God’s Messengers Punish Jerusalem
Then God shouted to the leaders in charge of punishing the city. Each leader had his own destructive weapon in his hand.* Then I saw six men walking on the road from the upper gate. This gate is on the north side. Each man had his own deadly weapon in his hand. One of the men wore linen clothes. He wore a scribe’s pen and ink set at his waist. Those men went to the bronze altar in the Temple and stood there. Then the Glory of the God of Israel rose from above the Cherub angels where he had been. Then the Glory went to the door of the Temple and stopped when he was over the threshold. Then he called to the man wearing the linen clothes and the scribe’s pen and ink set.
Then the LORD said to him, “Go through the city of Jerusalem. Put a mark on the forehead of everyone who feels sad and upset about all the terrible things people are doing in this city.”
5-6 Then I heard God say to the other men, “I want you to follow the first man. You must kill all those who do not have the mark on their foreheads. It doesn’t matter if they are elders, young men or young women, children or mothers—you must use your weapon and kill everyone who does not have the mark on their forehead. Don’t show any mercy. Don’t feel sorry for anyone. Start here at my Temple.” So they started with the elders in front of the Temple.
He said to them, “Make this Temple uncleanfill this courtyard with dead bodies! Now go!” So they went and killed the people in the city.
I stayed there while the men went to kill the people. I bowed with my face to the ground and said, “Oh, Lord GOD, in showing your anger against Jerusalem, are you killing all the survivors in Israel?”
He said, “The family of Israel and Judah has committed many terrible sins! People are being murdered everywhere in this country, and the city is filled with crime. That is because the people say to themselves, ‘The LORD has left this country. The LORD cannot see what we are doing.’ 10 So I will not show any mercy or feel sorry for them. They brought it on themselves. I am only giving them the punishment they deserve!”
11 Then the man wearing linen clothes and a scribe’s pen and ink set spoke up. He said, “I have done what you commanded.”
* 9:1 Each … hand In Hebrew this is like Ezekiel 8:11. 9:2 linen clothes Priests usually wore these clothes. 9:2 scribe’s pen and ink set A scribe was a person who copied official documents and counted supplies and things. Scribes often carried a small board with dry ink in it and a pen. They could put water on the ink and then write with it. Also in verse 11.