The Sword of Judgment
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, turn toward Jerusalem and speak out against the sanctuaries. Prophesy against the land of Israel 3 and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look, I am against you. I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked, my sword will go out from its sheath against everyone from the south to the north. 5 Then everyone will know that I am the Lord, who drew my sword from its sheath – it will not be sheathed again!’
6 “And you, son of man, groan with an aching heart and bitterness; groan before their eyes. 7 When they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you will reply, ‘Because of the report that has come. Every heart will melt with fear and every hand will be limp; everyone will faint and every knee will be wet with urine.’ Pay attention – it is coming and it will happen, declares the sovereign Lord.”
8 The word of the Lord came to me: 9 “Son of man, prophesy and say: ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘A sword, a sword is sharpened,
and also polished.
10 It is sharpened for slaughter,
it is polished to flash like lightning!
“‘Should we rejoice in the sceptre of my son? No! The sword despises every tree!
11 “‘He gave it to be polished,
to be grasped in the hand –
the sword is sharpened, it is polished –
giving it into the hand of the executioner.
12 Cry out and moan, son of man,
for it is wielded against my people;
against all the princes of Israel.
They are delivered up to the sword, along with my people.
Therefore, strike your thigh.
13 “‘For testing will come, and what will happen when the sceptre, which the sword despises, is no more? declares the sovereign Lord.’
14 “And you, son of man, prophesy,
and clap your hands together.
Let the sword strike twice, even three times!
It is a sword for slaughter,
a sword for the great slaughter surrounding them.
15 So hearts melt with fear and many stumble.
At all their gates I have stationed the sword for slaughter.
Ah! It is made to flash, it is drawn for slaughter!
16 Cut sharply on the right!
Swing to the left,
wherever your edge is appointed to strike.
17 I too will clap my hands together,
I will exhaust my rage;
I the Lord have spoken.”
18 The word of the Lord came to me: 19 “You, son of man, mark out two routes for the king of Babylon’s sword to take; both of them will originate in a single land. Make a signpost and put it at the beginning of the road leading to the city. 20 Mark out the routes for the sword to take: “Rabbah of the Ammonites” and “Judah with Jerusalem in it.” 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the fork in the road at the head of the two routes. He looks for omens: He shakes arrows, he consults idols, he examines animal livers. 22 Into his right hand comes the portent for Jerusalem – to set up battering rams, to give the signal for slaughter, to shout out the battle cry, to set up battering rams against the gates, to erect a siege ramp, to build a siege wall. 23 But those in Jerusalem will view it as a false omen. They have sworn solemn oaths, but the king of Babylon will accuse them of violations in order to seize them.
24 “Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you have brought up your own guilt by uncovering your transgressions and revealing your sins through all your actions, for this reason you will be taken by force.
25 “‘As for you, profane and wicked prince of Israel,
whose day has come, the time of final punishment,
26 this is what the sovereign Lord says:
Tear off the turban,
take off the crown!
Things must change!
Exalt the lowly,
bring down the proud!
27 A total ruin I will make it!
It will come to an end
when the one arrives to whom I have assigned judgment.’
28 “As for you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says concerning the Ammonites and their coming humiliation; say:
“‘A sword, a sword drawn for slaughter,
polished to consume, to flash like lightning –
29 while seeing false visions for you
and reading lying omens for you –
to place that sword on the necks of the profane wicked,
whose day has come,
the time of final punishment.
30 Return it to its sheath!
In the place where you were created,
in your native land, I will judge you.
31 I will pour out my anger on you;
the fire of my fury I will blow on you.
I will hand you over to brutal men,
who are skilled in destruction.
32 You will become fuel for the fire –
your blood will stain the middle of the land;
you will no longer be remembered,
for I, the Lord, have spoken.’”