Ezekiel Plays Out Israel’s Exile
1 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 2 “Son of man, you are living among rebellious people. They have eyes, but they can’t see. They have ears, but they can’t hear because they are rebellious people.
3 “Son of man, pack your bags as if you were going into exile. Let the people see you leave in the daylight. March like a captive from your place to another place as they watch. Maybe they will understand, even though they are rebellious people. 4 Let them see you in the daylight. Bring out your bags as if you were going into exile. In the evening let them see you leave like a captive going into exile. 5 Dig a hole through the wall of your house, and leave through it. 6 Let them see you put your bags on your shoulders and carry them out in the dark. Cover your face so that you won’t see the land. I’ve made you a sign to warn the nation of Israel.”
7 I did what I was ordered to do. During the day I brought out bags as if I were going into exile. In the evening I dug a hole through the wall. I brought out my bags in the dark. I let the people see me as I carried my bags on my shoulders.
8 The next morning the Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 9 “Son of man, didn’t the rebellious nation of Israel ask you what you were doing?
10 “Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: This is the divine revelation about the prince from Jerusalem and about all the people of Israel who live there.’
11 “Tell them, ‘I am your warning sign. What I have done will happen to you. You will go into exile and into captivity. 12 The prince who is among you will put his bags on his shoulders in the dark and leave. People will dig holes in the wall to go through. The prince will cover his face so that he cannot see the land. 13 I will spread my net over him, and he will be caught in my net. I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Babylonians, but he will not see it. And that’s where he’ll die. 14 I will scatter in every direction all those who are around him—his staff and all his troops. I will pursue them with my sword. 15 Then they will know that I am the Lord, because I will scatter them among the nations and force them into other countries. 16 However, I will spare a few of them from wars, famines, and plagues. Wherever they go among the nations, they will realize that everything they did was disgusting. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’ ”
17 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 18 “Son of man, shake as you eat your food. Tremble and be worried as you drink your water.
19 “Tell the people of this land, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says about the people who live in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will be worried as they eat their food and terrified as they drink their water. Their country will be stripped of everything because everyone who lives there is violent. 20 The cities where people live will be destroyed, and the country will become a wasteland. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’ ”
21 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in Israel: ‘Days go by, and every vision comes to nothing’?
23 “Tell the people, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I will put a stop to the use of this proverb. You will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Instead, tell them, ‘The time is near when every vision will come true. 24 There will no longer be any false visions or flattering fortunetelling to the people. 25 I, the Lord, will speak. Everything that I say will happen without any more delay. I will say something, and it will happen during your lifetime, you rebellious people, declares the Almighty Lord.’ ”
26 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 27 “Son of man, the people of Israel are saying, ‘The vision that Ezekiel sees won’t happen for a long time. What he prophecies will happen in the distant future.’
28 “Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Everything that I say will no longer be delayed. Whatever I say will happen, declares the Almighty Lord.’ ”