The death of people who worship idols
1 I heard the Lord shout loudly, ‘Bring here the men who will punish the people of this city! Tell the guards to bring their weapons with them.’ 2 Then I looked and I saw six men. They were coming from the higher gate that is on the north side of the temple. Each man carried his weapon and he was ready to kill. A man who was wearing white linen clothes was among them. At his side he had a small box with pens in it. They came in and they stood next to the bronze altar.
9:2The bronze altar was where the priests burned sacrifices to offer to God. See 2 Kings 16:14.
3 The bright glory of Israel's God then moved up from above the cherubs where it had been. It moved to the entrance of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man who was wearing linen clothes. 4 He said, ‘Go everywhere in the city of Jerusalem. Find the people who are very sad because of the disgusting things that people are doing in the city. Use your pens to put a mark on those people. Put the mark on the front of their heads.’
5 While I listened, the Lord said to the other men, ‘Follow that man through the city. Kill people who do not have his mark on their heads. Do not be sorry for them. Do not be kind to them. 6 Kill the old men, young men and girls. Kill the women and the children. Destroy them all! But do not touch anyone who has the mark on their head.’
So the men started to kill. The first people that they killed were the city's leaders who were in front of the temple.
7 The Lord said to them, ‘Fill the yards of the temple with dead bodies! Make the temple an unclean place! Go and do it now!’ So they went out and they started to kill people everywhere in the city. 8 I was alone while they were doing this. I bent down low with my face towards the ground. I called out, ‘Almighty Lord! Will you destroy all Israel's people who are still alive? Are you so angry with the people of Jerusalem that you will do that?’
9 He answered me, ‘The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very great. They murder people everywhere in the land. In the city, nobody does what is right. They say, “The Lord has gone away from our land! The Lord does not see what we are doing!” 10 So I will not be sorry for them. I will not be kind to them. Now I will punish them as they deserve for the things that they have done.’
11 Then I saw again the man who was wearing linen clothes, with the box of pens. He brought this message to the Lord: ‘I have done what you commanded me to do.’