The Crimes of Jerusalem
13 “I will bring my fist down on your robberies and murders. 14 Do you think you will have any courage left or have strength enough to lift your hand when I am finished with you? I, the Lord, have spoken, and I keep my word. 15 I will scatter your people to every country and nation and will put an end to your evil actions. 16 And so the other nations will dishonor you, but you will know that I am the Lord.”
God’s Refining Furnace
17 The Lord said to me, 18 “Mortal man, the Israelites are of no use to me. They are like waste metal—copper, tin, iron, and lead—left over after silver has been refined in a furnace. 19 So now I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling them that they are just as useless as that. I will bring them all together in Jerusalem 20 in the same way that the ore of silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin is put in a refining furnace. My anger and rage will melt them the way fire melts ore. 21 Yes, I will gather them in Jerusalem, build a fire under them, and melt them with my anger. 22 They will be melted in Jerusalem the way silver is melted in a furnace, and then they will know that they are feeling the anger of the Lord.”
The Sins of Israel’s Leaders
23 The Lord spoke to me again. 24 “Mortal man,” he said, “tell the Israelites that their land is unholy, and so I am punishing it in my anger. 25 The leaders[a] are like lions roaring over the animals they have killed. They kill the people, take all the money and property they can get, and by their murders leave many widows. 26 The priests break my law and have no respect for what is holy. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. They do not teach the difference between clean and unclean things, and they ignore the Sabbath. As a result the people of Israel do not respect me. 27 The government officials are like wolves tearing apart the animals they have killed. They commit murder in order to get rich. 28 The prophets have hidden these sins like workers covering a wall with whitewash. They see false visions and make false predictions. They claim to speak the word of the Sovereign Lord, but I, the Lord, have not spoken to them. 29 The wealthy cheat and rob. They mistreat the poor and take advantage of foreigners. 30 I looked for someone who could build a wall, who could stand in the places where the walls have crumbled and defend the land when my anger is about to destroy it, but I could find no one. 31 So I will turn my anger loose on them, and like a fire I will destroy them for what they have done.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
- Ezekiel 22:25 One ancient translation The leaders; Hebrew A conspiracy of her prophets.