God's Message came to me:
"Son of man, you're living with a bunch of rebellious people. They have eyes but don't see a thing, they have ears but don't hear a thing. They're rebels all.
So, son of man, pack up your exile duffel bags. Leave in broad daylight with everyone watching and go off, as if into exile. Maybe then they'll understand what's going on, rebels though they are.
You'll take up your baggage while they watch, a bundle of the bare necessities of someone going into exile, and toward evening leave, just like a person going off into exile.
As they watch, dig through the wall of the house and carry your bundle through it.
In full sight of the people, put the bundle on your shoulder and walk out into the night. Cover your face so you won't have to look at what you'll never see again. I'm using you as a sign for the family of Israel."
I did exactly as he commanded me. I got my stuff together and brought it out in the street where everyone could see me, bundled it up the way someone being taken off into exile would, and then, as the sun went down, made a hole in the wall of the house with my hands. As it grew dark and as they watched, I left, throwing my bundle across my shoulders.
The next morning God spoke to me:
"Son of man, when anyone in Israel, that bunch of rebels, asks you, 'What are you doing?'
Tell them, 'God, the Master, says that this Message especially concerns the prince in Jerusalem - Zedekiah - but includes all the people of Israel.'
"Also tell them, 'I am drawing a picture for you. As I am now doing, it will be done to all the people of Israel. They will go into exile as captives.'
"The prince will put his bundle on his shoulders in the dark and leave. He'll dig through the wall of the house, covering his face so he won't have to look at the land he'll never see again.
But I'll make sure he gets caught and is taken to Babylon. Blinded, he'll never see that land in which he'll die.
I'll scatter to the four winds those who helped him escape, along with his troops, and many will die in battle.
They'll realize that I am God when I scatter them among foreign countries.
"I'll permit a few of them to escape the killing, starvation, and deadly sickness so that they can confess among the foreign countries all the disgusting obscenities they've been involved in. They will realize that I am God."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)