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Ezekiel 33 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Watchman and His Message

33 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will [a]save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have [b]delivered your soul.

10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine[c] away in them, how can we then live?” ’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

The Fairness of God’s Judgment

12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does [d]what is lawful and [e]right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

17 “Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not [f]fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. 19 But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not [g]fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”

The Fall of Jerusalem

21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been [h]captured!”

22 Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.

The Cause of Judah’s Ruin

23 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 24 “Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.’

25 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?” ’

27 “Say thus to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die of the pestilence. 28 For I will make the land most desolate, [i]her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. 29 Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.” ’

Hearing and Not Doing

30 “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. 33 And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 33:5 Or deliver his soul
  2. Ezekiel 33:9 Or saved your life
  3. Ezekiel 33:10 Or waste away
  4. Ezekiel 33:14 justice
  5. Ezekiel 33:14 righteousness
  6. Ezekiel 33:17 Or equitable
  7. Ezekiel 33:20 Or equitable
  8. Ezekiel 33:21 Lit. struck down
  9. Ezekiel 33:28 Lit. pride of her strength
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 33 New International Version (NIV)

Renewal of Ezekiel’s Call as Watchman

33 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of[b] them. How then can we live?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’ 13 If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done. 14 And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right— 15 if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. 16 None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.

17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it. 19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so. 20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”

Jerusalem’s Fall Explained

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen! 22 Now the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the Lord was on me, and he opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.

23 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’ 25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’

27 “Say this to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword, those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague. 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them. 29 Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done.’

30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 33:8 Or in; also in verse 9
  2. Ezekiel 33:10 Or away in
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ezekiel 33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The Watchman’s Duty

33 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people [who are exiled in Babylon] and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword on a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming on the land, and he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his [own] head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood shall be on himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, he is taken away because of his corruption and sin; but I will require his blood from the watchman’s hand.’

“Now as for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you shall hear a message from My mouth and give them a warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will certainly die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man will die because of his sin; but I will require his blood from your hand. But if you on your part warn the wicked man to turn from his [evil] way and he does not turn from his [evil] way, he will die in his sin; but you have saved your life.

10 “Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have said, “Truly our transgressions and our sins are on us, and we are rotting away because of them; how then can we live?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back (change your way of thinking), turn back [in repentance] from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ 12 And you, son of man, say to the sons of your people, ‘The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him in the day of his transgression; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stagger because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness, whereas a righteous man will not be able to live because of his [previous acts of] righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’ 13 When I say to the righteous that he will most certainly live, and he trusts in his [previous acts of] righteousness [to save him] and commits injustice, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but he will die for his injustice that he committed. 14 But when I say to the wicked, ‘You will certainly die,’ and he turns from his sin and practices that which is just (fair) and right— 15 if a wicked man returns [what he took as] a pledge, pays back what he had taken by robbery, walks in the statutes which ensure life, without committing injustice, he will certainly live; he will not die. 16 None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced that which is just (fair) and right; he will most certainly live.

17 “Yet your people [who are in exile in Babylon] say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right;’ but as for them, it is their own way that is not right. 18 When the righteous turns back from his righteousness and commits injustice, he will also die because of it. 19 But when a wicked man turns back from his wickedness and practices what is just (fair) and right, he will live because of it. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ O house of Israel, I will judge you, every one [of you] in accordance with his own ways!”

Word of Jerusalem’s Capture

21 In the twelfth year of our exile [in Babylon], on the fifth of the tenth month, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me, saying, “The city has been captured.” 22 Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me in the evening, before the survivor came. And He [a]opened my mouth at the time he came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened [in readiness] and I was no longer mute.

23 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, those [back in Palestine] who inhabit these ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was [only] one man and he took possession of the land, but we are many; the land has [most certainly] been given to us [to possess] as property.’ 25 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You eat meat with the blood in it and raise your eyes to your idols and shed blood. Should you take possession of the land? 26 You rely on your sword [as your security]; you commit outrageous and disgraceful acts and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then take possession of the land?”’ 27 You shall say this to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “As I live, those who are in the ruins certainly will fall by the sword, and I will give whoever is in the open field to the [predatory] animals to be devoured, and those who are in strongholds and in caves will die of virulent diseases. 28 And I will make the land [of Israel] a desolation and a ruin, and her pride in her power will be brought to an end; and the mountains of Israel will be so deserted that no one will pass through. 29 Then they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord, when I make the land a desolation and a ruin because of all the atrocities which they have committed.”’

30 “But as for you, son of man, your people who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses say one to another, every one to his brother, ‘Come now and hear what the message is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 They come to you as people come, and they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not practice them; for with their mouth they express loving devotion, but their heart goes after their (unlawful) gain. 32 Behold, you are to them like a love song by one who has a pleasant voice and plays well on a stringed instrument [merely to entertain them]; for they hear your words but do not practice them. 33 So when it comes to pass—as it most certainly will—then they will know [without any doubt] that a prophet has been among them.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 33:22 See note 24:27.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 33 New Living Translation (NLT)

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,[a] 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,[b] 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. 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.
  2. 33:25 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Ezekiel 33 The Message (MSG)

You Are the Watchman

33 1-5 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people. Tell them, ‘If I bring war on this land and the people take one of their citizens and make him their watchman, and if the watchman sees war coming and blows the trumpet, warning the people, then if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet and ignores it and war comes and takes him off, it’s his own fault. He heard the alarm, he ignored it—it’s his own fault. If he had listened, he would have saved his life.

“‘But if the watchman sees war coming and doesn’t blow the trumpet, warning the people, and war comes and takes anyone off, I’ll hold the watchman responsible for the bloodshed of any unwarned sinner.’

7-9 “You, son of man, are the watchman. I’ve made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked man, wicked woman, you’re on the fast track to death!’ and you don’t speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I’ll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don’t do it, they’ll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life.

10 “Son of man, speak to Israel. Tell them, ‘You’ve said, “Our rebellions and sins are weighing us down. We’re wasting away. How can we go on living?”’

11 “Tell them, ‘As sure as I am the living God, I take no pleasure from the death of the wicked. I want the wicked to change their ways and live. Turn your life around! Reverse your evil ways! Why die, Israel?’

12-13 “There’s more, son of man. Tell your people, ‘A good person’s good life won’t save him when he decides to rebel, and a bad person’s bad life won’t prevent him from repenting of his rebellion. A good person who sins can’t expect to live when he chooses to sin. It’s true that I tell good people, “Live! Be alive!” But if they trust in their good deeds and turn to evil, that good life won’t amount to a hill of beans. They’ll die for their evil life.

14-16 “‘On the other hand, if I tell a wicked person, “You’ll die for your wicked life,” and he repents of his sin and starts living a righteous and just life—being generous to the down-and-out, restoring what he had stolen, cultivating life-nourishing ways that don’t hurt others—he’ll live. He won’t die. None of his sins will be kept on the books. He’s doing what’s right, living a good life. He’ll live.

17-19 “‘Your people say, “The Master’s way isn’t fair.” But it’s the way they’re living that isn’t fair. When good people turn back from living good lives and plunge into sin, they’ll die for it. And when a wicked person turns away from his wicked life and starts living a just and righteous life, he’ll come alive.

20 “‘Still, you keep on saying, “The Master’s way isn’t fair.” We’ll see, Israel. I’ll decide on each of you exactly according to how you live.’”

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth day of the tenth month, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city’s fallen.”

22 The evening before the survivor arrived, the hand of God had been on me and restored my speech. By the time he arrived in the morning I was able to speak. I could talk again.

23-24 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, those who are living in the ruins back in Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man and he owned the whole country. But there are lots of us. Our ownership is even more certain.’

25-26 “So tell them, ‘God the Master says, You eat flesh that contains blood, you worship no-god idols, you murder at will—and you expect to own this land? You rely on the sword, you engage in obscenities, you indulge in sex at random—anyone, anytime. And you still expect to own this land?’

27-28 “Tell them this, Ezekiel: ‘The Message of God, the Master. As sure as I am the living God, those who are still alive in the ruins will be killed. Anyone out in the field I’ll give to wild animals for food. Anyone hiding out in mountain forts and caves will die of disease. I’ll make this country an empty wasteland—no more arrogant bullying! Israel’s mountains will become dangerously desolate. No one will dare pass through them.’

29 “They’ll realize that I am God when I devastate the country because of all the obscenities they’ve practiced.

30-32 “As for you, son of man, you’ve become quite the talk of the town. Your people meet on street corners and in front of their houses and say, ‘Let’s go hear the latest news from God.’ They show up, as people tend to do, and sit in your company. They listen to you speak, but don’t do a thing you say. They flatter you with compliments, but all they care about is making money and getting ahead. To them you’re merely entertainment—a country singer of sad love songs, playing a guitar. They love to hear you talk, but nothing comes of it.

33 “But when all this happens—and it is going to happen!—they’ll realize that a prophet was among them.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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