God’s Sword of Judgment

21 The word of the Lord came to me again: “Son of man, face(A) Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries. Prophesy against the land of Israel, and say to it, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you.(B) I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. Since I will cut off[a] both the righteous and the wicked, my sword will therefore come out of its sheath against all humanity from the south to the north.(C) So all humanity will know that I, the Lord, have taken my sword from its sheath—it will not be sheathed again.’(D)

“But you, son of man, groan! Groan bitterly with a broken heart[b] right before their eyes. And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ then say, ‘Because of the news that is coming.(E) Every heart will melt, and every hand will become weak. Every spirit will be discouraged, and all knees will run with urine.[c](F) Yes, it is coming and it will happen. This is the declaration of the Lord God.’”

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy, ‘This is what the Lord says!’ You are to proclaim,

‘A sword!(G) A sword is sharpened
and also polished.(H)
10 It is sharpened for slaughter,
polished to flash like lightning!
Should we rejoice?
The scepter of my son,
the sword despises every tree.[d]
11 The sword is given to be polished,
to be grasped in the hand.
It is sharpened, and it is polished,
to be put in the hand of the slayer.’(I)

12 “Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel! They are given over to the sword with my people. Therefore strike your thigh in grief.(J) 13 Surely it will be a trial! And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter will not continue.”[e] This is the declaration of the Lord God.

14 “So you, son of man, prophesy and clap your hands together:(K)

Let the sword strike two times, even three.
It is a sword for massacre,
a sword for great massacre—
it surrounds[f] them!
15 I have appointed a sword(L) for slaughter[g]
at all their gates,
so that their hearts may melt
and many may stumble.
Yes! It is ready to flash like lightning;(M)
it is drawn[h] for slaughter.
16 Slash to the right;
turn to the left—
wherever your blade is directed.

17 I also will clap my hands together, and I will satisfy my wrath.(N) I, the Lord, have spoken.”

18 The word of the Lord came to me: 19 “Now you, son of man, mark out two roads that the sword of Babylon’s king can take. Both of them should originate from the same land. And make a signpost at the fork in the road to each city. 20 Mark out a road that the sword can take to Rabbah of the Ammonites(O) and to Judah into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the split in the road, at the fork of the two roads, to practice divination: he shakes the arrows, consults the idols, and observes the liver. 22 The answer marked[i] Jerusalem appears in his right hand, indicating that he should set up battering rams,(P) give the order to[j] slaughter, raise a battle cry, set battering rams against the gates, build a ramp, and construct a siege wall. 23 It will seem like false divination to those who have sworn an oath to the Babylonians,[k](Q) but it will draw attention to their guilt so that they will be captured.

24 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: Because you have drawn attention to your guilt, exposing your transgressions, so that your sins are revealed in all your actions—since you have done this, you will be captured by them. 25 And you, profane and wicked prince of Israel,[l](R) the day has come(S) for your punishment.[m]

26 “This is what the Lord God says:

Remove the turban, and take off the crown.
Things will not remain as they are;[n]
exalt the lowly and bring down the exalted.(T)
27 A ruin, a ruin,
I will make it a ruin!
Yet this will not happen
until he comes;(U)
I have given the judgment to him.[o]

28 “Now you, son of man, prophesy, and say, ‘This is what the Lord God says concerning the Ammonites and their contempt.’ You are to proclaim,

‘A sword! A sword
is drawn for slaughter,
polished to consume,(V) to flash like lightning.
29 While they offer false visions(W)
and lying divinations about you,
the time has come to put you
to the necks of the profane wicked ones;
the day has come
for final punishment.

30 “‘Return it to its sheath!(X)
“‘I will judge you[p]
in the place where you were created,
in the land of your origin.
31 I will pour out my indignation on you;
I will blow the fire of my fury on you.(Y)
I will hand you over to brutal men,
skilled at destruction.
32 You will be fuel for the fire.
Your blood will be spilled within the land.
You will not be remembered,(Z)
for I, the Lord, have spoken.’”


  1. 21:4 Lit off from you
  2. 21:6 Lit insides, or waist
  3. 21:7 Lit knees will go water
  4. 21:10 Hb obscure
  5. 21:13 Hb obscure
  6. 21:14 Or penetrates
  7. 21:15 Hb obscure
  8. 21:15 Hb obscure
  9. 21:22 Lit The divination for
  10. 21:22 Lit rams, open the mouth in
  11. 21:23 Lit them
  12. 21:25 = King Zedekiah
  13. 21:25 Lit come in the time of the punishment of the end, also in v. 29
  14. 21:26 Lit This not this
  15. 21:27 Or comes to whom it rightfully belongs, and I will give it to him
  16. 21:30 = the Ammonites

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