Ezekiel 21

The Lord’s Sword of Judgment

21 [a]Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, turn and face Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. Tell her, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people—the righteous and the wicked alike. Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. Everyone in the world will know that I am the Lord. My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.’

“Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign Lord says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’”

Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, give the people this message from the Lord:

“A sword, a sword
    is being sharpened and polished.
10 It is sharpened for terrible slaughter
    and polished to flash like lightning!
Now will you laugh?
    Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power![b]
11 Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished;
    it is being prepared for the executioner.

12 “Son of man, cry out and wail;
    pound your thighs in anguish,
for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders—
    everyone will die!
13 It will put them all to the test.
    What chance do they have?[c]
    says the Sovereign Lord.

14 “Son of man, prophesy to them
    and clap your hands.
Then take the sword and brandish it twice,
    even three times,
to symbolize the great massacre,
    the great massacre facing them on every side.
15 Let their hearts melt with terror,
    for the sword glitters at every gate.
It flashes like lightning
    and is polished for slaughter!
16 O sword, slash to the right,
    then slash to the left,
wherever you will,
    wherever you want.
17 I, too, will clap my hands,
    and I will satisfy my fury.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Omens for Babylon’s King

18 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 19 “Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon’s king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two— 20 one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices. 22 The omen in his right hand says, ‘Jerusalem!’ With battering rams his soldiers will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls. 23 The people of Jerusalem will think it is a false omen, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them.

24 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt. You don’t even try to hide it! In everything you do, your sins are obvious for all to see. So now the time of your punishment has come!

25 “O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! 26 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“Take off your jeweled crown,
    for the old order changes.
Now the lowly will be exalted,
    and the mighty will be brought down.
27 Destruction! Destruction!
    I will surely destroy the kingdom.
And it will not be restored until the one appears
    who has the right to judge it.
Then I will hand it over to him.

A Message for the Ammonites

28 “And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord:

“A sword, a sword
    is drawn for your slaughter.
It is polished to destroy,
    flashing like lightning!
29 Your prophets have given false visions,
    and your fortune-tellers have told lies.
The sword will fall on the necks of the wicked
    for whom the day of final reckoning has come.

30 “Now return the sword to its sheath,
    for in your own country,
the land of your birth,
    I will pass judgment upon you.
31 I will pour out my fury on you
    and blow on you with the fire of my anger.
I will hand you over to cruel men
    who are skilled in destruction.
32 You will be fuel for the fire,
    and your blood will be spilled in your own land.
You will be utterly wiped out,
    your memory lost to history,
    for I, the Lord, have spoken!”


  1. 21:1 Verses 21:1-32 are numbered 21:6-37 in Hebrew text.
  2. 21:10 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  3. 21:13 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.