5 Eternal One: Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a straight razor to shave your head and beard. Then take scales and divide the hair up by weight into thirds. When the days prescribed for the siege are over, take a third of the hair and burn it in a fire within the city walls. Then take another third and thrash it with a sword all around the city. Scatter the last third of the hair to the wind. Then I will draw My sword and chase them! Keep a few strands of the hairs and tie them to the edges of your garment. Take some of these extra strands of hair and fling them into the fire to burn them up. From there, a fire will spread to the whole house of Israel.
This is what the Eternal One says:
Eternal One: This stands for Jerusalem. I have placed her at the center of all nations, with countries surrounding her. Yet she has defied My teachings and acted more wickedly than any of the other nations living around her; she has rejected My decrees and ignored My guidance. This is what I, the Eternal Lord, have to say: You have been more rebellious toward My guidance and decrees than any other nation, choosing not to live even under the ethical and moral standards of other nations, and certainly not under My laws. Therefore, I say, I am no longer your ally, Jerusalem. I am your enemy! I am going to punish you in front of all nations. Because of your shocking actions, I am going to do something I have never done before and will never do again: The day will come when fathers will devour their sons, and sons will feed off their fathers’ flesh. This is how I will punish you and scatter the few of you who survive to the wind.
When a powerful army surrounds the walls of a city, it cuts off the people’s access to their fields, animals, and water sources. If the siege lasts long enough, death is inevitable for those inside the city walls. As the bodies pile up and hunger becomes unbearable, cannibalism may be the only way to stay alive. There is something horrid about cannibalism. The notion that parents may be reduced to eating their children disrupts every natural impulse a parent has. But Scripture teaches that those who break God’s law and violate His holiness may be cursed with this punishment (Leviticus 26:29).
Eternal One: Consequently, as surely as I live, because you have degraded My holy sanctuary with all your detestable images and shocking actions, I will leave you. I will shed no tears of compassion over you. One-third of your people will suffer during the siege, starving to death or dying from disease within the city walls. Another third of you will die in battles outside of the city walls as they try to escape. The remaining third will be scattered to the winds, and I will draw My sword and chase after them.
After this My anger will subside. I will not be satisfied until I have unleashed My fiery judgment on them. Then they will know that I, the Eternal One, am the one who commanded all of this, for I jealously desire their devotion. When I am finished with you, your nation will lie in ruins. You will be mocked and ridiculed by the nations around you and those who pass by. You will become a byword to the nations, a warning to the world as they watch your horrific downfall when I punish you with anger, with fury, and with fiery judgment. I, the Eternal One, have spoken. When I shoot My deadly arrows of famine and war at you, I will shoot to kill. I’ll curse you with more famine and cut off your food supply. And when the famine has run its course, I will send savage beasts to attack you and eat the rest of your children. Plague, disease, murder, and bloodshed will pass through your land as I wage war against you!
I, the Eternal, have spoken.
6 The word of the Eternal came to me about Israel’s coming destruction.
The personification of the mountains and land of Israel emphasizes the severity of the situation. The actions of God’s wayward people not only defile them—they defile the land.
Eternal One: Son of man, turn your gaze to the mountains of Israel; prophesy against them. Tell the mountains of Israel to listen to the word of the Eternal Lord. I have a message for the high mountains and green hills, riverbeds and lush, fertile valleys: I am bringing the weapons of war against you, and I will demolish the shrines on your heights. Your sacrificial altars will be ruined, your incense altars smashed. I will throw down your slain before your lifeless idols. I will lay the remains of the dead Israelites in front of your lifeless idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars so the place is contaminated with death. In every place you live, the towns will be left in ruins and the high places will be rubble so that every place becomes a desolate wasteland. Your sacrificial altars will be destroyed and abandoned, your idols crushed and flattened, your incense altars smashed, and all you have created will be wiped out. Your towns will be full of corpses. Then you will know I am the Eternal One.
But I will spare a few of you, and those who escape My punishing war will be scattered throughout other lands and nations. In the nations where they have been taken as exiles, those who have been spared will remember Me—how I have been wounded by their promiscuous hearts that turned away from Me, how I have been hurt by their wandering eyes that desired lifeless idols. They will hate themselves for the evil they have done and for their detestable actions. Then they will know I am the Eternal One. They will understand I did not utter empty threats when I said I would bring disaster on them.
Here is what I, the Eternal Lord, have to say: Clap your hands together, stomp your feet, and shout, How awful it will be for the people of Israel because of all the evil, shocking actions they have committed. They will be slain. War, famine, and disease will fall upon them! Those who are far away will die of disease; those who are near will fall in battle; those who are spared will die of starvation. This is how I will spend My wrath on them. After all the destruction, you will know I am the Eternal—when the rotting corpses of their slain are spread out among their fallen altars and shattered idols, on every green hill and high mountaintop, beneath every green tree and leafy oak, any place they offered sweet incense to their breathless idols. Wherever they live, I will stretch out My hand against them and make their land an empty wasteland, from the wilderness to Diblah. Then they will know I am the Eternal One.