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A Warning for Pharaoh

32 On March 3,[a] during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and give him this message:

“You think of yourself as a strong young lion among the nations,
    but you are really just a sea monster,
heaving around in your own rivers,
    stirring up mud with your feet.
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
I will send many people
    to catch you in my net
    and haul you out of the water.
I will leave you stranded on the land to die.
    All the birds of the heavens will land on you,
and the wild animals of the whole earth
    will gorge themselves on you.
I will scatter your flesh on the hills
    and fill the valleys with your bones.
I will drench the earth with your gushing blood
    all the way to the mountains,
    filling the ravines to the brim.
When I blot you out,
    I will veil the heavens and darken the stars.
I will cover the sun with a cloud,
    and the moon will not give you its light.
I will darken the bright stars overhead
    and cover your land in darkness.
    I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!

“I will disturb many hearts when I bring news of your downfall to distant nations you have never seen. 10 Yes, I will shock many lands, and their kings will be terrified at your fate. They will shudder in fear for their lives as I brandish my sword before them on the day of your fall. 11 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“The sword of the king of Babylon
    will come against you.
12 I will destroy your hordes with the swords of mighty warriors—
    the terror of the nations.
They will shatter the pride of Egypt,
    and all its hordes will be destroyed.
13 I will destroy all your flocks and herds
    that graze beside the streams.
Never again will people or animals
    muddy those waters with their feet.
14 Then I will let the waters of Egypt become calm again,
    and they will flow as smoothly as olive oil,
    says the Sovereign Lord.
15 And when I destroy Egypt
    and strip you of everything you own
and strike down all your people,
    then you will know that I am the Lord.
16 Yes, this is the funeral song
    they will sing for Egypt.
Let all the nations mourn.
    Let them mourn for Egypt and its hordes.
    I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Egypt Falls into the Pit

17 On March 17,[b] during the twelfth year, another message came to me from the Lord: 18 “Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations.[c] For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit. 19 Say to them,

‘O Egypt, are you lovelier than the other nations?
    No! So go down to the pit and lie there among the outcasts.[d]

20 The Egyptians will fall with the many who have died by the sword, for the sword is drawn against them. Egypt and its hordes will be dragged away to their judgment. 21 Down in the grave[e] mighty leaders will mockingly welcome Egypt and its allies, saying, ‘They have come down; they lie among the outcasts, hordes slaughtered by the sword.’

22 “Assyria lies there surrounded by the graves of its army, those who were slaughtered by the sword. 23 Their graves are in the depths of the pit, and they are surrounded by their allies. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have been slaughtered by the sword.

24 “Elam lies there surrounded by the graves of all its hordes, those who were slaughtered by the sword. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have descended as outcasts to the world below. Now they lie in the pit and share the shame of those who have gone before them. 25 They have a resting place among the slaughtered, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. Yes, they terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in shame with others in the pit, all of them outcasts, slaughtered by the sword.

26 “Meshech and Tubal are there, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. They once struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere. But now they are outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. 27 They are not buried in honor like their fallen heroes, who went down to the grave[f] with their weapons—their shields covering their bodies[g] and their swords beneath their heads. Their guilt rests upon them because they brought terror to everyone while they were still alive.

28 “You too, Egypt, will lie crushed and broken among the outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword.

29 “Edom is there with its kings and princes. Mighty as they were, they also lie among those slaughtered by the sword, with the outcasts who have gone down to the pit.

30 “All the princes of the north and the Sidonians are there with others who have died. Once a terror, they have been put to shame. They lie there as outcasts with others who were slaughtered by the sword. They share the shame of all who have descended to the pit.

31 “When Pharaoh and his entire army arrive, he will take comfort that he is not alone in having his hordes killed, says the Sovereign Lord. 32 Although I have caused his terror to fall upon all the living, Pharaoh and his hordes will lie there among the outcasts who were slaughtered by the sword. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Ezekiel as Israel’s Watchman

33 Once again a message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’

“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.

The Watchman’s Message

10 “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ 11 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?

12 “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. 13 When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. 14 And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. 15 For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. 16 None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live.

17 “Your people are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right,’ but it is they who are not doing what’s right. 18 For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. 19 But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live. 20 O people of Israel, you are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right.’ But I judge each of you according to your deeds.”

Explanation of Jerusalem’s Fall

21 On January 8,[h] during the twelfth year of our captivity, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” 22 The previous evening the Lord had taken hold of me and given me back my voice. So I was able to speak when this man arrived the next morning.

23 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 24 “Son of man, the scattered remnants of Israel living among the ruined cities keep saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he gained possession of the entire land. We are many; surely the land has been given to us as a possession.’ 25 So tell these people, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You eat meat with blood in it, you worship idols,[i] and you murder the innocent. Do you really think the land should be yours? 26 Murderers! Idolaters! Adulterers! Should the land belong to you?’

27 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those living in the ruins will die by the sword. And I will send wild animals to eat those living in the open fields. Those hiding in the forts and caves will die of disease. 28 I will completely destroy the land and demolish her pride. Her arrogant power will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so desolate that no one will even travel through them. 29 When I have completely destroyed the land because of their detestable sins, then they will know that I am the Lord.’

30 “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ 31 So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. 32 You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! 33 But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”

Footnotes

  1. 32:1 Hebrew On the first day of the twelfth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on March 3, 585 B.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  2. 32:17 Hebrew On the fifteenth day of the month, presumably in the twelfth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar (see 32:1). This would put this message at the end of King Jehoiachin’s twelfth year of captivity, on March 17, 585 B.c.; also see note on 1:1. Greek version reads On the fifteenth day of the first month, which would put this message on April 27, 586 B.c., at the beginning of Jehoiachin’s twelfth year.
  3. 32:18 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  4. 32:19 Hebrew the uncircumcised; also in 32:21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32.
  5. 32:21 Hebrew in Sheol.
  6. 32:27a Hebrew to Sheol.
  7. 32:27b The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  8. 33:21 Hebrew On the fifth day of the tenth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on January 8, 585 B.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  9. 33:25 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.

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