1 Then He called loudly in my hearing, saying, “Approach, you men in charge of the city, each bearing his weapons of destruction!”
א וַיִּקְרָא בְאָזְנַי קוֹל גָּדוֹל לֵאמֹר קָרְבוּ פְּקֻדּוֹת הָעִיר וְאִישׁ כְּלִי מַשְׁחֵתוֹ בְּיָדוֹ׃
2 And six men entered by way of the upper gate that faces north, each with his club in his hand; and among them was another, clothed in linen, with a writing case at his waist. They came forward and stopped at the bronze mizbayach.
ב וְהִנֵּה שִׁשָּׁה אֲנָשִׁים בָּאִים מִדֶּרֶךְ־שַׁעַר הָעֶלְיוֹן אֲשֶׁר מָפְנֶה צָפוֹנָה וְאִישׁ כְּלִי מַפָּצוֹ בְּיָדוֹ וְאִישׁ־אֶחָד בְּתוֹכָם לָבֻשׁ בַּדִּים וְקֶסֶת הַסֹּפֵר בְּמָתְנָיו וַיָּבֹאוּ וַיַּעַמְדוּ אֵצֶל מִזְבַּח הַנְּחֹשֶׁת׃
3 Now the Presence of the God of Yisrael had moved from the cherub on which it had rested to the platform of the House. He called to the man clothed in linen with the writing case at his waist;
ג וּכְבוֹד אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נַעֲלָה מֵעַל הַכְּרוּב אֲשֶׁר הָיָה עָלָיו אֶל מִפְתַּן הַבָּיִת וַיִּקְרָא אֶל־הָאִישׁ הַלָּבֻשׁ הַבַּדִּים אֲשֶׁר קֶסֶת הַסֹּפֵר בְּמָתְנָיו׃
4 and Hashem said to him, “Pass through the city, through Yerushalayim, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who moan and groan because of all the abominations that are committed in it.”
va-YO-mer a-do-NAI ay-LAV a-VOR b’-TOKH ha-EER b’-TOKH y’-ru-sha-LA-im v’-hit-VEE-ta TAV al mitz-KHOT ha-a-na-SHEEM ha-ne-e-na-KHEEM v’-ha-ne-e-na-KEEM AL kol ha-TO-ay-VOT ha-na-a-SOT b’-to-KHAH
ד וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אלו [אֵלָיו] עֲבֹר בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר בְּתוֹךְ יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם וְהִתְוִיתָ תָּו עַל־מִצְחוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים הַנֶּאֱנָחִים וְהַנֶּאֱנָקִים עַל כָּל־הַתּוֹעֵבוֹת הַנַּעֲשׂוֹת בְּתוֹכָהּ׃
9:4 And put a mark on the foreheads of the men who moan and groan
Yechezkel is shown a vision of the death of the guilty in Yerushalayim. Before the executions commence, he sees a messenger in white linen mark the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over the destruction, ensuring that a righteous remnant remains. ‘To set a mark’ in Hebrew is vihitveeta tav (והתוית תו), based on which the sages explain that the mark that was made was the Hebrew letter tav (ת). Like the mark of Cain, which, according to Rashi was also a Hebrew letter, this mark is intended to save its bearers from harm.3 comments
5 To the others He said in my hearing, “Follow him through the city and strike; show no pity or compassion.
ה וּלְאֵלֶּה אָמַר בְּאָזְנַי עִבְרוּ בָעִיר אַחֲרָיו וְהַכּוּ על־[אַל־] תָּחֹס עיניכם [עֵינְכֶם] וְאַל־תַּחְמֹלוּ׃
6 Kill off graybeard, youth and maiden, women and children; but do not touch any person who bears the mark. Begin here at My Sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were in front of the House.
7 And He said to them, “Defile the House and fill the courts with the slain. Then go forth.” So they went forth and began to kill in the city.
ז וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם טַמְּאוּ אֶת־הַבַּיִת וּמַלְאוּ אֶת־הַחֲצֵרוֹת חֲלָלִים צֵאוּ וְיָצְאוּ וְהִכּוּ בָעִיר׃
8 When they were out killing, and I remained alone, I flung myself on my face and cried out, “Ah, Hashem! Are you going to annihilate all that is left of Yisrael, pouring out Your fury upon Yerushalayim?”
9 He answered me, “The iniquity of the Houses of Yehuda and Yisrael is very very great, the land is full of crime and the city is full of corruption. For they say, ‘Hashem has forsaken the land, and Hashem does not see.’
10 I, in turn, will show no pity or compassion; I will give them their deserts.”
י וְגַם־אֲנִי לֹא־תָחוֹס עֵינִי וְלֹא אֶחְמֹל דַּרְכָּם בְּרֹאשָׁם נָתָתִּי׃
11 And then the man clothed in linen with the writing case at his waist brought back word, saying, “I have done as You commanded me.”
יא וְהִנֵּה הָאִישׁ לְבֻשׁ הַבַּדִּים אֲשֶׁר הַקֶּסֶת בְּמָתְנָיו מֵשִׁיב דָּבָר לֵאמֹר עָשִׂיתִי כאשר [כְּכֹל] [אֲשֶׁר] צִוִּיתָנִי׃