1A message from the Lord came to me, saying,
2“Son of man, you are living among rebellious people. They have eyes to see but they don't see, and ears to hear but they don't hear, because they are rebellious people.
3So, son of man, go and pack your bags as if you're going into exile. As people watch, get everything ready during the day so you can leave where you are and go somewhere else. Maybe they will realize what this means, even though they are rebellious people.
4Take your bags out for traveling into exile during the day while they watch. But you yourself are to leave in the evening as they watch, just like someone going into exile.
5While they go on watching, knock down part of the wall of your house and take your belongings out through the hole.
6When it gets dark, as they continue to watch, put your bags on your shoulder and carry them as you leave. Cover your face so that you can't see the country you're leaving behind, because I'm providing you as a sign to warn the people of Israel.”
7So I did as I was told. I took my bags out to go into exile during the day, and in the evening I knocked down part of the wall of my house with my bare hands. I took my belongings out when it got dark, carrying them on my shoulder while they watched.
8In the morning a message from the Lord came to me, saying,
9“Son of man, haven't those rebellious Israelites asked you, ‘What are you doing?’
10Tell them that this is what the Lord God says: ‘This prophetic sign concerns the prince who is ruling in Jerusalem and all the people of Israel who are living there.’
11You are to say to them, ‘I'm a sign to you.’ Just as it was demonstrated here, so it will happen to them—they will go into exile as prisoners.
12When it gets dark, their prince will also put his bags on his shoulder and leave. They will knock down the wall to take him away. He will cover his face so he can't see the country he's leaving behind.
13But I will catch him in my net; I will trap him in my snare. I will take him to Babylon in the country of Babylonia. However, won't see it, and he'll die there.
14I'm going to scatter all his attendants and all his troops in every direction, and I will chase after them with a drawn sword.
15They will know that I am the Lord when I scatter them among the different nations and countries.
16But I will let a few of them survive war, famine, and disease so that they can tell the nations where they're exiled about all their disgusting sins. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
17A message from the Lord came to me, saying,
18“Son of man, tremble as you eat your bread; shake with worry as you drink your water.
19Then explain to the people of this country that this is what the Lord God says to those living in Jerusalem and in the country of Israel: They will be worried as eat their bread and they will be in despair as they drink their water, for their land will be stripped bare because of the violent crimes committed by everyone who lives there.
20The towns will be destroyed, and the countryside turned into a wasteland. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
21Another message from the Lord came to me, saying,
22“Son of man, what's this proverb you people have in the land of Israel: ‘Time goes by, and no vision comes true’?
23So tell them that this is what the Lord God says: ‘I will put a stop to this proverb. No one in Israel will quote it anymore.’ Instead tell them: The time is soon coming when every vision will come true.
24There won't be any more false visions or fake prophecies among the Israelites,
25because I, the Lord, will say whatever I choose to say, and it will happen immediately. Right now, you rebellious people, I will say something and make sure it happens, declares the Lord God.”
26An additional message from the Lord came to me, saying,
27“Son of man, notice what the people of Israel are saying, ‘The vision that he's describing won't happen for a long time. He's prophesying about a time in the distant future.’
28So tell them that this is what the Lord God says: Everything I've said is about to happen. There won't be any more delay, declares the Lord God.”