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Ezekiel

The LORD's will, man's defiance.  Eze.20.1-32

1ON THE TENTH DAY OF THE FIFTH MONTH in the seventh year, some of the elders of Israel came to consult the LORD and were sitting with me. 2Then this word came to me from the LORD: 3Man, say to the elders of Israel, This is the word of the Lord GOD: Do you come to consult me? As I live, I will not be consulted by you. This is the very word of the Lord GOD.

4Will you judge them? Will you judge them, O man? Then tell them of the abominations of their forefathers 5and say to them, These are the words of the Lord GOD: When I chose Israel, with uplifted hand I bound myself by oath to the race of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt; I lifted up my hand and declared: I am the LORD your God. 6On that day I swore with hand uplifted that I would bring them out of Egypt into the land I had sought out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, fairest of all lands. 7I told them, every one, to cast away the loathsome things on which they feasted their eyes and not to' defile themselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God, I said.

8But they rebelled against me, they refused to listen to me, and not one of them cast away the loathsome things on which he feasted his eyes or forsook the idols of Egypt. I had thought to pour out my wrath and exhaust my anger on them in Egypt. 9I acted for the honour of my name, that it might not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom Israel was living: I revealed myself to them by bringing Israel out of Egypt. 10I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. 11There I gave my statutes to them and taught them my laws, so that by keeping them men might have life. 12Further, I gave them my sabbaths as a sign between us, so that they should know that I, the LORD, was hallowing them for myself. 13But the Israelites rebelled against me in the wilderness; they did not conform to my statutes, they rejected my laws, though by keeping them men might have life, and they utterly desecrated my sabbaths. So again I thought to pour out my wrath on them in the wilderness to destroy them. 14I acted for the honour of my name, that it might not be profaned in the sight of the nations who had seen me bring them out.

15Further, I swore to them in the wilderness with uplifted hand that I would not bring them into the land I had given them, that land flowing with milk and honey, fairest of all lands. 16For they had rejected my laws, they would not conform to my statutes and they desecrated my sabbaths, because they loved to follow idols of their own. 17Yet I pitied them too much to destroy them and did not make an end of them in the wilderness. 18I commanded their sons in the wilderness not to conform to their fathers' statutes, nor observe their laws, nor defile themselves with their idols. 19I said, I am the LORD your God, you must conform to my statutes; you must observe my laws and act according to them. 20You must keep my sabbaths holy, and they will become a sign between us; so you will know that I am the LORD your God.

21But the sons too rebelled against me. They did not conform to my statutes or observe my laws, though any who had done so would have had life through them, and they desecrated my sabbaths. Again I thought to pour out my wrath and exhaust my anger on them in the wilderness. 22I acted for the honour of my name, that it might not be profaned in the sight of the nations who had seen me bring them out. 23Yes, and in the wilderness I swore to them with uplifted hand that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them abroad, 24because they had disobeyed my laws, rejected my statutes, desecrated my sabbaths, and turned longing eyes toward the idols of their forefathers. 25I did more; I imposed on them statutes that were not good statutes, and laws by which they could not win life. 26I let them defile themselves with gifts to idols; I made them surrender their eldest sons to them so that I might fill them with horror. Thus they would know that I am the LORD.

27Speak then, O man, to the Israelites and say to them, These are the words of the Lord GOD: Once again your forefathers insulted me and broke faith with me: 28when I brought them into the land which I had sworn with uplifted hand to give them, they marked down every hill-top and every leafy tree, and there they offered their sacrifices, they made the gifts which roused my anger, they set out their offerings of soothing odour and poured out their drink-offerings. 29I asked them, What is this hill-shrine to which you are going up? And 'hill-shrine' has been its name ever since.

30So tell the Israelites, These are the words of the Lord GOD: Are you defiling yourselves as your forefathers did? Are you wantonly giving yourselves to their loathsome gods? 31When you bring your gifts, when you pass your sons through the fire, you are still defiling yourselves in the service of your crowd of idols. How can I let you consult me, men of Israel? As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will not be consulted by you. 32When you say to yourselves, 'Let us become like the nations and tribes of other lands and worship wood and stone', you are thinking of something that can never be.

God punishes & forgives.  Eze.20.33-44

33As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will reign over you with a strong hand, with arm outstretched and wrath outpoured. 34I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands over which you have been scattered by my strong hand, my outstretched arm and outpoured wrath. 35I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples; there will I confront you, and there will I state my case against you. 36Even as I did in the wilderness of Egypt against your forefathers, so will I state my case against you. This is the very word of the Lord GOD.

37I will pass you under the rod and bring you within the bond Or muster of the covenant. 38I will rid you of those who revolt and rebel against me. I will take them out of the land where they are now living, but they shall not set foot on the soil of Israel. Thus shall you know that I am the LORD.

39Now, men of Israel, these are the words of the Lord GOD: Go, sweep away your idols, every man of you. So in days to come you will never be disobedient to me or desecrate my holy name with your gifts and your idolatries. 40But on my holy hill, the lofty hill of Israel, says the Lord GOD, there shall the Israelites serve me in the land, every one of them. There will I receive them with favour; there will I demand your contribution and the best of your offerings, with all your consecrated gifts. 41I will receive your offerings of soothing odour, when I have brought you out from the peoples and gathered you from the lands where you have been scattered. I, and only I, will have your worship, for all the nations to see.

42You will know that I am the LORD, when I bring you home to the soil of Israel, to the land which I swore with uplifted hand to give your forefathers. 43There you will remember your past ways and all the wanton deeds with which you have defiled yourselves, and will loathe yourselves for all the evils you have done. 44You will know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you, O men of Israel, not as your wicked ways and your vicious deeds deserve but for the honour of my name. This is the very word of the Lord GOD.

Fire in the south.  Eze.21.45-49

45These were the words of the LORD to me: 46Man, turn and face towards Teman Or face southward and pour out your words to the south; prophesy to the rough country of the Negeb. 47Say to it, Listen to the words of the LORD. These are the words of the Lord GOD: I will set fire to you, and the fire will consume all the wood, green and dry alike. Its fiery flame shall not be put out, but from the Negeb northwards every face will be scorched by it. 48All men will see that it is I, the LORD, who have set it ablaze; it shall not be put out. 49'Ah no! O Lord GOD,' I cried; 'they say of me, "He deals only in parables." '


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