The Lord spoke to me.
"Mortal man," he said, "denounce Jerusalem. Denounce the places where people worship. Warn the land of Israel
that I, the Lord, am saying: I am your enemy. I will draw my sword and kill all of you, good and evil alike.
I will use my sword against everyone from south to north.
Everyone will know that I, the Lord, have drawn my sword and that I will not put it away.
"Mortal man, groan as if your heart is breaking with despair. Groan in sorrow where everyone can watch you.
When they ask you why you are groaning, tell them it is because of the news that is coming. When it comes, their hearts will be filled with fear, their hands will hang limp, their courage will fail, and their knees will tremble. The time has come; it is here." The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
The Lord said to me,
"Mortal man, prophesy. Tell the people what I, the Lord, am saying: A sword, a sword is sharpened and polished.
It is sharpened to kill, polished to flash like lightning. There can be no rejoicing, for my people have disregarded every warning and punishment.
The sword is being polished, to make it ready for use. It is sharpened and polished, to be put in the hands of a killer.
Howl in grief, mortal man; this sword is meant for my people and for all the leaders of Israel. They are going to be killed with all the rest of my people. Beat your breast in despair!
I am testing my people, and if they refuse to repent, all these things will happen to them.
"Now, mortal man, prophesy. Clap your hands, and the sword will strike again and again. It is a sword that kills, a sword that terrifies and slaughters.
It makes my people lose courage and stumble. I am threatening their city with a sword that flashes like lightning and is ready to kill.
Cut to the right and the left, you sharp sword! Cut wherever you turn.
I also will clap my hands, and my anger will be over. I, the Lord, have spoken."
The Lord spoke to me.
"Mortal man," he said, "mark out two roads by which the king of Babylonia can come with his sword. Both of them are to start in the same country. Put up a signpost where the roads fork.
One will show the king the way to the Ammonite city of Rabbah, and the other the way to Judah, to the fortified city, Jerusalem.
The king of Babylonia stands by the signpost at the fork of the road. To discover which way to go, he shakes the arrows; he consults his idols; he examines the liver of a sacrificed animal.
Now! His right hand holds the arrow marked "Jerusalem'! It tells him to go and set up battering rams, to shout the battle cry, to place battering rams against the gates, to throw up earthworks, and to dig trenches.
The people of Jerusalem won't believe this because of the treaties they have made. But this prediction is to remind them of their sins and to warn them that they will be captured.
This then is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: Your sins are exposed. Everyone knows how guilty you are. You show your sins in your every action. You stand condemned, and I will hand you over to your enemies.
"You wicked, unholy ruler of Israel, your day, the day of your final punishment, is coming.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. Take off your crown and your turban. Nothing will be the same again. Raise the poor to power! Bring down those who are ruling!
Ruin, ruin! Yes, I will make the city a ruin. But this will not happen until the one comes whom I have chosen to punish the city. To him I will give it.
"Mortal man, prophesy. Announce what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to the Ammonites, who are insulting Israel. Say to them: "A sword is ready to destroy; It is polished to kill, to flash like lightning.
The visions that you see are false, and the predictions you make are lies. You are wicked and evil, and your day is coming, the day of your final punishment. The sword is going to fall on your necks.
" "Put up the sword! I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land where you were born.
You will feel my anger when I turn it loose on you like a blazing fire. And I will hand you over to brutal men, experts at destruction.
You will be destroyed by fire. Your blood will be shed in your own country, and no one will remember you any more.' " The Lord has spoken.
The Lord spoke to me.
"Mortal man," he said, "are you ready to judge the city that is full of murderers? Make clear to her all the disgusting things she has done.
Tell the city what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: Because you have murdered so many of your own people and have defiled yourself by worshiping idols, your time is coming.
You are guilty of those murders and are defiled by the idols you made, and so your day is coming, your time is up! That is why I have let the nations make fun of you and all the countries sneer at you.
Countries nearby and countries far away sneer at you because of your lawlessness.
All Israel's leaders trust in their own strength and commit murder.
None of you in the city honor your parents. You cheat foreigners and take advantage of widows and orphans.
You have no respect for the holy places, and you don't keep the Sabbath.
Some of your people tell lies about others in order to have them put to death. Some of them eat sacrifices offered to idols. Some are always satisfying their lusts.
Some of them sleep with their father's wife. Some force women to have intercourse with them during their period.
Some commit adultery, and others seduce their daughters-in-law or their half sisters.
Some of your people murder for pay. Some charge interest on the loans they make to other Israelites and get rich by taking advantage of them. They have forgotten me." The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
"I will bring my fist down on your robberies and murders.
Do you think you will have any courage left or have strength enough to lift your hand when I am finished with you? I, the Lord, have spoken, and I keep my word.
I will scatter your people to every country and nation and will put an end to your evil actions.
And so the other nations will dishonor you, but you will know that I am the Lord."
The Lord said to me,
"Mortal man, the Israelites are of no use to me. They are like waste metal - copper, tin, iron, and lead - left over after silver has been refined in a furnace.
So now I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling them that they are just as useless as that. I will bring them all together in Jerusalem
in the same way that the ore of silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin is put in a refining furnace. My anger and rage will melt them the way fire melts ore.
Yes, I will gather them in Jerusalem, build a fire under them, and melt them with my anger.
They will be melted in Jerusalem the way silver is melted in a furnace, and then they will know that they are feeling the anger of the Lord."
The Lord spoke to me again.
"Mortal man," he said, "tell the Israelites that their land is unholy, and so I am punishing it in my anger.
The leaders are like lions roaring over the animals they have killed. They kill the people, take all the money and property they can get, and by their murders leave many widows.
The priests break my law and have no respect for what is holy. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. They do not teach the difference between clean and unclean things, and they ignore the Sabbath. As a result the people of Israel do not respect me.
The government officials are like wolves tearing apart the animals they have killed. They commit murder in order to get rich.
The prophets have hidden these sins like workers covering a wall with whitewash. They see false visions and make false predictions. They claim to speak the word of the Sovereign Lord, but I, the Lord, have not spoken to them.
The wealthy cheat and rob. They mistreat the poor and take advantage of foreigners.
I looked for someone who could build a wall, who could stand in the places where the walls have crumbled and defend the land when my anger is about to destroy it, but I could find no one.
So I will turn my anger loose on them, and like a fire I will destroy them for what they have done." The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
The Lord spoke to me.
"Mortal man," he said, "there were once two sisters.
When they were young, living in Egypt, they lost their virginity and became prostitutes.
The older one was named Oholah (she represents Samaria), and the younger one was named Oholibah (she represents Jerusalem). I married both of them, and they bore me children.
Although she was mine, Oholah continued to be a prostitute and was full of lust for her lovers from Assyria.
They were soldiers in uniforms of purple, noblemen and high-ranking officers; all of them were handsome young cavalry officers.
She was the whore for all the Assyrian officers, and her lust led her to defile herself by worshiping Assyrian idols.
She continued what she had begun as a prostitute in Egypt, where she lost her virginity. From the time she was a young woman, men slept with her and treated her like a prostitute.
So I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers whom she wanted so much.
They stripped her naked, seized her sons and daughters, and then killed her with a sword. Women everywhere gossiped about her fate.
"Even though her sister Oholibah saw this, she was wilder and more of a prostitute than Oholah had ever been.
She too was full of lust for the Assyrian noblemen and officers - soldiers in bright uniforms - and for the cavalry officers, all of those handsome young men.
I saw that she was completely immoral, that the second sister was as bad as the first.
"She sank deeper and deeper in her immorality. She was attracted by the images of high Babylonian officials carved into the wall and painted bright red, with sashes around their waists and fancy turbans on their heads.
As soon as she saw them, she was filled with lust and sent messengers to them in Babylonia.
The Babylonians came to have sex with her. They used her and defiled her so much that finally she became disgusted with them.
She exposed herself publicly and let everyone know she was a whore. I was as disgusted with her as I had been with her sister.
She became more of a prostitute than ever, acting the way she did as a young woman, when she was a prostitute in Egypt.
She was filled with lust for oversexed men who had all the lustfulness of donkeys or stallions.
(Oholibah, you wanted to repeat the immorality you were guilty of as a young woman in Egypt, where men played with your breasts and you lost your virginity.)
"Now then, Oholibah, this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to you. You are tired of those lovers, but I will make them angry with you and bring them to surround you.
I will bring all the Babylonians and Chaldeans, men from Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians. I will gather all those handsome young noblemen and officers, all those important officials and high-ranking cavalry officers.
They will attack you from the north, bringing a large army with chariots and supply wagons. Protected by shields and helmets, they will surround you. I will hand you over to them, and they will judge you by their own laws.
Because I am angry with you, I will let them deal with you in their anger. They will cut off your nose and your ears and kill your children. Yes, they will take your sons and daughters from you and burn them alive.
They will tear off your clothes and take your jewels.
I will put a stop to your lust and to the obscenities you have committed ever since you were in Egypt. You won't look at any more idols or think about Egypt any more."
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "I will hand you over to people you hate and are disgusted with.
And because they hate you, they will take away everything you have worked for and leave you stripped naked, exposed like a prostitute. Your lust and your prostitution
have brought this on you. You were a prostitute for the nations and defiled yourself with their idols.
You followed in your sister's footsteps, and so I will give you the same cup of punishment to drink."
The Sovereign Lord says, "You will drink from your sister's cup; it is large and deep. Everyone will scorn and mock you; the cup is full.
It will make you miserable and drunk, that cup of fear and ruin, your sister Samaria's cup.
You will drink and drain it dry, and with its broken pieces tear your breast. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken."
Now this is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: "Because you forgot me and turned your back on me, you will suffer for your lust and your prostitution."
The Lord said to me, "Mortal man, are you ready to judge Oholah and Oholibah? Accuse them of the disgusting things they have done.
They have committed adultery and murder - adultery with idols and murder of the children they bore me. They sacrificed my children to their idols.
And that is not all they did. They profaned my Temple and broke the Sabbath, which I had established.
The very day that they killed my children as sacrifices to idols, they came to my Temple and profaned it!
"Again and again they sent messengers to invite men to come from a great distance, and the men came. The two sisters would bathe and put on eye shadow and jewelry.
They would sit on a beautiful couch, and in front of them they would have a table covered with good things, including the incense and the olive oil that I had given them.
The sound of a carefree crowd could be heard, a group of men brought in from the desert. They put bracelets on the women's arms and beautiful crowns on their heads.
And I said to myself that they were using as a prostitute a woman worn out by adultery.
They went back to these prostitutes again and again. They went back to Oholah and Oholibah, those immoral women.
Righteous men will condemn them on the charge of adultery and murder, because they practice adultery and their hands are stained with blood."
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "Bring a mob to terrorize them and rob them.
Let the mob stone them and attack them with swords, kill their children, and burn down their houses.
Throughout the land I will put a stop to immorality, as a warning to every woman not to commit adultery as they did.
And you two sisters - I will punish you for your immorality and your sin of worshiping idols. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord."