Parable of the Sword of the Lord
21 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and direct your [prophetic] word against the sanctuaries; prophesy against the land of Israel 3 and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am against you and will draw My sword out of its sheath and I will cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked, therefore My sword will go from its sheath against all flesh from south to north, 5 and all living will know [without any doubt] that I the Lord have drawn My sword out of its sheath; it will not be sheathed again.”’ 6 As for you, son of man, groan with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan in their sight. 7 And when they say to you, ‘Why do you sigh and groan?’ you shall answer, ‘Because of the news that is coming; and every heart will melt and all hands will be frail, and every spirit will faint and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it comes and it will happen,’ says the Lord God.”
8 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord.’ Say,
‘A sword, a sword [from Babylon] is sharpened
And also polished!
‘It is sharpened to make a slaughter,
Polished to flash and glimmer like lightning!’
Shall we then rejoice [when such a disaster approaches]? But it rejects and views with contempt the scepter of My son [Judah].(A) 11 The sword [of Babylon] is ready to be polished so that it may be handled and put to use; the sword is sharpened and polished to be put in the hand of the slayer (Nebuchadnezzar). 12 Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against My people; it is against all the princes of Israel. They are thrown to the sword along with My [terrified] people. Therefore strike your thigh and strike your chest [in grief]. 13 For this sword has been tested [on others]; and what if it views with contempt the scepter [of Judah]? The scepter shall be no more [but shall be swept away],” says the Lord God.
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and strike your hands together; and let the sword be doubled the third time [in intensity], the sword for the slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter which surrounds them [so that no one can escape, even by hiding in their inner rooms], 15 so that hearts may melt, and many will fall at their gates. I have given the glittering sword. Ah! It is made [to flash] like lightning; it is pointed and sharpened for slaughter. 16 Turn O sword and cut right or cut left, whichever way your thirst for blood and your edge direct you. 17 I will also strike My hands together, and I will cause My wrath to rest. I the Lord have spoken.”
The Instrument of God’s Judgment
18 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 19 “As for you, son of man, mark out two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come, both starting from the same land. And make a signpost; place it at the head of the way to the city. 20 You shall point out a way for the [Babylonian] sword to come to Rabbah [the capital] of the sons of Ammon, and to Judah into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the fork of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows, he consults the teraphim (household idols), he looks at the liver [of an animal for an omen]. 22 In his right hand is the lot marked for Jerusalem: to set battering rams, to open the mouth calling for destruction, to lift up the voice with a war cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to put up assault ramps, and to build siege walls. 23 It will seem like a false divination in their eyes, those who have sworn solemn oaths [of allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar]. But he will remind them of their guilt [by rebelling and violating their oath], that they may be caught.(B)
24 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have caused your guilt to be remembered, in that your rebellion is uncovered, so that your sins appear in everything that you do—because you have come to mind, you will be seized with the hand [of the enemy]. 25 And you, O dishonored and wicked one [Zedekiah], the prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of final punishment is here,’ 26 thus says the Lord God, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; things shall not remain as they have been. Exalt that which is low and abase the high. 27 A ruin, a ruin, I will make it a ruin! It shall no longer exist until He comes whose right it is [to reign], and I will give it to Him.’(C)
28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God concerning the sons of Ammon and concerning their reproach (disgrace),’ and say: ‘A sword, a sword is drawn for the slaughter; it is sharpened and polished to put an end [to everything], and to flash like lightning, 29 while they (Ammonite prophets) see false visions [of peace] for you, while they divine lies [of escape] for you—to place you [of Ammon] on the headless bodies of the wicked who are slain, whose day has come, whose time of the final punishment is here. 30 Return the sword to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin (birth), I will judge you. 31 I will pour out My indignation on you [sons of Ammon]; I will blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and I will place you in the hand of brutal men, skilled in destruction. 32 You will be fuel for the fire; your blood will be in the midst of the land. You will not be remembered, for I the Lord have spoken.’”(D)