Then this message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, look toward Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries.
Give her this message from the LORD: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people -- the righteous and the wicked alike.
Yes, I will not spare even the righteous! I will make a clean sweep throughout the land from south to north.
All the world will know that I am the LORD. My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.
"Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart.
When they ask you why, tell them, 'I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will tremble and become as weak as water. And the Sovereign LORD says: It is coming! It's on its way!'"
Then the LORD said to me,
"Son of man, give the people this message from the LORD: A sword is being sharpened and polished.
It is being prepared for terrible slaughter; it will flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! a11
Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner!
"Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders -- everyone will die!
It will put them all to the test! So now the Sovereign LORD asks: What chance do they have? b14
"Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands vigorously. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre they will face!
Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning; it is polished for slaughter!
O sword, slash to the right, and slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want.
I, too, will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Then this message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon's king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two --
one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem.
The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He will call his magicians to use divination. They will cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They will inspect the livers of their animal sacrifices.
Then they will decide to turn toward Jerusalem! With battering rams they will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls to reach the top.
The people of Jerusalem will think it is a mistake, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them.
"Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Again and again your guilt cries out against you, for you are not ashamed of your sin. You don't even try to hide it! Wherever you go, whatever you do, all your actions are filled with sin. So now the time of your punishment has come!
"O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here!
Take off your jeweled crown, says the Sovereign LORD. The old order changes -- now the lowly are exalted, and the mighty are brought low.
Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the one appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to him.
"And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: My sword is drawn for your slaughter; it is sharpened to destroy, flashing like lightning!
Your magicians and false prophets have given false visions and told lies about the sword. And now it will fall with even greater force on the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come.
Should I return my sword to its sheath before I deal with you? No, I will destroy you in your own country, the land of your birth.
I will pour out my fury on you and blow on you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction.
You are fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
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)