posted on Mar, 2 2018 @ 05:01 PM
Ezekiel is the prophet of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians.
In the first chapters of the book, his main purpose was to impress upon his people the fact that the siege and exile would be coming, and the city
would be destroyed.
The Lord now explains this decision in an elaborate allegory addressed to the city herself (ch16).
He begins by alluding to the humble origins of the city. She was not, originally, a constituent member of the Israelite people. “Your origin and
your birth are of the land of the Canaanites”.
“Your father was an Amorite and your mother was a Hittite”, these being two of the original peoples of the land.
When she was born, she was an “unwanted child”. Nobody had compassion on her, or did the usual offices that are required by a new-born babe-
“Your navel string was not cut, nor were you washed with water”. She was simply abandoned in the open field, as too many female babies were in
This may be taken as meaning that she had no power or prestige, and perhaps no great moral beauty.
Then the Lord “passed by and saw you weltering in your blood”, and gave his word that she should live. She then grew up “like a plant in the
The next time he passed by, she was ready to be married, and he entered into a marriage covenant with her- “I spread my skirt over you and covered
Then, as her bridegroom, he made all the preparations which should have been made by her own family, thus taking on both sides of the agreement at the
He bathed her with water and (a little belatedly) washed away her natal blood. He decked her with fine clothes and ornaments.
That is to say, he brought her into a relationship with himself, which gave her moral beauty, and as a result she grew in prosperity and prestige;
“And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendour which I had bestowed upon you”.
But this beauty and renown was the cause of her downfall, because it encouraged her to become a harlot. That is, she was committing adultery with many
“lovers”, meaning a variety of idols and deities.
She made gaily dressed shrines with the gifts which he had given her, dressing images with embroidered clothing, decorating them with jewels.
All the gifts of food which he had given her, the bread and the oil and the honey, were also passed on to these idols.
But there was one hideous form of offering which was worse than any of the others;
“And you took your sons and daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a
matter that you slaughtered my children, and delivered them up as a sacrifice by fire to them?” (vv20-21).
Then the Lord shows the sheer number and variety of Jerusalem’s “lovers”.
There was a “high place” for one of the local idols at the end of every street.
“You played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lusty neighbours…”
That must have been happening as early as the time of the Judges, for this was the reason why he reduced their territory and delivered them “to the
greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines”.
Then “You played the harlot also with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable… and still you were not satisfied. You multiplied your harlotry
also with the trading land of Chaldea”.
In all these cases, “being a harlot” means being faithless to her husband, her covenanted God, and spending time with other gods.
The worst of it all is that she reversed the usual practice of harlotry and gave gifts to her lovers instead of the other way round;
“None solicited you to play the harlot, and you gave hire”.
That is, she gave many offerings to these gods and received no blessings from them in return.
“The blood of your children” being the most serious offering, and the one that he cannot forget.
Since Jerusalem has been so shameless in her idolatrous lust, he will expose her for what she is.
Because she uncovered her nakedness in front of her lovers, he will gather them all together, and expose her nakedness (or her powerlessness) once
more, to the whole world.
He will judge her as adulterous women are judged.
The irony is that her lovers themselves (first the Assyrians, but now the Chaldeans) will be the agents of the judgement. “They shall strip you of
your clothes, and take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare… and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords and burn
Once his wrath has been expressed, “my jealousy will depart from you and I will be calm”.
In all these things she shows the effects of heredity.
She was, after all, “the daughter of a Hittite”, who was just as bad.
The same was true of her “sisters”, that is the northern sister Samaria and the southern sister Sodom, together with their “daughters”, or
However, she was much worse than either of them.
They may have done abominable things, but only half as much as Jerusalem.
So she should be ashamed of herself, for making them both look righteous- and giving him a reason to forgive them both.
For that is what he will do.
There will be a general restoration. Sodom and Samaria will be restored to their former states, and Jerusalem will be restored alongside them.
This can best be understood as a restoration which covers the Gentile world at large.
For the moment, he will treat Jerusalem as befits one who has despised her oath and broken her covenant.
Yet once the punishment is over, he will remember the covenant, the one that he established in the days of her youth.
He will establish with her an everlasting covenant.
However, it will no longer be an exclusive covenant. The terms of the covenant will be that she is forgiven, but may remember her sins and “be
confounded” because of them , and “never open your mouth again because of your shame”.
I take this to mean that her pride in the exclusive relationship will be over. It will now be a relationship shared with her “sisters”,
even to the extent of the formerly erring Sodom and Samaria.
This can be understood as looking forward to the New Testament form of the relationship, in which “God’s people” fills the whole world.