Ezekiel 5

Ezekiel cuts his hair

1 ‘Son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it like a knife to cut off your hair and your beard. Then use some scales to weigh the hair. Put it into three separate parts that are the same weight.

5:1To cut all the hair from his head was a sign of shame. It meant that Ezekiel could not serve God as a priest. But Ezekiel obeyed God and he cut his hair and his beard.

2 Wait until all the days when you are lying on your side have finished. Take one part of your hair and burn it on the brick which has the picture of Jerusalem. Take another part and use a sword to cut it into small pieces. Let the pieces fall all around the brick which shows the city. Then take the third part and throw the hairs into the wind. I will run after them with a sword. 3 But keep a few of your hairs. Tie them into the edge of your clothes. 4 Finally, take out some of these hairs. Throw them into the fire and burn them. This fire will grow so that it reaches all Israel's people.

5 I, the Almighty Lord, say this: This shows what will happen to Jerusalem. I have put the city in the centre of all the nations. It has countries all around it. 6 But Jerusalem's people have refused to obey my rules and my commands. They have become more wicked than the nations and countries around them. They have not obeyed my laws.

7 So this is what the Almighty Lord says: You people of Jerusalem have done worse things than any of the nations around you. You have not obeyed my rules or my laws. You have not even obeyed the laws of the nations around you.

8 So this is what the Almighty Lord says: I myself have become your enemy, people of Jerusalem. I will punish you while the other nations watch. 9 I will punish you for all the disgusting things that you have done. I have never punished anyone like that before. And I will never do it again. 10 When I punish you like that, you will have no food to eat. Parents will be so hungry that they will eat their children. Children will eat their parents. I will chase away those few people who are still alive. They will go to all parts of the earth.

11 The Almighty Lord says this: I promise you as surely as I live that I will remove you. You have made my holy place unclean. You have put your disgusting idols in my house. You have done wicked things there. Because of that I will not be sorry for you. I will not save you. 12 Illness or famine will kill one third of your people inside the city. The soldiers who are around the city will kill a third of your people. And I will chase away a third of them to all parts of the earth. I will cause their enemies to run after them with their swords.

5:12See Jeremiah 21:9.

13 When I have done all that to them, I will not be angry any longer. I will not punish them any more, because it is enough. When I have finished, they will know that I, the Lord, have spoken to them. I have been angry with them because they have not been faithful to me.

14 I will cause your city to become a heap of stones. People of the other nations around you will laugh at you when they see what has happened to you. 15 They will all laugh at you and insult you. They will see that I was very angry with you and I punished you. Then they will be afraid of my great anger. I, the Lord, say this!

16 I will take away your bread so that famine kills more and more of you. It will seem that I am shooting arrows at you to destroy you. 17 Famine or wild animals will kill you. Your children will no longer live. Illness and war will destroy you. I will send soldiers to attack you. I, the Lord, say this!’