Jerusalem, a Useless Vine
15 And the word of the Lord came to me: 2 q“Son of man, how does rthe wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? 3 Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take sa peg from it to hang any vessel on it? 4 tBehold, it is given to the fire for fuel. When the fire has consumed both ends of it, and the middle of it is charred, is it useful for anything? 5 uBehold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it ever be used for anything! 6 Therefore thus says the Lord God: vLike the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, twhich I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 7 wAnd I will set my face against them. Though xthey escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, yand you will know that I am the Lord, wwhen I set my face against them. 8 zAnd I will make the land desolate, because athey have acted faithlessly, declares the Lord God.”
The Lord’s Faithless Bride
16 Again the word of the Lord came to me: 2 b“Son of man, cmake known to Jerusalem her abominations, 3 and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an dAmorite and your mother a eHittite. 4 And as for your birth, fon the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, gbut you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, fon the day that you were born.
6 “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing hin your blood, I said to you hin your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you hin your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 iI made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall jand arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet kyou were naked and bare.
8 “When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and lI spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you mand entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, nand you became mine. 9 Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and oanointed you with oil. 10 pI clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.1 11 qAnd I adorned you with ornaments and rput bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. sYou ate fine flour and honey and oil. tYou grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 And uyour renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.
15 v“But you trusted in your beauty wand played the whore2 because of your renown xand lavished your whorings3 on any passerby; your beauty4 became his. 16 You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be.5 17 You also took yyour beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and zmade for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. 18 And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, aand set my oil and my incense before them. 19 bAlso my bread that I gave you—sI fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for ca pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord God. 20 dAnd you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and ethese you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter 21 that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? 22 And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember fthe days of your youth, gwhen you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood.
23 “And after all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! declares the Lord God), 24 you built yourself ha vaulted chamber and made yourself a lofty place in every square. 25 At the head of every street iyou built your lofty place and made jyour beauty an abomination, koffering yourself6 to any passerby and multiplying your whoring. 26 wYou also played the whore lwith the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, mmultiplying your whoring, nto provoke me to anger. 27 Behold, therefore, I stretched out my hand against you oand diminished your allotted portion pand delivered you to the greed of your enemies, qthe daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. 28 wYou played the whore also rwith the Assyrians, because you were not satisfied; yes, you played the whore with them, and still you were not satisfied. 29 You multiplied your whoring also with the trading land tof Chaldea, and even with this you were not satisfied.
30 “How sick is your heart,7 declares the Lord God, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute, 31 building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a prostitute, ubecause you scorned payment. 32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! 33 Men give gifts to all prostitutes, vbut you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. 34 So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and vyou gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different.
35 “Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the Lord: 36 Thus says the Lord God, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, wand because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, 37 therefore, behold, xI will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and yall those you hated. zI will gather them against you from every side aand will uncover your nakedness to them, that bthey may see all your nakedness. 38 cAnd I will judge you das women who commit adultery and eshed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. 39 And I will give you into their hands, and they shall throw down your fvaulted chamber and break down gyour lofty places. hThey shall strip you of your clothes and take iyour beautiful jewels and leave you jnaked and bare. 40 kThey shall bring up a crowd against you, land they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. 41 lAnd they shall mburn your houses and nexecute judgments upon you in the sight of many women. oI will make you stop playing the whore, and pyou shall also give payment no more. 42 qSo will I satisfy my wrath on you, and my jealousy shall depart from you. I will be calm and will no more be angry. 43 Because you have not remembered rthe days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things, therefore, behold, sI have returned your deeds upon your head, declares the Lord God. Have you not tcommitted lewdness in addition to all your abominations?
44 “Behold, everyone uwho uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of vyour sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. wYour mother was a Hittite and wyour father an Amorite. 46 And xyour elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and yyour younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 zNot only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time ayou were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48 bAs I live, declares the Lord God, your sister cSodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, dexcess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and edid an abomination before me. So fI removed them, when I saw it. 51 gSamaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and hhave made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed. 52 iBear your disgrace, you also, for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
53 j“I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in their midst, 54 that you may bear your disgrace kand be ashamed of all that you have done, lbecoming a consolation to them. 55 As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former state, jand Samaria and her daughters shall return mto their former state, jand you and your daughters shall return mto your former state. 56 Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth nin the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you have become oan object of reproach for the daughters of Syria8 and all those around her, and for pthe daughters of the Philistines, qthose all around who despise you. 58 rYou bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, declares the Lord.
The Lord’s Everlasting Covenant
59 “For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you swho have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, 60 yet tI will remember my covenant with you uin the days of your youth, vand I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. 61 wThen you will remember your ways xand be ashamed when you take yyour sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you zas daughters, but not on account of9 the covenant with you. 62 I will establish my covenant with you, aand you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 that you may remember and be confounded, and bnever open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.”
Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine
17 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 c“Son of man, dpropound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel; 3 say, Thus says the Lord God: eA great eagle fwith great wings and long pinions, frich in plumage of many colors, came gto Lebanon hand took the top of the cedar. 4 He broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants. 5 Then he took of the seed of the land iand planted it in fertile soil.1 He placed it beside abundant waters. jHe set it like a willow twig, 6 and it sprouted and became a klow lspreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs.
7 m“And there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage, mand behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from nthe bed where it was planted, that he might water it. 8 iIt had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.
9 “Say, Thus says the Lord God: mWill it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots. 10 Behold, it is planted; will it thrive? oWill it not utterly wither when the east wind strikes it—wither away on the bed where it sprouted?”
11 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Say now to pthe rebellious house, qDo you not know what these things mean? Tell them, behold, rthe king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took her king and her princes and brought them to him to Babylon. 13 sAnd he took one of the royal offspring2 tand made a covenant with him, uputting him under oath (vthe chief men of the land he had taken away), 14 that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and keep his covenant that it might stand. 15 wBut he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors xto Egypt, that they might give him horses and a large army. yWill he thrive? Can one escape who does such things? Can he zbreak the covenant and yet escape?
16 a“As I live, declares the Lord God, surely bin the place where the king dwells cwho made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant with him he broke, in Babylon he shall die. 17 dPharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, ewhen mounds are cast up and siege walls built to cut off many lives. 18 He despised the oath in breaking the covenant, and behold, he gave his hand and did all these things; he shall not escape. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely it is my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. I will return it upon his head. 20 fI will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon gand enter into judgment with him there hfor the treachery he has committed against me. 21 And all the pick3 of his troops shall fall by the sword, iand the survivors shall be scattered to every wind, and you shall know that jI am the Lord; I have spoken.”
22 Thus says the Lord God: k“I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. lI will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and mI myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 nOn the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. oAnd under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; pI bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up qthe green tree, and make qthe dry tree flourish. rI am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”
The Soul Who Sins Shall Die
18 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “What do you1 mean sby repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, t‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3 uAs I live, declares the Lord God, vthis proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: wthe soul who sins shall die.
5 “If a man is righteous and does xwhat is just and right— 6 if he ydoes not eat upon the mountains or zlift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, adoes not defile his neighbor’s wife bor approach ca woman in her time of menstrual impurity, 7 ddoes not oppress anyone, but erestores to the debtor his pledge, fcommits no robbery, ggives his bread to the hungry gand covers the naked with a garment, 8 hdoes not lend at interest hor take any profit,2 withholds his hand from injustice, iexecutes true justice between man and man, 9 jwalks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; khe shall surely live, declares the Lord God.
10 “If he fathers a son who is violent, la shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11 (though he himself did none of these things), mwho even eats upon the mountains, ndefiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, ocommits robbery, odoes not restore the pledge, plifts up his eyes to the idols, qcommits abomination, 13 rlends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; shis blood shall be upon himself.
14 “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: 15 he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not oppress anyone, texacts no pledge, ucommits no robbery, vbut gives his bread to the hungry vand covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity,3 takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, wand walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; xhe shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, ybehold, he shall die for his iniquity.
19 “Yet you say, z‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done awhat is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, bhe shall surely live. 20 cThe soul who sins shall die. dThe son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. eThe righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, fand the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
21 g“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does hwhat is just and right, ihe shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 jNone of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23 kHave I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24 lBut when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? mNone of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for nthe treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.
25 o“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 lWhen a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27 Again, pwhen a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?
30 “Therefore qI will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. rRepent and turn from all your transgressions, slest iniquity be your ruin.4 31 tCast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and umake yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! vWhy will you die, O house of Israel? 32 wFor I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; rso turn, and live.”
A Lament for the Princes of Israel
19 And you, xtake up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, 2 and say:
What was your mother? yA lioness!
Among lions she crouched;
in the midst of young lions
she reared her cubs.
3 And she brought up one of her cubs;
zhe became a young lion,
aand he learned to catch prey;
he devoured men.
4 The nations heard about him;
bhe was caught in their pit,
cand they brought him with hooks
to the land of Egypt.
5 When she saw that she waited in vain,
that her hope was lost,
dshe took another of her cubs
and made him a young lion.
6 He prowled among the lions;
he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
he devoured men,
7 and seized1 their widows.
He laid waste their cities,
and the land was appalled and all who were in it
at the sound of his roaring.
8 eThen the nations set against him
from provinces on every side;
fthey spread their net over him;
bhe was taken in their pit.
9 With hooks ethey put him in a cage2
and gbrought him to the king of Babylon;
they brought him into custody,
that his voice should no more be heard
on hthe mountains of Israel.
10 Your mother was ilike a vine in a vineyard3
planted by the water,
jfruitful and full of branches
kby reason of abundant water.
11 Its strong stems became
it towered aloft
among the thick boughs;4
it was seen in its height
with the mass of its branches.
12 But the vine was plucked up in fury,
cast down to the ground;
lthe east wind dried up its fruit;
they were stripped off and withered.
As for its strong stem,
fire consumed it.
13 mNow it is planted in the wilderness,
in a dry and thirsty land.
14 nAnd fire has gone out from the stem of its shoots,
has consumed its fruit,
oso that there remains in it no strong stem,
no scepter for ruling.
This is pa lamentation and has become a lamentation.