14 1THEN CAME certain of the elders of Israel to me and sat before me. 2And the word of the Lord came to me: 3Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and put the stumbling block of their iniquity and guilt before their faces; should I permit Myself to be inquired of at all by them? 4Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Every man of the house of Israel who takes his idols [of self-will and unsubmissiveness] into his heart and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity [idols of silver and gold] before his face, and yet comes to the prophet [to inquire of him], I the Lord will answer him, answer him according to the multitude of his idols, 5That I may lay hold of the house of Israel in the thoughts of their own mind and heart, because they are all estranged from Me through their idols. 6Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations. 7For anyone of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who separates himself from Me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity and guilt before his face, and [yet] comes to the prophet to inquire for himself of Me, I the Lord will answer him Myself! 8And I will set My face against that [false worshiper] and will make him a sign and a byword, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people; and you shall know (understand and realize) that I am the Lord. 9[The prophet has not been granted permission to give an answer to the hypocritical inquirer] but if the prophet does give the man the answer he desires [thus allowing himself to be a party to the inquirer’s sin], I the Lord will see to it that the prophet is deceived in his answer, and I will stretch out My hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of My people Israel. 10And they both shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the iniquity of the [presumptuous] prophet shall be the same as the iniquity of the [hypocritical] inquirer, 11That the house of Israel may go no more astray from Me, neither defile themselves any more with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people, and I may be their God, says the Lord God. 12The word of the Lord came [again] to me, saying, 13Son of man, when a land sins against Me by committing a trespass, and I stretch out My hand against it and break its staff of bread and send famine upon it and cut off from it man and beast, 14Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they would save but their own lives by their righteousness (their uprightness and right standing with Me), says the Lord God. 15If I cause ferocious and evil wild animals to pass through the land and they ravage and bereave it, and it becomes desolate so that no man may pass through because of the beasts; 16Though these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; they themselves alone would be delivered but the land would be desolate (laid waste and deserted). 17Or if I bring a sword upon that land and say, Sword, go through the land, so that I cut off man and beast from it, 18Though these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they themselves alone would be delivered. 19Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My wrath upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast, 20Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would but deliver their own lives by their righteousness (their moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation). 21For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send My four sore acts of judgment upon Jerusalem--the sword, the famine, the evil wild beasts, and the pestilence--to cut off from it man and beast! 22And yet, behold, in it shall be left a remnant (an escaped portion), both sons and daughters. They shall be carried forth to you [in Babylon], and when you see their [ungodly] walk and their [wicked] doings, you will be consoled for the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. 23And they shall console you when you see their evil ways and their rebellious actions. Then you shall know (understand and realize) that I have not done without cause all that I have done in Jerusalem, says the Lord God.
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