The Watchman’s Duty
1And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2“Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, 3and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, 4then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. 5He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. 6But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
7“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.
10“Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have spoken, saying, “Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?” ’ 11Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’ 12And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, ‘The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’ 13When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die. 14But when I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness, 15if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced justice and righteousness; he shall surely live.
17“Yet your fellow citizens say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right,’ when it is their own way that is not right. 18When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he shall die in it. 19But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will live by them. 20Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”
Word of Jerusalem’s Capture
21Now in the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth of the tenth month, the refugees from Jerusalem came to me, saying, “The city has been taken.” 22Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me in the evening, before the refugees came. And He opened my mouth at the time they came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened and I was no longer speechless.
23Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 24“Son of man, they who live in these waste places in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, yet he possessed the land; so to us who are many the land has been given as a possession.’ 25Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You eat meat with the blood in it, lift up your eyes to your idols as you shed blood. Should you then possess the land? 26You rely on your sword, you commit abominations and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?” ’ 27Thus you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “As I live, surely those who are in the waste places will fall by the sword, and whoever is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and in the caves will die of pestilence. 28I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and the pride of her power will cease; and the mountains of Israel will be desolate so that no one will pass through. 29Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I make the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations which they have committed.” ’
30“But as for you, son of man, your fellow citizens who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses, speak to one another, each to his brother, saying, ‘Come now and hear what the message is which comes forth from the Lord.’ 31They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. 32Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. 33So when it comes to pass—as surely it will—then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst.”