1 “And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say: Mountains of Israel, listen to this message from the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord God says: The enemy said about you, ‘Aha! These old high places now belong to us,’ 3 so you must prophesy and announce that this is what the Lord God says: They have turned you into a wasteland, attacking you from every direction, so that you became the property of other nations and people gossiped about you and slandered you. 4 So now, mountains of Israel, listen to the message from the Lord God.
This is what the Lord God says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the deserted ruins and abandoned towns, that the other nations around you have looted and mocked. 5 Yes, this is what the Lord God says: I have spoken passionately against these other nations, and against all the Edomites, who took over my country and made it theirs, happily celebrating as they looted the land and treated me with complete contempt.
6 So prophesy concerning the country of Israel and tell the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, that this is what the Lord God says: Just watch, for I have spoken passionately about this because you have had to put up with this mockery from other nations.
7 This is what the Lord God says: I hold up my hand and swear that the other nations around you will suffer their own shame. 8 But you, mountains of Israel, will grow trees that will produce fruit for my people Israel, for soon they'll be coming home.
9 Look, I am for you and I will help you. Your land will be ploughed, and crops will be sown. 10 You will support the people of Israel as they return and grow in number. People will live in the towns again and rebuild the ruins. 11 The number of your people will grow— they will have many children. The animals too will have many young. I will make sure that you're inhabited just as you used to be, and I will make you more prosperous that you were before. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
12 I will have my people Israel walk on you mountains. You will be theirs; you will belong to them, and you will no longer rob your nation of their children.* “Rob your nation of their children”: this strange phrase is thought by some to refer to the times when the Israelites practiced child sacrifice.
13 This is what the Lord God says: Because people say to you, ‘You eat people, and rob your nation of their children,’ 14 from now on you won't eat people or rob your nation of their children, declares the Lord God. 15 I'm going to stop these nations insulting you, and you won't have to put up with their taunts any more, or make the nation fall, declares the Lord God.”
16 Another message from Lord came to me, saying, 17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their country, they made it unclean by the way they behaved, by what they did. The way they were behaving in my presence was like the ceremonial uncleanness of a woman's period. 18 So I became angry with them because of murders they committed in the country, and because they made it unclean by worshiping idols. 19 I scattered them among the different nations and countries. I judged them according to the way they had behaved and what they did. 20 But wherever they went among the nations, they ruined my reputation, because people said about them, ‘These are the Lord's people, but they had to leave his country.’ 21 So I had to take care of my reputation for holiness which the people of Israel had ruined among the nations where they'd gone.
22 Tell the people of Israel that this is what the Lord God says: I'm not doing this for you, people of Israel, but for my reputation for holiness, which you ruined among the nations where you went. 23 I will reveal the holy nature and importance of my reputation, which has been ruined among the nations, the reputation you have ruined among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when I reveal my holiness through you as they watch.
24 For I will bring you back from among the nations, gathering you from all the different countries, and I will lead you back into your own country. 25 I will also pour pure water over you, and you will be clean. I will wash you clean from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new mind and I will put a new spirit inside you. I will take away your stubborn mind and I will give you a loving mind. 27 I will put my Spirit inside you so you will follow my laws and remember to do what I tell you.
28 Then you will live in the country I gave to your forefathers. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from everything that makes you unclean. I will make sure you have plenty of grain. I won't send you any famines. 30 I will also make sure you have good harvests from your orchards and fields, so that you won't be mocked by other nations anymore because of famine.
31 Then you will remember your evil ways and terrible things you've done, and you'll hate yourselves for your sins and disgusting actions. 32 You need to realize that I'm not doing this for your sake, declares the Lord God. You should be ashamed and embarrassed for what you've done, people of Israel!
33 This is what the Lord God says: On the day I make you clean from all your sins, I will have you live in your towns again and make sure the ruins are rebuilt. 34 The land that was deserted will be cultivated again instead of looking abandoned to everyone passing by. 35 Then they will say, ‘This deserted land is now like the garden of Eden. The towns that were demolished, abandoned, and destroyed have been restored and strengthened, and people are living in them.’
36 Then those nations around you that are left will acknowledge that I, the Lord, have rebuilt what was demolished, and that I have replanted what was destroyed. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will carry it out.
37 This is what the Lord God says: I will once again answer the prayers of the people of Israel. This is what I will do for them: I will have them increase in number like a flock. 38 Just like all the many flocks that are brought to Jerusalem to be sacrificed during the religious festivals, so the towns that were once demolished will be full of flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
*36:12 “Rob your nation of their children”: this strange phrase is thought by some to refer to the times when the Israelites practiced child sacrifice.