On January 15, during the ninth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD :
“Son of man, write down today’s date, because on this very day the king of Babylon is beginning his attack against Jerusalem.
Then give these rebels an illustration with this message from the Sovereign LORD : “Put a pot on the fire, and pour in some water.
Fill it with choice pieces of meat— the rump and the shoulder and all the most tender cuts.
Use only the best sheep from the flock, and heap fuel on the fire beneath the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, and cook the bones along with the meat.
“Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! She is a cooking pot whose corruption can’t be cleaned out. Take the meat out in random order, for no piece is better than another.
For the blood of her murders is splashed on the rocks. It isn’t even spilled on the ground, where the dust could cover it!
So I will splash her blood on a rock for all to see, an expression of my anger and vengeance against her.
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! I myself will pile up the fuel beneath her.
Yes, heap on the wood! Let the fire roar to make the pot boil. Cook the meat with many spices, and afterward burn the bones.
Now set the empty pot on the coals. Heat it red hot! Burn away the filth and corruption.
But it’s hopeless; the corruption can’t be cleaned out. So throw it into the fire.
Your impurity is your lewdness and the corruption of your idolatry. I tried to cleanse you, but you refused. So now you will remain in your filth until my fury against you has been satisfied.
“I, the LORD, have spoken! The time has come, and I won’t hold back. I will not change my mind, and I will have no pity on you. You will be judged on the basis of all your wicked actions, says the Sovereign LORD .”
Then this message came to me from the LORD :
“Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears.
Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.”
So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did everything I had been told to do.
Then the people asked, “What does all this mean? What are you trying to tell us?”
So I said to them, “A message came to me from the LORD,
and I was told to give this message to the people of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will defile my Temple, the source of your security and pride, the place your heart delights in. Your sons and daughters whom you left behind in Judah will be slaughtered by the sword.
Then you will do as Ezekiel has done. You will not mourn in public or console yourselves by eating the food brought by friends.
Your heads will remain covered, and your sandals will not be taken off. You will not mourn or weep, but you will waste away because of your sins. You will groan among yourselves for all the evil you have done.
Ezekiel is an example for you; you will do just as he has done. And when that time comes, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .”
Then the LORD said to me, “Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold—their joy and glory, their heart’s desire, their dearest treasure—I will also take away their sons and daughters.
And on that day a survivor from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened.
And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”