Ezekiel 5:1-6:14

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!’

Ezekiel 6

1 The Lord gave this message to me: 2 ‘Son of man, look towards the mountains of Israel. Tell them my message to warn them. 3 Say, “You mountains of Israel, listen to this message from the Almighty Lord. This is what the Almighty Lord says to the mountains, the hills and the valleys: I am coming here to attack you. I will destroy the places where you worship false gods. 4 I will destroy your altars for sacrifices and your altars for incense. I will kill the people who worship there and put them in front of their idols. 5 The dead bodies of you people of Israel will lie in front of your idols. I will cause soldiers to throw your bones on the ground around the altars.

6:2The events in this prophecy happened in the year 586 BC.

6 In all the places that you live, soldiers will destroy your towns. They will also destroy the places where you worship false gods. They will break down the altars so that they become heaps of stones. They will break your idols into pieces. They will destroy the altars where you burn incense. They will remove all those things that you have made. 7 Dead bodies will lie on the ground everywhere that you live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

8 But I will allow some of you to live. Those people will escape when the enemy army attacks. They will run away to live in foreign countries. 9 When they are living as prisoners among those other nations, they will remember me. They will realize that they made me very sad because they were not faithful to me. They stopped worshipping me. Instead, they chose to worship idols. Then they will be ashamed of themselves, because of all the disgusting things which they have done. 10 They will know that I am the Lord. They will know that it was true when I promised to bring this terrible trouble to them.” ’

11 This is what I, the Almighty Lord, say to you, Ezekiel: ‘Clap your hands together. Stamp on the ground with your feet. Show that you are very upset because of all the disgusting, evil things that Israel's people have done. War, famine and disease will kill them. 12 Illness will kill the people who live far away. Enemy soldiers will kill those who live near to the city. Famine will kill those people who are still alive. Because I am very angry with them, I will punish them very much.

13 Then they will know that I am the Lord. They will see the dead bodies of their own people. The bodies will be lying among the idols that they worshipped. They will be lying around the altars of their false gods, on every high hill and mountain. The dead bodies will lie under the big trees where they offered incense to all their idols. 14 I will punish them very much. I will destroy their land from the desert in the south as far as Diblah. I will make it a place where nobody can live. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’