Ezekiel Chapter 18 (Bible Marathon Day 459)

Ezekiel 18New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 18

Personal Responsibility. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb you recite in the land of Israel:

“Parents eat sour grapes,
    but the children’s teeth are set on edge”?[a]

As I live—oracle of the Lord God: I swear that none of you will ever repeat this proverb in Israel. For all life is mine: the life of the parent is like the life of the child, both are mine. Only the one who sins shall die!

If a man is just—if he does what is right, if he does not eat on the mountains,[b] or raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; if he does not defile a neighbor’s wife, or have relations with a woman during her period; if he oppresses no one, gives back the pledge received for a debt, commits no robbery; gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked; if he does not lend at interest or exact usury; if he refrains from evildoing and makes a fair judgment between two opponents; if he walks by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances, that man is just—he shall surely live—oracle of the Lord God.

10 But if he begets a son who is violent and commits murder, or does any of these things, 11 even though the father does none of them—a son who eats on the mountains, defiles the wife of his neighbor, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not give back a pledge, raises his eyes to idols, does abominable things, 13 lends at interest and exacts usury—this son certainly shall not live. Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely be put to death; his own blood shall be on him.

14 But, in turn, if he begets a son who sees all the sins his father commits, yet fears and does not imitate him— 15 a son who does not eat on the mountains, or raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile a neighbor’s wife; 16 who does not oppress anyone, or exact a pledge, or commit robbery; who gives his food to the hungry and clothes the naked; 17 who refrains from evildoing, accepts no interest or usury, but keeps my ordinances and walks in my statutes—this one shall not die for the sins of his father. He shall surely live! 18 Only the father, since he committed extortion and robbed his brother, and did what was not good among his people—he will die because of his sin! 19 You ask: “Why is not the son charged with the guilt of his father?” Because the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to observe all my statutes—he shall surely live! 20 Only the one who sins shall die. The son shall not be charged with the guilt of his father, nor shall the father be charged with the guilt of his son. Justice belongs to the just, and wickedness to the wicked.

21 But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! 22 None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown. 23 Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord God? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?

24 And if the just turn from justice and do evil, like all the abominations the wicked do, can they do this evil and still live? None of the justice they did shall be remembered, because they acted treacherously and committed these sins; because of this, they shall die. 25 You say, “TheLord’s way is not fair!”[c] Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair? Are not your ways unfair? 26 When the just turn away from justice to do evil and die, on account of the evil they did they must die.27 But if the wicked turn from the wickedness they did and do what is right and just, they save their lives; 28 since they turned away from all the sins they committed, they shall live; they shall not die. 29 But the house of Israel says, “The Lord’s way is not fair!” Is it my way that is not fair, house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not fair?

30 Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, all of you according to your ways—oracle of the Lord God. Turn, turn back from all your crimes, that they may not be a cause of sin for you ever again. 31 Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? 32 For I find no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies—oracle of the Lord God. Turn back and live!

Footnotes:

  1. 18:2 Parents…on edge: a proverb the people quoted to complain that they were being punished for their ancestors’ sins; cf. Jer 31:29.
  2. 18:6 Eat on the mountains: take part in meals after sacrifice at the high places.
  3. 18:25 The Lord’s way is not fair: this chapter rejects the idea that punishment is transferred from one generation to the next and emphasizes individual responsibility and accountability.

Ezekiel Chapter 17 (Bible Marathon Day 459)

Ezekiel 17New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 17

The Eagles and the Vine. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, propose a riddle, and tell this proverb to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God:

The great eagle, with wide wingspan
    and long feathers, with thick plumage,
    many-hued, came to Lebanon.
He plucked the crest of the cedar,
    broke off its topmost branch,
And brought it to a land of merchants,
    set it in a city of traders.
Then he took some native seed
    and planted it in fertile soil;
A shoot beside plentiful waters,
    like a willow he planted it,
That it might sprout and become a vine,
    dense and low-lying,
With its branches turned toward him,
    its roots beneath it.
Thus it became a vine, produced branches,
    and put forth shoots.
Then another great eagle appeared,
    with wide wingspan, rich in plumage,
And see! This vine bent its roots to him,
    sent out branches for him to water.
From the bed where it was planted,
    it was transplanted to a fertile field
By abundant waters, to produce branches,
    to bear fruit, to become a majestic vine.
Say: Thus says the Lord God: Can it thrive?
Will he not tear up its roots
    and strip its fruit?
Then all its green leaves will wither—
    neither strong arm nor mighty nation
    is needed to uproot it.
10 True, it is planted; but will it thrive?
    Will it not wither up
When the east wind strikes it,
    wither in the very bed where it sprouted?

11 [a]The word of the Lord came to me:

12 Now say to the rebellious house:
    Do you not understand this? Tell them!
The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem
    and took away its king and officials
    and brought them to him in Babylon.
13 After removing the nobles from the land,
    he then took one of the royal line
And made a covenant with him,
    binding him under oath,
14 To be a humble kingdom,
    without high aspirations,
    to keep his covenant and so survive.
15 But this one rebelled against him
    by sending envoys to Egypt
To obtain horses and a mighty army.
    Can he thrive?
Can he escape if he does this?
    Can he break a covenant and go free?
16 As I live—oracle of the Lord God
    in the house of the king who set him up to rule,
Whose oath he ignored and whose covenant he broke,
    there in Babylon I swear he shall die!
17 Pharaoh shall not help him on the day of battle,
    with a great force and mighty horde,
When ramps are thrown up and siege works built
    for the cutting down of many lives.
18 He ignored his oath, breaking his covenant;
    even though he gave his hand, he did all these things—
    he shall not escape!
19 Therefore, thus says the Lord God:
    As I live, my oath which he spurned,
And my covenant which he broke,
    I will bring down on his head.
20 I will spread my net over him,
    and he will be caught in my snare.
I will bring him to Babylon
    to judge him there
    because he broke faith with me.
21 Any among his forces who escape
    will fall by the sword,
And whoever might survive
    will be scattered to the winds.
Thus you will know that I the Lord have spoken.
22 Thus says the Lord God:
I, too, will pluck from the crest of the cedar
    the highest branch.
From the top a tender shoot
    I will break off and transplant[b]
    on a high, lofty mountain.
23 On the mountain height of Israel
    I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
    and become a majestic cedar.
Every small bird will nest under it,
    all kinds of winged birds will dwell
    in the shade of its branches.
24 Every tree of the field will know
    that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree,
    lift high the lowly tree,
Wither up the green tree,
    and make the dry tree bloom.
As I, the Lord, have spoken, so will I do!

Footnotes:

  1. 17:11–21 These verses explain the allegory in vv. 3–10. In 597 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar removed Jehoiachin from the throne and took him into exile; in his place he set Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, on the throne and received from him the oath of loyalty. But Zedekiah was persuaded to rebel by Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt and thus deserved punishment; cf.2 Kgs 24:10–25:7.
  2. 17:22–23 The Lord will undo the actions of the Babylonian king by rebuilding the Davidic dynasty so the nations realize that only Israel’s God can restore a people’s destiny.

Ezekiel Chapter 16 (Bible Marathon Day 458)

Ezekiel 16New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 16

A Parable of Infidelity. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations. You shall say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: By origin and birth you belong to the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite, your mother a Hittite.[a] [b]As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut; you were not washed with water or anointed; you were not rubbed with salt or wrapped in swaddling clothes. No eye looked on you with pity or compassion to do any of these things for you. Rather, on the day you were born you were left out in the field, rejected.

Then I passed by and saw you struggling in your blood, and I said to you in your blood, “Live!” I helped you grow up like a field plant, so that you grew, maturing into a woman with breasts developed and hair grown; but still you were stark naked. I passed by you again and saw that you were now old enough for love. So I spread the corner of my cloak[c] over you to cover your nakedness; I swore an oath to you and entered into covenant with you—oracle of the Lord God—and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water, washed away your blood, and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you with an embroidered gown, put leather sandals on your feet; I gave you a fine linen sash and silk robes to wear. 11 I adorned you with jewelry, putting bracelets on your arms, a necklace about your neck, 12 a ring in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver; your garments made of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. Fine flour, honey, and olive oil were your food. You were very, very beautiful, fit for royalty. 14 You were renowned among the nations for your beauty, perfected by the splendor I showered on you—oracle of the Lord God.

15 But you trusted in your own beauty and used your renown to serve as a prostitute. You poured out your prostitution on every passerby—let it be his. 16 [d]You took some of your garments and made for yourself gaudy high places, where you served as a prostitute. It has never happened before, nor will it happen again! 17 You took the splendid gold and silver ornaments that I had given you and made for yourself male images and served as a prostitute with them. 18 You took your embroidered garments to cover them; my oil and my incense you set before them; 19 the food I had given you, the fine flour, the oil, and the honey with which I fed you, you set before them as a pleasant odor, says the Lord God. 20 [e]The sons and daughters you bore for me you took and offered as sacrifices for them to devour! Was it not enough that you had become a prostitute? 21 You slaughtered and immolated my children to them, making them pass through fire. 22 In all your abominations and prostitutions you did not remember the days of your youth when you were stark naked, struggling in your blood.

23 Then after all your evildoing—woe, woe to you! oracle of the Lord God24 you built yourself a platform and raised up a dais[f] in every public place. 25 At every intersection you built yourself a dais so that you could degrade your beauty by spreading your legs for every passerby, multiplying your prostitutions. 26 You served as a prostitute with the Egyptians, your big-membered neighbors, and multiplied your prostitutions to provoke me. 27 Therefore I stretched out my hand against you and reduced your allotment, and delivered you over to the whim of your enemies, the Philistines,[g] who were revolted by your depraved conduct. 28 You also served as a prostitute for the Assyrians, because you were not satisfied. Even after serving as a prostitute for them, you were still not satisfied. 29 You increased your prostitutions again, now going to Chaldea, the land of traders; but despite this, you were still not satisfied.

30 How wild your lust!—oracle of the Lord God—that you did all these works of a shameless prostitute, 31 when you built your platform at every intersection and set up your high place in every public square. But unlike a prostitute, you disdained payment. 32 Adulterous wife, taking strangers in place of her husband! 33 Prostitutes usually receive gifts. But you bestowed gifts on all your lovers, bribing them to come to you for prostitution from every side. 34 Thus in your prostitution you were different from any other woman. No one solicited you for prostitution. Instead, you yourself offered payment; what a reversal!

35 Therefore, prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! 36 Thus says the LordGod: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your nakedness in your prostitution with your lovers and your abominable idols, because you gave the life-blood of your children to them, 37 therefore, I will now gather together all your lovers with whom you found pleasure, both those you loved and those you hated; I will gather them against you from all sides and expose you naked for them to see. 38 [h]I will inflict on you the sentence of adultery and murder; I will bring on you bloody wrath and jealous anger. 39 I will hand you over to them to tear down your platform and demolish your high place, to strip you of your garments and take away your splendid ornaments, leaving you stark naked. 40 They shall lead an assembly against you to stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. 41 They shall set fire to your homes and inflict punishments on you while many women watch. Thus I will put an end to your prostitution, and you shall never again offer payment.42 When I have spent my fury upon you I will stop being jealous about you, and calm down, no longer angry. 43 Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, see, I am bringing down your ways upon your head—oracle of the Lord God. Have you not added depravity to your other abominations?

44 See, everyone who makes proverbs will make this proverb about you, “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 Yes, you are truly the daughter of your mother[i] who rejected her husband and children: you are truly a sister to your sisters who rejected their husbands and children—your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 [j]Your elder sister was Samaria with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister was Sodom and her daughters, south of you. 47 Not only did you walk in their ways and act as abominably as they did, but in a very short time you became more corrupt in all your ways than they were. 48 As I live—oracle of the Lord God—I swear that your sister Sodom with her daughters have not done the things you and your daughters have done!49 Now look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity. They did not give any help to the poor and needy. 50 Instead, they became arrogant and committed abominations before me; then, as you have seen, I removed them. 51 Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more abominable things than they did. You even made your sisters look righteous, with all the abominations you have done. 52 You, then, must bear your disgrace, for you have made a case for your sisters! Because your sins are more abominable than theirs, they seem righteous compared to you. Blush for shame, and bear the disgrace of having made your sisters appear righteous.

53 I will restore their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters—and your fortunes along with them. 54 Thus you must bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done to bring them comfort. 55 Yes, your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, Samaria and her daughters, shall return to the way they were, and you and your daughters shall return to the way you were.56 Did you not hold your sister Sodom in bad repute while you felt proud of yourself, 57 before your evil was exposed? Now you are like her, reproached by the Arameans and all their neighbors, despised on all sides by the Philistines. 58 The penalty of your depravity and your abominations—you must bear it all—oracle of the Lord.

59 For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you for what you did; you despised an oath by breaking a covenant. 60 But I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young; I will set up an everlasting covenant[k] with you. 61 Then you shall remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, those older and younger than you; I give them to you as daughters, but not by reason of your covenant. 62 For I will re-establish my covenant with you, that you may know that I am the Lord, 63 that you may remember and be ashamed, and never again open your mouth because of your disgrace, when I pardon you for all you have done—oracle of the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  1. 16:3–4 By origin and birth…Hittite: Jerusalem’s pre-Israelite origins are the breeding ground for its inability to respond faithfully to the Lord’s generosity.
  2. 16:4–5 In this chapter, Ezekiel represents Jerusalem and Samaria as unwanted, abandoned sisters whom the Lord rescues and cares for. Here the prophet depicts Jerusalem as a newborn female, abandoned and left to die, an accepted practice in antiquity for females, who were considered financial liabilities by their families. That the infant has no one, not even her mother, to tie off her umbilical cord, wash her clean, and wrap her in swaddling clothes emphasizes Jerusalem’s death-like isolation and accentuates the Lord’s gracious action in her behalf. The practice of rubbing the skin of newborns with salt is an attested Palestinian custom that survived into the twentieth century.
  3. 16:8 I spread the corner of my cloak: one way to acquire a woman for marriage; cf. Ru 3:9. In Dt 23:1 a son’s illicit sexual relations with his father’s wife is described as “uncovering the edge of the father’s garment.”
  4. 16:16 In the allegory of this chapter the viewpoint often shifts from the figure (prostitution) to the reality (idolatry). A symbol of the woman’s depravity supersedes her parents’ cruel abandonment when she was an infant. It overrides the loyalty she owes her covenant partner and the care she owes their children.
  5. 16:20–21 Also a reference to the practice of child sacrifice introduced under Judah’s impious kings; cf. 2 Kgs 16:3; 17:17; Jer 7:31; 19:5; 32:35.
  6. 16:24 A platform…a dais: associated with rituals borrowed from the Canaanites.
  7. 16:27 Philistines: lit., “daughters of the Philistines,” a common expression when referring to the various towns that make up a territory.
  8. 16:38 As a jealous husband, Yhwh severely punishes Jerusalem for her adultery: i.e., her worship of idols. Adultery was considered a capital crime in ancient Israel; cf. Lv 20:10–14;Nm 5:11–28; Dt 22:22.
  9. 16:45 Truly the daughter of your mother: Jerusalem’s depraved behavior follows from the bad behavior of its non-Israelite forebears; cf. v. 3.
  10. 16:46–47 Jerusalem is so much more corrupt than Samaria, the elder sister in size, and the smaller Sodom that both now appear just and righteous. Ezekiel’s reference to Sodom indicates that the city’s identification with wickedness and evil was already an established tradition in fifth century B.C. Judah.
  11. 16:60 Everlasting covenant: Ezekiel foresees God renewing the covenant of Sinai in a new and spirit-empowered way that will not be fatally broken as in the present exile or force God to abandon Israel again; cf. 11:19–21; 36:25–27; 37:26–28.

Ezekiel Chapter 15 (Bible Marathon Day 458)

Ezekiel 15New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 15

Parable of the Vine. [a]The word of the Lord came to me:

Son of man,
    what makes the wood of the vine
Better than the wood of branches
    found on the trees in the forest?
Can wood be taken from it
    to make something useful?
Can someone make even a peg out of it
    on which to hang a vessel?
Of course not! If it is fed to the fire for fuel,
    and the fire devours both ends of it,
Leaving the middle charred,
    is it useful for anything then?
Even when it is whole
    it cannot be used for anything;
So when fire has devoured and charred it,
    how useful can it be?
Therefore, thus says the Lord God:
Like vine wood among forest trees,
    which I have given as fuel for fire,
So I will give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I will set my face against them:
Although they have escaped the fire,
    the fire will still devour them;
You shall know that I am the Lord,
    when I set my face against them.
Yes, I will make the land desolate,
    because they are so unfaithful—
    oracle of the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  1. 15:1–8 Verses 2–5 point out that the wood of the vinestock may be burned for fuel, fit only for destruction. In vv. 6–8 Ezekiel asserts that Jerusalem has the same destiny.

Ezekiel Chapter 14 (Bible Marathon Day 457)

Ezekiel 14New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 14

Idolatry and Unfaithfulness. Some elders of Israel came and sat down before me. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, these men keep the memory of their idols alive in their hearts, setting the stumbling block of their sin before them. Should I allow myself to be consulted by them? Therefore say to them: Thus says the Lord God: If any of the house of Israel who keep the memory of their idols in their hearts, setting the stumbling block of their sin before them, come to a prophet, I the Lord will answer in person because of their many idols, in order to catch the hearts of the house of Israel, estranged from me because of all their idols.

Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: Return, turn away from your idols; from all your abominations, turn your faces.For if anyone of the house of Israel or any alien residing in Israel who are estranged from me and who keep their idols in their hearts, setting the stumbling block of their sin before them, come to ask a prophet to consult me on their behalf, I the Lord will answer them in person. I will set my face against them and make them a sign and a byword, and cut them off from the midst of my people. Thus you shall know that I am the Lord.

As for the prophet, if he speaks a deceiving word, I the Lord am the one who deceives that prophet.[a] I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 They will be punished for their own sins, the inquirer and the prophet alike, 11 so that the house of Israel may no longer stray from me, no longer defile themselves by all their sins. Then they shall be my people, and I shall be their God—oracle of the Lord God.

Just Cause.[b] 12 The word of the Lord came to me: 13 Son of man, if a land sins against me by breaking faith, and I stretch out my hand against it, breaking its staff of bread and setting famine loose upon it, cutting off from it human being and beast alike— 14 even if these three were in it, Noah, Daniel, and Job,[c] they could only save themselves by their righteousness—oracle of the Lord God. 15 If I summoned wild beasts to prowl the land, depopulating it so that it became a wasteland which no one would cross because of the wild beasts, 16 and these three were in it, as I live—oracle of the Lord God—I swear they could save neither sons nor daughters; they alone would be saved, but the land would become a wasteland. 17 Or if I bring the sword upon this land, commanding the sword to pass through the land cutting off from it human being and beast alike, 18 and these three were in it, as I live—oracle of the Lord God—they could save neither sons nor daughters; they alone would be saved. 19 Or if I send plague into this land, pouring out upon it my bloody wrath, cutting off from it human being and beast alike, 20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live—oracle of the Lord God—they could save neither son nor daughter; they would save only themselves by their righteousness.

21 Thus says the Lord God: Even though I send against Jerusalem my four evil punishments—sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague—to cut off from it human being and beast alike, 22 there will still be some survivors in it who will bring out sons and daughters. When they come out to you and you see their ways and their deeds, you shall be consoled regarding the evil I brought on Jerusalem, everything I brought upon it.23 They shall console you when you see their ways and their deeds, and you shall know that not without reason did I do to it everything I did—oracle of the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  1. 14:9 The ancient Israelites thought that God could use deception as a means of promoting divine justice; cf. 2 Sm 24:1–3; 1 Kgs 22:19–23.
  2. 14:12–23 According to Ezekiel, the people in Jerusalem deserve destruction because they are corrupt. Yet he admits an exception to the principle of individual responsibility when he affirms that some of those deserving death will survive and be reunited with family in exile. The depravity of Jerusalem testifies that the punishment of Jerusalem was just and necessary.
  3. 14:14 Noah, Daniel, and Job: righteous folk heroes whom Israel shared with other ancient Near Eastern cultures. Daniel was the just judge celebrated in Ugaritic literature, perhaps the model for the hero of Dn 13.

Ezekiel Chapter 13 (Bible Marathon Day 457)

Ezekiel 13New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 13

Against the Prophets of Peace. The word of the Lord came to me:Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, prophesy! Say to those who prophesy their own thoughts: Hear the word of the Lord!Thus says the Lord God: Woe to those prophets, the fools who follow their own spirit and see nothing. Like foxes among ruins are your prophets, Israel! You did not step into the breach, nor repair the wall around the house of Israel so it would stand firm against attack on the day of the Lord. False visions! Lying divinations! They say, “The oracle of the Lord,” even though the Lord did not send them. Then they expect their word to be confirmed! Was not the vision you saw false? Did you not report a lying divination when you said, “Oracle of the Lord,” even though I never spoke? Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have spoken falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore, for certain I am coming at you—oracle of the Lord God. My hand is against the prophets who see false visions and who make lying divinations. They shall not belong to the community of my people. They shall not be written in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. Thus you shall know that I am the Lord.

10 Because they led my people astray, saying, “Peace!” when there is no peace, and when a wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,[a] 11 say then to the whitewashers: I will bring down a flooding rain; hailstones shall fall, and a stormwind shall break forth. 12 When the wall has fallen, will you not be asked: “Where is the whitewash you spread on it?”

13 Therefore thus says the Lord God: In my fury I will let loose stormwinds; because of my anger there will be flooding rain, and hailstones will fall with destructive wrath. 14 I will tear down the wall you whitewashed and level it to the ground, laying bare its foundations. When it falls, you shall be crushed beneath it. Thus you shall know that I am the Lord. 15 When I have poured out my fury on the wall and its whitewashers, it will fall. Then I will say to you: No wall! No whitewashers— 16 the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem and see visions of peace for it when there is no peace—oracle of the LordGod.

Against Witches. 17 As for you, son of man, now set your face against the daughters of your people who play the prophet from their own thoughts, and prophesy against them. 18 You shall say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to those who sew amulets for the wrists of every arm and make veils[b] for every head size to snare lives! You ensnare the lives of my people, even as you preserve your own lives! 19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and crumbs of bread,[c]slaying those who should not be slain, and keeping alive those who should not live, lying to my people, who listen to lies. 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: See! I am coming after your amulets by which you ensnare lives like prey. I will tear them from your arms and set free the lives of those you have ensnared like prey. 21 I will tear off your veils and deliver my people from your power, so that they shall never again be ensnared by your hands. Thus you shall know that I am the Lord.22 Because you discourage the righteous with lies when I did not want them to be distressed, and encourage the wicked so they do not turn from their evil ways and save their lives, 23 therefore you shall no longer see false visions or practice divination again. I will deliver my people from your hand. Thus you shall know that I am the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 13:10 The false prophets contributed to popular illusions of security by predictions of peace, like those who whitewash a wall to conceal its defects.
  2. 13:18 Sew amulets…make veils: used by sorcerers to mark individuals for life or for death. For a small price (v. 19), these women promised protection for the wicked, who, in the Lord’s estimation, “should not live” (v. 19), and death for the righteous, “who should not be slain” (v. 19). Both decisions belong to the Lord.
  3. 13:19 Handfuls of barley and crumbs of bread: payment for the amulets and scarves.

Ezekiel Ch 12 (Bible Marathon Day 456)

Ezekiel 12New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 12

Acts Symbolic of the Exile. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, you live in the midst of a rebellious house; they have eyes to see, but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear. They are such a rebellious house! Now, son of man, during the day while they watch, pack a bag for exile,[a] and again while they watch, go into exile from your place to another place; perhaps they will see that they are a rebellious house. During the day, while they watch, bring out your bag, an exile’s bag. In the evening, again while they watch, go out as if into exile. While they watch, dig a hole through the wall[b] and go out through it. While they watch, shoulder your load and go out in darkness. Cover your face so you cannot see the land, for I am making you a sign for the house of Israel!

I did just as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my bag, an exile’s bag. In the evening while they watched, I dug a hole through the wall with my hands and set out in darkness, shouldering my load.

In the morning, the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, did not the house of Israel, that house of rebels, say, “What are you doing?”10 Tell them: Thus says the Lord God: This load is the prince in Jerusalem and the whole house of Israel within it. 11 Say, I am a sign for you: just as I have done, so it shall be done to them; into exile, as captives they shall go. 12 The prince among them shall shoulder his load in darkness and go out through the hole they dug in the wall to bring him out. His face shall be covered so that he cannot even see the ground. 13 I will spread my net over him and he shall be caught in my snare. I will bring him into Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans, though he shall not see it,[c] and there he shall die. 14 All his retinue, his aides and all his troops, I will scatter to the winds and pursue them with the sword. 15 Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. 16 But I will let a few of them escape the sword, starvation, and plague, so that they may recount all their abominations among the nations to which they go. Thus they may know that I am the Lord.[d]

17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18 Son of man, eat your bread trembling and drink your water shaking with fear. 19 And say to the people of the land:[e] Thus says the Lord God about the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: they shall eat their bread in fear and drink their water in horror, because the land will be emptied of what fills it—the lawlessness of all its inhabitants. 20 Inhabited cities shall be in ruins, the land a desolate place. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.

Prophecy Ridiculed. 21 The word of the Lord came to me: 22 Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: “The days drag on, and every vision fails”?[f] 23 Say to them therefore: Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to that proverb; they shall never use it again in Israel. Say to them instead: “The days are at hand and every vision fulfilled.” 24 No longer shall there be any false visions or deceitful divinations within the house of Israel, 25 for whatever word I speak shall happen without delay. In your days, rebellious house, whatever I speak I will bring about—oracle of the Lord God.

26 The word of the Lord came to me: 27 Son of man, listen! The house of Israel is saying, “The vision he sees is a long time off; he prophesies for distant times!” 28 Say to them therefore: Thus says the Lord God: None of my words shall be delayed any longer. Whatever I say is final; it shall be done—oracle of the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  1. 12:3–10 An exile’s bag contains bare necessities, probably no more than a bowl, a mat, and a waterskin. The prophet’s action foreshadows the fate of ruler and people (vv. 11–14).
  2. 12:5 Through the wall: mud-brick outer wall of a private home. In this symbolic action, Ezekiel represents the enemy forces, and the house wall, the city wall of Jerusalem breached by the Babylonian army.
  3. 12:13 Though he shall not see it: according to a Targum, an allusion to Nebuchadnezzar having Zedekiah blinded before deporting him to Babylonia (cf. 2 Kgs 25:7); according to the Septuagint, the king is ashamed of his flight from the city and disguises himself so others will not recognize him.
  4. 12:16 Both exiles and nations shall know that the exile is divine punishment for Israel’s betrayal of the Lord and the covenant, not evidence that the Lord is too weak to fight off the Babylonian deity.
  5. 12:19 The people of the land: the exiles in Babylon who, ironically, are now outside the land.
  6. 12:22–28 This proverb conveys the skepticism the people of Jerusalem have; cf. Jer 20:7–9.