1 A message from the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, face towards Jerusalem and condemn their places of worship. Prophesy against the people living in Israel 3 and tell them that this is what the Lord says: Watch out, because I'm going to attack you! I'm going to take out my sword and destroy you, both the good and the bad. 4 Because I'm going to destroy both the good and the bad, I will attack everyone from the north to the south. 5 Then the whole world will know that I, the Lord, have taken out my sword, and won't put it back again.
6 You, son of man, you are to groan. Groan as if you're broken up inside, showing terrible sadness while they watch you. 7 When they ask, ‘What are you groaning for?’ you are to tell them, ‘Because of the news that's coming. All of you will lose your courage and you'll be paralyzed with fear. All of you will be weak with worry—you won't be able to stand up!’ Watch out, because it's coming! It's going to happen! declares the Lord God.”
Another message from the Lord came to me, saying, 9
“Son of man, prophesy! Tell them this is what the Lord says: There's a sword, a sword that's being sharpened and polished. 10
It's sharpened for killing and polished so it will flash like lightning! (Are we to be happy, saying, ‘The scepter of my son despises every other stick
’?) * 11
The sword is being polished right now, ready to be used. It's sharp and polished, ready to be handed over to the killer. 12
Weep and wail, son of man, and slap your thigh in grief, for the sword is going to be used to attack my people, to attack all the leaders of Israel! They will be thrown away, killed by the sword along with my people. 13
They will be tested. What if the scepter that despises others doesn't continue? declares the Lord God.
So son of man, prophesy and clap your hands.†
The sword will attack twice, and then a third time.‡
It is a sword of death, killing many people by coming at them from every direction. 15
I have placed a sword at all the gates of their city so that they may lose their courage, and many may fall. Oh no! It's made to flash like lightning and used to kill. 16
Slash right and left, whichever way you're facing. 17
I will also clap my hands, and then my anger will be over. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
18 Another message from the Lord came to me, saying, 19 “Son of man, mark the two roads that the king of Babylon's army could take, beginning from the same country. Make a signpost where the road forks, leading to two different cities. 20 Have one sign point down the road for an attack on the Ammonite city of Rabbah, and another to attack Judah and the fortified city of Jerusalem.
21 The king of Babylon is standing at the fork in the road where the two roads meet looking for a prophetic sign: he casts lots using arrows, he asks advice from idols, and he examines the liver of sacrificial animals.
22 He holds the sign for Jerusalem in his right hand. This is where he is going to set up battering rams, to give the command to attack, to shout the war-cry. There he will order the battering rams to smash the gates, set up an attack ramp, and build a siege wall. 23 To those who have sworn to be loyal to Nebuchadnezzar this will look like a false sign, but it will reveal their guilt and they will be taken prisoner.
24 So this is what the Lord God says: Because you have revealed your guilt and demonstrated your rebellion, showing your sins in everything you've done, now that you've made all this clear, you will be taken prisoner.
25 As for you, you unclean, wicked prince of Israel, the time has come to complete your punishment. 26 This is what the Lord God says: Take off your turban, and your crown. Things won't continue as they were. Give power to the common people and bring down the powerful! 27 I'm going to destroy everything, make it all a ruin! It won't be restored until its owner arrives, the one I've given the authority to judge.
28 Prophesy, son of man, and announce that this is what the Lord God says about the Ammonites and their insults: A sword! A sword is ready for killing, polished to destroy, to flash like lightning, 29 even as your prophets give you false visions and prophecies that are lies. This sword will cut the necks of the wicked, killing them—those whose day has come for their punishment to be completed. 30 Sword, go back to where you came from! I'm going to judge you right where you were created, in your homeland. 31 I will deal with you in my anger; I will breathe my fire of anger on you; I will hand you over to cruel men who are experts in destruction. 32 You will be burned up like firewood. Your blood will be shed where you live. You will be forgotten, for I, the Lord, have spoken.”