The Slaughter of Idolaters
1Then the Lord thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!” 2Six men soon appeared from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man dressed in linen, who carried a writer’s case at his side. They all went into the Temple courtyard and stood beside the bronze altar.
3Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the Lord called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. 4He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”
5Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! 6Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders.
7“Defile the Temple!” the Lord commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city.
8While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign Lord! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?”
9Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see it! The Lord has abandoned the land!’ 10So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.”
11Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”