Ezekiel Is Watchman for Israel
33 The ·Lord spoke his word [L word of the Lord came] to me, saying: 2 “·Human [T Son of man; 2:1], speak to your people and say to them: ‘Suppose I bring a war against a land. The people of the land may choose one of their men and make him their watchman. 3 When he sees the ·enemy [L sword] coming ·to attack [against] the land, he will blow the trumpet and warn the people. 4 If they hear the sound of the trumpet but do ·nothing [not heed], the ·enemy [L sword] will come and ·kill them [L take them away]. ·They will be responsible for their own deaths [L Their blood will be on their own head]. 5 They heard the sound of the trumpet but didn’t ·do anything [heed the warning]. So ·they are to blame for their own deaths [L their blood will be on their own head]. If they had ·done something [taken the warning], they would have saved their own lives. 6 But if the watchman sees the ·enemy [L sword] coming to attack and does not blow the trumpet, the people will not be warned. Then if the ·enemy [L sword] comes and ·kills [L takes away] any of them, they have died because of their own sin. But I will ·punish [hold accountable] the watchman for their ·deaths [L blood].’
7 “You, ·human [T son of man; 2:1], are the one I have made a watchman for [L the house of] Israel. If you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them for me. 8 Suppose I say to the wicked: ‘Wicked people, you will surely die,’ but you don’t speak to warn the wicked to ·stop doing evil [turn from their ways]. Then they will die ·because they were sinners [for their iniquity], but I will ·punish you [hold you accountable] for their deaths. 9 But if you warn the wicked to ·stop doing evil [turn from their ways] and they do not stop, they will die ·because they were sinners [for their iniquity]. But you have saved your life.
10 “So you, ·human [T son of man; 2:1], say to [L the house of] Israel: ‘You have said: Surely our ·lawbreaking [transgressions] and sins are ·hurting [L upon] us. ·They will kill us [We are wasting/rotting away because of them]. What can we do so we will live?’ 11 Say to them: ‘The Lord God says: As surely as I live, I ·do not want any who are wicked to die [L take no pleasure in the death of the wicked]. I want them to ·stop doing evil [turn from their ways] and live. ·Stop [Turn]! ·Stop [Turn from] your wicked ways! ·You don’t want to die, do you [L Why will you die], ·people [L house] of Israel?’
12 “·Human [T Son of man; 2:1], say to your people: ‘The ·goodness [righteousness] of ·those who do right [the righteous] will not save them ·when they sin [L in the day of their rebellion]. The ·evil of wicked people [wickedness of the wicked] will not cause them to ·be punished [stumble] if they stop doing it. If ·good people [the righteous] sin, they will not be able to live by the ·good [righteousness] they did earlier.’ 13 If I tell ·good people [the righteous], ‘You will surely live,’ they might ·think they have done enough good [L trust in their righteousness] and then do evil. Then none of the ·good [righteous] things they did will be remembered. They will die because of the ·evil [iniquity] they have done. 14 Or, if I say to the wicked people, ‘You will surely die,’ they may stop sinning and do what is right and ·honest [just]. 15 For example, ·they [L the wicked one] may ·return what somebody gave them as a promise to repay a loan [restore the pledge], or pay back what they stole. If they live by the ·rules [statutes] that give life and do not ·sin [do evil; practice iniquity], then they will surely live, and they will not die. 16 None of the sins they have committed will be ·held [L remembered] against them. They now do what is right and ·fair [just], so they will surely live.
17 “Your people say: ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their own ways that are not ·fair [just]. 18 When the ·good people [righteous] ·stop doing good [turn from righteousness] and do evil, they will die for their evil. 19 But when the wicked ·stop doing evil [turn from sin] and do what is right and ·fair [just], they will live. 20 You still say: ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Israel, I will judge all of you ·by [according to] your own ways.”
The Fall of Jerusalem Explained
21 It was in the twelfth year [C since King Jehoiachin’s exile (1:2)], on the fifth day of the tenth month [C January 19, 585 bc]. A ·person who had escaped [survivor; refugee; fugitive] from Jerusalem came to me and said, “Jerusalem has been ·captured [struck down].” 22 Now ·I had felt the power of the Lord [L the hand of the Lord was] on me the evening before. He had ·made me able to talk again [L opened my mouth] before this person came to me. ·I could speak [L He opened my mouth]; I was not without speech anymore [C see 3:24–27].
23 Then the ·Lord spoke his word [L word of the Lord came] to me, saying: 24 “·Human [T Son of man; 2:1], people who live in the ruins in the land of Israel are saying: ‘Abraham was only one person, yet he was given the land as his own. Surely the land has been given to us, who are many, as our ·very own [possession].’ 25 So say to them: ‘This is what the Lord God says: You eat meat with the blood still in it [C forbidden in the law; Lev. 19:26], you ·ask your idols for help [L raise your eyes to your idols], and you ·murder people [L shed blood]. Should you then ·have the land as your very own [possess the land]? 26 You depend on your sword and do ·terrible things that I hate [detestable/abominable things]. Each of you ·has sexual relations with [defiles] his neighbor’s wife. So should you ·have [possess] the land?’
27 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, those who are among the city ruins in Israel will ·be killed in war [L fall by the sword]. I will cause those who live in the ·country [open field] to be eaten by wild animals. People ·hiding in [L in] the strongholds and caves will die of ·disease [plague; pestilence]. 28 I will make the land an ·empty desert [desolate wasteland]. ·The people’s pride in the land’s power [L …and her confident pride] will end. The mountains of Israel will become ·empty [desolate] so that no one will pass through them. 29 They will know that I am the Lord when I make the land an ·empty desert [desolate wasteland] because of the things they have done that ·I hate [are detestable/abominable].’
30 “But as for you, ·human [T son of man; 2:1], your people are talking about you by the walls and in the doorways of houses. They say to each other: ‘Come now, and hear the message from the Lord.’ 31 So they come to you in crowds as ·if they were really ready to listen [or they usually do; or people do]. They sit in front of you as if they were my people and hear your words, but they will not ·obey [do] them. With their mouths they ·tell me they love me [or talk lustfully], ·but [or and] their hearts ·desire [pursue] their selfish profits. 32 [L Look; T Behold] To your people you are nothing more than a singer who sings ·love [or sensual; lustful] songs and has a beautiful voice and plays a musical instrument well. They hear your words, but they will not ·obey [do] them.
33 “When this comes true, and it surely will happen, then the people will know that a prophet has been among them.”