Then the Lord spoke his word to me, saying:
"Human, look toward Jerusalem and speak against the holy place. Prophesy against the land of Israel.
Say to Israel: 'This is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will pull my sword out of its holder, and I will cut off from you both the wicked and those who do right.
Because I am going to cut off the wicked and those who do right, my sword will come out from its holder and attack all people from south to north.
Then all people will know that I, the Lord, have pulled my sword out from its holder. My sword will not go back in again.'
"So, human, groan with breaking heart and great sadness. Groan in front of the people.
When they ask you, 'Why are you groaning?' you will say, 'Because of what I have heard is going to happen. When it happens, every heart will melt with fear, and all hands will become weak. Everyone will be afraid; all knees will become weak as water. Look, it is coming, and it will happen, says the Lord God.'"
The Lord spoke his word to me, saying:
"Human, prophesy and say, 'This is what the Lord says: A sword, a sword, made sharp and polished.
It is made sharp for the killing. It is polished to flash like lightning. "'You are not happy about this horrible punishment by the sword. But my son Judah, you did not change when you were only beaten with a rod.
The sword should be polished. It is meant to be held in the hand. It is made sharp and polished, ready for the hand of a killer.
Shout and yell, human, because the sword is meant for my people, for all the rulers of Israel. They will be killed by the sword, along with my people. So beat your chest in sadness.
"'The test will come. And Judah, who is hated by the armies of Babylon, will not last, says the Lord God.'
"So, human, prophesy and clap your hands. Let the sword strike two or three times. It is a sword meant for killing, a sword meant for much killing. This sword surrounds the people to be killed.
Their hearts will melt with fear, and many people will die. I have placed the killing sword at all their city gates. Oh! The sword is made to flash like lightning. It is held, ready for killing.
Sword, cut on the right side; then cut on the left side. Cut anywhere your blade is turned.
I will also clap my hands and use up my anger. I, the Lord, have spoken."
The Lord spoke his word to me, saying:
"Human, mark two roads that the king of Babylon and his sword can follow. Both of these roads will start from the same country. And make signs where the road divides and one way goes toward the city.
Mark one sign to show the road he can take with his sword to Rabbah in the land of the Ammonites. Mark the other sign to show the road to Judah and Jerusalem, which is protected with strong walls.
The king of Babylon has come to where the road divides, and he is using magic. He throws lots with arrows and asks questions of his family idols. He looks at the liver of a sacrificed animal to learn where he should go.
The lot in his right hand tells him to go to Jerusalem. It tells him to use logs to break down the city gates, to shout the battle cry and give the order to kill, and to build a dirt road to the top of the walls and devices to attack the walls.
The people of Jerusalem have made agreements with other nations to help them fight Babylon. So they will think this prediction is wrong, but it is really proof of their sin, and they will be captured.
"So this is what the Lord God says: 'You have shown how sinful you are by turning against the Lord. Your sins are seen in all the things you do. Because of this proof against you, you will be taken captive by the enemy.
"'You unclean and evil leader of Israel, you will be killed! The time of your final punishment has come.
This is what the Lord God says: Take off the royal turban, and remove the crown. Things will change. Those who are important now will be made unimportant, and those who are unimportant now will be made important.
A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! This place will not be rebuilt until the one comes who has a right to be king. Then I will give him that right.'
"And you, human, prophesy and say: 'This is what the Lord God says about the people of Ammon and their insults: A sword, a sword is pulled out of its holder. It is polished to kill and destroy, to flash like lightning!
Prophets see false visions about you and prophesy lies about you. The sword will be put on the necks of these unclean and evil people. Their day of judging has come; the time of final punishment has come.
Put the sword back in its holder. I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land where you were born.
I will pour out my anger against you and blast you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men, experts in destruction.
You will be like fuel for the fire; you will die in the land. You will not be remembered, because I, the Lord, have spoken.'"
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.