1 IN THE seventh year, in the fifth [month], on the tenth [day] of the month [after the beginning of the Babylonian captivity, which was to last seventy years], certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord and sat down before me [Ezekiel, in Babylonia]. [Jer. 25:11; 29:10.]
2 Then came the word of the Lord to me, saying,
3 Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you!
4 Will you judge them, son of man [Ezekiel], will you judge them? Then cause them to know, understand, and realize the abominations of their fathers. [Matt. 23:29-33; Acts 7:51, 52.]
5 And say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In the day when I chose Israel and lifted up My hand and swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up My hand and swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God,
6 On that day I lifted up My hand and swore to them to bring them out of the land of Egypt to a land that I had searched out for them, flowing with milk and honey, [a land] which is an ornament and a glory to all lands.
7 Then said I to them, Let every man cast away the abominable things on which he feasts his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
8 But they rebelled against Me and would not listen to Me; they did not every man cast away the abominable things on which they feasted their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I [thought], I will pour out My wrath upon them and finish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
9 But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the [heathen] nations among whom they dwelt, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.
10 So I caused them to go out from the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.
11 And I gave them My statutes and showed and made known to them My judgments, which, if a man keeps, he must live in and by them.
12 Moreover, also I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might understand and realize that I am the Lord Who sanctifies them [separates and sets them apart].
13 But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they walked not in My statutes and they despised and cast away My judgments, which, if a man keeps, he must even live in and by them; and they grievously profaned My Sabbaths. Then I thought I would pour out My wrath on them in the wilderness and uproot and consume them.
14 But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the [heathen] nations in whose sight I brought them out.
15 Yet also I lifted up My hand to swear to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the ornament and glory of all lands–
16 Because they despised and rejected My ordinances and walked not in My statutes and profaned My Sabbaths, for their hearts went after their idols.
17 Yet My eye pitied them instead of destroying them, and I did not make a full end of them in the wilderness.
18 But I said to their sons in the wilderness, You shall not walk in the statutes of your fathers nor observe their ordinances nor defile yourselves with their idols.
19 I the Lord am your God; walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances,
20 And hallow (separate and keep holy) My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord your God.
21 Yet the sons rebelled against Me; they walked not in My statutes, neither kept My ordinances which, if a man does, he must live in and by them; they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I thought I would pour out My wrath on them and finish My anger against them in the wilderness.
22 Yet I withheld My hand and acted for My name's sake, that it should not be debased and profaned in the sight of the [heathen] nations, in whose sight I had brought them forth [from bondage].
23 Moreover, I lifted up My hand and swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the [heathen] nations and disperse them in the countries,
24 Because they had not executed My ordinances but had despised and rejected My statutes and had profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers' idols.
25 Wherefore also I gave them [over to] statutes that were not good and ordinances whereby they should not live and could not have life, [Ps. 81:12; Isa. 66:4; Rom. 1:21-25, 28.]
26 And I [let them] pollute and make themselves unclean in their own offerings [to their idols], in that they caused to pass through the fire all the firstborn, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord. [Lev. 20:2-5.]
27 Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Again in this your fathers blasphemed Me, in that they dealt faithlessly and treacherously with Me and committed a treasonous trespass against Me.
28 For when I had brought them into the land which I lifted up My hand and swore to give to them, then they saw every high hill and every dark and leafy tree [as a place for idol worship], and they offered there their sacrifices and there they presented their offering that provoked My anger and sadness; there also they made their sweet-smelling savor and poured out there their drink offerings.
29 Then I said to them, What is the high place to which you go? And the name of it is called Bamah [high place] to this day.
30 Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Do you [exiles] debase and defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers? And do you play the harlot after their loathsome and detestable things?
31 And when you offer your gifts, when you make your sons pass through the fire, do you not debase and defile yourselves with all your idols to this day? And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you!
32 And that which has come up in your mind shall never happen, in that you think, We will be as the nations, as the tribes of the countries, to serve idols of wood and stone.
33 As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out will I be King over you.
34 And I will bring you out from the peoples and will gather you out of the countries in which you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out.
35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I enter into judgment with you and contend with you face to face.
36 As I entered into judgment and contended with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment and contend with you, says the Lord God. [Num. 11; Ps. 106:15; I Cor. 10:5-10.]
37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod [as the shepherd does his sheep when he counts them, and I will count you as Mine and I will constrain you] and bring you into the covenant to which you are permanently bound. [Lev. 27:32.]
38 And I will purge out and separate from among you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they temporarily dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord. [Heb. 4:2, 3.]
39 As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: Go, serve every one of you his idols, now and hereafter, if you will not listen to Me! But you shall not profane My holy name any more with your sacrificial gifts and your idols!
40 For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel, says the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me. There will I [graciously] accept them, and there will I require your offerings and the firstfruits and the choicest of your contributions, with all your sacred things.
41 I will accept you [graciously] as a pleasant odor when I lead you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries in which you have been scattered, and I will manifest My holiness among you in the sight of the nations [who will seek Me because of My power displayed in you]. [Eph. 5:2; Phil. 4:18.]
42 And you shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country which I lifted up My hand and swore to give to your fathers.
43 And there you shall [earnestly] remember your ways and all your doings with which you have defiled yourselves, and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evil deeds which you have done.
44 And you shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for My name's sake, not according to your evil ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel, says the Lord God.
45 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land of the South (the Negeb),
47 And say to the forest of the South (the Negeb), Hear the word of the Lord; Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will kindle a fire in you and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it.
48 All flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.
49 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! They are saying of me, Does he not speak in parables and make allegories?