1 The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
2 And he said:
“The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and the top of Carmel withers.”
3 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron. 4 So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael, and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad. 5 I will break the gate-bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven, and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden; and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,” says the Lord.
6 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they carried into exile a whole people to deliver them up to Edom. 7 So I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza, and it shall devour her strongholds. 8 I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod, and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn my hand against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,” says the Lord God.
9 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they delivered up a whole people to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood. 10 So I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, and it shall devour her strongholds.”
11 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword and cast off all pity, and his anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever. 12 So I will send a fire upon Teman, and it shall devour the strongholds of Bozrah.”
13 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of the Ammonites, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead, that they might enlarge their border. 14 So I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour her strongholds, with shouting on the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind; 15 and their king shall go into exile, he and his princes together,” says the Lord.
2 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because he burned to lime the bones of the king of Edom. 2 So I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth, and Moab shall die amid uproar, amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet; 3 I will cut off the ruler from its midst, and will kill all its princes with him,” says the Lord.
4 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but their lies have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked. 5 So I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.”
6 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— 7 those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted; a man and his father go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; 8 they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks; I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath. 10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. 11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” declares the Lord.
12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’
13 “Behold, I will press you down in your place, as a cart full of sheaves presses down. 14 Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain his strength, nor shall the mighty save his life; 15 he who handles the bow shall not stand, and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself, nor shall he who rides the horse save his life; 16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day,” declares the Lord.
48 “These are the tribes, listed by name: At the northern frontier, Dan will have one portion; it will follow the Hethlon road to Lebo Hamath; Hazar Enan and the northern border of Damascus next to Hamath will be part of its border from the east side to the west side.
“Asher will have one portion; it will border the territory of Dan from east to west.
“Naphtali will have one portion; it will border the territory of Asher from east to west.
“Manasseh will have one portion; it will border the territory of Naphtali from east to west.
“Ephraim will have one portion; it will border the territory of Manasseh from east to west.
“Reuben will have one portion; it will border the territory of Ephraim from east to west.
“Judah will have one portion; it will border the territory of Reuben from east to west.
“Bordering the territory of Judah from east to west will be the portion you are to present as a special gift. It will be 25,000 cubits wide, and its length from east to west will equal one of the tribal portions; the sanctuary will be in the center of it.
“The special portion you are to offer to the Lord will be 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. This will be the sacred portion for the priests. It will be 25,000 cubits long on the north side, 10,000 cubits wide on the west side, 10,000 cubits wide on the east side and 25,000 cubits long on the south side. In the center of it will be the sanctuary of the Lord. This will be for the consecrated priests, the Zadokites, who were faithful in serving me and did not go astray as the Levites did when the Israelites went astray. It will be a special gift to them from the sacred portion of the land, a most holy portion, bordering the territory of the Levites.
“Alongside the territory of the priests, the Levites will have an allotment 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. Its total length will be 25,000 cubits and its width 10,000 cubits. They must not sell or exchange any of it. This is the best of the land and must not pass into other hands, because it is holy to the Lord.
“The remaining area, 5,000 cubits wide and 25,000 cubits long, will be for the common use of the city, for houses and for pastureland. The city will be in the center of it and will have these measurements: the north side 4,500 cubits, the south side 4,500 cubits, the east side 4,500 cubits, and the west side 4,500 cubits. The pastureland for the city will be 250 cubits on the north, 250 cubits on the south, 250 cubits on the east, and 250 cubits on the west. What remains of the area, bordering on the sacred portion and running the length of it, will be 10,000 cubits on the east side and 10,000 cubits on the west side. Its produce will supply food for the workers of the city. The workers from the city who farm it will come from all the tribes of Israel. The entire portion will be a square, 25,000 cubits on each side. As a special gift you will set aside the sacred portion, along with the property of the city.
“What remains on both sides of the area formed by the sacred portion and the property of the city will belong to the prince. It will extend eastward from the 25,000 cubits of the sacred portion to the eastern border, and westward from the 25,000 cubits to the western border. Both these areas running the length of the tribal portions will belong to the prince, and the sacred portion with the temple sanctuary will be in the center of them. So the property of the Levites and the property of the city will lie in the center of the area that belongs to the prince. The area belonging to the prince will lie between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin.
“As for the rest of the tribes: Benjamin will have one portion; it will extend from the east side to the west side.
“Simeon will have one portion; it will border the territory of Benjamin from east to west.
“Issachar will have one portion; it will border the territory of Simeon from east to west.
“Zebulun will have one portion; it will border the territory of Issachar from east to west.
“Gad will have one portion; it will border the territory of Zebulun from east to west.
“The southern boundary of Gad will run south from Tamar to the waters of Meribah Kadesh, then along the Wadi of Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.
“This is the land you are to allot as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel, and these will be their portions,” declares the Sovereign Lord.
“These will be the exits of the city: Beginning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits long, the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel. The three gates on the north side will be the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah and the gate of Levi.
“On the east side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin and the gate of Dan.
“On the south side, which measures 4,500 cubits, will be three gates: the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar and the gate of Zebulun.
“On the west side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher and the gate of Naphtali.
“The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits.
“And the name of the city from that time on will be:
47 The man led me back to the entrance of the Temple. I saw water coming out from under the east gate of the Temple. (The front of the Temple is on the east side.) The water flowed down from under the south end of the Temple and ran south of the altar. The man led me out through the north gate and then around the outside to the outer gate on the east side. The water was flowing out on the south side of the gate.
The man walked east with a tape measure in his hand. He measured 1000 cubits. Then he told me to walk through the water at that place. The water was only ankle deep. He measured another 1000 cubits. Then he told me to walk through the water at that place. There the water came up to my knees. Then he measured another 1000 cubits and told me to walk through the water at that place. There the water was waist deep. He measured another 1000 cubits, but there the water was too deep to cross. It had become a river. The water was deep enough to swim in. It was a river that was too deep to cross. Then the man said to me, “Son of man, did you pay close attention to the things you saw?”
Then the man led me back along the side of the river. As I walked back along the side of the river, I saw many trees on both sides of the water. He said to me, “This water flows east, down to the Arabah Valley. This water flows into the Dead Sea so that the water in that sea becomes fresh and clean. There are many fish in this water, and all kinds of animals live where this river goes. You can see fishermen standing by the river all the way from En Gedi to En Eglaim. You can see them throwing their fishing nets and catching many kinds of fish. There are as many kinds of fish in the Dead Sea as there are in the Mediterranean Sea. But the swamps and small marshes will not become fresh. They will be left for salt. All kinds of fruit trees will grow on both sides of the river. Their leaves never will become dry and fall. The fruit will never stop growing on those trees. The trees will produce fruit every month, because the water for the trees comes from the Temple. The fruit from the trees will be for food, and their leaves will be for healing.”
This is what the Lord God says: “These are the borders for dividing the land among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph will have two parts. You will divide the land equally. I promised to give this land to your ancestors, so I am giving this land to you.
“These are the borders of the land: On the north side, it goes from the Mediterranean Sea by way of Hethlon where the road turns toward Hamath and on to Zedad, Berothah, Sibraim (which is on the border between Damascus and Hamath) and Hazer Hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran. So the border will go from the sea to Hazar Enan on the northern border of Damascus and Hamath. This will be on the north side.
“On the east side, the border will go from Hazar Enan between Hauran and Damascus and continue along the Jordan River between Gilead and the land of Israel, to the eastern sea and all the way to Tamar. This will be the eastern border.
“On the south side, the border will go from Tamar all the way to the oasis at Meribah-kadesh. Then it will go along the Brook of Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. This will be the southern border.
“On the west side, the Mediterranean Sea will be the border all the way to the area in front of Lebo Hamath. This will be your western border.
“So you will divide this land among you for the tribes of Israel. You will divide it as a property for yourselves and for the foreigners who live among you and who have had children among you. These foreigners will be residents—they will be like natural born Israelites. You will divide some land for them among the tribes of Israel. The tribe where that resident lives must give him some land.” This is what the Lord God said!
46 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon it shall be opened. The prince shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway from the outside, and stand by the gatepost. The priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings. He shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the entrance to this gateway before the Lord on the Sabbaths and the New Moons. The burnt offering that the prince offers to the Lord on the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish; and the grain offering shall be one ephah for a ram, and the grain offering for the lambs, as much as he wants to give, as well as a hin of oil with every ephah. On the day of the New Moon it shall be a young bull without blemish, six lambs, and a ram; they shall be without blemish. He shall prepare a grain offering of an ephah for a bull, an ephah for a ram, as much as he wants to give for the lambs, and a hin of oil with every ephah. When the prince enters, he shall go in by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.
“But when the people of the land come before the Lord on the appointed feast days, whoever enters by way of the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate; and whoever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate. He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall go out through the opposite gate. The prince shall then be in their midst. When they go in, he shall go in; and when they go out, he shall go out. At the festivals and the appointed feast days the grain offering shall be an ephah for a bull, an ephah for a ram, as much as he wants to give for the lambs, and a hin of oil with every ephah.
“Now when the prince makes a voluntary burnt offering or voluntary peace offering to the Lord, the gate that faces toward the east shall then be opened for him; and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings as he did on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he goes out the gate shall be shut.
“You shall daily make a burnt offering to the Lord of a lamb of the first year without blemish; you shall prepare it every morning. And you shall prepare a grain offering with it every morning, a sixth of an ephah, and a third of a hin of oil to moisten the fine flour. This grain offering is a perpetual ordinance, to be made regularly to the Lord. Thus they shall prepare the lamb, the grain offering, and the oil, as a regular burnt offering every morning.”
‘Thus says the Lord God: “If the prince gives a gift of some of his inheritance to any of his sons, it shall belong to his sons; it is their possession by inheritance. But if he gives a gift of some of his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall be his until the year of liberty, after which it shall return to the prince. But his inheritance shall belong to his sons; it shall become theirs. Moreover the prince shall not take any of the people’s inheritance by evicting them from their property; he shall provide an inheritance for his sons from his own property, so that none of My people may be scattered from his property.” ’ ”
Now he brought me through the entrance, which was at the side of the gate, into the holy chambers of the priests which face toward the north; and there a place was situated at their extreme western end. And he said to me, “This is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass offering and the sin offering, and where they shall bake the grain offering, so that they do not bring them out into the outer court to sanctify the people.”
Then he brought me out into the outer court and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and in fact, in every corner of the court there was another court. In the four corners of the court were enclosed courts, forty cubits long and thirty wide; all four corners were the same size. There was a row of building stones all around in them, all around the four of them; and cooking hearths were made under the rows of stones all around. And he said to me, “These are the kitchens where the ministers of the temple shall boil the sacrifices of the people.”
44 Then the man brought me back to the east gateway in the outer wall of the Temple area, but it was closed. And the Lord said to me, “This gate must remain closed; it will never again be opened. No one will ever open it and pass through, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered here. Therefore, it must always remain shut. Only the prince himself may sit inside this gateway to feast in the Lord’s presence. But he may come and go only through the entry room of the gateway.”
Then the man brought me through the north gateway to the front of the Temple. I looked and saw that the glory of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord, and I fell face down on the ground.
And the Lord said to me, “Son of man, take careful notice. Use your eyes and ears, and listen to everything I tell you about the regulations concerning the Lord’s Temple. Take careful note of the procedures for using the Temple’s entrances and exits. And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign Lord: O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary—people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary.
“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigners, including those who live among the people of Israel, will enter my sanctuary if they have not been circumcised and have not surrendered themselves to the Lord. And the men of the tribe of Levi who abandoned me when Israel strayed away from me to worship idols must bear the consequences of their unfaithfulness. They may still be Temple guards and gatekeepers, and they may slaughter the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people. But they encouraged my people to worship idols, causing Israel to fall into deep sin. So I have taken a solemn oath that they must bear the consequences for their sins, says the Sovereign Lord. They may not approach me to minister as priests. They may not touch any of my holy things or the holy offerings, for they must bear the shame of all the detestable sins they have committed. They are to serve as the Temple caretakers, taking charge of the maintenance work and performing general duties.
“However, the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok continued to minister faithfully in the Temple when Israel abandoned me for idols. These men will serve as my ministers. They will stand in my presence and offer the fat and blood of the sacrifices, says the Sovereign Lord. They alone will enter my sanctuary and approach my table to serve me. They will fulfill all my requirements.
“When they enter the gateway to the inner courtyard, they must wear only linen clothing. They must wear no wool while on duty in the inner courtyard or in the Temple itself. They must wear linen turbans and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that would cause them to perspire. When they return to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must take off the clothes they wear while ministering to me. They must leave them in the sacred rooms and put on other clothes so they do not endanger anyone by transmitting holiness to them through this clothing.
“They must neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow too long. Instead, they must trim it regularly. The priests must not drink wine before entering the inner courtyard. They may choose their wives only from among the virgins of Israel or the widows of the priests. They may not marry other widows or divorced women. They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean.
“They will serve as judges to resolve any disagreements among my people. Their decisions must be based on my regulations. And the priests themselves must obey my instructions and decrees at all the sacred festivals, and see to it that the Sabbaths are set apart as holy days.
“A priest must not defile himself by being in the presence of a dead person unless it is his father, mother, child, brother, or unmarried sister. In such cases it is permitted. Even then, he can return to his Temple duties only after being ceremonially cleansed and then waiting for seven days. The first day he returns to work and enters the inner courtyard and the sanctuary, he must offer a sin offering for himself, says the Sovereign Lord.
“The priests will not have any property or possession of land, for I alone am their special possession. Their food will come from the gifts and sacrifices brought to the Temple by the people—the grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Whatever anyone sets apart for the Lord will belong to the priests. The first of the ripe fruits and all the gifts brought to the Lord will go to the priests. The first batch of dough must also be given to the priests so the Lord will bless your homes. The priests may not eat meat from any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that dies after being attacked by another animal.
45 “When you divide the land among the tribes of Israel, you must set aside a section for the Lord as his holy portion. This piece of land will be 8 1⁄3 miles long and 6 2⁄3 miles wide. The entire area will be holy. A section of this land, measuring 875 feet by 875 feet, will be set aside for the Temple. An additional strip of land 87 1⁄2 feet wide is to be left empty all around it. Within the larger sacred area, measure out a portion of land 8 1⁄3 miles long and 3 1⁄3 miles wide. Within it the sanctuary of the Most Holy Place will be located. This area will be holy, set aside for the priests who minister to the Lord in the sanctuary. They will use it for their homes, and my Temple will be located within it. The strip of sacred land next to it, also 8 1⁄3 miles long and 3 1⁄3 miles wide, will be a living area for the Levites who work at the Temple. It will be their possession and a place for their towns.
“Adjacent to the larger sacred area will be a section of land 8 1⁄3 miles long and 1 2⁄3 miles wide. This will be set aside for a city where anyone in Israel can live.
“Two special sections of land will be set apart for the prince. One section will share a border with the east side of the sacred lands and city, and the second section will share a border on the west side. Then the far eastern and western borders of the prince’s lands will line up with the eastern and western boundaries of the tribal areas. These sections of land will be the prince’s allotment. Then my princes will no longer oppress and rob my people; they will assign the rest of the land to the people, giving an allotment to each tribe.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough, you princes of Israel! Stop your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Quit robbing and cheating my people out of their land. Stop expelling them from their homes, says the Sovereign Lord. Use only honest weights and scales and honest measures, both dry and liquid. The homer will be your standard unit for measuring volume. The ephah and the bath will each measure one-tenth of a homer. The standard unit for weight will be the silver shekel. One shekel will consist of twenty gerahs, and sixty shekels will be equal to one mina.
“You must give this tax to the prince: one bushel of wheat or barley for every 60 you harvest, one percent of your olive oil, and one sheep or goat for every 200 in your flocks in Israel. These will be the grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings that will make atonement for the people who bring them, says the Sovereign Lord. All the people of Israel must join in bringing these offerings to the prince. The prince will be required to provide offerings that are given at the religious festivals, the new moon celebrations, the Sabbath days, and all other similar occasions. He will provide the sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings, liquid offerings, and peace offerings to purify the people of Israel, making them right with the Lord.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In early spring, on the first day of each new year, sacrifice a young bull with no defects to purify the Temple. The priest will take blood from this sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the Temple, the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar, and the gateposts at the entrance to the inner courtyard. Do this also on the seventh day of the new year for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance. In this way, you will purify the Temple.
“On the fourteenth day of the first month, you must celebrate the Passover. This festival will last for seven days. The bread you eat during that time must be made without yeast. On the day of Passover the prince will provide a young bull as a sin offering for himself and the people of Israel. On each of the seven days of the feast he will prepare a burnt offering to the Lord, consisting of seven young bulls and seven rams without defects. A male goat will also be given each day for a sin offering. The prince will provide a basket of flour as a grain offering and a gallon of olive oil with each young bull and ram.
“During the seven days of the Festival of Shelters, which occurs every year in early autumn, the prince will provide these same sacrifices for the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the grain offering, along with the required olive oil.
42 Then he led me out into the inner court, toward the north, and he brought me to the chambers which were opposite the temple yard and opposite the building on the north. The length of the building which was on the north side was a hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty cubits. Adjoining the twenty cubits which belonged to the inner court, and facing the pavement which belonged to the outer court, was gallery against gallery in three stories. And before the chambers was a passage inward, ten cubits wide and a hundred cubits long, and their doors were on the north. Now the upper chambers were narrower, for the galleries took more away from them than from the lower and middle chambers in the building. For they were in three stories, and they had no pillars like the pillars of the outer court; hence the upper chambers were set back from the ground more than the lower and the middle ones. And there was a wall outside parallel to the chambers, toward the outer court, opposite the chambers, fifty cubits long. For the chambers on the outer court were fifty cubits long, while those opposite the temple were a hundred cubits long. Below these chambers was an entrance on the east side, as one enters them from the outer court, where the outside wall begins.
On the south also, opposite the yard and opposite the building, there were chambers with a passage in front of them; they were similar to the chambers on the north, of the same length and breadth, with the same exits and arrangements and doors. And below the south chambers was an entrance on the east side, where one enters the passage, and opposite them was a dividing wall.
Then he said to me, “The north chambers and the south chambers opposite the yard are the holy chambers, where the priests who approach the Lord shall eat the most holy offerings; there they shall put the most holy offerings—the cereal offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, for the place is holy. When the priests enter the holy place, they shall not go out of it into the outer court without laying there the garments in which they minister, for these are holy; they shall put on other garments before they go near to that which is for the people.”
Now when he had finished measuring the interior of the temple area, he led me out by the gate which faced east, and measured the temple area round about. He measured the east side with the measuring reed, five hundred cubits by the measuring reed. Then he turned and measured the north side, five hundred cubits by the measuring reed. Then he turned and measured the south side, five hundred cubits by the measuring reed. Then he turned to the west side and measured, five hundred cubits by the measuring reed. He measured it on the four sides. It had a wall around it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits broad, to make a separation between the holy and the common.
43 Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east; and the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was like the vision which I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the vision which I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple; and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel for ever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their harlotry, and by the dead bodies of their kings, by setting their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them. They have defiled my holy name by their abominations which they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their idolatry and the dead bodies of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst for ever.
“And you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple and its appearance and plan, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, portray the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, and its whole form; and make known to them all its ordinances and all its laws; and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe and perform all its laws and all its ordinances. This is the law of the temple: the whole territory round about upon the top of the mountain shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.
“These are the dimensions of the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth): its base shall be one cubit high, and one cubit broad, with a rim of one span around its edge. And this shall be the height of the altar: from the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits, with a breadth of one cubit; and from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits, with a breadth of one cubit; and the altar hearth, four cubits; and from the altar hearth projecting upward, four horns, one cubit high. The altar hearth shall be square, twelve cubits long by twelve broad. The ledge also shall be square, fourteen cubits long by fourteen broad, with a rim around it half a cubit broad, and its base one cubit round about. The steps of the altar shall face east.”
And he said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord God: These are the ordinances for the altar: On the day when it is erected for offering burnt offerings upon it and for throwing blood against it, you shall give to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who draw near to me to minister to me, says the Lord God, a bull for a sin offering. And you shall take some of its blood, and put it on the four horns of the altar, and on the four corners of the ledge, and upon the rim round about; thus you shall cleanse the altar and make atonement for it. You shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and it shall be burnt in the appointed place belonging to the temple, outside the sacred area. And on the second day you shall offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin offering; and the altar shall be cleansed, as it was cleansed with the bull. When you have finished cleansing it, you shall offer a bull without blemish and a ram from the flock without blemish. You shall present them before the Lord, and the priests shall sprinkle salt upon them and offer them up as a burnt offering to the Lord. For seven days you shall provide daily a goat for a sin offering; also a bull and a ram from the flock, without blemish, shall be provided. Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and purify it, and so consecrate it. And when they have completed these days, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer upon the altar your burnt offerings and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, says the Lord God.”
The description and measurements of the new temple are both complex and staggering. The outer walls form a square with priestly kitchens for preparing sacrifices and food on each corner. On the four sides of the temple complex, a total of thirty chambers line the perimeter wall. The actual temple and inner courtyard is a smaller version of the outer walls, three gates (east, north, and south), and outer courtyard. As Ezekiel walks in a westerly direction from the outer east gate, he ascends a set of stairs that leads to the outer courtyard where he then goes up another staircase to the inner courtyard and altar where he then finds a third staircase leading to the temple portico and the two holy and most holy chambers of the Eternal’s sanctuary.
Ezekiel’s mysterious tour guide first begins at the eastern outer gate facing the rising sun. Then he takes Ezekiel to the outer courtyard where he measures the north gate before taking him to the south gate for its measurements. They then enter the inner courtyard via its south gate. Now at the inner courtyard, they follow the same path of measuring the east and north gates. Finally, after exiting the north gate of the inner courtyard, they move to the original east gate of the outer courtyard where Ezekiel witnesses the awesome return of the Eternal’s presence.
40During the 25th year of our exile (which was the 14th year after Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem), at the beginning of the year on the 10th day of the month, the Eternal took hold of me and brought me to the ruined city. In the visions God showed me, He carried me into the land of Israel and put me on top of a very high mountain. Southward, there was a building that looked like a city unto itself. God led me to that place, and there I saw a man whose appearance gleamed as if he were made of bronze. He stood at the structure’s gate with a linen tape for long measurements and a reed for short measurements.
The Man(to Ezekiel): Son of man, sharpen your senses! See with your eyes, and listen with your ears! Take notice of everything I am about to show you, because you are here to see what I do and to relay it all to the people of Israel.
The measuring reed is a long cubit, at 20 to 21 inches, rather than a short cubit at 18 inches. The sheer grandeur of this new temple and city and its surrounding land—along with its most prominent, divine dweller—calls for nothing less than royal measurements.
I saw a wall surrounding the temple. The measuring reed in the man’s hand was about 10½ feet long. He measured the wall and found it to be about 10½ feet thick and 10½ feet high. He walked around to the wall of the eastern gate and climbed its steps. He measured the depth of the gate’s entrance, and it was 10½ feet deep as well.
Inside the gate, the side guard chambers on each side were about 10½ feet square, with 8¾-feet-thick walls between each of them. The threshold of the gate entrance nearest to the portico that faced the temple was about 10½ feet deep. Then he measured the portico that faced the temple; it was also 10½ feet deep. But the portico on the inner side of the gate complex was 14 feet with columns of 3½ feet. The eastern gate had 3 chambers on each side. All 3 chambers, as well as all of the columns, had the exact same measurements. Then he measured the entrance of the east gate: it was 17½ feet wide and 22¾ feet long. The short barrier stood in front of each guard chamber; it was 21 inches high on both sides. The chambers themselves were 10½ feet square. He then measured the distance between the top of the back wall of one chamber to the top of the wall opposite of it: 43¾ feet. Then he measured the length of the gate-complex portico at 35 feet, which stretched to the outer courtyard. The measurement from the outer courtyard gate entrance to the farthest end of the outer courtyard at the inner portico of the inner east gate was 87½ feet. This inner gateway complex had windows with multiple recessed frames toward the side chambers and columns, as did the portico. And all the columns were decorated with palm trees.
Then the man with the appearance of bronze led me to the outer courtyard. There, I saw a paved walkway all around the courtyard. Thirty chambers had been built on all four sides of the outer courtyard facing the walkway. This lower walkway for the outer courtyard was laid in front of the chambers and connected all the gates and was as wide as the gates were long. The man then measured the area between the inner entrance of the lower east gate and the outside of the inner courtyard upper gate. It was about 175 feet on the east and the north.
Then I followed my guide to the north gateway at the outer courtyard and measured its length and width. It had 3 chambers on each side, and all of their columns and porticos had the exact same measurements as the first east gate: 87½ feet long and 43¾ feet wide. All its windows, its porticos, and its decorations of palm trees had the exact same measurements as the east gate. There were 7 steps from the outside of the gate complex leading up to it, and the portico was on the opposite side of the gate from the steps. Facing the lower north gate was another gate that led to the inner courtyard, just as an inner court gate faced the lower east gate. The man measured the distance between one gate and the one opposite of it, and the distance was 175 feet.
Then I followed him south along the wall where I saw the south gate. He took measurements of its columns and porticos and found that they were the same size as the other gates’. The gate complex and its porticos had the same kind of windows with multiple recessed frames all around it as the other ones did. It was 87½ feet long and 43¾ feet wide. There were 7 steps leading up to it, and the portico was on the opposite side of the gate from the steps. The columns on both sides were adorned with palm trees. There was also a lower south gate that led to the outer courtyard facing the upper south gate, and the man measured the distance between one gate and the one opposite of it, on the southern side. The distance was 175 feet.
Then I followed him to the inner court across from the south gate. He took measurements of the gate complex and discovered it had the exact same dimensions as the others. Its chambers, columns, and porticos were the exact same as the others. The gate and its porticos had the same kind of windows with multiple recessed frames all around. It was 87½ feet long and 43¾ feet wide. The interior gate had porticos all around that were 43¾ feet wide and 8¾ feet deep. Eight steps led up to its porticos, which faced the outer courtyard. Palm trees decorated the columns.
Then I followed my guide to the inner courtyard on the eastern side, and he took measurements of the gate complex and discovered it had the exact same measurements as the others. Its chambers, columns, and porticos were the exact same as the others. The gate and its porticos had the same kind of windows with multiple recessed frames all around. It was 87½ feet long and 43¾ feet wide. Eight steps led up to its porticos, which faced the outer courtyard. Palm trees decorated the columns.
Then I followed the man around the inner court to the interior north gate. He took measurements and discovered it had the exact same measurements as the others. Its chambers, columns, and porticos were the exact same as the others. The gate had windows with multiple recessed frames all around. It was 87½ feet long and 43¾ feet wide. Eight steps led up to its porticos, which faced the outer courtyard. Palm trees decorated the columns.
Near the porticos in each of the inner gates was a chamber with a doorway. There the burnt offerings were cleansed after their slaughter but before their offering. Inside of the portico, there were four tables (two on each side) where the whole burnt offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings were slaughtered. There were also two tables outside at each outer wall of the portico where one would climb up to the north gate. This means there were eight tables in all—four inside each gate and four outside. These tables were where the offerings were slaughtered. There were also four tables carved from stone used for the burnt offerings. They were 31½ inches square and 21 inches high and held the flesh of the offerings. The tools used to slaughter the sacrificial animals for burnt offerings rested on these tables. Hooks, about 3 inches long, were attached to the walls around the stone tables. The meats for the burnt offerings were prepared on these tables.
There were two chambers for the singers and the priests within the inner court, just outside the inner gate. One chamber was on the side of the north gate and faced the south. The other chamber was on the side of the south gate and faced the north.
The Man(to Ezekiel): The chamber that faces south is designated for the priests who take care of the temple. But the chamber that faces north is set aside for the priests who take care of the altar. They are all sons of Zadok and are the only Levites allowed to approach the Eternal and to minister before Him at the altar.
Then the man took measurements of the inner courtyard: it was 175 feet square. The altar sat in front of the temple in the inner courtyard.
Then I followed him to the temple’s portico, and he took the measurements of the portico’s columns. They were 8¾ feet wide on both sides. The gate entrance was [24½ feet deep, and the walls were] 5¼ feet wide on both sides. The portico was 30 feet long and 18 feet wide. There were steps leading up to the portico, as well as columns like the Jachin and Boaz columns of Solomon’s temple on both sides.
41Then I followed the man whose appearance was like bronze to the outer nave of the temple; he took measurements of the pillars. Each was 10½ feet wide on each side.
Now Ezekiel is at the outer porch or nave of the actual temple structure. He watches as the man measures the holy place and then proceeds deeper into the recesses of the most holy place. Ezekiel cannot enter these areas because he is not one of the “sons of Zadok” (40:46).
The entrance was 17½ feet wide. The walls on both sides of the entrance were 8¾ feet wide. He measured the outer nave of the temple and discovered it was 70 feet long and 35 feet wide. Then he went inside by himself and took measurements of the columns of the entrance to the inner sanctuary. Each column was 3½ feet wide, the entrance was 10½ feet wide, and the [walls on each side of it were] 12¼ feet long. Then the man took measurements of the inner sanctuary, which was 35 feet long and wide.
The Man: This inner sanctuary is the most holy place in all the temple.
Then he walked over to the temple wall and took its measurements and the measurements of each chamber surrounding the temple. The wall of the temple was 10½ feet thick, and each side chamber was 7 feet wide. The side chambers were built in 3 stories (one right on top of the other), and there were 30 chambers on each level. The chambers on the second story were wider than those on the first, and the chambers on the third story were wider than the second’s. To keep the second and third stories from overhanging the temple’s sacred space, the wall separating the temple’s inner chamber and the side chambers widened from top to bottom. One entered the third story by climbing stairs through the first and second stories. I noticed the temple floor was higher than the rest of the complex. This raised foundation was also the foundation of the side chambers, and it was 10½ feet thick. The wall on the outside of the side chambers was 8¾ feet thick. The open area between the temple’s side chambers and the priests’ chambers circumscribed the temple, 35 feet around. In that open space were two entrances to the temple’s side chambers. One of the entrances was on the north side, and the other one was on the south side. The open area was exactly 8¾ feet wide all around the temple.
On the west end of the complex there was a structure that faced the temple courtyard. It was 122½ feet wide and 157½ feet long. Its walls were 8¾ feet thick. Then the man measured the temple and discovered that it was 175 feet long. The courtyard of the temple plus the western structure and its walls measured 175 feet as well. The eastern courtyard in front of the temple was 175 feet wide. Then he measured the length of the western structure and the galleries on both sides that faced the courtyard west of the temple. It, too, was 175 feet.
The temple’s nave and outer portico were paneled. The recessed windows were trimmed in wood. The interior walls and the space between the floor and the windows were all covered with wood. Images of winged guardians and palm trees were carved into the wood above the entrance that led to the sanctuary and also all over the walls of the inner and outer sanctuaries. The two symbols alternated palm tree, guardian, palm tree, etc. Each winged guardian was carved with only two faces: the face of a man peered in the direction of the palm tree on one side, and the face of a lion gazed in the direction of the palm tree on the other side. This relief encompassed the entire temple. Carvings of winged guardians and palm trees covered the wall of the sanctuary in the space between the floor and the top of the entrance.
The doorframes leading into the outer sanctuary were square, as were the ones leading to the inner sanctuary. The altar was made of wood. It was 5¼ feet high and 3½ feet square. All of it—its base, horns, and sides—was made of wood.
The Man(to Ezekiel): This is the table that sits before the Eternal.
The outer nave and the inner holy place each had a double door. Each door was made of two panels hinged together. On the doors of the outer sanctuary were carvings of winged guardians and palm trees—the exact same images that were on the walls. A wooden roof hung over the front of the outside portico. On both side walls of the portico were windows that had carvings of palm trees. There were roofs over all the side chambers of the temple.
The Lord spoke his word to me. He said: “Human being, turn toward Gog of the land of Magog. He is the chief ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him. Say, ‘The Lord God says this: I am against you, Gog, chief ruler of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around. I will put hooks in your jaws. And I will bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen. All of them will be finely dressed. They will be a large army with large and small shields. All of them will have swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them. All of them will have shields and helmets. There will also be Gomer with all its troops. And there will be the nation of Togarmah from the far north. It will have all its troops. There will be many other nations with you.
“‘Be prepared. Be prepared, you and all the armies that have come together to make you their commander. After many days you will be called for service. After many years you will come into a land that has been rebuilt from war. The people in the land will be gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel. Those mountains were empty for a long time. These people were brought out from the nations. They will all be living in safety. And you will go up like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land. It will be you, all your troops and many nations with you.
“‘This is what the Lord God says: At that time ideas will come into your mind. You will think up an evil plan. You will say, “I will march against a land of towns without walls. I will attack those who are at rest and live in safety. All of them live without city walls. They have no gate bars or gates. I will capture valuable things and take good things. I will turn my power against the rebuilt ruins that now have people living in them. I will go against these people who have been gathered from the nations. They have become rich with farm animals and property. They live at the center of the world.” Sheba, Dedan and the traders of Tarshish, with all its villages, will say this to you: “Did you come to capture valuable things? Did you bring your troops together to take things? Did you bring them to carry away silver and gold? Did you bring them to take away farm animals and property?”’
“So prophesy, human being, and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Lord God says: Now that my people Israel are living in safety, you will know about it. You will come from your place in the far north. And many people will be with you. All of them will ride on horses. You will be a large group with a mighty army. You will come against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. This will happen in the days to come. I will bring you against my land. Gog, then the nations will know me. They will see me show my greatness by what I do through you.
“‘This is what the Lord God says: You are the one about whom I spoke in past days. I spoke through my servants the prophets of Israel. These prophets of Israel prophesied for many years. They said that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen: On the day Gog comes against the land of Israel, my anger will become very great, says the Lord God. With jealousy and great anger I tell you this. At that time there will surely be a great earthquake in Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the sky will shake with fear before me. The wild animals and everything that crawls on the ground will shake with fear. And all the people on the earth will shake with fear before me. Also the mountains will be thrown down. And the cliffs will fall. Every wall will fall to the ground. And I will call for a war against Gog on all my mountains, says the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will punish Gog with disease and death. I will send a heavy rain, with hailstones and burning sulfur on Gog. I will send it on his army and on the many nations with him. Then I will show how great I am. I will show my holiness. And I will make myself known to the many nations that watch. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’
“Human being, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am against you, Gog, chief ruler of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and lead you. I will bring you from the far north. I will send you to attack the mountains of Israel. I will knock your bow out of your left hand. I will throw down your arrows from your right hand. You will fall dead on the mountains of Israel. You, all your troops and the nations with you will fall dead. I will let you be food for every bird that eats meat and every wild animal. You will die in the country. I have spoken, says the Lord God. I will send fire on Magog and those who live in safety on the coastlands. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
“‘And I will make myself known among my people Israel. I will not let myself be dishonored anymore. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord. They will know I am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will happen, says the Lord God. The day I talked about is coming.
“‘Then those who live in the cities of Israel will go out. They will make fires with the enemy’s weapons and burn them. They will burn both large and small shields. They will burn bows and arrows, war clubs and spears. They will use the weapons to burn in their fires for seven years. They won’t need to take wood from the field or chop firewood from the forests. This is because they will make fires with the weapons. They will take the valuable things of those who took their valuable things. They will grab the things of those who grabbed their things, says the Lord God.
“‘On that day I will give Gog a place to be buried in Israel. It will be the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea. It will block the road for travelers. This is because Gog and all his army will be buried there. People will call it The Valley of Gog’s Army.
“‘The people of Israel will be burying them for seven months to make the land clean again. All the people of the land will bury them. The people of Israel will be honored on the day of my victory, says the Lord God.
“‘They will choose men to work through the land to make it clean. With others they will bury Gog’s soldiers still lying dead on the ground. After the seven months are finished, they will still search. They will go through the land. If one person sees a human bone, he will put a marker by it. The sign will stay there until the gravediggers come. They will bury the bone in The Valley of Gog’s Army. A city will be there named Hamonah. So they will make the land clean again.’
“Human being, this is what the Lord God says: Speak to every kind of bird and wild animal: ‘Come together, come! Come together from all around to my sacrifice. I will prepare it for you. It is a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. Then you can eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of mighty men. You will drink the blood of the rulers of the earth. You will do it as people eat all the fat animals from Bashan: male sheep, lambs, goats and bulls. You will eat and drink from my sacrifice which I have made ready for you. So you will eat fat until you are full. You will drink blood until you are drunk. At my table you will eat until you are full of horses and riders and all kinds of soldiers,’ says the Lord God.
“And I will show my greatness among the nations. All the nations will feel my power when I punish them. From that day on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. And the nations will know Israel was taken away captive because they turned against me. So I turned away from them. And I let their enemies defeat them. All of them died in war. I punished them for their uncleanness and their sins. I turned away from them.
“So this is what the Lord God says: Now I will bring the people of Jacob back from captivity. I will have mercy on the whole nation of Israel. I will not let them dishonor me. The people will forget their shame. And they will forget how they rejected me. They will live in safety on their own land. No one will make them afraid. I will bring the people back from other lands. I will gather them from the lands of their enemies. That is how I will show that I am holy through my people. And many nations will see that I am holy. Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God. This is because I sent them into captivity among the nations. But then I brought them back to their own land. And I didn’t leave any behind. I will not turn away from them anymore. I will put my Spirit into the people of Israel, says the Lord God.”
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He also did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, till He finally cast them out from His presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled and went out of the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden, even though the Chaldeans were near the city all around. And they went by way of the plain.
But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and they overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. All his army was scattered from him. So they took the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he pronounced judgment on him. Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. And he killed all the princes of Judah in Riblah. He also put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in bronze fetters, took him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive some of the poor people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poor of the land as vinedressers and farmers.
The bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried all their bronze to Babylon. They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the bowls, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered. The basins, the firepans, the bowls, the pots, the lampstands, the spoons, and the cups, whatever was solid gold and whatever was solid silver, the captain of the guard took away. The two pillars, one Sea, the twelve bronze bulls which were under it, and the carts, which King Solomon had made for the house of the Lord—the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure. Now concerning the pillars: the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, a measuring line of twelve cubits could measure its circumference, and its thickness was four fingers; it was hollow. A capital of bronze was on it; and the height of one capital was five cubits, with a network and pomegranates all around the capital, all of bronze. The second pillar, with pomegranates was the same. There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates, all around on the network, were one hundred.
The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers. He also took out of the city an officer who had charge of the men of war, seven men of the king’s close associates who were found in the city, the principal scribe of the army who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the midst of the city. And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took these and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. Then the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land.
These are the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Jews; in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred and thirty-two persons; in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred and forty-five persons. All the persons were four thousand six hundred.
Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
This is what the Lord says: “I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia. Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble. Don’t let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. Don’t spare even her best soldiers! Let her army be completely destroyed. They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”
Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don’t get trapped in her punishment! It is the Lord’s time for vengeance; he will repay her in full. Babylon has been a gold cup in the Lord’s hands, a cup that made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon’s wine, and it drove them all mad. But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her. Give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed. We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land. For her punishment reaches to the heavens; it is so great it cannot be measured. The Lord has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem everything the Lord our God has done.
Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the Lord has inspired the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple. Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the Lord will fulfill all his plans against Babylon. You are a city by a great river, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: “Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields swarming with locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.”
The Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.
The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
“You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the Lord. “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies— destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and young women. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and officers.
“I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord.
“Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the Lord. “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the Lord.
Raise a signal flag to the nations. Sound the battle cry! Mobilize them all against Babylon. Prepare them to fight against her! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander, and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts! Bring against her the armies of the nations— led by the kings of the Medes and all their captains and officers.
The earth trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks, their courage gone. They have become like women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates. The news is passed from one runner to the next as the messengers hurry to tell the king that his city has been captured. All the escape routes are blocked. The marshes have been set aflame, and the army is in a panic.
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin.”
“King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and drained us of strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country. Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,” say the people of Zion. “Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,” says Jerusalem.
This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem:
“I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, as well as her springs, and Babylon will become a heap of ruins, haunted by jackals. She will be an object of horror and contempt, a place where no one lives. Her people will roar together like strong lions. They will growl like lion cubs. And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, and they will never wake up again,” says the Lord. “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed.
“How Babylon is fallen— great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! Now she has become an object of horror among the nations. The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its crashing waves. Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wasteland where no one lives or even passes by. And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and make him vomit up all he has eaten. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen!
“Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the Lord’s fierce anger. But do not panic; don’t be afraid when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Violence will erupt in the land as the leaders fight against each other. For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets. Then the heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon,” says the Lord. “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed. Get out, all you who have escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch—flee while you can! Remember the Lord, though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem.”
“We are ashamed,” the people say. “We are insulted and disgraced because the Lord’s Temple has been defiled by foreigners.”
“Yes,” says the Lord, “but the time is coming when I will destroy Babylon’s idols. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land. Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens and makes her fortifications incredibly strong, I will still send enemies to plunder her. I, the Lord, have spoken!
“Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians. For the Lord is destroying Babylon. He will silence her loud voice. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city. Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment; he always repays in full. I will make her officials and wise men drunk, along with her captains, officers, and warriors. They will fall asleep and never wake up again!” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her massive gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!”
The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. Then say, ‘Lord, you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’”