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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 21

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The Sword of the Lord. 1Thus the word of the LORD came to me: 2 * Son of man, look southward, preach toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the southern land. 3Hear the word of the LORD! you shall say to the southern forest. Thus says the Lord GOD: See! I am kindling a fire in you that shall devour all trees, the green as well as the dry. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, but from south to north every face shall be scorched by it. 4Everyone shall see that I, the LORD, have kindled it, and it shall not be quenched.

5But I said, “Alas! Lord GOD, they say to me, ‘Is not this the one who is forever spinning parables?’ ” 6Then the word of the LORD came to me: 7Son of man, look toward Jerusalem, preach against their sanctuary, and prophesy against the land of Israel, 8saying to the land of Israel: Thus says the LORD: See! I am coming at you; I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you the virtuous and the wicked.* 9Thus my sword shall leave its sheath against everyone from south to north, 10and everyone shall know that I, the LORD, have drawn my sword from its sheath, and it shall not be sheathed again.

Act Symbolic of the City's Fall. 11As for you, son of man, groan! with shattered strength groan bitterly while they look on. 12And when they ask you, “Why are you groaning?”, you shall say: Because of a report;* when it comes every heart shall fail, every hand shall fall helpless, every spirit shall be daunted, and every knee shall run with water. See, it is coming, it is here! says the Lord GOD.

Song of the Sword. 13Thus the word of the LORD came to me: 14Son of man, prophesy! say: Thus says the LORD:

A sword, a sword has been sharpened, a sword, a sword has been burnished: 15To work slaughter has it been sharpened, to flash lightning has it been burnished. Why should I now withdraw it? You have spurned the rod and every judgment 16I have given it over to the burnisher that he might hold it in his hand, A sword sharpened and burnished to be put in the hand of a slayer. 17Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is destined for my people; It is for all the princes of Israel, victims of the sword with my people.

Therefore, slap your thigh,* 18for the sword has been tested; and why should it not be so? says the Lord GOD, since you have spurned the rod.

19As for you, son of man, prophesy, brushing one hand against the other: While the sword is doubled and tripled, this sword of slaughter, This great sword of slaughter which threatens all around, 20That every heart may tremble; for many will be the fallen. At all their gates I have appointed the sword for slaughter, Fashioned to flash lightning, burnished for slaughter. 21Cleave to the right!destroy! to the left! wherever your edge is turned.

22Then I, too, shall brush one hand against the other* and wreak my fury. I, the LORD, have spoken.

Nebuchadnezzar at the Crossroads. 23Thus the word of the LORD came to me: 24Son of man, make for yourself two roads over which the sword of the king of Babylon can come. Both roads shall lead out from the same land. Then put a signpost at the head of each road, 25so that the sword can come to Rabbah of the Ammonites or to Judah's capital, Jerusalem. 26For at the fork where the two roads divide stands the king of Babylon, divining;* he has shaken the arrows, inquired of the teraphim, inspected the liver. 27In his right hand is the divining arrow marked “Jerusalem,”* bidding him to give the order for slaying, to raise his voice in the battle cry, to post battering rams at the gates, to cast up a ramp, to build a siege tower. 28In their eyes this is but a lying oracle; yet they are bound by the oaths they have sworn, and the arrow taken in hand marks their guilt.

29Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have drawn attention to your guilt, with your crimes laid bare and your sinfulness in all your wicked deeds revealed (because attention has been drawn to you), you shall be taken in hand.30And as for you, depraved and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is coming when your life of crime will be ended, 31thus says the Lord GOD: Off with the turban and away with the crown! Nothing shall be as it was! Up with the low and down with the high! 32Twisted, twisted, twisted will I leave it; it shall not be the same until he comes who has the claim against the city; and to him I will hand it over.

Against the Ammonites* 33As for you, son of man, prophesy: Thus says the Lord GOD against the Ammonities and their insults: A sword, a sword is drawn for slaughter, burnished to consume and to flash lightning, 34because you planned with false visions and lying divinations to lay it on the necks of depraved and wicked men whose day has come when their crimes are at an end. 35Return it to its sheath! In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 36I will pour out my indignation upon you, breathing my fiery wrath upon you; I will hand you over to ravaging men, artisans of destruction. 37You shall be fuel for the fire, your blood shall flow throughout the land. You shall not be remembered, for I, the LORD, have spoken.

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