I. Call of the Prophet

Chapter 1

The Vision: God on the Cherubim. 1In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens opened, and I saw divine visions.— 2On the fifth day of the month—this was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile— 3the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar. There the hand of the Lord came upon him.

4As I watched, a great stormwind came from the North, a large cloud with flashing fire, a bright glow all around it, and something like polished metal gleamed at the center of the fire. 5From within it figures in the likeness of four living creatures appeared. This is what they looked like: 6They were in human form, but each had four faces and four wings, 7and their legs were straight, the soles of their feet like the hooves of a bull, gleaming like polished brass. 8Human hands were under their wings, and the wings of one touched those of another. 9Their faces and their wings looked out on all their four sides; they did not turn when they moved, but each went straight ahead.

10Their faces were like this: each of the four had a human face, and on the right the face of a lion, and on the left, the face of an ox, and each had the face of an eagle. 11Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. On each one, two wings touched one another, and the other two wings covered the body. 12Each went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they went; they did not change direction when they moved. 13And the appearance of the living creatures seemed like burning coals of fire. Something indeed like torches moved back and forth among the living creatures. The fire gleamed intensely, and from it lightning flashed. 14The creatures darting back and forth flashed like lightning.

15As I looked at the living creatures, I saw wheels on the ground, one alongside each of the four living creatures. 16The wheels and their construction sparkled like yellow topaz, and all four of them looked the same: their construction seemed as though one wheel was inside the other. 17When they moved, they went in any of the four directions without veering as they moved. 18The four of them had rims, high and fearsome—eyes filled the four rims all around. 19When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved with them; and when the living creatures were raised from the ground, the wheels also were raised. 20Wherever the spirit would go, they went. And they were raised up together with the living creatures, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21Wherever the living creatures moved, the wheels moved; when they stood still, the wheels stood still. When they were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up with them. For the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22Above the heads of the living creatures was a likeness of the firmament; it was awesome, stretching upwards like shining crystal over their heads. 23Beneath the firmament their wings stretched out toward one another; each had two wings covering the body. 24Then I heard the sound of their wings, like the roaring of mighty waters, like the voice of the Almighty. When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army. And when they stood still, they lowered their wings. 25While they stood with their wings lowered, a voice came from above the firmament over their heads.

26Above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne that looked like sapphire; and upon this likeness of a throne was seated, up above, a figure that looked like a human being. 27And I saw something like polished metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed on all sides, from what looked like the waist up; and from what looked like the waist down, I saw something like the appearance of fire and brilliant light surrounding him. 28Just like the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day so was the appearance of brilliance that surrounded him. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speak.

Chapter 2

Eating of the Scroll. 1The voice said to me: Son of man, stand up! I wish to speak to you. 2As he spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking 3say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4Their children are bold of face and stubborn of heart—to them I am sending you. You shall say to them: Thus says the Lord God. 5And whether they hear or resist—they are a rebellious house—they shall know that a prophet has been among them. 6But as for you, son of man, do not fear them or their words. Do not fear, even though there are briers or thorns and you sit among scorpions. Do not be afraid of their words or be terrified by their looks for they are a rebellious house. 7You must speak my words to them, whether they hear or resist, because they are rebellious. 8But you, son of man, hear me when I speak to you and do not rebel like this rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.

9It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me; in it was a written scroll. 10He unrolled it before me; it was covered with writing front and back. Written on it was: Lamentation, wailing, woe!

Chapter 3

1He said to me: Son of man, eat what you find here: eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. 2So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3Son of man, he said to me, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. 4Then he said to me, Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them.

5Not to a people with obscure speech and difficult language am I sending you, but to the house of Israel. 6Nor to many nations of obscure speech and difficult language whose words you cannot understand. For if I were to send you to these, they would listen to you. 7But the house of Israel will refuse to listen to you, since they refuse to listen to me. For the whole house of Israel is stubborn of brow and hard of heart. 8Look! I make your face as hard as theirs, and your brow as stubborn as theirs. 9Like diamond, harder than flint, I make your brow. Do not be afraid of them, or be terrified by their looks, for they are a rebellious house.

10Then he said to me, Son of man, take into your heart all my words that I speak to you; hear them well. 11Now go to the exiles, to your own people, and speak to them. Say to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear: Thus says the Lord God!

12Then the spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling noise as the glory of the Lord rose from its place: 13the noise of the wings of the living creatures beating against one another, and the noise of the wheels alongside them, a loud rumbling. 14And the spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went off, my spirit angry and bitter, for the hand of the Lord pressed hard on me. 15Thus I came to the exiles who lived at Tel-abib by the river Chebar; and there where they dwelt, I stayed among them distraught for seven days. 16At the end of the seven days, the word of the Lord came to me:

The Prophet as Sentinel. 17Son of man, I have appointed you a sentinel for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, you shall warn them for me.

18If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die—and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade the wicked from their evil conduct in order to save their lives—then they shall die for their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. 19If, however, you warn the wicked and they still do not turn from their wickedness and evil conduct, they shall die for their sin, but you shall save your life.

20But if the just turn away from their right conduct and do evil when I place a stumbling block before them, then they shall die. Even if you warned them about their sin, they shall still die, and the just deeds that they performed will not be remembered on their behalf. I will, however, hold you responsible for their blood. 21If, on the other hand, you warn the just to avoid sin, and they do not sin, they will surely live because of the warning, and you in turn shall save your own life.

Ezekiel Mute. 22The hand of the Lord came upon me there and he said to me: Get up and go out into the plain, where I will speak with you. 23So I got up and went out into the plain. There it was! The glory of the Lord was standing there like the glory I had seen by the river Chebar. Then I fell on my face, 24but the spirit entered into me, set me on my feet; he spoke to me, and said: Go, shut yourself in your house. 25As for you, son of man, know that they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them. 26And I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be mute, no longer one who rebukes them for being a rebellious house. 27Only when I speak to you and open your mouth, shall you say to them: Thus says the Lord God: Let those who hear, hear! Let those who resist, resist! They are truly a rebellious house.