The Watchman and His Message
1Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2“Son of man, speak to #Ezek. 3:11the children of your people, and say to them: #Ezek. 14:17‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their #2 Sam. 18:24, 25; 2 Kin. 9:17; Hos. 9:8watchman, 3when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does #2 Chr. 25:16; Jer. 6:17; Zech. 1:4not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, #Ezek. 18:13; 35:9; (Acts 18:6)his blood shall be on his own head. 5He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, #Ezek. 33:8he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’
7#Is. 62:6; Ezek. 3:17–21“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
10“Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we #Lev. 26:39; Ezek. 24:23pine away in them, #Is. 49:14; Ezek. 37:11how can we then live?” ’ 11Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, #(2 Sam. 14:14; Lam. 3:33); Ezek. 18:23, 32; Hos. 11:8; (2 Pet. 3:9)‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked #Ezek. 18:21, 30; (Hos. 14:1, 4; Acts 3:19)turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For #(Is. 55:6, 7); Jer. 3:22; Ezek. 18:30, 31; Hos. 14:1; (Acts 3:19)why should you die, O house of Israel?’
The Fairness of God’s Judgment
12“Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The #Ezek. 3:20; 18:24, 26righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, #(2 Chr. 7:14); Ezek. 8:21; 33:19he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ 13When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, #Ezek. 3:20; 18:24but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. 14Again, #(Is. 55:7); Jer. 18:7, 8; Ezek. 3:18, 19; 18:27; Hos. 14:1, 4when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, 15if the wicked #Ezek. 18:7restores the pledge, #Ex. 22:1–4; Lev. 6:2, 4, 5; Num. 5:6, 7; Luke 19:8gives back what he has stolen, and walks in #Lev. 18:5; Ps. 119:59; 143:8; Ezek. 20:11, 13, 21the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16#(Is. 1:18; 43:25); Ezek. 18:22None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
17#Ezek. 18:25, 29“Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! 18#Ezek. 18:26When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. 19But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. 20Yet you say, #Ezek. 18:25, 29‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”
The Fall of Jerusalem
21And it came to pass in the twelfth year #Ezek. 1:2of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, #Ezek. 24:26that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, #2 Kin. 25:4“The city has been captured!”
22Now #Ezek. 1:3; 8:1; 37:1the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He had #Ezek. 24:27opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.
The Cause of Judah’s Ruin
23Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 24“Son of man, #Ezek. 34:2they who inhabit those #Ezek. 36:4ruins in the land of Israel are saying, #Is. 51:2; (Acts 7:5; Rom. 4:12)‘Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. #Mic. 3:11; (Matt. 3:9; John 8:39)But we are many; the land has been given to us as a #Ezek. 11:15possession.’
25“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: #Gen. 9:4; Lev. 3:17; 7:26; 17:10–14; 19:26; Deut. 12:16, 23; 15:23“You eat meat with blood, you #Ezek. 18:6lift up your eyes toward your idols, and #Ezek. 22:6, 9shed blood. Should you then possess the #Deut. 29:28land? 26You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you #Ezek. 18:6; 22:11defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?” ’
27“Say thus to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely #Ezek. 33:24those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field #Ezek. 39:4I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and #Judg. 6:2; 1 Sam. 13:6; Is. 2:19caves shall die of the pestilence. 28#Jer. 44:2, 6, 22; Ezek. 36:34, 35For I will make the land most desolate, her #Ezek. 7:24; 24:21arrogant strength shall cease, and #Ezek. 6:2, 3, 6the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. 29Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.” ’
Hearing and Not Doing
30“As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they #Is. 29:13; Ezek. 14:3; 20:3, 31speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31So #Ezek. 14:1they come to you as people do, they #Ezek. 8:1sit before you as My people, and they #Is. 58:2hear your words, but they do not do them; #Ps. 78:36, 37; Is. 29:13; Jer. 12:2; 1 John 3:18for with their mouth they show much love, but #(Matt. 13:22)their hearts pursue their own gain. 32Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do #(Matt. 7:21–28; James 1:22–25)not do them. 33#1 Sam. 3:20And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then #Ezek. 2:5they will know that a prophet has been among them.”