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The Vision of Slaughter

Then [in my vision] I heard Him cry out with a thunderous voice, saying, “Approach now, executioners of the city, each with his weapon of destruction in his hand.” Behold, six men [angelic beings] came from the direction of the Upper Gate, which faces north, each with his battle-axe in his hand; and among them was a [a]certain man clothed in linen, with a scribe’s writing case at his side. They entered and stood beside the bronze altar.

Then the [[b]Shekinah] glory and brilliance of the God of Israel (the cloud) [c]went up from the cherubim on which it had rested, to [stand above] the threshold of the [Lord’s] temple. And the Lord called to the man clothed with linen, who had the scribe’s writing case at his side. The Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, throughout all of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh [in distress] and grieve over all the repulsive acts which are being committed in it.” But to the others I heard Him say, “Follow him [the man with the scribe’s writing case] throughout the city and strike; do not let your eyes have pity and do not spare [anyone]. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women; but do not touch or go near anyone on whom is the mark. Begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple [who did not have the Lord’s mark on their foreheads].(A) And He said to the executioners, “Defile the temple and fill its courtyards with the dead. Go out!” So they went out and struck down the people in the city. As they were executing them and I alone was left, I fell face downward and cried out, “Alas, Lord God! Will You destroy all that is left of Israel [the whole remnant] by pouring out Your wrath and indignation on Jerusalem?”

Then He said to me, “The wickedness (guilt) of the house of Israel and Judah is extremely great; the land is full of blood and the city is full of perversion and injustice; for they say, ‘The Lord has abandoned the land; the Lord does not see [what we are doing].’ 10 But as for Me, My eye will have no pity, nor will I spare, but I will bring their [wicked] conduct upon their [own] heads.”

11 Then behold, the man clothed in linen, who had the scribe’s writing case at his side, reported, “I have done just as You have commanded me.”

Vision of God’s Glory Departing from the Temple

10 Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse (firmament) that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared something [glorious and brilliant] above them looking like a [huge] sapphire stone, formed to resemble a throne. And the Lord spoke to the man (seventh angel) clothed in linen and said, “Go between the whirling wheels under the cherubim; fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And he entered as I watched.(B)

Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered; and a cloud [the Shekinah glory of God] filled the inner courtyard. Then the glory and brilliance of the Lord moved upward from the cherubim to [rest over] the threshold of the temple; and the temple was filled with the cloud and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the Lord’s glory.(C) And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard [even] as far as the outer courtyard, like the voice of [d]God Almighty when He speaks.(D)

It came about when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, “Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim,” the man entered and stood beside a wheel. Then a cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between [the four of] them, and took some [of it] and put it into the hands of the man clothed in linen, who took it and departed. Beneath their wings the cherubim seemed to have [something in] the form of a man’s hand.

Then I looked and behold, [there were] four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside one cherub and another wheel beside each other cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like a sparkling Tarshish stone (beryl). 10 As for their appearance, all four looked alike, as if one wheel were within another wheel. 11 When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. 12 Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes all around, even the wheels belonging to all four of them. 13 Regarding the wheels [attached to them], I heard them called, “the whirling (rolling, revolving) wheels.” 14 And each one had four faces: the first face was the face of the [e]cherub, the second the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

15 Then the cherubim rose upward. They are the [same four] living beings [regarded as one] that I saw by the River Chebar [in Babylonia].(E) 16 Now when the cherubim moved, the wheels would go beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the earth, the wheels would remain beside them. 17 When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose upward, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in these [wheels].(F)

18 Then the [Shekinah] glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and rested over the cherubim. 19 As I looked at them, the cherubim lifted up their wings and rose up from the earth, they departed with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord, and the glory and brilliance of the God of Israel hovered over them.

20 These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the River Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim. 21 Each one had four faces and each one had four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands. 22 As for the likeness of their faces, they were the same faces whose appearance I had seen by the River Chebar. Each one went straight forward.

Evil Rulers to Be Judged

11 Moreover, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the Lord’s house, which faced eastward. And behold, at the entrance of the gate there were twenty-five men; and I saw among them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. Then the Spirit said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise evil and give wicked advice in this city, who say, ‘Is not the time near to build houses? This city is [secure just like] the pot and we are the meat [in it].’ Therefore, prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man!”

Then the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and He said to me, “Say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “This is what you think, house of Israel, for I know your thoughts. You have multiplied your slain in this city, and you have filled its streets with the corpses [of righteous men].” Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Your dead whom you have laid in the midst of your city are the meat and this city is the pot; but I shall force you out of [the security of] it. You have feared the sword; so I will bring a sword upon you,” says the Lord God. “And I will bring you out of the midst of the city and hand you over to strangers and execute judgment against you. 10 You will fall by the sword; I will judge and punish you [in front of your neighbors] at the border of [the land of] Israel; and you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord. 11 This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be meat [safe] in it, but I will judge you at the border of Israel. 12 And you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord; for you have not walked in My statutes nor have you executed My ordinances, but you have acted in accordance with the ordinances of the nations around you.”’”

13 Now it came about while I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then I fell face downward and cried out loudly, “Alas, Lord God! Will You bring the remnant of Israel to a complete end?”

Promise of Restoration

14 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 15 “Son of man, your brothers, your relatives, your fellow exiles and the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those to whom the [present] inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far away from the Lord; this land has been given to us as a possession.’ 16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Though I had removed Israel far away among the nations and though I had scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary for them for a little while in the countries to which they had gone.”’ 17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give [back] to you the land of Israel.”’ 18 When they return there, they will remove from it all [traces of] its detestable things and all its repulsive things (remnants of paganism). 19 And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch],(G) 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart longs for and follows after their detestable things and their repulsive things [associated with idolatry], on their own head I will repay [them in full for] their [vile] conduct,” says the Lord God.

22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the [Shekinah] glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. 23 Then the glory and brilliance of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and paused over the mountain, [the Mount of Olives] which is east of the city. 24 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God to the exiles in Chaldea (Babylonia). Then the vision that I had seen left me. 25 Then I told the exiles everything that the Lord had shown me.

Ezekiel Prepares for Exile

12 The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, “Son of man, you live among a rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, who have ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious people.(H) Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for exile, and move into exile during the day when they will see you; even go into exile from your place to another place as they watch. Perhaps they will understand even though they are a rebellious people. Bring your [f]provisions and supplies out during the day as they watch, as provisions and supplies for [going into] exile. Then you shall go out at evening as they watch, as those going into exile. Dig through the wall as they watch and go out through the hole. As they look on, load the provisions and supplies on your shoulder and carry it out in the dark. You shall cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have set you as a sign to the house of Israel.”

I did as I had been commanded. I brought out my provisions and supplies during the day, like the provisions and supplies of an exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I brought out my provisions and supplies in the dark, carrying it on my shoulder as they watched.

In the morning the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, asked you, ‘What you are doing?’ 10 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “This [g]oracle (a burden to be carried) concerns the prince (Zedekiah) in Jerusalem as well as all the house of Israel who are there.”’ 11 Say, ‘I am a sign to you. As I have done, so it will be done to them; they will go into exile, into captivity.’ 12 The prince who is among them will load his provisions and supplies on his shoulder in the dark and go out. They will dig a hole through the wall to go out. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land with his eyes. 13 I will also spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the [h]Chaldeans; yet he will [i]not see it, though he will die there.(I) 14 I will scatter to every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops; and I will draw out a sword after them. 15 So they will know and understand fully that I am the Lord when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them among the [pagan] countries. 16 But I will leave a few [survivors] who will escape the sword, the famine, and the virulent disease, that they may confess all their repulsive (idolatrous) acts among the nations where they go, and may know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.”

17 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, eat your bread with anxiety, and drink your water with trembling and with fear. 19 Then say to the people of the land, ‘Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel, “They will eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water with horror, because their land will be stripped and looted of its fullness because of the violence of all those who live in it. 20 The cities that are inhabited will be in ruins and the land will be deserted; and you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.”’”

21 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have in the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days are long and every vision fails’? 23 Therefore tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer use it as a proverb in Israel.” But say to them, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For there will no longer be any false and empty vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I the Lord will speak, and whatever word I speak will be accomplished. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and I will fulfill it,” says the Lord God.’”

26 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 27 “Son of man, behold, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that Ezekiel sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies of the times that are far off.’ 28 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “None of My words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be fulfilled completely,”’” says the Lord God.

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 9:2 The linen clothing of the seventh angel denotes his superior rank.
  2. Ezekiel 9:3 The word Shekinah does not appear in the Bible, but it was used by ancient Jews to refer to the physical presence of God among men; usually the Shekinah glory.
  3. Ezekiel 9:3 God begins His departure from the temple.
  4. Ezekiel 10:5 Heb El Shaddai.
  5. Ezekiel 10:14 In 1:10, this face was described as that of an ox.
  6. Ezekiel 12:4 Lit baggage.
  7. Ezekiel 12:10 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.
  8. Ezekiel 12:13 The Chaldeans became the dominant people in Babylonia when Merodach-baladan declared himself king of Babylon. The words “Chaldean” and “Babylonian” are used interchangeably.
  9. Ezekiel 12:13 This prophecy was fulfilled as recorded in several Old Testament passages, especially note Jer 52:7-11. King Zedekiah’s eyes were blinded in Riblah before he was taken to Babylon, where he died. Therefore he did “not see it,” even though he died there.

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