Ezekiel 22:23-31

Another message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, speak to the land. Tell it, ‘You have not been washed clean with rain. That’s because I am angry with you.’ Ezekiel, the princes of the land are like a roaring lion that tears its food apart. They eat people up. They take treasures and other valuable things. They cause many women in the land to become widows. Its priests break my law. They treat things set apart to me as if they were not holy. They treat holy and common things as if they were the same. They teach that there is no difference between things that are ‘clean’ and things that are not. They refuse to keep my Sabbath days. So they treat me as if I were not holy. The officials in the land are like wolves that tear their food apart. They spill blood and kill people to get rich. The prophets cover up these acts for them. The visions of these prophets are false. They use magic to try to find out what is going to happen. But their magic tricks are lies. They say, ‘The Lord and King says.’ But I have not spoken to them. The people of the land get rich by cheating others. They steal. They crush those who are poor and in need. They treat outsiders badly. They refuse to be fair to them.

“I looked for someone among them who would stand up for Jerusalem. I tried to find someone who would pray to me for the land. Then I would not have to destroy it. But I could not find anyone who would pray for it. So I will pour out my anger on its people. I will destroy them because of my great anger against them. And anything that happens to them will be their own fault,” announces the Lord and King.

Read More of Ezekiel 22

Ezekiel 23

Samaria and Jerusalem Are Like Two Impure Sisters

A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, once there were two women. They had the same mother. They became prostitutes in Egypt. They have been unfaithful to me since they were young. In that land they allowed their breasts to be touched. They permitted their virgin breasts to be kissed. The older sister was named Oholah. The younger one was Oholibah. They belonged to me. Sons and daughters were born to them. Oholah stands for Samaria. And Oholibah stands for Jerusalem.

“Oholah was unfaithful to me even while she still belonged to me. She longed for her Assyrian lovers. They included soldiers who wore blue uniforms. They also included governors and commanders. All of them were young and handsome. They rode horses. She gave herself as a prostitute to all Assyria’s finest warriors. She made herself impure with the statues of the gods of everyone she longed for. She started being a prostitute in Egypt. And she never stopped. When she was young, men had sex with her. They kissed her virgin breasts. They used up all their sinful desires on her.

“So I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers. She longed for them. They stripped her naked. They took away her sons and daughters. And they killed her with their swords. Other women laughed when that happened. I was the one who had punished her.

“Her sister Oholibah saw it. But her evil desire for sexual sin was worse than her sister’s. She too longed for the men of Assyria. They included governors and commanders. They included soldiers who wore fancy uniforms. They also included men who rode horses. All of them were young and handsome. I saw that she too made herself impure. So both sisters did the same evil things.

“But Oholibah went even further with her sexual sins. She saw pictures of men drawn on a wall. They were figures of Babylonians drawn in red. They had belts around their waists. They wore flowing turbans on their heads. All of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers. They were from the land of the Chaldeans. As soon as she saw the pictures, she longed for the men. So she sent messengers to them in Babylon. Then the Babylonians came to her. They went to bed with her. They had sex with her. They made her impure when they had sex with her. After they did it, she became sick of them. So she turned away from them. She acted like a prostitute who had no shame at all. She openly showed her naked body. I became sick of what she was doing. So I turned away from her. I had also turned away from her sister. But Oholibah offered her body to her lovers again and again. She remembered the days when she was a young prostitute in Egypt. There she had longed for her lovers. Their private parts seemed as big as those of donkeys. And their flow of semen appeared to be as much as that of horses. So you wanted to return to the days when you were young. You longed for the time when you first became impure in Egypt. That was when you allowed your breasts to be kissed. And you permitted your young breasts to be touched.”

So the Lord and King says, “Oholibah, I will stir up your lovers against you. You became sick of them. You turned away from them. But I will bring them against you from every side. They include the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans. They include the men from Pekod, Shoa and Koa. They also include all the Assyrians. They are young and handsome. Some of them are governors and commanders. Others are chariot officers. Still others are very high officials. All of them ride horses. So a huge army will come against you with weapons, chariots and wagons. They will take up positions against you on every side. They will carry large and small shields. They will wear helmets. I will turn you over to them to be punished. They will punish you in their own way. I will pour out my jealous anger on you. And the army’s anger will burn against you. They will cut off your noses and ears. Some of you who are left will be killed by swords. They will take away your sons and daughters. Others of you who are left will be burned up. The army will also strip off your clothes. They will take your fine jewelry away from you. You became an impure prostitute in Egypt. But I will put a stop to all of that. You will no longer want to do any of it. You will not remember Egypt anymore.”

The Lord and King says, “I am about to hand you over to people you hate. You became sick of them. You turned away from them. They will punish you because they hate you so much. They will take away from you everything you have worked for. They will leave you completely naked. Then everyone will see that you are a prostitute who has no shame at all. You were impure. You offered your body to your lovers again and again. That is why you will be punished. You longed for lovers in other nations. You made yourself impure by worshiping their gods. You did the same things your sister Oholah did. So I will put her cup in your hand. It is filled with the wine of my anger.”

The Lord and King says to Oholibah,

“You will drink from your sister’s cup.
    It is large and deep.
    It is filled with the wine of my anger.
So others will laugh at you.
    They will make fun of you.
You will become drunk and sad.
    The cup of my anger will completely destroy you.
    It is the same cup your sister Samaria drank from.
You will drink from it until it is empty.
    Then you will chew on its pieces.
    And you will claw at your breasts.

I have spoken,” announces the Lord and King.

So the Lord and King says, “You have forgotten me. You have turned your back on me. You have been impure. You have acted like a prostitute. So I will punish you.”

The Lord said to me, “Son of man, are you going to judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then tell them they have done many evil things. I hate those things. They have committed adultery. Their hands are covered with the blood of the people they have murdered. They have worshiped other gods. They have not been faithful to me. They have even sacrificed their children as food to other gods. Those children belonged to me. Here are some other things the sisters have done to me. They have made my temple ‘unclean.’ They have misused my Sabbath days. They have sacrificed their children to their gods. On that same day they entered my temple and made it ‘unclean.’ That is what they have done in my house.

“They even sent messengers to bring men from far away. When the men arrived, Oholibah took a bath. She put makeup on her eyes. She put her jewelry on. She sat down on a beautiful couch. A table was in front of it. There she put the incense and olive oil that belonged to me.

“The noise of a carefree crowd was all around her. Men who drink too much were brought from the desert. Other men were brought along with them. They put bracelets on the wrists of the two sisters. They put beautiful crowns on their heads. Then I spoke about Oholibah. She was worn out by adultery. I said, ‘Let them use her as a prostitute. After all, that is what she is.’ So they slept with her. In fact, they slept with both of these impure women, Oholah and Oholibah. They slept with them just as men sleep with prostitutes. But judges who are right with God will sentence the sisters to be punished. They will be punished in the same way as women who commit adultery and murder. After all, they have committed adultery. And their hands are covered with the blood of the people they have murdered.”

The Lord and King says, “Bring an angry crowd against the sisters. Hand them over to those who will terrify them and steal everything they have. The crowd will kill them by throwing stones at them. They will use swords to cut them down. They will kill their sons and daughters. And they will burn down their houses.

“So I will put an end to impurity in the land. Then all its women will be warned. They will not want to be like the sisters. Those sisters will be punished because of the impure things they have done. They will be judged because they have worshiped other gods. Then they will know that I am the Lord and King.”

Read More of Ezekiel 23