The Vision of Slaughter
1Then [in my vision] I heard Him cry out with a thunderous voice, saying, “Approach now, executioners of the city, each with his weapon of destruction in his hand.” 2Behold, six men [angelic beings] came from the direction of the Upper Gate, which faces north, each with his battle-axe in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen, with a scribe’s writing case at his side. They entered and stood beside the bronze altar.
3Then the [Shekinah] glory and brilliance of the God of Israel (the cloud) went up from the cherubim on which it had rested, to [stand above] the threshold of the [Lord’s] temple. And the Lord called to the man clothed with linen, who had the scribe’s writing case at his side. 4The Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, throughout all of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh [in distress] and grieve over all the repulsive acts which are being committed in it.” 5But to the others I heard Him say, “Follow him [the man with the scribe’s writing case] throughout the city and strike; do not let your eyes have pity and do not spare [anyone]. 6Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women; but do not touch or go near anyone on whom is the mark. Begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple [who did not have the Lord’s mark on their foreheads]. 7And He said to the executioners, “Defile the temple and fill its courtyards with the dead. Go out!” So they went out and struck down the people in the city. 8As they were executing them and I alone was left, I fell face downward and cried out, “Alas, Lord God! Will You destroy all that is left of Israel [the whole remnant] by pouring out Your wrath and indignation on Jerusalem?”
9Then He said to me, “The wickedness (guilt) of the house of Israel and Judah is extremely great; the land is full of blood and the city is full of perversion and injustice; for they say, ‘The Lord has abandoned the land; the Lord does not see [what we are doing].’ 10But as for Me, My eye will have no pity, nor will I spare, but I will bring their [wicked] conduct upon their [own] heads.”
11Then behold, the man clothed in linen, who had the scribe’s writing case at his side, reported, “I have done just as You have commanded me.”