Now this message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Denounce her terrible deeds in public,
and give her this message from the Sovereign LORD: O city of murderers, doomed and damned -- city of idols, filthy and foul --
you are guilty of both murder and idolatry. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world.
O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people both far and near.
"Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder.
Fathers and mothers are contemptuously ignored. Resident foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed.
Inside your walls you despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest.
People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who take part in lewd activities.
Men sleep with their fathers' wives and have intercourse with women who are menstruating.
Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors' wives, who defile their daughters-in-law or who rape their own sisters.
There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere! They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign LORD.
"But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed.
How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the LORD, have spoken! I will do what I have said.
I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness.
And when you have been dishonored among the nations, you will know that I am the LORD."
Then this message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over -- a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead.
So give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem.
I will melt you down in the heat of my fury, just as copper, tin, iron, and lead are melted down in a furnace.
I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you,
and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have poured out my fury on you."
Again a message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will become like an uncleared wilderness or a desert without rain.
Your princes a plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They increase the number of widows in the land.
Your priests have violated my laws and defiled my holy things. To them there is no difference between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that my holy name is greatly dishonored among them.
Your leaders are like wolves, who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people's lives for profit!
And your prophets announce false visions and speak false messages. They say, 'My message is from the Sovereign LORD,' when the LORD hasn't spoken a single word to them. They repair cracked walls with whitewash!
Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice.
"I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one.
So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them in the fire of my anger. I will heap on them the full penalty for all their sins, says the Sovereign LORD."
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)