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Ezekiel 22The Message (MSG)

The Scarecrow of the Nations

22 1-5 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, are you going to judge this bloody city or not? Come now, are you going to judge her? Do it! Face her with all her outrageous obscenities. Tell her, ‘This is what God, the Master, says: You’re a city murderous at the core, just asking for punishment. You’re a city obsessed with no-god idols, making yourself filthy. In all your killing, you’ve piled up guilt. In all your idol-making, you’ve become filthy. You’ve forced a premature end to your existence. I’ll put you on exhibit as the scarecrow of the nations, the world’s worst joke. From far and near they’ll deride you as infamous in filth, notorious for chaos.

6-12 “‘Your leaders, the princes of Israel among you, compete in crime. You’re a community that’s insolent to parents, abusive to outsiders, oppressive against orphans and widows. You treat my holy things with contempt and desecrate my Sabbaths. You have people spreading lies and spilling blood, flocking to the hills to the sex shrines and fornicating unrestrained. Incest is common. Men force themselves on women regardless of whether they’re ready or willing. Sex is now anarchy. Anyone is fair game: neighbor, daughter-in-law, sister. Murder is for hire, usury is rampant, extortion is commonplace.

“‘And you’ve forgotten me. Decree of God, the Master.

13-14 “‘Now look! I’ve clapped my hands, calling everyone’s attention to your rapacious greed and your bloody brutalities. Can you stick with it? Will you be able to keep at this once I start dealing with you?

14-16 “‘I, God, have spoken. I’ll put an end to this. I’ll throw you to the four winds. I’ll scatter you all over the world. I’ll put a full stop to your filthy living. You will be defiled, spattered with your own mud in the eyes of the nations. And you’ll recognize that I am God.’”

17-22 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, the people of Israel are slag to me, the useless byproduct of refined copper, tin, iron, and lead left at the smelter—a worthless slag heap. So tell them, ‘God, the Master, has spoken: Because you’ve all become worthless slag, you’re on notice: I’ll assemble you in Jerusalem. As men gather silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin into a furnace and blow fire on it to melt it down, so in my wrath I’ll gather you and melt you down. I’ll blow on you with the fire of my wrath to melt you down in the furnace. As silver is melted down, you’ll be melted down. That should get through to you. Then you’ll recognize that I, God, have let my wrath loose on you.’”

23-25 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, tell her, ‘You’re a land that during the time I was angry with you got no rain, not so much as a spring shower. The leaders among you became desperate, like roaring, ravaging lions killing indiscriminately. They grabbed and looted, leaving widows in their wake.

26-29 “‘Your priests violated my law and desecrated my holy things. They can’t tell the difference between sacred and secular. They tell people there’s no difference between right and wrong. They’re contemptuous of my holy Sabbaths, profaning me by trying to pull me down to their level. Your politicians are like wolves prowling and killing and rapaciously taking whatever they want. Your preachers cover up for the politicians by pretending to have received visions and special revelations. They say, “This is what God, the Master, says . . .” when God hasn’t said so much as one word. Extortion is rife, robbery is epidemic, the poor and needy are abused, outsiders are kicked around at will, with no access to justice.’

30-31 “I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one. So I’ll empty out my wrath on them, burn them to a crisp with my hot anger, serve them with the consequences of all they’ve done. Decree of God, the Master.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Ezekiel 23The Message (MSG)

Wild with Lust

23 1-4 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became whores in Egypt, whores from a young age. Their breasts were fondled, their young bosoms caressed. The older sister was named Oholah, the younger was Oholibah. They were my daughters, and they gave birth to sons and daughters.

“Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

5-8 “Oholah started whoring while she was still mine. She lusted after Assyrians as lovers: military men smartly uniformed in blue, ambassadors and governors, good-looking young men mounted on fine horses. Her lust was unrestrained. She was a whore to the Assyrian elite. She compounded her filth with the idols of those to whom she gave herself in lust. She never slowed down. The whoring she began while young in Egypt she continued, sleeping with men who played with her breasts and spent their lust on her.

9-10 “So I left her to her Assyrian lovers, for whom she was so obsessed with lust. They ripped off her clothes, took away her children, and then, the final indignity, killed her. Among women her name became Shame—history’s judgment on her.

11-18 “Her sister Oholibah saw all this, but she became even worse than her sister in lust and whoring, if you can believe it. She also went crazy with lust for Assyrians: ambassadors and governors, military men smartly dressed and mounted on fine horses—the Assyrian elite. And I saw that she also had become incredibly filthy. Both women followed the same path. But Oholibah surpassed her sister. When she saw figures of Babylonians carved in relief on the walls and painted red, fancy belts around their waists, elaborate turbans on their heads, all of them looking important—famous Babylonians!—she went wild with lust and sent invitations to them in Babylon. The Babylonians came on the run, fornicated with her, made her dirty inside and out. When they had thoroughly debased her, she lost interest in them. Then she went public with her fornication. She exhibited her sex to the world.

18-21 “I turned my back on her just as I had on her sister. But that didn’t slow her down. She went at her whoring harder than ever. She remembered when she was young, just starting out as a whore in Egypt. That whetted her appetite for more virile, vulgar, and violent lovers—stallions obsessive in their lust. She longed for the sexual prowess of her youth back in Egypt, where her firm young breasts were caressed and fondled.

22-27 “‘Therefore, Oholibah, this is the Message from God, the Master: I will incite your old lovers against you, lovers you got tired of and left in disgust. I’ll bring them against you from every direction, Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all Assyrians—good-looking young men, ambassadors and governors, elite officers and celebrities—all of them mounted on fine, spirited horses. They’ll come down on you out of the north, armed to the teeth, bringing chariots and troops from all sides. I’ll turn over the task of judgment to them. They’ll punish you according to their rules. I’ll stand totally and relentlessly against you as they rip into you furiously. They’ll mutilate you, cutting off your ears and nose, killing at random. They’ll enslave your children—and anybody left over will be burned. They’ll rip off your clothes and steal your jewelry. I’ll put a stop to your sluttish sex, the whoring life you began in Egypt. You won’t look on whoring with fondness anymore. You won’t think back on Egypt with stars in your eyes.

28-30 “‘A Message from God, the Master: I’m at the point of abandoning you to those you hate, to those by whom you’re repulsed. They’ll treat you hatefully, leave you publicly naked, your whore’s body exposed in the cruel glare of the sun. Your sluttish lust will be exposed. Your lust has brought you to this condition because you whored with pagan nations and made yourself filthy with their no-god idols.

31-34 “‘You copied the life of your sister. Now I’ll let you drink the cup she drank.

“‘This is the Message of God, the Master:

“‘You’ll drink your sister’s cup,
    a cup canyon-deep and ocean-wide.
You’ll be shunned and taunted
    as you drink from that cup, full to the brim.
You’ll be falling-down-drunk and the tears will flow
    as you drink from that cup titanic with terror:
    It’s the cup of your sister Samaria.
You’ll drink it dry,
    then smash it to bits and eat the pieces,
    and end up tearing at your breasts.
I’ve given the word—
    Decree of God, the Master.

35 “‘Therefore God, the Master, says, Because you’ve forgotten all about me, pushing me into the background, you now must pay for what you’ve done—pay for your sluttish sex and whoring life.’”

36-39 Then God said to me, “Son of man, will you confront Oholah and Oholibah with what they’ve done? Make them face their outrageous obscenities, obscenities ranging from adultery to murder. They committed adultery with their no-god idols, sacrificed the children they bore me in order to feed their idols! And there is also this: They’ve defiled my holy Sanctuary and desecrated my holy Sabbaths. The same day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they walked into my Sanctuary and defiled it. That’s what they did—in my house!

40-42 “Furthermore, they even sent out invitations by special messenger to men far away—and, sure enough, they came. They bathed themselves, put on makeup and provocative lingerie. They reclined on a sumptuous bed, aromatic with incense and oils—my incense and oils! The crowd gathered, jostling and pushing, a drunken rabble. They adorned the sisters with bracelets on their arms and tiaras on their heads.

43-44 “I said, ‘She’s burned out on sex!’ but that didn’t stop them. They kept banging on her doors night and day as men do when they’re after a whore. That’s how they used Oholah and Oholibah, the worn-out whores.

45 “Righteous men will pronounce judgment on them, giving out sentences for adultery and murder. That was their lifework: adultery and murder.”

46-47 God says, ‘Let a mob loose on them: Terror! Plunder! Let the mob stone them and hack them to pieces—kill all their children, burn down their houses!

48-49 “‘I’ll put an end to sluttish sex in this country so that all women will be well warned and not copy you. You’ll pay the price for all your obsessive sex. You’ll pay in full for your promiscuous affairs with idols. And you’ll realize that I am God, the Master.’”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Ezekiel 24The Message (MSG)

Bring the Pot to a Boil

24 1-5 The Message of God came to me in the ninth year, the tenth month, and the tenth day of the month: “Son of man, write down this date. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. Tell this company of rebels a story:

“‘Put on the soup pot.
    Fill it with water.
Put chunks of meat into it,
    all the choice pieces—loin and brisket.
Pick out the best soup bones
    from the best of the sheep in the flock.
Pile wood beneath the pot.
    Bring it to a boil
    and cook the soup.

“‘God, the Master, says:

“‘Doom to the city of murder,
    to the pot thick with scum,
    thick with a filth that can’t be scoured.
Empty the pot piece by piece;
    don’t bother who gets what.

7-8 “‘The blood from murders
    has stained the whole city;
Blood runs bold on the street stones,
    with no one bothering to wash it off—
Blood out in the open to public view
    to provoke my wrath,
    to trigger my vengeance.

9-12 “‘Therefore, this is what God, the Master, says:

“‘Doom to the city of murder!
    I, too, will pile on the wood.
Stack the wood high,
    light the match,
Cook the meat, spice it well, pour out the broth,
    and then burn the bones.
Then I’ll set the empty pot on the coals
    and heat it red-hot so the bronze glows,
So the germs are killed
    and the corruption is burned off.
But it’s hopeless. It’s too far gone.
    The filth is too thick.

13-14 “‘Your encrusted filth is your filthy sex. I wanted to clean you up, but you wouldn’t let me. I’ll make no more attempts at cleaning you up until my anger quiets down. I, God, have said it, and I’ll do it. I’m not holding back. I’ve run out of compassion. I’m not changing my mind. You’re getting exactly what’s coming to you. Decree of God, the Master.’”

No Tears

15-17 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, I’m about to take from you the delight of your life—a real blow, I know. But, please, no tears. Keep your grief to yourself. No public mourning. Get dressed as usual and go about your work—none of the usual funeral rituals.”

18 I preached to the people in the morning. That evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I’d been told.

19 The people came to me, saying, “Tell us why you’re acting like this. What does it mean, anyway?”

20-21 So I told them, “God’s Word came to me, saying, ‘Tell the family of Israel, This is what God, the Master, says: I will desecrate my Sanctuary, your proud impregnable fort, the delight of your life, your heart’s desire. The children you left behind will be killed.

22-24 “‘Then you’ll do exactly as I’ve done. You’ll perform none of the usual funeral rituals. You’ll get dressed as usual and go about your work. No tears. But your sins will eat away at you from within and you’ll groan among yourselves. Ezekiel will be your example. The way he did it is the way you’ll do it.

“‘When this happens you’ll recognize that I am God, the Master.’”

25-27 “And you, son of man: The day I take away the people’s refuge, their great joy, the delight of their life, what they’ve most longed for, along with all their children—on that very day a survivor will arrive and tell you what happened to the city. You’ll break your silence and start talking again, talking to the survivor. Again, you’ll be an example for them. And they’ll recognize that I am God.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Revelation 9The Message (MSG)

1-2 The fifth Angel trumpeted. I saw a Star plummet from Heaven to earth. The Star was handed a key to the Well of the Abyss. He unlocked the Well of the Abyss—smoke poured out of the Well, billows and billows of smoke, sun and air in blackout from smoke pouring out of the Well.

3-6 Then out of the smoke crawled locusts with the venom of scorpions. They were given their orders: “Don’t hurt the grass, don’t hurt anything green, don’t hurt a single tree—only men and women, and then only those who lack the seal of God on their foreheads.” They were ordered to torture but not kill, torture them for five months, the pain like a scorpion sting. When this happens, people are going to prefer death to torture, look for ways to kill themselves. But they won’t find a way—death will have gone into hiding.

7-11 The locusts looked like horses ready for war. They had gold crowns, human faces, women’s hair, the teeth of lions, and iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was the sound of horse-drawn chariots charging into battle. Their tails were equipped with stings, like scorpion tails. With those tails they were ordered to torture the human race for five months. They had a king over them, the Angel of the Abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, in Greek, Apollyon—“Destroyer.”

12 The first doom is past. Two dooms yet to come.

13-14 The sixth Angel trumpeted. I heard a voice speaking to the sixth Angel from the horns of the Golden Altar before God: “Let the Four Angels loose, the Angels confined at the great River Euphrates.”

15-19 The Four Angels were untied and let loose, Four Angels all prepared for the exact year, month, day, and even hour when they were to kill a third of the human race. The number of the army of horsemen was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard the count and saw both horses and riders in my vision: fiery breastplates on the riders, lion heads on the horses breathing out fire and smoke and brimstone. With these three weapons—fire and smoke and brimstone—they killed a third of the human race. The horses killed with their mouths and tails; their serpentlike tails also had heads that wreaked havoc.

20-21 The remaining men and women who weren’t killed by these weapons went on their merry way—didn’t change their way of life, didn’t quit worshiping demons, didn’t quit centering their lives around lumps of gold and silver and brass, hunks of stone and wood that couldn’t see or hear or move. There wasn’t a sign of a change of heart. They plunged right on in their murderous, occult, promiscuous, and thieving ways.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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