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Jerusalem’s Desolation Foretold

“And you [Ezekiel], son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor and shave your head and your beard. Then take scales for weighing and divide the hair [into three parts]. You shall burn one third with fire in the center of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. Then you shall take one third and strike it with the sword all around the city, and one third you shall scatter to the wind; and I will unsheathe a sword behind them. Also take some of them and bind them in the edges of your robes. Again take some hair and throw them into the fire and burn them in the fire; from it a fire will spread to all the house of Israel.

“Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the center of the nations, and countries are around her. And she has rebelled against My ordinances more wickedly than the [pagan] nations and against My statutes more than the countries that are around her; for Israel has rejected My ordinances and has not walked in My statutes.’(A) Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor kept My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’(B) therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I, I Myself, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations, I will do among you that which I have not done, and the like of which I will not do again.(C) 10 Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments on you and I will scatter to all the winds the remnant of you.(D) 11 So, as I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you and withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare [you]. 12 One third of you will die of virulent disease or be consumed by famine among you; one third will fall by the sword around you; and one third I will scatter to all the winds, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them.

13 ‘Thus My anger will come to an end and I will satisfy My wrath on them, and I will be appeased; then they will know [without any doubt] that I the Lord have spoken in My zeal when I have spent My wrath on them.(E) 14 Moreover, I will make you a desolation and a disgrace among the nations which surround you and in the sight of all who pass by.(F) 15 So it will be a disgrace, a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the [pagan] nations who surround you when I execute judgments against you in anger and in wrath and in raging reprimands—I, the Lord, have spoken.(G) 16 When I send against them the deadly arrows of hunger which were for the destruction of those whom I will send to destroy you, then I will increase the famine upon you and break your staff of bread. 17 Further, I will send against you hunger and wild beasts, and they will bereave you of children; virulent disease and bloodshed also will pass through you, and I will bring the sword on you. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”

Idolatrous Worship Denounced

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them, and say, ‘You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places [of idolatrous worship], and your altars will become deserted and your pillars for sun-worship will be smashed in pieces; and I will throw down your slain in front of your idols [that cannot bring them back to life].(H) I will also lay the dead bodies of the children of Israel in front of their [Canaanite] idols; and I will scatter your bones all around your altars. Everywhere you live, the cities will become waste and the high places will become deserted, so that your altars may bear their guilt and become deserted, your idols may be broken and destroyed, your incense altars [for sun-worship] may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. The slain will fall among you, then you shall know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.

“Yet I will leave some of you alive [a remnant], for you will have some who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered throughout the countries. Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be exiled, how I have been broken by their lewdness and their adulterous hearts which have turned away from Me, and by their eyes which lust after their idols; and they will loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed, for all their repulsive acts. 10 Then they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord; I have not said in vain that I would bring this disaster [as punishment] on them.”’

11 “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Strike with your fist, stamp with your foot and say, “Alas, because of all the evil atrocities of the house of Israel, which will fall by sword, by famine, and by virulent disease! 12 He who is far away will die of the virulent disease, and he who is near will fall by the sword, and he who remains and is besieged will die by the famine. Thus I will spend My wrath on them. 13 Then you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord, when their slain are among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, under every leafy tree and under every oak with thick branches, the places where they offered sweet incense and a soothing aroma to all their idols. 14 And I will stretch out My hand against them and make the land a more desolate waste than the wilderness toward Diblah [the Moabite city], throughout all the places where they live; and they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.”’”

Punishment for Wickedness Foretold

Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Also, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel, ‘An end! The end is coming on the four corners of the land.(I) Now the end is upon you, and I will send My anger against you and will judge you in accordance with your ways and I will bring [retribution for] all your abominations upon you. For My eye will have no pity on you, nor will I spare you, but I will repay you for your evil ways, while your abominations are among you; and you will know (recognize, understand) [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.’

“Thus says the Lord God, ‘A disaster is coming, [one so destructive and injurious, so sudden and violent, that it stands alone,] a unique disaster, look it is coming! An end is coming; the end has come! It has awakened against you. Look, it has come! Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land; the time has come, the day is near—tumult rather than joyful shouting on the mountains. Now I will soon pour out My wrath on you and spend My anger against you, and I will judge you in accordance with your ways and will repay you [with punishment] for all your outrageous acts. My eye will show no pity nor will I spare [you]. I will repay you in accordance with your ways, while your abominations are in your midst; then you will know and understand that it is I, the Lord, who strikes you.

10 ‘Behold, the day! Behold, it is coming! Your doom has gone forth, the rod has blossomed, arrogance has sprouted. 11 Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness; none of them (Israel) will remain, none of their people, none of their wealth, nor anything eminent among them. 12 The time has come, the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice nor the seller mourn, for wrath is against all their multitude [of people]. 13 For the seller will not regain and return to [a]what he sold, even were they yet alive; for the vision [of punishment] regarding all the multitude [of people] will not be turned back, nor will any one of them sustain his life because of his sin.

14 ‘They have blown the trumpet and have made everything ready, but no one is going to the battle, for My wrath is against all their multitude [of people]. 15 The sword is outside and virulent disease and famine are within. He who is in the field will die by the sword, and famine and disease will devour those in the city. 16 Even when their survivors escape, they will be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, each over his [punishment for] sin. 17 All hands will hang limp and all knees will be as weak as water.(J) 18 They will also cover themselves with sackcloth; horror will overwhelm them, and shame will be on all faces and baldness on all their heads [as evidence of grief]. 19 They will fling their silver into the streets and their gold will be [discarded] like something unclean; their silver and their gold shall not be able to save them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. These [things] cannot satisfy their soul nor fill their stomachs, for they have become their stumbling block and source of sin.(K)

The Temple Profaned

20 As for the beauty of [gold for] ornaments, they turned it to pride and from it made the images of their repulsive things (idols) and of their vile things. Therefore I will make it an unclean thing to them. 21 I will give it into the hands of strangers (Babylonians) as plunder and to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they shall profane it. 22 I will also turn My face away from them, and they will desecrate My secret treasure (the Jerusalem temple); and robbers will enter [irreverently] into it (the Holy of Holies) and violate it.

23 ‘Prepare the chain [for imprisonment], for the land is full of bloody crimes [murders committed under the pretense of civil justice] and the city is full of violence. 24 Therefore, I will bring the worst of the [Gentile] nations, and they will take possession of their houses [those of the people of Judah]; I will also silence their pride, and their holy places will be profaned. 25 When anguish comes, they [of Judah] shall seek peace, but there will be none. 26 Disaster will come upon disaster and rumor will be heaped on rumor; they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the law and guidance will be lost from the priest and [wise] counsel [will cease] from the elders.(L) 27 The king [of Judah] will mourn and the prince (Zedekiah) will be clothed with [garments of] despair and anguish, and the hands of the people of the land shall tremble [in terror]. I will deal with them in accordance with their conduct, and by their judgments I will judge them. And they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.’”

Vision of Repulsive Acts in Jerusalem

It came about in the [b]sixth year [of the captivity of King Jehoiachin], on the fifth day of the sixth month, as I sat in my house [near Babylon] with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord [c]God fell on me there. Then I looked, and behold, a likeness [of a man] with the appearance of fire; from His [d]loins downward He was like fire, and from His loins upward He had the appearance of brightness, like gleaming metal (bronze). He stretched out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of hair on my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner courtyard, where the seat of the idol (image) of [e]jealousy, which provokes to jealousy, was located.(M) And behold, the glory and brilliance of the God of Israel [who had loved and chosen them] was there, like the vision which I saw in the plain.(N)

Then He said to me, “Son of man, now raise your eyes toward the north.” So I looked toward the north, and behold, to the north of the altar gate was this idol (image) of jealousy at the entrance. Furthermore, He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great repulsive acts which the house of Israel is committing here, to drive Me far away from My sanctuary? But you will again see greater repulsive acts.”

Then He brought me to the entrance of the courtyard; and when I looked, behold, [there was] a hole in the wall. He said to me, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.” And when I had dug into the wall, behold, there was an entrance. And He said to me, “Go in and see the wicked, repulsive acts that they are committing here.” 10 So I entered and looked, and saw every kind of creeping things and beasts and loathsome things, and all the idols of the house of Israel, carved all around on the wall. 11 Standing before these [images] were seventy elders of the house of Israel, and among them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan [the scribe], each man with his censer in his hand and a thick and fragrant cloud of incense was rising [as they prayed to these gods]. 12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, each man in his [secret] room of carved images? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has abandoned the land.’” 13 He also said to me, “Yet again you will see even greater repulsive acts which they are committing.”

14 Then He brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the Lord’s house; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for [f]Tammuz. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? Yet you will see still greater repulsive acts than these [that they are committing].”

16 So He brought me to the inner court of the Lord’s house. And behold, at the entrance to the temple of the Lord, between the porch (vestibule, portico) and the [bronze] altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east; and they were bowing down toward the east and worshiping the sun. 17 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? Is it too slight a thing for the house of Judah to commit the repulsive acts which they have committed here, that they have filled the land with violence and repeatedly provoked Me to anger? And behold, they are putting the [g]branch to their nose. 18 Therefore, I indeed will deal in wrath. My eye will have no pity nor will I spare [them]; and though they cry loudly in My ears, yet I will not listen to them.”(O)


  1. Ezekiel 7:13 I.e. his inherited land.
  2. Ezekiel 8:1 September 592 b.c.
  3. Ezekiel 8:1 Heb YHWH.
  4. Ezekiel 8:2 The midsection of the body from the lower ribs to the hips.
  5. Ezekiel 8:3 God does not tolerate the transfer of the honor and worship that is due Him to any other being or object.
  6. Ezekiel 8:14 A Babylonian god whose supposed death each summer caused the vegetation to wilt and die. In the spring he returned from the underworld bringing rain and new growth. His worship also involved fertility rituals.
  7. Ezekiel 8:17 The pagan object of worship is uncertain, but the act was contemptuous to God.

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