Ezekiel 21-23 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Lord Will Punish Jerusalem
21 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the places in Jerusalem where people worship. Warn everyone in Israel 3 that I am about to punish them. I will pull out my sword and have it ready to kill everyone, whether good or evil. 4 From south to north, people will die, 5 knowing that my sword will never be put away.
6 Ezekiel, groan in sorrow and despair so that everyone can hear you. 7 When they ask why you are groaning, tell them you have terrifying news that will make them faint and tremble in fear and lose all courage. These things will happen soon. I, the Lord God, make this promise!
A Sword Is Ready To Attack Israel
8 The Lord said:
9-10 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Jerusalem:
I have sharpened my sword
12 Groan in sorrow, Ezekiel;
14 Ezekiel, warn my people,
The King of Babylonia and His Sword
18 The Lord said:
19 Ezekiel, son of man, mark two roads for the king of Babylonia to follow when he comes with his sword. The roads will begin at the same place, but be sure to put up a signpost where the two roads separate and go in different directions. 20 Clearly mark where the two roads lead. One goes to Rabbah, the capital of Ammon, and the other goes to Jerusalem, the fortified capital of Judah. 21 When the Babylonian king stands at that signpost, he will decide which way to go by shaking his arrows, by asking his idols, and by carefully looking at the liver of a sacrificed animal.[d] 22 His right hand will pull out the arrow marked “Jerusalem.” Then he will immediately give the signal to shout the battle cry, to build dirt ramps to the top of the city walls, to break down its walls and gates with large wooden poles, and to kill the people. 23 Everyone in Jerusalem had promised to be loyal to Babylonia, and so none of them will believe that this could happen to them. But Babylonia’s king will remind them of their sinful ways and warn them of their coming captivity.
24 Ezekiel, tell the people of Jerusalem and their ruler that I, the Lord God, am saying:
Everything you do is wicked and shows how sinful you are. You are guilty and will be taken away as prisoners.
25 And now, you evil and wicked ruler of Israel, your day of final punishment is almost here. 26 I, the Lord God, command you to take off your royal turban and your crown, because everything will be different. Those who had no power will be put in charge, and those who now rule will become nobodies. 27 I will leave Jerusalem in ruins when my chosen one comes to punish this city.
Judgment against Ammon
28 The Lord God said:
Ezekiel, son of man, the Ammonites have insulted Israel, so condemn them and tell them I am saying:
A sword is drawn,
29 You wicked Ammonites see false visions and believe untrue messages. But your day of punishment is coming soon, and my sword will slaughter you!
30 Your days to punish others are over, so put your swords away.[e] You will be punished in the land of your birth. 31 My furious anger will scorch you like fire, and I will hand you over to cruel men who are experts in killing. 32 You will be burned and will die in your own land. Then you will be forgotten forever. I, the Lord, have spoken.
Jerusalem Is Condemned
22 Some time later, the Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, are you ready to condemn Jerusalem? That city is filled with murderers, so remind the people of their sins 3 and tell them I am saying:
Jerusalem, you have murdered many of your own people and have worshiped idols. You will soon be punished! 4 Those crimes have made you guilty, and the idols have made you unacceptable to me. So your final punishment is near. Other nations will laugh at you and make insulting remarks, 5 and people far and near will make fun of your misery.
6 Your own leaders use their power to murder. 7 None of you honor your parents, and you cheat foreigners, orphans, and widows. 8 You show no respect for my sacred places and treat the Sabbath just like any other day. 9 Some of your own people tell lies, so that others will be put to death. Some of you eat meat sacrificed to idols at local shrines, and others never stop doing vulgar things. 10 Men have sex with their father’s wife or with women who are having their monthly period 11 or with someone else’s wife. Some men even sleep with their own daughter-in-law or half sister. 12 Others of you accept money to murder someone. Your own people charge high interest when making a loan to other Israelites, and they get rich by cheating. Worst of all, you have forgotten me, the Lord God.
13 I will shake my fist in anger at your violent crimes. 14 When I’m finished with you, your courage will disappear, and you will be so weak that you won’t be able to lift your hands. I, the Lord, have spoken and will not change my mind. 15 I will scatter you throughout every nation on earth and put a stop to your sinful ways. 16 You[f] will be humiliated in the eyes of other nations. Then you will know that I, the Lord God, have done these things.
Jerusalem Must Be Purified
17 The Lord said:
18 Ezekiel, son of man, I consider the people of Israel as worthless as the leftover metal in a furnace after silver has been purified. 19 So I am going to bring them together in Jerusalem. 20-21 I will be like a metalworker who collects that metal from the furnace and melts it down. I will collect the Israelites and blow on them with my fiery anger. They will melt inside the city of Jerusalem 22 like silver in a furnace. Then they will know that I, the Lord, have punished them in my anger.
Everyone in Jerusalem Is Guilty
23 The Lord said:
24 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Israel that their country is full of sin, and that I, the Lord, am furious! 25 Their leaders are like[g] roaring lions, tearing apart their victims. They put people to death, then steal everything of value. Husbands are killed, and many women are left as widows.
26 The priests of Israel ignore my Law! Not only do they refuse to respect any of my sacred things, but they don’t even teach the difference between what is sacred and what is ordinary, or between what is clean and what is unclean. They treat my Sabbath like any other day, and so my own people no longer honor me.
27 Israel’s officials are like ferocious wolves, ripping their victims apart. They make a dishonest living by injuring and killing people.
28 And then the prophets in Israel cover up these sins by giving false visions. I have never spoken to them, but they lie and say they have a message from me. 29 The people themselves cheat and rob; they abuse the poor and take advantage of foreigners.
30 I looked for someone to defend the city and to protect it from my anger, as well as to stop me from destroying it. But I found no one. 31 So in my fierce anger, I will punish the Israelites for what they have done, and they will know that I am furious. I, the Lord, have spoken.
Two Sinful Sisters
23 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, listen to this story about two sisters. 3 While they were young and living in Egypt, they became prostitutes. 4 The older one was named Oholah, which stands for Samaria; the younger one was Oholibah, which stands for Jerusalem.[h] They became my wives and gave birth to my children.
5 Even though Oholah was my wife, she continued to be a prostitute and chased after Assyrian lovers. 6 She offered herself to soldiers in purple uniforms, to every handsome, high-ranking officer, and to cavalry troops. 7 She had sex with all the important Assyrian officials and even worshiped their disgusting idols. 8 Once she started doing these things in Egypt, she never stopped. Men slept with her, and she was always ready for sex.
9 So I gave Oholah to the Assyrian lovers she wanted so badly. 10 They ripped off her clothes, then captured her children and killed her. Women everywhere talked about what had happened to Oholah.
11 Oholibah saw all this, but she was more sinful and wanted sex more than her sister Oholah ever did. 12 Oholibah also chased after good-looking Assyrian officers, uniformed soldiers, and cavalry troops. 13 Just like her sister, she did vulgar things.
14 But Oholibah behaved worse than her sister. Oholibah saw images of Babylonian men carved into walls and painted red. 15 They had belts around their waists and large turbans on their heads, and they reminded her of Babylonian cavalry officers. 16 As soon as she looked at them, she wanted to have sex with them. And so, she sent messengers to bring them to her. 17 Men from Babylonia came and had sex with her so many times that she got disgusted with them. 18 She let everyone see her naked body and didn’t care if they knew she was a prostitute. That’s why I turned my back on her, just as I had done with her older sister.
19 Oholibah didn’t stop there, but became even more immoral and acted as she had back in Egypt. 20 She eagerly wanted to go to bed with Egyptian men, who were famous for their sexual powers. 21 And she longed for the days when she was a young prostitute, when men enjoyed having sex with her.
The Lord Will Punish Oholibah
22 The Lord God said:
Oholibah,[i] though you no longer want to be around your lovers, they will surround you like enemies, when I turn them against you. 23 I will gather all the handsome young officials and the high-ranking cavalry officers from Babylonia and Assyria, as well as from the Chaldean tribes of Pekod, Shoa, and Koa. 24 Their large armies will come from the north[j] with chariots and wagons carrying weapons. They will wear shields and helmets and will surround you, and I will let them judge and sentence you according to their own laws. 25 I am angry with you, so I will let them be very cruel. They will cut off your nose and ears; they will kill your children and put to death anyone in your family who is still alive. 26 Your clothes and jewelry will be torn off. 27 I will stop your wickedness and the prostitution you started back in Egypt. You will never want to think about those days again.
28 I, the Lord God, am ready to hand you over to those hateful enemies that you find so disgusting. 29 They will cruelly take away everything you have worked for and strip you naked. Then everyone will see you for the prostitute you really are. Your own vulgar sins 30 have led to this. You were the one determined to have sex with men from other nations and to worship their idols. 31 You have turned out no better than your older sister, and now you must drink from the cup filled with my anger.
32 I, the Lord God, gave your sister a large, deep cup filled with my anger. And when you drink from that cup, you will be mocked and insulted. 33 You will end up drunk and devastated, because that cup is filled with horror and ruin. 34 But you must drink every drop! Then smash the cup to pieces and use them to cut your breasts in sorrow. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
35 You have completely rejected me, and so I promise that you will be punished for the disgusting things you did as a prostitute.
The Two Sisters Are Condemned
36 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, it’s time for you to tell Oholah and Oholibah[k] that they are guilty. Remind them of their evil ways! 37 They have been unfaithful by worshiping idols, and they have committed murder by sacrificing my own children as offerings to idols. 38-39 They came into my temple that same day, and that made it unfit as a place to worship me. They have even stopped respecting the Sabbath.
40 They sent messengers to attract men from far away. When those men arrived, the two sisters took baths and put on eye shadow and jewelry. 41 They sat on a fancy couch, and in front of them was a table for the olive oil and incense that had belonged to me. 42 Their room was always filled with a noisy crowd of drunkards brought in from the desert. These men gave the women bracelets and beautiful crowns, 43 and I noticed that the men were eager to have sex with these women, though they were exhausted from being prostitutes.[l] 44 In fact, the men had sex over and over with Oholah and Oholibah, the two sinful sisters. 45 But good men will someday accuse those two of murder and of being unfaithful, because they are certainly guilty.
46 So I, the Lord God, now say to these sisters:
I will call together an angry mob that will abuse and rob you. 47 They will stone you to death and cut you to pieces; they will kill your children and burn down your houses. 48 I will get rid of sinful prostitution in this country, so that women everywhere will be warned not to act as you have. 49 You will be punished for becoming prostitutes and for worshiping idols, and you will know that I am the Lord God.
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