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.
Israel’s Continuing Rebellion
20 qIn the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain of rthe elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, sand sat before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me: 3 t“Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God, Is it to inquire of me that you come? uAs I live, declares the Lord God, vI will not be inquired of by you. 4 wWill you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? xLet them know the abominations of their fathers, 5 and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: yOn the day when I chose Israel, zI swore1 to the offspring of the house of Jacob, amaking myself known to them in the land of Egypt; zI swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. 6 On that day I swore to them that bI would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land bflowing with milk and honey, cthe most glorious of all lands. 7 And I said to them, d‘Cast away the detestable things eyour eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with fthe idols of Egypt; gI am the Lord your God.’ 8 hBut they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. iNone of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.
“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them jand spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. 9 kBut I acted lfor the sake of my name, mthat it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, nin whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. 10 oSo I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 pI gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, qby which, if a person does them, he shall live. 12 Moreover, I gave them rmy Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, sthat they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. 13 tBut the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. uThey did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; vand my Sabbaths they greatly profaned.
t“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, win whose sight I had brought them out. 15 Moreover, xI swore to them in the wilderness ythat I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, a land zflowing with milk and honey, zthe most glorious of all lands, 16 because they rejected my rules and did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths; afor their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless, bmy eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or cmake a full end of them in the wilderness.
18 “And I said to dtheir children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk ein the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, fnor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 gI am the Lord your God; hwalk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, 20 and ikeep my Sabbaths holy that jthey may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’ 21 kBut the children lrebelled against me. mThey did not walk in my statutes and were not careful to obey my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; they profaned my Sabbaths.
n“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 oBut I withheld my hand pand acted for the sake of my name, qthat it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 rMoreover, sI swore to them in the wilderness tthat I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, uand their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. 25 vMoreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, 26 and I defiled them through wtheir very gifts win their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it xthat they might know that I am the Lord.
27 “Therefore, yson of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In this also your fathers blasphemed me, by zdealing treacherously with me. 28 For when I had brought them into the land that aI swore to give them, then wherever they saw bany high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and there they presented cthe provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing aromas, and there they poured out their drink offerings. 29 (I said to them, d‘What is the high place to which you go?’ So its name is called Bamah2 to this day.)
30 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: eWill you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and go fwhoring after their detestable things? 31 When you present your gifts and goffer up your children in fire,3 you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And hshall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? iAs I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you.
32 j“What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, k‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, land worship wood and stone.’
The Lord Will Restore Israel
33 i“As I live, declares the Lord God, msurely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and nwith wrath poured out I will be king over you. 34 oI will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. 35 pAnd I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, qand there I will enter into judgment with you rface to face. 36 sAs I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God. 37 I will make you tpass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 uI will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. vI will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, wbut they shall not enter the land of Israel. xThen you will know that I am the Lord.
39 “As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: yGo serve every one of you his idols, now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; zbut my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.
40 a“For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord God, there ball the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. cThere I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred offerings. 41 As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when dI bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And eI will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations. 42 fAnd you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that gI swore to give to your fathers. 43 hAnd there you shall remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves, hand you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed. 44 And you shall know that I am the Lord, iwhen I deal with you for my name’s sake, jnot according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”
45 4 And the word of the Lord came to me: 46 k“Son of man, lset your face toward the southland;5 mpreach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land in the Negeb. 47 Say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, nI will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every ogreen tree in you and every odry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and pall faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. 48 qAll flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” 49 Then I said, r“Ah, Lord God! They are saying of me, s‘Is he not a maker of parables?’”
The Lord Has Drawn His Sword
21 1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 t“Son of man, uset your face toward Jerusalem and vpreach against the sanctuaries.2 Prophesy against the land of Israel 3 and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: wBehold, I am against you and will draw xmy sword from its sheath and ywill cut off from you both righteous and wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. 5 zAnd all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn xmy sword from its sheath; ait shall not be sheathed again.
6 “As for you, son of man, bgroan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, cgroan before their eyes. 7 dAnd when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news ethat it is coming. fEvery heart will melt, and gall hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and gall knees will be weak as water. hBehold, it is ecoming, and it will be fulfilled,’” declares the Lord God.
8 And the word of the Lord came to me: 9 t“Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:
i“A sword, a sword is sharpened
and also polished,
10 jsharpened for slaughter,
jpolished to flash like lightning!
(Or kshall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, lwith everything of wood.)3 11 So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished mto be given into the hand of the slayer. 12 nCry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. oStrike therefore upon your thigh. 13 For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise pthe rod?”4 declares the Lord God.
14 “As for you, qson of man, prophesy. rClap your hands and let the sword come down twice, syes, three times,5 the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15 that their hearts may melt, and many stumble.6 At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; tit is taken up7 for slaughter. 16 Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. 17 I also will rclap my hands, uand I will satisfy my fury; vI the Lord have spoken.”
18 The word of the Lord came to me again: 19 “As for you, son of man, mark two ways for wthe sword of the king of Babylon to come. Both of them shall come from the same land. And make xa signpost; make it xat the head of the way to a city. 20 Mark a way yfor the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified. 21 For the king of Babylon stands zat the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults athe teraphim;8 he looks at the liver. 22 Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, bto set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, cto cast up mounds, to build siege towers. 23 But to them it will seem like a false divination. dThey have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, ethat they may be taken.
24 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, fyou shall be taken in hand. 25 And you, O profane9 gwicked one, prince of Israel, hwhose day has come, ithe time of your final punishment, 26 thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. jExalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. 27 A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. kThis also shall not be, luntil he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him.
28 “And you, mson of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God nconcerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach; say, oA sword, a sword pis drawn for the slaughter. oIt is polished to consume and to flash like lightning— 29 while qthey see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, rwhose day has come, the time of their final punishment. 30 pReturn it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, sI will judge you. 31 And tI will pour out my indignation upon you; uI will blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver you into the hands of vbrutish men, skillful to destroy. 32 You shall be fuel for the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. wYou shall be no more remembered, xfor I the Lord have spoken.”
Israel’s Shedding of Blood
22 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “And you, yson of man, zwill you judge, will you judge athe bloody city? bThen declare to her all her abominations. 3 You shall say, Thus says the Lord God: A city that sheds blood in her midst, so that cher time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! 4 You have become guilty aby the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought cyour days near, the appointed time of1 your years has come. dTherefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. 5 Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; eyour name is defiled; fyou are full of tumult.
6 “Behold, gthe princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. 7 Father and mother hare treated with contempt in you; the sojourner isuffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow iare wronged in you. 8 jYou have despised my holy things and kprofaned my Sabbaths. 9 lThere are men in you who slander to shed blood, and people in you mwho eat on the mountains; nthey commit lewdness in your midst. 10 In you omen uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are unclean in their menstrual impurity. 11 pOne commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; qanother lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; ranother in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 In you sthey take bribes to shed blood; tyou take interest and profit2 and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but ume you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.
13 “Behold, vI strike my hand at wthe dishonest gain that you have made, and at xthe blood that has been in your midst. 14 yCan your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? zI the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. 15 aI will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and bI will consume your uncleanness out of you. 16 And cyou shall be profaned by your own doing din the sight of the nations, eand you shall know that I am the Lord.”
17 And the word of the Lord came to me: 18 f“Son of man, the house of Israel has become gdross to me; all of them are hbronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are idross of silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, jto blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you kin my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21 I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord; lI have poured out my wrath upon you.”
23 And the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is mnot cleansed nor rained upon in the day of indignation. 25 oThe conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is plike a roaring lion qtearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 rHer priests shave done violence to my law and thave profaned my holy things. uThey have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and vthey have disregarded my Sabbaths, wso that I am profaned among them. 27 xHer princes in her midst are like wolves ytearing the prey, zshedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28 And aher prophets have smeared whitewash for them, bseeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord has not spoken. 29 The people of the land chave practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and chave extorted from the sojourner without justice. 30 dAnd I sought for a man among them ewho should build up the wall eand stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. 31 Therefore fI have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned gtheir way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.”