Ezekiel 20 Common English Bible (CEB)
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, 2 the Lord’s word came to me: 3 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! 4 Will you judge them, human one, will you judge them? Then expose to them the detestable practices of their ancestors. 5 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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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.[a] 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[b] 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,[c] 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 [d] 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?’”