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33 The word of Adonai came to me: “Human being, speak to your people; say to them, ‘Suppose I bring the sword on a country, and the people of that country take one of their men and appoint him their watchman. Now if, upon seeing the sword coming against that country, he blows the shofar and warns the people; then, if the sword comes and takes away someone who heard the sound of the shofar but paid no attention to it, the responsibility for that person’s death will be his own — he heard the shofar but paid no attention, so the responsibility for his death is his own; whereas if he had paid attention, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the shofar, so that the people are not warned; and then the sword comes and takes any one of them, that one is indeed taken away in his guilt, but I will hold the watchman responsible for his death.’

“Likewise you, human being — I have appointed you as watchman for the house of Isra’el. Therefore, when you hear the word from my mouth, warn them for me. When I tell the wicked person, ‘Wicked person, you will certainly die’; and you fail to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his way; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death. On the other hand, if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he doesn’t turn from his way; then he will still die guilty, but you will have saved your own life.

10 “Therefore, you, human being, say to the house of Isra’el: ‘You say, “Our crimes and sins are weighing us down, we’re pining away because of them, how can we even stay alive?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ swears Adonai Elohim, ‘I take no pleasure in having the wicked person die, but in having the wicked person turn from his way and live. So repent! Turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, house of Isra’el?’

12 “Next, you, human being, say to your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous person will not save him, once he starts committing crimes; and likewise, the wickedness of the wicked person will not cause him to fall, once he turns from his wickedness. No, the righteous person cannot live by virtue of [his former righteousness], once he starts sinning. 13 So if, after I tell the righteous person that he will surely live, he begins trusting in his own [former] righteousness and starts committing crimes; then none of his [former] righteous actions will be remembered; on the contrary, he will die for the evil deeds he has committed. 14 Likewise, if, after I tell the wicked person, “You must die,” he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right — 15 if the wicked person restores pledged property and returns what he stole, so that he lives by the laws that give life and does not commit evil deeds; then he will live, he will not die. 16 None of the sins he committed will be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he will surely live.’

17 “Now your people say, ‘Adonais way isn’t fair!’ But it is their way, theirs, that isn’t fair! 18 When the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, he will die because of it. 19 And when the wicked person turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he will live because of it. 20 Yet you say, ‘Adonai’s way isn’t fair!’ House of Isra’el, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth day of the tenth month, a fugitive from Yerushalayim came to me with the news, “The city has been struck.” 22 Now the hand of Adonai had been on me that evening, before the fugitive arrived — he had opened my mouth prior to his coming to me in the morning, so my mouth was open, and I was no longer mute. 23 Then the word of Adonai came to me: 24 “Human being, those living in the desolate parts of the land of Isra’el are saying, ‘Avraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many, so [how much more] is the land given to us to inherit!’ 25 Therefore, tell them that Adonai Elohim says, ‘You eat [flesh] with the blood, you raise your eyes to your idols, and you shed blood — and you still expect to possess the land? 26 You depend on your swords, you commit disgusting practices, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife — and you still expect to possess the land?’ 27 Tell them that Adonai Elohim swears, ‘As I live, those living in the ruins will fall by the sword, those in the countryside I will give to the wild animals to eat, and those in the fortresses and caves will die of the plague. 28 Moreover, I will utterly desolate the land; it will cease taking pride in its power; and the mountains of Isra’el will be so desolate that no one will pass through.’ 29 Then they will know that I am Adonai, when I have made the land utterly desolate, because of all the disgusting practices they have committed.

30 “Now you, human being, your people are gathering and talking about you by the walls and in the doorways of houses. They’re saying to each other, each one telling his brother, ‘Come, let’s go and hear the latest word coming from Adonai.’ 31 So then they come to you, as people do, sit in front of you as my people, and hear your words; but they don’t act on them. For with their mouths they flatter you, but their hearts are set on their own self-interest; 32 so for them you are like a love-song sung by someone with a nice voice who can play an instrument well — they hear your words, but they don’t act on them. 33 So when all this comes true, then, at last, they will realize that a prophet has been there with them.”

Renewal of Ezekiel’s Call as Watchman

33 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword(A) against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman,(B) and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet(C) to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning(D) and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head.(E) Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head.(F) If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.(G) But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’(H)

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman(I) for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.(J) When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,(K)’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.(L) But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so,(M) they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.(N)

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away(O) because of[b] them. How then can we live?(P)”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.(Q) Turn!(R) Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’(S)

12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people,(T) ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’(U) 13 If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done.(V) 14 And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just(W) and right— 15 if they give back what they took in pledge(X) for a loan, return what they have stolen,(Y) follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die.(Z) 16 None of the sins(AA) that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.(AB)

17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil,(AC) they will die for it.(AD) 19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so.(AE) 20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”(AF)

Jerusalem’s Fall Explained

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped(AG) from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!(AH) 22 Now the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the Lord was on me,(AI) and he opened my mouth(AJ) before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.(AK)

23 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, the people living in those ruins(AL) in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many;(AM) surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’(AN) 25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you eat(AO) meat with the blood(AP) still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land?(AQ) 26 You rely on your sword, you do detestable things,(AR) and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife.(AS) Should you then possess the land?’

27 “Say this to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword, those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague.(AT) 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains(AU) of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them.(AV) 29 Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolate(AW) waste because of all the detestable things they have done.’(AX)

30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before(AY) you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy(AZ) for unjust gain.(BA) 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs(BB) with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.(BC)

33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.(BD)

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 33:8 Or in; also in verse 9
  2. Ezekiel 33:10 Or away in

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