The People Worship Other Gods in the Temple
1It was the sixth year since King Jehoiachin had been brought to Babylon as a prisoner. On the fifth day of the sixth month, I was sitting in my house. The elders of Judah were sitting there with me. The power of the Lord and King came on me there. 2I looked up and saw a figure that appeared to be human. From his waist down he looked like fire. From his waist up he looked as bright as glowing metal. 3He reached out what appeared to be a hand. He took hold of me by the hair of my head. The Spirit of the Lord lifted me up between earth and heaven. In visions God gave me, the Spirit took me to Jerusalem. He brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the inner courtyard. The statue of a god was standing there. It made God very angry. 4There in front of me was the glory of the God of Israel. It looked just as it did in the vision I had seen on the plain.
5Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.” So I did. I saw a statue that made God angry. It was in the entrance of the gate north of the altar.
6He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the Israelites are doing here? They are doing things I hate very much. Those things will cause me to go far away from my temple. But you will see things I hate even more.”
7Then he brought me to the entrance to the courtyard. I looked up and saw a hole in the wall. 8He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall.” So I did. And I saw a door there.
9He continued, “Go through it. Look at the evil things they are doing here. I hate those things.” 10So I went in and looked. All over the walls were pictures of all kinds of crawling things and “unclean” animals. The Lord hates it when people worship those things. There were also carvings of the gods of the people of Israel. 11In front of them stood 70 elders of Israel. Jaazaniah was standing there among them. He is the son of Shaphan. Each elder was holding a shallow cup. A sweet-smelling cloud of incense was rising from the cups.
12The Lord spoke to me. He said, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of Israel are doing in the dark? Each of them is in his own room worshiping his own god. They say, ‘The Lord doesn’t see us. He has deserted the land.’ ” 13He continued, “You will see them doing things I hate even more.”
14Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the Lord’s house. I saw women sitting there. They were mourning for the god named Tammuz. 15The Lord said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing? You will see things I hate even more.”
16Then he brought me into the inner courtyard of the Lord’s house. About 25 men were there. They were at the entrance to the Lord’s temple between the porch and the altar. Their backs were turned toward the temple. Their faces were turned toward the east. And they were bowing down to the sun.
17He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen all of this? The people of Judah are doing things here that I hate. This is a very serious matter. They are harming one another all through the land. They continue to make me very angry. Just look at them making fun of me! 18So I am angry with them. I will punish them. I will not spare them or feel sorry for them. They might even shout in my ears. But I will not listen to them.”