It was the ninth year since King Jehoiachin had been brought to Babylon as a prisoner. On the tenth day of the tenth month, a message came to me from the Lord. He said,
"Son of man, write down today's date. The king of Babylonia has surrounded Jerusalem and attacked it this very day.
"Your people refuse to obey me. So tell them a story. Say to them, 'The LORD and King told me, " ' "Put a cooking pot on the fire. Pour water into it.
Put pieces of meat in it. Use all of the best pieces. Use the leg and shoulder. Fill it with the best bones.
Pick the finest animal in the flock. Pile wood under the pot to cook the bones. Bring the water to a boil. Cook the bones in it." ' "
The LORD and King says, "How terrible it will be for this city! It has so many murderers in it. How terrible for the pot that is coated with scum! The scum on it will not go away. Take the meat and bones out of the pot piece by piece. Do not cast lots for them.
"The blood Jerusalem's people spilled is inside its walls. They poured it out on a bare rock. They did not pour it on the ground. If they had, dust would have covered it up.
So I put their blood on the bare rock. I did not want it to be covered up. I poured my burning anger out on them. I paid them back."
So the LORD and King said to me, "How terrible it will be for this city! It has so many murderers in it. I too will pile the wood high.
So pile on the wood. Light the fire. Cook the meat well. Mix in the spices. Let the bones be blackened.
Then set the empty pot on the coals. Let it get hot. Let its copper glow. Then what is not pure in it will melt. Its scum will be burned away.
But it can't be cleaned up. Its thick scum has not been removed. Even fire can't burn it off.
"Jerusalem, you are really impure. I tried to clean you up. But you would not let me make you pure. So you will not be clean again until my burning anger against you has calmed down.
"I have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back. I will not feel sorry for you. I will do what I said I would do. You will be judged for your conduct and actions. I am the Lord," announces the LORD and King.
A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
"Son of man, I will take away from you the wife you delight in. It will happen very soon. But do not sing songs of sadness. Do not let any tears flow from your eyes.
Groan quietly. Do not sob out loud over your wife when she dies. Keep your turban on your head. Keep your sandals on your feet. Do not cover the lower part of your face. Do not eat the food people eat to comfort them when someone dies."
So I spoke to my people in the morning. And in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did what I had been commanded to do.
Then the people said to me, "Tell us what these things have to do with us."
So I told them. I said, "A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
'Speak to the people of Israel. Tell them, "The LORD and King says, 'I am about to pollute my temple. I will let the Babylonians burn it down. It is the beautiful building you are so proud of. You take delight in it. You love it. The sons and daughters you left behind will be killed with swords.
" ' " 'So do what Ezekiel did. Do not cover the lower part of your face. Do not eat the food people eat to comfort them when someone dies.
Keep your turbans on your heads. Keep your sandals on your feet. Do not cry or sob. You will waste away because you have sinned so much. You will groan among yourselves.
" ' " 'What Ezekiel has done will show you what is going to happen to you. You will do just as he has done. Then you will know that I am the LORD and King.' " '
"Son of man, I will take away their beautiful temple. It is their joy and glory. They take delight in it. Their hearts long for it. I will also take away their sons and daughters.
On the day I destroy everything, a man will escape. He will come and tell you the news.
"At that time I will open your mouth. Then you will no longer be silent. You will speak with the man. That will show them what will happen to them. And they will know that I am the Lord."