Ezekiel Acts Out Israel’s Captivity
12 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, you are living among rebellious people. They have eyes, but refuse to see; they have ears, but refuse to listen. 3 So before it gets dark, here is what I want you to do. Pack a few things as though you were going to be taken away as a prisoner. Then go outside where everyone can see you and walk around from place to place. Maybe as they watch, they will realize what rebels they are. 4 After you have done this, return to your house.
Later that evening leave your house as if you were going into exile. 5 Dig through the wall of your house[a] and crawl out, carrying the bag with you. Make sure everyone is watching. 6 Lift the bag to your shoulders, and with your face covered, take it into the darkness, so that you cannot see the land you are leaving. All of this will be a warning for the people of Israel.
7 I did everything the Lord had said. I packed a few things. Then as the sun was going down, and while everyone was watching, I dug a hole through one of the walls of my house. I pulled out my bag, then lifted it to my shoulders and left in the darkness.
8 The next morning, the Lord 9 reminded me that those rebellious people didn’t even ask what I was doing. 10 So he sent me back to tell them:
The Lord God has a message for the leader of Jerusalem and everyone living there!
11 I have done these things to show them what will happen when they are taken away as prisoners.
12 The leader of Jerusalem will lift his own bag to his shoulders at sunset and leave through a hole that the others have dug in the wall of his house. He will cover his face, so he can’t see the land he is leaving. 13 The Lord will spread out a net and trap him as he leaves Jerusalem. He will then be led away to the city of Babylon, but will never see that place,[b] even though he will die there. 14 His own officials and troops will scatter in every direction, and the Lord will track them down and put them to death.
15 The Lord will force the rest of the people in Jerusalem to live in foreign nations, where they will realize that he has done all these things. 16 Some of them will survive the war, the starvation, and the deadly diseases. That way, they will be able to tell foreigners how disgusting their sins were, and that it was the Lord who punished them in this way.
A Sign of Fear
17 The Lord said:
18 Ezekiel, son of man, shake with fear when you eat, and tremble when you drink. 19 Tell the people of Israel that I, the Lord, say that someday everyone in Jerusalem will shake when they eat and tremble when they drink. Their country will be destroyed and left empty, because they have been cruel and violent. 20 Every town will lie in ruins, and the land will be a barren desert. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
The Words of the Lord Will Come True
21 The Lord said:
22 Ezekiel, son of man, you’ve heard people in Israel use the saying, “Time passes, and prophets are proved wrong.” 23 Now tell the people that I, the Lord, am going to prove that saying wrong. No one will ever be able to use it again in Israel, because very soon everything I have said will come true! 24 The people will hear no more useless warnings and false messages. 25 I will give them my message, and what I say will certainly happen. Warn those rebels that the time has come for them to be punished. I, the Lord, make this promise.
26-27 Ezekiel, the people of Israel are also saying that your visions and messages are only about things in the future. 28 So tell them that my words will soon come true, just as I have warned. I, the Lord, have spoken.
13 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the prophets of Israel who say they speak in my name, but who preach messages that come from their own imagination. Tell them it’s time to hear my message.
3 I, the Lord God, say those lying prophets are doomed! They don’t see visions—they make up their own messages! 4 Israel’s prophets are no better than jackals[c] that hunt for food among the ruins of a city. 5 They don’t warn the people about coming trouble or tell them how dangerous it is to sin against me. 6 Those prophets lie by claiming they speak for me, but I have not even chosen them to be my prophets. And they still think their words will come true. 7 They say they’re preaching my messages, but they are full of lies—I did not speak to them!
8 So I am going to punish those lying prophets for deceiving the people of Israel with false messages. 9 I will turn against them and no longer let them belong to my people. They will not be allowed to call themselves Israelites or even to set foot in Israel. Then they will realize that I am the Lord God.
10 Those prophets refuse to be honest. They tell my people there will be peace, even though there’s no peace to be found. They are like workers who think they can fix a shaky wall by covering it with paint. 11 But when I send rainstorms, hailstones, and strong winds, the wall will surely collapse. 12 People will then ask the workers why the paint didn’t hold it up.
13 That wall is the city of Jerusalem. And I, the Lord God, am so angry that I will send strong winds, rainstorms, and hailstones to destroy it. 14 The lying prophets have tried to cover up the evil in Jerusalem, but I will tear down the city, all the way to its foundations. And when it collapses, those prophets will be killed, and everyone will know that I have done these things.
15 The city of Jerusalem and its lying prophets will feel my fierce anger. Then I will announce that the city has fallen and that the lying prophets are dead, 16 because they promised my people peace, when there was no peace. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
Women Who Wear Magic Charms
The Lord said:
17 Ezekiel, son of man, now condemn the women of Israel who preach messages that come from their own imagination. 18 Tell them they’re doomed! They wear magic charms on their wrists and scarves on their heads, then trick others into believing they can predict the future.[d] They won’t get away with telling those lies. 19 They charge my people a few handfuls of barley and a couple pieces of bread, and then give messages that are insulting to me. They use lies to sentence the innocent to death and to help the guilty go free. And my people believe them!
20 I hate the magic charms they use to trick people into believing their lies. I will rip those charms from their wrists and set free the people they have trapped like birds.[e] 21 I will tear the scarves from their heads and rescue my people from their power once and for all. Then they will know that I am the Lord God.
22 They do things I would never do. They lie to good people and encourage them to do wrong, and they convince the wicked to keep sinning and ruin their lives. 23 I will no longer let these women give false messages and use magic, and I will free my people from their control. Then they will know that I, the Lord, have done these things.
Ezekiel Encourages the People To Turn Back to the Lord
14 One day, some of Israel’s leaders came to me and asked for a message from the Lord. 2 While they were there, the Lord said:
3 Ezekiel, son of man, these men have started worshiping idols, though they know it will cause them to sin even more. So I refuse to give them a message!
4 Tell the people of Israel that if they sin by worshiping idols and then go to a prophet to find out what I say, I will give them the answer their sins deserve. 5 When they hear my message, maybe they will see that they need to turn back to me and stop worshiping those idols.
6 Now, Ezekiel, tell everyone in Israel:
I am the Lord God. Stop worshiping your disgusting idols and come back to me.
7 Suppose one of you Israelites or a foreigner living in Israel rejects me and starts worshiping idols. If you then go to a prophet to find out what I say, I will answer 8 by turning against you. I will make you a warning to anyone who might think of doing the same thing, and you will no longer belong to my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord and that you have sinned against me.
9 If a prophet gives a false message, I am the one who caused that prophet to lie. But I will still reject him and cut him off from my people, 10 and anyone who goes to that prophet for a message will be punished in the same way. 11 I will do this, so that you will come back to me and stop destroying yourselves with these disgusting sins. So turn back to me! Then I will be your God, and you will be my people. I, the Lord God, make this promise.
- 12.5 Dig through the wall of your house: The walls of most houses in Babylonia were made of mud bricks that had been dried in the sun. A hole could easily have been dug through these bricks.
- 12.13 He will then be led away. . . that place: According to 2 Kings 25.6,7, King Zedekiah of Judah was blinded before he was taken to Babylon.
- 13.4 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
- 13.18 They wear. . . the future: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 13.20 like birds: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
The Priestly Family of Melchizedek
7 Melchizedek was both king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He was the one who went out and gave Abraham his blessing, when Abraham returned from killing the kings. 2 Then Abraham gave him a tenth of everything he had.
The meaning of the name Melchizedek is “King of Justice.” But since Salem means “peace,” he is also “King of Peace.” 3 We are not told that he had a father or mother or ancestors or beginning or end. He is like the Son of God and will be a priest forever.[a]
4 Notice how great Melchizedek is! Our famous ancestor Abraham gave him a tenth of what he had taken from his enemies. 5 The Law teaches that even Abraham’s descendants must give a tenth of what they possess. And they are to give this to their own relatives, who are the descendants of Levi and are priests. 6 Although Melchizedek wasn’t a descendant of Levi, Abraham gave him a tenth of what he had. Then Melchizedek blessed Abraham, who had been given God’s promise. 7 Everyone agrees that a person who gives a blessing is greater than the one who receives the blessing.
8 Priests are given a tenth of what people earn. But all priests die, except Melchizedek, and the Scriptures teach that he is alive. 9 Levi’s descendants are now the ones who receive a tenth from people. We could even say that when Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth, Levi also gave him a tenth. 10 This is because Levi was born later into the family of Abraham, who gave a tenth to Melchizedek.
11 Even though the Law of Moses says that the priests must be descendants of Levi, those priests cannot make anyone perfect. So there needs to be a priest like Melchizedek, rather than one from the priestly family of Aaron.[b] 12 And when the rules for selecting a priest are changed, the Law must also be changed.
13 The person we are talking about is our Lord, who came from a tribe that had never had anyone to serve as a priest at the altar. 14 Everyone knows he came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never said that priests would come from that tribe.
15 All of this becomes clearer, when someone who is like Melchizedek is appointed to be a priest. 16 That person wasn’t appointed because of his ancestors, but because his life can never end. 17 The Scriptures say about him,
“You are a priest forever,
just like Melchizedek.”
37 When God led Israel from Egypt,
they took silver and gold,
and no one was left behind.
38 The Egyptians were afraid
and gladly let them go.
39 God hid them under a cloud
and guided them by fire
during the night.
40 When they asked for food,
he sent more birds
than they could eat.
41 God even split open a rock,
and streams of water
gushed into the desert.
42 God never forgot
his sacred promise
to his servant Abraham.
43 When the Lord rescued
his chosen people from Egypt,
they celebrated with songs.
44 The Lord gave them the land
and everything else
the nations had worked for.
45 He did this so that his people
would obey all of his laws.
Shout praises to the Lord!
3 Stones and sand are heavy,
but trouble caused by a fool
is a much heavier load.