21 [a]The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 2 “Son of man, turn to Jerusalem, preach against the holy places. Prophesy against the land of Israel. 3 Tell the land of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will take my sword out of its scabbard and kill the righteous people and the wicked people among you. 4 I’m going to kill the righteous people and the wicked people among you. That is why my sword will come out of its scabbard to be used against everyone from the south to the north. 5 Then everyone will know that I, the Lord, have taken my sword from its scabbard, and I will not put it back again.’
6 “So, son of man, groan with a breaking heart and with bitter crying while the people watch you. 7 When they ask you why you are groaning, say, ‘News has come that will discourage everyone. People’s hands will hang limp, their hearts will lose courage, and their knees will become as weak as water. It’s coming! It will surely take place!’ declares the Almighty Lord.”
8 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 9 “Son of man, prophesy. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
A sword, a sword is sharpened and polished, 10 It’s sharpened to kill and polished to flash like lightning. How can we rejoice? My son has refused to be disciplined or punished.[b] 11 The sword has been handed over to be polished, to be placed in the hand. The sword is being sharpened and polished to be placed in the hands of killers.
12 “‘Cry and mourn, son of man, because the sword will be used against my people and against all the princes of Israel. I will throw the princes and my people on the sword. So beat your breast, and grieve. 13 Testing will surely come. What if you refuse to be disciplined again? Won’t you be tested? declares the Almighty Lord. 14 So prophesy, son of man. Clap your hands! Let the sword strike again and again. It’s the sword for killing. It’s the sword for killing many people. It’s the sword that surrounds them. 15 I have appointed my sword to slaughter people at all their gates so that their hearts will sink and many will die. Yes! It’s ready to flash like lightning. It’s polished to kill. 16 Sword, cut to the right. Cut to the left or wherever your blade is turned. 17 I will also clap my hands and rest from my fury. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”
The Sword of the King of Babylon
18 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 19 “Son of man, mark two roads that the king of Babylon and his sword can take. Both of these roads should start from the same country. Make a sign, and put it where the roads start to fork toward the cities. 20 Mark the road that the king and his sword can take to the Ammonite city of Rabbah, and mark the road that leads to Judah and the fortified city of Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylon will stop where the roads branch off, where there is a fork in the road. Then he will look for omens. He will shake some arrows, ask his household gods for help, and examine animal livers. 22 The omens will indicate that he should go to the right, to Jerusalem. So he will set up his battering rams there, give the order to kill, raise a battle cry, aim the battering rams against the city gates, put up ramps, and set up blockades. 23 The people won’t believe this because they have made treaties with other nations. But the king of Babylon will remind them of their sins, and they will be captured.
24 “This is what the Almighty Lord says: You make people remember how sinful you are because you openly do wrong. You show your sins in everything you do. So you will be taken captive.
25 “You dishonest and wicked prince of Israel, the time for your final punishment has come. 26 This is what the Almighty Lord says: Take off your turban, and get rid of your crown. Things are going to change. Those who are unimportant will become important, and those who are important will become unimportant. 27 Ruins! Ruins! I will turn this place into ruins! It will not be restored until its rightful owner comes. Then I will give it to him.
28 “Son of man, prophesy. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says about the Ammonites and their insults:
A sword, a sword is drawn ready to kill. It’s polished to destroy and flash like lightning. 29 People see false visions about you and prophesy lies about you. The sword will be placed on the necks of dishonest, wicked people, for whom the time of final punishment has come.
30 “‘Return your sword to its scabbard. In the place where you were created, in the land where you were born, there I will judge you. 31 I will pour out my fury on you and breathe on you with my fiery anger. I will hand you over to cruel people who are skilled in destruction. 32 You will be fuel for the fire. You will die in the land. You will no longer be remembered. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”
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