Ezekiel 5:1-6:14

Ezekiel cuts his hair

1 ‘Now, son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it to cut all the hair from your head and face. Then take the hair and weigh it. Make it into three (3) equal parts.’

5:1To cut all the hair from his head was a sign of shame. For a priest to cut all his hair off meant that he was not holy. He could not serve God as a priest. But Ezekiel obeyed God and he cut his hair and his beard. He showed that the people in Judah were not now holy.

2 ‘Keep this hair until the end of the days that you lie still. Then you will not watch the soldiers round your picture of Jerusalem any longer. Take one part of the hair and burn it inside the city. Take another part and hit it all round the city with a sword. And take the third (third) part and throw the hairs to the wind. I will run after them with a sword. 3 But take a few hairs and keep them in your clothes. 4 Then take out some of these hairs and burn them in the fire. This fire will grow and go out to all Israel.’

5 The Lord God says this. ‘I have put Jerusalem in the centre of all the nations. There are countries all round it. 6 But the people who live there have not obeyed my rules. They have been very wicked.’

7 So this is what the Lord God says: ‘They have done more bad things than any of the nations round them have done. They have refused to obey my rules. I said that they must not do certain things. But they have done them. They have done even worse things than the nations round them have done.’

8 So this is what the Lord God says: ‘I am against you, people in Jerusalem. I will punish you in front of all the nations. 9 I will punish you as I have never punished anyone before. And I will never do it again. I will punish you because you worship so many wrong things. You worship idols. But they are not gods. 10 You will have among you fathers who will eat their children. And children will eat their fathers. I will punish you. I will send far away those few people who do not die. They will go to all parts of the earth.’

11 ‘You can be sure that I am alive,’ says the Lord God. ‘I will surely not help you again. You have put your bad things (idols) in my house, and you have done wrong things there. Because you have made my house not clean, I will not be sorry for you. I will not save you. 12 A third (1/3) of the people will die. They will die inside your city because they are ill. Or they will die there because they have no food. Soldiers will kill a third (1/3) of the people outside your walls. And I will send a third (1/3) away. Their enemies will run after them with a sword.

13 When I have done this I will not be angry any longer. I will not punish them any more, because it is enough. They will know that I, the Lord, have spoken to them. And I hate the wrong things that they have done.

14 I will break down your walls and your buildings. People from other nations who walk past you will be afraid. 15 They will look at you. They will see what I did to you. I did it because I was angry. They will think that you have no value. They will know what I told you. You should not do bad things. And they will say that I punished you because you did not obey me. And they will be afraid. I, the Lord, say this.’

16 ‘I will take away your food so that you die. You will have pain because you will be very hungry. I will make it more and more difficult for those in the city to get food. 17 You will have nothing to eat and wild animals will attack you. They will kill your children. I will send illness, armies and swords to kill you.’ I, the Lord, have spoken.

Ezekiel 6

1 The Lord spoke to me again. 2 ‘Son of man, you must turn to speak against the mountains of Israel. Give my prophecy to them. 3 “You mountains of Israel”, you must say. “This is what the Lord God says to you. I am speaking to the mountains, the hills and valleys. I am going to attack you. I will destroy your high places where men worship other gods. 4 I will break down your altars where they burn food to idols. I will destroy the altars where they offer their sweet smelling oils to false gods. And I will kill the people in front of those idols. 5 Their dead bodies will lie in front of their false gods. And soldiers will throw their bones round the idol's altars. 6 In every place that they live, they will destroy their towns.

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

They will break the altars on the high places. And they will pull down the altars where you burnt the sweet oils. They will destroy your idols. 7 You will see your dead people. And then you will know that I am the Lord

8 But some of you will not die. These people will run to other countries and nations. 9 When they are there, far away, they will remember me. They will remember how they made me very sad. They turned away from me and they did wrong things. They worshipped idols and they did not obey me. Then they will be angry with themselves. They will be ashamed of the evil things that they did. 10 And they will know that I am the Lord. They will know that I kept my promise to punish them.” ’

11 This is what the Lord God says. ‘Make a loud noise. Hit your hands together. Hit the ground with your feet. Shout “Help!” Do this because of all the bad, evil things that Israel's people have done. I will send soldiers and illness to kill them. Or they will die because they do not have anything to eat. 12 People who are far away will become ill. And they will die. Soldiers will kill those who are near to the city. The people in the city will die because they do not have any food. That is how I will punish them. I am very angry. 13 They will see their dead bodies. Then they will know that I am the Lord. The bodies will be lying in front of their idols and their altars to false gods. They will see dead bodies on every high hill and mountain and round their altars. They will see them in every place. Their bodies will lie under big trees. That is where they offered sweet oils to their idols. 14 I will make the land from Diblah to the desert empty. I will change the land where they live into a desert. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’