Parable of the Sword of the Lord

21 [a]And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, (A)set your face against Jerusalem, and [b](B)speak prophetically against the sanctuaries and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Behold, (C)I am against you; and I will draw My sword from its sheath and cut off from you the (D)righteous and the wicked. Because I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore My sword will go out from its sheath against [c](E)humanity from south to north. So [d]humanity will know that I, the Lord, have drawn My sword from its sheath. It will (F)not return to its sheath again.”’ As for you, son of man, groan with [e]a breaking heart and bitter grief; you shall groan in their sight. And when they say to you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the (G)news, for it is coming; and (H)every heart will melt, all hands will go limp, every spirit will be disheartened, and all [f]knees will drip with water. Behold, it is coming and it will happen,’ declares the Lord [g]God.”

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Lord says:’ Say,

(I)A sword, a sword sharpened
And also polished!
10 Sharpened to make a (J)slaughter,
Polished [h]to flash like lightning!’

Or shall we rejoice, the [i]rod of My son (K)despising every tree? 11 And it is given to be polished, so that it may be handled; the sword is sharpened and polished, to hand it over to the slaughterer. 12 (L)Cry out and wail, son of man; for it is against My people, it is against all the (M)officials of Israel. They are turned over to the sword with My people, therefore [j]slap your thigh. 13 For there is a testing; and what if even the [k]rod which despises will cease to be?” declares the Lord God.

14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy and clap your hands; and let the sword be (N)doubled the third time, the sword for the slain. It is the sword for the great one slain, which surrounds them, 15 so that their (O)hearts will waver, and many (P)fall at all their (Q)gates. I have granted the slaughter of the sword. Oh! It is made for striking like lightning, it is sharpened in readiness for slaughter. 16 Prove yourself sharp, go to the right; set yourself; go to the left, wherever your [l]edge is ordered. 17 I will also clap My hands, and I will (R)satisfy My wrath; I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Instrument of God’s Judgment

18 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 19 “Now as for you, son of man, [m](S)make two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come; both of them will go out of one land. And [n]make a signpost; [o]make it at the head of the way to the city. 20 You shall [p]mark a way for the sword to come to (T)Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, and to Judah into (U)fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the [q]parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use (V)divination; he (W)shakes the arrows, he consults the [r](X)household idols, he looks at the liver. 22 Into his right hand came the divination, ‘Jerusalem,’ to (Y)set up battering rams, to open the mouth [s]for [t]slaughter, to raise the voice with a battle cry, to set up battering rams against the gates, to pile up assault ramps, to build a siege wall. 23 And it will be to them like a false divination in their eyes; (Z)they have sworn solemn oaths. But he (AA)makes guilt known, so that they may be seized.

24 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: ‘Because you have made your guilt known, in that your offenses are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins are seen—because you have come to mind, you will be seized by the hand. 25 And you, slain, wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose (AB)day has come, in the time of the [u]punishment of the end,’ 26 this is what the Lord God says: ‘Remove the [v]turban and take off the (AC)crown; this will [w]no longer be the same. (AD)Exalt that which is low, and humble that which is high. 27 (AE)Ruins, ruins, ruins, I will make it! This also will be no longer until (AF)He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.’

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Lord God says concerning the sons of Ammon and their (AG)taunting,’ and say: ‘A sword, a sword is drawn, sharpened for the slaughter, to make it [x](AH)consume, so that it may be like lightning— 29 while they see (AI)false visions for you, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the wicked who are killed, whose day has come, in the (AJ)time of the [y]punishment of the end. 30 (AK)Return it to its sheath. In the (AL)place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 31 I will (AM)pour out My indignation on you; I will (AN)blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and I will hand you over to brutal men, (AO)craftsmen of destruction. 32 You will be [z](AP)fuel for the fire; your blood will be in the midst of the land. You will (AQ)not be remembered, for I, the Lord, have spoken.’”


  1. Ezekiel 21:1 Ch 21:6 in Heb
  2. Ezekiel 21:2 Lit flow
  3. Ezekiel 21:4 Lit all flesh
  4. Ezekiel 21:5 Lit all flesh
  5. Ezekiel 21:6 Lit shaking hips
  6. Ezekiel 21:7 Heb idiom meaning to wet oneself
  7. Ezekiel 21:7 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord, and so throughout the ch
  8. Ezekiel 21:10 Lit that lightning may be to her
  9. Ezekiel 21:10 Or scepter
  10. Ezekiel 21:12 I.e., in grief
  11. Ezekiel 21:13 Or scepter
  12. Ezekiel 21:16 Lit face
  13. Ezekiel 21:19 Or set for yourself
  14. Ezekiel 21:19 Lit cut out a hand
  15. Ezekiel 21:19 Lit cut it
  16. Ezekiel 21:20 Lit set
  17. Ezekiel 21:21 Lit mother
  18. Ezekiel 21:21 Heb teraphim
  19. Ezekiel 21:22 Lit in
  20. Ezekiel 21:22 Another reading is war-cry
  21. Ezekiel 21:25 Or wrongdoing
  22. Ezekiel 21:26 Or headband
  23. Ezekiel 21:26 Lit not this
  24. Ezekiel 21:28 Lit finish
  25. Ezekiel 21:29 Or wrongdoing
  26. Ezekiel 21:32 Lit food

The Sins of Israel

22 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then inform her of all her abominations. And you shall say, ‘This is what the Lord [a]God says: “A city (A)shedding blood in her midst, so that her time is coming; and a city that makes idols, contrary to her own good, for defilement! You have become (B)guilty by [b]the blood which you have shed, and you have become defiled by your idols which you have made. So you have brought your days closer and have come to your years; therefore I have made you a (C)disgrace to the nations, and an object of mocking to all the lands. Those who are near and those who are far from you will make fun of you, you of ill repute, full of (D)turmoil.

“Behold, the (E)rulers of Israel, each according to his [c]power, have been among you for the purpose of shedding blood. They have (F)treated father and mother with contempt among you. They have oppressed the (G)stranger in your midst; they have oppressed the (H)orphan and the widow among you. You have (I)despised My holy things and (J)profaned My Sabbaths. Slanderous men have been among you for the purpose of shedding blood, and among you they have eaten at the mountain shrines. In your midst they have (K)committed outrageous sin. 10 Among you [d]they have (L)uncovered their fathers’ nakedness; among you they have abused her who was (M)unclean in her menstruation. 11 And one has committed abomination with his (N)neighbor’s wife, another has outrageously defiled his (O)daughter-in-law, and another among you has sexually (P)abused his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 Among you they have (Q)taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken [e](R)interest, you have injured your neighbors by (S)oppression, and you have (T)forgotten Me,” declares the Lord God.

13 “Behold, then, I strike with My hand your (U)profit which you have made and [f]the bloodshed which is among you. 14 Can (V)your heart endure, or can your hands be strong for the days that I will deal with you? (W)I, the Lord, have spoken and will act. 15 And I will (X)scatter you among the nations and disperse you among the lands, and I will (Y)eliminate your uncleanness from you. 16 Then you will defile yourself in the sight of the nations, and you will (Z)know that I am the Lord.”’”

17 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become [g](AA)waste metal to Me; all of them are (AB)bronze, tin, iron, and lead in the (AC)smelting furnace; they are the [h]waste metal of silver. 19 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: ‘Because all of you have become [i]waste metal, therefore, behold, I am going to gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As they gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the (AD)smelting furnace to blow fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in My anger and in My wrath, and I will place you there and melt you. 21 And I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you will be melted in the midst of it. 22 As silver is melted in the furnace, so you will be melted in the midst of it; and you will know that I, the Lord, have (AE)poured out My wrath on you.’”

23 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, say to her, ‘You are a land that is (AF)not clean or rained on in the day of indignation.’ 25 There is a (AG)conspiracy of her prophets in her midst like a roaring lion tearing the prey. They have (AH)devoured lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many (AI)widows in the midst of her. 26 Her (AJ)priests have done violence to My Law and have (AK)profaned My holy things; they have made no (AL)distinction between the holy and the [j]common, and they have not taught the difference between the (AM)unclean and the clean; and they have closed their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am defiled among them. 27 Her leaders within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and (AN)destroying lives in order to make (AO)dishonest profit. 28 And her prophets have coated with whitewash for them, seeing (AP)false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘This is what the Lord God says,’ when the Lord has not spoken. 29 The people of the land have practiced (AQ)extortion and committed robbery, and they have oppressed the poor and needy, and have (AR)oppressed the stranger without justice. 30 I (AS)searched for a man among them who would (AT)build up a wall and (AU)stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found [k]no one. 31 So I have poured out My (AV)indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; I have brought (AW)their way upon their heads,” declares the Lord God.


  1. Ezekiel 22:3 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord, and so throughout the ch
  2. Ezekiel 22:4 Lit your
  3. Ezekiel 22:6 Lit arm
  4. Ezekiel 22:10 Lit he has
  5. Ezekiel 22:12 Possibly interest on money and food loans
  6. Ezekiel 22:13 Lit your
  7. Ezekiel 22:18 Lit dross
  8. Ezekiel 22:18 Lit dross
  9. Ezekiel 22:19 Lit dross
  10. Ezekiel 22:26 Lit profane
  11. Ezekiel 22:30 Lit not

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