July 22, 2022 Read Together

July 22, 2022 Read Together

July 22, 2022

Ezekiel 31

Egypt is not Assyria

In the eleventh year, on the first day of the third month, the Lord’s word came to me: Human one, say to Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, and his troops:
With whom do you compare in your greatness?
Consider Assyria, a cedar of Lebanon:

    beautiful branches, dense shade, towering height;
    indeed, its top went up between the clouds.
Waters nourished it; the deep raised it up,
    because its streams flowed around the place where it was planted.
From there, water trickled down to all the other trees of the field.
    And so it became higher than all the trees of the field.
Its branches became abundant; its boughs grew long.
    Because of the plentiful water, it grew freely.
All the birds in the sky made nests in its branches;
    all the beasts of the field gave birth under its boughs,
        and in its shade, every great nation lived.
It became beautiful in its greatness and in its lush foliage,
    because it took root in plentiful water.
No cedar was its equal in God’s garden.
    The fir trees didn’t have anything like its branches,
        and the plane trees had nothing like its boughs.
None of the trees in God’s garden could compare to it in its beauty.
As for its beauty—I made it so, with its abundant foliage.
All the trees of Eden envied it,
    all that were in God’s garden.

10 So now the Lord God proclaims:

Consider the fate of those who tower high!
When it allowed its branches to reach up among the clouds,
    it became arrogant.
11 So I handed it over
to the most powerful nation,
    who continually acted treacherously against it.
I banished it!
12 Foreigners, the worst of the nations, cut it down
    and left it to lie among the hills.
All its branches fell among the valleys,
    and its boughs were broken off in the earth’s deep ravines.
All the earth’s peoples departed from its shade and abandoned it.
13 On its trunk roost all the birds in the sky,
    and on its boughs lie all the beasts of the field.

14 All this has happened so that no other well-watered tree would tower high or allow its branches to reach among the clouds. Nor would their leaders achieve the towering stature of such well-watered trees. Certainly, all of them are consigned to death, to the world below, among human beings who go down to the pit.

15 The Lord God proclaims: On the day that it went down to the underworld, I caused mourning. I blocked off the deep sea against it. I dried up its rivers and restrained the mighty waters. I made Lebanon go into mourning for it, and all the trees of the field languished on its account. 16 When it was felled, the nations quaked at the sound. When I cast it down into the underworld, with those who go down to the pit, all the trees of Eden were comforted in the world below, the choicest and the best of Lebanon, all the trees that depended on water. 17 His allies, those among the nations who lived under his shade, these also went down with him to the underworld, to those who are slain by the sword.

18 Are you like any of these in glory or greatness among Eden’s trees? Then you too will go down with Eden’s trees to the world below. You will lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and his entire horde. This is what the Lord God says.

Ezekiel 32

Egypt the crocodile

In the twelfth year, on the first day of the twelfth month, the Lord’s word came to me: Human one, sing a lament for Pharaoh, Egypt’s king. Say to him:

You consider yourself a young lion among the nations,

    but you are like the sea monster!
You thrash about in your rivers,
    you roil the waters with your feet,
    and you muddy your rivers.

The Lord God proclaims:

In the company of many peoples
    I will spread my net over you,
        and I will haul you up in my dragnet.
I will cast you out on the earth
    and throw you on the open ground.
    I will cause all the birds in the sky to settle on you,
    and all the beasts of the earth to devour you.
Your flesh I will set upon the mountains,
    and I will fill the valleys with your gore.
With your blood I will soak your irrigated land,
    and the streambeds will be filled with you.
When you are snuffed out, I will cover the sky,
    and I will darken the stars.
I will cover the sun with a cloud,
    and the moon won’t radiate its light.
As for the shining lights of the heavens,
    I will make them dark over you,
    and set darkness over your land.
This is what the Lord God says.

I will trouble the hearts of many peoples
    when I bring about your destruction
    with nations from lands you didn’t know.
10 I will make many peoples appalled because of you.
    Their kings will shudder violently on your account
    when I brandish my sword before them.
They will tremble for their lives again and again
    on the day of your downfall.

11 The Lord God proclaims: The sword of the king of Babylon is coming against you! 12 I will make your hordes fall by the swords of mighty men, the most terrifying of the nations, all of them. They will bring an end to Egypt’s pride, and all of its hordes will be destroyed. 13 I will remove all its livestock from beside the plentiful waters so that neither human foot nor livestock’s hoof will trouble it again. 14 At that time, I will allow the waters to run clear, and make its rivers flow like oil. This is what the Lord God says. 15 When I turn the land of Egypt into a wasteland and the land is deprived of all that fills it, and when I strike down those who live there, then they will know that I am the Lord. 16 This is a lament, and it will be sung as a lament. The daughters of the nations will lament for Egypt, and they will also lament for Egypt’s hordes. This is what the Lord God says.

17 In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the first month, the Lord’s word came to me: 18 Human one, mourn for Egypt’s hordes.

Send Egypt down
    with the mighty nations subject to it,
    to the world below,
    among those who go down to the pit.
19 Whom do you surpass in beauty?
    Go down and take your bed with the uncircumcised,
20     among those who fall slain by the sword.

A sword is appointed, and all his hordes will carry him off. 21 The mighty chieftains, those who once came to his aid, will speak to him from the middle of the underworld, for the uncircumcised have gone down and have lain down, slain by the sword.

Vanished glory

22 Assyria is there, and all its assembly round about his grave,
    all of them slain, fallen by the sword,
23     who were assigned graves in the deepest region of the pit.
His assembly surrounded his grave,
    all of them slain, fallen by the sword,
        who caused terror in the land of the living.

24 Elam is there, her entire horde round about her grave,
    all of them slain, fallen by the sword,
    who went down uncircumcised to the world below,
    who caused terror in the land of the living.
    They bore their shame like those who go down to the pit.
25 Among the slain they made a bed for her,
    with all her hordes round about her grave,
    all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword,
    for they caused terror in the land of the living.
    They bore their shame like those who go down to the pit;
    in the midst of the slain she was placed.

26 Meshech and Tubal are there, and all their hordes around their graves,
    all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword,
    for they caused terror in the land of the living.

27 They don’t lie with the mighty men fallen among the uncircumcised. When they went down to the underworld with their weapons of war, they put their swords under their heads and their shields over their bones. The terror of the mighty men is in the land of the living.

28 But you, you will be broken among the uncircumcised, and you will lie with those who are slain by the sword.

29 Edom is there, its kings and all its princes,
    who, though strong, were put with those slain by the sword.
        They lie with the uncircumcised,
        like those who go down to the pit.

30 All the princes of the north are there,
    and all the Sidonians who went down with the slain;
        in spite of the terror of their strength, they were disgraced.
    They lie uncircumcised with those slain by the sword.
They bore their shame like those who go down to the pit.

31 When Pharaoh sees them,
    he will be sorry for all his hordes who are slain by the sword—
        Pharaoh and all his army.
This is what the Lord God says,
32 Though it was I who put his terror in the land of the living,
    he will be laid out among the uncircumcised,
    with those slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his horde.
This is what the Lord God says.

Ezekiel 33

The lookout

The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, speak to your people and say to them: Suppose I bring a sword against a country, and the people of the land take a certain person from their assembly and make him their lookout. When he sees the sword coming against the land, he blows the trumpet and warns the people. If they hear the sound of the trumpet but don’t heed the warning, when the sword comes and they are taken away, they are responsible for their blood. They heard the sound of the trumpet but didn’t heed the warning, so their blood is on them. If they had paid attention to the warning, they would have saved their lives. If the lookout sees the sword coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet to warn the people, when the sword comes and takes away any of them, they are taken away in their sin, but I’ll hold the lookout responsible for their blood.

You, human one, I’ve made you a lookout for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear me speaking, you must give them warning from me. If I pronounce a death sentence on wicked people, and you don’t warn them to turn from their way, they will die in their guilt, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. But suppose you do warn the wicked of their ways so that they might turn from them. If they don’t turn from their ways, they will die in their guilt, but you will save your life.

10 You, human one, say to the house of Israel: This is what all of you are saying: “How our transgressions and our sins weigh on us! We waste away because of them. How can we live?” 11 Say to them, This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked? If the wicked turn from their ways, they will live. Turn, completely turn from your wicked ways! Why should you die, house of Israel?

12 You, human one, say to your people: The righteousness of the righteous doesn’t rescue them when they begin to sin. Nor does the wickedness of the wicked make them stumble if they turn from their wickedness. If the righteous sin, their righteousness won’t protect them. 13 Even if I’ve told the righteous they will live, none of their righteous deeds will be remembered if they trust in their righteousness and do wrong. They will die because of their evil deeds. 14 And even if I have pronounced a death sentence on the wicked, if they turn from sin and do what is just and right— 15 if they return pledges, make restitution for robbery, and walk in life-giving regulations in order not to sin—they will live and not die. 16 None of the sins they’ve committed will be remembered against them. They’ve done what is just and right, and they will live.

17 Yet your people say, “My Lord’s way doesn’t measure up.” Isn’t it their ways that don’t measure up? 18 When the righteous turn from their righteousness to do wrong, they will die because of it. 19 And when the wicked turn from their wickedness to do what is just and right, it is for that reason they will live. 20 Yet you say, “My Lord’s way doesn’t measure up.” I judge each one of you according to your ways, house of Israel!

News from Jerusalem

21 In the twelfth year, on the fifth day of the tenth month of our exile, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and reported, “The city has fallen!” 22 The Lord’s power was with me in the evening before the survivor arrived, and just before he arrived in the morning, God opened my mouth. So my mouth was opened, and I was no longer speechless.

23 The Lord’s word came to me: 24 Human one, those who live among those ruins in Israel’s fertile land are saying, “Abraham was just one man, and he inherited the land. We are many, so certainly the land has been given to us as an inheritance.”

25 So say to them, The Lord God proclaims: You eat with the blood, you lift your eyes to the idols, and you shed blood. Should you inherit the land? 26 You live by the sword, you observe detestable practices, and every one of you commits adultery. Should you inherit the land?

27 Say to them, The Lord God proclaims: As surely as I live, those in the ruins will fall by the sword, those in the countryside I will give to the wild beasts to consume, and those in the strongholds and caves will die of plague. 28 I will make the land an uninhabitable waste. Its proud strength will come to an end, and Israel’s highlands will become so deserted that no one will cross through them. 29 They will know that I am the Lord when I make the land an uninhabitable waste because of all their detestable practices.

A fickle audience

30 As for you, human one, your people talk about you beside the walls and in their doorways. One by one, they say to each other, “Let’s go hear what sort of message has come from the Lord.” 31 So they come to you as people do, and they sit before you as my people. They listen to your words, but they refuse to do them. Though they speak of their longing for me, they act out of their own interests and opinions. 32 To them you are like a singer of love songs with a lovely voice and skilled technique. They listen to your words, but no one does them. 33 When this comes—and it is certainly coming—they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Ezekiel 34

The good shepherd

The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, prophesy against Israel’s shepherds. Prophesy and say to them, The Lord God proclaims to the shepherds: Doom to Israel’s shepherds who tended themselves! Shouldn’t shepherds tend the flock? You drink the milk, you wear the wool, and you slaughter the fat animals, but you don’t tend the flock. You don’t strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, bring back the strays, or seek out the lost; but instead you use force to rule them with injustice. Without a shepherd, my flock was scattered; and when it was scattered, it became food for all the wild animals. My flock strayed on all the mountains and on every high hill throughout all the earth. My flock was scattered, and there was no one to look for them or find them. So now shepherds, hear the Lord’s word! This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, without a shepherd, my flock became prey. My flock became food for all the wild animals. My shepherds didn’t seek out my flock. They tended themselves, but they didn’t tend my flock.

So, shepherds, hear the Lord’s word! 10 The Lord God proclaims: I’m against the shepherds! I will hold them accountable for my flock, and I will put an end to their tending the flock. The shepherds will no longer tend them, because I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and they will no longer be their food.

11 The Lord God proclaims: I myself will search for my flock and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out the flock when some in the flock have been scattered, so will I seek out my flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered during the time of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will gather and lead them out from the countries and peoples, and I will bring them to their own fertile land. I will feed them on Israel’s highlands, along the riverbeds, and in all the inhabited places. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their sheepfold will be there, on Israel’s lofty highlands. On Israel’s highlands, they will lie down in a secure fold and feed on green pastures. 15 I myself will feed my flock and make them lie down. This is what the Lord God says. 16 I will seek out the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the wounded, and strengthen the weak. But the fat and the strong I will destroy, because I will tend my sheep with justice.

17 As for you, my flock, the Lord God proclaims: I will judge between the rams and the bucks among the sheep and the goats. 18 Is feeding in good pasture or drinking clear water such a trivial thing that you should trample and muddy what is left with your feet? 19 But now my flock must feed on what your feet have trampled and drink water that your feet have muddied.

20 So the Lord God proclaims to them: I will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 You shove with shoulder and flank, and with your horns you ram all the weak sheep until you’ve scattered them outside. 22 But I will rescue my flock so that they will never again be prey. I will even judge between the sheep! 23 I will appoint for them a single shepherd, and he will feed them. My servant David will feed them. He will be their shepherd. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be their prince. I, the Lord, have spoken. 25 I will make a covenant of peace for them, and I will banish the wild animals from the land. Then they will safely live in the desert and sleep in the forest. 26 I will give them and those around my hill a blessing by sending the rain in its season. They will be rains of blessing. 27 The trees in the field will bear fruit, and the earth will yield its harvest. They will be safe on their fertile land, and they will know that I am the Lord when I break the bars of their yoke and deliver them from those who enslaved them. 28 The nations will no longer prey on them, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, with no one to trouble them. 29 I will establish for them a place famous for what it grows. No longer will they experience famine in the land, nor will they bear the disgrace of the nations. 30 They will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are my people. This is what the Lord God says. 31 You are my flock, the flock of my pasture. You are human, and I am your God. This is what the Lord God says.

Ezekiel 35

Against Edom

The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, face Mount Seir, and prophesy against it. Say to it, The Lord God proclaims:

I’m against you, Mount Seir!

    I will use my power against you.
I will make you into a desolate wasteland,
    I will turn your cities into ruins,
    and you will become a desolation.
    Then you will know that I am the Lord.

Because you nursed an ancient grudge, you handed the Israelites over to the sword in the time of their distress, during their final punishment. So now the Lord God proclaims: As surely as I live, I will prepare you for blood, and blood will pursue you. Because you don’t hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. I will turn Mount Seir into a desolate wasteland, when I cut off from it both passerby and homecomer. I will fill its highlands—your hills and your valleys, and all your ravines—with its slain. Those who are slain by the sword will fall on them. I will turn you into an eternal desolation. Your cities won’t be inhabited, and you will know that I am the Lord.

10 You said, “These two nations and these two territories are mine. We will take possession of them even if the Lord is there.” 11 Therefore, the Lord God proclaims: As surely as I live, I will act according to the anger and zeal you displayed when you dealt with them so hatefully. When I judge you, I will make myself known to them, 12 and you will know that I am the Lord. I’ve heard the lies and libels that you uttered against Israel’s highlands when you said, “They are laid waste. They’ve been given to us to consume.” 13 With your mouths you exalted yourselves against me and spoke your words against me. I myself heard it!

14 The Lord God proclaims: As the whole world rejoices, I will turn you into a desolation. 15 Just as you rejoiced over the house of Israel’s inheritance because it became desolate, so I will deal with you. Mount Seir, you will become a desolation, with all of Edom, all of it. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

Ezekiel 36

Mountains of Israel

You, human one, prophesy to Israel’s mountains and say, Hear the Lord’s word, mountains of Israel! The Lord God proclaims: The enemy mocked you and said, “The ancient heights belong to us.” Therefore, prophesy and say, The Lord God proclaims: When the surviving nations pressed in and ravaged you from all around to lay claim to you, you became an object of the people’s slander and derision. Hear the Lord God’s word, mountains of Israel! The Lord God proclaims to the mountains and the hills, the watercourses and the valleys, the desolate ruins and the abandoned cities that were contemptuously looted by the surviving nations all around you.

So now, says the Lord God, I will speak in my fiery passion against the surviving nations and against Edom, all those who gleefully and spitefully took my land for themselves as a possession only for plunder. Prophesy concerning Israel’s fertile land, and say to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, The Lord God proclaims: Because you endured the ridicule of the nations, my passion and fury lead me to speak. So now the Lord God proclaims: I myself swear that the nations round about you will themselves suffer ridicule. But you, mountains of Israel, will extend your branches and bear your fruit for my people Israel, because they will come home very soon. Look, I’m here for you, and I will turn toward you, and you will be farmed and sown. 10 I will populate you with human beings, the whole house of Israel, all of them. The cities will be inhabited, the ruins rebuilt. 11 When I make people and animals increase on you, they will multiply and be fruitful. I will cause you to be inhabited as you were before. I will do more good for you than in the beginning, and you will know that I am the Lord. 12 I will let people walk through you, my people Israel! They will lay claim to you, you will be their inheritance, and you will no longer deprive them of anything.

13 The Lord God proclaims: Because people say, “You are a devourer of human beings” and “You are depriving your nation,” 14 therefore, you will no longer devour human beings or deprive your nation of anything. This is what the Lord God says. 15 You won’t have to listen anymore to the taunts of the nations or endure the scorn of the peoples. And you will no longer deprive your nation of anything. This is what the Lord God says.

A new heart

16 The Lord’s word came to me: 17 Human one, when the house of Israel lived on their fertile land, they polluted it with their ways and deeds. Their ways before me were polluted like the blood of menstruation, 18 and so I poured out my fury on them for all the blood they had poured out on the land and for all the defilement of their idols. 19 When I scattered them to the nations and dispersed them into other lands, I judged them according to their ways and deeds. 20 But then when they entered the other nations, they degraded my holy name because it was said of them, “These are the Lord’s people, yet they had to leave his land.” 21 So I had compassion on my holy name, which the house of Israel degraded among the nations where they had gone.

22 Therefore, say to the house of Israel, The Lord God proclaims: House of Israel, I’m not acting for your sake but for the sake of my holy name, which you degraded among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will make my great name holy, which was degraded among the nations when you dishonored it among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord. This is what the Lord God says.

When I make myself holy among you in their sight, 24 I will take you from the nations, I will gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you to your own fertile land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be cleansed of all your pollution. I will cleanse you of all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stony heart from your body and replace it with a living one, 27 and I will give you my spirit so that you may walk according to my regulations and carefully observe my case laws. 28 Then you will live in the land that I gave to your ancestors, you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness, and I will summon the grain and make it grow abundantly so that you won’t endure famine. 30 I will make abundant the orchards’ fruit and the fields’ produce so that you will never again endure the shame of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and no-good deeds, and you will feel disgust for yourselves because of your sinful and detestable practices. 32 Not for your sake do I act. This is what the Lord God proclaims. Let that be known to you! Be ashamed and be humiliated because of all your ways, house of Israel.

33 The Lord God proclaims: On the day that I cleanse you of all your guilt, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be farmed, and it won’t be like it was when it seemed a wasteland to all who passed by. 35 They will say, “This land, which was a desolation, has become like the garden of Eden.” And the cities that were ruined, ravaged, and razed are now fortified and inhabited. 36 The surviving nations around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt what was torn down and have planted what was made desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.

37 The Lord God proclaims: I will also allow the house of Israel to ask me to do this for them: that I increase them like a human flock. 38 Like the holy flock, like the flock of Jerusalem at its festivals, the ruined cities will be filled with a human flock. Then they will know that I am the Lord.


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