1Some of the elders of Israel visited me, and while they were sitting in my presence 2this word of the LORD came to me, 3‘O man, these people have set their hearts on their idols and keep their eyes fixed on the sinful things that cause their downfall. Am I to be consulted by such men? 4Speak to them, therefore, and tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: If any Israelite, with his heart set on his idols and his eyes fixed on the sinful things that cause his downfall, comes to a prophet, I, the LORD, give him his answer, despite his gross idolatry. 5My answer will grip the hearts of the Israelites, who through their idols are all estranged from me.
6‘So tell the Israelites that this is what the Lord GOD says: Repent, turn from your idols, turn your backs on all your abominations. 7If anyone, Israelite or resident alien, renounces me, setting his heart on idols and fixing his eyes on the sinful things that cause his downfall—if such a one comes to consult me through a prophet, I, the LORD, shall give him his answer directly. 8I shall set my face against him; I shall make him an example and a byword; I shall root him out from among my people. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.
9‘If a prophet is deceived into making a prophecy, it is I, the LORD, who have deceived him; I shall stretch out my hand to destroy him and rid my people Israel of him. 10Both will be punished; the prophet and the person who consults him alike are guilty. 11Never again will the Israelites stray from their allegiance, never again defile themselves by their sins; they will be my people, and I shall be their God. This is the word of the Lord GOD.’
12 THIS word of the LORD came to me: 13‘O man, when a country sins by breaking faith with me, I stretch out my hand and cut short its daily bread. I send famine on it and destroy all the inhabitants along with their cattle. 14Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were there, they would by their righteousness save none but themselves. This is the word of the Lord GOD. 15If I were to turn wild beasts loose in a country to destroy the population, until it became a waste through which no one would pass for fear of the beasts, 16and if those three men were there, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they would not be able to save even their own sons and daughters; they would save themselves alone, and the country would become a waste. 17Or if I were to bring the sword upon that country, commanding it to pass through the land, so that I might destroy people and cattle, 18and if those three men were there, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they could save neither son nor daughter; they would save themselves alone. 19Or if I were to send pestilence on that land and pour out my fury on it in bloodshed, destroying people and cattle, 20and if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they would save neither son nor daughter; they would by their righteousness save none but themselves.
21‘The Lord GOD says: How much less hope is there for Jerusalem when I inflict on her these four terrible punishments of mine, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to destroy both people and cattle! 22Yet some will be left in her, some survivors to be brought out, both men and women. Look at them as they come out to you, and see how they have behaved and what they have done. This will be consolation to you for the disaster I have brought on Jerusalem, for all I have inflicted on her. 23It will bring you consolation when you consider how they have behaved and what they have done; for you will know that it was not without good reason that I dealt thus with her. This is the word of the Lord GOD.’