Ezekiel 31-33 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Egypt’s King Will Be Chopped Down like a Cedar Tree
31 Eleven years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the Lord spoke to me on the first day of the third month.[a] He said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the king of Egypt and his people that I am saying:
You are more powerful
7 It had beautiful,
10 King of Egypt, now listen to what I, the Lord God, am saying about that tree:
The tree grew so tall that it reached the sky[c] and became very proud and arrogant. 11 So I, the Lord God, will reject the tree and hand it over to a foreign ruler, who will punish it for its wickedness. 12 Cruel foreigners will chop it down and leave it wherever it falls. Branches and broken limbs will be scattered over the mountains and in the valleys. The people living in the shade of those branches will go somewhere else. 13 Birds will then nest on the stump of the fallen tree, and wild animals will trample its branches.
14 Never again will any tree dare to grow as tall as this tree, no matter how much water it has. Every tree must die, just as humans die and go down to the world of the dead.
15 On the day this tree dies and goes to the world below, I, the Lord God, will command rivers and streams to mourn its death. Every underground spring of water and every river will stop flowing.[d] The mountains in Lebanon will be covered with darkness as a sign of their sorrow, and all the trees in the forest will wither. 16 This tree will crash to the ground, and I will send it to the world below. Then the nations of the earth will tremble.
The trees from Eden and the choice trees from Lebanon are now in the world of the dead, and they will be comforted when this tree falls. 17 Those people who found protection in its shade will also be sent to the world below, where they will join the dead.[e]
18 King of Egypt, all these things will happen to you and your people! You were like this tree at one time—taller and stronger than anyone on earth. But now you will be chopped down, just as every tree in the garden of Eden must die. You will be sent down to the world of the dead, where you will join the godless and the other victims of violent death. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
A Funeral Song for the King of Egypt
32 Twelve years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the Lord spoke to me on the first day of the twelfth month.[f] He said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the king of Egypt and tell him I am saying:
You act like a lion
3 King of Egypt, listen to me. I, the Lord God, will catch you in my net and let a crowd of foreigners drag you to shore. 4 I will throw you into an open field, where birds and animals will come to feed on your body. 5 I will spread your rotting flesh[g] over the mountains and in the valleys, 6 and your blood will flow throughout the land and fill up the streams. 7 I will cover the whole sky and every star with thick clouds, so that the sun and moon will stop shining. 8 The heavens will become black, leaving your country in total darkness. I, the Lord, have spoken.
9 Foreign nations you have never heard of will be shocked when I tell them how I destroyed you.[h] 10 They will be horrified, and when I flash my sword in victory on the day of your death, their kings will tremble in the fear of what could happen to them.
11 The king of Babylonia is coming to attack you, king of Egypt! 12 Your soldiers will be killed by the cruelest army in the world, and everything you take pride in will be crushed. 13 I will slaughter your cattle that graze by the river,[i] and no people or livestock will be left to muddy its water. 14 The water will be clear, and streams will be calm. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
15 Egypt will become a barren wasteland, and no living thing will ever survive there. Then you and your people will know that I am the Lord.
16 This is your warning, and it will be used as a funeral song by foreign women to mourn the death of your people. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
A Sad Ending for Egypt
17 On the fifteenth day of that same month,[j] the Lord said:
18 Ezekiel, son of man, mourn for the Egyptians and condemn them to the world of the dead, where they will be buried alongside the people of other powerful nations.[k] 19 Say to them:
You may be more beautiful
20 You cannot escape! The enemy’s sword is ready to slaughter every one of you.[l] 21 Brave military leaders killed in battle will gladly welcome you and your allies into the world of the dead.
22-23 The graves of soldiers from Assyria are there. They once terrified people, but they were killed in battle and now lie deep in the world of the dead.[m]
24-25 The graves of soldiers from Elam are there. The very sight of those godless soldiers once terrified their enemies and made them panic. But now they are disgraced and ashamed as they lie in the world of the dead, alongside others who were killed in battle.
26 The graves of soldiers from Meshech and Tubal are there. These godless soldiers who terrified people were all killed in battle. 27 They were not given a proper burial like the heroes of long ago,[n] who were buried with their swords under their heads and with their shields[o] over their bodies. These were the heroes who made their enemies panic.
28 You Egyptians will be cruelly defeated, and you will be buried alongside these other godless soldiers who died in battle.
29 The graves of kings and leaders from Edom are there. They were powerful at one time. Now they are buried in the world of the dead with other godless soldiers killed in battle.
30 The graves of the rulers of the north[p] are there, as well as those of the Sidonians. Their powerful armies once terrified enemies. Now they lie buried in the world of the dead, where they are disgraced like other soldiers killed in battle.
31 The Lord God says:
When your king of Egypt sees all of these graves, he and his soldiers will be glad they are not the only ones suffering. 32 I sent him to terrify people all over the earth. But he and his army will be killed and buried alongside other godless soldiers in the world of the dead. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
The Lord Appoints Ezekiel To Stand Watch
33 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, warn your people by saying:
Someday, I, the Lord, may send an enemy to invade a country. And suppose its people choose someone to stand watch 3 and to sound a warning signal when the enemy is seen coming. 4-5 If any of these people hear the signal and ignore it, they will be killed in battle. But it will be their own fault, because they could have escaped if they had paid attention.
6 But suppose the person watching fails to sound the warning signal. The enemy will attack and kill some of the sinful people in that country, and I, the Lord, will hold that person responsible for their death.
7 Ezekiel, I have appointed you to stand watch for the people of Israel. So listen to what I say, then warn them for me. 8 When I tell wicked people they will die because of their sins, you must warn them to turn from their sinful ways. But if you refuse to warn them, you are responsible for their death. 9 If you do warn them, and they keep sinning, they will die because of their sins, and you will be innocent.
The Lord Is Always Fair
10 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, the people of Israel are complaining that the punishment for their sins is more than they can stand. They have lost all hope for survival, and they blame me. 11 Tell them that as surely as I am the living Lord God, I don’t like to see wicked people die. I enjoy seeing them turn from their sins and live. So if the Israelites want to live, they must stop sinning and turn back to me.
12 Tell them that when good people start sinning, all the good they did in the past cannot save them from being punished. And remind them that when wicked people stop sinning, their past sins will be completely forgiven, and they won’t be punished.
13 Suppose I promise good people that they will live, then later they start sinning and believe they will be saved by the good they did in the past. These people will certainly be put to death because of their sins. Their good deeds will be forgotten.
14 Suppose I warn wicked people that they will die because of their sins, and they stop sinning and start doing right. 15 For example, they need to return anything they have taken as security for a loan and anything they have stolen. Then if they stop doing evil and start obeying my Law, they will live. 16 Their past sins will be forgiven, and they will live because they have done right.
17 Ezekiel, your people accuse me of being unfair. But they are the ones who are unfair. 18 If good people start doing evil, they will be put to death, because they have sinned. 19 And if wicked people stop sinning and start doing right, they will save themselves from punishment. 20 But the Israelites still think I am unfair. So warn them that they will be punished for what they have done.
The News of Jerusalem’s Fall
21 Twelve years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, a refugee who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me on the fifth day of the tenth month.[q] He told me that the city had fallen.
22 The evening before this man arrived at my house, the Lord had taken control of me. So when the man came to me the next morning, I could once again speak.[r]
What Will Happen to Those Left in Israel?
23 Then the Lord said:
24 Ezekiel, son of man, the people living in the ruined cities of Israel are saying, “Abraham was just one man, and the Lord gave him this whole land of Israel. There are many of us, and so this land must be ours.”
25 So, Ezekiel, tell them I am saying:
How can you think the land is still yours? You eat meat with blood in it and worship idols. You commit murder 26 and spread violence throughout the land. Everything you do is wicked; you are even unfaithful in marriage. And you claim the land is yours!
27 As surely as I am the living Lord God, you people in the ruined cities will be killed in battle. Those of you living in the countryside will be eaten by wild animals, and those hiding in caves and on rocky cliffs will die from deadly diseases. 28 I will make the whole country an empty wasteland and crush the power in which you take such pride. Even the mountains will be bare, and no one will try to cross them. 29 I will punish you because of your sins, and I will turn your nation into a barren desert. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
The People Listen, but Don’t Change
The Lord said:
30 Ezekiel, son of man, the people with you in Babylonia talk about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say, “Let’s ask Ezekiel what the Lord has said today.” 31 So they all come and listen to you, but they refuse to do what you tell them. They claim to be faithful, but they are forever trying to cheat others out of their money. 32 They treat you as though you were merely singing love songs or playing music. They listen, but don’t do anything you say.
33 Soon they will be punished, just as you warned, and they will know that a prophet has been among them.
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