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Ezekiel 21 New King James Version (NKJV)

Babylon, the Sword of God

21 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, preach[a] against the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am against you, and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off both righteous and wicked from you. Because I will cut off both righteous and wicked from you, therefore My sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh from south to north, that all flesh may know that I, the Lord, have drawn My sword out of its sheath; it shall not return anymore.” ’ Sigh therefore, son of man, with [b]a breaking heart, and sigh with bitterness before their eyes. And it shall be when they say to you, ‘Why are you sighing?’ that you shall answer, ‘Because of the news; when it comes, every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord God.”

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ Say:

‘A sword, a sword is sharpened
And also polished!
10 Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter,
Polished to flash like lightning!
Should we then make mirth?
It despises the scepter of My son,
As it does all wood.
11 And He has given it to be polished,
That it may be handled;
This sword is sharpened, and it is polished
To be given into the hand of the slayer.’

12 “Cry and wail, son of man;
For it will be against My people,
Against all the princes of Israel.
Terrors including the sword will be against My people;
Therefore strike your thigh.

13 “Because it is a testing,
And what if the sword despises even the scepter?
The scepter shall be no more,

says the Lord God.

14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy,
And strike your hands together.
The third time let the sword do double damage.
It is the sword that slays,
The sword that slays the great men,
That enters their private chambers.
15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates,
That the heart may melt and many may stumble.
Ah! It is made bright;
It is grasped for slaughter:

16 “Swords[c] at the ready!
Thrust right!
Set your blade!
Thrust left—
Wherever your [d]edge is ordered!

17 “I also will beat My fists together,
And I will cause My fury to rest;
I, the Lord, have spoken.”

18 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying: 19 “And son of man, appoint for yourself two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to go; both of them shall go from the same land. Make a sign; put it at the head of the road to the city. 20 Appoint a road for the sword to go to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah, into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the [e]images, he looks at the liver. 22 In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem: to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a wall. 23 And it will be to them like a false divination in the eyes of those who have sworn oaths with them; but he will bring their iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken.

24 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand.

25 ‘Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, 26 thus says the Lord God:

“Remove the turban, and take off the crown;
Nothing shall remain the same.
Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.
27 [f]Overthrown, overthrown,
I will make it overthrown!
It shall be no longer,
Until He comes whose right it is,
And I will give it to Him.” ’

A Sword Against the Ammonites

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach,’ and say:

‘A sword, a sword is drawn,
Polished for slaughter,
For consuming, for flashing—
29 While they see false visions for you,
While they divine a lie to you,
To bring you on the necks of the wicked, the slain
Whose day has come,
Whose iniquity shall end.

30 ‘Return it to its sheath.
I will judge you
In the place where you were created,
In the land of your [g]nativity.
31 I will pour out My indignation on you;
I will blow against you with the fire of My wrath,
And deliver you into the hands of brutal men who are skillful to destroy.
32 You shall be fuel for the fire;
Your blood shall be in the midst of the land.
You shall not be remembered,
For I the Lord have spoken.’ ”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 21:2 proclaim, lit. drop
  2. Ezekiel 21:6 Emotional distress, lit. the breaking of your loins
  3. Ezekiel 21:16 Lit. Sharpen yourself! or Unite yourself!
  4. Ezekiel 21:16 Lit. face
  5. Ezekiel 21:21 Heb. teraphim
  6. Ezekiel 21:27 Or Distortion, Ruin
  7. Ezekiel 21:30 Or origin
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 21 New International Version (NIV)

Babylon as God’s Sword of Judgment

21 [a]The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuary. Prophesy against the land of Israel and say to her: ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. Because I am going to cut off the righteous and the wicked, my sword will be unsheathed against everyone from south to north. Then all people will know that I the Lord have drawn my sword from its sheath; it will not return again.’

“Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief. And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every leg will be wet with urine.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘A sword, a sword,
    sharpened and polished—
10 sharpened for the slaughter,
    polished to flash like lightning!

“‘Shall we rejoice in the scepter of my royal son? The sword despises every such stick.

11 “‘The sword is appointed to be polished,
    to be grasped with the hand;
it is sharpened and polished,
    made ready for the hand of the slayer.
12 Cry out and wail, son of man,
    for it is against my people;
    it is against all the princes of Israel.
They are thrown to the sword
    along with my people.
Therefore beat your breast.

13 “‘Testing will surely come. And what if even the scepter, which the sword despises, does not continue? declares the Sovereign Lord.’

14 “So then, son of man, prophesy
    and strike your hands together.
Let the sword strike twice,
    even three times.
It is a sword for slaughter—
    a sword for great slaughter,
    closing in on them from every side.
15 So that hearts may melt with fear
    and the fallen be many,
I have stationed the sword for slaughter[b]
    at all their gates.
Look! It is forged to strike like lightning,
    it is grasped for slaughter.
16 Slash to the right, you sword,
    then to the left,
    wherever your blade is turned.
17 I too will strike my hands together,
    and my wrath will subside.
I the Lord have spoken.

18 The word of the Lord came to me: 19 “Son of man, mark out two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to take, both starting from the same country. Make a signpost where the road branches off to the city. 20 Mark out one road for the sword to come against Rabbah of the Ammonites and another against Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen: He will cast lots with arrows, he will consult his idols, he will examine the liver. 22 Into his right hand will come the lot for Jerusalem, where he is to set up battering rams, to give the command to slaughter, to sound the battle cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to build a ramp and to erect siege works. 23 It will seem like a false omen to those who have sworn allegiance to him, but he will remind them of their guilt and take them captive.

24 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do—because you have done this, you will be taken captive.

25 “‘You profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, 26 this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. 27 A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! The crown will not be restored until he to whom it rightfully belongs shall come; to him I will give it.’

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about the Ammonites and their insults:

“‘A sword, a sword,
    drawn for the slaughter,
polished to consume
    and to flash like lightning!
29 Despite false visions concerning you
    and lying divinations about you,
it will be laid on the necks
    of the wicked who are to be slain,
whose day has come,
    whose time of punishment has reached its climax.

30 “‘Let the sword return to its sheath.
    In the place where you were created,
in the land of your ancestry,
    I will judge you.
31 I will pour out my wrath on you
    and breathe out my fiery anger against you;
I will deliver you into the hands of brutal men,
    men skilled in destruction.
32 You will be fuel for the fire,
    your blood will be shed in your land,
you will be remembered no more;
    for I the Lord have spoken.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 21:1 In Hebrew texts 21:1-32 is numbered 21:6-37.
  2. Ezekiel 21:15 Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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