The Sword of the Lord
21 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, 2 “Son of man, turn to Jerusalem, preach against the holy places. Prophesy against the land of Israel. 3 Tell the land of Israel, ‘This is what Yahweh says: I am against you. I will take my sword out of its scabbard and kill the righteous people and the wicked people among you. 4 I’m going to kill the righteous people and the wicked people among you. That is why my sword will come out of its scabbard to be used against everyone from the south to the north. 5 Then everyone will know that I, Yahweh, have taken my sword from its scabbard, and I will not put it back again.’
6 “So, son of man, groan with a breaking heart and with bitter crying while the people watch you. 7 When they ask you why you are groaning, say, ‘News has come that will discourage everyone. People’s hands will hang limp, their hearts will lose courage, and their knees will become as weak as water. It’s coming! It will surely take place!’ declares Adonay Yahweh.”
8 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, 9 “Son of man, prophesy. Tell them, ‘This is what Adonay says:
A sword, a sword is sharpened and polished,
10 It’s sharpened to kill
and polished to flash like lightning.
How can we rejoice?
My son has refused to be disciplined or punished.
11 The sword has been handed over to be polished,
to be placed in the hand.
The sword is being sharpened and polished
to be placed in the hands of killers.
12 “‘Cry and mourn, son of man,
because the sword will be used against my people
and against all the princes of Israel.
I will throw the princes and my people on the sword.
So beat your breast, and grieve.
13 Testing will surely come.
What if you refuse to be disciplined again?
Won’t you be tested? declares Adonay Yahweh.
14 So prophesy, son of man.
Clap your hands!
Let the sword strike again and again.
It’s the sword for killing.
It’s the sword for killing many people.
It’s the sword that surrounds them.
15 I have appointed my sword to slaughter people at all their gates
so that their hearts will sink and many will die.
Yes! It’s ready to flash like lightning.
It’s polished to kill.
16 Sword, cut to the right.
Cut to the left
or wherever your blade is turned.
17 I will also clap my hands and rest from my fury.
I, Yahweh, have spoken.’”
The Sword of the King of Babylon
18 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, 19 “Son of man, mark two roads that the king of Babylon and his sword can take. Both of these roads should start from the same country. Make a sign, and put it where the roads start to fork toward the cities. 20 Mark the road that the king and his sword can take to the Ammonite city of Rabbah, and mark the road that leads to Judah and the fortified city of Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylon will stop where the roads branch off, where there is a fork in the road. Then he will look for omens. He will shake some arrows, ask his household gods for help, and examine animal livers. 22 The omens will indicate that he should go to the right, to Jerusalem. So he will set up his battering rams there, give the order to kill, raise a battle cry, aim the battering rams against the city gates, put up ramps, and set up blockades. 23 The people won’t believe this because they have made treaties with other nations. But the king of Babylon will remind them of their sins, and they will be captured.
24 “This is what Adonay Yahweh says: You make people remember how sinful you are because you openly do wrong. You show your sins in everything you do. So you will be taken captive.
25 “You dishonest and wicked prince of Israel, the time for your final punishment has come. 26 This is what Adonay Yahweh says: Take off your turban, and get rid of your crown. Things are going to change. Those who are unimportant will become important, and those who are important will become unimportant. 27 Ruins! Ruins! I will turn this place into ruins! It will not be restored until its rightful owner comes. Then I will give it to him.
28 “Son of man, prophesy. Tell them, ‘This is what Adonay Yahweh says about the Ammonites and their insults:
A sword, a sword is drawn ready to kill.
It’s polished to destroy and flash like lightning.
29 People see false visions about you
and prophesy lies about you.
The sword will be placed on the necks of dishonest, wicked people,
for whom the time of final punishment has come.
30 “‘Return your sword to its scabbard.
In the place where you were created,
in the land where you were born,
there I will judge you.
31 I will pour out my fury on you
and breathe on you with my fiery anger.
I will hand you over to cruel people who are skilled in destruction.
32 You will be fuel for the fire.
You will die in the land.
You will no longer be remembered.
I, Yahweh, have spoken.’”
Jerusalem Is Judged because of Its Murderous History
22 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, 2 “Will you judge, son of man? Will you judge the city of murderers? Then tell it about all the disgusting things that it has done. 3 Tell it, ‘This is what Adonay Yahweh says: Jerusalem, you are the city that murders people who live in you. Your time has come. You dishonor yourself with disgusting idols. 4 You are guilty because of the people you have killed. You are dishonored because of the disgusting idols you have made. You have brought an end to your days, and you have come to the end of your years. That is why I will make you a disgrace to the nations and a joke in every land. 5 Those near and those far away will mock you. Your name will be dishonored, and you will be filled with confusion.
6 “‘See how all the princes of Israel who live in you have used their power to murder people. 7 People in you hate their fathers and mothers. They oppress foreigners in you. They oppress orphans and widows in you. 8 You have despised my holy things and dishonored the day to worship me. 9 Some of your people slander. They want to kill people. People who live in you eat food sacrificed to idols at the worship sites on the hills, and they sin sexually. 10 Men have sex with their father’s wives. They have sex with women when the women are having their periods and are unclean. 11 Men do disgusting things with their neighbors’ wives. Some men sexually dishonor their daughters-in-law. Other men who live in you have sex with their sisters, their father’s daughters. 12 Other people take bribes to murder people. You collect interest and make excessive profits. You make profits by mistreating your neighbors. You have forgotten me, declares Adonay Yahweh.
13 “‘I will use my power against you because of the excessive profits you have made and the murders you have committed. 14 Will you still be brave? Will you remain strong when I deal with you? I, Yahweh, have spoken, and I will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and force you into other countries. I will put an end to your uncleanness. 16 You will be dishonored in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am Yahweh.’”
17 Then Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, 18 “Son of man, the people of Israel have become worthless to me. All of them are like copper, tin, iron, and lead in a smelting furnace. They are like the impurities left from silver. 19 This is what Adonay Yahweh says: All of you have become worthless. That is why I’m going to gather you in Jerusalem. 20 People gather silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin together in a smelting furnace to melt them with a fiery blast. In the same way, in my anger and fury I will gather you and put you in the city. I will melt you there. 21 Yes, I will gather you, breathe on you with my fiery anger, and melt you in the city. 22 You will be melted in the city like silver that is melted in a furnace. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have poured out my fury on you.”
23 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, 24 “Son of man, tell the city, ‘You are an unclean land that has not had rain during the day of my anger. You have not been made clean. 25 Your princes are like roaring lions who tear their prey into pieces. They eat people and take their treasures and precious belongings. They turn many women into widows. 26 Your priests violate my teachings and dishonor my holy things. They don’t distinguish between what is holy and what is unholy. They don’t teach the difference between what is clean and what is unclean. They ignore the days to worship me. So I am dishonored among the people. 27 Your leaders are like wolves that tear their prey into pieces. They murder and destroy people to make excessive profits. 28 Your prophets cover up these things by seeing false visions and by prophesying lies. They say, “This is what Adonay Yahweh says.” Yet, Yahweh hasn’t spoken. 29 The common people oppress and rob others. They do wrong to humble people and to poor people. They oppress foreigners for no reason.
30 “‘I looked for someone among you who could build walls or stand in front of me by the gaps in the walls to defend the land and keep it from being destroyed. But I couldn’t find anyone. 31 So I will pour out my anger on you, and with my fiery anger I will consume you. This is because of all the things you have done,’ declares Adonay Yahweh.”