Both Sisters Judged

We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgments instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thu … More

Judgment

God declares that Oholah and Oholibah are to be destroyed, together with their children and their houses. God is holy, and lewdness and idolatry are to be eradicated from his holy people (vv. 36-49). In the final section of this chapter Ezekiel reviewed the sin and judgment of Samaria and Jerusalem. The history and judgment of both countries had been presented separately (vv. 1-35), but now they were combined for the sake of comparison. The sins of both nations were idolatry (vv. 36-39) and foreign alliances (vv. 40-44), and their judgments were the same (vv. 45-49).

Idolatry was common to Israel and Judah (vv. 36-39). The apex of their spiritual adultery was child sacrifice. This, one of the most detestable practices of the Canaanite religions, had infiltrated both Israel and Judah. The people were so hardened by sin that on the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered the temple with their children’s blood on their hands. Their very presence profaned and desecrated the house of God!

The spiritual adultery of the two nations was matched only by their political adultery (vv. 40-44). Ezekiel painted a vivid picture of the sisters preparing themselves for lovers (enticing other nations to help them). The reputation of the sisters was so well known that even the lower elements of society knew where to find them. The sisters were using their charms to gain others’ favors, so God reduced them to the status of prostitutes (Ezek. 23:3). God said that righteous men would sentence them to the punishment adulteresses deserved (vv. 45-49). Who were these “righteous men?” They functioned like elders who decided the fate of someone accused of fornication (Deut. 22:13-21). The judgment for adultery was death (Lev. 20:10), generally by stoning (Lev. 20:27;); and the judgments for idolatry in a city were the sword and fire (Deut. 13:12-16).

Application

I cannot praise God and wilfully sin at the same time.

Ezekiel 23:36-49 (English Standard Version)

The LORD said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations. For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they had borne to me. Moreover, this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths. For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house. They even sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and behold, they came. For them you bathed yourself, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. You sat on a stately couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed my incense and my oil. The sound of a carefree multitude was with her; and with men of the common sort, drunkards were brought from the wilderness; and they put bracelets on the hands of the women, and beautiful crowns on their heads. "Then I said of her who was worn out by adultery, Now they will continue to use her for a whore, even her! For they have gone in to her, as men go in to a prostitute. Thus they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, lewd women! But righteous men shall pass judgment on them with the sentence of adulteresses, and with the sentence of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands." For thus says the Lord GOD: "Bring up a vast host against them, and make them an object of terror and a plunder. And the host shall stone them and cut them down with their swords. They shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses. Thus will I put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you have done. And they shall return your lewdness upon you, and you shall bear the penalty for your sinful idolatry, and you shall know that I am the Lord GOD."

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