The sword is being polished, to make it ready for use. It is sharpened and polished, to be put in the hands of a killer.
Howl in grief, mortal man; this sword is meant for my people and for all the leaders of Israel. They are going to be killed with all the rest of my people. Beat your breast in despair!
I am testing my people, and if they refuse to repent, all these things will happen to them.
"Now, mortal man, prophesy. Clap your hands, and the sword will strike again and again. It is a sword that kills, a sword that terrifies and slaughters.
It makes my people lose courage and stumble. I am threatening their city with a sword that flashes like lightning and is ready to kill.
Cut to the right and the left, you sharp sword! Cut wherever you turn.
I also will clap my hands, and my anger will be over. I, the Lord, have spoken."
The Lord spoke to me.
"Mortal man," he said, "mark out two roads by which the king of Babylonia can come with his sword. Both of them are to start in the same country. Put up a signpost where the roads fork.
One will show the king the way to the Ammonite city of Rabbah, and the other the way to Judah, to the fortified city, Jerusalem.
The king of Babylonia stands by the signpost at the fork of the road. To discover which way to go, he shakes the arrows; he consults his idols; he examines the liver of a sacrificed animal.