1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem. Prophesy toward the holy places and prophesy against the land of Israel, 3 And say to the land of Israel, 'Thus says the LORD: "Behold, I am against you, and I will draw forth my sword out of its sheath and will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. 4 Seeing then that I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore my sword shall go forth from its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north, 5 So that all flesh may know that I, the LORD, have drawn my sword out of its sheath. It shall not return anymore."' 6 Sigh therefore, son of man, with the breaking of your loins. And with bitterness sigh before their eyes. 7 And it shall be, when they say to you, 'Why do you sigh?' that you shall answer, 'For the tidings, because it comes. And every heart shall melt, all hands shall be feeble, every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water. Behold, it comes and shall be brought to pass,' says the Lord GOD."
8 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
9 "Son of man, prophesy, and say, 'Thus says the LORD:' Say, 'A sword, a sword is sharpened and also furbished.
10 It is sharpened to make a grievous slaughter. It is furbished so that it may glitter.' Should we then make mirth? It despises the rod of my son, as every tree.
11 And he has given it to be furbished, so that it may be handled. The sword is sharpened and it is furbished to give it into the hand of the slayer. 12 Cry and howl, son of man, for it shall be upon my people. It shall be upon all the princes of Israel. Terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people. Smite therefore upon your thigh. 13 For there is a trial. And what if the sword despises even the rod? It shall be no more," says the Lord GOD.
14 "You therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite your hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time—the sword of the slain. It is the sword of the great men who are slain which enters into their private chambers. 15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, so that their hearts may faint and their ruins are multiplied. Ah! It is made bright. It is sharpened for the slaughter. 16 Go one way or another, either on the right hand, or on the left, wherever your face is set. 17 I will also smite my hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest. I, the LORD, have said it."
18 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 19 "Also, son of man, appoint two ways that the sword of the king of Babylon may come. Both ways shall come forth from one land. And choose a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city. 20 Appoint a way that the sword may come to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the fortified. 21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver. 22 At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a siege-mound, and to build a fort. 23 And it shall be to them as a false divination in their sight, to those who have sworn oaths, but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, so that they may be taken.
24 "Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: 'Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are disclosed, so that in all your doings your sins appear, because, I say, that you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken with the hand. 25 And you, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come when iniquity has an end,' 26 Thus says the Lord GOD: 'Remove the diadem and take off the crown. This shall not be the same. Exalt him who is low and abase him who is high. 27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more until he comes whose right it is. And I will give it to him.'
28 "And you, son of man, prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach,' even say, 'The sword, the sword is drawn. For the slaughter it is furbished to consume because of the glittering, 29 While they see vanity for you, while they divine a lie for you, to bring you upon the necks of those who are slain, of the wicked, whose day has come when their iniquity has an end. 30 Shall I cause it to return into its sheath? I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land of your nativity. 31 And I will pour out my indignation upon you. I will blow against you in the fire of my wrath and deliver you into the hand of brutish men who are skillful to destroy. 32 You shall be for fuel to the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. You shall no longer be remembered. For I, the LORD, have spoken it.'"
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains an explanation of a prophecy in the latter part of the preceding chapter, and a new one, concerning the sword of the Chaldeans and the destruction of the Jews and Ammonites by it. The prophecy of the fire in the forest is explained (Ezekiel 21:1-5), upon which the prophet is directed to show his concern at it by sighing, in order to awaken the attention of the people to it (Ezekiel 21:6-7); then follows a prophecy of a very sharp and bright sword, which should do great execution upon the people and princes of Israel; and therefore the prophet, in order to affect them with it, is bid to howl and cry and smite on his thigh; and smite his hands together, and the Lord says he would do so; all which is designed to set forth the greatness of the calamity and the distress (Ezekiel 21:8-17); next the prophet is ordered to represent the king of Babylon as at a place where two ways met, and as at a loss which way to take, and as determined by divination to go to Jerusalem first (Ezekiel 21:18-24), and then Zedekiah, the then reigning prince of Israel, has his doom pronounced on him, and he is ordered to be stripped of his regalia; and an intimation is given that there should be no more king over Israel of the house of David until the Messiah came (Ezekiel 21:26-27); and the chapter is concluded with a prophecy of the destruction of the Ammonites in their own land, which should certainly be, though their diviners might say the contrary (Ezekiel 21:28-31).