It was the 12th year since we had been brought to Babylonia as prisoners. On the fifth day of the tenth month, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to bring me a report. He said, "The city has fallen!"
The evening before the man arrived, the LORD put his strong hand on me. He opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened. I was no longer silent.
Then a message came to me from the Lord. He said,
"Son of man, the people who live in those broken-down buildings in Israel are saying, 'Abraham was only one man. But he owned the land. We are many people. The land must certainly belong to us.'
"So tell them, 'The LORD and King says, "You eat meat that still has blood in it. You worship your gods. You commit murder. So should you still possess the land?
You depend on your swords. You do things I hate. Each one of you has sex with your neighbor's wife. So should you still possess the land?" '
"Tell them, 'The LORD and King says, "The people who are left in those broken-down buildings will be killed with swords. Wild animals will eat up those who are out in the country. Those who are in caves and other safe places will die of a plague. And that is just as sure as I am alive.
" ' "I will turn the land into a dry and empty desert. The strength Jerusalem is so proud of will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be deserted. No one will travel across them.
So I will turn the land into a dry and empty desert. I will punish my people because of all of the evil things they have done. I hate those things. They will know that I am the Lord." '
"Son of man, your people are talking about you. They are getting together by the walls of their houses and at their doors. They are saying to one another, 'Come. Listen to the LORD's message.'
"My people come to you, just as they usually do. They sit in front of you. They listen to what you say. But they do not put it into practice. With their mouths they claim to be faithful to me. But in their hearts they want what belongs to others. They try to get rich by cheating them.
You are nothing more to them than someone who sings love songs. They say you have a beautiful voice. They think you play an instrument well. They listen to what you say. But they do not put it into practice.
"Everything I have told you will come true. You can be sure of it. Then the people will know that a prophet has been among them."