A Prophecy of Hope for the Mountains of Israel
1“Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel. Tell them, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the Lord’s message. 2The Lord and King says, “Your enemies made fun of you. They bragged, ‘The hills you lived in for a long time belong to us now.’ ” ’ 3Ezekiel, prophesy. Say, ‘The Lord and King says, “Your enemies destroyed you. They crushed you from every side. So the rest of the nations took over your land. People talked about you. They told lies about you.” ’ ” 4Mountains of Israel, listen to the message of the Lord and King. He speaks to you mountains, hills, canyons and valleys. He speaks to you destroyed cities and deserted towns. The rest of the nations around you took away from you everything of value. They made fun of you. 5So the Lord and King says, “I am very angry with those nations. I have spoken against them and the whole land of Edom. They were very happy when they took over my land. Deep down inside them, they hated Israel. They wanted to take its grasslands. 6Ezekiel, prophesy about the land of Israel. Speak to the mountains, hills, canyons and valleys. Tell them, ‘The Lord and King says, “I have a jealous anger against the nations. They have laughed at you.” 7So the Lord and King says, “I raise my hand and make a promise. I promise that the nations around you will also be laughed at.
8“ ‘ “Mountains of Israel, you will produce branches and bear fruit for my people Israel. They will come home soon. 9I am concerned about you. I will do good things for you. Farmers will plow your ground. They will plant seeds in it. 10I will cause many people to live in Israel. The towns will no longer be empty. Their broken-down houses will be rebuilt. 11I will cause many people and animals to live in you, Israel. They will have many babies. I will cause people to make their homes in your towns, just as I did in the past. I will help you succeed more than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12I will let my people Israel live there again. They will possess you. They will receive you as their own. You will never take their children away from them again.” ’ ”
13The Lord and King says, “People say to you mountains, ‘You destroy people. You let your nation’s children be taken away.’ 14But I will not let you destroy people anymore. I will no longer let your nation’s children be taken away,” announces the Lord and King. 15“You will not have to listen to the nations laughing at you anymore. People will no longer make fun of you. You will not let your nation fall,” announces the Lord and King.
Israel Will Surely Be Rebuilt
16Another message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, 17“Son of man, the people of Israel used to live in their own land. But they made it ‘unclean’ because of how they acted and the way they lived. To me they were ‘unclean’ like a woman having her monthly period. 18They spilled people’s blood in the land. They made the land ‘unclean’ by worshiping other gods. So I poured out my great anger on them. 19I scattered them among the nations. I sent them to other countries. I judged them based on how they acted and on how they lived. 20They treated my name as if it were not holy. They did it everywhere they went among the nations. People said about them, ‘They are the Lord’s people. But they were forced to leave his land.’ 21I was concerned about my holy name. The people of Israel treated it as if it were not holy. They did it everywhere they went among the nations.
22“So tell the Israelites, ‘The Lord and King speaks. He says, “People of Israel, I will not take action for your benefit. Instead, I will act for the honor of my holy name. You have treated it as if it were not holy. You did it everywhere you went among the nations. 23But I will show everyone how holy my great name is. You have treated it as if it were not holy. So I will use you to prove to the nations how holy I am. Then they will know that I am the Lord,” announces the Lord and King.
24“ ‘ “I will take you out of the nations. I will gather you together from all the countries. I will bring you back into your own land. 25I will sprinkle pure water on you. Then you will be ‘clean.’ I will make you completely pure and ‘clean.’ I will take all the statues of your gods away from you. 26I will give you new hearts. I will give you a new spirit that is faithful to me. I will remove your stubborn hearts from you. I will give you hearts that obey me. 27I will put my Spirit in you. I will make you want to obey my rules. I want you to be careful to keep my laws. 28Then you will live in the land I gave your people of long ago. You will be my people. And I will be your God. 29I will save you from all your ‘uncleanness.’ I will give you plenty of grain. You will have more than enough. So you will never be hungry again. 30I will multiply the fruit on your trees. I will increase the crops in your fields. Then the nations will no longer make fun of you because you are hungry. 31You will remember your evil ways and the sinful things you have done. You will hate yourselves because you have sinned so much. I also hate your evil practices. 32I want you to know that I am not doing those things for your benefit,” announces the Lord and King. “People of Israel, you should be ashamed of yourselves! Your conduct has brought dishonor to you.” ’ ”
33The Lord and King says, “I will make you pure from all your sins. On that day I will give you homes in your towns again. Your broken-down houses will be rebuilt. 34The dry and empty land will be farmed again. Everyone who passes through it will see that it is no longer empty. 35They will say, ‘This land was completely destroyed. But now it’s like the Garden of Eden. The cities were full of broken-down buildings. They were destroyed and empty. But now they have high walls around them. And people live in them.’ 36Then the nations that remain around you will know that I have rebuilt what was once destroyed. I have planted again the fields that were once empty. I have spoken. And I will do this. I am the Lord.”
37The Lord and King says, “Once again I will answer Israel’s prayer. Here is what I will do for them. I will multiply them as if they were sheep. 38Large flocks of animals are sacrificed at Jerusalem during the appointed feasts there. In the same way, the destroyed cities will be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”