Ezekiel 21
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1  The word of Hashem came to me:

א  וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃

2  O mortal, set your face toward Teman, and proclaim to Darom, and prophesy against the brushland of the Negev.

ben a-DAM SEEM pa-NE-kha DE-rekh tay-MA-nah v’-ha-TAYF el da-ROM v’-hi-na-VAY el YA-ar ha-sa-DEH NE-gev

ב  בֶּן־אָדָם שִׂים פָּנֶיךָ דֶּרֶךְ תֵּימָנָה וְהַטֵּף אֶל־דָּרוֹם וְהִנָּבֵא אֶל־יַעַר הַשָּׂדֶה נֶגֶב׃

 21:2 Prophesy against the brushland of the Negev

Repeating his warning of Yerushalayim’s imminent destruction, Yechezkel uses the metaphor of a forest fire that will burn without control until all the trees of the forest, dry and healthy alike, are consumed. In Israel’s arid climate, forest fires are extremely dangerous, spreading quickly and leaving behind tremendous destruction. Before giving him this prophecy, Hashem tells Yechezkel to look southward in the direction of Israel, and uses three Hebrew words for ‘south’, tayman (תימן), darom (דרום) and negev (נגב). In the following verse, however, only the word negev is used. In addition to ‘south’, negev also means ‘dry,’ and refers to the desert region of southern Israel. After the fire, all of Israel will be like the negev — a barren, lifeless desert.

Comment

3  Say to the brushland of the Negev: Hear the word of Hashem. Thus said Hashem: I am going to kindle a fire in you, which shall devour every tree of yours, both green and withered. Its leaping flame shall not go out, and every face from south to north shall be scorched by it.

ג  וְאָמַרְתָּ לְיַעַר הַנֶּגֶב שְׁמַע דְּבַר־יְהֹוָה כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הִנְנִי מַצִּית־בְּךָ אֵשׁ וְאָכְלָה בְךָ כָל־עֵץ־לַח וְכָל־עֵץ יָבֵשׁ לֹא־תִכְבֶּה לַהֶבֶת שַׁלְהֶבֶת וְנִצְרְבוּ־בָהּ כָּל־פָּנִים מִנֶּגֶב צָפוֹנָה׃

4  Then all flesh shall recognize that I Hashem have kindled it; it shall not go out.

ד  וְרָאוּ כָּל־בָּשָׂר כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה בִּעַרְתִּיהָ לֹא תִּכְבֶּה׃

5  And I said, “Ah, Hashem! They say of me: He is just a riddlemonger.”

ה  וָאֹמַר אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הֵמָּה אֹמְרִים לִי הֲלֹא מְמַשֵּׁל מְשָׁלִים הוּא׃

6  Then the word of Hashem came to me:

ו  וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃

7  O mortal, set your face toward Yerushalayim and proclaim against her sanctuaries and prophesy against the land of Yisrael.

ז  בֶּן־אָדָם שִׂים פָּנֶיךָ אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם וְהַטֵּף אֶל־מִקְדָּשִׁים וְהִנָּבֵא אֶל־אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

8  Say to the land of Yisrael: Thus said Hashem: I am going to deal with you! I will draw My sword from its sheath, and I will wipe out from you both the righteous and the wicked.

ח  וְאָמַרְתָּ לְאַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה הִנְנִי אֵלַיִךְ וְהוֹצֵאתִי חַרְבִּי מִתַּעְרָהּ וְהִכְרַתִּי מִמֵּךְ צַדִּיק וְרָשָׁע׃

9  In order to wipe out from you both the righteous and the wicked, My sword shall assuredly be unsheathed against all flesh from south to north;

ט  יַעַן אֲשֶׁר־הִכְרַתִּי מִמֵּךְ צַדִּיק וְרָשָׁע לָכֵן תֵּצֵא חַרְבִּי מִתַּעְרָהּ אֶל־כָּל־בָּשָׂר מִנֶּגֶב צָפוֹן׃

10  and all flesh shall know that I Hashem have drawn My sword from its sheath, not to be sheathed again.

י  וְיָדְעוּ כָּל־בָּשָׂר כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה הוֹצֵאתִי חַרְבִּי מִתַּעְרָהּ לֹא תָשׁוּב עוֹד׃

11  And you, O mortal, sigh; with tottering limbs and bitter grief, sigh before their eyes.

יא  וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם הֵאָנַח בְּשִׁבְרוֹן מָתְנַיִם וּבִמְרִירוּת תֵּאָנַח לְעֵינֵיהֶם׃

12  And when they ask you, “Why do you sigh?” answer, “Because of the tidings that have come.” Every heart shall sink and all hands hang nerveless; every spirit shall grow faint and all knees turn to water because of the tidings that have come. It is approaching, it shall come to pass—declares Hashem.

יב  וְהָיָה כִּי־יֹאמְרוּ אֵלֶיךָ עַל־מָה אַתָּה נֶאֱנָח וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל־שְׁמוּעָה כִי־בָאָה וְנָמֵס כָּל־לֵב וְרָפוּ כָל־יָדַיִם וְכִהֲתָה כָל־רוּחַ וְכָל־בִּרְכַּיִם תֵּלַכְנָה מַּיִם הִנֵּה בָאָה וְנִהְיָתָה נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃

13  The word of Hashem came to me:

יג  וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃

14  O mortal, prophesy and say: Thus said Hashem: A sword! A sword has been whetted and polished.

יד  בֶּן־אָדָם הִנָּבֵא וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי אֱמֹר חֶרֶב חֶרֶב הוּחַדָּה וְגַם־מְרוּטָה׃

15  It has been whetted to wreak slaughter; [therefore] it has been ground to a brilliant polish. How can we rejoice? My son, it scorns the rod and every stick.

טו  לְמַעַן טְבֹחַ טֶבַח הוּחַדָּה לְמַעַן־הֱיֵה־לָהּ בָּרָק מֹרָטָּה אוֹ נָשִׂישׂ שֵׁבֶט בְּנִי מֹאֶסֶת כָּל־עֵץ׃

16  It has been given to be polished and then grasped in the hand; for this has the sword been whetted, for this polished—to be put into the hand of a slayer.

טז  וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָהּ לְמָרְטָה לִתְפֹּשׂ בַּכָּף הִיא־הוּחַדָּה חֶרֶב וְהִיא מֹרָטָּה לָתֵת אוֹתָהּ בְּיַד־הוֹרֵג׃

17  Cry and wail, O mortal, for this shall befall My people, this shall befall all the chieftains of Yisrael: they shall be cast before the sword together with My people; oh, strike the thigh [in grief].

יז  זְעַק וְהֵילֵל בֶּן־אָדָם כִּי־הִיא הָיתָה בְעַמִּי הִיא בְּכָל־נְשִׂיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מְגוּרֵי אֶל־חֶרֶב הָיוּ אֶת־עַמִּי לָכֵן סְפֹק אֶל־יָרֵךְ׃

18  Consider: How shall it fail to happen, seeing that it even scorns the rod?—says Hashem.

יח  כִּי בֹחַן וּמָה אִם־גַּם־שֵׁבֶט מֹאֶסֶת לֹא יִהְיֶה נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃

19  Further, O mortal, prophesy, striking hand against hand. Let the sword strike a second time and yet a third time; it is a sword for massacre, a sword for great carnage, that presses upon them.

יט  וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם הִנָּבֵא וְהַךְ כַּף אֶל־כָּף וְתִכָּפֵל חֶרֶב שְׁלִישִׁתָה חֶרֶב חֲלָלִים הִיא חֶרֶב חָלָל הַגָּדוֹל הַחֹדֶרֶת לָהֶם׃

20  Thus hearts shall lose courage and many shall fall. At all their gates I have appointed slaughter by the sword. Ah! it is made to flash brilliantly, it is honed for slaughter.

כ  לְמַעַן לָמוּג לֵב וְהַרְבֵּה הַמִּכְשֹׁלִים עַל כָּל־שַׁעֲרֵיהֶם נָתַתִּי אִבְחַת־חָרֶב אָח עֲשׂוּיָה לְבָרָק מְעֻטָּה לְטָבַח׃

21  Be united, go to the right, turn left; whither are you bound?

כא  הִתְאַחֲדִי הֵימִנִי הָשִׂימִי הַשְׂמִילִי אָנָה פָּנַיִךְ מֻעָדוֹת׃

22  I, too, will strike hand against hand and will satisfy My fury upon you; I Hashem have spoken.

כב  וְגַם־אֲנִי אַכֶּה כַפִּי אֶל־כַּפִּי וַהֲנִחֹתִי חֲמָתִי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה דִּבַּרְתִּי׃

23  The word of Hashem came to me:

כג  וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃

24  And you, O mortal, choose two roads on which the sword of the king of Babylon may advance, both issuing from the same country; and select a spot, select it where roads branch off to [two] cities.

כד  וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם שִׂים־לְךָ שְׁנַיִם דְּרָכִים לָבוֹא חֶרֶב מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל מֵאֶרֶץ אֶחָד יֵצְאוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם וְיָד בָּרֵא בְּרֹאשׁ דֶּרֶךְ־עִיר בָּרֵא׃

25  Choose a way for the sword to advance on Rabbah of the Amonites or on fortified Yerushalayim in Yehuda.

כה  דֶּרֶךְ תָּשִׂים לָבוֹא חֶרֶב אֵת רַבַּת בְּנֵי־עַמּוֹן וְאֶת־יְהוּדָה בִירוּשָׁלַ ִם בְּצוּרָה׃

26  For the king of Babylon has stood at the fork of the road, where two roads branch off, to perform divination: He has shaken arrows, consulted teraphim, and inspected the liver.

כו  כִּי־עָמַד מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל אֶל־אֵם הַדֶּרֶךְ בְּרֹאשׁ שְׁנֵי הַדְּרָכִים לִקְסָם־קָסֶם קִלְקַל בַּחִצִּים שָׁאַל בַּתְּרָפִים רָאָה בַּכָּבֵד׃

27  In his right hand came up the omen against Yerushalayim—to set battering rams, to proclaim murder, to raise battle shouts, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to erect towers.

כז  בִּימִינוֹ הָיָה הַקֶּסֶם יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם לָשׂוּם כָּרִים לִפְתֹּחַ פֶּה בְּרֶצַח לְהָרִים קוֹל בִּתְרוּעָה לָשׂוּם כָּרִים עַל־שְׁעָרִים לִשְׁפֹּךְ סֹלְלָה לִבְנוֹת דָּיֵק׃

28  In their eyes, the oaths they had sworn to them were like empty divination; but this shall serve to recall their guilt, for which they shall be taken to task.

כח  וְהָיָה לָהֶם כקסום־[כִּקְסָם־] שָׁוְא בְּעֵינֵיהֶם שְׁבֻעֵי שְׁבֻעוֹת לָהֶם וְהוּא־מַזְכִּיר עָוׂן לְהִתָּפֵשׂ׃

29  Assuredly, thus said Hashem: For causing your guilt to be recalled, your transgressions to be uncovered, and your sins to be revealed—all your misdeeds—because you have brought yourselves to [My] mind, you shall be taken to task.

כט  לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה יַעַן הַזְכַּרְכֶם עֲוׂנְכֶם בְּהִגָּלוֹת פִּשְׁעֵיכֶם לְהֵרָאוֹת חַטֹּאותֵיכֶם בְּכֹל עֲלִילוֹתֵיכֶם יַעַן הִזָּכֶרְכֶם בַּכַּף תִּתָּפֵשׂוּ׃

30  And to you, O dishonored wicked prince of Yisrael, whose day has come—the time set for your punishment—

ל  וְאַתָּה חָלָל רָשָׁע נְשִׂיא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר־בָּא יוֹמוֹ בְּעֵת עֲוׂן קֵץ׃

31  thus said Hashem: Remove the turban and lift off the crown! This shall not remain as it is; exalt the low and abase the high.

לא  כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הָסִיר הַמִּצְנֶפֶת וְהָרִים הָעֲטָרָה זֹאת לֹא־זֹאת הַשָּׁפָלָה הַגְבֵּהַ וְהַגָּבֹהַ הַשְׁפִּיל׃

32  Ruin, an utter ruin I will make it. It shall be no more until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs; and I will give it to him.

לב  עַוָּה עַוָּה עַוָּה אֲשִׂימֶנָּה גַּם־זֹאת לֹא הָיָה עַד־בֹּא אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ הַמִּשְׁפָּט וּנְתַתִּיו׃

33  Further, O mortal, prophesy and say: Thus said Hashem concerning the Amonites and their blasphemies: Proclaim: O sword! O sword unsheathed for slaughter, polished to the utmost, to a flashing brilliance!

לג  וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם הִנָּבֵא וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה אֶל־בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן וְאֶל־חֶרְפָּתָם וְאָמַרְתָּ חֶרֶב חֶרֶב פְּתוּחָה לְטֶבַח מְרוּטָה לְהָכִיל לְמַעַן בָּרָק׃

34  Because they have prophesied falsely about you and have divined deceitfully concerning you, you shall be wielded over the necks of the dishonored wicked ones, for their day has come, the time set for their punishment.

לד  בַּחֲזוֹת לָךְ שָׁוְא בִּקְסָם־לָךְ כָּזָב לָתֵת אוֹתָךְ אֶל־צַוְּארֵי חַלְלֵי רְשָׁעִים אֲשֶׁר־בָּא יוֹמָם בְּעֵת עֲוׂן קֵץ׃

35  Return it to its sheath! In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you.

לה  הָשַׁב אֶל־תַּעְרָהּ בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־נִבְרֵאת בְּאֶרֶץ מְכֻרוֹתַיִךְ אֶשְׁפֹּט אֹתָךְ׃

36  I will pour out My indignation upon you, I will blow upon you with the fire of My wrath; and I will deliver you into the hands of barbarians, craftsmen of destruction.

לו  וְשָׁפַכְתִּי עָלַיִךְ זַעְמִי בְּאֵשׁ עֶבְרָתִי אָפִיחַ עָלָיִךְ וּנְתַתִּיךְ בְּיַד אֲנָשִׁים בֹּעֲרִים חָרָשֵׁי מַשְׁחִית׃

37  You shall be fuel for the fire, your blood shall sink into the earth, you shall not be remembered, for I Hashem have spoken.

לז  לָאֵשׁ תִּהְיֶה לְאָכְלָה דָּמֵךְ יִהְיֶה בְּתוֹךְ הָאָרֶץ לֹא תִזָּכֵרִי כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה דִּבַּרְתִּי׃

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Ezekiel 21

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