Two Harlot Sisters

Aurelius Augustine spent most of his life battling the bondage to sexual appetite and philosophical pride. When he was 31 the power of God through His word, broke the bondage to sexual lust and living with a concubine. Augustine said this, “You made us for Yourself, an … More



To illustrate the nation’s unfaithfulness, the Lord used an allegory in which He compared Samaria and Jerusalem to two promiscuous sisters named Oholah and Oholibah (vv. 1-21). The sisters had been prostitutes from their youth in Egypt (vv. 1-4). Though belonging to the Lord (whether as wives or children is not clear), they courted the favor of foreign nations. Oholah sought alliances with the Assyrians. She is portrayed as lusting after the Assyrian soldiers and prostituting herself among their officers. Ironically, her lovers killed her and carried away her children. Oholah represented Samaria, and Oholibah represented Jerusalem. These two “sisters,” the capital cities of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, represented the people of those two kingdoms. The sin of Oholah, the older sister, was her (Samaria’s) association with the Assyrians (vv. 5-10).

The judgment of the older sister Oholah (Samaria) should have been a warning to the younger sister Oholibah (Jerusalem). Unfortunately she failed to heed the warning. In fact she was more depraved than her sister (vv. 11-18). Jerusalem followed the immoral course charted by her sister: she too lusted after the Assyrians. Judah curried the favor of Assyria rather than relying on her God. Israel and Syria had banded together to oppose Assyria, and they sought to bring Judah into the alliance. When King Ahaz refused, they attacked Judah hoping to dethrone Ahaz and to replace him with a king who would support their uprising. Rather than trusting in God for deliverance (as Isaiah the prophet urged him to do), Ahaz sent to Assyria to enlist her aid and protection. With that act Judah became a vassal of Assyria for the next century (2 Kings 16:5-9).

Jerusalem’s faithlessness cost her the only true protection she ever had. Yet instead of repenting of her sin, she sought additional human help, becoming more and more promiscuous. Her cycle of sin brought her back to the very nation with which she had originally been defiled and which had enslaved her-Egypt (vv. 19-21). To show his absolute disgust in this course of action, Ezekiel used coarse language (v. 20), not to be vulgar, but to portray graphically the utter spiritual degradation to which Judah had fallen.


I can never trust myself but only the Lord to keep me spiritually pure as I stay close to Him

Ezekiel 23:1-21 (English Standard Version)

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms handled. Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. "Oholah played the whore while she was mine, and she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors clothed in purple, governors and commanders, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. She bestowed her whoring upon them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them, and she defiled herself with all the idols of everyone after whom she lusted. She did not give up her whoring that she had begun in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her and handled her virgin bosom and poured out their whoring lust upon her. Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted. These uncovered her nakedness; they seized her sons and her daughters; and as for her, they killed her with the sword; and she became a byword among women, when judgment had been executed on her. "Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became more corrupt than her sister in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister. She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men. And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way. But she carried her whoring further. She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea. When she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust. When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts."

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