1Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,
God is going to reveal to Ezekiel a metaphor to help the Jews understand the extent of their evil. Note here that the city of Jerusalem is a personification of the Jewish people and is referred to as a “her”. This is important to understand the rest of the chapter and its tie-in to Revelation.
3And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. 4And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. 5None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. 6And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
God compares Jerusalem to an infant born in the land of Canaan to heathen parents. Her infancy was harsh and gruesome such that no care was given in the birthing process and once born, she was cast alone out into the open field with hatred to be devoured by the elements or beasts or whatever. It is in this state that God says He passed by and saw Jerusalem dying and desired for her to live.
We can envision here a [young] stranger who passes by a field and hears the feeble last cries of a baby out in the weather or perhaps wounded by scavenger beasts. The stranger sees the baby and is moved by heart-wrenching compassion to save the baby. He goes to the child and fends off the animals, binds the baby’s wounds and covers her in protective clothing against the weather. Then takes her home and raises the baby as his own.
(As a father of infants I’m crying right now having read this passage again and having to even type this considering “what if this were Kade or Gwynever?”)
7I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. 8Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. 9Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. 10I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. 11I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. 12And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. 13Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. 14And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.
Here the image of Jerusalem as the baby girl is continued. The stranger is actually royalty and rich. He raises the infant with great care provided for her every need. He makes her beautiful so that her renown goes out to all the surrounding nations. The beauty is such (vs 8) that God betroths her (spreads his skirt over her – Ruth 3:9) and enters into a covenant with her (marries her). He places a crown upon her head, making her not only His wife but His queen (vs. 12). The fine food is the Truth of the Old Testament given to the Israelites as a Law, specifically with regard to the priesthood, the tabernacle/temple, and worship.
This metaphor is ever so important to correctly understanding Revelation. What other nation than the Jews enjoys such powerful imagery within the sacred texts of the Bible?
15But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. 16And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so. 17Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, 18And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them. 19My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savour: and thus it was, saith the Lord GOD.
This woman whom God had raised from infancy, cared for as his own, and loved so much He made her His wife and queen turns against God. She uses her blessings to prostitute herself to the surrounding nations. Not just once but she “poured out her fornications on EVERYONE that passed by”. The ultimate whore. The garments, the jewels were used to make herself up to attract her lovers. Some of the metallic jewelry was even fashioned into statues in the likeness of her lovers and she had sex with these statues as well. The rich meals with which God provided for her to eat she used to entice these lovers in her bedchambers.
Thus is Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness pictured. Embracing the cultures of the surrounding nations, using the wealth God had provided for her to enter into unauthorized trade, political ties, a tolerance and eventually embracing of their religions. They even took the wealth God had given them and literally made idols out of it.
20Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, 21That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?
Worse yet, the Jews had taken those who were faithful to God, His children, and killed them. These were killed in order to satisfy Jerusalem’s new “friends”, the heathen nations that were corrupting her. The Jews killed or imprisoned the faithful prophets who spoke out against her evils not wanting to hear the Truth. Read Matthew 23:37 or of the martyrs in Revelation under the altar or of the two witnesses in Rev. 11.
22And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood.
In all that the Jews had done, they forgot the great deeds God had done for them in their infancy: the rescue from Egyptian cruelty, the protection and providence while they wandered in the wilderness, the victory over the evil nations in the Promised Land and the gifting of that fertile land to them. the strength and wealth and great provender they had under David and Solomon.
23And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the LORD GOD;) 24That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street. 25Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms. 26Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.
Jerusalem is shown here as such a loose woman that she has lost her beauty. She is known all around town so much so that no one wants her. She has built a brothel on every street. She is pictured as so disgusting that she has to take fat, ugly men [e.g. Egypt] as her customers now. What a disgusting picture is painted of the Jews.
27Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way. 28Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied. 29Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied therewith.
God then delivers the Jews into the hands of those who they wanted to be like, those who they embraced economically, politically, and religiously. The diminishment of the food is God withdrawing the guidance through the prophets to some extent, allowing them to be led by the false priests of the foreign nations. Even the Philistine women (remember Samson’s ordeal with them in Judges 13-16) are embarrassed at the way Jerusalem is acting.
30How weak is thine heart, saith the LORD GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman; 31In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire; 32But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! 33They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom. 34And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou art contrary.
Jerusalem is called a great harlot and adulteress for her alliances with and embracing of the religions of foreign nations. Worse, she is considered a stupid prostitute because instead of receiving money from her lovers for sex, she actually GIVES her lovers money so they will have sex with her.
The Jews spent all of the wealth God had given them trying to win the friendship of the other nations. Again note that this is not just with regard to religion, but economics and politics as well. The whoredom encompasses it all.
35Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD: 36Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them; 37Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.
God will gather the heathen nations against Jerusalem and she will be exposed fully to them (they will be able to enter her at will and do whatever it is they want). What a vivid and even “adult” image God uses here to talk of His disgust with the Jews.
38And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy. 39And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare. 40They shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords. 41And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more. 42So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.
God then says that He will judge the Jewish nation as the Law of Moses commands adulteresses to be judged and how those who shed innocent blood are judged. These foreign nations will strip Jerusalem (including the temple) of all its wealth leaving nothing. The city will be stoned (literally with catapults, remember the tile image from chapter 4) for its adultery and run through with swords for its murders. Everything that allowed the Jewish nation to be the type of stupid harlot she was would be taken from her that she could no longer be a harlot. Only then would God cease in His anger.
43Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations.44Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. 45Thou art thy mother's daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which lothed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite. 46And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.
Returning to the beginning of the metaphor where Jerusalem is pictured as an infant hated by her heathen parents, God says that because Jerusalem has forgotten her origins, and God’s providence in her infancy an youth and has turned to play harlot, He will bring this judgment against her. Jerusalem will be said to be just like her “mother” the Hittites. The point God is making is that of cause and effect. As the mother so the daughter is the proverb. A similar one is “one cannot make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear”. The Jews are then compared to Samaria, the northern kingdom of Israel now destroyed because of her wickedness and again to Sodom (Isa. 1:2, 10).
47Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. 48As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. 49Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. 51Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done. 52Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters. 53When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them: 54That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them. 55When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate. 56For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride, 57Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about. 58Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the LORD.
Matthew 10:14-15 “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”
In Luke 18:10-14 the publican, a horrible sinner, is said to be more justified than the Pharisee because the Pharisee in prayer does not repent of what he has done wrong, but boasts of all the good things he has done and goes on about all the evil he has not done whereas the publican simply confesses his sin and asks for forgiveness.
The Jews were said to have been more wicked than even the northern tribes of Israel in a similar vein. Whereas Israel was simply wicked, the Jews were wicked, but still pretended to be followers of Jehovah God. In this pretending, they have not simply rejected God as their husband, but have attempted to tear down His name among the heathen nations and equate Him with their dead, fake gods.
God says that this wickedness will be utterly exposed when He, Jehovah, shows His power as the only living God, and shows the impotence of the dead, fake gods.
59For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant.
At this moment, God will deal with Jerusalem as adulteresses should be dealt with.
60Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. 61Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. 62And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: 63That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.
God will remember his covenant to Abraham, the beginning of the nation of Israel. He then alludes to the coming of the gospel, the new covenant that would last till the end of time. The receiving of the sisters is a reference to the Gentiles and the descendants of the northern kingdom being free to be added to the body of Christ under the New Testament for the church is open to all of every nation, just as the promise to Abraham said. In this new covenant, the Jews would never speak ill of God again.
In Truth and Love,