1 Some of the leaders of Israel came. They sat down in front of me. 2 Then the LORD spoke to me. 3 ‘Son of man’, he said, ‘These men worship idols. They will not listen to me. I do not want them to ask me for anything. 4 You must speak to them. Say, “This is what the LORD God says. A man who worships idols may come to ask me something. And I will answer him. I will show him that his idols have no value. 5 I will do this so that Israel's people will turn back to me. Those who worship idols will again worship me.” ’
6 So you must speak to Israel's people. Say, ‘This is what the LORD God says. Be sorry about the bad things that you have done! You must not worship idols. Stop doing all the wrong things that you were doing.
7 An Israelite or a foreigner who lives in Israel may not want to be my servant. He may turn from me and worship idols. Then he may go to ask a prophet for help. I myself, the LORD, will answer him. 8 I will be against that man. I will make bad things happen to him. People will see what I have done. I will make him an example to them and they will push him away. He will no longer belong to my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
9 I can make a prophet give a false answer. He will give a false prophecy. But I have made him say it. 10 I will punish both the prophet and the person who asked him for a prophecy. 11 Then Israel's people will stay close to me. They will no longer be like a bad smell to me because they do so many bad things. They will be my people and I will be their God,’ says the LORD God.
12 The LORD spoke to me. 13 ‘Son of man, a country's people may not obey me. Then this is what I will do. I will not give its people any food if they turn away from me. The men and animals that live there will die because they do not have anything to eat. 14 I would only save men like Noah, Daniel and Job, if they lived there. They would save themselves because they did good things,’ says the LORD God.
15 ‘Or I might send wild animals to kill the people in that country. Nobody would be able to travel through it because of the animals. 16 I am surely alive’, the LORD God says. ‘And I say what is true. Even if these three (3) men lived in that country, they could not save their own children. I would save only those three men.
17 Or I might bring men with swords to fight against that country. I would let them kill the men and their animals. 18 I am surely alive’, says the LORD God. ‘And my promise is true. Even if these three (3) men lived there, they could not save their own children. I would save only those three men.
19 Or I might be angry and send illness into that country. It would kill the men and animals that lived there. 20 I am surely alive’, says the LORD God. ‘And what I say is true. Even if Noah, Daniel and Job lived there, they could not save their sons or daughters. They would save only themselves because they had done good things.’
21 This is what the LORD God says. ‘Jerusalem's people will have a very bad time when they do not have any food to eat. And I will send soldiers and wild animals and illness to punish them. 22 But they will not all die. Some sons and daughters will remain alive. They will come to you. You will see that they stay alive. And then you will be happy. You will be happy that I sent all these things to punish Jerusalem's people. 23 Then you will know that I had a good reason to do these things’, says the LORD God.