Ezekiel 5-8 The Message Bible

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5 1  "Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a straight razor, shaving your head and your beard. Then, using a set of balancing scales, divide the hair into thirds. 2  When the days of the siege are over, take one-third of the hair and burn it inside the city. Take another third, chop it into bits with the sword and sprinkle it around the city. The final third you'll throw to the wind. Then I'll go after them with a sword. 3  "Retrieve a few of the hairs and slip them into your pocket. 4  Take some of them and throw them into the fire - burn them up. From them, fire will spread to the whole family of Israel.

5  "This is what God, the Master, says: This means Jerusalem. I set her at the center of the world, all the nations ranged around her. 6  But she rebelled against my laws and ordinances, rebelled far worse than the nations ranged around her - sheer wickedness! - refused my guidance, ignored my directions. 7  "Therefore this is what God, the Master, says: You've been more headstrong and willful than any of the nations around you, refusing my guidance, ignoring my directions. You've sunk to the gutter level of those around you. 8  "Therefore this is what God, the Master, says: I'm setting myself against you - yes, against you, Jerusalem. I'm going to punish you in full sight of the nations. 9  Because of your disgusting no-god idols, I'm going to do something to you that I've never done before and will never do again: 10  turn families into cannibals - parents eating children, children eating parents! Punishment indeed. And whoever's left over I'll throw to the winds. 11  "Therefore, as sure as I am the living God - Decree of God, the Master - because you've polluted my Sanctuary with your obscenities and disgusting no-god idols, I'm pulling out. Not an ounce of pity will I show you. 12  A third of your people will die of either disease or hunger inside the city, a third will be killed outside the city, and a third will be thrown to the winds and chased by killers. 13  "Only then will I calm down and let my anger cool. Then you'll know that I was serious about this all along, that I'm a jealous God and not to be trifled with. 14  "When I get done with you, you'll be a pile of rubble. Nations who walk by will make coarse jokes. 15  When I finish my angry punishment and searing rebukes, you'll be reduced to an object of ridicule and mockery, turned into a horror story circulating among the surrounding nations. I, God, have spoken. 16  "When I shoot my lethal famine arrows at you, I'll shoot to kill. Then I'll step up the famine and cut off food supplies. 17  Famine and more famine - and then I'll send in the wild animals to finish off your children. Epidemic disease, unrestrained murder, death - and I will have sent it! I, God, have spoken."

The Prophecy against the Mountains of Israel

6 1  Then the Word of God came to me: 2  "Son of man, now turn and face the mountains of Israel and preach against them: 3  'O Mountains of Israel, listen to the Message of God, the Master. God, the Master, speaks to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and the valleys: I'm about to destroy your sacred god and goddess shrines. 4  I'll level your altars, bust up your sun-god pillars, and kill your people as they bow down to your no-god idols. 5  I'll stack the dead bodies of Israelites in front of your idols and then scatter your bones around your shrines. 6  Every place where you've lived, the towns will be torn down and the pagan shrines demolished - altars busted up, idols smashed, all your custom-made sun-god pillars in ruins. 7  Corpses everywhere you look! Then you'll know that I am God.

8  "'But I'll let a few escape the killing as you are scattered through other lands and nations. 9  In the foreign countries where they're taken as prisoners of war, they'll remember me. They'll realize how devastated I was by their betrayals, by their voracious lust for gratifying themselves in their idolatries. They'll be disgusted with their evil ways, disgusting to God in the way they've lived. 10  They'll know that I am God. They'll know that my judgment against them was no empty threat.

11  "'This is what God, the Master, says: Clap your hands, stamp your feet, yell out, "No, no, no!" because of all the evil obscenities rife in Israel. They're going to be killed, dying of hunger, dying of disease - 12  death everywhere you look, people dropping like flies, people far away dying, people nearby dying, and whoever's left in the city starving to death. Why? Because I'm angry, furiously angry. 13  They'll realize that I am God when they see their people's corpses strewn over and around all their ruined sex-and-religion shrines on the bare hills and in the lush fertility groves, in all the places where they indulged their sensual rites. 14  I'll bring my hand down hard on them, demolish the country wherever they live, turn it into wasteland from one end to the other, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they'll know that I am God!'"

The End Is Come

7 1  God's Word came to me, saying, 2  "You, son of man - God, the Master, has this Message for the land of Israel: "'Endtime. The end of business as usual for everyone. 3  It's all over. The end is upon you. I've launched my anger against you. I've issued my verdict on the way you live. I'll make you pay for your disgusting obscenities. 4  I won't look the other way, I won't feel sorry for you. I'll make you pay for the way you've lived: Your disgusting obscenities will boomerang on you, and you'll realize that I am God.' 5  "I, God, the Master, say: 'Disaster after disaster! Look, it comes! 6  Endtime - the end comes. The end is ripe. Watch out, it's coming! 7  This is your fate, you who live in this land. Time's up. It's zero hour. No dragging of feet now, no bargaining for more time. 8  Soon now I'll pour my wrath on you, pay out my anger against you, Render my verdict on the way you've lived, make you pay for your disgusting obscenities. 9  I won't look the other way, I won't feel sorry for you. I'll make you pay for the way you've lived. Your disgusting obscenities will boomerang on you. Then you'll realize that it is I, God, who has hit you. 10  "'Judgment Day! Fate has caught up with you. The scepter outsized and pretentious, pride bursting all bounds, 11  Violence strutting, brandishing the evil scepter. But there's nothing to them, and nothing will be left of them. 12  Time's up. Countdown: five, four, three, two . . . Buyer, don't crow; seller, don't worry: Judgment wrath has turned the world topsy-turvy. 13  The bottom has dropped out of buying and selling. It will never be the same again. But don't fantasize an upturn in the market. The country is bankrupt because of its sins, and it's not going to get any better. 14  "'The trumpet signals the call to battle: "Present arms!" But no one marches into battle. My wrath has them paralyzed! 15  On the open roads you're killed, or else you go home and die of hunger and disease. Either get murdered out in the country or die of sickness or hunger in town.

16  Survivors run for the hills. They moan like doves in the valleys, Each one moaning for his own sins. 17  "'Every hand hangs limp, every knee turns to rubber. 18  They dress in rough burlap - sorry scarecrows, Shifty and shamefaced, with their heads shaved bald. 19  "'They throw their money into the gutters. Their hard-earned cash stinks like garbage. They find that it won't buy a thing they either want or need on Judgment Day. They tripped on money and fell into sin. 20  Proud and pretentious with their jewels, they deck out their vile and vulgar no-gods in finery. I'll make those god-obscenities a stench in their nostrils. 21  I'll give away their religious junk - strangers will pick it up for free, the godless spit on it and make jokes. 22  I'll turn my face so I won't have to look as my treasured place and people are violated, As violent strangers walk in and desecrate place and people -

23  A bloody massacre, as crime and violence fill the city. 24  I'll bring in the dregs of humanity to move into their houses. I'll put a stop to the boasting and strutting of the high-and-mighty, And see to it that there'll be nothing holy left in their holy places. 25  Catastrophe descends. They look for peace, but there's no peace to be found - 26  Disaster on the heels of disaster, one rumor after another. They clamor for the prophet to tell them what's up, but nobody knows anything. Priests don't have a clue; the elders don't know what to say. 27  The king holds his head in despair; the prince is devastated. The common people are paralyzed. Gripped by fear, they can't move. I'll deal with them where they are, judge them on their terms. They'll know that I am God.'"

The Prophet's Vision of the Abominations in Jerusalem

8 1  In the sixth year, in the sixth month and the fifth day, while I was sitting at home meeting with the leaders of Judah, it happened that the hand of my Master, God, gripped me. 2  When I looked, I was astonished. What I saw looked like a man - from the waist down like fire and from the waist up like highly burnished bronze. 3  He reached out what looked like a hand and grabbed me by the hair. The Spirit swept me high in the air and carried me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the Temple's inside court where the image of the sex goddess that makes God so angry had been set up. 4  Right before me was the Glory of the God of Israel, exactly like the vision I had seen out on the plain. 5  He said to me, "Son of man, look north." I looked north and saw it: Just north of the entrance loomed the altar of the sex goddess, Asherah, that makes God so angry. 6  Then he said, "Son of man, do you see what they're doing? Outrageous obscenities! And doing them right here! It's enough to drive me right out of my own Temple. But you're going to see worse yet."

7  He brought me to the door of the Temple court. I looked and saw a gaping hole in the wall. 8  He said, "Son of man, dig through the wall." I dug through the wall and came upon a door. 9  He said, "Now walk through the door and take a look at the obscenities they're engaging in." 10  I entered and looked. I couldn't believe my eyes: Painted all over the walls were pictures of reptiles and animals and monsters - the whole pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses - being worshiped by Israel. 11  In the middle of the room were seventy of the leaders of Israel, with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing in the middle. Each held his censer with the incense rising in a fragrant cloud. 12  He said, "Son of man, do you see what the elders are doing here in the dark, each one before his favorite god-picture? They tell themselves, 'God doesn't see us. God has forsaken the country.'"

13  Then he said, "You're going to see worse yet." 14  He took me to the entrance at the north gate of the Temple of God. I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz, the Babylonian fertility god. 15  He said, "Have you gotten an eyeful, son of man? You're going to see worse yet." 16  Finally, he took me to the inside court of the Temple of God. There between the porch and the altar were about twenty-five men. Their backs were to God's Temple. They were facing east, bowing in worship to the sun. 17  He said, "Have you seen enough, son of man? Isn't it bad enough that Judah engages in these outrageous obscenities? They fill the country with violence and now provoke me even further with their obscene gestures. 18  That's it. They have an angry God on their hands! From now on, no mercy. They can shout all they want, but I'm not listening."

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