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Ezekiel 18; Ezekiel 19; Ezekiel 20

1 The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: 2 "What do you mean by using this saying about the land of Israel: 'The parents have eaten sour grapes, and that caused the children to grind their teeth from the sour taste'? 3 "As surely as I live, says the Lord God, this is true: You will not use this saying in Israel anymore. 4 Every living thing belongs to me. The life of the parent is mine, and the life of the child is mine. The person who sins is the one who will die. 5 "Suppose a person is good and does what is fair and right. 6 He does not eat at the mountain places of worship. He does not look to the idols of Israel for help. He does not have sexual relations with his neighbor's wife or with a woman during her time of monthly bleeding. 7 He does not mistreat anyone but returns what was given as a promise for a loan. He does not rob other people. He gives bread to the hungry and clothes to those who have none. 8 He does not lend money to get too much interest or profit. He keeps his hand from doing wrong. He judges fairly between one person and another. 9 He lives by my rules and obeys my laws faithfully. Whoever does these things is good and will surely live, says the Lord God. 10 "But suppose this person has a wild son who murders people and who does any of these other things. 11 (But the father himself has not done any of these things.) This son eats at the mountain places of worship. He has sexual relations with his neighbor's wife. 12 He mistreats the poor and needy. He steals and refuses to return what was promised for a loan. He looks to idols for help. He does things which I hate. 13 He lends money for too much interest and profit. Will this son live? No, he will not live! He has done all these hateful things, so he will surely be put to death. He will be responsible for his own death. 14 "Now suppose this son has a son who has seen all his father's sins, but after seeing them does not do those things. 15 He does not eat at the mountain places of worship. He does not look to the idols of Israel for help. He does not have sexual relations with his neighbor's wife. 16 He does not mistreat anyone or keep something promised for a loan or steal. He gives bread to the hungry and clothes to those who have none. 17 He keeps his hand from doing wrong. He does not take too much interest or profit when he lends money. He obeys my laws and lives by my rules. He will not die for his father's sin; he will surely live. 18 But his father took other people's money unfairly and robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people. So he will die for his own sin. 19 "But you ask, 'Why is the son not punished for the father's sin?' The son has done what is fair and right. He obeys all my rules, so he will surely live. 20 The person who sins is the one who will die. A child will not be punished for a parent's sin, and a parent will not be punished for a child's sin. Those who do right will enjoy the results of their own goodness; evil people will suffer the results of their own evil. 21 "But suppose the wicked stop doing all the sins they have done and obey all my rules and do what is fair and right. Then they will surely live; they will not die. 22 Their sins will be forgotten. Because they have done what is right, they will live. 23 I do not really want the wicked to die, says the Lord God. I want them to stop their bad ways and live. 24 "But suppose good people stop doing good and do wrong and do the same hateful things the wicked do. Will they live? All their good acts will be forgotten, because they became unfaithful. They have sinned, so they will die because of their sins. 25 "But you say, 'What the Lord does isn't fair.' Listen, people of Israel. I am fair. It is what you do that is not fair! 26 When good people stop doing good and do wrong, they will die because of it. They will die, because they did wrong. 27 When the wicked stop being wicked and do what is fair and right, they will save their lives. 28 Because they thought about it and stopped doing all the sins they had done, they will surely live; they will not die. 29 But the people of Israel still say, 'What the Lord does isn't fair.' People of Israel, I am fair. It is what you do that is not fair. 30 "So I will judge you, people of Israel; I will judge each of you by what you do, says the Lord God. Change your hearts and stop all your sinning so sin will not bring your ruin. 31 Get rid of all the sins you have done, and get for yourselves a new heart and a new way of thinking. Why do you want to die, people of Israel? 32 I do not want anyone to die, says the Lord God, so change your hearts and lives so you may live.
1 "Sing a funeral song for the leaders of Israel. 2 Say: 'Your mother was like a female lion. She lay down among the young lions. She had many cubs. 3 When she brought up one of her cubs, he became a strong lion. He learned to tear the animals he hunted, and he ate people. 4 The nations heard about him. He was trapped in their pit, and they brought him with hooks to the land of Egypt. 5 "'The mother lion waited and saw that there was no hope for her cub. So she took another one of her cubs and made him a strong lion. 6 This cub roamed among the lions. He was now a strong lion. He learned to tear the animals he hunted, and he ate people. 7 He tore down their strong places and destroyed their cities. The land and everything in it were terrified by the sound of his roar. 8 Then the nations came against him from areas all around, and they spread their net over him. He was trapped in their pit. 9 Then they put him into a cage with chains and brought him to the king of Babylon. They put him into prison so his roar could not be heard again on the mountains of Israel. 10 "'Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard, planted beside the water. The vine had many branches and gave much fruit, because there was plenty of water. 11 The vine had strong branches, good enough for a king's scepter. The vine became tall among the thick branches. And it was seen, because it was tall with many branches. 12 But it was pulled up by its roots in anger and thrown down to the ground. The east wind dried it up. Its fruit was torn off. Its strong branches were broken off and burned up. 13 Now the vine is planted in the desert, in a dry and thirsty land. 14 Fire spread from the vine's main branch, destroying its fruit. There is not a strong branch left on it that could become a scepter for a king.' This is a funeral song; it is to be used as a funeral song."
1 It was the seventh year of our captivity, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month. Some of the older leaders of Israel came to ask about the Lord and sat down in front of me. 2 The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: 3 "Human, speak to the older leaders of Israel and say to them: 'This is what the Lord God says: Did you come to ask me questions? As surely as I live, I will not let you ask me questions.' 4 "Will you judge them? Will you judge them, human? Let them know the hateful things their ancestors did. 5 Say to them: 'This is what the Lord God says: When I chose Israel, I made a promise to the descendants of Jacob. I made myself known to them in Egypt, and I promised them, "I am the Lord your God." 6 At that time I promised them I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had found for them, a fertile land, the best land in the world. 7 I said to them, "Each one of you must throw away the hateful idols you have seen and liked. Don't make yourselves unclean with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." 8 "'But they turned against me and refused to listen to me. They did not throw away the hateful idols which they saw and liked; they did not give up the idols of Egypt. Then I decided to pour out my anger against them while they were still in Egypt. 9 But I acted for the sake of my name so it would not be dishonored in full view of the nations where the Israelites lived. I made myself known to the Israelites with a promise to bring them out of Egypt while the nations were watching. 10 So I took them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert. 11 I gave them my rules and told them about my laws, by which people will live if they obey them. 12 I also gave them my Sabbaths to be a sign between us so they would know that I am the Lord who made them holy. 13 "'But in the desert Israel turned against me. They did not follow my rules, and they rejected my laws, by which people will live if they obey them. They dishonored my Sabbaths. Then I decided to pour out my anger against them and destroy them in the desert. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name so it would not be dishonored in full view of the nations who watched as I had brought the Israelites out of Egypt. 15 And in the desert I swore to the Israelites that I would not bring them into the land I had given them. It is a fertile land, the best land in the world. 16 This was because they rejected my laws and did not follow my rules. They dishonored my Sabbaths and wanted to worship their idols. 17 But I had pity on them. I did not destroy them or put an end to them in the desert. 18 I said to their children in the desert, "Don't live by the rules of your parents, or obey their laws. Don't make yourselves unclean with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God. Live by my rules, obey my laws, and follow them. 20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, and they will be a sign between me and you. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God." 21 "'But the children turned against me. They did not live by my rules, nor were they careful to obey my laws, by which people will live if they obey them. They dishonored my Sabbaths. So I decided to pour out my anger against them in the desert. 22 But I held back my anger. I acted for the sake of my name so it would not be dishonored in full view of the nations who watched as I brought the Israelites out. 23 And in the desert I swore to the Israelites that I would scatter them among the nations and spread them among the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my laws. They had rejected my rules and dishonored my Sabbaths and worshiped the idols of their parents. 25 I also allowed them to follow rules that were not good and laws by which they could not live. 26 I let the Israelites make themselves unclean by the gifts they brought to their gods when they sacrificed their first children in the fire. I wanted to terrify them so they would know that I am the Lord.' 27 "So, human, speak to the people of Israel. Say to them, 'This is what the Lord God says: Your ancestors spoke against me by being unfaithful to me in another way. 28 When I had brought them into the land I promised to give them, they saw every high hill and every leafy tree. There they offered their sacrifices to gods. They brought offerings that made me angry and burned their incense and poured out their drink offerings. 29 Then I said to them: What is this high place where you go to worship?'" (It is still called High Place today.) 30 "So say to the people of Israel: 'This is what the Lord God says: Are you going to make yourselves unclean as your ancestors did? Are you going to be unfaithful and desire their hateful idols? 31 When you offer your children as gifts and sacrifice them in the fire, you are making yourselves unclean with all your idols even today. So, people of Israel, should I let you ask me questions? As surely as I live, says the Lord God, I will not accept questions from you. 32 "'What you want will not come true. You say, "We want to be like the other nations, like the people in other lands. We want to worship idols made of wood and stone." 33 As surely as I live, says the Lord God, I will use my great power and strength and anger to rule over you. 34 I will bring you out from the foreign nations. With my great power and strength and anger I will gather you from the lands where you are scattered. 35 I will bring you among the nations as I brought your ancestors into the desert with Moses. There I will judge you face to face. 36 I will judge you the same way I judged your ancestors in the desert of the land of Egypt, says the Lord God. 37 I will count you like sheep and will bring you into line with my agreement. 38 I will get rid of those who refuse to obey me and who turn against me. I will bring them out of the land where they are now living, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 39 "'This is what the Lord God says: People of Israel, go serve your idols for now. But later you will listen to me; you will not continue to dishonor my holy name with your gifts and gods. 40 On my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, all Israel will serve me in the land, says the Lord God. There I will accept you. There I will expect your offerings, the first harvest of your offerings, and all your holy gifts. 41 I will accept you like the pleasing smell of sacrifices when I bring you out from the foreign nations and gather you from the lands where you are scattered. Then through you I will show how holy I am so the nations will see. 42 When I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I promised your ancestors, you will know that I am the Lord. 43 There you will remember everything you did that made you unclean, and then you will hate yourselves for all the evil things you have done. 44 I will deal with you for the sake of my name, not because of your evil ways or unclean actions. Then you will know I am the Lord, people of Israel, says the Lord God.'" Babylon, the Lord's Sword 45 Now the Lord spoke his word to me, saying: 46 "Human, look toward the south. Prophesy against the south and against the forest of the southern area. 47 Say to that forest: 'Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord God says: I am ready to start a fire in you that will destroy all your green trees and all your dry trees. The flames that burn will not be put out. Every face from south to north will feel their heat. 48 Then all the people will see that I, the Lord, have started the fire. It will not be put out.'" 49 Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! The people are saying about me, 'He is only telling stories.'"