Ezekiel 18; Ezekiel 19; Ezekiel 20

1 Then another message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Why do you quote this proverb concerning the land of Israel: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste’? 3 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, you will not quote this proverb anymore in Israel. 4 For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. 5 “Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is just and right. 6 He does not feast in the mountains before Israel’s idols or worship them. He does not commit adultery or have intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period. 7 He is a merciful creditor, not keeping the items given as security by poor debtors. He does not rob the poor but instead gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 8 He grants loans without interest, stays away from injustice, is honest and fair when judging others, 9 and faithfully obeys my decrees and regulations. Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign LORD . 10 “But suppose that man has a son who grows up to be a robber or murderer and refuses to do what is right. 11 And that son does all the evil things his father would never do—he worships idols on the mountains, commits adultery, 12 oppresses the poor and helpless, steals from debtors by refusing to let them redeem their security, worships idols, commits detestable sins, 13 and lends money at excessive interest. Should such a sinful person live? No! He must die and must take full blame. 14 “But suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of life. 15 This son refuses to worship idols on the mountains and does not commit adultery. 16 He does not exploit the poor, but instead is fair to debtors and does not rob them. He gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 17 He helps the poor, does not lend money at interest, and obeys all my regulations and decrees. Such a person will not die because of his father’s sins; he will surely live. 18 But the father will die for his many sins—for being cruel, robbing people, and doing what was clearly wrong among his people. 19 “‘What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. 20 The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. 21 But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. 22 All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. 23 “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD . Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. 24 However, if righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things and act like other sinners, should they be allowed to live? No, of course not! All their righteous acts will be forgotten, and they will die for their sins. 25 “Yet you say, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ Listen to me, O people of Israel. Am I the one not doing what’s right, or is it you? 26 When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds. 27 And if wicked people turn from their wickedness, obey the law, and do what is just and right, they will save their lives. 28 They will live because they thought it over and decided to turn from their sins. Such people will not die. 29 And yet the people of Israel keep saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ O people of Israel, it is you who are not doing what’s right, not I. 30 “Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign LORD . Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! 31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? 32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign LORD . Turn back and live!
1 “Sing this funeral song for the princes of Israel: 2 “What is your mother? A lioness among lions! She lay down among the young lions and reared her cubs. 3 She raised one of her cubs to become a strong young lion. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he became a man-eater. 4 Then the nations heard about him, and he was trapped in their pit. They led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. 5 “When the lioness saw that her hopes for him were gone, she took another of her cubs and taught him to be a strong young lion. 6 He prowled among the other lions and stood out among them in his strength. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he, too, became a man-eater. 7 He demolished fortresses and destroyed their towns and cities. Their farms were desolated, and their crops were destroyed. The land and its people trembled in fear when they heard him roar. 8 Then the armies of the nations attacked him, surrounding him from every direction. They threw a net over him and captured him in their pit. 9 With hooks, they dragged him into a cage and brought him before the king of Babylon. They held him in captivity, so his voice could never again be heard on the mountains of Israel. 10 “Your mother was like a vine planted by the water’s edge. It had lush, green foliage because of the abundant water. 11 Its branches became strong— strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. It grew very tall, towering above all others. It stood out because of its height and its many lush branches. 12 But the vine was uprooted in fury and thrown down to the ground. The desert wind dried up its fruit and tore off its strong branches, so that it withered and was destroyed by fire. 13 Now the vine is transplanted to the wilderness, where the ground is hard and dry. 14 A fire has burst out from its branches and devoured its fruit. Its remaining limbs are not strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. “This is a funeral song, and it will be used in a funeral.”
1 On August 14, during the seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the LORD . They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. 2 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 3 “Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing!’ 4 “Son of man, bring charges against them and condemn them. Make them realize how detestable the sins of their ancestors really were. 5 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : When I chose Israel—when I revealed myself to the descendants of Jacob in Egypt—I took a solemn oath that I, the LORD, would be their God. 6 I took a solemn oath that day that I would bring them out of Egypt to a land I had discovered and explored for them—a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the best of all lands anywhere. 7 Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, get rid of the vile images you are so obsessed with. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt, for I am the LORD your God.’ 8 “But they rebelled against me and would not listen. They did not get rid of the vile images they were obsessed with, or forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I threatened to pour out my fury on them to satisfy my anger while they were still in Egypt. 9 But I didn’t do it, for I acted to protect the honor of my name. I would not allow shame to be brought on my name among the surrounding nations who saw me reveal myself by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. 10 So I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. 11 There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. 12 And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy. 13 “But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life. They also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the wilderness. 14 But again I held back in order to protect the honor of my name before the nations who had seen my power in bringing Israel out of Egypt. 15 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would not bring them into the land I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful place on earth. 16 For they had rejected my regulations, refused to follow my decrees, and violated my Sabbath days. Their hearts were given to their idols. 17 Nevertheless, I took pity on them and held back from destroying them in the wilderness. 18 “Then I warned their children not to follow in their parents’ footsteps, defiling themselves with their idols. 19 ‘I am the LORD your God,’ I told them. ‘Follow my decrees, pay attention to my regulations, 20 and keep my Sabbath days holy, for they are a sign to remind you that I am the LORD your God.’ 21 “But their children, too, rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So again I threatened to pour out my fury on them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless, I withdrew my judgment against them to protect the honor of my name before the nations that had seen my power in bringing them out of Egypt. 23 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would scatter them among all the nations 24 because they did not obey my regulations. They scorned my decrees by violating my Sabbath days and longing for the idols of their ancestors. 25 I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life. 26 I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them, and I allowed them to give their firstborn children as offerings to their gods—so I might devastate them and remind them that I alone am the LORD . 27 “Therefore, son of man, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Your ancestors continued to blaspheme and betray me, 28 for when I brought them into the land I had promised them, they offered sacrifices on every high hill and under every green tree they saw! They roused my fury as they offered up sacrifices to their gods. They brought their perfumes and incense and poured out their liquid offerings to them. 29 I said to them, ‘What is this high place where you are going?’ (This kind of pagan shrine has been called Bamah—‘high place’—ever since.) 30 “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Do you plan to pollute yourselves just as your ancestors did? Do you intend to keep prostituting yourselves by worshiping vile images? 31 For when you offer gifts to them and give your little children to be burned as sacrifices, you continue to pollute yourselves with idols to this day. Should I allow you to ask for a message from me, O people of Israel? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing. 32 “You say, ‘We want to be like the nations all around us, who serve idols of wood and stone.’ But what you have in mind will never happen. 33 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will rule over you with an iron fist in great anger and with awesome power. 34 And in anger I will reach out with my strong hand and powerful arm, and I will bring you back from the lands where you are scattered. 35 I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will judge you face to face. 36 I will judge you there just as I did your ancestors in the wilderness after bringing them out of Egypt, says the Sovereign LORD . 37 I will examine you carefully and hold you to the terms of the covenant. 38 I will purge you of all those who rebel and revolt against me. I will bring them out of the countries where they are in exile, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 39 “As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign LORD, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. There I will require that you bring me all your offerings and choice gifts and sacrifices. 41 When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. 42 Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know that I am the LORD . 43 You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the LORD, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 45 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 46 “Son of man, turn and face the south and speak out against it; prophesy against the brushlands of the Negev. 47 Tell the southern wilderness, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Hear the word of the LORD ! I will set you on fire, and every tree, both green and dry, will be burned. The terrible flames will not be quenched and will scorch everything from south to north. 48 And everyone in the world will see that I, the LORD, have set this fire. It will not be put out.’” 49 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, they are saying of me, ‘He only talks in riddles!’”