1. When certain elders of Israel came and sat down before me,
2. the word of the LORD came to me:
3. Son of man, these men have the memory of their idols fresh in their hearts, and they keep the occasion of their sin before them. Why should I allow myself to be consulted by them?
4. Therefore speak with them, and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD: If anyone of the house of Israel, holding the memory of his idols in his heart and keeping the occasion of his sin before him, has recourse to a prophet, I, the LORD, will be his answer in person because of his many idols.
5. Thus would I bring back to their senses the house of Israel, who have become estranged from me through all their idols.
6. Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord GOD: Return and be converted from your idols; turn yourselves away from all your abominations.
7. For if anyone of the house of Israel or any alien resident in Israel is estranged from me, and holds the memory of his idols in his heart and keeps the occasion of his sin before him, yet asks a prophet to consult me for him, I, the LORD, will be his answer in person.
8. I will turn against that man, and make of him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from the midst of my people. Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
9. As for the prophet, if he is beguiled into speaking a word, I, the LORD, shall have beguiled that prophet; I will stretch out my hand against him and root him out of my people Israel.
10. Each shall receive punishment for his sin, the inquirer and the prophet shall be punished alike,
11. so that the house of Israel may no longer stray from me and may no longer be defiled by all their sins. Thus they shall be my people, and I will be their God, says the Lord GOD.
12. Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
13. Son of man, when a land sins against me by breaking faith, I stretch out my hand against it and break its staff of bread, I let famine loose upon it and cut off from it both man and beast;
14. and even if these three men were in it, Noah, Daniel, and Job, they could save only themselves by their virtue, says the Lord GOD.
15. If I were to cause wild beasts to prowl the land, depopulating it so that it became a waste, traversed by none because of the wild beasts,
16. and these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear they could save neither sons nor daughters; they alone would be saved, and the land would be a waste.
17. Or if I brought the sword upon this country, commanding the sword to pass through the land cutting off from it man and beast,
18. and these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they would be unable to save either sons or daughters; they alone would be saved.
19. Or if I were to send pestilence into this land, pouring out upon it my bloodthirsty fury, cutting off from it man and beast,
20. even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear that they could save neither son nor daughter; they would save only themselves by their virtue.
21. Thus says the Lord GOD: Even though I send Jerusalem my four cruel punishments, the sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast,
22. still some survivors shall be left in it who will bring out sons and daughters; when they come out to you, you shall see their conduct and their actions and be consoled regarding the evil I have brought on Jerusalem (all that I have brought upon it).
23. They shall console you when you see their conduct and actions, for you shall then know that it was not without reason that I did to it what I did, says the Lord GOD.