Babylon, the Sword
1So the word of the Lord came to me again. He said, 2“Son of man,#21:2 Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel. Also in verses 6, 9, 12, 14, 19, 28. look toward Jerusalem and speak against their holy places. Speak against the land of Israel for me. 3Say to the land of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord said: I am against you! I will pull my sword from its sheath. I will remove all people from you—the good and the evil. 4I will cut off both good people and evil people from you. I will pull my sword from its sheath and use it against all people from south to north. 5Then everyone will know that I am the Lord. They will know that I have pulled my sword from its sheath. My sword will not go back into its sheath again until it is finished.’
6“Son of man, make sad sounds like a sad person with a broken heart. Make these sad sounds in front of the people. 7Then they will ask you, ‘Why are you making these sad sounds?’ Then you must say, ‘Because of the sad news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear. All hands will become weak. Every spirit will become weak. All knees will be like water.’ Look, that bad news is coming. These things will happen!” This is what the Lord GOD said.
The Sword Is Ready
8The word of the Lord came to me. He said, 9“Son of man, speak to the people for me. Say this, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘Look, a sword, a sharp sword,
and it has been polished.
10The sword was made sharp for killing.
It was polished to flash like lightning.
My son, you ran away from the stick I used to punish you.
You refused to be punished with that wooden stick.
11So the sword has been polished.
Now it can be used.
The sword was sharpened and polished.
Now it can be put in the hand of the killer.
12“‘Son of man, shout out and scream because the sword will be used against my people and all the rulers of Israel. They wanted war—so they will be with my people when the sword comes. So slap your thigh to show your sadness, 13because it is not just a test. You refused to be punished with the wooden stick, so what else should I use to punish you? A sword?’” This is what the Lord GOD said.
14“Son of man, clap your hands to show your sadness,
and speak to the people for me.
Let the sword come down twice, no, three times!
This sword is for killing the people.
This is the sword for the great killing.
This sword will cut into them.
15Their hearts will melt with fear,
and many people will fall.
The sword will kill many people by the city gates.
Yes, the sword will flash like lightning.
It was polished to kill the people!
16Sword, be sharp!
Cut on the right side.
Cut straight ahead.
Cut on the left side.
Go wherever your edge was chosen to go.
17“Then I, too, will clap my hands
and stop showing my anger.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
18The word of the Lord came to me. He said, 19“Son of man, draw two roads that the sword of the king of Babylon can use to come to Israel. Both roads will come from the same country. Then draw a sign at the head of the road to the city. 20Use the sign to show which road the sword will use. One road leads to the Ammonite city of Rabbah. The other road leads to Judah, to the protected city, Jerusalem. 21The king of Babylon has come to where the two roads separate. He uses magic to learn which way to go: He shakes his arrows, he asks his family idols, and he looks at the liver#21:21 arrows, idols, liver People who believed in false gods used these things to try to learn the future. from an animal he has killed.
22“The signs tell him to take the road on his right, the road leading to Jerusalem, where he will use battering rams.#21:22 battering rams Heavy logs that soldiers used to break holes into the gates or walls around a city. The signs tell him to give the command for his soldiers to begin the killing. They will shout the battle cry and set the battering rams against the gates. They will build a wall of dirt around the city and a dirt road leading up to the walls. They will build wooden towers to attack the city. 23But the people in Jerusalem will think this is all a big mistake. They will not believe that this could happen, because they had made a peace agreement with Babylon’s king. But the king will remind them that they are guilty of breaking that agreement, and he will take them captive.”
24This is what the Lord GOD says: “You have done many evil things. Your sins are very clear. You forced me to remember that you are guilty, so the enemy will catch you in his hand. 25And you, evil leader of Israel, you will be killed. Your time of punishment has come! The end is here!”
26This is what the Lord GOD says: “Take off the turban! Take off the crown! The time has come to change. The important leaders will be brought low, and those who are not important now will become important leaders. 27I will completely destroy that city! But this will not happen until the right man becomes the new king. Then I will let him have this city.”
The Ammonites Punished
28“Son of man, speak to the people for me. Say this, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says to the people of Ammon and their shameful god:
“‘Look, a sword!
The sword is out of its sheath.
It has been polished.
The sword is ready to kill.
It was polished to flash like lightning!
29“‘Your visions are useless.
Your magic will not help you.
It is only a bunch of lies.
The sword is now at the throats of evil men.
They will soon be only dead bodies.
Their time has come.
The time has come for their evil to end.
Prophecy Against Babylon
30“‘Put the sword back in its sheath. Babylon, I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land where you were born. 31I will pour out my anger against you. My anger will burn you like a hot wind. I will hand you over to cruel men.#21:31 cruel men This is a wordplay. The Hebrew word is like the word meaning “to burn.” Those men are skilled at killing people. 32You will be like fuel for the fire. Your blood will flow deep into the earth—people will never remember you again. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”