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1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
2 'Son of man, turn to the right; utter your word towards the south, prophesy against the forest land of the Negeb.
3 Say to the forest of Negeb, "Hear the word of Yahweh! The LordYahweh says this: Listen; I am about to kindle a fire in you which will burn up every green tree in you as well as every dry one; it will be an unquenchable blaze and every face will be scorched by it from the Negeb to the north.
4 All humanity will see that it was I, Yahweh, who kindled it, and it will not be extinguished." '
5 I said, 'Lord Yahweh, they say of me, "He does nothing but speak in riddles!"'
6 Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
7 'Son of man, turn towards Jerusalem, utter your word towards the sanctuary and prophesy against the land of Israel.
8 Say to the land of Israel, "Yahweh says this: Now I am against you; I am about to unsheathe my sword and rid you of the upright and the wicked alike.
9 Since I am going to rid you of upright and wicked alike, I shall unsheathe my sword against everyone alive, from the Negeb to the north,
10 so that everyone alive will know that I, Yahweh, am the one who has unsheathed my sword; it will not go back again."
11 'Son of man, groan as though your heart were breaking. Utter your bitter groans where they can see you.
12 And if they say, "Why these groans?" reply, "Because of the news which is about to come, all hearts will sink, all hands grow weak, all spirits grow faint and all knees turn to water. It is coming now, it is here!-declares Lord Yahweh." '
13 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
14 'Son of man, prophesy. Say, "The Lord says this. Say: The sword, the sword has been sharpened and polished,
15 sharpened for slaughter, polished to flash like lightning . . .
16 He has had it polished to be wielded, this sword sharpened and polished to put in the slaughterer's hand!
17 Shout and wail, son of man, for it will come on my people, on all the chief men of Israel doomed like my people to the sword! So beat your breast,
18 for this will be an ordeal . . . declares the Lord Yahweh.
19 So prophesy, son of man, and clap your hands! Let the sword pass three times, that sword for victims, that sword for a great victim, threatening them from every side!
20 To make hearts sink and make sure many fall, I have posted the slaughtering sword at every gate to flash like lightning, polished for slaughter.
21 Be sharp, on the right, be ready on the left, whichever way your blade is needed!
22 I too shall clap my hands and sate my fury! I, Yahweh, have spoken." '
23 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
24 'Son of man, mark out two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to come along, making both of them begin from the same country. Then put up a signpost, put it where the road leaves for the city,
25 trace the route which the sword should take for Rabbah-of-the-Ammonites, and for Judah, to the fortress of Jerusalem.
26 For the king of Babylon has halted at the fork where these two roads diverge, to take the omens. He has shaken the arrows, questioned the household gods, inspected the liver.
27 The lot marked 'Jerusalem' is in his right hand: there to set up battering-rams, give the word for slaughter, raise the war cry, level battering-rams against the gates, cast up earthworks, build entrenchments.
28 The inhabitants will believe that these omens are idle, for they have received sworn guarantees, but he will bring their guilt to mind and capture them.
29 And so the LordYahweh says this, "Since you have brought your guilt to mind by parading your misdeeds and flaunting your sins in everything you do: because you have drawn attention to yourselves, you will be captured.
30 As for you, impious and wicked prince of Israel, whose doom is approaching to put an end to your crimes,
31 the LordYahweh says this: They will take away your diadem and remove your crown. Everything will be changed; the low will be raised and the high brought low!
32 Ruin, ruin, I shall bring such ruin as never was before, until the rightful ruler comes, on whom I shall bestow it."
33 'Son of man, prophesy and say, "The LordYahweh says this: In reply to the Ammonites and their jeers, say: The sword, the sword is drawn for slaughter, polished to devour, to flash like lightning-
34 while you have empty visions and consult lying omens-to cut the throats of the wicked, whose doom is approaching to put an end to their crimes.
35 Put it back in the scabbard. The place where you were created, the land of your origin, will be where I judge you.
36 I shall vent my fury on you, breathe the fire of my rage against you and hand you over to barbarous men whose trade is destruction.
37 You will be fuel for the fire, your blood will flow through the country, you will leave no memory behind you; for I, Yahweh, have spoken!" '
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