Ezekiel 5-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jerusalem’s Coming Destruction
The Lord said:
5 Ezekiel, son of man, get a sharp sword and use it to cut off your hair and beard. Weigh the hair and divide it into three equal piles. 2 After you attack the brick that stands for Jerusalem, burn one pile of your hair on the brick. Chop up the second pile and let the small pieces of hair fall around the brick. Throw the third pile into the wind, and I will strike it with my own sword.
3 Keep a few of the hairs and wrap them in the hem of your clothes. 4 Then pull out a few of those hairs and throw them in the fire, so they will also burn. This fire will spread, destroying everyone in Israel.
5 I am the Lord God, and I have made Jerusalem the most important place in the world, and all other nations admire it. 6 But the people of Jerusalem rebelled and refuse to obey me. They ignored my laws and have become even more sinful than the nations around them.
7 So tell the people of Jerusalem:
I am the Lord God! You have refused to obey my laws and teachings, and instead you have obeyed the laws of the surrounding nations. You have become more rebellious than any of them! 8 Now all those nations will watch as I turn against you and punish you 9 for your sins. Your punishment will be more horrible than anything I’ve ever done or will ever do again. 10 Parents will be so desperate for food that they will eat their own children, and children will eat their parents. Those who survive this horror will be scattered in every direction.
11 Your disgusting sins have made my temple unfit as a place to worship me. So I swear by my own life that I will turn my back on you and show you no pity. 12 A third of you will die here in Jerusalem from disease or starvation. Another third will be killed in war. And I will scatter the last third of you in every direction, then track you down and kill you.
13 You will feel my fierce anger until I have finished taking revenge. Then you will know that I, the Lord, was furious because of your disobedience. 14 Every passerby will laugh at your destruction. Foreign nations 15 will insult you and make fun of you, but they will also be shocked and terrified at what I did in my anger. 16 I will destroy your crops until you starve to death, and disasters will strike you like arrows. 17 Starvation and wild animals will kill your children. I’ll punish you with horrible diseases, and your enemies will strike you down with their swords. I, the Lord, have spoken.
Israel Is Doomed
6 The Lord God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, face the hills of Israel and tell them:
3 Listen, you mountains and hills, and every valley and gorge! I, the Lord, am about to turn against you and crush all the places where foreign gods are worshiped. 4 Every altar will be smashed, and in front of the idols I will put to death the people who worship them. 5 Dead bodies and bones will be lying around the idols and the altars. 6 Every town in Israel will be destroyed to make sure that each shrine, idol, and altar is smashed—everything the Israelites made will be a pile of ruins. 7 All over the country, your people will die. And those who survive will know that I, the Lord, did these things. 8 I will let some of the people live through this punishment, but I will scatter them among the nations, 9 where they will be prisoners. And when they think of me, they will realize that they disgraced me by rebelling and by worshiping idols. They will hate themselves for the evil things they did, 10 and they will know that I am the Lord and that my warnings must be taken seriously.
11 The Lord God then said:
Ezekiel, beat your fists together and stomp your feet in despair! Moan in sorrow, because the people of Israel have done disgusting things and now will be killed by enemy troops, or they will die from starvation and disease. 12 Those who live far away will be struck with deadly diseases. Those who live nearby will be killed in war. And the ones who are left will starve to death. I will let loose my anger on them! 13 These people used to offer incense to idols at altars built on hills and mountaintops and in the shade of large oak trees. But when they see dead bodies lying around those altars, they will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will make their country a barren wasteland, from the Southern Desert to the town of Diblah in the north. Then they will know that I, the Lord, have done these things.
Disaster Is Near
7 The Lord God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Israel that I am saying:
Israel will soon come to an end! Your whole country is about to be destroyed 3 as punishment for your disgusting sins. I, the Lord, am so angry 4 that I will show no pity. I will punish you for the evil you’ve done, and you will know that I am the Lord.
5 There’s never been anything like the coming disaster.[a] 6 And when it comes, your life will be over. 7 You people of Israel are doomed! Soon there will be panic on the mountaintops instead of celebration.[b] 8 I will let loose my anger and punish you for the evil things you’ve done. You’ll get what you deserve. 9 Your sins are so terrible, that you’ll get no mercy from me. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have punished you.
10 Disaster is near! Injustice and arrogance are everywhere, 11 and violent criminals run free. None of you will survive the disaster, and everything you own and value will be shattered.[c] 12 The time is coming when everyone will be ruined. Buying and selling will stop, 13 and people who sell property will never get it back, because all of you must be punished for your sins. And I won’t change my mind![d]
14 A signal has been blown on the trumpet, and weapons are prepared for battle. But no one goes to war, because in my anger I will strike down everyone in Israel.
Israel Is Surrounded
The Lord said to the people of Israel:
15 War, disease, and starvation are everywhere! People who live in the countryside will be killed in battle, and those who live in towns will die from starvation or deadly diseases. 16 Anyone who survives will escape into the hills, like doves who leave the valleys to find safety.
All of you will moan[e] because of your sins. 17 Your hands will tremble, and your knees will go limp. 18 You will put on sackcloth[f] to show your sorrow, but terror will overpower you. Shame will be written all over your faces, and you will shave your heads in despair. 19 Your silver and gold will be thrown into the streets like garbage, because those are the two things that led you into sin, and now they cannot save you from my anger. They are not even worth enough to buy food. 20 You took great pride in using your beautiful jewelry to make disgusting idols of foreign gods. So I will make your jewelry worthless.
21 Wicked foreigners will rob and disgrace you. 22 They will break into my temple[g] and leave it unfit as a place to worship me, but I will look away and let it happen.
23 Your whole country is in confusion![h] Murder and violence are everywhere in Israel, 24 so I will tell the most wicked nations to come and take over your homes. They will put an end to the pride you have in your strong army, and they will make your places of worship unfit to use. 25 You will be terrified and will desperately look for peace—but there will be no peace. 26 One tragedy will follow another, and you’ll hear only bad news. People will beg prophets to give them a message from me. Priests will stop teaching my Law, and wise leaders won’t be able to give advice. 27 Even your king and his officials will lose hope and cry in despair. Your hands will tremble with fear.
I will punish you for your sins and treat you the same way you have treated others. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel Sees the Terrible Sins of Jerusalem
8 Six years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the leaders of Judah were meeting with me in my house. On the fifth day of the sixth month,[i] the Lord God suddenly took control of me, 2 and I saw something in the shape of a human.[j] This figure was like fire from the waist down, and it was bright as polished metal from the waist up. 3 It reached out what seemed to be a hand and grabbed my hair. Then in my vision the Lord’s Spirit lifted me into the sky and carried me to Jerusalem.
The Spirit took me to the north gate of the temple’s inner courtyard, where there was an idol that disgusted the Lord and made him furious. 4 Then I saw the brightness of the glory of the God of Israel, just as I had seen it near the Chebar River.
5 God said to me, “Ezekiel, son of man, look north.” And when I did, I saw that disgusting idol by the altar near the gate.
6 God then said, “Do you see the terrible sins of the people of Israel? Their sins are making my holy temple unfit as a place to worship me. Yet you will see even worse things than this.”
7 Next, I was taken to the entrance of the courtyard, where I saw a hole in the wall.
8 God said, “Make this hole bigger.” And when I did, I realized it was a doorway. 9 “Go in,” God said, “and see what horrible and evil things the people are doing.”
10 Inside, I saw that the walls were covered with pictures of reptiles and disgusting, unclean animals,[k] as well as with idols that the Israelites were worshiping. 11 Seventy Israelite leaders were standing there, including Jaazaniah son of Shaphan. Each of these leaders was holding an incense burner, and the smell of incense filled the room.
12 God said, “Ezekiel, do you see what horrible things Israel’s leaders are doing in secret? They have filled their rooms with idols. And they say I can’t see them, because they think I have already deserted Israel. 13 But I will show you something even worse than this.”
14 He took me to the north gate of the temple, where I saw women mourning for the god Tammuz.[l] 15 God asked me, “Can you believe what these women are doing? But now I want to show you something worse.”
16 I was then led into the temple’s inner courtyard, where I saw about twenty-five men standing near the entrance, between the porch and the altar. Their backs were to the Lord’s temple, and they were bowing down to the rising sun.
17 God said, “Ezekiel, it’s bad enough that the people of Judah are doing these disgusting things. But they have also spread violence and injustice everywhere in Israel and have made me very angry. They have disgraced and insulted me in the worst possible way.[m] 18 So in my fierce anger, I will punish them without mercy and refuse to help them when they cry out to me.”
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