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21 (21:6) And the Devar Hashem came unto me, saying,

(21:7) Ben adam, set thy face toward Yerushalayim, and preach against the mikdashim, and prophesy against Admat Yisroel,

(21:8) And say to Admat Yisroel, Thus saith Hashem: Hineni, I am against thee, will draw forth My cherev out of its sheath, will cut off from thee the tzaddik and the rasha.

(21:9) Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the tzaddik and the rasha, therefore shall My cherev go forth out of its sheath against kol basar from the Negev to the tzafon (north);

(21:10) That kol basar may know that I Hashem have drawn forth My cherev out of its sheath; it shall not return any more.

(21:11) Sigh therefore, thou ben adam, with a breaking heart; and with bitterness groan before their eynayim.

(21:12) And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Why sighest thou? That thou shalt answer, For the news; because it cometh; and every lev shall melt, and all hands shall go limp with fear, and every ruach shall faint, and all birkayim (knees) shall be weak as mayim; hinei, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith Adonoi Hashem.

(21:13) Again the Devar Hashem came unto me, saying,

(21:14) Ben adam, prophesy, and say, Thus saith Adonoi: Say, A cherev, a cherev is sharpened, and also polished;

10 (21:15) It is sharpened to make a dreadful tevo’ach; it is polished and lightening-like it flashes; should we then make mirth? The Shevet of Beni [Moshiach, Gn 49:10; 2Sm 7] despiseth kol etz (every tree).

11 (21:16) And it is given to be polished, that it may be grasped with the palm; this cherev is sharpened, and it is polished, to deliver it into the yad of the slayer.

12 (21:17) Cry and wail, ben adam; for it shall be upon My people, it shall be upon all the nasi’im of Yisroel; including terrors by reason of the cherev shall be upon My people; strike therefore upon thy thigh.

13 (21:18) Because it is a testing, and what? Even if you despise the scepter [of Moshiach], will it be no more? saith Adonoi Hashem.

14 (21:19) Thou therefore, ben adam, prophesy, and strike thine hands together, and let the cherev do double damage the third time, the cherev of the slain; it is the cherev for great slaughter—it surrounds them.

15 (21:20) I have set the point of the cherev against all their she’arim, that their lev may faint, and many may stumble. Ah! It is made for flashing, it is wrapped for slaughter.

16 (21:21) Go thee one way or the other, either on right hand, or on left, wherever thy face is appointed.

17 (21:22) I will also strike Mine palm together, and I will appease My chemah (wrath). I Hashem have said it.

18 (21:23) The Devar Hashem came unto me again, saying,

19 (21:24) Also, thou, ben adam, appoint thee two drakhim, that the cherev of Melech Bavel may come; both two shall come forth out of one land; and make a sign, put it at the rosh derech (crossroads) to the Ir.

20 (21:25) Appoint a derech, that the cherev may come to Rabbah Bnei Ammon, and to Yehudah in fortified Yerushalayim.

21 (21:26) For Melech Bavel stood at the fork in the derech, at the rosh of the two drakhim, to use divination; he shook his khitzim (arrows), he consulted with teraphim, he looked in the liver.

22 (21:27) At his right hand was the kesem (divination) for Yerushalayim, to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift up the voice with teru’ah (shouting), to appoint battering rams against the she’arim, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a siege work.

23 (21:28) And it shall be unto them as a kesem shav (false divination) in their sight, to them that have sworn shevu’ot (oaths); but he will call to remembrance the avon, that they may be seized.

24 (21:29) Therefore thus saith Adonoi Hashem; Because ye have made your avon to be remembered, in that your peysha’im are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be captured with the palm.

25 (21:30) And thou, profane wicked nasi of Yisroel, whose day is come, when avon shall have an end,

26 (21:31) Thus saith Adonoi Hashem; Remove the mitznefet (turban), and take off the ateret; nothing shall be the same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is exalted.

27 (21:32) I will make it overthrown, overthrown, overthrown: and it shall be no longer, ad bo asher lo hamishpat (until He come to whom the right it is); and I will give it him [Gn 49:10].

28 (21:33) And thou, ben adam, prophesy and say, Thus saith Adonoi Hashem concerning Bnei Ammon, and concerning their cherpah; even say thou: The cherev, the cherev is drawn; for the slaughter it is polished, to consume like lightning;

29 (21:34) While they see chazon shav (vain visions) for thee, while they divine a kazav (lie) unto thee, to bring thee upon the tzavarot (necks) of them that are slain, of the resha’im, whose day is come, when their avon shall have an end.

30 (21:35) Shall I cause it to return into its sheath? I will judge thee in the makom where thou wast created, in thine eretz moledet.

31 (21:36) And I will pour out Mine za’am (indignation) upon thee, I will blow against thee in the eish of My wrath, and deliver thee into the yad of brutal anashim, skillful in destruction.

32 (21:37) Thou shalt be for fuel to the eish; thy dahm shall be in the midst of ha’aretz; thou shalt be no more remembered; for I Hashem have spoken it.

Babylon as God’s Sword of Judgment

21 [a]The word of the Lord came to me:(A) “Son of man, set your face against(B) Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuary.(C) Prophesy against(D) the land of Israel and say to her: ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you.(E) I will draw my sword(F) from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked.(G) Because I am going to cut off the righteous and the wicked, my sword(H) will be unsheathed against everyone from south to north.(I) Then all people will know that I the Lord have drawn my sword(J) from its sheath; it will not return(K) again.’(L)

“Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief.(M) And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?(N)’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear(O) and every hand go limp;(P) every spirit will become faint(Q) and every leg will be wet with urine.’(R) It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘A sword, a sword,
    sharpened and polished—
10 sharpened for the slaughter,(S)
    polished to flash like lightning!

“‘Shall we rejoice in the scepter of my royal son? The sword despises every such stick.(T)

11 “‘The sword is appointed to be polished,(U)
    to be grasped with the hand;
it is sharpened and polished,
    made ready for the hand of the slayer.
12 Cry out and wail, son of man,
    for it is against my people;
    it is against all the princes of Israel.
They are thrown to the sword
    along with my people.
Therefore beat your breast.(V)

13 “‘Testing will surely come. And what if even the scepter, which the sword despises, does not continue? declares the Sovereign Lord.’

14 “So then, son of man, prophesy
    and strike your hands(W) together.
Let the sword strike twice,
    even three times.
It is a sword for slaughter—
    a sword for great slaughter,
    closing in on them from every side.(X)
15 So that hearts may melt with fear(Y)
    and the fallen be many,
I have stationed the sword for slaughter[b]
    at all their gates.
Look! It is forged to strike like lightning,
    it is grasped for slaughter.(Z)
16 Slash to the right, you sword,
    then to the left,
    wherever your blade is turned.
17 I too will strike my hands(AA) together,
    and my wrath(AB) will subside.
I the Lord have spoken.(AC)

18 The word of the Lord came to me: 19 “Son of man, mark out two roads for the sword(AD) of the king of Babylon to take, both starting from the same country. Make a signpost(AE) where the road branches off to the city. 20 Mark out one road for the sword to come against Rabbah of the Ammonites(AF) and another against Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen: He will cast lots(AG) with arrows, he will consult his idols,(AH) he will examine the liver.(AI) 22 Into his right hand will come the lot for Jerusalem, where he is to set up battering rams, to give the command to slaughter, to sound the battle cry,(AJ) to set battering rams against the gates, to build a ramp(AK) and to erect siege works.(AL) 23 It will seem like a false omen to those who have sworn allegiance to him, but he will remind(AM) them of their guilt(AN) and take them captive.

24 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do—because you have done this, you will be taken captive.

25 “‘You profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come,(AO) whose time of punishment has reached its climax,(AP) 26 this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take off the turban, remove the crown.(AQ) It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.(AR) 27 A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! The crown will not be restored until he to whom it rightfully belongs shall come;(AS) to him I will give it.’(AT)

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about the Ammonites(AU) and their insults:

“‘A sword,(AV) a sword,
    drawn for the slaughter,
polished to consume
    and to flash like lightning!
29 Despite false visions concerning you
    and lying divinations(AW) about you,
it will be laid on the necks
    of the wicked who are to be slain,
whose day has come,
    whose time of punishment has reached its climax.(AX)

30 “‘Let the sword return to its sheath.(AY)
    In the place where you were created,
in the land of your ancestry,(AZ)
    I will judge you.
31 I will pour out my wrath on you
    and breathe(BA) out my fiery anger(BB) against you;
I will deliver you into the hands of brutal men,
    men skilled in destruction.(BC)
32 You will be fuel for the fire,(BD)
    your blood will be shed in your land,
you will be remembered(BE) no more;
    for I the Lord have spoken.’”


  1. Ezekiel 21:1 In Hebrew texts 21:1-32 is numbered 21:6-37.
  2. Ezekiel 21:15 Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.