1He said to me, "Son of man, eat what is in front of you. Eat this scroll. Then go and speak to the people of Israel." 2So I opened my mouth. And he gave me the scroll to eat.
3Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you. Fill your stomach with it." So I ate it. And it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
4Then he said to me, "Son of man, go to the people of Israel. Give them my message.
5"I am not sending you to people who speak another language that is hard to learn. Instead, I am sending you to the people of Israel. 6You are not being sent to many nations whose people speak other languages that are hard to learn. You would not be able to understand them. Suppose I had sent you to them. Then they certainly would have listened to you. 7But the people of Israel do not want to listen to you. That is because they do not want to listen to me.
"All of the people of Israel are very stubborn. 8But I will make you just as stubborn as they are. 9I will make you very brave. So do not be afraid of them. Do not let them terrify you, even though they refuse to obey me."
10He continued, "Son of man, listen carefully. Take to heart everything I tell you. 11Go now to your own people who were brought here as prisoners. Speak to them. Tell them, 'Here is what the Lord and King says.' Speak to them whether they listen or not."
12Then the Spirit of the Lord lifted me up. I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me. May the glory of the Lord be praised in the place where he lives! 13The sound was made by the wings of the living creatures. They were brushing against one another. The sound was also made by the wheels beside them. It was a loud rumbling sound.
14Then the Spirit lifted me up and took me away. My spirit was bitter. I was burning with anger. The strong hand of the Lord was on me. 15I came to my people who had been brought as prisoners to Tel Abib. It was near the Kebar River. I went to where they were living. There I sat among them for seven days. I was shocked by everything that had happened.
The Lord Warns Israel
16After seven days, a message came to me from the Lord. 17He said, "Son of man, I have appointed you as a prophet to warn the people of Israel. So listen to my message. Give them a warning from me.
18"Suppose I say to a sinful person, 'You can be sure you will die.' And you do not warn him. You do not try to get him to change his evil ways in order to save his life. Then he will die because he has sinned. And I will hold you accountable for his death.
19"But suppose you do warn that sinful person. And he does not turn away from his sin or his evil ways. Then he will die because he has sinned. But you will have saved yourself.
20"Or suppose a godly person turns away from his godliness and does what is evil. And suppose I put something in his way that will trip him up. Then he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The godly things he did will not be remembered. And I will hold you accountable for his death.
21"But suppose you do warn a godly person not to sin. And he does not sin. Then you can be sure that he will live because he listened to your warning. And you will have saved yourself."
22The strong hand of the Lord was on me. He said, "Get up. Go out to the flatlands. I will speak to you there."
23So I got up and went out to the flatlands. The glory of the Lord was standing there. It was just like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River. So I fell with my face toward the ground.
24Then the Spirit of the Lord came into me. He raised me to my feet. He said to me, "Go, son of man. Shut yourself inside your house. 25Some people will tie you up with ropes. So you will not be able to go out among your people. 26I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth. Then you will be silent. You will not be able to correct them. They always refuse to obey me.
27"But later I will speak to you. I will open your mouth. Then you will tell them, 'Here is what the Lord and King says.' Those who listen will listen. And those who refuse to listen will refuse. They always refuse to obey me.