8 Fourteen months after my first vision, on the fifth day of the sixth month of the sixth year, while I was sitting at my house, the elders of Judah came to me. The hand of the Eternal Lord fell upon me, and I had a vision. 2 I looked, and I saw what appeared to be a human—just as in my first vision. From his waist down I saw something like radiant fire, and from his waist up it was like gleaming metal surrounded by a glowing light. 3 He held out what looked to be a hand and seized me by the hair. The Spirit hoisted me up between heaven and earth and transported me—through a vision of God—to Jerusalem. I was taken just inside the entrance of the gate to the inner court that faces north where the infuriating image sat—the image that arouses God’s jealousy. 4 Right in front of me was the glory of the God of Israel, just as I had seen before in the plain.
Eternal One: 5 Son of man, lift your eyes and look northward.
So I looked to the north, and I couldn’t help noticing the infuriating image that arouses God’s jealousy beside the entrance to the altar’s gate.
Eternal One: 6 Son of man, do you see what they are doing right in front of the temple? The people of Israel are committing shocking actions that drive Me away from My own sanctuary! But you will see them doing things far worse than this.
7 He then led me to the entrance of the temple court. I looked and saw an opening in the wall.
Eternal One: 8 Son of man, dig through this wall.
So I dug through the wall, widening that small hole until I saw another entrance.
Eternal One: 9 Go inside, and witness the shocking sins being committed by the people of Israel.
10 And so I went in and looked around. It was unbelievable! There were engravings all over the wall of every forbidden thing—reptiles, impure animals, and all the lifeless idols worshiped by the people of Israel. 11 In front of the idols stood the 70 elders of Israel’s community, worshiping. Even Jaazaniah, son of Shaphan (a leader of Josiah’s reforms), was standing with them. Each one of the elders held a censer, and a perfumed cloud of incense was ascending from them.
Eternal One: 12 Son of man, are you seeing what each of the elders of Israel is doing in the dark with their carved images? They are foolish enough to say, “The Eternal does not see what we are doing since He abandoned the land to our Babylonian conquerors and their gods.”[a]
13 This isn’t even the worst of it. You will see them doing things far more shocking than this.
14 Then He led me to the entrance of the north-facing gate of the Eternal’s own sanctuary, and on the edge of the holiest ground in Judah, I saw women sitting around weeping for Tammuz.
Tammuz is a Babylonian god who descends every year into the underworld when the vegetation begins to die. Weeping is part of the religious rites performed for him.
Eternal One: 15 Are you seeing this, son of man? You will see things far more shocking than this.
16 Then He led me to the inner court of the Eternal’s temple. There, in that sacred place between the portico and the altar of burnt offerings, were roughly 25 men. They all had their backs to the temple of the Eternal One so they could face the east and bow to the rising sun.
Eternal One: 17 Are you seeing this, son of man? It’s bad enough that the people of Judah partake in the kind of shocking things that are happening here. But do they have to fill the land with violence and continue to arouse My anger with their disgusting acts over and over again? Look, they are putting the branch to their nose![b] 18 This is why I will respond in anger. I will not spare them or shed a single tear of compassion for them. No matter how loudly they plead to Me, I will not listen to them!