The word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, will you judge her? Will you judge this city of bloodshed? Then confront her with all her detestable practices
and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O city that brings on herself doom by shedding blood in her midst and defiles herself by making idols,
you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made. You have brought your days to a close, and the end of your years has come. Therefore I will make you an object of scorn to the nations and a laughingstock to all the countries.
Those who are near and those who are far away will mock you, O infamous city, full of turmoil.
" 'See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you uses his power to shed blood.
In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the alien and mistreated the fatherless and the widow.
You have despised my holy things and desecrated my Sabbaths.
In you are slanderous men bent on shedding blood; in you are those who eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts.
In you are those who dishonor their fathers' bed; in you are those who violate women during their period, when they are ceremonially unclean.
In you one man commits a detestable offense with his neighbor's wife, another shamefully defiles his daughter-in-law, and another violates his sister, his own father's daughter.
In you men accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.
" 'I will surely strike my hands together at the unjust gain you have made and at the blood you have shed in your midst.
Will your courage endure or your hands be strong in the day I deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.
I will disperse you among the nations and scatter you through the countries; and I will put an end to your uncleanness.
When you have been defiled in the eyes of the nations, you will know that I am the LORD.' "
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are the copper, tin, iron and lead left inside a furnace. They are but the dross of silver.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'Because you have all become dross, I will gather you into Jerusalem.
As men gather silver, copper, iron, lead and tin into a furnace to melt it with a fiery blast, so will I gather you in my anger and my wrath and put you inside the city and melt you.
I will gather you and I will blow on you with my fiery wrath, and you will be melted inside her.
As silver is melted in a furnace, so you will be melted inside her, and you will know that I the LORD have poured out my wrath upon you.' "
Again the word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, say to the land, 'You are a land that has had no rain or showers in the day of wrath.'
There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her.
Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.
Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says'--when the LORD has not spoken.
The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.
"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.
So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD."
As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.
We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;
known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.
We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.
As a fair exchange--I speak as to my children--open wide your hearts also.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one.
I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.
I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn--conflicts on the outside, fears within.
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it--I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while--
yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.
By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.
I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well.
And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.
I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.
The word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother.
They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed.
The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
"Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians--warriors
clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen.
She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after.
She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her.
"Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted.
They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.
"Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister.
She too lusted after the Assyrians--governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men.
I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.
"But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans portrayed in red,
with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea.
As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.
Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust.
When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister.
Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt.
There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.
"Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side--
the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses.
They will come against you with weapons, chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards.
I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire.
They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry.
So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore.
"For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust.
They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you naked and bare, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity
have brought this upon you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols.
You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand.
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "You will drink your sister's cup, a cup large and deep; it will bring scorn and derision, for it holds so much.
You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of ruin and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria.
You will drink it and drain it dry; you will dash it to pieces and tear your breasts. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.
"Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution."
The LORD said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices,
for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them.
They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths.
On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.
"They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry.
You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and oil that belonged to me.
"The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; Sabeans were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the arms of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads.
Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, 'Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.'
And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah.
But righteous men will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder.
The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.
"So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.
You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD."