"Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a straight razor, shaving your head and your beard. Then, using a set of balancing scales, divide the hair into thirds.
When the days of the siege are over, take one-third of the hair and burn it inside the city. Take another third, chop it into bits with the sword and sprinkle it around the city. The final third you'll throw to the wind. Then I'll go after them with a sword.
"Retrieve a few of the hairs and slip them into your pocket.
Take some of them and throw them into the fire - burn them up. From them, fire will spread to the whole family of Israel.
"This is what God, the Master, says: This means Jerusalem. I set her at the center of the world, all the nations ranged around her.
But she rebelled against my laws and ordinances, rebelled far worse than the nations ranged around her - sheer wickedness! - refused my guidance, ignored my directions.
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)