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Ezekiel 36

A prophecy to the mountains of Israel

1 Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel. Say to them: ‘Listen to the word of the LORD, you mountains of Israel. 2 This is what an enemy has said to you: Your old mountains now belong to us.’

3 So prophesy to them. Say: ‘This is what the LORD God says: Enemies attacked you from every side. Many nations took parts of you to keep for themselves. People said many bad things about you.’

4 I am speaking to you, mountains of Israel, because they did this. This is what I say to the mountains and hills and to the valleys. This is what I say to the empty, broken towns. Enemies took away all their good things and they laughed at their people.

5 ‘I am very angry’, says the LORD God. ‘I have judged against Edom and the other nations. This is because they took my land. They wanted it for their cows and sheep. And they hated my people. They hurt them. They were happy to hurt them.’

6 So prophesy about the country of Israel to the mountains, hills and valleys. Say, ‘This is what the LORD God says: I am angry because other nations have laughed at you. They thought that you had no value. 7 So this is what I say: I promise that people will laugh at the nations round you. That is my true word.

8 But you mountains of Israel will give much food for Israel's people. I promise that my people will soon come home. 9 I love you and I want to give you good things. Men will dig your ground and they will plant seeds in it. 10 The number of people who live there will grow. They will live in the towns and they will repair the broken buildings. 11 I will make more men and animals live on you, and they will have many children. People will live on you as they did many years ago. I will give them many good things. They had food before I sent them away. But they will have more. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 12 I will cause my people, Israel's people, to walk upon you. You will be their land, and you will belong to them and to their children. You will never again lose them.’

13 This is what the LORD God says. ‘People say that you destroy men. They say that you kill the nation's children. So I am making a promise to you. 14 You will no longer destroy or kill the nation's people,’ says the LORD God.

15 ‘People from other nations will no longer laugh at you. You will no longer feel sad or cause your nation to fall,’ says the LORD God.

16 The LORD spoke to me again:

17 ‘Son of man, Israel's people made their own country not clean when they lived there. They did many wrong things. I saw that they were an evil people. 18 So I became angry and I punished them. I punished them because they had killed people there. And they had made the country not clean with idols. 19 I sent them to many different nations. They went to many countries. I judged them because of the bad things that they had done.

20 But they still did the things that took away my honour. Men said bad things about my name. “These are the LORD's people, but they had to leave their country,” they said.

21 I wanted them to give honour to my holy name. But Israel's people who lived in other nations had given me no honour. 22 So you must speak to Israel's people. Say, “This is what the LORD God says, I will not do this for you, Israel's people. But I will do it so that men will give honour to my holy name. You took away my honour from the nations where you live. 23 I will show them that my name is great and holy. You made them think that it was not clean. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, says the LORD God. I will do this for you. Then they will see that I am holy.”

24 So I will take you out from the nations. I will bring you back to your own country. You will return from all the places where I sent you. 25 You will become pure. You will be like a man whom I have washed with clean water. You will no longer be not clean, but you will be clean. You will turn away from your idols. 26 I will make you new inside. I will give you a new spirit. You will no longer turn away from me. I will make you want to do the things that give me pleasure. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you, and you will want to obey my rules. You will want to obey me. 28 You will live in the country that I gave to your fathers. You will be my people and I will be your God. 29 I save you from the bad things that made you not clean. I will make seeds grow to give plenty of food. You will always have enough to eat. 30 I will make the trees give much fruit. And plants will grow well in the fields. Then you will not feel ashamed because you have no food. Other nations will no longer think that you have no value. 31 Then you will remember the evil things that you did. And you will be sorry and ashamed that you did those wrong things. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your honour, says the LORD God. You must feel very sorry and ashamed because of the bad things that you did, Israel's people!’

33 This is what the LORD God says: ‘I will make you clean from the evil things that you did. On that same day, I will send you back to your towns. You will build them up again. 34 You will again make food grow on the empty land. No longer will people who pass it think that it is a desert. 35 They will say, “This land was like a desert, but now it is like the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2: 8-9). People now live in the cities that were broken and empty. But now they have built them with strong walls.” 36 Then the nations who still live round you will see this. They will know that I have built up the broken cities. They will know that I have planted them again. I will plant what enemies destroyed. I, the LORD, have spoken and I will do it.’

37-38 This is what the LORD God says: ‘Israel's people ask for my help. I will listen to them again. Men bring many sheep to Jerusalem to offer to the LORD. They bring them on a feast day. I will make them as many as those sheep. So I will fill the broken cities with people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’

36:37-38People may have wrong thoughts. Then they do and say bad things. So Ezekiel says that they are not pure. When the LORD makes people pure, he makes them clean inside. He sends his Spirit to help them to think good thoughts. And his Spirit helps them to do things that give God pleasure.