1 Certain elders of Yisrael came to me and sat down before me.
א וַיָּבוֹא אֵלַי אֲנָשִׁים מִזִּקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּשְׁבוּ לְפָנָי׃
2 And the word of Hashem came to me:
ב וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃
3 O mortal, these men have turned their thoughts upon their fetishes and set their minds upon the sin through which they stumbled: Shall I respond to their inquiry?
4 Now speak to them and tell them: Thus said Hashem: If anyone of the House of Yisrael turns his thoughts upon his fetishes and sets his mind upon the sin through which he stumbled, and yet comes to the Navi, I Hashem will respond to him as he comes with his multitude of fetishes.
5 Thus I will hold the House of Yisrael to account for their thoughts, because they have all been estranged from Me through their fetishes.
ה לְמַעַן תְּפֹשׂ אֶת־בֵּית־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּלִבָּם אֲשֶׁר נָזֹרוּ מֵעָלַי בְּגִלּוּלֵיהֶם כֻּלָּם׃
6 Now say to the House of Yisrael: Thus said Hashem: Repent, and turn back from your fetishes and turn your minds away from all your abominations.
ו לָכֵן אֱמֹר אֶל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה שׁוּבוּ וְהָשִׁיבוּ מֵעַל גִּלּוּלֵיכֶם וּמֵעַל כָּל־תּוֹעֲבֹתֵיכֶם הָשִׁיבוּ פְנֵיכֶם׃
7 For if any man of the House of Yisrael, or of the strangers who dwell in Yisrael, breaks away from Me and turns his thoughts upon his fetishes and sets his mind upon the sins through which he stumbled, and then goes to the Navi to inquire of Me through him, I Hashem will respond to him directly.
8 I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a byword, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am Hashem.
ח וְנָתַתִּי פָנַי בָּאִישׁ הַהוּא וַהֲשִׂמֹתִיהוּ לְאוֹת וְלִמְשָׁלִים וְהִכְרַתִּיו מִתּוֹךְ עַמִּי וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי־אֲנִי יְהֹוָה׃
ט וְהַנָּבִיא כִי־יְפֻתֶּה וְדִבֶּר דָּבָר אֲנִי יְהֹוָה פִּתֵּיתִי אֵת הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא וְנָטִיתִי אֶת־יָדִי עָלָיו וְהִשְׁמַדְתִּיו מִתּוֹךְ עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
10 Thus they shall bear their punishment: The punishment of the inquirer and the punishment of the Navi shall be the same,
י וְנָשְׂאוּ עֲוׂנָם כַּעֲוׂן הַדֹּרֵשׁ כַּעֲוׂן הַנָּבִיא יִהְיֶה׃
11 so that the House of Yisrael may never again stray from Me and defile itself with all its transgressions. Then they shall be My people and I will be their God—declares Hashem.
יא לְמַעַן לֹא־יִתְעוּ עוֹד בֵּית־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאַחֲרַי וְלֹא־יִטַּמְּאוּ עוֹד בְּכָל־פִּשְׁעֵיהֶם וְהָיוּ לִי לְעָם וַאֲנִי אֶהְיֶה לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃
12 The word of Hashem came to me:
יב וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃
13 O mortal, if a land were to sin against Me and commit a trespass, and I stretched out My hand against it and broke its staff of bread, and sent famine against it and cut off man and beast from it,
14:14 They would by their righteousness save only themselves
Hearing of Yerushalayim’s imminent demise, one can imagine that Yechezkel would have entreated God go save the city, as Avraham had before Sodom was destroyed, by means of the following plea: Could the presence of righteous people in the city perhaps prevent its destruction? Hashem responds by listing three great people, Noach, Daniel, and Iyov, whose personal piety was beyond reproach. Noach was faced with the destruction of mankind, Daniel was faced with the destruction of the nation and Iyov was confronted by the destruction of his family. However, each one was able to save only themselves, but not the others around them. The presence of the righteous can only assist others who are willing to learn and be influenced by them.2 comments
15 Or, if I were to send wild beasts to roam the land and they depopulated it, and it became a desolation with none passing through it because of the beasts,
טו לוּ־חַיָּה רָעָה אַעֲבִיר בָּאָרֶץ וְשִׁכְּלָתָּה וְהָיְתָה שְׁמָמָה מִבְּלִי עוֹבֵר מִפְּנֵי הַחַיָּה׃
16 as I live—declares Hashem—those three men in it would save neither sons nor daughters; they alone would be saved, but the land would become a desolation.
טז שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה בְּתוֹכָהּ חַי־אָנִי נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אִם־בָּנִים וְאִם־בָּנוֹת יַצִּילוּ הֵמָּה לְבַדָּם יִנָּצֵלוּ וְהָאָרֶץ תִּהְיֶה שְׁמָמָה׃
17 Or, if I were to bring the sword upon that land and say, “Let a sword sweep through the land so that I may cut off from it man and beast,”
יז אוֹ חֶרֶב אָבִיא עַל־הָאָרֶץ הַהִיא וְאָמַרְתִּי חֶרֶב תַּעֲבֹר בָּאָרֶץ וְהִכְרַתִּי מִמֶּנָּה אָדָם וּבְהֵמָה׃
18 if those three men should be in it, as I live—declares Hashem—they would save neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be saved.
יח וּשְׁלֹשֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה בְּתוֹכָהּ חַי־אָנִי נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה לֹא יַצִּילוּ בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת כִּי הֵם לְבַדָּם יִנָּצֵלוּ׃
19 Or, if I let loose a pestilence against that land, and poured out My fury upon it in blood, cutting off from it man and beast,
21 Assuredly, thus said Hashem: How much less [should any escape] now that I have let loose against Yerushalayim all four of My terrible punishments—the sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence—to cut off man and beast from it!
כא כִּי כֹה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה אַף כִּי־אַרְבַּעַת שְׁפָטַי הָרָעִים חֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְחַיָּה רָעָה וָדֶבֶר שִׁלַּחְתִּי אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם לְהַכְרִית מִמֶּנָּה אָדָם וּבְהֵמָה׃
22 Yet there are survivors left of it, sons and daughters who are being brought out. They are coming out to you; and when you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I brought on Yerushalayim, for all that I brought on it.
כב וְהִנֵּה נוֹתְרָה־בָּהּ פְּלֵטָה הַמּוּצָאִים בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת הִנָּם יוֹצְאִים אֲלֵיכֶם וּרְאִיתֶם אֶת־דַּרְכָּם וְאֶת־עֲלִילוֹתָם וְנִחַמְתֶּם עַל־הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר הֵבֵאתִי עַל־יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר הֵבֵאתִי עָלֶיהָ׃
23 You will be consoled through them, when you see their ways and their deeds and realize that not without cause did I do all that I did in it—declares Hashem.
כג וְנִחֲמוּ אֶתְכֶם כִּי־תִרְאוּ אֶת־דַּרְכָּם וְאֶת־עֲלִילוֹתָם וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי לֹא חִנָּם עָשִׂיתִי אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂיתִי בָהּ נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה׃