Ezekiel 21

1So the word of the Lord came to me again. He said, 2“Son of man, look toward Jerusalem and speak against their holy places. Speak against the land of Israel for me. 3Say to the land of Israel, 'The Lord said these things: I am against you! I will pull my sword from its sheath! I will remove all people from you—the good people and the evil people! 4I will cut both good people and evil people from you. I will pull my sword from its sheath and use it against all people from south to north. 5Then all people will know that I am the Lord. And they will know that I have pulled my sword from its sheath. My sword won’t go back into its sheath again ˻until it is finished˼.’” 6˻God said to me,˼ “Son of man, make sad sounds like a sad person with a broken heart. Make these sad sounds in front of the people. 7Then they will ask you, 'Why are you making these sad sounds?’ Then you must say, 'Because of the sad news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear. All hands will become weak. Every spirit will become weak. All knees will be like water.’ Look, that bad news is coming. These things will happen!” The Lord my Master said these things. 8The word of the Lord came to me. He said, 9“Son of man, speak to the people for me. Say these things, 'The Lord my Master says these things: “'Look, a sword, a sharp sword. And the sword has been polished. 10The sword was made sharp for killing. It was polished to flash like lightning. “'My son, you ran away from the stick I used to punish you. You refused to be punished with that wooden stick. 11So the sword has been polished. Now it can be used. The sword was sharpened and polished. Now it can be put in the hand of the killer. 12“'Shout out and scream, Son of man! Why? Because the sword will be used against my people and all the rulers of Israel! Those rulers wanted war—so they will be with my people when the sword comes! So slap your thigh ˻and make loud noises to show your sadness˼! 13Why? Because it is not just a test! You refused to be punished with the wooden stick, so what ˻else should I use to punish you˼? ˻Yes, the sword.˼’” The Lord my Master said those things. 14˻God said,˼ “Son of man, clap your hands and speak to the people for me. “Let the sword come down twice, Yes, three times! This sword is for killing the people. This is the sword for the great killing! This sword will cut into them. 15Their hearts will melt with fear. And many people will fall. The sword will kill many people by the city gates. Yes, the sword will flash like lightning. It was polished to kill the people! 16Sword, be sharp! Cut on the right side. Cut straight ahead. Cut on the left side. Go every place your edge was chosen to go! 17“Then I too will clap my hands. And I will stop showing my anger. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 18The word of the Lord came to me. He said, 19“Son of man, draw two roads that the sword of the king of Babylon can use to come ˻to Israel˼. Both roads will come from the same country ˻(Babylon)˼. Then draw a sign at the head of the road to the city. 20˻Use the sign˼ to show which road the sword will use. One road leads to the Ammonite city of Rabbah. The other road leads to Judah, to the protected city, Jerusalem! 21This shows that the king of Babylon ˻is planning the way he wants to attack that area˼. The king of Babylon has come to the place where the two roads separate. The king of Babylon has used ˻magic˼ signs to find the future. He shook some arrows. He asked questions from family idols. He looked at the liver ˻from an animal he killed˼. 22“The signs tell him to take the road on his right, the road leading to Jerusalem! He plans to bring the battering rams. He will give the command, and his soldiers will begin the killing. They will shout the battle cry. Then they will build a wall of dirt around the city. They will build a dirt road leading up to the walls. They will build wooden towers to attack the city. 23Those ˻magic˼ signs mean nothing to the people of Israel. They have the promises they made. But ˻the Lord˼ will remember their sin! Then the Israelites will be captured.” 24The Lord my Master says this, “You have done many bad things. Your sins are very clear. You forced me to remember that you are guilty. So the enemy will catch you in his hand. 25And you, evil leader of Israel, you will be killed. Your time of punishment has come! The end is here!” 26The Lord my Master says these things, “Take off the turban! Take off the crown! The time has come to change. The important leaders will be brought low. And people that are not important now will become important leaders. 27I will completely destroy that city! But this won’t happen until the right man becomes the new king. Then I will let him ˻(the king of Babylon)˼ have this city.” 28˻God said,˼ “Son of man, speak to the people for me. Say these things, 'The Lord my Master says these things to the people of Ammon and their shameful ˻god˼: “'Look, a sword! The sword is out of its sheath. The sword has been polished! The sword is ready to kill. It was polished to flash like lightning! 29Your visions are useless. Your magic won’t help you. It is only a bunch of lies. The sword is now at the throats of evil men. They will soon be only dead bodies. Their time has come. The time has come for their evil to end. 30“'Put the sword ˻(Babylon)˼ back in its sheath. ˻Babylon,˼ I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land where you were born. 31I will pour out my anger against you. My anger will burn you like a hot wind. I will hand you over to cruel men. Those men are skilled at killing people. 32You will be like fuel for the fire. Your blood will flow deep into the earth—people will never remember you again. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

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