The Slaughter of the Guilty
9 1 Then I heard him call out loudly, "Executioners, come! And bring your deadly weapons with you." 2 Six men came down the road from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying his lethal weapon. With them was a man dressed in linen with a writing case slung from his shoulder. They entered and stood by the bronze altar. 3 The Glory of the God of Israel ascended from his usual place above the cherubim-angels, moved to the threshold of the Temple, and called to the man with the writing case who was dressed in linen: 4 "Go through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of everyone who is in anguish over the outrageous obscenities being done in the city."
5 I listened as he went on to address the executioners: "Follow him through the city and kill. Feel sorry for no one. Show no compassion. 6 Kill old men and women, young men and women, mothers and children. But don't lay a hand on anyone with the mark. Start at my Temple." They started with the leaders in front of the Temple. 7 He told the executioners, "Desecrate the Temple. Fill it with corpses. Then go out and continue the killing." 8 So they went out and struck the city. While the massacre went forward, I was left alone. I fell on my face in prayer: "Oh, oh, God, my Master! Are you going to kill everyone left in Israel in this pouring out of your anger on Jerusalem?" 9 He said, "The guilt of Israel and Judah is enormous. The land is swollen with murder. The city is bloated with injustice. They all say, 'God has forsaken the country. He doesn't see anything we do.' 10 Well, I do see, and I'm not feeling sorry for any of them. They're going to pay for what they've done." 11 Just then, the man dressed in linen and carrying the writing case came back and reported, "I've done what you told me."
God's Glory Departs from the Temple
10 1 When I next looked, oh! Above the dome over the heads of the cherubim-angels was what looked like a throne, sky-blue, like a sapphire! 2 God said to the man dressed in linen, "Enter the place of the wheels under the cherubim-angels. Fill your hands with burning coals from beneath the cherubim and scatter them over the city." 3 The cherubim were standing on the south side of the Temple when the man entered. A cloud filled the inside courtyard. 4 Then the Glory of God ascended from the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the Temple. The cloud filled the Temple. Court and Temple were both filled with the blazing presence of the Glory of God. 5 And the sound! The wings of the cherubim were audible all the way to the outer court - the sound of the voice was like The Strong God in thunder. 6 When God commanded the man dressed in linen, "Take fire from among the wheels, from between the cherubim," he went in and stood beside a wheel. 7 One of the cherubim reached into the fire, took some coals, and put them in the hands of the man dressed in linen. He took them and went out.
8 Something that looked like a human hand could be seen under the wings of the cherubim. 9 And then I saw four wheels beside the cherubim, one beside each cherub. The wheels radiating were sparkling like diamonds in the sun. 10 All four wheels looked alike, each like a wheel within a wheel. 11 When they moved, they went in any of the four directions but in a perfectly straight line. Where the cherubim went, the wheels went straight ahead. 12 The cherubim were full of eyes in their backs, hands, and wings. The wheels likewise were full of eyes. 13 I heard the wheels called "wheels within wheels." 14 Each of the cherubim had four faces: the first, of an angel; the second, a human; the third, a lion; the fourth, an eagle. 15 Then the cherubim ascended. They were the same living creatures I had seen at the Kebar River. 16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved. When the cherubim spread their wings to take off from the ground, the wheels stayed right with them. 17 When the cherubim stopped, the wheels stopped. When the cherubim rose, the wheels rose, because the spirit of the living creatures was also in the wheels. 18 Then the Glory of God left the Temple entrance and hovered over the cherubim. 19 I watched as the cherubim spread their wings and left the ground, the wheels right with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Temple. The Glory of the God of Israel was above them. 20 These were the same living creatures I had seen previously beneath the God of Israel at the Kebar River. I recognized them as cherubim. 21 Each had four faces and four wings. Under their wings was what looked like human hands. 22 Their faces looked exactly like those I had seen at the Kebar River. Each went straight ahead.
Evil Princes Rebuked
11 1 Then the Spirit picked me up and took me to the gate of the Temple that faces east. There were twenty-five men standing at the gate. I recognized the leaders, Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah. 2 God said, "Son of man, these are the men who draw up blueprints for sin, who think up new programs for evil in this city. 3 They say, 'We can make anything happen here. We're the best. We're the choice pieces of meat in the soup pot.' 4 "Oppose them, son of man. Preach against them." 5 Then the Spirit of God came upon me and told me what to say: "This is what God says: 'That's a fine public speech, Israel, but I know what you are thinking. 6 You've murdered a lot of people in this city. The streets are piled high with corpses.' 7 "Therefore this is what God, the Master, says: 'The corpses that you've piled in the streets are the meat and this city is the soup pot, and you're not even in the pot! I'm throwing you out! 8 You fear war, but war is what you're going to get. I'm bringing war against you. 9 I'm throwing you out of this city, giving you over to foreigners, and punishing you good. 10 You'll be killed in battle. I'll carry out judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you'll realize that I am God. 11 This city will not be your soup pot and you won't be the choice pieces of meat in it either. Hardly. I will carry out judgment on you at the borders of Israel 12 and you'll realize that I am God, for you haven't followed my statutes and ordinances. Instead of following my ways, you've sunk to the level of the laws of the nations around you.'" 13 Even while I was preaching, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. I fell down, face to the ground, and prayed loudly, "O Master, God! Will you completely wipe out what's left of Israel?"
The Promise of Restoration and Renewal
14 The answer from God came back: 15 "Son of man, your brothers - I mean the whole people of Israel who are in exile with you - are the people of whom the citizens of Jerusalem are saying, 'They're in the far country, far from God. This land has been given to us to own.' 16 "Well, tell them this: 'This is your Message from God, the Master. True, I sent you to the far country and scattered you through other lands. All the same, I've provided you a temporary sanctuary in the countries where you've gone. 17 I will gather you back from those countries and lands where you've been scattered and give you back the land of Israel. 18 You'll come back and clean house, throw out all the rotten images and obscene idols. 19 I'll give you a new heart. I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart. 20 Then you'll obey my statutes and be careful to obey my commands. You'll be my people! I'll be your God! 21 "'But not those who are self-willed and addicted to their rotten images and obscene idols! I'll see that they're paid in full for what they've done.' Decree of God, the Master."
22 Then the cherubim spread their wings, with the wheels beside them and the Glory of the God of Israel hovering over them. 23 The Glory of God ascended from within the city and rested on the mountain to the east of the city. 24 Then, still in the vision given me by the Spirit of God, the Spirit took me and carried me back to the exiles in Babylon. And then the vision left me. 25 I told the exiles everything that God had shown me.
Ezekiel Portrays the Removal into Captivity
12 1 God's Message came to me: 2 "Son of man, you're living with a bunch of rebellious people. They have eyes but don't see a thing, they have ears but don't hear a thing. They're rebels all. 3 So, son of man, pack up your exile duffel bags. Leave in broad daylight with everyone watching and go off, as if into exile. Maybe then they'll understand what's going on, rebels though they are. 4 You'll take up your baggage while they watch, a bundle of the bare necessities of someone going into exile, and toward evening leave, just like a person going off into exile. 5 As they watch, dig through the wall of the house and carry your bundle through it. 6 In full sight of the people, put the bundle on your shoulder and walk out into the night. Cover your face so you won't have to look at what you'll never see again. I'm using you as a sign for the family of Israel." 7 I did exactly as he commanded me. I got my stuff together and brought it out in the street where everyone could see me, bundled it up the way someone being taken off into exile would, and then, as the sun went down, made a hole in the wall of the house with my hands. As it grew dark and as they watched, I left, throwing my bundle across my shoulders. 8 The next morning God spoke to me: 9 "Son of man, when anyone in Israel, that bunch of rebels, asks you, 'What are you doing?' 10 Tell them, 'God, the Master, says that this Message especially concerns the prince in Jerusalem - Zedekiah - but includes all the people of Israel.' 11 "Also tell them, 'I am drawing a picture for you. As I am now doing, it will be done to all the people of Israel. They will go into exile as captives.' 12 "The prince will put his bundle on his shoulders in the dark and leave. He'll dig through the wall of the house, covering his face so he won't have to look at the land he'll never see again. 13 But I'll make sure he gets caught and is taken to Babylon. Blinded, he'll never see that land in which he'll die. 14 I'll scatter to the four winds those who helped him escape, along with his troops, and many will die in battle. 15 They'll realize that I am God when I scatter them among foreign countries. 16 "I'll permit a few of them to escape the killing, starvation, and deadly sickness so that they can confess among the foreign countries all the disgusting obscenities they've been involved in. They will realize that I am God."
17 God's Message came to me: 18 "Son of man, eat your meals shaking in your boots, drink your water trembling with fear. 19 Tell the people of this land, everyone living in Jerusalem and Israel, God's Message: 'You'll eat your meals shaking in your boots and drink your water in terror because your land is going to be stripped bare as punishment for the brutality rampant in it. 20 All the cities and villages will be emptied out and the fields destroyed. Then you'll realize that I am God.'"
21 God's Message came to me: 22 "Son of man, what's this proverb making the rounds in the land of Israel that says, 'Everything goes on the same as ever; all the prophetic warnings are false alarms'? 23 "Tell them, 'God, the Master, says, This proverb's going to have a short life!' 24 False alarms and easygoing preaching are a thing of the past in the life of Israel. 25 I, God, am doing the speaking. What I say happens. None of what I say is on hold. What I say, I'll do - and soon, you rebels!' Decree of God the Master." 26 God's Message came to me: 27 "Son of man, do you hear what Israel is saying: that the alarm the prophet raises is for a long time off, that he's preaching about the far-off future? 28 Well, tell them, 'God, the Master, says, "Nothing of what I say is on hold. What I say happens."' Decree of God, the Master."