Ezekiel the Watchman for Israel
1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: ‘Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of that land choose a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against that land and blows the ram’s horn to warn the people.
4 Then if anyone hears the sound of the horn but fails to heed the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. 5 Since he heard the sound of the horn but failed to heed the warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had heeded the warning, he would have saved his life.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and fails to blow the horn to warn the people, and the sword comes and takes away a life, then that one will be taken away in his iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’
7 As for you, O son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word from My mouth and give them the warning from Me. 8 If I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ but you do not speak out to dissuade him from his way, then that wicked man will die in his iniquity, yet I will hold you accountable for his blood. 9 But if you warn the wicked man to turn from his way, and he does not turn from it, he will die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life. a
The Message of the Watchman
10 Now as for you, son of man, tell the house of Israel that this is what they have said:‘Our transgressions and our sins are heavy upon us, and we are wasting away because of them! How can we live?’
11 Say to them: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord GOD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked should turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
12 Therefore, son of man, say to your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression; neither will the wickedness of the wicked man cause him to stumble on the day he turns from his wickedness. Nor will the righteous man be able to survive by his righteousness on the day he sins.’
13 If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but he then trusts in his righteousness and commits iniquity, then none of his righteous works will be remembered; he will die because of the iniquity he has committed.
14 But if I tell the wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and he turns from his sin and does what is just and right— 15 if he restores a pledge, makes restitution for what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without practicing iniquity—then he will surely live; he will not die. 16 None of the sins he has committed will be held against him. He has done what is just and right; he will surely live.
17 Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he will die for it. 19 But if a wicked man turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live because of this.
20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to his ways, O house of Israel.”
Word of Jerusalem’s Fall
21 In the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth day of the tenth month, a fugitive from Jerusalem came to me and reported, “The city has been taken!”
22 Now the evening before the fugitive arrived, the hand of the LORD was upon me, and He opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer mute.
23 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, those living in the ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as a possession.’
25 Therefore tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘You eat meat with the blood in it, lift up your eyes to your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? 26 You have relied on your swords, you have committed detestable acts, and each of you has defiled his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’
27 Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘As surely as I live, those in the ruins will fall by the sword, those in the open field I will give to be devoured by wild animals, and those in the strongholds and caves will die by plague. 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and the pride of her strength will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will become desolate, so that no one will pass through. 29 Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the abominations they have committed.’
30 As for you, son of man, your people are talking about you near the city walls and in the doorways of their houses. One speaks to another, each saying to his brother, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD!’
31 So My people come to you as usual, sit before you, and hear your words; but they do not put them into practice. Although they express love with their mouths, their hearts pursue dishonest gain. 32 Indeed, you are to them like a singer of love songs with a beautiful voice, who skillfully plays an instrument. They hear your words but do not put them into practice. 33 So when it comes to pass—and surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”