Ezekiel 34-36 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Israel’s Leaders Are Worthless Shepherds
34 The Lord God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, Israel’s leaders are like shepherds taking care of my sheep, the people of Israel. But I want you to condemn these leaders and tell them:
I, the Lord God, say you shepherds of Israel are doomed! You take care of yourselves while ignoring my sheep. 3 You drink their milk and use their wool to make your clothes. Then you butcher the best ones for food. But you don’t take care of the flock! 4 You have never protected the weak ones or healed the sick ones or bandaged those that get hurt. You let them wander off and never look for those that get lost. You are cruel and mean to my sheep. 5 They strayed in every direction, and because there was no shepherd to watch them, they were attacked and eaten by wild animals. 6 So my sheep were scattered across the earth. They roamed on hills and mountains, without anyone even bothering to look for them.
7-8 Now listen to what I, the living Lord God, am saying to you shepherds. My sheep have been attacked and eaten by wild animals, because you refused to watch them. You never went looking for the lost ones, and you fed yourselves without feeding my sheep. 9-10 So I, the Lord, will punish you! I will rescue my sheep from you and never let you be their shepherd again or butcher them for food. I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Is the Good Shepherd
11 The Lord God then said:
I will look for my sheep and take care of them myself, 12 just as a shepherd looks for lost sheep. My sheep have been lost since that dark and miserable day when they were scattered throughout the nations.[a] But I will rescue them 13 and bring them back from the foreign nations where they now live. I will be their shepherd and will let them graze on Israel’s mountains and in the valleys and fertile fields. 14 They will be safe as they feed on grassy meadows and green hills. 15 I promise to take care of them and keep them safe, 16 to look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off, to bandage those that are hurt and protect the ones that are weak. I will also slaughter[b] those that are fat and strong, because I always do right.
Judgment on the Strong Sheep
17 The Lord God said to his sheep, the people of Israel:
I will carefully watch each one of you to decide which ones are the strong sheep and which ones are weak. 18 Some of you eat the greenest grass, then trample down what’s left when you finish. Others drink clean water, then step in the water to make the rest of it muddy. 19 That means my other sheep have nothing fit to eat or drink.
20 So I, the Lord God, will separate you strong sheep from the weak. 21 You strong ones have used your powerful horns to chase off those that are weak, 22 but I will rescue them and no longer let them be mistreated. I will separate the good from the bad.
23 After that, I will give you a shepherd from the family of my servant King David. All of you, both strong and weak, will have the same shepherd, and he will take good care of you. 24 He will be your leader, and I will be your God. I, the Lord, have spoken.
A Bright Future for the Lord’s Sheep
The Lord God said:
25 The people of Israel are my sheep, and I solemnly promise that they will live in peace. I will chase away every wild animal from the desert and the forest, so my sheep will not be afraid. 26 They will live around my holy mountain,[c] and I will bless them by sending more than enough rain 27 to make their trees produce fruit and their crops to grow. I will set them free from slavery and let them live safely in their own land. Then they will know that I am the Lord. 28 Foreign nations will never again rob them, and wild animals will no longer kill and eat them. They will have nothing to fear. 29 I will make their fields produce large amounts of crops, so they will never again go hungry or be laughed at by foreigners. 30 Then everyone will know that I protect my people Israel. I, the Lord, make this promise. 31 They are my sheep; I am their God, and I take care of them.
Edom Will Be a Wasteland
35 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the people of Edom[d] 3 and say to them:
I, the Lord God,
5 People of Edom, not only have you been Israel’s longtime enemy, you simply watched when disaster wiped out its people as punishment for their sins. 6 And so, as surely as I am the living Lord God, you are guilty of murder and must be put to death. 7 I will destroy your nation and kill anyone who travels through it. 8 Dead bodies will cover your mountains and fill up your valleys, 9 and your land will lie in ruins forever. No one will live in your towns ever again. You will know that I am the Lord.
10 You thought the nations of Judah and Israel belonged to you, and that you could take over their territory. But I am their God, 11 and as surely as I live, I will punish you for treating my people with anger and hatred. Then they will know that I, the Lord, am punishing you! 12 And you will finally realize that I heard you laugh at their destruction and say their land was yours to take. 13 You even insulted me, but I heard it all.
14 Everyone on earth will celebrate when I destroy you, 15 just as you celebrated when Israel was destroyed. Your nation of Edom will be nothing but a wasteland. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord.
A Message for Israel’s Mountains
36 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, tell the mountains of Israel 2 that I, the Lord God, am saying:
Your enemies sneered and said that you mountains belonged to them. 3 They ruined and crushed you from every side, and foreign nations captured and made fun of you. 4 So all you mountains and hills, streams and valleys, listen to what I will do. Your towns may now lie in ruins, and nations may laugh and insult you. 5 But in my fierce anger, I will turn against those nations, and especially the Edomites, because they laughed at you the loudest and took over your pasturelands. 6 You have suffered long enough, and, I, the Lord God, am very angry! Nations have insulted you, 7 so I will now insult and disgrace them. That is my solemn promise.
8 Trees will grow on you mountains of Israel and produce fruit for my people, because they will soon come home. 9 I will take care of you by plowing your soil and planting crops on your fertile slopes. 10 The people of Israel will return and rebuild your ruined towns and live in them. 11 Children will be born, and animals will give birth to their young. You will no longer be deserted as you are now, but you will be covered with people and treated better than ever. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
12 I will bring my people Israel home, and they will live on you mountains, because you belong to them, and your fertile slopes will never again let them starve. 13 It’s true that you have been accused of not producing enough food and of letting your people starve. 14-15 But I, the Lord, promise that you won’t hear other nations laugh and sneer at you ever again. From now on, you will always produce plenty of food for your people. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
The Lord Will Be Honored
16 The Lord said:
17 Ezekiel, son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own country, they made the land unclean by the way they behaved, just as a woman’s monthly period makes her unclean. 18 They committed murders and worshiped idols, which made the land even worse. So in my anger, I punished my people 19 and scattered them throughout the nations, just as they deserved. 20 Wherever they went, my name was disgraced, because foreigners insulted my people by saying I had forced them out of their own land.
21 I care what those foreigners think of me, 22 so tell the Israelites that I am saying:
You have disgraced my holy name among the nations where you now live. So you don’t deserve what I’m going to do for you. I will lead you home to bring honor to my name 23 and to show foreign nations that I am holy. Then they will know that I am the Lord God. I have spoken.
24 I will gather you from the foreign nations and bring you home. 25 I will sprinkle you with clean water, and you will be clean and acceptable to me. I will wash away everything that makes you unclean, and I will remove your disgusting idols. 26 I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful. You will have only pure thoughts, 27 because I will put my Spirit in you and make you eager to obey my laws and teachings. 28 You will once again live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
29 I will protect you from anything that makes you unclean. Your fields will overflow with grain, and no one will starve. 30 Your trees will be filled with fruit, and crops will grow in your fields, so that you will never again feel ashamed for not having enough food. 31 You will remember your evil ways and hate yourselves for what you’ve done. 32 People of Israel, I’m not doing these things for your sake. You sinned against me, and you must suffer shame and disgrace for what you have done. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
33 After I have made you clean, I will let you rebuild your ruined towns and let you live in them. 34 Your land will be plowed again, and nobody will be able to see that it was once barren. 35 Instead, they will say that it looks as beautiful as the garden of Eden. They won’t see towns lying in ruins, but they will see your strong cities filled with people. 36 Then the nearby nations that survive will know that I am the one who rebuilt the ruined places and replanted the barren fields. I, the Lord, make this promise.
37 I will once again answer your prayers, and I will let your nation grow until you are like a large flock of sheep. 38 The towns that now lie in ruins will be filled with people, just as Jerusalem was once filled with sheep to be offered as sacrifices during a festival. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
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