1 AND THE word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak to your people [the Israelite captives in Babylon] and say to them, When I bring the sword upon a land and the people of the land take a man from among them and make him their watchman,
3 If when he sees the sword coming upon the land, he blows the trumpet and warns the people,
4 Then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning shall save his life.
6 But 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 one of them, he is taken away in and for his perversity and iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
7 So you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning from Me.
8 When 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 perversity and iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand.
9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his evil way and he does not turn from his evil way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
10 And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: Truly our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?
11 Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
12 And you, son of man, say to your people, The uprightness and justice of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; and as for the wicked lawlessness of the wicked lawless, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness, neither shall the rigidly upright and just be able to live because of his past righteousness in the day that he sins and misses the mark [in keeping in harmony and right standing with God].
13 When I shall say to the [uncompromisingly] righteous that he shall surely live, and he trusts to his own righteousness [to save him] and commits iniquity (heinous sin), all his righteous deeds shall not be [seriously] remembered; but for his perversity and iniquity that he has committed he shall die.
14 Again, when I have said to the wicked, You shall surely die, if he turns from his sin and does that which is lawful and right–
15 If the wicked restores [what he took in] pledge, gives back what he had taken in robbery, walks in the statutes of life [right relationship with God], without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
16 None of his sins that he has committed shall be [seriously] remembered against him; he has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
17 Yet your people say, The way of the Lord is not perfect or even just; but as for them, it is their own way that is not perfect or even just.
18 When the righteous turns back from his [uncompromising] righteousness and commits perverseness and iniquity, he shall even die in and because of it.
19 But if the wicked turns back from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it.
20 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not perfect or [even] just. O you house of Israel, I will judge you, every one according to his own ways!
21 In the twelfth year of our captivity [in Babylon], in the tenth [month], on the fifth [day] of the month, a man who had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me [Ezekiel], saying, The city [Jerusalem] is taken.
22 Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me in the evening before this one who had escaped came, and He had opened my mouth [in readiness for the fugitives] coming to me in the morning, and my mouth was opened and I was no longer dumb.
23 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
24 Son of man, those [back in Palestine] who inhabit those wastes of the ground of Israel are saying, Abraham was only one man and he inherited the land, but we are many; the land is surely given to us to possess as our inheritance.
25 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: You eat meat with the blood [as an idolatrous rite] and lift up your eyes to your [filthy] idols and shed blood; shall you then possess the land? [Gen. 9:4; Lev. 3:17; 7:27; Acts 15:28, 29.]
26 You stand upon your sword [as your dependence]; you commit abominations and each of you defiles your neighbor's wife; shall you then possess the land?
27 Say this to them, Thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence.
28 And I will make the land [of Israel] a desolation and a waste, and her proud might shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through them.
29 Then shall they know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations which they have committed.
30 As for you, son of man, your people who talk of you by the walls and in the doors of the houses say one to another, every one to his brother, Come and hear what the word is that comes forth from the Lord.
31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as My people, and they hear the words you say, but they will not do them; for with their mouths they show much love, but their hearts go after and are set on their [idolatrous greed for] gain.
32 Behold, you are to them as a very lovely [love] song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument, for they hear your words but do not do them.
33 When this comes to pass–for behold, it will come!–then shall they know, understand, and realize that a prophet has been among them.