9 After that, I heard the Lord shout, “Come to Jerusalem, you men chosen to destroy the city. And bring your weapons!”
2 I saw six men come through the north gate of the temple, each one holding a deadly weapon. A seventh man dressed in a linen robe was with them, and he was carrying things to write with. The men went into the temple and stood by the bronze altar.
3 The brightness of God’s glory then left its place above the statues of the winged creatures[a] inside the temple and moved to the entrance. The Lord said to the man in the linen robe, 4 “Walk through the city of Jerusalem and mark the forehead of anyone who is truly upset and sad about the disgusting things that are being done here.”
5-6 He turned to the other six men and said, “Follow him and put to death everyone who doesn’t have a mark on their forehead. Show no mercy or pity! Kill men and women, parents and children. Begin here at my temple and be sure not to harm those who are marked.”
The men immediately killed the leaders who were standing there.
7 Then the Lord said, “Pollute the temple by piling the dead bodies in the courtyards. Now get busy!” They left and started killing the people of Jerusalem.
8 I was then alone, so I bowed down and cried out to the Lord, “Why are you doing this? Are you so angry at the people of Jerusalem that everyone must die?”
9 The Lord answered, “The people of Israel and Judah have done horrible things. Their country is filled with murderers, and Jerusalem itself is filled with violence. They think that I have deserted them, and that I can’t see what they are doing. 10 And so I will not have pity on them or forgive them. They will be punished for what they have done.”
11 Just then, the man in the linen robe returned and said, “I have done what you commanded.”
9.3the statues of the winged creatures: These were symbols of the Lord’s throne on earth (see Exodus 25.18-22; 1 Kings 6.23-28).
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