The Useless Vine
1The word of the Lord came to me:2O mortal, how does the wood of the vine surpass all other wood—
the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest?3Is wood taken from it to make anything?
Does one take a peg from it on which to hang any object?4It is put in the fire for fuel;
when the fire has consumed both ends of it
and the middle of it is charred,
is it useful for anything?5When it was whole it was used for nothing;
how much less—when the fire has consumed it,
and it is charred—
can it ever be used for anything!6Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem.7I will set my face against them; although they escape from the fire, the fire shall still consume them; and you shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them.8And I will make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly, says the Lord GOD.Chapter 16God's Faithless Bride
1The word of the Lord came to me:2Mortal, make known to Jerusalem her abominations,3and say, Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite.4As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in cloths.5No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you out of compassion for you; but you were thrown out in the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.6I passed by you, and saw you flailing about in your blood. As you lay in your blood, I said to you, “Live!7and grow up like a plant of the field.” You grew up and became tall and arrived at full womanhood; your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.8I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord GOD, and you became mine.9Then I bathed you with water and washed off the blood from you, and anointed you with oil.10I clothed you with embroidered cloth and with sandals of fine leather; I bound you in fine linen and covered you with rich fabric.11I adorned you with ornaments: I put bracelets on your arms, a chain on your neck,12a ring on your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head.13You were adorned with gold and silver, while your clothing was of fine linen, rich fabric, and embroidered cloth. You had choice flour and honey and oil for food. You grew exceedingly beautiful, fit to be a queen.14Your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of my splendor that I had bestowed on you, says the Lord GOD.15But you trusted in your beauty, and played the whore because of your fame, and lavished your whorings on any passer-by.16You took some of your garments, and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore; nothing like this has ever been or ever shall be.17You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and my silver that I had given you, and made for yourself male images, and with them played the whore;18and you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them.19Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with choice flour and oil and honey—you set it before them as a pleasing odor; and so it was, says the Lord GOD.20You took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. As if your whorings were not enough!21You slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering to them.22And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, flailing about in your blood.23After all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! says the Lord GOD),24you built yourself a platform and made yourself a lofty place in every square;25at the head of every street you built your lofty place and prostituted your beauty, offering yourself to every passer-by, and multiplying your whoring.26You played the whore with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your whoring, to provoke me to anger.27Therefore I stretched out my hand against you, reduced your rations, and gave you up to the will of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior.28You played the whore with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; you played the whore with them, and still you were not satisfied.29You multiplied your whoring with Chaldea, the land of merchants; and even with this you were not satisfied.30How sick is your heart, says the Lord GOD, that you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen whore;31building your platform at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square! Yet you were not like a whore, because you scorned payment.32Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband!33Gifts are given to all whores; but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from all around for your whorings.34So you were different from other women in your whorings: no one solicited you to play the whore; and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; you were different.35Therefore, O whore, hear the word of the Lord:36Thus says the Lord GOD, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whoring with your lovers, and because of all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them,37therefore, I will gather all your lovers, with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated; I will gather them against you from all around, and will uncover your nakedness to them, so that they may see all your nakedness.38I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring blood upon you in wrath and jealousy.39I will deliver you into their hands, and they shall throw down your platform and break down your lofty places; they shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful objects and leave you naked and bare.40They shall bring up a mob against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords.41They shall burn your houses and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; I will stop you from playing the whore, and you shall also make no more payments.42So I will satisfy my fury on you, and my jealousy shall turn away from you; I will be calm, and will be angry no longer.43Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things; therefore, I have returned your deeds upon your head, says the Lord GOD.
Have you not committed lewdness beyond all your abominations?44See, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you, “Like mother, like daughter.”45You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.46Your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters.47You not only followed their ways, and acted according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways.48As I live, says the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.49This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.50They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.51Samaria has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed.52Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have brought about for your sisters a more favorable judgment; because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.53I will restore their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes along with theirs,54in order that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them.55As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former state, Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former state, and you and your daughters shall return to your former state.56Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride,57before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you are a mockery to the daughters of Aram and all her neighbors, and to the daughters of the Philistines, those all around who despise you.58You must bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, says the Lord.An Everlasting Covenant
59Yes, thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath, breaking the covenant;60yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant.61Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed when I take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and give them to you as daughters, but not on account of my covenant with you.62I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord,63in order that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord GOD.Chapter 17The Two Eagles and the Vine
1The word of the Lord came to me:2O mortal, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel.3Say: Thus says the Lord GOD:
A great eagle, with great wings and long pinions,
rich in plumage of many colors,
came to the Lebanon.
He took the top of the cedar,4broke off its topmost shoot;
He carried it to a land of trade,
set it in a city of merchants.5Then he took a seed from the land,
placed it in fertile soil;
A plant by abundant waters,
he set it like a willow twig.6It sprouted and became a vine
spreading out, but low;
Its branches turned toward him,
its roots remained where it stood.
So it became a vine;
it brought forth branches,
put forth foliage.
7There was another great eagle,
with great wings and much plumage.
And see! This vine stretched out
its roots toward him;
It shot out its branches toward him,
so that he might water it.
From the bed where it was planted8it was transplanted
to good soil by abundant waters,
so that it might produce branches
and bear fruit
and become a noble vine.9Say: Thus says the Lord GOD:
Will it prosper?
Will he not pull up its roots,
cause its fruit to rot and wither,
its fresh sprouting leaves to fade?
No strong arm or mighty army will be needed
to pull it from its roots.10When it is transplanted, will it thrive?
When the east wind strikes it,
will it not utterly wither,
wither on the bed where it grew?11Then the word of the Lord came to me:12Say now to the rebellious house: Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them: The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took its king and its officials, and brought them back with him to Babylon.13He took one of the royal offspring and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath (he had taken away the chief men of the land),14so that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and that by keeping his covenant it might stand.15But he rebelled against him by sending ambassadors to Egypt, in order that they might give him horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Can one escape who does such things? Can he break the covenant and yet escape?16As I live, says the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king resides who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant with him he broke—in Babylon he shall die.17Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, when ramps are cast up and siege walls built to cut off many lives.18Because he despised the oath and broke the covenant, because he gave his hand and yet did all these things, he shall not escape.19Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, I will surely return upon his head my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke.20I will spread my net over him, and he shall be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylon and enter into judgment with him there for the treason he has committed against me.21All the pick of his troops shall fall by the sword, and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken.Israel Exalted at Last
22Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will take a sprig
from the lofty top of a cedar;
I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one
from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it
on a high and lofty mountain.23On the mountain height of Israel
I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar.
Under it every kind of bird will live;
in the shade of its branches will nest
winged creatures of every kind.24All the trees of the field shall know
that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree,
I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree
and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken;
I will accomplish it.Chapter 18Individual Retribution
1The word of the Lord came to me:2What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge”?3As I live, says the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel.4Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.5If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right—6if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period,7does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment,8does not take advance or accrued interest, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between contending parties,9follows my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances, acting faithfully—such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.10If he has a son who is violent, a shedder of blood,11who does any of these things (though his father does none of them), who eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor's wife,12oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination,13takes advance or accrued interest; shall he then live? He shall not. He has done all these abominable things; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.14But if this man has a son who sees all the sins that his father has done, considers, and does not do likewise,15who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife,16does not wrong anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment,17withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no advance or accrued interest, observes my ordinances, and follows my statutes; he shall not die for his father's iniquity; he shall surely live.18As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, he dies for his iniquity.19Yet you say, “Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?” When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live.20The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own.21But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die.22None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live.23Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?24But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die.25Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?26When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die.27Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life.28Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die.29Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin.31Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live.Chapter 19Israel Degraded
1As for you, raise up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,2and say:
What a lioness was your mother
She lay down among young lions,
rearing her cubs.3She raised up one of her cubs;
he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
he devoured humans.4The nations sounded an alarm against him;
he was caught in their pit;
and they brought him with hooks
to the land of Egypt.5When she saw that she was thwarted,
that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
and made him a young lion.6He prowled among the lions;
he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
he devoured people.7And he ravaged their strongholds,
and laid waste their towns;
the land was appalled, and all in it,
at the sound of his roaring.8The nations set upon him
from the provinces all around;
they spread their net over him;
he was caught in their pit.9With hooks they put him in a cage,
and brought him to the king of Babylon;
they brought him into custody,
so that his voice should be heard no more
on the mountains of Israel.10Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard
transplanted by the water,
fruitful and full of branches
from abundant water.11Its strongest stem became
a ruler's scepter;
it towered aloft
among the thick boughs;
it stood out in its height
with its mass of branches.12But it was plucked up in fury,
cast down to the ground;
the east wind dried it up;
its fruit was stripped off,
its strong stem was withered;
the fire consumed it.13Now it is transplanted into the wilderness,
into a dry and thirsty land.14And fire has gone out from its stem,
has consumed its branches and fruit,
so that there remains in it no strong stem,
no scepter for ruling.
This is a lamentation, and it is used as a lamentation.Chapter 20Israel's Continuing Rebellion
1In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain elders of Israel came to consult the Lord, and sat down before me.2And the word of the Lord came to me:3Mortal, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD: Why are you coming? To consult me? As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will not be consulted by you.4Will you judge them, mortal, will you judge them? Then let them know the abominations of their ancestors,5and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob—making myself known to them in the land of Egypt—I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God.6On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands.7And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.8But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; not one of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.
Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.9But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt.10So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.11I gave them my statutes and showed them my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live.12Moreover I gave them my sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, so that they might know that I the Lord sanctify them.13But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness; they did not observe my statutes but rejected my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live; and my sabbaths they greatly profaned.
Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make an end of them.14But I acted for the sake of my name, so that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out.15Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands,16because they rejected my ordinances and did not observe my statutes, and profaned my sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols.17Nevertheless my eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or make an end of them in the wilderness.18I said to their children in the wilderness, Do not follow the statutes of your parents, nor observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols.19I the Lord am your God; follow my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances,20and hallow my sabbaths that they may be a sign between me and you, so that you may know that I the Lord am your God.21But the children rebelled against me; they did not follow my statutes, and were not careful to observe my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live; they profaned my sabbaths.
Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness.22But I withheld my hand, and acted for the sake of my name, so that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out.23Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries,24because they had not executed my ordinances, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their ancestors' idols.25Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live.26I defiled them through their very gifts, in their offering up all their firstborn, in order that I might horrify them, so that they might know that I am the Lord.27Therefore, mortal, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: In this again your ancestors blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me.28For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing odors, and there they poured out their drink offerings.29(I said to them, What is the high place to which you go? So it is called Bamah to this day.)30Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your ancestors and go astray after their detestable things?31When you offer your gifts and make your children pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be consulted by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will not be consulted by you.32What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, “Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.”God Will Restore Israel
33As I live, says the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, I will be king over you.34I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out;35and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face.36As I entered into judgment with your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, says the Lord GOD.37I will make you pass under the staff, and will bring you within the bond of the covenant.38I will purge out the rebels among you, and those who transgress against me; I will bring them out of the land where they reside as aliens, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.39As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord GOD: Go serve your idols, everyone of you now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.40For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, says the Lord GOD, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land; there I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred things.41As a pleasing odor I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples, and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations.42You shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your ancestors.43There you shall remember your ways and all the deeds by which you have polluted yourselves; and you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed.44And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name's sake, not according to your evil ways, or corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, says the Lord GOD.A Prophecy against the Negeb
45 The word of the Lord came to me:46Mortal, set your face toward the south, preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land in the Negeb;47say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord GOD, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it.48All flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.49Then I said, “Ah Lord GOD! they are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of allegories?’ ”