1. Next, some elders of Israel visited me and while they were sitting with me,
2. the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
3. 'Son of man, these men have enshrined their foul idols in their hearts and placed the cause of their sinning right before their eyes. Why should I let myself be consulted by them?
4. So speak to them; tell them this, "Lord Yahweh says this: Every member of the House of Israel who enshrines his foul idols in his heart and places the cause of his sinning right before his eyes, and who then approaches the prophet, will get this answer from me, Yahweh, as the multiplicity of his idols deserves,
5. and in this way I hope to win back the hearts of the House of Israel who have all been estranged from me by their foul idols."
6. 'So say to the House of Israel, "The Lord Yahweh says this: Come back, turn away from your foul idols, turn your backs on all your loathsome practices;
7. for if any member of the House of Israel -- or any foreigner living in Israel -- deserts me to enshrine his foul idols in his heart and places the cause of his sinning right before his eyes and then approaches a prophet to consult me through him, he will get his answer from me, Yahweh.
8. I shall set my face against that person; I shall make him an example and a byword; I shall rid my people of him, and you will know that I am Yahweh.
9. And if the prophet is seduced into saying something, I, Yahweh, shall have seduced that prophet; I shall point my finger at him and rid my people Israel of him.
10. Both will be punished for their guilt; the prophet's punishment will be the same as that of the person who consults him,
11. so that the House of Israel will never stray from me again or defile themselves again with these crimes, but be my people and I their God -- declares the Lord Yahweh." '
12. The word of Yahweh was addressed to me:
13. 'Son of man, when a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I point my finger at it and destroy its supply of food, inflicting famine on it and denuding it of human and animal,
14. even if the three men, Noah, Danel and Job, were living in it, they would save no one but themselves by their uprightness -- declares the Lord Yahweh.
15. Were I to unleash wild beasts on that country to rob it of its children and reduce it to a desert which no one would dare to cross because of the animals,
16. even if these three men were living there, as I live -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- they would not be able to save either son or daughter; they alone would be saved, and the country would become a desert.
17. Were I to bring the sword down on that country and say, "Sword, cross the country!" so as to denude it of human and animal,
18. even if these three men were living there, as I live -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- they would not be able to save either son or daughter; they alone would be saved.
19. If I were to send the plague on that country and vent my fury on it by bloodshed, so as to denude it of human and animal,
20. even if Noah and Danel and Job were living there, as I live -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- they would be able to save neither son nor daughter, only themselves by their uprightness.
21. 'The Lord Yahweh says this, "Even if I send my four dreadful scourges on Jerusalem-sword, famine, wild beasts and plague -- to denude it of human and animal,
22. even so, there will be a remnant left, a few men and women who come through; when they come to you and you see their conduct and actions, you will take comfort in spite of the disaster which I have brought on Jerusalem, in spite of all I have brought on her.
23. They will comfort you, when you see their conduct and actions, and so you will know that I have not done in vain all I have done to her -- declares the Lord Yahweh." '