The sign of the bread and water.
The prophet is bidden to eat his bread with quaking, and to drink his water with trembling, and in the name of the Lord say to the people that so they, too, shall eat and drink. The cities shall be laid waste and the land shall be desolate, and they shall know that He is the Lord.
The near execution of the punishment.
The repeated preliminary announcement.
The Lord will make the proverb, “The days are prolonged and every vision faileth,” to cease. They shall say instead, “The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. The Lord shall speak and His word shall come to pass.
The discourses against the false prophets and prophetesses.
The word of the Lord again came unto the prophet. He is to prophesy against the prophets that speak out of their own hearts. They have seen nothing. They have made others to hope, that they would confirm the word. They have seen a vain vision, and spoken a lying divination in that they say that the Lord saith it, while the Lord hath not spoken. Therefore shall the Lord’s hand be upon these prophets. Their names shall not be written in the writings of the house of Israel.
They seduced God’s people by saying, “Peace” when there was no peace. And they build up a wall while others doubt it, with untempered mortar. The wall shall be rent with a stormy wind. An overflowing shower and great hailstones shall beat against the wall, and it shall fall. And the foundations thereof shall be discovered.
The prophet is next bidden to set his face against the false prophetesses. Their sin is that they make pillows to all elbows and kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls. They pollute the Lord among His people for a handful of barley, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by their lyings.
Therefore the Lord is against their pillows and will let the souls go that they hunt to make them fly. Their kerchiefs will the Lord tear, and deliver His people out of their hand. For with their lies they have made the souls of the righteous sad and strengthened the hands of the wicked.
The testimony against the idolatrous seekers after oracles.
The elders of Israel come unto the prophet, and the word of the Lord comes also unto him. These men have set their idols in their heart, and put a stumbling block of iniquity before their face. The Lord answers them according to the multitude of their idols, that He may take the house of Israel in their own heart.
The prophet is to admonish the house of Israel to turn from their idols, and from all their abominations. Against these who set up idols in their hearts and then come unto the Lord, the Lord will set his face, make him a sign and a proverb, and cut him off from the midst of His people. A prophet deceived in what he speaks, let him, this prophet, know that the Lord has deceived him, and that he will be destroyed from midst of His people. A prophet who deceives in what he these prophets shall bear the punishment of their iniquity and their punishment shall be as these prophets, that the house of Israel may no more go astray from the Lord, neither be polluted any more with their transgressions; but that they may be His people, and He their God.
The word of the Lord again came unto the prophet. The Lord will stretch out His hand upon the land sinning against Him by trespassing grievously. If he should break the staff of bread and send famine upon it; if He should cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, that they spoil it, so that it be desolate, if He should bring the sword upon the land; if He should send pestilence in the land, to cut off from it man and beast, though Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they would but save their own souls and none other. How much more when He sends His four judgments upon Jerusalem, a city destitute of just men.
Yet therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters, they shall come forth to the prophet and he shall see their way and their doings and be comforted concerning the evil that the Lord bringeth upon Jerusalem. And the prophet shall know that the Lord has not done without a cause all that He has done.
The parable of the vine for the burning,
The word of the Lord again came unto the prophet. The vine tree is no more than any tree or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest. Wood is not taken thereof to do any work with, or a pin to hang any vessel thereon. Behold it is cast into the fire for fuel, burnt, and thus meet for any work. When it was whole, it was meet for no work, how much less when burned.
As the vine tree in the forest, given by the Lord to the fire, so shall He set His face against the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them, and they shall know that he is the Lord, when He sets His face against them. And He will make the land desolate because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord.
The story of the Lewd Adulteress.
The story as such. The word of the Lord again came unto the prophet. He shall let Jerusalem know her abominations. Jerusalem is of the land Canaan. Her father was an Amorite and her mother an Hittite. When she was born, her navel was not cut, nor was she washed and salted and swaddled at all. No one had compassion on her, but she was cast out in the open field to the loathing of every person.
Then the Lord passed by her and saw her plight, and said unto her: live! And the Lord caused her to multiply as the bud of the field. And she increased and waxed great and came to excellent ornaments; her breasts were fashioned and her hair grew.
Now the time when the Lord had compassion on her, was love time. So the Lord spread His skirts over her and covered her nakedness, and sware unto her and entered into a covenant with her and she became His. Then He washed her with water, took away her blood, and anointed her with oil, and clothed her with embroidered work, shod her with badger’s skin, girded her about with silk, decked her with ornaments, put a bracelet upon her hands, a chain on her neck, jewels on her forehead, earrings in her ears, and a beautiful crown upon her head. Thus was she decked . And she ate fine flour, and honey, and oil. And she was exceeding beautiful, and prospered into a kingdom. And her renown went forth among the heathen for her beauty,
Jerusalem, the beautiful, turns away from her Benefactor.
She trusted in her own beauty and played the harlot and poured out her fornications on everyone that passed by. She took off her beautiful garments and decked her high places, and played the harlot thereupon. She took her jewels the Lord had given her and made herself images of men, and committed whoredom with them. With her embroidered garments she covered them and set the Lord’s oil and incense before them, and His meat, and His fine flour, and oil and honey. These she set before them, as a sweet savor. She took her sons and daughters she bore unto the Lord and sacrificed them unto the idols, and caused them to pass through the fire. So Jerusalem forgot the days of her youth when the Lord had compassion upon her.
After all these abominations she committed fornication with the Egyptians, and with the Assyrians, because she was insatiable. Thus as a wife that committeth adultery, she took strangers instead of her husband.
Ordinarily men give gifts to harlots; but Jerusalem gave gifts unto her lovers and thus hired them that they might come in unto her. Thus in her is the contrary from other women. This was necessary because none would follow her to commit whoredoms. Thus she gave a reward and no reward was given her. In this she was contrary.
For this destruction shall come upon her. The Lord will gather all her lovers round about her and will uncover her nakedness unto them. The Lord will judge her as a woman that breaketh wedlock, and will give her blood in fury and jealousy. And He will give her into their hands, and they shall throw down her eminent places and jewels, and leave her naked. They shall stone her with stones and thrust her through with their swords, burn her houses with fire. And the Lord will make His fury to the rest, and His jealousy shall depart from her, and He will be no more angry. And the Lord will cause her to cease from playing the harlot. Because she remembered not the days of her youth. He will recompense her way upon thine head; and she shall not commit this lewdness above all her abominations.
Every one shall use against her this proverb, “As is the mother so is the daughter.” Her mother was a Hittite and her father an Amorite. Her elder sister is Samaria, and her daughter sister, Sodom and her daughters. She, as her mother and sister loathed her husband. She hath even corrupted her way more than they (Sodom etc.). Sodom hath not done as she and her daughters have done. This was the iniquity of Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, abundance of idleness, a failure to strengthen the hand of the poor. Sodom and her daughters committed abomination before the Lord and He saw good to take them away. Neither hath Samaria committed half her sins, thus hath she justified her sisters in all her abominations. They are more righteous than she.
When the Lord shall bring the captivity of Sodom and Samaria and their daughters, He shall also bring the captivity of her (Jerusalem) daughters in the midst of them, that she may bear her shame and be confounded and bear her shame, and be a comfort unto them. And Sodom and Samaria, and their daughters shall return to their estate, for their names were not mentioned by her (Jerusalem) in the day of her pride.
Nevertheless the Lord will remember His covenant with her in the days of her youth and will establish her an everlasting covenant. Then will she remember and be ashamed of her ways, and the Lord will establish His covenant with her and she shall know the Lord, remember, be confounded and never again open her mouth because of her shame.
The riddle about the royal house of David.
Again the word of the Lord came to the prophet. This time he is to put forth a riddle and speak a parable unto the house of Israel. A great Eagle came unto Lebanon and took the highest branch of the cedar, which he carried unto a land of traffic and set in a city of merchants. He took also of the seed of the land and planted it in a fruit-field by great waters and set it up as a willow tree. It grew and became a spreading vine and brought forth branches and shot forth twigs. There is another eagle, and the vine bent her roots and her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrow of her plantations. It was planted that it might bear good fruits.
But the vine shall prosper not. He shall pull it up by its roots, and cut off its fruits, and it shall wither, in all its leaves so that only a few will be required to pull it up. It shall utterly wither when the east wind touches it.
The interpretation of the riddle.
The word of the Lord came unto the prophet and bid him to say to the rebellious house of Israel that the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem and has taken her king and princes, and the kings seed, and the mighty of the land and hath made a covenant with them by an oath that the kingdom he might abase, but that keeping the covenant it might stand. But he, the king of Israel, rebelled against him (the king of Babylon) and sent ambassadors to Egypt that he might give him an army—horses and people. Shall he (the king of Judah), breaking the covenant, prosper and be delivered? Not at all. As surely as the Lord liveth, he (the king of Israel) shall die in the place where the king (king of Babylon) dwelleth (the land of Babylon). Pharaoh, with his mighty company shall not make for him war (deliver him). The Lord will spread a net upon him and bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass. And all his fugitives and his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered to the winds.
The Lord will also take of the high cedar and will set it, and will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon a high and eminent mountain. And it shall bring forth boughs and bear fruit and be a goodly cedar, and under it shall dwell the fowl of every wing, and live in its shadow. And all the trees of the field shall know that He is the
Lord and has brought down the high trees and exalted the low trees and made the dry tree to flourish.
The laws of divine punitive righteousness.
The word of the Lord again came unto the prophet. The Jews were using a proverb. They said that the fathers have eaten sour grapes and that the teeth of the children have been set on edge. They shall not have occasion to use this proverb any more. All the souls are the Lord’s, the souls of the fathers and the souls of the sons. And only that soul that sinneth shall die. If a man be just and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live. If the righteous man hath a wicked son, the son only shall surely die. If the father be a wicked man, and have a son who is just, the wicked father only shall die and the son shall live.
So the wicked one, whoever he may be, the father of a wicked unrepentant son, or the son of a wicked, unrepentant father,—if the wicked one shall repent, he shall surely live. All his transgressions shall not be remembered unto him. For the Lord hath no pleasure that the wicked should die, and not that he should repent.
When the righteous turn away from his righteousness and committeth iniquity and remains unrepentant, he shall die in his iniquity, and his righteousness shall not be remembered. Yet for all this, the house of Israel says that the way of the Lord is not equal. Let them consider that when a man dies he dies for his iniquity. And when the wicked one repents, he lives.
Let the house of Israel truthfully answer whether or not the Lord’s ways are equal! If their answer be truthful, it will be that the Lord’s way is equal.
Therefore, the Lord will judge every one of them according to his ways. Let them therefore repent from their iniquities. For the Lord taketh no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.
The lamentation over the kings of Israel.
The prophet is bidden to take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel. Their mother is a lioness, who laid down among lions and nourished her whelps among young lions. And one of her whelps, she had brought up became a young lion and learned to catch prey. The nations, hearing of it, brought him with chains to Egypt. Then the mother took another one of her whelps, and made him a young lion. And he learned to catch prey and to devour men. Then the nations spread around him on every side, caught him in a net and took him to the king of Babylon that his voice should be heard no more upon the mountains of Israel.
Their mother is like a fruitful vine in her blood, planted by the rivers and she had strong rods for the scepters of them that rule. And her stature was exalted among the thick branches. But she was plucked up in fury, cast down to the ground and dried up by the east wind, and her rods were consumed with fire. She is now planted in the wilderness. And a fire is gone out from her branches and devours her fruit, so that she hath no rod to be a scepter unto her rule.
The survey of the leading of the people from old.
In the seventeenth year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord and sat before the prophet. Then came the word of the Lord unto him.
The Lord will not be inquired of the house of Israel. The prophet is bidden to know their abominations. The Lord chose Israel and made Himself known unto them in the land of Egypt. The Lord brought them forth out of Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey. Then He commanded them to cast away their abominations and to refrain from defiling themselves with the idols of Egypt. This Israel refused to do. For His name’s sake the Lord did not pollute them and destroy them in Egypt before the heathen. For he had made himself known unto the Egyptians in bringing them forth out of Egypt. This he did, and brought them in the wilderness. There He gave them His statutes and His sabbaths as a sign between them and Him. But they despised the Lord, His statutes and His sabbaths in the wilderness. Then the Lord lifted up His hand unto them in the wilderness that He would not bring them into Canaan. Yet His eyes spared them: And He said to their children that they should not walk in the statutes of their fathers but in His statutes. But as their fathers, the children rebelled against the Lord. Then the Lord said that He would destroy them. Nevertheless He spared them again for His name’s sake. But they continued in their wicked ways. Wherefore the Lord lifted up His hand unto them to scatter them among the heathen. He also gave them statutes that were not good, and polluted them in their own gifts, because they caused their children to pass through the fire.
The prophet is bidden to say to them further that when the Lord brought them into Canaan, they offered sacrifices on every hill and there poured out their drink offerings. Therefore the Lord will not be inquired of them. They need not think that they will be permitted to carry out their intentions of being as the heathen, and as the families of the countries to serve wood and stone. As He liveth, the Lord will rule over them with a mighty hand and with fury poured out.