Ezekiel 20 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
Israel’s Past and Present Sins
20 On the tenth day of the fifth month in the seventh year, some of the leaders of Israel came to ask for the Lord’s help. They sat in front of me.
2 Then the Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 3 “Son of man, speak to the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Are you coming to ask me for help? As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, you will not be allowed to ask me for help.’
4 “Will you judge them? Will you judge them, son of man? Tell them about the disgusting things their ancestors did. 5 Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: When I chose Israel, I raised my hand and swore an oath to the descendants of Jacob’s family. I made myself known to them in Egypt. I made a promise to them and said, “I am the Lord your God.” 6 At that time I promised to bring them out of Egypt to a land that I had chosen for them. This land is the most beautiful land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 I said to them, “Get rid of the detestable idols that you look to for help. Don’t dishonor yourselves with the disgusting idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
8 “‘But they rebelled against me and refused to listen to me. Not one of them got rid of the detestable idols that they looked to for help. They didn’t abandon the disgusting idols of Egypt. So I was going to pour out my fury on them and unleash my anger on them in Egypt. 9 But I acted so that my name would not be dishonored among the nations where they were living. While other nations were watching, I made myself known to them by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt.
10 “‘So I brought the Israelites out of Egypt and led them into the desert. 11 I gave them my laws and made my rules known to them. If people obey them they will live. 12 I also gave them certain days to worship me as a sign between us so that they would know that I, the Lord, made them holy.
13 “‘But the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They didn’t live by my laws, and they rejected my rules. If people obey them, they will live. They dishonored the days of rest—holy days on which to worship me. So I was going to pour out my fury on them in the desert and completely wipe them out. 14 But I acted so that my name would not be dishonored among the nations who had watched me bring the Israelites out of Egypt. 15 I also swore an oath to them in the desert. I swore that I would not bring them into the land that I had promised to give them. This land is the most beautiful land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 16 They rejected my rules, and they didn’t live by my laws. They dishonored the days to worship me, because their hearts chased disgusting idols. 17 But I had compassion on them. I didn’t destroy them or completely wipe them out in the desert. 18 I said to their children in the desert, “Don’t live by the laws of your ancestors. Don’t obey their rules or dishonor yourselves with their disgusting idols. 19 I am the Lord your God. Live by my laws. Obey my rules and follow them. 20 Set apart certain holy days to worship me. This will be a sign between me and you so that you will know that I am the Lord your God.”
21 “‘But they rebelled against me. They didn’t live by my laws, and they didn’t obey my rules and follow them. If people obey them, they will live. They dishonored the days to worship me. So I was going to pour out my fury on them and unleash my anger on them in the desert. 22 But I didn’t use my power so that my name would not be dishonored among the nations who had watched me bring the Israelites out of Egypt. 23 I raised my hand and swore an oath to them in the desert. I promised to scatter them among the nations and force them into other countries. 24 They didn’t follow my rules, and they rejected my laws. They dishonored the days to worship me, and they looked to their ancestors’ disgusting idols for help. 25 I also allowed them to follow laws that were no good and rules by which they could not live. 26 I let them dishonor themselves when they sacrificed all their firstborn sons as gifts to their false gods. I terrified them so that they would know that I am the Lord.’
27 “Speak to the nation of Israel, son of man. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Your ancestors insulted me again because they were unfaithful to me. 28 I brought them to the land that I promised to give them. When they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, they made sacrifices and brought offerings there to make me angry. There they offered their sacrifices and poured out their wine offerings. 29 Then I asked them, “What is this worship site you’re going to?”’ (So it is still called ‘worship site’ today.)
30 “Tell the nation of Israel, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Will you dishonor yourselves the way your ancestors did? Will you chase their detestable idols like a prostitute? 31 You offer your children as sacrifices by burning them alive. You dishonor yourselves with all your disgusting idols to this day. Should you be allowed to ask me for help, nation of Israel?
“‘As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, you won’t be allowed to ask me for help. 32 What you have in mind will never happen. You think that you want to be like other nations, like the different people in other countries. You want to serve wood and stone.
33 “‘As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, I will rule you with a mighty hand and a powerful arm, and I will pour out my fury. 34 I will bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where I have scattered you with my mighty hand and powerful arm. I will pour out my fury. 35 I will bring you into the desert of the nations. There I will put you on trial face to face. 36 I will put you on trial as I put your ancestors on trial in the desert of Egypt, declares the Almighty Lord. 37 Then I will make you suffer punishment and make you keep the terms of the promise. [a] 38 I will get rid of rebels and those who do wrong against me. I will bring you out of the land where you are living. You will never enter Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
39 “‘Nation of Israel, this is what the Almighty Lord says: Serve your disgusting idols. But afterwards, you will listen to me. You will no longer dishonor my holy name with your gifts and your disgusting idols.
40 “‘The entire nation of Israel, everyone in the land, will worship me on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Almighty Lord. There I will accept you. There I will look for your offerings, your best gifts, and all your holy gifts. 41 When I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, I will accept you as if you were a pleasing sacrifice. Through you I will reveal myself as holy to the nations that are watching. 42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, because I will bring you to the land of Israel, the land that I promised to give your ancestors. 43 There you will remember the way you lived and everything you did to dishonor yourselves. You will be disgusted by every wrong thing that you did. 44 Then you will know that I am the Lord, because I will deal with you for the sake of my name. I will not deal with you based on the evil and corrupt things that you have done, nation of Israel, declares the Almighty Lord.’”[b]
The Burning Forest
45 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 46 “Son of man, turn to the south, preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest in the Negev. 47 Tell the forest in the Negev, ‘Listen to the Lord’s word. This is what the Almighty Lord says: I am about to set fire to you to destroy all your green trees and all your dry trees. The blazing fire will not be put out. It will burn the whole land from the south to the north. 48 Then everyone will know that I, the Lord, started the fire. It will never be put out.’”
49 Then I said, “Oh no! Almighty Lord, no! The people already say that I’m only telling stories.”
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Upgrade to the best Bible Gateway experience! With Bible Gateway Plus, you gain instant access to a digital Bible study library, including complete notes from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible and the New Bible Commentary. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.