1 The Lord spoke to me 2 and said, "What is this proverb people keep repeating in the land of Israel? "The parents ate the sour grapes, But the children got the sour taste.' 3 "As surely as I am the living God," says the Sovereign Lord, "you will not repeat this proverb in Israel any more. 4 The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die. 5 "Suppose there is a truly good man, righteous and honest. 6 He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife or have intercourse with a woman during her period. 7 He doesn't cheat or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security; he feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 8 He doesn't lend money for profit. He refuses to do evil and gives an honest decision in any dispute. 9 Such a man obeys my commands and carefully keeps my laws. He is righteous, and he will live," says the Sovereign Lord. 10 "Then suppose this man has a son who robs and kills, who does any of these things 11 that the father never did. He eats sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines and seduces other men's wives. 12 He cheats the poor, he robs, he keeps what a borrower gives him as security. He goes to pagan shrines, worships disgusting idols, 13 and lends money for profit. Will he live? No, he will not. He has done all these disgusting things, and so he will die. He will be to blame for his own death. 14 "Now suppose this second man has a son. He sees all the sins his father practiced, but does not follow his example. 15 He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife 16 or oppress anyone or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security. He feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 17 He refuses to do evil and doesn't lend money for profit. He keeps my laws and obeys my commands. He will not die because of his father's sins, but he will certainly live. 18 His father, on the other hand, cheated and robbed and always did evil to everyone. And so he died because of the sins he himself had committed. 19 "But you ask, "Why shouldn't the son suffer because of his father's sins?' The answer is that the son did what was right and good. He kept my laws and followed them carefully, and so he will certainly live. 20 It is the one who sins who will die. A son is not to suffer because of his father's sins, nor a father because of the sins of his son. Good people will be rewarded for doing good, and evil people will suffer for the evil they do. 21 "If someone evil stops sinning and keeps my laws, if he does what is right and good, he will not die; he will certainly live. 22 All his sins will be forgiven, and he will live, because he did what is right. 23 Do you think I enjoy seeing evil people die?" asks the Sovereign Lord. "No, I would rather see them repent and live. 24 "But if a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing all the evil, disgusting things that evil people do, will he go on living? No! None of the good he did will be remembered. He will die because of his unfaithfulness and his sins. 25 "But you say, "What the Lord does isn't right.' Listen to me, you Israelites. Do you think my way of doing things isn't right? It is your way that isn't right. 26 When a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing evil and then dies, he dies because of the evil he has done. 27 When someone evil stops sinning and does what is right and good, he saves his life. 28 He realizes what he is doing and stops sinning, so he will certainly not die, but go on living. 29 And you Israelites say, "What the Lord does isn't right.' You think my way isn't right, do you? It is your way that isn't right. 30 "Now I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you Israelites that I will judge each of you by what you have done. Turn away from all the evil you are doing, and don't let your sin destroy you. 31 Give up all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and hearts. Why do you Israelites want to die? 32 I do not want anyone to die," says the Sovereign Lord. "Turn away from your sins and live."
1 The Lord told me to sing this song of sorrow for two princes of Israel: 2 What a lioness your mother was! She raised her cubs among the fierce male lions. 3 She raised a cub and taught him to hunt; he learned to eat people. 4 The nations heard about him and trapped him in a pit. With hooks they dragged him off to Egypt. 5 She waited until she saw all hope was gone. Then she raised another of her cubs, and he grew into a fierce lion. 6 When he was full-grown, he prowled with the other lions. He too learned to hunt and eat people. 7 He wrecked forts, he ruined towns. The people of the land were terrified every time he roared. 8 The nations gathered to fight him; people came from everywhere. They spread their hunting nets and caught him in their trap. 9 They put him in a cage and took him to the king of Babylonia. They kept him under guard, so that his roar would never be heard again on the hills of Israel. 10 Your mother was like a grapevine planted near a stream. Because there was plenty of water, the vine was covered with leaves and fruit. 11 Its branches were strong and grew to be royal scepters. The vine grew tall enough to reach the clouds; everyone saw how leafy and tall it was. 12 But angry hands pulled it up by the roots and threw it to the ground. The east wind dried up its fruit. Its branches were broken off; they dried up and were burned. 13 Now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and waterless land. 14 The stem of the vine caught fire; fire burned up its branches and fruit. The branches will never again be strong, will never be royal scepters. This is a song of sorrow; it has been sung again and again.
1 It was the tenth day of the fifth month of the seventh year of our exile. Some of the leaders of the Israelite community came to consult me about the Lord's will, and they sat down in front of me. 2 Then the Lord spoke to me. 3 "Mortal man," he said, "speak to these leaders and tell them that the Sovereign Lord is saying: You have come to ask my will, have you? As surely as I am the living God, I will not let you ask me anything. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. 4 "Are you ready to pass sentence on them, mortal man? Then do so. Remind them of the disgusting things their ancestors did. 5 Tell them what I am saying. When I chose Israel, I made them a promise. I revealed myself to them in Egypt and told them: I am the Lord your God. 6 It was then that I promised to take them out of Egypt and lead them to a land I had chosen for them, a rich and fertile land, the finest land of all. 7 I told them to throw away the disgusting idols they loved and not to make themselves unclean with the false gods of Egypt, because I am the Lord their God. 8 But they defied me and refused to listen. They did not throw away their disgusting idols or give up the Egyptian gods. I was ready to let them feel the full force of my anger there in Egypt. 9 But I did not, since that would have brought dishonor to my name, for in the presence of the people among whom they were living I had announced to Israel that I was going to lead them out of Egypt. 10 "And so I led them out of Egypt into the desert. 11 I gave them my commands and taught them my laws, which bring life to anyone who obeys them. 12 I made the keeping of the Sabbath a sign of the agreement between us, to remind them that I, the Lord, make them holy. 13 But even in the desert they defied me. They broke my laws and rejected my commands, which bring life to anyone who obeys them. They completely profaned the Sabbath. I was ready to let them feel the force of my anger there in the desert and to destroy them. 14 But I did not, since that would have brought dishonor to my name among the nations which had seen me lead Israel out of Egypt. 15 So I made a vow in the desert that I would not take them to the land I had given them, a rich and fertile land, the finest land of all. 16 I made the vow because they had rejected my commands, broken my laws, and profaned the Sabbath - they preferred to worship their idols. 17 "But then I took pity on them. I decided not to kill them there in the desert. 18 Instead, I warned the young people among them: Do not keep the laws your ancestors made; do not follow their customs or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God. Obey my laws and my commands. 20 Make the Sabbath a holy day, so that it will be a sign of the covenant we made, and will remind you that I am the Lord your God. 21 "But that generation also defied me. They broke my laws and did not keep my commands, which bring life to anyone who obeys them. They profaned the Sabbath. I was ready to let them feel the force of my anger there in the desert and to kill them all. 22 But I did not, since that would have brought dishonor to my name among the nations which had seen me bring Israel out of Egypt. 23 So I made another vow in the desert. I vowed that I would scatter them all over the world. 24 I did this because they had rejected my commands, broken my laws, profaned the Sabbath, and worshiped the same idols their ancestors had served. 25 "Then I gave them laws that are not good and commands that do not bring life. 26 I let them defile themselves with their own offerings, and I let them sacrifice their first-born sons. This was to punish them and show them that I am the Lord. 27 "Now then, mortal man, tell the Israelites what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them. This is another way their ancestors insulted me by their unfaithfulness. 28 I brought them to the land I had promised to give them. When they saw the high hills and green trees, they offered sacrifices at all of them. They made me angry by the sacrifices they burned and by the wine they brought as offerings. 29 I asked them: What are these high places where you go? So they have been called "High Places' ever since. 30 Now tell the Israelites what I am saying: Why must you commit the same sins your ancestors did and go running after their idols? 31 Even today you offer the same gifts and defile yourselves with the same idols by sacrificing your children to them in the fire. And then you Israelites still come to ask what my will is! As surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I will not let you ask me anything. 32 You have made up your minds that you want to be like the other nations, like the people who live in other countries and worship trees and rocks. But that will never be. 33 "As surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I warn you that in my anger I will rule over you with a strong hand, with all my power. 34 I will show you my power and my anger when I gather you together and bring you back from all the countries where you have been scattered. 35 I will bring you into the "Desert of the Nations,' and there I will condemn you to your face. 36 I will now condemn you just as I condemned your ancestors in the Sinai Desert," says the Sovereign Lord. 37 "I will take firm control of you and make you obey my covenant. 38 I will take away from among you those who are rebellious and sinful. I will take them out of the lands where they are living now, but I will not let them return to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord." 39 The Sovereign Lord says, "And now, all you Israelites, suit yourselves! Go on and serve your idols! But I warn you that after this you will have to obey me and stop dishonoring my holy name by offering gifts to your idols. 40 There in the land, on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, all you people of Israel will worship me. I will be pleased with you and will expect you to bring me your sacrifices, your best offerings, and your holy gifts. 41 After I bring you out of the countries where you have been scattered and gather you together, I will accept the sacrifices that you burn, and the nations will see that I am holy. 42 When I bring you back to Israel, the land that I promised I would give to your ancestors, then you will know that I am the Lord. 43 Then you will remember all the disgraceful things you did and how you defiled yourselves. You will be disgusted with yourselves because of all the evil things you did. 44 When I act to protect my honor, you Israelites will know that I am the Lord, because I do not deal with you as your wicked, evil actions deserve." The Sovereign Lord has spoken. 45 The Lord spoke to me. 46 "Mortal man," he said, "look toward the south. Speak against the south and prophesy against the forest of the south. 47 Tell the southern forest to hear what the Sovereign Lord is saying: Look! I am starting a fire, and it will burn up every tree in you, whether green or dry. Nothing will be able to put it out. It will spread from south to north, and everyone will feel the heat of the flames. 48 They will all see that I, the Lord, set it on fire and that no one can put it out." 49 But I protested, "Sovereign Lord, don't make me do it! Everyone is already complaining that I always speak in riddles."