Ezekiel 21-23 Bible in Basic English

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The LORD's Sharpened Sword

21 1  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2  Son of man, let your face be turned to Jerusalem, let your words be dropped in the direction of her holy place, and be a prophet against the land of Israel; 3  And say to the land of Israel, These are the words of the Lord: See, I am against you, and I will take my sword out of its cover, cutting off from you the upright and the evil. 4  Because I am going to have the upright and the evil cut off from you, for this cause my sword will go out from its cover against all flesh from the south to the north: 5  And all flesh will see that I the Lord have taken my sword out of its cover: and it will never go back. 6  Make sounds of grief, son of man; with body bent and a bitter heart make sounds of grief before their eyes. 7  And when they say to you, Why are you making sounds of grief? then say, Because of the news, for it is coming: and every heart will become soft, and all hands will be feeble, and every spirit will be burning low, and all knees will be turned to water: see, it is coming and it will be done, says the Lord.

8  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9  Son of man, say as a prophet, These are the words of the Lord: Say, A sword, a sword which has been made sharp and polished: 10  It has been made sharp to give death; it is polished so that it may be like a thunder-flame: ... 11  And I have given it to the polisher so that it may be taken in the hand: he has made the sword sharp, he has had it polished, to put it into the hand of him who gives death. 12  Give loud cries and make sounds of grief, O son of man: for it has come on my people, it has come on all the rulers of Israel: fear of the sword has come on my people: for this cause give signs of grief. 13  ... 14  So then, son of man, be a prophet, and put your hands together with a loud sound, and give two blows with the sword, and even three; it is the sword of those who are wounded, even the sword of the wounded; the great sword which goes round about them. 15  In order that hearts may become soft, and the number of those who are falling may be increased, I have sent death by the sword against all their doors: you are made like a flame, you are polished for death. 16  Be pointed to the right, to the left, wherever your edge is ordered. 17  And I will put my hands together with a loud sound, and I will let my wrath have rest: I the Lord have said it.

18  And the word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 19  And you, son of man, have two ways marked out, so that the sword of the king of Babylon may come; let the two of them come out of one land: and let there be a pillar at the top of the road: 20  Put a pillar at the top of the road for the sword to come to Rabbah in the land of the children of Ammon, and to Judah and to Jerusalem in the middle of her. 21  For the king of Babylon took his place at the parting of the ways, at the top of the two roads, to make use of secret arts: shaking the arrows this way and that, he put questions to the images of his gods, he took note of the inner parts of dead beasts. 22  At his right hand was the fate of Jerusalem, to give orders for destruction, to send up the war-cry, to put engines of war against the doors, lifting up earthworks, building walls. 23  And this answer given by secret arts will seem false to those who have given their oaths and have let them be broken: but he will keep the memory of evil-doing so that they may be taken. 24  For this cause the Lord has said: Because you have made your evil-doing come to mind by the uncovering of your wrongdoing, causing your sins to be seen in all your evil-doings; because you have come to mind, you will be taken in them. 25  And you, O evil one, wounded to death, O ruler of Israel, whose day has come in the time of the last punishment; 26  This is what the Lord has said: Take away the holy head-dress, take off the crown: this will not be again: let that which is low be lifted up, and that which is high be made low. 27  I will let it be overturned, overturned, overturned: this will not be again till he comes whose right it is; and I will give it to him.

Judgment on the Ammonites

28  And you, son of man, say as a prophet, This is what the Lord has said about the children of Ammon and about their shame: Say, A sword, even a sword let loose, polished for death, to make it shining so that it may be like a flame: 29  Your vision is to no purpose, your use of secret arts gives a false answer, to put it on the necks of evil-doers who are wounded to death, whose day has come, in the time of the last punishment. 30  Go back into your cover. In the place where you were made, in the land from which you were taken, I will be your judge. 31  And I will let loose my burning passion on you, breathing out on you the fire of my wrath: and I will give you up into the hands of men like beasts, trained to destruction. 32  You will be food for the fire; your blood will be drained out in the land; there will be no more memory of you: for I the Lord have said it.

The Sins of Jerusalem

22 1  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2  And you, son of man, will you be a judge, will you be a judge of the town of blood? then make clear to her all her disgusting ways. 3  And you are to say, This is what the Lord has said: A town causing blood to be drained out in her streets so that her time may come, and making images in her to make her unclean! 4  You are responsible for the blood drained out by you, and you are unclean through the images which you have made; and you have made your day come near, and the time of your judging has come; for this cause I have made you a name of shame to the nations and a cause of laughing to all countries. 5  Those who are near and those who are far from you will make sport of you; your name is unclean, you are full of sounds of fear. 6  See, the rulers of Israel, every one in his family, have been causing death in you. 7  In you they have had no respect for father and mother; in you they have been cruel to the man from a strange land; in you they have done wrong to the child without a father and to the widow. 8  You have made little of my holy things, and have made my Sabbaths unclean. 9  In you there are men who say evil of others, causing death; in you they have taken the flesh with the blood for food; in your streets they have put evil designs into effect. 10  In you they have let the shame of their fathers be seen; in you they have done wrong to a woman at the time when she was unclean. 11  And in you one man has done what was disgusting with his neighbour's wife; and another has made his daughter-in-law unclean; and another has done wrong to his sister, his father's daughter. 12  In you they have taken rewards as the price of blood; you have taken interest and great profits, and you have taken away your neighbours' goods by force, and have not kept me in mind, says the Lord. 13  See, then, I have made my hands come together in wrath against your taking of goods by force and against the blood which has been flowing in you. 14  Will your heart be high or your hands strong in the days when I take you in hand? I the Lord have said it and will do it. 15  And I will send you in flight among the nations and wandering among the countries; and I will completely take away out of you everything which is unclean. 16  And you will be made low before the eyes of the nations; and it will be clear to you that I am the Lord.

17  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 18  Son of man, the children of Israel have become like the poorest sort of waste metal to me: they are all silver and brass and tin and iron and lead mixed with waste. 19  For this cause the Lord has said: Because you have all become waste metal, see, I will get you together inside Jerusalem. 20  As they put silver and brass and iron and lead and tin together inside the oven, heating up the fire on it to make it soft; so will I get you together in my wrath and in my passion, and, heating the fire with my breath, will make you soft. 21  Yes, I will take you, breathing on you the fire of my wrath, and you will become soft in it. 22  As silver becomes soft in the oven, so you will become soft in it; and you will be certain that I the Lord have let loose my passion on you.

23  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 24  Son of man, say to her, You are a land on which no rain or thunderstorm has come in the day of wrath. 25  Her rulers in her are like a loud-voiced lion violently taking his food; they have made a meal of souls; they have taken wealth and valued property; they have made great the number of widows in her. 26  Her priests have been acting violently against my law; they have made my holy things unclean: they have made no division between what is holy and what is common, and they have not made it clear that the unclean is different from the clean, and their eyes have been shut to my Sabbaths, and I am not honoured among them. 27  Her rulers in her are like wolves violently taking their food; putting men to death and causing the destruction of souls, so that they may get their profit. 28  And her prophets have been using whitewash, seeing foolish visions and making false use of secret arts, saying, This is what the Lord has said, when the Lord has said nothing. 29  The people of the land have been acting cruelly, taking men's goods by force; they have been hard on the poor and those in need, and have done wrong to the man from a strange land. 30  And I was looking for a man among them who would make up the wall and take his station in the broken place before me for the land, so that I might not send destruction on it: but there was no one. 31  And I let loose my passion on them, and have put an end to them in the fire of my wrath: I have made the punishment of their ways come on their heads, says the Lord.

The Two Sisters

23 1  The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 2  Son of man, there were two women, daughters of one mother: 3  They were acting like loose women in Egypt; when they were young their behaviour was loose: there their breasts were crushed, even the points of their young breasts were crushed. 4  Their names were Oholah, the older, and Oholibah, her sister: and they became mine, and gave birth to sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem, Oholibah. 5  And Oholah was untrue to me when she was mine; she was full of desire for her lovers, even for the Assyrians, her neighbours, 6  Who were clothed in blue, captains and rulers, all of them young men to be desired, horsemen seated on horses. 7  And she gave her unclean love to them, all of them the noblest men of Assyria: and she made herself unclean with the images of all who were desired by her. 8  And she has not given up her loose ways from the time when she was in Egypt; for when she was young they were her lovers, and by them her young breasts were crushed, and they let loose on her their unclean desire. 9  For this cause I gave her up into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians on whom her desire was fixed. 10  By these her shame was uncovered: they took her sons and daughters and put her to death with the sword: and she became a cause of wonder to women; for they gave her the punishment which was right.

11  And her sister Oholibah saw this, but her desire was even more unmeasured, and her loose behaviour was worse than that of her sister. 12  She was full of desire for the Assyrians, captains and rulers, her neighbours, clothed in blue, horsemen going on horses, all of them young men to be desired. 13  And I saw that she had become unclean; the two of them went the same way. 14  And her loose behaviour became worse; for she saw men pictured on a wall, pictures of the Chaldaeans painted in bright red, 15  With bands round their bodies and with head-dresses hanging round their heads, all of them looking like rulers, like the Babylonians, the land of whose birth is Chaldaea. 16  And when she saw them she was full of desire for them, and sent servants to them in Chaldaea. 17  And the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and made her unclean with their loose desire, and she became unclean with them, and her soul was turned from them. 18  So her loose behaviour was clearly seen and her shame uncovered: then my soul was turned from her as it had been turned from her sister. 19  But still she went on the more with her loose behaviour, keeping in mind the early days when she had been a loose woman in the land of Egypt. 20  And she was full of desire for her lovers, whose flesh is like the flesh of asses and whose seed is like the seed of horses. 21  And she made the memory of the loose ways of her early years come back to mind, when her young breasts were crushed by the Egyptians.

22  For this cause, O Oholibah, this is what the Lord has said: See, I will make your lovers come up against you, even those from whom your soul is turned away in disgust; and I will make them come up against you on every side; 23  The Babylonians and all the Chaldaeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: young men to be desired, captains and rulers all of them, and chiefs, her neighbours, all of them on horseback. 24  And they will come against you from the north on horseback, with war-carriages and a great band of peoples; they will put themselves in order against you with breastplate and body-cover and metal head-dress round about you: and I will make them your judges, and they will give their decision against you as seems right to them. 25  And my bitter feeling will be working against you, and they will take you in hand with passion; they will take away your nose and your ears, and the rest of you will be put to the sword: they will take your sons and daughters, and the rest of you will be burned up in the fire. 26  And they will take all your clothing off you and take away your ornaments. 27  So I will put an end to your evil ways and your loose behaviour which came from the land of Egypt: and your eyes will never be lifted up to them again, and you will have no more memory of Egypt. 28  For this is what the Lord has said: See, I will give you up into the hands of those who are hated by you, into the hands of those from whom your soul is turned away in disgust: 29  And they will take you in hand with hate, and take away all the fruit of your work, and let you be unveiled and without clothing: and the shame of your loose behaviour will be uncovered, your evil designs and your loose ways. 30  They will do these things to you because you have been untrue to me, and have gone after the nations, and have become unclean with their images. 31  You have gone in the way of your sister; and I will give her cup into your hand. 32  This is what the Lord has said: You will take a drink from your sister's cup, which is deep and wide: you will be laughed at and looked down on, more than you are able to undergo. 33  You will be broken and full of sorrow, with the cup of wonder and destruction, with the cup of your sister Samaria. 34  And after drinking it and draining it out, you will take the last drops of it to the end, pulling off your breasts: for I have said it, says the Lord. 35  So this is what the Lord has said: Because you have not kept me in your memory, and because your back has been turned to me, you will even undergo the punishment of your evil designs and your loose ways.

36  Then the Lord said to me: Son of man, will you be the judge of Oholibah? then make clear to her the disgusting things she has done. 37  For she has been false to me, and blood is on her hands, and with her images she has been untrue; and more than this, she made her sons, whom she had by me, go through the fire to them to be burned up. 38  Further, this is what she has done to me: she has made my holy place unclean and has made my Sabbaths unclean. 39  For when she had made an offering of her children to her images, she came into my holy place to make it unclean; see, this is what she has done inside my house. 40  And she even sent for men to come from far away, to whom a servant was sent, and they came: for whom she was washing her body and painting her eyes and making herself fair with ornaments. 41  And she took her seat on a great bed, with a table put ready before it on which she put my perfume and my oil. 42  ... and they put jewels on her hands and beautiful crowns on her head. 43  Then I said ... now she will go on with her loose ways. 44  And they went in to her, as men go to a loose woman: so they went in to Oholibah, the loose woman. 45  And upright men will be her judges, judging her as false wives and women who take lives are judged; because she has been untrue to me and blood is on her hands. 46  For this is what the Lord has said: I will make a great meeting of the people come together against her, and will send on her shaking fear and take everything from her. 47  And the meeting, after stoning her with stones, will put an end to her with their swords; they will put her sons and daughters to death and have her house burned up with fire. 48  And I will put an end to evil in all the land, teaching all women not to do as you have done. 49  And I will send on you the punishment of your evil ways, and you will be rewarded for your sins with your images: and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

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