AN OUTLINE OF EZEKIEL 16
An Allegory of Unfaithful Jerusalem (NIV)
God's Unfaithful Bride (NET)
God's Grace to Unfaithful Jerusalem (NASB)
Jerusalem the Unfaithful (Good News Bible)
- Ezekiel 16:1-14 The Lord's Loving kindnesses to Jerusalem
- Ezekiel 16:15-34 Unfaithful Jerusalem's Harlotry
- Ezekiel 16:35-50 God's Judgment on Jerusalem
- Ezekiel 16:51-63
- Sodom & Samaria Will be Restored (Ezek 16:53-58) (GNB)
- Jerusalem Will Be Ashamed (Ezek 16:53-58) (CEV)
- Covenant that Lasts Forever (Ezek 16:59-63) (GNB)
Therefore, O harlot (Isa 1:21; 23:15,16; Jer 3:1,6-8; Ho 2:5; Nah 3:4; Jn 4:10,18; Rev 17:5
Ezekiel's contemporary also described Judah as a harlot -
(Jer 3:1) God says, “If a husband divorces his wife, And she goes from him, And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot (Zanah - 02181) with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me,” declares the LORD.
(Jer 3:6-8) Then the LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless (KJV = backsliding) Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot (Zanah - 02181) there ("to prostitute herself there"). 7 “And I thought, ‘After she has done all these things, she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot (Zanah - 02181) also ("prostituted herself").
Gilbrant - The beginning word, “therefore,” is a frequent marker in a prophetic address that God is moving from a list of offenses to the punishment stage of his divine court trial of Israel (e.g., 11:7; 13:13, 20; 17:19). In v. 32, God calls Israel an unfaithful wife, but the evidence presented against her makes her sin more than just an occasional illicit relationship, but a way of life of public immorality in the “brothels” of idolatry and foreign affairs. She is rightly addressed here as “O prostitute.” The OT use of the clause “Hear the word of the Lord” is found in prophetic speeches announcing some divine word of accusation or judgment (e.g., 2 Chr. 18:18, to Ahab; Isa. 1:10, to the rulers of Jerusalem; Jer. 34:4, to King Zedekiah; Hos. 4:1, to Israel). The phrase is found here and elsewhere in Ezekiel with the usual negative context (20:47; 34:7, 9), but Ezekiel also used the phrase when a positive message was forthcoming (36:1; 37:4). (The Complete Biblical Library – Ezekiel)
Therefore - This is a frequent marker of a prophetic address in which God moves from a list of offenses to punishment stage (cp Ezek 11:17, Ezek 13:13, 20, Ezek 17:19)
Harlot (02185)(zonot) is a feminine noun referring to a prostitute.
“A name good enough for such an odious housewife, the shame of her sex. He is not worthy of an honest name whose deeds are not honest.” (Trapp)
hear the word of the LORD (Ezek 13:2; 20:47; 34:7; 1Ki 22:19; Isa 1:10; 28:14; Hos 4:1; Am 7:16)
This identical phrase (hear the Word of the LORD) is found 29 times in the OT - 1 Kgs 22:19; 2 Kgs 20:16; 2 Chr 18:18; Isa 1:10; 28:14; 39:5; 66:5; Jer 2:4; 7:2; 9:20; 19:3; 21:11; 22:2, 29; 29:20; 31:10; 34:4; 44:24, 26; Ezek 16:35; 20:47; 25:3; 34:7, 9; 36:1, 4; 37:4; Amos 7:16; Acts 13:44
Thoralf Gilbrant - The OT use of the clause “Hear the word of the Lord” is found in prophetic speeches announcing some divine word of accusation or judgment (e.g., 2 Chr. 18:18, to Ahab; Isa. 1:10, to the rulers of Jerusalem; Jer. 34:4, to King Zedekiah; Hos. 4:1, to Israel). The phrase is found here and elsewhere in Ezekiel with the usual negative context (Ezek 20:47; 34:7, 9), but Ezekiel also used the phrase when a positive message was forthcoming (Ezek 36:1; 37:4). (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
And now God's prophet speaks forth the sentence on Judah's presumptuous sin and blatant unfaithfulness to her Husband, Jehovah. It is time for "accounts" to be settled and unfortunately the wages of sin is death.
Ezekiel 16:36 Thus says the Lord GOD, "Because your lewdness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered through your harlotries with your lovers and with all your detestable idols, and because of the blood of your sons which you gave to idols, (NASB: Lockman)
Because your lewdness was poured out (Ezek 16:15-22; 22:15; 23:8; 24:13; 36:25; La 1:9; Zeph 3:1)
Clarke - It is properly translated in our version filthiness, poisonous filth. Does it not refer to that venereal virus which is engendered by promiscuous connexions?” (Clarke)
Gilbrant - This is a summary verse of four indictments that are graphically portrayed in vv. 15-34. First, the NIV’s “You poured out your wealth” is better ignored for the NIV text note, “You poured out your lust.” Even that is a euphemistic translation of reference to the female lubricants formed at sexual arousal (Block, 1:500). Second, at birth, the baby girl was naked due to neglect, but as a woman, her public nakedness was her own choice. Third, idolatry violates the very foundation commandments of God. Fourth, human sacrifice of children is an abomination to God. (Ibid)
Your nakedness uncovered through your harlotries with your lovers (Ezek 23:10,18,29; Ge 3:7,10,11; Ps 139:11,12; Jer 13:22-26; Rev 3:18)
Because of the blood of your sons which you gave to idols (Ezek 16:20,21; Jer 2:34) This undoubtedly refers to the practice of human (child) sacrifice to the horrid idol Molech for Judah "built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-Hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do"
This represents a recapping of the previous charges against Judah, especially in Ezek 16:15-34.
Your lovers - Israel’s lovers were all the nations with which there was an alliance and from which there was a syncretistic appropriation of pagan religious ideals and practices.
Ezekiel 16:37 therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, even all those whom you loved and all those whom you hated. So I will gather them against you from every direction and expose your nakedness to them that they may see all your nakedness. (NASB: Lockman)
NIV: therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see all your nakedness.
NLT: this is what I am going to do. I will gather together all your allies—these lovers of yours with whom you have sinned, both those you loved and those you hated—and I will strip you naked in front of them so they can stare at you.
NJB: for all this, I shall assemble all the lovers to whom you have given pleasure, all the ones you liked and also all the ones you disliked; yes, I shall assemble them round you and strip you naked in front of them, and let them see you naked from head to foot.
Amplified making you, Israel, an object of loathing and of mockery, a spectacle among the nations
Guzik - The LORD spoke as the one who knows human nature. He knew that when people run after illicit lovers—either literally or spiritually—some they may love, but others they will hate. God promised to humble—even to humiliate—Israel before her pagan neighbors. The beauty and adornment she had traded upon before the nations would be stripped away, and they would see what Israel was without God.. This wasn’t shame for the sake of shame; this was for the sake of repentance and restoration.
I will gather them against you - God in a twist of bitter irony would use the pagan nations with which Judah had prostituted herself to inflict His righteous wrath.
Gilbrant - This verse contains a reversal of the wedding language of Ezek 16:8 and a reversion to her original state of nakedness of Ezek 16:7 (NIV Study Bible, 1246). Block’s words are noteworthy, “She who bared herself before them will finally have her fill of exposure. The significance of her nudity has now been transformed. No longer is this the pathetic nakedness of her infancy, nor the culpable flaunting of her body in her maturity, but an intentional shaming action” (p. 1:501). (See Hos. 2:2f for an apparent public stripping action of humiliation that corresponds to Ezekiel’s words.)
Vawter and Hoppe - Appropriately, it is Israel’s ‘lovers’ who will execute God’s vengeance upon her. By that they add to the depth of her shame. They show how cheaply they had valued what she had to offer them and the real contempt in which they held her.
Smith - For these reasons God would gather all her lovers—those she had loved, i.e., the Egyptians, and those she had hated, i.e., the Chaldeans. These would come against Jerusalem from every direction.”
Block - Jerusalem had bared her body to all passersby. Now God provides her with all the exposure she wants, and more. If she wants to be a public spectacle, he offers his aid. Naked he had found her; naked he would leave her. The hell that awaited her was not the creation of some demonic force or external power, but of her own making.” (NICOT)
They shall see all your nakedness (Ezek 23:9,10,22-30; Jer 4:30; 13:22,26; 22:20; La 1:8,19; Hos 2:3,10; Hos 8:10; Nah 3:5,6; Rev 17:16)
Jeremiah 13:22 “And if you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the magnitude of your iniquity Your skirts have been removed, And your heels have been exposed.
Jeremiah 13:26 “So I Myself have also stripped your skirts off over your face, That your shame may be seen.
Hosea 2:10 “And then I will uncover her lewdness In the sight of her lovers, And no one will rescue her out of My hand.
Net Bible Notes "Harlots suffered degradation when their nakedness was exposed (Jer 13:22, 26; Hos 2:12; Nah 3:5).
MacArthur - Public exposure of profligate women and the stoning of them were well-known customs in ancient Israel, making them a shameful spectacle.
NKJV: And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy.
NJB: I shall pass on you the sentence that adulteresses and murderesses receive; I shall hand you over to their jealous fury
Feinberg - “The first step in her retributive judgment at the hands of the Lord would be public exposure before both her lovers and her enemies. Public exposure of profligate women and stoning of them were well-known customs in ancient Israel.”
I shall judge you, like women who commit adultery (Ezek 16:40; 23:45-47; Ge 38:11,24; Lev 20:10; Dt 22:22-24; Mt 1:18,19; Jn 8:3-5)
Lev 20:10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Deut 22:22 “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.23 “If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
Gilbrant - The Mosaic laws were clear: blatant unfaithfulness was worthy of death (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). Breaking of the marriage covenant by adultery was equated with the sin of idolatry. Also, since the family was the pivotal unit in society, sins against the family were punished severely (Walton/Matthews, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy, 165). “Jealousy” evokes the role of the suspicious husband in Num. 5, or the attitude of God toward idolatry, as in the story of the righteous act of Phinehas in Num. 25:11. (Ibid)
Adultery (05003)(נָאַף nāʾap̱) is a verb meaning to commit adultery and is used literally of the physical act (Ex. 20:14; Lev. 20:10; Prov. 6:32; Jer. 5:7; 7:9; 29:23; Hos. 4:2; Mal. 3:5). Na'ap is also often used of spiritual adultery as well and as such is often equated with idolatry (Isa. 57:3; Jer. 3:9; Ezek. 23:37). Lxx translates this with the noun moichalis.
Na'ap - 26v in the OT translated in NAS as - adulterer(3), adulterers(5), adulteress(3), adulteresses(2), adulteries(1), adulterous(1), adultery(1), commit adultery(6), commits adultery(3), committed adultery(5), committing of adultery(1).
Na'ap - Ex. 20:14; Lev. 20:10; Deut. 5:18; Job 24:15; Ps. 50:18; Prov. 6:32; 30:20; Isa. 57:3; Jer. 3:8, 9; 5:7; 7:9; 9:2; 23:10, 14; 29:23; Ezek. 16:32, 38; 23:37, 45; Hos. 3:1; 4:2, 13, 14; 7:4; Mal. 3:5
Brown - Driver - Briggs definition of Na'ap
†[נָאַף S5003 TWOT1273 GK5537] vb. commit adultery (NH id.; Aramaic נְאַף (rare));—Qal Impf. 3 ms. יִנְאַף Lv 20:10(); 3 mpl. וַיִּנְאָ֑פוּ Je 5:7 + 3 times Impf., Inf. abs. נָאוֹף 23:14; נָאֹף Ho 4:2 Je 7:9; Pt. נֹאֵף Pr 6:32 Jb 24:15; fs. נֹאָ֑פֶת Lv 20:10; fpl. נֹאֲפוֹת Ez 16:38 + 2 times;—
1. lit. commit adultery:
a. usually of man, always with wife of another; c. acc. woman, Lv 20:10() (H), Pr 6:32; elsewhere abs. Ex 20:14 = Dt 5:17 (Ten Words), Je 5:7; 7:9; 23:14 Ho 4:2; pt. m. Lv 20:10 (H), Jb 24:15.
b. of women, only pt. Lv 20:10 (H), Ez 16:38; 23:45().
2. fig. of idolatrous worship, את האבן ואת העץ Je 3:9.
Piel Pf. 3 fs. נִאֲפָה Je 3:8; 3 mpl. נִאֵ֑פוּ Ez 23:37(); Impf. 3 mpl. יְנַאֲפוּ Je 29:23; 3 fpl. תְּנָאַפְנָה Ho 4:13, 14; Pt. מְנָאֵף Is 57:3; pl. מְנָאֲפִים Je 9:1 + 4 times; f. מְנָאָ֑פֶת Pr 30:20 + 2 times;—
1. lit. commit adultery:
a. of man, c. acc. woman, Je 29:23; pt. pl. Je 9:2; 23:10 Ho 7:4 Mal 3:5 ψ 50:18.
b. of woman, abs. Ho 4:13, 14; pt. 3:1 Pr 30:20; pl. Ez 16:32; 23:37.
2. fig. of idolatrous worship, אֶת־גִּלּוּלֵיהֶן Ez 23:37; abs. Je 3:8, זֶרַע מְנָאֵף Is 57:3.
Spiritual adultery is worshiping false gods, while pretending to worship the true God.
Arthur Pink writes that spiritual adultery is "a giving unto the world that love and devotion, time and strength, which the Lord alone is entitled unto. As natural marriage is a solemn and sacred engagement which is not to be entered into lightly, constituting as it does a lifelong compact—much more should there be the most serious and self-searching deliberation before anyone openly professes to be united to the Lord."
John Witmer on adultery - VOLUNTARY SEXUAL RELATIONS by either a man or a woman in violation of the marriage bond constitutes adultery, a specific form of fornication forbidden by the seventh commandment in the Mosaic Law (Exod. 20:14; Deut. 5:18; Luke 18:20). Adultery was punishable by death by stoning (Lev. 20:10-12; Deut. 22:20-27). The seriousness of the sin of adultery and the severity of its punishment spring from the sanctity of the marital relationship established by God with His creation of Eve as a “helper suitable” for Adam (Gen. 2:18, 20-23), and also from the intimacy of this union (2:23-24; Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 6:16). The sanctity and intimacy of the marital relationship also explain the seriousness of any form of illicit relations in God's sight, because in sexual union a man and a woman “become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; 1 Cor. 6:16). For this reason Jesus listed adultery as a sin as serious as murder, theft, or slander (Matt. 15:19). The unfaithfulness to the marriage vow displayed in adultery illustrates the spiritual unfaithfulness of Israel to God. Israel's covenantal relationship to God (Exod. 19:3-8; 24:3-8) is described as a marriage between God as the “husband” (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 31:32) and Israel as the “wife” (Isa. 54:6). Israel's unfaithfulness in forsaking the Lord to worship false gods was called adultery (Jer. 3:6, 8-9, 20), and Israel was called an “adulterous wife” (Ezek. 16:32). Because of Israel's spiritual adultery God will forsake and punish her (16:38), but only temporarily (Isa. 54:6-7; Ezek. 16:59-60). God's dealings with Israel in her spiritual adultery are illustrated by the prophet Hosea and his unfaithful wife Gomer (Hos. 1:2; 2:2; 3:1). Any forsaking of the Lord God is spiritual adultery (James 4:4). (Theological Wordbook)
Related Resources on Adultery:
- American Tract Society Adultery
- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Adultery
- Baker Evangelical Dictionary Adultery
- Charles Buck Dictionary Adultery
- Easton's Bible Dictionary Adultery
- Fausset Bible Dictionary Adultery
- Holman Bible Dictionary Adultery
- Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Adultery
- Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Adultery Adultery
- Hawker's Poor Man's Dictionary Adultery
- Smith Bible Dictionary Adultery
- Vines' Expository Dictionary Adulterer, Adulterous, Adultery
- Wilson's Bible Types Adultery
- Watson's Theological Dictionary Adultery
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Adultery
- Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Adultery
- McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Adultery
- The Jewish Encyclopedia Adultery
How were adulterous women judged in the Old Testament? Moses writes...
If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Lev 20:10)
If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor's wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. (Dt 22:22-24)
Shed blood are judged and and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy (Ezek 16:20,21,36; Ge 9:6; Ex 21:12; Nu 35:31; Ps 79:3-5; Jer 18:21; Zeph 1:17; Nah 1:2; Rev 16:6)
Gen 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
Exod 21:12 “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.
Num 35:31 ‘Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.
Wrath (anger, fury, venom, hot-tempered) (02534)(chemah from yaham = to be hot) Delitzsch says it is related to an Arabic word hamiy = to glow) is a noun which can refer to physical heat, but more often is used figuratively to convey the picture of inner, emotional "heat" which rises and is fanned to varying degrees. And thus chemah can mean hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath, and even poison (figuratively speaking). This type of anger is anger at its fever pitch so to speak. Chemah is used most often to describe God's anger against His unfaithful wife Israel
Jealousy - This is a term between lovers. God had abundantly showered His love upon His chosen people. Instead of reciprocating, they rebelled, thus incurring His jealous anger.
Jealousy (07068)(qin'ah) (See another study on qin'ah) means ardor, zeal, jealousy. Zephaniah 1:18 uses this same word describing the time when "all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy." The Lxx translates qin'ah in this verse with the noun zelos which strictly speaking means fervent in spirit and when used of God as in this passage speaks of the intensity of His righteous judgment.
In Exodus 34:14 the related Hebrew noun qanna' (07067) is used as a Name of God, Moses recording "you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose Name is Jealous (qanna'), is a jealous (qanna') God. This is strong statement which serves to emphasize God's utter hatred of idolatry in any shape, size or form! Jealousy then is a holy attribute of God and does not refer to our common concept of jealousy as a shallow, childish human emotion. The use of jealous is intended to emphasize that God will not tolerate a divided loyalty (cf Mt 6:24-note). He alone deserves honor as the one true God-not just lip service, but life submission! How are you doing? Are you destroying the idols in your life? They seem to have a way of rising from the dead so to speak and they take on forms and names that sound so acceptable (money, fame, etc). John ends his first great epistle with the words "Little children, guard (aorist imperative - do this now! Conveys a sense of urgency!) yourselves from idols." (1 Jn 5:21-note, cf Ex 20:3-4, 1 Cor 10:7, 14, 2 Cor 6:16-17).
What is God's Word of truth on capital punishment? What is the blood of wrath and jealousy? Moses records that...
Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. (Ge 9:6)
Ezekiel 16:39 I will also give you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your shrines, demolish your high places, strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels * and will leave you naked and bare. (NASB: Lockman)
Gilbrant - This verse is an expansion of v. 36. The woman’s lovers would put her to public shame. In reality, of course, that is what happened when God allowed the pagan nations of Assyria to destroy the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 b.c. and Babylon to destroy the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 b.c. The world watched and wondered (Ezek. 5:14f). (Ibid)
Guzik - God promised that the judgment to come upon Israel would come through the very lovers she gave herself to. The neighboring nations, and their gods by proxy, would conquer and humiliate stubborn Israel.
They will tear down your shrines ("brothel")," (Ezek 16:24,25,31; Ezek 7:22-24; Is 27:9)
strip you of your clothing (Ezek 16:10-20; Ezek 23:26,29; Is 3:16-24; Hos 2:3,9-13) God declares that He will give His faithless wife Judah (Jerusalem) over to her lovers who would take from her everything she had leaving her naked and bare, her original condition (Ezek 16:7, 22)
Ezekiel 23:26 ‘They will also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels.
Ezekiel 23:29 ‘And they will deal with you in hatred, take all your property, and leave you naked and bare. And the nakedness of your harlotries shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotries.
Hosea 2:3 Lest I strip her naked And expose her as on the day when she was born. I will also make her like a wilderness, Make her like desert land, And slay her with thirst.
PUBLIC SHAME BECOMES
They will incite a crowd against you (Hab 1:6-10; Jn 8:5-7)
Crowd - in context pictures Judah's lovers inciting other nations to wage war against her.
cut you to pieces with their swords (Ezek 23:10,47; 24:21; Jer 25:9)
Ezekiel 16:41 They will burn your houses with fire and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women. Then I will stop you from playing the harlot, and you will also no longer pay your lovers. (NASB: Lockman)
Gilbrant - This verse provides another example of the mixture between the allegorical framework of a story (“in the sight of many women”) and what actually occurred, for a month after the Babylonian conquest of the city in July 586 b.c., they torched it, thus “burning their houses” (Jer. 52:12f).
Guzik - The armies of the nations surrounding Israel would come against her in a divinely appointed judgment. The judgment would be complete, with the stones of attack, the swords of war, and the fire of destruction.
they will burn your houses with fire (Dt 13:16; 2Ki 25:9; Jer 39:8; 52:13; Micah 3:12)
Jeremiah 39:8 The Chaldeans also burned with fire the king’s palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 52:13 And he burned the house of the LORD, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire.
execute judgments on you in the sight of many women (Amp "the nations")" (Ezek 5:8; 23:10,48; Dt 13:11; 22:21,24; Job 34:26)
Cooper comments that "The phrase “in the sight of many women” (v. 41) was a reminder that women were made to watch the judgment of an adulteress so her judgment might be an example and deterrent." (New American Commentary)
I shall stop you from playing the harlot (Ezek 23:27; 37:23; Isa 1:25,26; 2:18; 27:9; Hos 2:6-17; Mic 5:10-14; Zech 13:2; 1Ti 5:20)
So I shall calm (rest) My fury against you (Ezek 5:13; 21:17; 2Sa21:14; Is1:24; Zech 6:8) - The point is that God's would not rest until He had punished unfaithful Israel
Ezekiel 5:8 therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations.
Ezekiel 23:10 “They uncovered her nakedness; they took her sons and her daughters, but they slew her with the sword. Thus she became a byword among women, and they executed judgments on her.
Ezekiel 23:48 ‘Thus I shall make lewdness cease from the land, that all women may be admonished and not commit lewdness as you have done.
Gilbrant - God’s anger and jealousy does have an end, whether dealing with nations, as here with Judah, or with individuals (5:13). Otherwise, we as a fallen human race would have been completely consumed long ago.
I shall be pacified and angry no more (Ezek 39:29; Is 40:1,2; 54:9,10)
Ezek 39:29 (Prophecy of the day when Messiah returns and all Israel [all that believe in Him] will be saved - Ro 11:26-27-note) “And I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.
Although one might say this was in a sense fulfilled by the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and 70 years of captivity, this fulfillment was only partial. History is clear testimony to the fact that the Jews have suffered many times over the centuries since this prophecy. And so God's anger against Israel will not fully rest or be fully satisfied until the end of the "time of Jacob's distress." (Jer 30:7) which describes the Great Tribulation, the horrible time in the last 3.5 years of Daniel's 70th year when the Devil will seek to destroy Israel (see Rev 12:12-17-see notes where "the woman" symbolizes Israel). (See notes on Daniel 9:27)
Ezekiel 16:43 Because * you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things, behold, I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head," declares the Lord GOD, "so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations (NASB: Lockman)
COST OF FAILING
Because you have not remembered the days of your youth (Ezek 16:22)
This verse recalls Ezek 16:22 “And besides all your abominations and harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood.
Gilbrant - This verse is a summary verse regarding the judgment of God upon his bride/people, Israel. The root cause of judgment, already mentioned in v. 22, is spiritual amnesia—forgetting what God had done for her. Regrettably, this “disease” is genetic to the whole human race (see Rev. 2:5). Fortunately, there is a cure (Ezek. 16:60f, 63). “Lewdness,” from the Hebrew, is a word that occurs seven times in Ezek. 23, a parallel chapter in terms of its revolting language describing Israel’s infidelities.
Alexander - In order that she might remember him once again, God would bring this discipline on her. Though mankind may forget God, his love prevents him from forgetting his own. God takes his commitments in personal relationships seriously.
Cooper writes that "The idea of Ezek 16:43 is repeated from Ezek 16:22 as a reminder that all these calamities came because they failed to remember their history and their covenant with Yahweh. Judah was unfaithful and ungrateful for all God had done for the nation. (Ibid)
Related Cross References
Ps 78:42 They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the adversary,
Ps 106:13 They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel,
Jeremiah 2:32 “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, Or a bride her attire (Rhetorical - Of course not!)? Yet (Striking Contrast) My people have forgotten Me Days without number. (I never "forget Him" do I? How about every time I knowing sin?! Do I not experience "spiritual amnesia"!)
Have enraged Me by all these things (Ezek 6:9; Dt 32:21; Ps 8:40; 95:10; Isa 63:10; Am 2:13; Acts 7:51; Eph 4:30)
Enraged is an interesting verb as it means to shake, to tremble, to agitate, to disturb, to rouse up, to rage, to provoke. This term occurs forty-one times in the Old Testament and is utilized most often to express the idea of the physical moving or shaking of someone or something. So the picture is of the Holy God being so angry that He is shaking! Woe! The Septuagint translates ragaz with the verb lupeo, which means to grieve (cf what they did to His heart in Ezek 6:9-note! What do I do to His heart when I presumptuously sin? See what our sin does to the Holy Spirit in Eph 4:30-note) where Paul uses the same verb lupeo.)
I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head (Ezek 7:3,4,8,9; 9:10; 11:21; 22:31; Ro 2:8,9) What goes around, comes around. This is the law of reaping and sowing - they sowed the wind but would reap the whirlwind! (Gal 6:7-note, Gal 6:8-note , Hos 8:7)
Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, 'Like mother, like daughter.' (Ezekiel 18:2,3; 1 Samuel 24:13) (Ezek 16:3,45; 1Ki 21:16; 2Ki17:11,15; 21:9; Ezra 9:1; Ps 106:35-38)
Dyer - The first parable of Jerusalem is the story of Jerusalem as an adulterous wife (vv. 1-43). The second parable is an analogy of Jerusalem and the wicked sisters Samaria, and Sodom (vv. 44-59). If Jerusalem’s depraved sisters were judged for their sin, how could Jerusalem, who was even more wicked, hope to escape? (Moody Bible Commentary)
Guzik - This proverb would be accurately said of Israel in Ezekiel’s day. The idea from Ezekiel 16:3 is repeated: your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite—and Israel acted just like those pagan nations.
Like mother like daughter - In this context mother refers to the Hittites (Ezek. 16:3 says to Judah/Jerusalem - your mother a Hittite). The point of the proverb is that Israel was as lewd and immoral as the original inhabitants of Canaan who were unspeakably debauched as discerned from archeological findings related to this time period (See interesting article - The Religion of the Canaanites and Baalism in Canaanite Religion and Its Relation to Selected Old Testament Texts). In sum God had called Israel to be different from the pagan nations, and instead she became just like them. By way of practical application every mother should contemplate the far-reaching influence of her lips and her life before her children (fathers, this applies to your influence as well for generally "like father, like sons"! Be careful how you conduct yourself, not as unwise fathers but as wise fathers who are seeking to redeem the few short years of your life on earth for the days are evil.
Cooper writes that "The next stage in the judgment of the orphan who became a queen, a harlot, and finally a convicted criminal was the revelation that her story would become a proverb (cf. Ezekiel 14:8). The proverb was, Like mother, like daughter. The point was that if Jerusalem wanted a shocking look at her disgraceful character and her dismal future, she could look at her cultural ancestors the Hittites and Amorites, who had transmitted their heritage of wickedness to Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem. In depravity and idolatry Israel had followed the bad example of the Canaanites and thus would be judged like them (Cooper, L. E. Vol. 17: Ezekiel: The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers)
The Disciple's Study Bible writes that "Sin is not inherited (Ed: Well, that is not exactly correct - while my father's literal sins do not go on my "account" the "sin virus" he possessed has been passed on to me). I am not guilty because mother was guilty. I do inherit a nature prone to sin from Adam (Ro 5:12, 17- see notes Romans 5:12; 5:17). I am sinful like my parents because all influences on my life give me the tendency to sin and I choose to let their influence outweigh God's on my life. I increase my guilt by condemning my neighbors for their sins when mine are worse than theirs.... Ezekiel described Jerusalem as more corrupt than Israel's favorite example of wicked people: Sodom (Ge 13:13; Genesis 18-19) and Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom exiled and inhabited by a mixed race with a mixed religion (2Ki 17:24-41; Ezra; Nehemiah). Such corruption came because the people of Jerusalem chose to act more corruptly than the other nations ever imagined (Ezek 16:48-note). Their "depravity'' represented one generation's choices, not their inheritance from their ancestors. (Disciple's Study Bible)
Ezekiel 16:45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and children. You are also the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. (NASB: Lockman)
Gilbrant - The verse returns to the woman’s “lineage” mentioned earlier in v. 3. But in this new twist to the allegory, the whole family is revealed as being dysfunctional as the woman herself: the mother hated her husband and children, and the sisters acted like their mother.
loathed her husband and children (Ezek 16:8,15,20,21; 23:37-39; Dt 5:9; 12:31; Isa 1:4; Zech 11:8; Ro 1:30,31) Matthew Poole comments that Israel “was weary of the best Husband, that while she doted on abominable adulterers, did most contemptuously disregard her Husband, and forsake him.”
Judah had followed in the idolatrous, pagan practice which the nation had practiced from their early days in the land of promise. They even burned their children like the pagans directly disobeying God's clear warning not to do this = “You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods." (Dt 12:31).
One wonders what the Holy One thinks of America and the millions of babies who have been sacrificed on the altars of sexual immorality and selfishness? And will the Righteous Judge "wink" at America's sins against the unborn? Woe!
Young's Literal: And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters, Who is dwelling at thy left hand, And thy younger sister, who is dwelling on thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.
GOD TURNS TO THE
Gilbrant - The subplot of an allegory about her two sisters is developed here. Ezekiel was not writing history when he called Samaria the older sister and Sodom the younger sister, because Samaria, the capital city of the northern ten tribes of Israel, was founded by Omri about the year 880 b.c. (1 Ki. 16:24; Merrill, Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel, 339). Sodom, on the other hand, was destroyed by God in the days of Abraham and Lot (2000-1700? b.c.; Gen. 19), and Jerusalem is older than both, going backto at least the third millennium b.c. (NBD, 566). However, the geographical relationships are correct.
Guzik - The city of Samaria was the capital city of the long conquered northern kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 16:24–29). Once-faithful Jerusalem had become just as corrupt as her elder sister, Samaria. It was bad enough to be identified with Samaria, but Jerusalem’s state was far worse than that. She was like Sodom, with all her infamous corruptions (Genesis 13:13; 19:1–24).
Now your older sister is Samaria who lives north of you with her daughters (Ezek 16:51; 23:4,11,31-33; Jer 3:8-11; Mic 1:5)
Samaria who lives north - North is literally "at thy left hand". This is clearly a reference to the northern 10 tribes who had their capital in Samaria. The Northern Kingdom was not older chronologically but was larger and the first to be judged by God in 722BC when she was defeated and taken into exile by the Assyrians.
Your younger sister - Judah whose capital was Jerusalem. Notice they are all referred to in feminine terms. They all fell into spiritual adultery or harlotry. Anyone reading this description who has a daughter has to be gripped by the tragic description. How it must have grieved the Father's heart! We need to recall this to mind the next time we contemplate making provision to commit a sin (see note Romans 13:14). Peter speaks to this point in his first letter writing...
And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (See notes 1 Peter 1:17; 1:18; 1:19)
(Comment: The point is that believers need to be reading and meditating on truths such as found in Ezekiel 16, that they might maintain a healthy, reverential fear of the Lord and of the certainty of reaping the consequences of sinning. This healthy fear is set in the background of recalling the high cost to the Father to provide us with so great a salvation -- His Son's precious blood. Next time you are tempted to get angry, to lash out in hostility at your mate or child, to commit egregious sin, to overtly rebel against Truth, etc -- before you react...Think...Remember...Recall what if cost the Father. Without that provision, that sin you would commit would otherwise be your death sentence [see James 2:10]. Then, instead of reacting in anger, etc, act with an attitude of gratitude and contrition and humility, thankful that you now have the strength of His indwelling Spirit to walk in a manner that pleases your Father rather than grieves Him! Amen.)
Pray Psalm 119:38...
Establish Thy word to Thy servant, As that which produces reverence for Thee.
In his comments on Psalm 119:38 Charles Spurgeon wrote
Make me sure of Thy sure word: make it sure to me and make me sure of it. If we possess the spirit of service, and yet are troubled with sceptical thoughts we cannot do better than pray to be established in the truth. Times will arise when every doctrine and promise seems to be shaken, and our mind gets no rest: then we must appeal to God for establishment in the faith, for he would have all his servants to be well instructed and confirmed in his word. But we must mind that we are the Lord's servants, for else we shall not long be sound in his truth. Practical holiness is a great help towards doctrinal certainty: if we are God's servants he will confirm his word in our experience. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine"; and so know it as to be fully assured of it. Atheism in the heart is a horrible plague to a God fearing man, it brings more torment with it than can well be described; and nothing but a visitation of grace can settle the soul after it has been violently assailed thereby. Vanity or falsehood is bad for the eyes, but it is even worse when it defiles the understanding and casts a doubt upon the word of the living God.
Who is devoted to Thy fear, or simply -- "to thy fear." That is, make good Thy word to godly fear: wherever it exists; strengthen the whole body of reverent men. Stablish Thy word, not only to me, but to all the godly ones under the sun. Or, again, it may mean -- "Stablish Thy word to Thy fear," namely, that men may be led to fear thee; since a sure faith in the divine promise is the fountain and foundation of godly fear.
Men will never worship a God in Whom they do not believe. More faith will lead to more godly fear. We cannot look for the fulfilment of promises in our experience unless we live under the influence of the fear of the Lord: establishment in grace is the result of holy watchfulness and prayerful energy. We shall never be rooted and grounded in our belief unless we daily practise what we profess to believe. Full assurance is the reward of obedience. Answers to prayer are given to those whose hearts answer to the Lord's command.
If we are devoted to God's fear we shall be delivered from all other fear. He has no fear as to the truth of the word who is filled with fear of the Author of the word.
Scepticism is both the parent and the child of impiety; but strong faith both begets piety and is begotten of it. We commend this whole verse to any devout man whose tendency is to scepticism: it will be an admirable prayer for use in seasons of unusually strong misgivings. Spurgeon's Note)
your younger sister, who lives south of you, is Sodom (Ezek 16:48,49,53-56,61; Ge 13:11-13; 18:20-33; 19:24,25; Dt 29:23; 32:32; Isa 1:9,10; Jer 23:14; Lam 4:6; Lu 17:28-30; 2Pe 2:6; Jude 1:7; Rev 11:8)
Vawter and Hoppe - Ezekiel calls Samaria the “elder sister” and Sodom the “younger sister” not out of any chronological interest (the Hebrew terms are, literally, “big” and “small,” respectively). Ezekiel has in view their historical importance to those whom the prophet addressed.”
Lives south - literally "dwelling on thy right hand"
Sodom - Used here to symbolize the southern kingdom and Jerusalem. This is the first of the 6 uses of the term Sodom by Ezekiel, all of them in Ezekiel 16. Sodom was the epitome of evil (Deut 29:23; 32:32; Isa 1:9–10; 3:9; Jer 23:14; Lam 4:6; Matt 10:15; 11:23–24; Jude 7).
In the book of the Revelation Jerusalem is again referred to as Sodom ...
And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (From his note on Revelation 11:8 Tony Garland writes "Both Sodom and Egypt typify cities which were opposed and judged by God. Sodom was an exceedingly wicked city which was overthrown for her sins by God’s judgment (Ge 13:13; 19:24). Egypt was the nation which held Israel in bondage and was judged by plagues prior to the Exodus (Ex. 1:13-14; 3:7; 20:2). Jerusalem, in her godless state, is likened to both the wicked city and the wicked nation. Even though the two witnesses exhibit a Jewish ministry located in Jerusalem, they are rejected by the majority of the inhabitants—their fellow Jews.
When Moses sang a song predicting the apostasy of Israel upon entering the Promised Land after his death, he referred to the Jewish nation as a nation void of counsel whose vine is of the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah (Dt. 32:28-32). Isaiah used a similar analogy when describing God’s rejection of Israel’s insincere sacrifices:
Hear the word of the LORD you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah: ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’ (Isa. 1:10).
The sin of Jerusalem is said to be as the sin of Sodom in that it was flaunted openly (Isa 3:8).6 Even the apostate prophets are likened to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jer 23:14). When rejected by the cities of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Jesus indicated that the cities which did not receive the apostles or their words would be considered worse off than Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment (Mt 10:14-15; Luke 10:12). Although Jerusalem is here referred to as Sodom, Isaiah also indicated that Babylon’s eventual overthrow would be like that of Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa. 13:19). Elsewhere, Ezekiel describes the Northern Kingdom (Samaria) and the Southern Kingdom (Jerusalem) as idolatrous sisters, both of which committed harlotry in their youth while in Egypt (Ezekiel 23:2-4, 19, 27). Comparison with Egypt recalls the idolatrous golden calf which Israel made upon departure from Egypt (Ex. 32:4, 24).
with her daughters (Ezek 16:27; 26:6; Ge 14:8; 19:29; Hos 11:8)
Daughters - In context this term appears to be a figurative description of other cities in the Northern and Southern Kingdom who also went "whoring" after other gods that are really no gods at all.
Ezekiel 16:47 Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they. (NASB: Lockman)
Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they.
JUDAH'S CORRUPTION WORSE THAN
SAMARIA AND SODOM
Morgan - “Jerusalem’s sin had been the more heinous in that she had professed to set the standard for her sisters, whereas she had been more abominable than they.”
Jesus taught that there would be different "degrees" of punishment. Greater light brings greater judgment and greater condemnation. Matthew records for example that Jesus
"began to reproach the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." (Mt 11:20-24)
As if that were too little (Ezek 8:17; 1Ki 16:31)
You acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they (Ezek 16:48,51; 5:6,7; 2Ki 21:9,16; Jn 15:21,22; 1 Cor 5:1) The point is that Judah's moral depravity and idolatry exceeded that Israel and even of Sodom whose sin is described as "exceedingly grave." (Ge 18:20) After all Judah had "full disclosure" so to speak of how God had dealt with both literal Sodom and the Northern Kingdom of Israel (defeated by Assyrians in 722Bc and taken into exile).
The Amplified version says "for your sin, as those taught of God, is far blacker than theirs."
As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "Sodom, your sister, and her daughters, have not done as you and your daughters have done. (Mt 10:15; 11:24; Mk 6:11; Lu 10:12; Acts 7:52)
As I live - Is the formula for introduction of an oath. This formula is used 26x in the OT with most of the uses in Ezekiel - Nu 14:21, 28; Deut 32:40; Ps 63:4; 104:33; 116:2; Isa 49:18; Jer 22:24; 46:18; Ezek 5:11; 14:16, 18, 20; 16:48; 17:16, 19; 18:3; 20:3, 31, 33; 33:11, 27; 34:8; 35:6, 11; Zeph 2:9
Amplified: Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, overabundance of food, prosperous ease, and idleness were hers and her daughters’; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
THE DANGER OF PRIDE
AND SELF SUFFICIENCY
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance (Ezek 28:2,9,17; 29:3; Ge 19:9; Ps 138:6; Pr 16:5,18; 18:12; 21:4; Isa 3:9; Isa 16:6; Da 4:30,37; 5:23; Ob 1:3; 1Pe 5:5)
Ryrie explains that "Sodom's sin did not end with its sensuality and unnatural acts, but reached to the "pride" which had come with material prosperity. This "pride" had lifted them above moral law in their own eyes. Like Sodom, Israel in her wealth and pride forgot and neglected the poor. For Israel this crime was more serious because she had received specific commands concerning the poor (cf. Deut. 15:7, 11). This concern for the poor and needy is echoed in the N.T. (cf. Matt. 26:11; 1 John 3:17)
Abundant (overabundance of) food and careless (prosperous) ease (and idleness)" (Ge 13:10; 18:20; Dt 32:15; Isa 22:13,14; Am 6:3-6; Lu 12:16-20; Lu 16:19; 17:28; 21:34)
Alexander - This material ease fostered sexual perversion (Gen 13:13; 18:20; 19:4–5). This passage stands as both an exhortation and a warning against such wickedness and life styles today.”
She did not help (strengthen the hand of) the poor and needy." (Ezek 18:12; Pr 21:13; Isa 3:14,15; Amos 5:11,12; 8:4-6; Micah 3:2-4; Lu 16:20,21)
Criswell - Sodom's sin did not end with its sensuality and unnatural acts, but reached to the "pride" which had come with material prosperity. This "pride" had lifted them above moral law in their own eyes. Like Sodom, Israel in her wealth and pride forgot and neglected the poor. For Israel this crime was more serious because she had received specific commands concerning the poor (cf. Deut. 15:7, 11). This concern for the poor and needy is echoed in the N.T. (cf. Matt. 26:11; 1 John 3:17).
Guzik - Point by point, God listed some of the sins of Sodom. The sins listed here are alluded to in Genesis, but not specifically detailed. Some wrongly take this to mean that God did not consider the sexual depravity described in Genesis 19:1–24 to be sin, but this is a clear and willful misunderstanding of the text. These were sins at the root of the depravity described in Genesis 19, and in addition to that depravity.
• She and her daughter had pride: Genesis 13:10 says that the land of Sodom was like the garden of the LORD. It was the kind of city that citizens take great pride it.
• Fullness of food and abundance of idleness: Being well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord (Genesis 13:10), there was agricultural abundance in Sodom. This made them self reliant, sinfully independent, and overly invested in entertainments and comforts.
• Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy: With her great abundance, the people of Sodom should have been more generous and giving to the poor and needy. Yet in their selfishness and abundance of idleness they were not generous or helpful.
• They were haughty and committed abomination: Ancient Sodom was filled with pride and terrible idolatry (abomination). The sexual depravity described in Genesis 19 was no doubt connected with the environment of unrestrained idolatry.
Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me (Ge 13:13; 18:20; 19:5; Lev 18:22; Dt 23:17; 2Ki 23:7; Pr 16:18; Pr 18:12; Ro 1:26,27; Jude 1:7)
Baker notes that toebah "is primarily understood in the context of the Law. It identifies unclean food (Dt. 14:3); the activity of the idolater (Isa. 41:24); the practice of child sacrifice (Dt. 12:31); intermarriage by the Israelites (Mal. 2:11); the religious activities of the wicked (Pr 21:27); and homosexual behavior (Lev. 18:22). In a broader sense, the word is used to identify anything offensive (Pr 8:7)." (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: OT)
Therefore - term of conclusion
I removed them when I saw it. (Ge 19:24; Dt 29:23; Job 18:15; Isa 13:19; Jer 20:16; 49:18; 50:40; Lam 4:6; Amos 4:11; Zeph 2:9; 2Pe 2:6; Rev 18:9) The point is that Samaria and Sodom's sins did not escape the LORD's notice nor His hand of righteous judgment.