1On the first day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of our exile, the LORD spoke to me. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “give a solemn warning to the king of Egypt. Give him this message from me: you act like a lion among the nations, but you are more like a crocodile splashing through a river. You muddy the water with your feet and pollute the rivers. 3When many nations gather, I will catch you in my net and let them drag the net ashore. 4I will throw you out on the ground and bring all the birds and animals of the world to feed on you. 5I will cover mountains and valleys with your rotting corpse. 6I will pour out your blood until it spreads over the mountains and fills the streams. 7When I destroy you, I will cover the sky and blot out the stars. The sun will hide behind the clouds, and the moon will give no light. 8I will put out all the lights of heaven and plunge your world into darkness. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.
9“Many nations will be troubled when I spread the news of your destruction through countries you never heard of. 10What I do to you will shock many nations. When I swing my sword, kings will shudder with fright. On the day you fall, all of them will tremble in fear for their own lives.”
11The Sovereign LORD says to the king of Egypt, “You will face the sword of the king of Babylonia. 12I will let soldiers from cruel nations draw their swords and kill all your people. All your people and everything else that you are proud of will be destroyed. 13I will slaughter your cattle at every water hole. There will be no people or cattle to muddy the water any more. 14I will let your waters settle and become clear and let your rivers run calm. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken. 15When I make Egypt a desolate waste and destroy all who live there, they will know that I am the LORD. 16This solemn warning will become a funeral song. The women of the nations will sing it to mourn for Egypt and all its people. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.”
The World of the Dead
17On the fifteenth day of the first month of the twelfth year of our exile, the LORD spoke to me. 18“Mortal man,” he said, “mourn for all the many people of Egypt. Send them down with the other powerful nations to the world of the dead. 19Say to them:
“Do you think you are more beautiful than anyone else?
You will go down to the world of the dead
and lie there among the ungodly.
20“The people of Egypt will fall with those who are killed in battle. A sword is ready to kill them all.21The greatest heroes and those who fought on the Egyptian side welcome the Egyptians to the world of the dead. They shout: ‘The ungodly who were killed in battle have come down here, and here they lie!’
22“Assyria is there, with the graves of her soldiers all around. They were all killed in battle, 23and their graves are in the deepest parts of the world of the dead. All her soldiers fell in battle, and their graves surround her tomb. Yet once they terrified the land of the living.
24“Elam is there, with the graves of her soldiers all around. They were all killed in battle, and they went down, uncircumcised, to the world of the dead. In life they spread terror, but now they lie dead and disgraced. 25Elam lies down among those killed in battle, and the graves of her soldiers are all around her. They are all uncircumcised, all killed in battle. In life they spread terror, but now they lie dead and disgraced, sharing the fate of those killed in battle.
26“Meshech and Tubal are there, with the graves of their soldiers all around. They are all uncircumcised, all killed in battle. Yet once they terrified the living. 27They were not given honourable burial like the heroes of ancient times, who went fully armed to the world of the dead, their swords placed under their heads and their shields over their bodies. These heroes were once powerful enough to terrify the living.
28“That is how the Egyptians will lie crushed among the uncircumcised who were killed in battle.
29“Edom is there with her kings and rulers. They were powerful soldiers, but now they lie in the world of the dead with the uncircumcised who were killed in battle.
30“All the princes of the north are there, and so are the Sidonians. Their power once spread terror, but now they go down in disgrace with those killed in battle and are laid to rest, uncircumcised. They share the disgrace of those who go down to the world of the dead.
31“The sight of all these who were killed in battle will be a comfort to the king of Egypt and his army,” says the Sovereign LORD.
32“I made the king of Egypt terrorize the living, but he and all his army will be killed and laid to rest with all the uncircumcised who die in battle.” The Sovereign LORD has spoken.
1The LORD spoke to me. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “tell your people what happens when I bring war to a land. The people of that country choose one of their number to be a watchman. 3When he sees the enemy approaching, he sounds the alarm to warn everyone. 4If someone hears it but pays no attention and the enemy comes and kills him, then he is to blame for his own death. 5His death is his own fault, because he paid no attention to the warning. If he had paid attention, he could have escaped. 6If, however, the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their death.
7“Now, mortal man, I am making you a watchman for the nation of Israel. You must pass on to them the warnings I give you. 8If I announce that an evil person is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, then he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for his death. 9If you do warn an evil person and he doesn't stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared.”
10The LORD spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “repeat to the Israelites what they are saying: ‘We are burdened with our sins and the wrongs we have done. We are wasting away. How can we live?’ 11Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign LORD, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die?
12“Now, mortal man, tell the Israelites that when someone good sins, the good he has done will not save him. If an evil person stops doing evil, he won't be punished, and if a good person starts sinning, his life will not be spared. 13I may promise life to someone good, but if he starts thinking that his past goodness is enough and begins to sin, I will not remember any of the good he did. He will die because of his sins. 14I may warn someone evil that he is going to die, but if he stops sinning and does what is right and good — 15for example, if he returns the security he took for a loan or gives back what he stole — if he stops sinning and follows the laws that give life, he will not die, but live. 16I will forgive the sins he has committed, and he will live because he has done what is right and good.
17“And your people say that what I do isn't right! No, it's their way that isn't right. 18When someone righteous stops doing good and starts doing evil, he will die for it. 19When someone evil gives up sinning and does what is right and good, he has saved his life. 20But Israel, you say that what I do isn't right. I am going to judge you by what you do.”
The News of Jerusalem's Fall
21On the fifth day of the tenth month of the twelfth year of our exile, someone who had escaped from Jerusalem came and told me that the city had fallen. 22The evening before he came, I had felt the powerful presence of the LORD. When the man arrived the next morning, the LORD gave me back the power of speech.
The Sins of the People
23The LORD spoke to me. 24“Mortal man,” he said, “the people who are living in the ruined cities of the land of Israel are saying: ‘Abraham was only one man, and he was given the whole land. There are many of us, so now the land is ours.’
25“Tell them what I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying: You eat meat with the blood still in it. You worship idols. You commit murder. What makes you think that the land belongs to you? 26You rely on your swords. Your actions are disgusting. Everyone commits adultery. What makes you think that the land is yours?
27“Tell them that I, the Sovereign LORD, warn them that as surely as I am the living God, the people who live in the ruined cities will be killed. Those living in the country will be eaten by wild animals. Those hiding in the mountains and in caves will die of disease. 28I will make the country a desolate waste, and the power they were so proud of will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so wild that no one will be able to travel through them. 29When I punish the people for their sins and make the country a waste, then they will know that I am the LORD.”
The Results of the Prophet's Message
30The LORD said, “Mortal man, your people are talking about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say to one another, ‘Let's go and hear what word has come from the LORD now.’ 31So my people crowd in to hear what you have to say, but they don't do what you tell them to do. Loving words are on their lips, but they continue their greedy ways. 32To them you are nothing more than an entertainer singing love songs or playing a harp. They listen to all your words and don't obey a single one of them. 33But when all your words come true — and they will come true — then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”