1 Some of Israel's elders came to me and sat down in front of me.
2 Jehovah then spoke his word to me:
3 »Son of man, these people are devoted to their idols. They allow themselves to sin. Should they be allowed to ask me for anything?
4 »Speak to them. Tell them, This is what Jehovah says: Suppose an Israelite is devoted to idols and allows himself to sin. Suppose he goes to a prophet to ask for my help. I, Jehovah, will give that Israelite an answer, the answer that his many idolaters deserve.
5 »I will do this to recapture the hearts of the nation of Israel. They have deserted me because of their disgusting idols.«
6 »Therefore tell the nation of Israel: This is what the Lord Jehovah says: »Change the way you think and act! Repent! Turn away from your idols, and do not return to any of your disgusting things.
7 »Suppose an Israelite or a foreigner who lives in Israel deserts me by devoting himself to idols and by allowing himself to sin. If he goes to a prophet to ask for my help, I, Jehovah, will give him an answer.
8 »I will set my face against him reject him, and I will make an example of him. I will exclude him from my people. Then you will know that I am Jehovah.«
9 »If a prophet is tricked into giving a prophecy, it is I, Jehovah, who tricked the prophet. I will use my power against you and destroy you from among my people Israel.
10 »Both of you will suffer for your sins. The prophet will be as guilty as you are when you ask for his help.
11 »The people of Israel will no longer wander away from me. They will no longer dishonor me with all their sins. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Lord Jehovah.«
12 Jehovah continued to speak his word to me, He said:
13 »Son of man, suppose a country sins against me by being unfaithful to me. I will stretch out my hand use my power against it, cut off its food supply, send a famine to it, and destroy its people and animals.«
14 »Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in that country, they would, by their righteousness, rescue only themselves, declares the Lord Jehovah.«
15 »If I send wild animals through that country and they make it childless and turn it into such a wasteland that no one travels through it because of the animals.
16 »As I live, declares the Lord Jehovah, not even Noah, Daniel, and Job could rescue their own sons or daughters. They could rescue only themselves and the country would become a wasteland.«
17 »What if I bring a war against that country by saying I will let a war go throughout this country. And then I destroy the people and the animals in it.
18 »As I am alive, declares the Lord Jehovah, not even Noah, Daniel, and Job could rescue their sons or daughters. They alone would be saved.«
19 »Let us say I send a plague into that country or pour out my fury on it by killing people and destroying animals.
20 As I am alive, declares the Lord Jehovah, not even Noah, Daniel, and Job could, by their righteousness, rescue their sons or daughters. They could rescue only themselves.«
21 »This is what the Lord Jehovah says: I will surely send four terrible punishments against Jerusalem. I will send wars, famines, wild animals, and plagues. They will destroy people and animals.
22 »And yet some people will survive. Some of your sons and daughters will be brought out. When they come out to you, you will see how they live. Then you will be comforted after the disasters that I will bring on Jerusalem, after every disaster that I will bring against it.«
23 »You will be comforted when you see how they live. Then you will know that everything I have done was done for a reason, declares the Lord Jehovah.«