Then the Spirit lifted me and brought me over to the east gateway of the LORD's Temple, where I saw twenty-five prominent men of the city. Among them were Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, who were leaders among the people.
Then the Spirit said to me, "Son of man, these are the men who are responsible for the wicked counsel being given in this city.
They say to the people, 'Is it not a good time to build houses? Our city is like an iron pot. Inside it we will be like meat -- safe from all harm.a'
Therefore, son of man, prophesy against them loudly and clearly."
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say, "This is what the LORD says to the people of Israel: Is that what you are saying? Yes, I know it is, for I know every thought that comes into your minds.
You have murdered endlessly and filled your streets with the dead."
"Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: This city is an iron pot, but the victims of your injustice are the pieces of meat. And you are not safe, for I will soon drag you from the city.
I will expose you to the war you so greatly fear, says the Sovereign LORD.
I will drive you out of Jerusalem and hand you over to foreigners who will carry out my judgments against you.
You will be slaughtered all the way to the borders of Israel, and then you will know that I am the LORD.
No, this city will not be an iron pot for you, and you will not be the meat, safe inside. I will judge you even to the borders of Israel,
and you will know that I am the LORD. For you have refused to obey me; instead, you have copied the sins of the nations around you."
While I was still speaking, Pelatiah son of Benaiah suddenly died. Then I fell face down in the dust and cried out, "O Sovereign LORD, are you going to kill everyone in Israel?"
Then this message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, the people still left in Jerusalem are talking about their relatives in exile, saying, 'They are far away from the LORD, so now he has given their land to us!'
Therefore, give the exiles this message from the Sovereign LORD: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile.
I, the Sovereign LORD, will gather you back from the nations where you are scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again."
"When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their detestable idol worship.
And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts b instead,
so they will obey my laws and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.
But as for those who long for idols, I will repay them fully for their sins, says the Sovereign LORD."
Then the cherubim lifted their wings and rose into the air with their wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them.
Then the glory of the LORD went up from the city and stopped above the mountain to the east.
Afterward the Spirit of God carried me back again to Babylonia, c to the Judeans in exile there. And so ended the vision of my visit to Jerusalem.
And I told the exiles everything the LORD had shown me.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)