Ezekiel 18-20 Bible in Basic English

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The Soul That Sins Shall Die

18 1  The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 2  Why do you make use of this saying about the land of Israel, The fathers have been tasting bitter grapes and the children's teeth are on edge? 3  By my life, says the Lord, you will no longer have this saying in Israel. 4  See, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is mine: death will be the fate of the sinner's soul. 5  But if a man is upright, living rightly and doing righteousness, 6  And has not taken flesh with the blood for food, or given worship to the images of the children of Israel; if he has not had connection with his neighbour's wife, or come near to a woman at the time when she is unclean; 7  And has done no wrong to any, but has given back to the debtor what is his, and has taken no one's goods by force, and has given food to him who was in need of it, and clothing to him who was without it; 8  And has not given his money out at interest or taken great profits, and, turning his hand from evil-doing, has kept faith between man and man, 9  And has been guided by my rules and has kept my laws and done them: he is upright, life will certainly be his, says the Lord.

10  If he has a son who is a thief, a taker of life, who does any of these things, 11  Who has taken flesh with the blood as food, and has had connection with his neighbour's wife, 12  Has done wrong to the poor and to him who is in need, and taken property by force, and has not given back to one in his debt what is his, and has given worship to images and has done disgusting things, 13  And has given out his money at interest and taken great profits: he will certainly not go on living: he has done all these disgusting things: death will certainly be his fate; his blood will be on him. 14  Now if he has a son who sees all his father's sins which he has done, and in fear does not do the same: 15  Who has not taken the flesh with the blood for food, or given worship to the images of the children of Israel, and has not had connection with his neighbour's wife, 16  Or done wrong to any, or taken anything from one in his debt, or taken goods by force, but has given food to him who was in need of it, and clothing to him who was without it; 17  Who has kept his hand from evil-doing and has not taken interest or great profits, who has done my orders and been guided by my rules: he will certainly not be put to death for the evil-doing of his father; life will certainly be his. 18  As for his father, because he was cruel, took goods by force, and did what is not good among his people, truly, death will overtake him in his evil-doing. 19  But you say, Why does not the son undergo punishment for the evil-doing of the father? When the son has done what is ordered and right, and has kept my rules and done them, life will certainly be his. 20  The soul which does sin will be put to death: the son will not be made responsible for the evil-doing of the father, or the father for the evil-doing of the son; the righteousness of the upright will be on himself, and the evil-doing of the evil-doer on himself.

God's Way Is Just

21  But if the evil-doer, turning away from all the sins which he has done, keeps my rules and does what is ordered and right, life will certainly be his; death will not be his fate. 22  Not one of the sins which he has done will be kept in memory against him: in the righteousness which he has done he will have life. 23  Have I any pleasure in the death of the evil-doer? says the Lord: am I not pleased if he is turned from his way so that he may have life? 24  But when the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, like all the disgusting things which the evil man does, will he have life? Not one of his upright acts will be kept in memory: in the wrong which he has done and in his sin death will overtake him. 25  But you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Give ear, now, O children of Israel; is my way not equal? are not your ways unequal? 26  When the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, death will overtake him; in the evil which he has done death will overtake him. 27  Again, when the evil-doer, turning away from the evil he has done, does what is ordered and right, he will have life for his soul. 28  Because he had fear and was turned away from all the wrong which he had done, life will certainly be his, death will not be his fate. 29  But still the children of Israel say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O children of Israel, are my ways not equal? are not your ways unequal?

30  For this cause I will be your judge, O children of Israel, judging every man by his ways, says the Lord. Come back and be turned from all your sins; so that they may not be the cause of your falling into evil. 31  Put away all your evil-doing in which you have done sin; and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit: why are you desiring death, O children of Israel? 32  For I have no pleasure in the death of him on whom death comes, says the Lord: be turned back then, and have life.

A Lamentation for the Princes of Israel

19 1  Take up now a song of grief for the ruler of Israel, and say, 2  What was your mother? Like a she-lion among lions, stretched out among the young lions she gave food to her little ones. 3  And one of her little ones came to growth under her care, and became a young lion, learning to go after beasts for his food; and he took men for his meat. 4  And the nations had news of him; he was taken in the hole they had made: and, pulling him with hooks, they took him into the land of Egypt. 5  Now when she saw that her hope was made foolish and gone, she took another of her little ones and made him into a young lion. 6  And he went up and down among the lions and became a young lion, learning to go after beasts for his food; and he took men for his meat. 7  And he sent destruction on their widows and made waste their towns; and the land and everything in it became waste because of the loud sound of his voice. 8  Then the nations came against him from the kingdoms round about: their net was stretched over him and he was taken in the hole they had made. 9  They made him a prisoner with hooks, and took him to the king of Babylon; they put him in the strong place so that his voice might be sounding no longer on the mountains of Israel.

10  Your mother was in comparison like a vine, planted by the waters: she was fertile and full of branches because of the great waters. 11  And she had a strong rod for a rod of authority for the rulers, and it became tall among the clouds and it was seen lifted up among the number of its branches. 12  But she was uprooted in burning wrath, and made low on the earth; the east wind came, drying her up, and her branches were broken off; her strong rod became dry, the fire made a meal of it. 13  And now she is planted in the waste land, in a dry and unwatered country. 14  And fire has gone out from her rod, causing the destruction of her branches, so that there is no strong rod in her to be the ruler's rod of authority. This is a song of grief, and it was for a song of grief.

God's Dealing with Israel

20 1  Now it came about in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that certain of the responsible men of Israel came to get directions from the Lord and were seated before me. 2  Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 3  Son of man, say to the responsible men of Israel, This is what the Lord has said: Have you come to get directions from me? By my life, says the Lord, you will get no directions from me. 4  Will you be their judge, O son of man, will you be their judge? make clear to them the disgusting ways of their fathers,

5  And say to them, This is what the Lord has said: In the day when I took Israel for myself, when I made an oath to the seed of the family of Jacob, and I gave them knowledge of myself in the land of Egypt, saying to them with an oath, I am the Lord your God; 6  In that day I gave my oath to take them out of the land of Egypt into a land which I had been searching out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands: 7  And I said to them, Let every man among you put away the disgusting things to which his eyes are turned, and do not make yourselves unclean with the images of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. 8  But they would not be controlled by me, and did not give ear to me; they did not put away the disgusting things to which their eyes were turned, or give up the images of Egypt: then I said I would let loose my passion on them to give full effect to my wrath against them in the land of Egypt. 9  And I was acting for the honour of my name, so that it might not be made unclean before the eyes of the nations among whom they were, and before whose eyes I gave them knowledge of myself, by taking them out of the land of Egypt.

10  So I made them go out of the land of Egypt and took them into the waste land. 11  And I gave them my rules and made clear to them my orders, which, if a man keeps them, will be life to him. 12  And further, I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, so that it might be clear that I, who make them holy, am the Lord. 13  But the children of Israel would not be controlled by me in the waste land: they were not guided by my rules, and they were turned away from my orders, which, if a man does them, will be life to him; and they had no respect for my Sabbaths: then I said that I would let loose my passion on them in the waste land, and put an end to them. 14  And I was acting for the honour of my name, so that it might not be made unclean in the eyes of the nations, before whose eyes I had taken them out. 15  And further, I gave my oath to them in the waste land, that I would not take them into the land which I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands; 16  Because they were turned away from my orders, and were not guided by my rules, and had no respect for my Sabbaths: for their hearts went after their images. 17  But still my eye had pity on them and I kept them from destruction and did not put an end to them completely in the waste land. 18  And I said to their children in the waste land, Do not be guided by the rules of your fathers or keep their orders or make yourselves unclean with their images: 19  I am the Lord your God; be guided by my rules and keep my orders and do them: 20  And keep my Sabbaths holy; and they will be a sign between me and you so that it may be clear to you that I am the Lord your God. 21  But the children would not be controlled by me; they were not guided by my rules, and they did not keep and do my orders, which, if a man does them, will be life to him; and they had no respect for my Sabbaths: then I said I would let loose my passion on them to give full effect to my wrath against them in the waste land. 22  And I was acting for the honour of my name, so that it might not be made unclean in the eyes of the nations, before whose eyes I had taken them out. 23  Further, I gave my oath to them in the waste land that I would send them wandering among the nations, driving them out among the countries; 24  Because they had not done my orders, but had been turned away from my rules, and had not given respect to my Sabbaths, and their eyes were turned to the images of their fathers. 25  And further, I gave them rules which were not good and orders in which there was no life for them; 26  I made them unclean in the offerings they gave, causing them to make every first child go through the fire, so that I might put an end to them.

27  For this cause, son of man, say to the children of Israel, This is what the Lord has said: In this your fathers have further put shame on my name by doing wrong against me. 28  For when I had taken them into the land which I made an oath to give to them, then they saw every high hill and every branching tree and made their offerings there, moving me to wrath by their offerings; and there the sweet smell of their offerings went up and their drink offerings were drained out. 29  Then I said to them, What is this high place where you go to no purpose? And it is named Bamah to this day. 30  For this cause say to the children of Israel, This is what the Lord has said: Are you making yourselves unclean as your fathers did? are you being untrue to me by going after their disgusting works? 31  And when you give your offerings, causing your sons to go through the fire, you make yourselves unclean with all your images to this day; and will you come to me for directions, O children of Israel? By my life, says the Lord, you will get no direction from me. 32  And that which comes into your minds will never take place; when you say, We will be like the nations, like the families of the countries, servants of wood and stone;

33  By my life, says the Lord, truly, with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with burning wrath let loose, I will be King over you: 34  And I will take you out from the peoples and get you together out of the countries where you are wandering, with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with burning wrath let loose: 35  And I will take you into the waste land of the peoples, and there I will take up the cause with you face to face. 36  As I took up the cause with your fathers in the waste land of the land of Egypt, so will I take up the cause with you says the Lord. 37  And I will make you go under the rod and will make you small in number: 38  Clearing out from among you all those who are uncontrolled and who are sinning against me; I will take them out of the land where they are living, but they will not come into the land of Israel: and you will be certain that I am the Lord. 39  As for you, O children of Israel, the Lord has said: Let every man completely put away his images and give ear to me: and let my holy name no longer be shamed by your offerings and your images. 40  For in my holy mountain, in the high mountain of Israel, says the Lord, there all the children of Israel, all of them, will be my servants in the land; there I will take pleasure in them, and there I will be worshipped with your offerings and the first-fruits of the things you give, and with all your holy things. 41  I will take pleasure in you as in a sweet smell, when I take you out from the peoples and get you together from the countries where you have been sent in flight; and I will make myself holy in you before the eyes of the nations. 42  And you will be certain that I am the Lord, when I take you into the land of Israel, into the country which I made an oath to give to your fathers. 43  And there, at the memory of your ways and of all the things you did to make yourselves unclean, you will have bitter hate for yourselves because of all the evil things you have done. 44  And you will be certain that I am the Lord, when I take you in hand for the honour of my name, and not for your evil ways or your unclean doings, O children of Israel, says the Lord.

The Prophecy against the South

45  Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 46  Son of man, let your face be turned to the south, let your words be dropped to the south, and be a prophet against the woodland of the South; 47  And say to the woodland of the South, Give ear to the words of the Lord: this is what the Lord has said: See, I will have a fire lighted in you, for the destruction of every green tree in you and every dry tree: the flaming flame will not be put out, and all faces from the south to the north will be burned by it. 48  And all flesh will see that I the Lord have had it lighted: it will not be put out. 49  Then I said, Ah, Lord! they say of me, Is he not a maker of stories?

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