12 Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, you live among people who refuse to obey me. They have eyes to see what I have done for them, but they don’t see those things. They have ears to hear what I told them to do, but they don’t hear my commands, because they are a rebellious people. So, son of man, pack some things as if you are leaving on a trip. Pretend that you are a prisoner being taken far away. Do this during the day so that everyone can see you. Even though these people refuse to listen to me, maybe when they see you going away, they will understand what I have been trying to tell them.
“During the day, take your bags outside so that the people can see you. Then in the evening, pretend you are going away. Act as if you are a prisoner going to a faraway country. While the people are watching, make a hole in the wall and go out through that hole in the wall. At night, put your bag on your shoulder and leave. Cover your face so that you cannot see where you are going. You must do these things so that the people can see you, because I am using you as an example to the family of Israel.”
So I did as I was commanded. During the day, I took my bags and acted as if I were going to a faraway country. That evening, I used my hands and made a hole in the wall. During the night, I put my bag on my shoulder and left. I did this so that all the people could see me.
The next morning, the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, did the people of Israel—those people who always refuse to obey—ask you what you were doing? Tell them that this is what the Lord God said. This sad message is about the leader of Jerusalem and all the people of Israel who live there. Tell them, ‘I am an example for all of you. What I have done will happen to you.’ You will be forced to go to a faraway country as prisoners. And your leader will make a hole in the wall and sneak out at night. He will cover his face so that people will not recognize him. His eyes will not be able to see where he is going. He will try to escape, but I will catch him! He will be caught in my trap. Then I will bring him to Babylonia—the land of the Chaldeans. But he will not be able to see where he is going. I will force the king’s people to live in the foreign countries around Israel, and I will scatter his army to the winds. The enemy soldiers will chase after them. Then they will know that I am the Lord. They will know that I scattered them among the nations. They will know that I forced them to go to other countries.
“But I will let a few of the people live. They will not die from the disease, hunger, and war. I will let them live so that they can tell other people about the terrible things they did against me. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, you must act as if you are very frightened. You must shake when you eat your food. You must act worried and afraid when you drink your water. You must say this to the common people: ‘This is what the Lord God says to the people living in Jerusalem and in the other parts of Israel. You will be very worried while you eat your food. You will be terrified while you drink your water, because everything in your country will be destroyed! This will happen because the people living there are so violent. Many people live in your cities now, but those cities will be ruined. Your whole country will be destroyed! Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, why do people quote this saying about the land of Israel:
‘Trouble will not come soon;
what is seen in visions will not come’?
“Tell the people that the Lord God will end that saying. They will not say that about Israel anymore. Now they will quote this saying:
‘Trouble will come soon;
what is seen in visions will happen.’
“There will not be any more false visions in Israel. There will not be any more magicians telling things that don’t come true. That’s because I am the Lord, and if I say something will happen, it will happen! I will not wait any longer. Those troubles are coming soon—in your own lifetime. Hear me, you people who always refuse to obey! When I say something, I make it happen.” This is what the Lord God said.
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, the people of Israel think that the visions I give you are for a time far in the future. They think you are talking about things that will happen many years from now. So you must tell them this: ‘The Lord God says, I will not delay any longer. If I say something will happen, it will happen!’” This is what the Lord God said.
13 Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, you must speak to the prophets of Israel for me. They are only saying what they want to say. You must speak to them. Tell them this: ‘Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord God says. Bad things will happen to you foolish prophets. You are following your own spirits. You are not telling people what you really see in visions.
“‘Israel, your prophets are false prophets. They are like jackals hunting for food among the ruins of a city. You have not put soldiers near the broken walls of the city. You have not built walls to protect the family of Israel. So when the day comes for the Lord to punish you, you will lose the war!
“‘Your prophets say they have seen visions. They did their magic to see what will happen next. But everything they said would happen is a lie. They claim to speak for the Lord, but the Lord did not send them. And they still think that what they said is what will happen.
“‘If you prophets saw visions, they were not true. And all you got from your magic was lies! So how can you say that the Lord told you those things? I did not speak to you!’”
So now, the Lord God really will speak. He says, “You told lies. You saw visions that were not true. So now I am against you!” This is what the Lord God said. “I will punish those prophets whose visions are false and who lie about the future. I will remove them from my people. Their names will not be in the list of the family of Israel. They will never again come to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord God!
“Again and again those false prophets lied to my people. They said there would be peace, but there is no peace. The people need to fix the walls and prepare for war. But they only slap a thin coat of plaster over the broken walls. Tell them that I will send hail and a strong rain. The wind will blow hard, and a tornado will come. Then the wall will fall down. When the wall falls down, the people will ask the prophets, ‘What happened to the plaster you put on the wall?’” The Lord God says, “I am angry and I will send a storm against you. I am angry and I will send a strong rain. I am angry and I will make hail fall from the sky and completely destroy you! You put plaster on the wall, but I will destroy the whole wall. I will pull it to the ground. The wall will fall on you, and then you will know that I am the Lord. I will finish showing my anger against the wall and those who put plaster on it. Then I will say, ‘There is no wall, and there are no workers to put plaster on it.’
“All these things will happen to the false prophets of Israel. They speak to the people of Jerusalem and say there will be peace, but there is no peace.” This is what the Lord God said.
God said, “Son of man, look at the women prophets in Israel. They say the things they want to say, so you must speak against them for me. You must say this to them: ‘This is what the Lord God says: Bad things will happen to you women. You sew cloth bracelets for people to wear on their arms. You make special scarves for people to wear on their heads. You say those things have magic powers to control people’s lives. You trap the people only to keep yourselves alive! You make them think I am not important. You turn them against me for a few handfuls of barley and a few scraps of bread. You tell lies to my people. They love to listen to lies. You kill those who should live, and you let people live who should die. So this is what the Lord God says to you: You make those cloth bracelets to trap people, but I will set them free. I will tear those bracelets off your arms, and the people will be free from you. They will be like birds flying from a trap. And I will tear up those scarves and save my people from your power. They will escape from your trap, and you will know that I am the Lord.
“‘You prophets tell lies. Your lies hurt good people—I did not want to hurt them! You support the wicked and encourage them. You don’t tell them to change their lives. You don’t try to save their lives! So you will not see any more useless visions or do any more magic. I will save my people from your power, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”