour humans;
    he ravaged[a] their widows and laid waste to their cities.
When the earth and everything in it became horrified by the sound of his raging,
    the nations from the surrounding regions allied against him.
They cast their nets over him and caught him in their trap.
    They put a collar on him and brought him with hooks.
    They brought him with nets to the king of Babylon
        so that his voice would no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel.

The proud mother

10 Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard[b] planted beside the waters;
    she bore lush fruit and foliage because of the plentiful water,
11     and she produced mighty branches, fit for rulers’ scepters.
She grew tall, and her crown went up between the clouds.
    Because of her height and thick growth, she became conspicuous.
12     So she was struck down in anger,
        thrown down to the ground.
The east wind dried her out and destroyed her fruit;
    it sapped the branch of its strength,
    and fire consumed it.
13 So now she is planted in the desert,
    in a parched and thirsty land,
14     and fire has gone out from her branch and consumed her foliage and fruit,
        leaving her no strong branch
        or ruler’s scepter.

This is a lamentation, and it will serve as a lamentation.

History of rebellion

20 In the seventh year, on the tenth day of the fifth month, some of Israel’s elders came to inquire of the Lord. As they were sitting with me, the Lord’s word came to me: Human one, speak to Israel’s elders and say to them, The Lord God proclaims: Have you come to petition me? As surely as I live, I reject your petitions. This is what the Lord God says! Will you judge them, human one, will you judge them? Then expose to them the detestable practices of their ancestors. Say to them, The Lord God proclaims: On the day I chose Israel, I swore a solemn pledge to the descendants of Jacob’s household. When I made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I swore a solemn pledge: I am the Lord your God. On that day I swore that I would lead them out of the land of Egypt to a land that I would show them, a land full of milk and honey, the most splendid of all lands. And I said to them, Every one of you must cast away your disgusting things. Don’t let yourselves be defiled by Egypt’s idols. I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me and refused to listen to me. No one cast off their disgusting things or abandoned their Egyptian idols. So I declared that I would pour out my wrath on them and satisfy my anger against them in the land of Egypt. But I acted for my name’s sake, so that it wouldn’t be degraded in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, and in whose sight I made it known that I would lead them out of the land of Egypt.

10 So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the desert. 11 I gave them my regulations and made known to them my case laws, which bring life to all who observe them. 12 I also gave them my sabbaths as a sign between us that I, the Lord, have set them apart for my purpose.[c] 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They didn’t follow my regulations and rejected my case laws, which bring life to all who observe them. They completely degraded my sabbaths. So I declared that I would pour out my anger against them and destroy them in the desert. 14 But instead, I acted for the sake of my name so that it wouldn’t be degraded in the sight of the nations who saw me lead them out of Egypt. 15 So in the desert I swore another solemn pledge, that I wouldn’t bring them to the land that I had given to them, a land full of milk and honey, a land more splendid than any other, 16 because they rejected my case laws, didn’t follow my regulations, and degraded my sabbaths. They had their hearts set on their idols. 17 But I had too much compassion to destroy them, so I didn’t put an end to them in the desert.

18 In the desert, I said to their children, Don’t follow your parents’ regulations or observe their case laws or become defiled by their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God! Follow my regulations! Observe my case laws and do them! 20 Make my sabbaths holy, and let them be a sign between us that I am the Lord your God. 21 But the children rebelled against me. They didn’t follow my regulations or observe my case laws, which bring life to all who observe them. They also degraded my sabbaths. So I declared that I would pour out my wrath on them and satisfy my anger against them in the desert. 22 But I restrained myself and acted for the sake of my name so that it wouldn’t be diminished in the sight of the nations who saw me lead them out of Egypt. 23 And I swore yet another solemn pledge in the desert, that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them throughout the earth, 24 because they didn’t observe my case laws, they rejected my regulations, and they degraded my sabbaths while they kept looking to their parents’ idols. 25 I also issued regulations that were not good and case laws by which they could not live. 26 I defiled them with their very gifts when they offered up all their oldest children. They were supposed to be so horrified that they would acknowledge that I am the Lord.

27 Therefore, human one, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, The Lord God proclaims: Yet again your ancestors defamed me by rebelling against me! 28 I brought them into the land that I swore to give to them. But when they saw all the high hills and lofty trees, there they made their sacrifices: irksome offerings here, pleasing aromas there, and drink offerings elsewhere! 29 I said to them, What shrine are you going to now? So it’s called Shrine[d] to this very day.

30 So now say to the house of Israel, The Lord God proclaims: Will you defile yourselves as your ancestors did, and will you prostitute yourself after their disgusting things? 31 When you offer up your gifts and make your children pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this very day. Should I let you seek me out, house of Israel? This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, I won’t let you seek me. 32 What is in your minds will never happen! You’ve been saying, “Let’s be like the nations and the clans of the lands in the service of wood and stone.” 33 This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, with a strong hand, an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, I will be your king! 34 I will lead you out from the peoples and gather you from the countries where you’ve been scattered—yes, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out! 35 I will march you out to the wilderness nations, and there I will 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. This is what the Lord God says. 37 I will make you walk under the rod, and I will bring you into the covenant bond. 38 I will remove from among you those who rebel and transgress against me. I will lead them out from the land where they lived as immigrants, but they won’t enter Israel’s fertile land. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

39 But to you, house of Israel, the Lord God proclaims: Go ahead and serve your idols, all of you! But afterward, if any of you are left to listen to me,[e] you will no longer make my holy name impure with your gifts or your idols! 40 On my holy mountain, on the high mountain in Israel, the whole house of Israel will serve me there—every one of them in the land! This is what the Lord God says. There I will accept them, and there I will ask for their offerings, their finest gifts, and all their holy things. 41 When I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you are scattered, I will accept you as a pleasing aroma. Through you I will be made holy in the sight of the nations. 42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you to Israel’s fertile land, to the land that I swore to give to your ancestors. 43 There you will remember how your ways and all your wicked deeds defiled you, and you will loathe yourselves for all the wicked things that you’ve done. 44 Then, house of Israel, you will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for the sake of my name and not according to your wicked ways and ruinous deeds. This is what the Lord God says.

Fire in the southern plain

45 [f] The Lord’s word came to me: 46 Human one, face Teman, preach against the south, and prophesy against the thicket in the arid southern plain. 47 Say to the thicket in the arid southern plain: Hear the Lord God’s word. This is what the Lord God says: I’m about to set a fire in you, and it will consume every green and every dry tree in you. Its blazing flame won’t be put out, and everything from south to north will be scorched. 48 Everyone will see that I, the Lord, have set it on fire. It won’t be quenched. 49 Then I said, “Oh, Lord God! They say about me, ‘Isn’t he one for making metaphors?’”

The sword

21 [g] The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, face Jerusalem, preach against their sanctuary, and prophesy against Israel’s fertile land. Say to Israel’s fertile land, The Lord proclaims: I’m now against you! I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off both the righteous and the wicked from you. In order to cut off the righteous and wicked from you, my sword will go out from its sheath against everyone from south to north. And everyone will know that I, the Lord, have taken my sword out of its sheath. It won’t be put away again.

You, human one, groan in their sight; groan bitterly with trembling knees. If they ask you why you’re groaning, say to them, “Because of the news.” When it comes, every heart will despair, every hand will hang lifeless, every spirit will be listless, and urine will run down every leg. It’s coming! It will happen! This is what the Lord God says.

The sword dance

The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, prophesy! Say, The Lord proclaims! Say:

A sword! A sharp and polished sword!
10     For utter slaughter it is sharpened,
    polished to flash like lightning.
Let’s not rejoice, because no one will escape the purge.[h]
11 He appoints it for polishing, to seize in the hand.
    The sword is sharpened, it is polished;
    it is ready for the destroyer’s hand.
12 Human one, cry aloud, and wail,
    for it comes against my people,
    against all of Israel’s princes,
        handed over to the sword along with my people.
    Therefore, strike your thigh. 13 He’s testing.
When even the rod rejects,
    will it not certainly happen?[i]
    This is what the Lord God says.

14 And you, human one, prophesy!
Strike hand to hand.
    Let the sword strike twice, three times!
It’s a deadly sword,
    a great deadly sword.
It whirls around them
15     to make hearts shudder,
    to make many stumble and fall.
I’ve set the slaughtering sword
    against all their gates.
Oh! It’s crafted to flash like lightning,
    polished for slaughter!
16 Stab again and again! Plunge right,
    plunge left, wherever your edge goes.
17 It is I who strike hand to hand!
    I’ll satisfy my wrath! I, the Lord, have spoken.

Guilt remembered

18 The Lord’s word came to me: 19 You, human one, mark two roads for the coming of the sword of the king of Babylon. They should diverge from a single country. Where the road to the city begins, set up a sign, 20 and point out the way for the sword to come: “To Rabbah of the Ammonites” or “To Judah in its stronghold Jerusalem.” 21 The king of Babylon stands at the fork in the road where the two roads begin and performs his divinations. He shakes the arrows, consults the divine images, and inspects the liver. 22 On his right side appeared the omen for Jerusalem: to put battering rams in place, to proclaim war and raise the alarm, to place battering rams against the gates, and to set up siege ramps and build towers. 23 It seems to them like a lying divination, because solemn pledges had been sworn to them. But he will remind them of their guilt, and they will be captured.

24 So the Lord God proclaims: Now that you have remembered your guilt and your treacheries are exposed, your sins can be seen in everything you do. Because you have brought your guilt to light, you will be captured! 25 But you vile, wicked prince of Israel whose day has come, the time of final punishment, 26 this is what the Lord God says: Remove the turban, take off the crown! Nothing will be as it was. Bring down the exalted, and exalt the lowly. 27 A ruin, ruin, ruin, I’ll make it! Such a thing has never happened! Even before the rightful judge comes, I’ve handed it over to him.

Avenging Ammon’s disgrace

28 You, human one, prophesy and say, The Lord God proclaims to the Ammonites concerning their disgrace. Say, Sword! Sword unsheathed for slaughter, burnished, battle-ready,[j] flashing like lightning: 29 False visions and lying divinations set you against the necks of vile, wicked men whose day had come, the time of final punishment. 30 Return it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 31 I will pour out my wrath against you. With a raging fire I will blow against you, and I will hand you over to those who burn and forge destruction. 32 Fire will consume you, your blood will sink into the earth, and you will no longer be remembered. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Bloody city

22 The Lord’s word came to me: You, human one, will you judge? Will you judge the bloody city? Then explain all her detestable practices to her. Say, The Lord God proclaims: City, self-destructive blood-letter, self-defiling idol maker: All the blood that you’ve shed is your punishment, and all the idols that you’ve made are your defilement. This is how you’ve shortened your days and hastened the end[k] of your years! For this reason I’ve given you over to the ridicule of nations and the derision of every land. Those from near and far will mock your infamous name and great chaos. Look, Israel’s princes, every one of them, have joined forces to shed blood in you. In you they treat father and mother with contempt. In you they oppress immigrants and deny the rights of orphans and widows. You despise my holy things and degrade my sabbaths. In you slanderers show up to shed blood. In you they eat on the mountains. In you they do obscene things. 10 In you a father’s nakedness is uncovered. In you menstruating women are violated. 11 Every man engages in detestable practices with his neighbor’s wife, every man defiles his daughter-in-law with obscene acts, and every man violates his sister, his own father’s daughter. 12 In you they take bribes to shed blood. You collect interest and fees, you profit by extorting your neighbor, and you neglect even me! This is what the Lord God says.

13 I now strike my hands over your ill-gotten gain and blood that’s been shed in you. 14 Will your strength and courage endure when I deal with you? I am the Lord: I speak, and I act! 15 I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you throughout the lands, and so I will remove your uncleanness from you. 16 When you are degraded[l] like this in the sight of the nations, then you will know that I am the Lord.

17 The Lord’s word came to me: 18 Human one, the house of Israel has become a waste product for me. They are all copper, tin, iron, and lead. In the furnace, they’ve become the waste product of silver. 19 So this is what the Lord God says: Because you’ve all become a waste product, I’m now gathering you into the middle of Jerusalem. 20 Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are collected and placed in a furnace to fan the flames under them and melt them down, so in my anger and rage I will collect you, put you in, and melt you down. 21 I will gather you, fan the flames of my wrath under you, and melt you down in the middle of it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you will be melted in it. You will know that I, the Lord, have poured out my rage on you.

23 The Lord’s word came to me: 24 Human one, say to her, You are an unclean land without rain on the day of reckoning. 25 The conspiracy of princes[m] in her is like a roaring lion ripping up prey. They’ve piled up wealth and precious goods and made many widows in her. 26 Her priests have done violence to my instructions and made my holy things impure. They have not clearly separated the holy from the ordinary, and they have not taught the difference between unclean and clean things. They’ve disregarded my sabbaths. So I’ve been degraded among them. 27 The officials in her are like wolves ripping up prey. They shed blood and destroy lives for unjust riches. 28 Her prophets have whitewashed everything for them, seeing false visions and making wrong predictions for them, saying, “This is what the Lord God says,” when the Lord hasn’t spoken. 29 The important people of the land have practiced extortion and have committed robbery. They’ve oppressed the poor and mistreated the immigrant. They’ve oppressed and denied justice. 30 I looked for anyone to repair the wall and stand in the gap for me on behalf of the land, so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. But I couldn’t find anyone. 31 So I’ve poured out my anger on them. With my furious fire I’ve finished them off. I’ve held them accountable. This is what the Lord God proclaims.

Two sisters

23 The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, there were two women, daughters of one woman. When they were girls in Egypt, they began to prostitute themselves by allowing their young and nubile breasts to be touched and fondled. The older sister was named Oholah, and the younger sister was named Oholibah. They became mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Now Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. But Oholah became unfaithful to me and lusted after her lovers the Assyrians: warriors dressed in fine blue cloth, governors and officers, charioteers and horsemen, all of them the most handsome of men. She sought them out to seduce them, all of them men of the highest rank of Assyria. She defiled herself by everyone she lusted after and also by all their idols. But she never gave up her promiscuities with the Egyptians, who had slept with her in her girlhood and fondled her nubile breasts, and who continued to seduce her. Therefore, I handed her over to her lovers, to the Assyrians for whom she lusted. 10 They stripped her naked, took her sons and daughters, and killed her with the sword. And she became notorious among women for the punishments they enacted against her.

11 Her sister Oholibah saw it, and she proceeded to outdo her sister in her lust and in her seductions. 12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and officers, warriors richly clothed, charioteers and horsemen, all of them the most handsome of men. 13 I saw that she too defiled herself. Both had the same tendencies, 14 but she was even more promiscuous. She saw men carved in wall reliefs, images of Chaldeans outlined in vermilion, 15 wearing only loincloths around their hips and flowing headbands on their heads. All of them had the appearance of warriors of the third rank, the likeness of Babylonians whose native land is Chaldea. 16 Aroused just by looking at them, she sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 The Babylonians came to her to lie down and make love with her, defiling her with their seductions. But once she had defiled herself with them, she recoiled from them in disgust. 18 When her seductions became known and her nakedness exposed, I recoiled from her just as I had recoiled from her sister. 19 But she added to her promiscuities, bringing to mind her youthful days when she was a prostitute in the land of Egypt. 20 She lusted after their male consorts, whose sexual organs were like those of donkeys, and whose ejaculation was like that of horses. 21 She relived the wicked days of her youth, when the Egyptians touched and fondled her young and nubile breasts.

22 So Oholibah, the Lord God proclaims: I’m now inciting your lovers against you, all those from whom you recoiled, and I will bring them against you from all around— 23 Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, all the Assyrians with them, the most handsome young men, all of them governors and officers, career officers and conscripts, all of them on horseback. 24 They will come against you with weapons,[n] chariots, and wagons, and with a great army, with shield, buckler, and helmet; and they will surround you. I will hand your punishment over to them, and they will judge you according to their laws. 25 I will direct my passion against you, and they will deal with you in wrath. They will cut off your nose and ears, and those who are left will fall by the sword. They will seize your sons and daughters, and those who are left will be burned with fire. 26 They will strip your clothing from you and remove your beautiful crown. 27 That’s how I will put an end to your lewdness and your Egyptian-styled promiscuity. Never again will you stare at them, and you won’t remember Egypt anymore. 28 The Lord God proclaims: I’m now handing you over to those whom you hate and from whom you recoil. 29 They will deal hatefully with you: They will seize your pay and leave you completely naked. Your promiscuity, betrayal, and seductions will be exposed. 30 This will be done to you because you sold yourself to the nations and became defiled by their idols. 31 You followed in your sister’s path, so I have put her cup into your hand.

32 The Lord God proclaims:

Deep and wide is your sister’s cup. Drink!
    Appointed for abuse and scorn, it overflows.
33 You will be filled with drunken sadness.
    A cup of devastation and dismay
        is the cup of your sister Samaria.
34 Drink it, drain it dry, break it into pieces,
    and tear off your breasts, for I have spoken.
This is what the Lord God says.

35 So now the Lord God proclaims: Because you forgot me and turned your back on me, you alone will bear the consequences of your betrayal and promiscuities.

36 Then the Lord said to me, Human one, judge Oholah and Oholibah, and make known their detestable practices to them. 37 They committed adultery, so now blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols, and they even took their children whom they had borne to me and offered them up to be consumed for them. 38 They also did this to me: On the same day, they made my sanctuary unclean and made my sabbaths impure. 39 When they slaughtered their children for their idols, they came into my sanctuary and made it impure on that very same day. They actually did this inside my temple. 40 They even sent for men who came from a great distance. No sooner than a messenger was sent, they arrived! For these men you bathed, you painted your eyes, and you put on your jewelry. 41 You took your place on a splendid couch with a richly set table in front of it, and you set my incense and my oil on it. 42 The sound of a noisy crowd was around her. Men from the common multitude, drinkers of wine, were brought from the desert. They put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I thought, For a foolish woman they become adulterers! Incited by her seduction, they prostitute themselves—for her![o] 44 They come as if coming to a prostitute, first to Oholah, and then to Oholibah, those traitorous women. 45 But men who do the right thing will judge them, and they will be punished as adulterers and murderers, because they are in fact adulterers, and blood is on their hands.

46 The Lord God proclaims: Bring up an assembly against them, and decree terror and plunder for them. 47 Let the assembly stone them! Let them carve them up with their swords, slay their sons and daughters, and burn their houses with fire! 48 So I will put an end to betrayal in the land. Taking warning, no woman will betray as you have done. 49 You will be held accountable for your betrayals, and you will bear the sins of your idols. Then you will know that I am the Lord God.

The useless pot

24 In the ninth year, on the tenth day of the tenth month, the Lord’s word came to me: Human one, write down today’s date, because today the king of Babylon has set up camp at Jerusalem—today! Compose a parable for the rebels’ household and say to them, The Lord God proclaims:

Put on the pot, set it on,
    and fill it with water.
Add meat to it,
    every good piece.
    With shoulder and thigh,
    the meatiest bones, fill it up.
Take the flock’s best animal;
    arrange the wood[p] beneath it.
Bring it to a rolling boil,
    and cook its bones in it.

The Lord God proclaims: Horror! You bloody city, you corroded pot; pot whose corrosion can’t be removed! Empty it piece by piece. She is rejected[q] because her blood is still with her. She didn’t pour it out on the ground so that it could be covered with dirt, but she spread it out on a bare rock. In order to arouse wrath, to guarantee vengeance, I will spread her blood on a bare rock, never to be covered.

So now the Lord God proclaims:

Horror! You bloody city!
    I myself will add fuel to the fire!
10 Pile on the wood, light the fire, and cook the meat.
    Season it well and let the bones be charred.
11 Let the pot stand empty on its coals
    until it’s so hot that its copper glows,
    its impurities melt in it,
    and its corrosion is consumed.
12 It’s a worthless task.
    Even by fire its great corrosion isn’t removed.

13 How your betrayals defile you! I cleansed you, but you didn’t come clean from your impurities. You won’t be clean again until I have exhausted my anger against you. 14 I, the Lord, have spoken! It’s coming, and I’ll do it. I won’t relent or have any pity or compassion. Your punishments will fit your ways and your deeds! This is what the Lord God says.

Ezekiel’s wife dies

15 The Lord’s word came to me: 16 Human one, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you in a single stroke. Don’t mourn or weep. Don’t even let your tears well up. 17 Sigh inwardly; be deathly still. Don’t perform mourning rites, but bind on your turban and put your shoes on your feet. And don’t cover your upper lip or eat in human company.

18 I spoke with the people in the morning, and by evening my wife was dead. The next morning I did as I was commanded. 19 The people asked, “Won’t you tell us what your actions mean for us?”

20 So I said to them, The Lord’s word came to me: 21 Say to the house of Israel, the Lord God proclaims: I’m about to make my sanctuary impure, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes. Your heart’s desire, the sons and daughters you left behind, will fall by the sword. 22 You will do as I have done. You will neither cover your upper lip nor eat in human company. 23 Your turbans will be on your heads, your sandals on your feet. You won’t mourn or weep. You will waste away in your guilt, all of you groaning to each other. 24 Ezekiel is your sign. You will do everything that he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Lord God.

25 And you, human one: On the day that I take from them their proud stronghold—their crowning joy, the delight of their eyes—and their sons and daughters, whose fate weighs on them, 26 on that day, a refugee will come to you so that you yourself will hear the news. 27 On that day your mouth will be opened to the refugee, and you will speak and no longer be silent. You will be their sign, and they will know that I am the Lord.


  1. Ezekiel 19:7 Or knew
  2. Ezekiel 19:10 Or in your blood
  3. Ezekiel 20:12 Or to make them holy
  4. Ezekiel 20:29 Heb sounds like Where are you going?
  5. Ezekiel 20:39 Heb uncertain
  6. Ezekiel 20:45 21:1 in Heb
  7. Ezekiel 21:1 21:6 in Heb
  8. Ezekiel 21:10 Heb uncertain
  9. Ezekiel 21:13 Heb uncertain
  10. Ezekiel 21:28 Or to take in the hand
  11. Ezekiel 22:4 LXX, Syr; Vulg time; MT until
  12. Ezekiel 22:16 MT adds in you.
  13. Ezekiel 22:25 LXX; MT prophets
  14. Ezekiel 23:24 Heb uncertain
  15. Ezekiel 23:43 Heb uncertain
  16. Ezekiel 24:5 Or bones
  17. Ezekiel 24:6 Or the lot did not fall to her
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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