1 God said to me, “Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this scroll, and then go tell these things to the family of Israel.”
2 So I opened my mouth and he put the scroll into my mouth.
3 Then God said, “Son of man, I am giving you this scroll. Swallow it! Let that scroll fill your body.”
So I ate the scroll. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
4 Then God said to me, “Son of man, go to the family of Israel. Speak my words to them.
5 I am not sending you to some foreigners you cannot understand. You don’t have to learn another language. I am sending you to the family of Israel.
6 I am not sending you to many different countries where people speak languages you cannot understand. If you went to those people and spoke to them, they would listen to you. But you will not have to learn those hard languages.
7 No, I am sending you to the family of Israel. Only, these people have hard heads—they are very stubborn! And the people of Israel will refuse to listen to you. They don’t want to listen to me.
8 But I will make you just as stubborn as they are, and your head just as hard.
9 A diamond is harder than flint rock. In the same way you will be more stubborn than they are, and your head will be harder. Then you will not be afraid of them or those who always turn against me.”
10 Then God said to me, “Son of man, listen to every word I say to you and remember them.
11 Then go to all of your people in exile and tell them, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says ….’ They will not listen, and they will not stop sinning, but you must still tell them my message.”
12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a voice behind me. It was very loud, like thunder. It said, “Blessed is the Glory of the LORD!”
13 Then the wings of the living beings began moving. The wings made a very loud noise as they touched each other, and the wheels in front of them began making a noise as loud as thunder.
14 The Spirit lifted me and took me away. I was very sad and upset in my spirit, but I felt the LORD’S power in me.
15 I went to the people of Israel who were forced to live in Tel Aviv by the Kebar Canal. I sat there among them for seven days, shocked and silent.
The Watchman of Israel
16 After seven days, the word of the LORD came to me. He said,
17 “Son of man, I am making you a watchman for Israel. I will tell you about bad things that will happen to them, and you must warn Israel.
18 If I say, ‘These evil people will die!’ Then you must warn them. You must tell them to change their lives and stop doing evil. If you don’t warn them, they will die because they sinned. But I will also make you responsible for their death, because you did not go to them and save their lives.
19 “If you warn them and tell them to change their lives and stop doing evil, but they refuse to listen, they will die because they sinned. But since you warned them, you will have saved your own life.
20 “If good people stop being good and begin to do evil, and I send something that makes them stumble and sin, they will die because they sinned. But since you did not warn them and remind them of the good things they had done, I will make you responsible for their death.
21 “But if you warn good people and tell them to stop sinning, and they listen to your warning and stop sinning, they will not die. In that way you will have saved your own life.”
22 The LORD’S power came to me. He said to me, “Get up and go to the valley. I will speak to you in that place.”
23 So I got up and went out to the valley. The Glory of the LORD was there—as I had seen it by the Kebar Canal. So I bowed with my face to the ground.
24 But the Spirit came into me and lifted me up on my feet. He said to me, “Go home and lock yourself in your house.
25 Son of man, people will come with ropes and tie you up. They will not let you go out among the people.
26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth—you will not be able to talk. So they will not have anyone to teach them that they are doing wrong, because they are always turning against me.
27 But I will talk to you, and then I will allow you to speak. But you must say to them, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says.’ If a person wants to listen, fine. If a person refuses to listen, fine. But those people always turn against me.