Ezekiel 22:1-31

The Lord will punish Jerusalem's people

1 The Lord gave this message to me: 2 ‘Son of man, you must warn the people in this city about their punishment. The people are murderers. They have done many disgusting things. Are you ready to tell them that? 3 Say to them, “This is what the Almighty Lord says: Because you murder people, you have caused your punishment to come. You make idols for yourselves, and that has made you unclean. 4 Because you have murdered people and you have made disgusting idols, you are now guilty. This has brought the time of your punishment very near. Your years of power have come to an end. I will cause the people of other nations to laugh at you. They will all insult you. 5 The people of countries that are near to you will laugh at you. Those who live far away will also laugh at you. You will no longer receive any honour because your city is full of trouble.

6 Each ruler of Israel that lives in you, Jerusalem, has been a murderer. Each one has used his power to kill people. 7 The people in the city do not respect their parents. They have been cruel to the foreigners who live among you. They have cheated widows and children who have no family. 8 You have not respected my holy things. You have not made my Sabbath days special. 9 There are men among you who tell lies so that they can kill other people. There are people who eat the food of idols on the mountains. They do disgusting things among you. 10 Some men have sex with their father's wife. Some men have sex with a woman at the time when she bleeds each month and she is unclean. 11 One man has sex with another man's wife. Another man has sex with his son's wife. Another man among you has sex with the daughter of his own father. These are disgusting things to do. 12 People among you accept bribes to kill somebody. When some of you lend money to people, you make them pay more money back to you. Some of you use your power to make people give you money. You people of Jerusalem have forgotten me. That is what the Lord says.

13 Listen to me! I will show you that I am angry with you. You have cheated people and taken their money. You have murdered people who live among you. 14 When I have punished you, you will no longer feel brave or strong. I, the Lord, have said what I will do. And I will do it. 15 I will send you away to live among many other nations. I will stop you doing evil things. 16 All the other nations will see that you are useless. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” ’

17 The Lord gave this message to me: 18 ‘Son of man, Israel's people have become like dirt to me. They are like useless bits of metal that remain after silver is made pure in a hot oven. 19 So this is what the Lord God says: All of you have become like useless dirt. So listen to me! I will bring you all together into the middle of Jerusalem. 20 It will be like a hot oven that I put you in. It will be like an oven where men cause different metals to melt to make them pure. Because I am very angry with you, I will bring you into the city to punish you there. 21 I will put you in my oven, Jerusalem. And I will burn you with my hot anger. 22 My great anger will cause you to melt, like men cause silver to melt in a hot oven. Then you will know that I am the Lord. And you will know that I have punished you with my anger.’

23 The Lord gave this message to me: 24 ‘Son of man, say to the land of Israel, “I am angry with you. Because of that, you will receive no rain to make you clean.”

25 The rulers in the land hurt people, like strong lions that tear animals in pieces. They use their power to destroy people. They take for themselves riches and valuable things that belong to other people. They have killed many men so that there are now many widows in the land.

26 The priests in the land do not obey my law. They do not respect my holy things. They do not think that holy things are different from ordinary things. They say that unclean things and clean things are the same. They refuse to make my Sabbath days special. Because of this, people do not give me any honour.

22:26Holy things are clean in a special way. People must respect them because they belong to the Lord. If people use them in the same way as other things, they are no longer special and holy. Nobody can use them for the Lord's work.

27 The officers in the land are like wolves that catch other animals and tear them into pieces. They use their power to murder people so that they can take their money for themselves.

28 The prophets in the land give false messages. They say that bad things are good. They see false visions. They tell lies about what will happen. They say, “This is what the Almighty Lord says.” But I, the Lord, have not spoken to them.

29 The people in the land make people give them money. They rob people. They are cruel to poor people and to weak people. They cheat foreign people who live among them. They do not allow them to have justice.

30 I looked among the people for a man who would make the land safe. He would make it a good, strong place again, with nothing bad in it. Then I would not destroy it. But I could not find anyone like that. 31 So I will certainly destroy them. I will punish them with my great anger, like a fire that burns them completely. I will now punish them as they deserve for their sins. That is what the Almighty Lord says.’