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Ezekiel, Israel’s Sentry

33 The word of the Lord came to me: O Mortal, speak to your people and say to them: If I bring the sword upon a land and the people of the land take one of their number as their sentinel,(A) and if the sentinel sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people,(B) then if any who hear the sound of the trumpet do not take warning and the sword comes and takes them away, their blood shall be upon their own heads.(C) They heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; their blood shall be upon themselves. But if they had taken warning, they would have saved their lives.(D) But if the sentinel sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any of them, they are taken away in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at the sentinel’s hand.(E)

So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.(F) If I say to the wicked, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.(G)

God’s Justice and Mercy

10 Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel: Thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?”(H) 11 Say to them: As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?(I) 12 And you, mortal, say to your people: The righteousness of the righteous shall not save them when they transgress, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, it shall not make them stumble when they turn from their wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by their righteousness[a] when they sin.(J) 13 Though I say to the righteous that they shall surely live, yet if they trust in their righteousness and commit iniquity, none of their righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in the iniquity that they have committed they shall die.(K) 14 Again, though I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” yet if they turn from their sin and do what is lawful and right(L) 15 if the wicked restore the pledge, give back what they have taken by robbery, and walk in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity—they shall surely live; they shall not die.(M) 16 None of the sins that they have committed shall be remembered against them; they have done what is lawful and right; they shall surely live.(N)

17 Yet your people say, “The way of the Lord is not just,” when it is their own way that is not just. 18 When the righteous turn from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it.[b](O) 19 And when the wicked turn from their wickedness and do what is lawful and right, they shall live by it.[c] 20 Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is not just.” O house of Israel, I will judge all of you according to your ways!(P)

The Fall of Jerusalem

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, someone who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen.”(Q) 22 Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before the fugitive came, and he opened my mouth when the fugitive came in the morning, so my mouth was opened, and I was no longer unable to speak.(R)

The Survivors in Judah

23 The word of the Lord came to me: 24 Mortal, the inhabitants of these waste places in the land of Israel keep saying, “Abraham was only one man, yet he got possession of the land, but we are many; the land is surely given us to possess.”(S) 25 Therefore say to them: Thus says the Lord God: You eat flesh with the blood and lift up your eyes to your idols and shed blood; shall you then possess the land?(T) 26 You depend on your swords, you commit abominations, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife; shall you then possess the land?(U) 27 Say this to them: Thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword, and those who are in the open field I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence.(V) 28 I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and its proud might shall come to an end, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through.(W) 29 Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations that they have committed.(X)

30 As for you, mortal, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses say to one another, each to a neighbor, “Come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.” 31 They come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but they will not obey them. For flattery is on their lips, but their heart is set on their gain.[d](Y) 32 To them you are like a singer of love songs,[e] one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; they hear what you say, but they will not do it. 33 When this comes—and come it will!—then they shall know that a prophet has been among them.(Z)

Israel’s False Shepherds

34 The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: To the shepherds—thus says the Lord God: Woe, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?(AA) You eat the fat; you clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatted calves, but you do not feed the sheep.(AB) You have not strengthened the weak; you have not healed the sick; you have not bound up the injured; you have not brought back the strays; you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them.(AC) So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and scattered they became food for all the wild animals.(AD) My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.

Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves and have not fed my sheep,(AE) therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God: I am against the shepherds, and I will hold them accountable for my sheep and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them.(AF)

God, the True Shepherd

11 For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep and will sort them out.(AG) 12 As shepherds sort out their flocks when they are among scattered sheep,[f] so I will sort out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.(AH) 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them into their own land, and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land.(AI) 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.(AJ) 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strays, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.(AK)

17 As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats:(AL) 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet and drink what you have fouled with your feet?

20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you pushed with flank and shoulder and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22 I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged, and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them; he shall feed them and be their shepherd.(AM) 24 And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.(AN)

25 I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely.(AO) 26 I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.(AP) 27 The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil, and they shall know that I am the Lord when I break the bars of their yoke and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them.(AQ) 28 They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid.(AR) 29 I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land and no longer suffer the insults of the nations.(AS) 30 They shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord God. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture,[g] and I am your God, says the Lord God.(AT)


  1. 33.12 Heb by it
  2. 33.18 Heb them
  3. 33.19 Heb them
  4. 33.31 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. 33.32 Cn: Heb like a love song
  6. 34.12 Cn: Heb their scattered sheep
  7. 34.31 Gk OL: Heb pasture, you are people

Tending the Flock of God

Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you(A) to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight,[a] not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it,[b] not for sordid gain but eagerly.(B) Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock.(C) And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away.(D) In the same way, you who are younger must be subject to the elders.[c] And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”(E)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.(F) Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.(G) Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.(H) 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,[d] will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.(I) 11 To him be the power[e] forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings and Benediction

12 Through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, I have written this short letter to encourage you and to testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.(J) 13 Your sister church[f] in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.[g](K)


  1. 5.2 Other ancient authorities lack exercising the oversight
  2. 5.2 Or in a godly manner; other ancient authorities lack as God would have you do it
  3. 5.5 Or of those who are older
  4. 5.10 Other ancient authorities read Christ Jesus
  5. 5.11 Other ancient authorities read glory and power
  6. 5.13 Gk She who is
  7. 5.14 Other ancient authorities add Jesus or Amen or Jesus. Amen