False Prophets Condemned
And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, ‘Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God, “Woe (judgment is coming) to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit [claiming to have seen things] but have [in fact] seen nothing. O Israel, your prophets have been like [a]foxes among the ruins. You have not gone up into the gaps or breaches, nor built the wall around the house of Israel that it might stand in the battle on the day of the Lord. They have seen falsehood and lying divination, saying, ‘The Lord says,’ but the Lord has not sent them. Yet they hope and make men to hope for the confirmation of their word. Did you not see (make up) a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The Lord declares,’ but it is not I who have spoken?”’”
Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Because you have spoken empty and delusive words and have seen lies, therefore behold, I am against you,” says the Lord God. “So My hand will be against the [counterfeit] prophets who see (make up) empty and delusive visions and who give lying prophecies. They will have no place in the [secret] council of My people, nor will they be recorded in the register of the house of Israel, nor will they enter into the land of Israel, that you may know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord God. It is definitely because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because when one builds a [flimsy] wall, behold, these [lying] prophets plaster it over with whitewash; so tell those who plaster it with whitewash, that it will fall! A flooding rain [of judgment] will come, and you, O [great] hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will tear the wall apart. Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, ‘Where is the coating with which you [prophets] plastered it?’” Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath, and there will be in My anger an overwhelming rain and great hailstones to destroy [that wall] in wrath. So I will tear down the wall which you have plastered with whitewash and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundations will be exposed; when it falls, you will perish in its midst. And you shall know and understand fully that I am the Lord. Thus I will expend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it with whitewash and I will say to you, ‘The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone, along with the [false] prophets of Israel who prophesy [deceitfully] to Jerusalem, and who see [false] visions of peace for her when there is no peace,’ says the Lord God.
“Now you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who are prophesying out of [the wishful thinking of] their own mind (inspiration). Prophesy against them and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe to the women who fasten magic (protective) charms on all wrists and make veils for the heads of those of every stature to capture [human] lives! Will you capture the lives of My people but keep your own? You have profaned Me among My people [in payment] for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, killing people who should not die and giving [a guarantee of] life to those who should not live, because of your lies to My people who pay attention to lies.”’”
Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against your magic bands [and veils] by which you hunt [human] lives as birds and I will tear them from your arms; and I will let the lives you hunt go free, even those lives whom you hunt as birds. I will also tear off your [pagan] veils and rescue My people from your hands, and they will no longer be in your grip to be hunted and trapped. Then you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord. Because you disheartened the righteous with falsehood when I did not cause him grief, but have encouraged the wicked not to turn from his wicked way and preserve his life, therefore, you women will no longer see false visions or practice divinations, and I will rescue My people from your hand. Then you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.”
- Ezekiel 13:4 The ancient rabbis said that foxes look in ruins to see where they can escape if they see people coming; so the false prophets only cared about saving themselves.
Idolatrous Elders Condemned
Then certain of the elders of Israel came to me [seeking an oracle from God] and sat down before me. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, these men have set up [and honored] their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the [vile] stumbling block of their wickedness and guilt; should I [permit Myself to] be consulted by them at all? Therefore speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Any man of the house of Israel who takes his idols [of rebellion] into his heart, and puts the [vile] stumbling block of his wickedness and guilt [images of silver and gold] before his face, and yet comes to the prophet [to ask of him], I the Lord will answer him, [but I will answer him] in accordance with the number of his idols, in order that I may take hold of the heart (mind) of the house of Israel who are all estranged from Me because of their idols.”’
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your disgusting and vile acts. For anyone of the house of Israel or among the strangers who immigrate to Israel who separates himself from Me, taking his idols into his heart, and puts right before his face the [vile] stumbling block of his wickedness and guilt, and [then] comes to the prophet to ask of Me for himself, I the Lord will answer him Myself. I will set My face against that man [that hypocrite] and will make him a [a]sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from among My people; and you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.
“But if the prophet [who speaks without My authority] is enticed to speak a word [of his own], it is I the Lord who have caused that prophet [to speak falsely to please the inquirer, thus allowing himself to be a party to the inquirer’s sin], and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel. They [both] will bear the punishment of their wickedness; the sin of the [counterfeit] prophet will be the same as the sin of the [hypocritical] inquirer, so that the house of Israel may no longer drift away from Me and no longer defile themselves with all their transgressions, but they will be My people, and I will be their God,”’ says the Lord God.”
The City Will Not Be Spared
The word of the Lord came [again] to me, saying, “Son of man, if a land sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it and destroy its source of bread and send famine on it and cut off from it both man and animal, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in that land, by their own righteousness (right standing with God) they could only save (deliver) themselves,” says the Lord God. “If I were to cause predatory beasts to pass through the land and they ravaged it and depopulated it of children, and it became desolate so that no one would pass through because of the predators, though these three men were in the land, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they could not save either their sons or their daughters. They alone would be saved, but the land would be desolate (ruined, deserted). Or if I were to bring a sword on that land and say, ‘Let a sword go through the land and cut off man and animal from it,’ even though these three men were in the land, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they could not save either their sons or their daughters, but they alone would be saved. Or if I should send a virulent disease into that land and pour out My wrath in blood on it to cut off man and animal from it, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they could not save either their son or their daughter; they would save only themselves by their righteousness [that is, their right-standing with God—their moral and spiritual integrity].”
For thus says the Lord God, “How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem—sword, famine, predatory beasts, and virulent disease—to cut off man and animal from it! Yet, behold, survivors will be left in it [escaping the judgments], both sons and daughters. Listen carefully, they are going to come out to you [in Babylon] and you will see their [wicked] conduct and [despicable] actions; then you will be at peace in regard to the disaster which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought on it [has been deserved]. Then they will reassure [b]you [in regard to the appropriateness of the judgments] when you see their [heinous] conduct and actions, for you will know that I have not done without cause whatever I did to it,” declares the Lord God.
- Ezekiel 14:8 I.e. an object of scorn or ridicule.
- Ezekiel 14:23 This word is plural and refers to all the exiles living in Babylon.
Jerusalem like a Useless Vine
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, how is the wood of the grapevine (Israel) better than any wood of a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Can wood be taken from it to make any object? Or can men take a peg from it on which to hang any vessel? If it has been thrown into the fire for fuel, and the fire has consumed both of its ends and the middle section has been charred, is it suitable or useful for anything? Notice this, even when it was complete, it was not useful and was not made into anything. How much less, after the fire has burned [part of] it and [the remainder of] it is charred, can it still be made into anything? Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Like the wood of the grapevine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the people of Jerusalem; and I set My face against them. Though they have come out of the fire, yet the fire will consume them. Then you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. I will make the land desolate (ruined, deserted), because they have acted unfaithfully [through their idolatry],’ says the Lord God.”