1 On January 15,* during the ninth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, this message came to me from the LORD:1
2 "Son of man, write down today's date, because on this very day the king of Babylon is beginning his attack against Jerusalem.
3 Then show these rebels an illustration; give them a message from the Sovereign LORD. Put a pot of water on the fire to boil.
4 Fill it with choice meat--the rump and the shoulder and all the most tender cuts.
5 Use only the best sheep from the flock and heap fuel on the fire beneath the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, and cook the bones along with the meat.
6 "Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Destruction is certain for Jerusalem, the city of murderers! She is a pot filled with corruption. So take the meat out chunk by chunk in whatever order it comes,
7 for her wickedness is evident to all. She murders boldly, leaving blood on the rocks for all to see. She doesn't even try to cover it!
8 So I will splash her blood on a rock as an open expression of my anger and vengeance against her.
9 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Destruction is certain for Jerusalem, the city of murderers! I myself will pile up the fuel beneath her.
10 Yes, heap on the wood! Let the fire roar to make the pot boil. Cook the meat well with many spices. Then empty the pot and burn the bones.
11 Now set the empty pot on the coals to scorch away the filth and corruption.
12 But it's hopeless; the corruption remains. So throw it into the fire!
13 It is the filth and corruption of your lewdness and idolatry. And now, because I tried to cleanse you but you refused, you will remain filthy until my fury against you has been satisfied.
14 I, the LORD, have spoken! The time has come and I won't hold back; I will not change my mind. You will be judged on the basis of all your wicked actions, says the Sovereign LORD."
15 Then this message came to me from the LORD:
16 "Son of man, I am going to take away your dearest treasure. Suddenly she will die. Yet you must not show any sorrow. Do not weep; let there be no tears.
17 You may sigh but only quietly. Let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends."
18 So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did everything I had been told to do.
19 Then the people asked, "What does all this mean? What are you trying to tell us?"
20 So I said to them, "A message came to me from the LORD,
21 and I was told to give this message to the people of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will desecrate my Temple, the source of your security and pride. Your sons and daughters in Judea will be slaughtered by the sword.
22 Then you will do as Ezekiel has done. You will not mourn in public or console yourselves by eating the food brought to you by sympathetic friends.
23 Your heads must remain covered, and your sandals must not be taken off. You will not mourn or weep, but you will waste away because of your sins. You will mourn privately for all the evil you have done.
24 Ezekiel is an example for you to follow; you will do as he has done. And when that time comes, you will know that I am the LORD."
25 Then the LORD said to me, "Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold--their joy and glory, their heart's desire, their dearest treasure--I will also take away their sons and daughters.
26 And on that day a refugee from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened.
27 And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the LORD."