Ezekiel – Chapter 23

Parable of Two Sisters

Verse 1 – The word of the Lord came to me, saying:

Verse 2 – “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother.

Ezekiel compared the northern and southern kingdoms to two sisters who became prostitutes.

Verse 3 – They committed harlotry in Egypt, they committed harlotry in their youth; their breasts were there embraced, their virgin bosom was there pressed.

Verse 4 – Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; they were Mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samariah is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.

Oholah, meaning “her tent.” The northern kingdom was lured away from God by the Assyrians. The people coveted youth, strength, power, wealth, and pleasure. These are the same desires that will lure people away from God today.

Verse 5 – “Oholah (Israel) played the harlot even though she was Mine; and she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring Assyrians,

Verse 6 – who were clothed in purple, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses.

Verse 7 – Thus she committed harlotry with them, all of them choice men of Assyria; and with all for whom she lusted, with all their idols, she defiled herself.

Verse 8 – She has never given up her harlotry brought from Egypt, for in her youth they had lain with her, pressed her virgin bosom, and poured out their immorality upon her.

Verse 9 – “Therefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, for whom she lusted.

Verse 10 – They uncovered her nakedness, took away her sons and daughters, and slew her with the sword; she became a byword among women, for they had executed judgment on her.

“They exposed her nakedness,” refers to the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C.

Verse 11 – “Now although her sister Oholibah saw this, she became more corrupt in her in ordinate love than she, and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sisters harlotry.

Oholibah means “my tent is in her.” Judah was worse because she did not learn from the punishment she saw Israel, her sister receive, but continued her sin with the Assyrians and Babylonians.

Verse 12 – “She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians, captain and rulers, clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.

“She lusted after the Assyrians,” might refer to Ahaz paying protection money to Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 16:7, 8).

Verse 13 – Then I saw that she was defiled; both took the same way.

Verse 14 – But she increased her harlotry; she looked at men portrayed on the wall, images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion.

The monuments of Nineveh show how the walls of its palaces were adorned with figures. There is evidence that these sculptures were highly colored with vermilion, red och re.

Verse 15 – Girded with belts around their waists, flowing turbans on their heads, all of them looking like captains, in the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity.

Verse 16 – As soon as her eyes saw them, she lusted for them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.

An invitation to Chaldea (Babylon) was given by King Hezekiah to the envoys from Babylon (2 Kings 20:12; Isaiah 38; 39).

Verse 17 – “Then the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their immorality; so she was defiled by them, and alienated herself from them.

At first, Judah made an alliance with Babylon (Chaldea), but then changed its mind. During the reigns of the last two Judean kings, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, Judah looked to Egypt for help. Judah’s unfaithfulness cost it the only real protection it ever had – God.

Verse 18 – She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness. Then I alienated Myself from her, as I had alienated Myself from her sister.

Verse 19 – “Yet she multiplied her harlotry in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

Verse 20 – For she lusted for her paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys, and whose issue is like the issue of horse.

Verse 21 – Thus you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians pressed your bosom because of your youthful breasts.

“Lewdness” is promiscuity, giving sexual favors instead of being faithful to a spouse or to God. We don’t often think of ourselves as being “spiritually promiscuous,” but often turn to other sources for advice. The world doesn’t have the answers to our dilemmas, God does in His word.

Verse 22 – “Therefore, Oholibah (Jerusalem) thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you, from whom you have alienated yourself, and I will bring them against you from every side:

You do know that God won’t stop you from going toward things against Him. He will try to direct you, but we have a free will. Only if we draw near to Him are we able to hear His guidance. God gave Judah what they sought after. When someone kicks hard enough towards evil desires, they are headed for destruction.

Verse 23 – The Babylonians, all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, Koa, all the Assyrians with them, all of them desirable young men, governors and rulers, captains and men of renown, all of them riding on horses.

Pekod, Shoa, and Koa were Babylonian allies. This described the last attack on Jerusalem that would destroy the city.

Verse 24 – And they shall come against you with chariots, wagons, and war-horses, with a horde of people. They shall array against you buckler, shield, and helmet all around. ‘I will delegate judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments.

Verse 25 – I will set My jealousy against you, and they shall deal furiously with you; they shall remove your nose and your ears, and your remnant shall fall by the sword; they shall take your sons and your daughters, and your remnant shall be devoured by fire.

Verse 26 – They shall also strip you of your cloths and take away your beautiful jewelry.

Verse 27 – ‘Thus I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry brought from the land of Egypt, so that you will not lift your eyes to them, nor remember Egypt anymore.

Verse 28 – “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those whom you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself.

Verse 29 – ‘They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry.

Verse 30 – ‘I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols.

Verse 31 – ‘You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her cup in your hand.’

Verse 32 – “Thus says the Lord God: ‘You shall drink of your sister’s cup, the deep wide one; you shall be laughed to scorn and held in derision; it contains much.

Judah will be ruined, desolate, laughed at and scorned just like Samaria was.

Verse 33 – You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of horror and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria.

Verse 34 – You shall drink and drain it, you shall break its shards, and tear at your own breasts; for I have spoken,’ says the Lord God.

Beating the breast was the customary response to a crises. but nowhere does it say that they cried out to God and repented.

Verse 35 – “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, therefore you shall bear the penalty of your lewdness and your harlotry.’ ”

Verse 36 – The Lord also said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations.

Verse 37 – “For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them.

Verse 38 – “Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths.

Verse 39 – “For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.

The Israelites went so far as to sacrifice their children to idols and then went into God’s sanctuary and sacrificed to Him. This made a mockery of worship. To worship God while willfully continuing in sin is the same thing as celebrating your wedding anniversary and then committing adultery.

Verse 40 – “Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments.

Verse 41 – “You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set My incense and My oil.

Incense and oil not only belonged to the Lord, but they were products used in the offering of sacrifices.

Verse 42 – “The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads.

Verse 43 – “Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, ‘Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?

He’s talking about them getting all joyous over a peace treaty between the Jews and the Chaldeans.

Verse 44 – “Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd woman.

Verse 45 – “But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteress, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteress, and blood is on their hands.

Verse 46 – “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder.

Verse 47 – ‘The assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire.

Verse 48 – ‘Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice lewdness.

Verse 49 – ‘They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know I am the Lord God.’ ”

Lewdness is wickedness in a perversion way. Why is all this important to us today? I think it is significant because we learn much about God’s character and holiness. He hasn’t changed in any area of what He calls wickedness. So many of these sins that we have read about that the Israelites committed, we have and see in our society today and people don’t even bat an eye.

God is a good God, full of mercy and grace, but if people continue to ignore, mock, rebel, and reject Him, they can be assured of an eternity without Him!

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This entry was posted in Ezekiel.

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