1Almost seven years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been captured and taken to Babylonia, on the tenth day of the fifth month of that year, some Israeli elders came to me to ask if I had a message for them from Yahweh.
2Then Yahweh gave me a message. He said,
3“You human, speak to the Israeli elders and say to them, ‘This is what Yahweh the Lord says: You say that you have come to ask if there is any message from me RHQ, but as surely as I am alive, I will not answer you if you ask me to tell you anything.’
4If you are RHQ willing to warn them, remind them of the detestable things that their ancestors did.
5Then say to them, ‘On the day that I chose you Israeli people to belong to me, with my hand lifted up, I made a solemn promise to your ancestors while they were still in Egypt. I said to them, “I am Yahweh, your God.
6I will bring you out of Egypt and lead you to a land that I have chosen for you. It is a very fertile IDM and ◄very beautiful/more beautiful than any other► land.
7Each of you must get rid of the disgusting idols that you loved IDM, and do not defile yourselves by worshiping those idols that you saw in Egypt. I, Yahweh your God, am saying this to you.”’
8But they rebelled against me. They would not pay attention to me. They did not get rid of the disgusting idols they loved, and they did not reject those idols that they saw in Egypt. So because I was angry with them, I said that I would punish MTY them in Egypt.
9But for the sake of my own reputation, I decided to do something in order that I would not be dishonored by the people of the nations who would see it when I brought my people out of Egypt.
10Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert.
11I gave them all my laws and decrees DOU, in order that they would obey them, and as a result they would live for a long time.
12Also, I established the Sabbath/rest days to be a symbol between us to show that I, Yahweh, had caused them to be set apart from the other nations.
13But the Israeli people rebelled against me in the desert. They did not obey my commands DOU; they rejected them, even though they tell people who obey them that they will live for a long time, and they profaned the Sabbath days. So I said that I would get rid of them in the desert, and that would show that I was very angry with them.
14But again, for the sake of my own reputation, I decided to do something else in order that I would not be dishonored/despised by the people of the nations who had seen me bring my people out of Egypt.
15I lifted up my hand and solemnly declared to them in the desert that I would not take them into the land that I had promised to give them, a land that was very fertile IDM and ◄very beautiful/more beautiful than any other► land.
16The reason that I promised that was because they rejected and disobeyed all my laws DOU and ◄desecrated/refused to rest on► the Sabbath days. They did that because they SYN were devoted to worshiping their idols.
17But, I still pitied them and did not get rid of all of them in the desert.
18I said to their children, ‘Do not do the things that your parents continually did, or defile yourselves by worshiping their idols.
19I am Yahweh your God. Carefully obey DOU my laws and commands.
20Respect my Sabbath days, in order that by doing that PRS, it will remind you that you belong to me, Yahweh your God.’
21But their children also rebelled against me. They did not carefully obey my laws DOU, even though the people who obey them will live for a long time; and they profaned the Sabbath days. So again I said that by getting rid of them in the desert, I would show that I was very angry with them.
22But I did not do that IDM. Again, for the sake of my own reputation, I decided to do something in order that I would not be dishonored/despised by the people of the nations who had seen it when I brought my people out of Egypt.
23I lifted up my hand and solemnly declared to them in the desert that I would cause them to be scattered among many nations DOU,
24because they had rejected and disobeyed all my laws DOU and desecrated the Sabbath days, and they had eagerly desired to worship the idols that their parents had worshiped.
25I also allowed them to obey laws that were not good, and laws that would not enable them to live a long time if they obeyed them.
26I allowed them to become unacceptable to me by their sacrificing their firstborn children in the fire. I did that in order that they would be horrified, and in order that they would know that I, Yahweh, have the power to do what I say that I will do.
27Therefore, you human, speak to the Israeli people. Say this to them, ‘This is what Yahweh the Lord says to you: This is one way that your ancestors dishonored me by turning away from me.
28After I brought them into the land that I had solemnly promised to give to them, every time that they saw a high hill or a big green tree, they offered sacrifices to idols there. They made offerings to them, and that caused me to become angry. They presented to those idols their fragrant burning incense, and poured out wine offerings to them.
29Then I asked them, “Who RHQ told you to worship at a shrine like this, here on this hilltop?” So they are still called ❛hilltop shrines❜.’”
30Therefore, say this to the Israeli people MTY: “This is what Yahweh the Lord says: You are going to RHQ defile yourselves like your ancestors did by strongly desiring to worship their disgusting statues of idols.
31When you sacrifice your children in the fire, you are still continuing to make yourselves unacceptable to me by worshiping your many idols. You Israeli people, should I allow you to inquire what I want you to do? I, Yahweh the Lord, say that as surely as I am alive, I will not answer if you inquire.
32You say, ‘We want to be like the other nations, like the other people-groups in the world. We want to worship idols made of wood and stone like they do.’ But what you want will never happen.
33I, Yahweh your Lord, say that as surely as I am alive, I will use my great power DOU, MTY to rule over you, and show that I am angry with you.
34With my great power I will gather you from the places to which you have been scattered,
35and I will bring you to a desert that is surrounded by other nations. There, while I am looking at you, I will judge you.
36I will punish you, like I punished your ancestors in the desert near Egypt.
37I will count you MTY as you walk by, and I will force you to obey the agreement that I made with you.
38I will get rid of those people among you who rebel DOU against me. Although I will bring them out of Babylonia, where they are now living, they will not enter Israel. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have the power to do what I say that I will do.
39As for you Israeli people MTY, this is what I, Yahweh the Lord, say: Go and worship your idols now IRO, each of you. But afterwards, you will surely heed me and no longer dishonor me MTY by taking gifts to your idols.
40I, Yahweh your Lord, declare that there on my sacred hill, Zion, that high hill in Israel, you will bring gifts to me, and I will accept them. I will require you to bring to me gifts and offerings there, and your sacrifices that are dedicated to me.
41When I bring you out from the other nations DOU to which you have been scattered, I will accept you as though you were fragrant incense. By doing that, I will show the people of other nations that I have set you apart to belong to me.
42Then, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land that I solemnly promised with my hand lifted up that I would give to your ancestors, you will know that I, Yahweh, have done it.
43And there in Israel you will remember how you conducted your lives previously, you will remember the actions that caused you to become unacceptable to me, and you will hate/despise yourselves for all the evil things that you have done.
44When I act toward you Israeli people to protect my reputation, and not just because of your evil deeds and corrupt behavior, you Israeli people will know that I, Yahweh, have the power to do what I say that I will do. That is what Yahweh the Lord declares.”
45Yahweh gave me another message. He said,
46“You human, turn toward the south. Preach about what will happen to that dry land, to the forest there.
47Say to the forest in the south part of Israel: Listen to this message that Yahweh the Lord is saying about you: I am about to start a fire in your midst, and it will burn up all your trees, both the green trees and the withered/dry trees. Nothing will extinguish the blazing flames. And the fire will scorch the faces of everyone who lives in that area, from the south to the north.
48Everyone will see that it is I, Yahweh, who have lit this fire, and no one will be able to put it out.”
49Then I said, “Yahweh, my Lord, when I tell things like this to people, they do not believe me. They say about me, ‘He is only telling parables.’ ”