The Sins of Jerusalem
22 Now this message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins, 3 and give her this message from the Sovereign Lord: O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols,[a] filthy and foul— 4 you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world. 5 O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near.
6 “Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. 7 Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you. 8 You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. 9 People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things. 10 Men sleep with their fathers’ wives and force themselves on women who are menstruating. 11 Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors’ wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters. 12 There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign Lord.
13 “But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed. 14 How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness. 16 And when I have been dishonored among the nations because of you,[b] you will know that I am the Lord.”
The Lord’s Refining Furnace
17 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 18 “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead. 19 So tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem. 20 Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are melted down in a furnace, I will melt you down in the heat of my fury. 21 I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you, 22 and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have poured out my fury on you.’”
The Sins of Israel’s Leaders
23 Again a message came to me from the Lord: 24 “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. 25 Your princes[c] plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. 26 Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. 27 Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! 28 And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them. 29 Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice.
30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”