A Symbol of Total Corruption

In his spiritual autobiography, William Barclay, the venerable Scottish scholar, tells the tragedy of losing his 21-year-old daughter and her fiance who were drowned in a boating accident. He writes, “God did not stop that accident at sea, but he did still the storm in … More

Corruption

The parable of the three sisters is similar in some details to the preceding one. Samaria was Jerusalem’s older sister, Sodom her younger sister. Both the mother and sisters loathed their husbands and children. The prophet accused Jerusalem of being worse than her sisters. Jerusalem had not merely “walked in their ways or done according to their abominations.” Jerusalem had actually “acted more corruptly“ in all her conduct than they (vv. 44-47).

  1. The record of the sisters (vv. 48-52). In order to underscore his charge that Jerusalem had acted more corruptly than Sodom or Samaria, Ezekiel examined the record of the three sisters. Sodom was filled with “arrogance.” Samaria, her northern sister, did not commit half of the sins committed in Jerusalem. All the abominations committed in Jerusalem made Sodom and Samaria appear righteous by comparison. Jerusalem would forever bear the disgrace of being considered spiritually worse than her wicked sisters.
  2. The future of the sisters (vv. 53-63). Though Sodom and Samaria had long since disappeared from the stage of history, and though Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, yet the three sisters had a future. God would restore their fortunes. That act of God’s grace would cause Jerusalem to be ashamed of the abominations she had committed. All three sisters would return “to their former state” (vv. 53-55). This symbolic prophecy looked forward to the salvation of Jew, Samaritan and Gentile in the kingdom of Christ.

Application

No one is beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness and that includes me.

Ezekiel 16:44-63 (English Standard Version)

""Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: 'Like mother, like daughter.' You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed. Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous. "I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in their midst, that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them. As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former state, and you and your daughters shall return to your former state. Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride, before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you have become an object of reproach for the daughters of Syria and all those around her, and for the daughters of the Philistines, those all around who despise you. You bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, declares the LORD. "For thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD."

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