1 The word of Hashem came to me:
א וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃
2 O mortal, speak to your fellow countrymen and say to them: When I bring the sword against a country, the citizens of that country take one of their number and appoint him their watchman.
ב בֶּן־אָדָם דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי־עַמְּךָ וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם אֶרֶץ כִּי־אָבִיא עָלֶיהָ חָרֶב וְלָקְחוּ עַם־הָאָרֶץ אִישׁ אֶחָד מִקְצֵיהֶם וְנָתְנוּ אֹתוֹ לָהֶם לְצֹפֶה׃
3 Suppose he sees the sword advancing against the country, and he blows the shofar and warns the people.
v’-ra-AH et ha-KHE-rev ba-AH al ha-A-retz v’-ta-KA ba-sho-FAR v’-hiz-HEER et ha-AM
ג וְרָאָה אֶת־הַחֶרֶב בָּאָה עַל־הָאָרֶץ וְתָקַע בַּשּׁוֹפָר וְהִזְהִיר אֶת־הָעָם׃
33:3 He blows the horn
At the beginning of this chapter, Yechezkel compares the job of a prophet to a city’s watchman. Just as the guard alerts the townsfolk of impending danger, so is the prophet responsible for warning the people about the consequences of their actions. Ancient Israelite cities were built with towers connected to their walls where the watchmen would sit. In order to warn inhabitants of approaching enemies, the watchman would blow a ‘horn’, in Hebrew shofar (שופר). In Judaism, the shofar has both military significance (see also Joshua 6), and religious significance, as it is sounded on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. By using the image of a shofar, Yechezkel deftly combines the two themes of military and spiritual preparedness.1 comment
4 If anybody hears the sound of the shofar but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and dispatches him, his blood shall be on his own head.
ד וְשָׁמַע הַשֹּׁמֵעַ אֶת־קוֹל הַשּׁוֹפָר וְלֹא נִזְהָר וַתָּבוֹא חֶרֶב וַתִּקָּחֵהוּ דָּמוֹ בְרֹאשׁוֹ יִהְיֶה׃
5 Since he heard the sound of the shofar but ignored the warning, his bloodguilt shall be upon himself; had he taken the warning, he would have saved his life.
ה אֵת קוֹל הַשּׁוֹפָר שָׁמַע וְלֹא נִזְהָר דָּמוֹ בּוֹ יִהְיֶה וְהוּא נִזְהָר נַפְשׁוֹ מִלֵּט׃
6 But if the watchman sees the sword advancing and does not blow the shofar, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and destroys one of them, that person was destroyed for his own sins; however, I will demand a reckoning for his blood from the watchman.
ו וְהַצֹּפֶה כִּי־יִרְאֶה אֶת־הַחֶרֶב בָּאָה וְלֹא־תָקַע בַּשּׁוֹפָר וְהָעָם לֹא־נִזְהָר וַתָּבוֹא חֶרֶב וַתִּקַּח מֵהֶם נָפֶשׁ הוּא בַּעֲוׂנוֹ נִלְקָח וְדָמוֹ מִיַּד־הַצֹּפֶה אֶדְרֹשׁ׃
7 Now, O mortal, I have appointed you a watchman for the House of Yisrael; and whenever you hear a message from My mouth, you must transmit My warning to them.
8 When I say to the wicked, “Wicked man, you shall die,” but you have not spoken to warn the wicked man against his way, he, that wicked man, shall die for his sins, but I will demand a reckoning for his blood from you.
ח בְּאָמְרִי לָרָשָׁע רָשָׁע מוֹת תָּמוּת וְלֹא דִבַּרְתָּ לְהַזְהִיר רָשָׁע מִדַּרְכּוֹ הוּא רָשָׁע בַּעֲוׂנוֹ יָמוּת וְדָמוֹ מִיָּדְךָ אֲבַקֵּשׁ׃
9 But if you have warned the wicked man to turn back from his way, and he has not turned from his way, he shall die for his own sins, but you will have saved your life.
ט וְאַתָּה כִּי־הִזְהַרְתָּ רָשָׁע מִדַּרְכּוֹ לָשׁוּב מִמֶּנָּה וְלֹא־שָׁב מִדַּרְכּוֹ הוּא בַּעֲוׂנוֹ יָמוּת וְאַתָּה נַפְשְׁךָ הִצַּלְתָּ׃
10 Now, O mortal, say to the House of Yisrael: This is what you have been saying: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh heavily upon us; we are sick at heart about them. How can we survive?”
11 Say to them: As I live—declares Hashem—it is not My desire that the wicked shall die, but that the wicked turn from his [evil] ways and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways, that you may not die, O House of Yisrael!
יא אֱמֹר אֲלֵיהֶם חַי־אָנִי נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אִם־אֶחְפֹּץ בְּמוֹת הָרָשָׁע כִּי אִם־בְּשׁוּב רָשָׁע מִדַּרְכּוֹ וְחָיָה שׁוּבוּ שׁוּבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיכֶם הָרָעִים וְלָמָּה תָמוּתוּ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
12 Now, O mortal, say to your fellow countrymen: The righteousness of the righteous shall not save him when he transgresses, nor shall the wickedness of the wicked cause him to stumble when he turns back from his wickedness. The righteous shall not survive through his righteousness when he sins.
יב וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם אֱמֹר אֶל־בְּנֵי־עַמְּךָ צִדְקַת הַצַּדִּיק לֹא תַצִּילֶנּוּ בְּיוֹם פִּשְׁעוֹ וְרִשְׁעַת הָרָשָׁע לֹא־יִכָּשֶׁל בָּהּ בְּיוֹם שׁוּבוֹ מֵרִשְׁעוֹ וְצַדִּיק לֹא יוּכַל לִחְיוֹת בָּהּ בְּיוֹם חֲטֹאתוֹ׃
13 When I say of the righteous “He shall surely live,” and, relying on his righteousness, he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered; but for the iniquity that he has committed he shall die.
יג בְּאָמְרִי לַצַּדִּיק חָיֹה יִחְיֶה וְהוּא־בָטַח עַל־צִדְקָתוֹ וְעָשָׂה עָוֶל כָּל־צדקתו [צִדְקֹתָיו] לֹא תִזָּכַרְנָה וּבְעַוְלוֹ אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה בּוֹ יָמוּת׃
14 So, too, when I say to the wicked, “You shall die,” and he turns back from his sinfulness and does what is just and right—
יד וּבְאָמְרִי לָרָשָׁע מוֹת תָּמוּת וְשָׁב מֵחַטָּאתוֹ וְעָשָׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה׃
15 if the wicked man restores a pledge, makes good what he has taken by robbery, follows the laws of life, and does not commit iniquity—he shall live, he shall not die.
טו חֲבֹל יָשִׁיב רָשָׁע גְּזֵלָה יְשַׁלֵּם בְּחֻקּוֹת הַחַיִּים הָלַךְ לְבִלְתִּי עֲשׂוֹת עָוֶל חָיוֹ יִחְיֶה לֹא יָמוּת׃
16 None of the sins that he committed shall be remembered against him; since he does what is just and right, he shall live.
טז כָּל־חטאתו [חַטֹּאתָיו] אֲשֶׁר חָטָא לֹא תִזָּכַרְנָה לוֹ מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה עָשָׂה חָיוֹ יִחְיֶה׃
17 Your fellow countrymen say, “The way of Hashem is unfair.” But it is their way that is unfair!
יז וְאָמְרוּ בְּנֵי עַמְּךָ לֹא יִתָּכֵן דֶּרֶךְ אֲדֹנָי וְהֵמָּה דַּרְכָּם לֹא־יִתָּכֵן׃
18 When a righteous man turns away from his righteous deeds and commits iniquity, he shall die for it.
יח בְּשׁוּב־צַדִּיק מִצִּדְקָתוֹ וְעָשָׂה עָוֶל וּמֵת בָּהֶם׃
19 And when a wicked man turns back from his wickedness and does what is just and right, it is he who shall live by virtue of these things.
יט וּבְשׁוּב רָשָׁע מֵרִשְׁעָתוֹ וְעָשָׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה עֲלֵיהֶם הוּא יִחְיֶה׃
20 And will you say, “The way of Hashem is unfair”? I will judge each one of you according to his ways, O House of Yisrael!
כ וַאֲמַרְתֶּם לֹא יִתָּכֵן דֶּרֶךְ אֲדֹנָי אִישׁ כִּדְרָכָיו אֶשְׁפּוֹט אֶתְכֶם בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
21 In the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth day of the tenth month, a fugitive came to me from Yerushalayim and reported, “The city has fallen.”
כא וַיְהִי בִּשְׁתֵּי עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה בָּעֲשִׂרִי בַּחֲמִשָּׁה לַחֹדֶשׁ לְגָלוּתֵנוּ בָּא־אֵלַי הַפָּלִיט מִירוּשָׁלַ ִם לֵאמֹר הֻכְּתָה הָעִיר׃
22 Now the hand of Hashem had come upon me the evening before the fugitive arrived, and He opened my mouth before he came to me in the morning; thus my mouth was opened and I was no longer speechless.
כב וְיַד־יְהֹוָה הָיְתָה אֵלַי בָּעֶרֶב לִפְנֵי בּוֹא הַפָּלִיט וַיִּפְתַּח אֶת־פִּי עַד־בּוֹא אֵלַי בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּפָּתַח פִּי וְלֹא נֶאֱלַמְתִּי עוֹד׃
23 The word of Hashem came to me:
כג וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃
24 O mortal, those who live in these ruins in the land of Yisrael argue, “Avraham was but one man, yet he was granted possession of the land. We are many; surely, the land has been given as a possession to us.”
25 Therefore say to them: Thus said Hashem: You eat with the blood, you raise your eyes to your fetishes, and you shed blood—yet you expect to possess the land!
כה לָכֵן אֱמֹר אֲלֵיהֶם כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה עַל־הַדָּם תֹּאכֵלוּ וְעֵינֵכֶם תִּשְׂאוּ אֶל־גִּלּוּלֵיכֶם וְדָם תִּשְׁפֹּכוּ וְהָאָרֶץ תִּירָשׁוּ׃
26 You have relied on your sword, you have committed abominations, you have all defiled other men’s wives—yet you expect to possess the land!
כו עֲמַדְתֶּם עַל־חַרְבְּכֶם עֲשִׂיתֶן תּוֹעֵבָה וְאִישׁ אֶת־אֵשֶׁת רֵעֵהוּ טִמֵּאתֶם וְהָאָרֶץ תִּירָשׁוּ׃
27 Thus shall you speak to them: Thus said Hashem: As I live, those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and those who are in the open I have allotted as food to the beasts, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die by pestilence.
כז כֹּה־תֹאמַר אֲלֵהֶם כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה חַי־אָנִי אִם־לֹא אֲשֶׁר בֶּחֳרָבוֹת בַּחֶרֶב יִפֹּלוּ וַאֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה לַחַיָּה נְתַתִּיו לְאָכְלוֹ וַאֲשֶׁר בַּמְּצָדוֹת וּבַמְּעָרוֹת בַּדֶּבֶר יָמוּתוּ׃
28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud glory shall cease; and the mountains of Yisrael shall be desolate, with none passing through.
כח וְנָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ שְׁמָמָה וּמְשַׁמָּה וְנִשְׁבַּת גְּאוֹן עֻזָּהּ וְשָׁמְמוּ הָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֵין עוֹבֵר׃
29 And they shall know that I am Hashem, when I make the land a desolate waste on account of all the abominations which they have committed.
כט וְיָדְעוּ כִּי־אֲנִי יְהֹוָה בְּתִתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ שְׁמָמָה וּמְשַׁמָּה עַל כָּל־תּוֹעֲבֹתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ׃
30 Note well, O mortal: your fellow countrymen who converse about you by the walls and in the doorways of their houses and say to each other and propose to one another, “Come and hear what word has issued from Hashem.”
ל וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם בְּנֵי עַמְּךָ הַנִּדְבָּרִים בְּךָ אֵצֶל הַקִּירוֹת וּבְפִתְחֵי הַבָּתִּים וְדִבֶּר־חַד אֶת־אַחַד אִישׁ אֶת־אָחִיו לֵאמֹר בֹּאוּ־נָא וְשִׁמְעוּ מָה הַדָּבָר הַיּוֹצֵא מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה׃
31 They will come to you in crowds and sit before you in throngs and will hear your words, but they will not obey them. For they produce nothing but lust with their mouths; and their hearts pursue nothing but gain.
לא וְיָבוֹאוּ אֵלֶיךָ כִּמְבוֹא־עָם וְיֵשְׁבוּ לְפָנֶיךָ עַמִּי וְשָׁמְעוּ אֶת־דְּבָרֶיךָ וְאוֹתָם לֹא יַעֲשׂוּ כִּי־עֲגָבִים בְּפִיהֶם הֵמָּה עֹשִׂים אַחֲרֵי בִצְעָם לִבָּם הֹלֵךְ׃
32 To them you are just a singer of bawdy songs, who has a sweet voice and plays skillfully; they hear your words, but will not obey them.
לב וְהִנְּךָ לָהֶם כְּשִׁיר עֲגָבִים יְפֵה קוֹל וּמֵטִב נַגֵּן וְשָׁמְעוּ אֶת־דְּבָרֶיךָ וְעֹשִׂים אֵינָם אוֹתָם׃