1. The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
2. 'Son of man, speak to the people of your country. Say to them, "When I send the sword against the people of that country, take one of their number and post him as a watchman;
3. if he sees the sword coming against the country, he must sound his horn to warn the people.
4. If someone hears the sound of the horn but pays no attention and the sword overtakes him and destroys him, he will have been responsible for his own death.
5. He has heard the sound of the horn and paid no attention; his death will be his own responsibility. But the life of someone who pays attention will be secure.
6. "If, however, the watchman has seen the sword coming but has not blown his horn, and so the people are not alerted and the sword overtakes them and destroys a single one of them, that person will indeed die for his guilt, but I shall hold the watchman responsible for his death."
7. 'Son of man I have appointed you as watchman for the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them from me.
8. If I say to someone wicked, "Evil- doer, you are to die," and you do not speak to warn the wicked person to renounce such ways, the wicked person will die for this guilt, but I shall hold you responsible for the death.
9. If, however, you do warn someone wicked to renounce such ways and repent, and that person does not repent, then the culprit will die for this guilt, but you yourself will have saved your life.
10. 'Son of man, say to the House of Israel, "You are continually saying: Our crimes and sins weigh heavily on us; we are wasting away because of them. How are we to go on living?"
11. Say to them, "As I live -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- I do not take pleasure in the death of the wicked but in the conversion of the wicked who changes his ways and saves his life. Repent, turn back from your evil ways. Why die, House of Israel?"
12. 'Son of man, say to the members of your nation, "The uprightness of an upright person will not save him once he takes to wrong-doing; the wickedness of a wicked person will not ruin him once he renounces his wickedness. No one upright will be able to live on the strength of uprightness, having once taken to sinning.
13. If I say to someone upright: You are to live, and then, trusting in this uprightness, he does wrong, none of the uprightness will be remembered; because of the wrong-doing, he will die.
14. If, however, I say to someone wicked: You are to die, and he turns back from sin and does what is lawful and upright,
15. if he returns pledges, restores what he has stolen, keeps the laws that give life and no longer does wrong, he will live and will not die.
16. None of his previous sins will be remembered against him; having done what is lawful and upright, he will live.
17. "But the members of your nation say: What the Lord does is unjust. But it is what you do that is unjust.
18. When an upright person gives up being upright and does wrong, he dies for it.
19. And when a wicked person gives up being wicked and does what is lawful and upright, because of this he lives.
20. But you say: What the Lord does is unjust! I shall judge each of you by what you do, House of Israel." '
21. In the twelfth year of our captivity, on the fifth day of the tenth month, a fugitive arrived from Jerusalem and said to me, 'The city has been taken.'
22. Now the hand of the Lord had been on me the evening before the fugitive arrived; he had opened my mouth before the fugitive came to me the next morning; my mouth had been opened and I was dumb no longer.
23. The word of Yahweh was then addressed to me as follows,
24. 'Son of man, the people living in those ruins on the soil of Israel say this, "Abraham was alone when he was given possession of this country. But we are many; the country has been given us as our heritage."
25. 'Very well, tell them, "The Lord Yahweh says this: You eat blood, you raise your eyes to your foul idols, you shed blood; are you to own the country?
26. You rely on your swords, you engage in loathsome practices, each of you defiles his neighbour's wife; are you to own the country?"
27. Tell them this, "The Lord Yahweh says this: As I live, I swear it, those in the ruins will fall to the sword, those in the countryside I shall give to the wild animals for them to eat, and those among the crags and in caves will die of plague.
28. I shall make the country a desolate waste, and the pride of its strength will be at an end. The mountains of Israel will be deserted and no one will pass that way again.
29. Then they will know that I am Yahweh, when I make the country a desolate waste because of all the filthy things they have done."
30. 'Son of man, the members of your nation are talking about you on the ramparts and in doorways. They keep saying to one another, "Come and hear the word that has come from Yahweh."
31. They throng towards you; my people sit down in front of you and listen to your words, but they do not act on them. What they act on is the lie in their mouths, and their hearts are set on dishonest gain.
32. As far as they are concerned, you are like a love song pleasantly sung to a good musical accompaniment. They listen to your words, but no one acts on them.
33. When the thing takes place -- and it is beginning now -- they will know that there has been a prophet among them.'