September 2, Ezekiel 23-24

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23 The word of the Lord came to me again: “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother, who acted like prostitutes in Egypt, behaving promiscuously in their youth. Their breasts were fondled there, and their virgin nipples caressed. The older one was named Oholah,[a] and her sister was Oholibah.[b] They became mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah represents Samaria and Oholibah represents Jerusalem.

“Oholah acted like a prostitute even though she was mine. She lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians: warriors dressed in blue, governors and prefects, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on steeds. She offered her sexual favors to them; all of them were the elite of Assyria. She defiled herself with all those she lusted after and with all their idols. She didn’t give up her promiscuity that began in Egypt, when men slept with her in her youth, caressed her virgin nipples, and poured out their lust on her. Therefore, I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians she lusted for. 10 They exposed her nakedness, seized her sons and daughters, and killed her with the sword. Since they executed judgment against her, she became notorious among women.

11 “Now her sister Oholibah saw this, but she was even more depraved in her lust than Oholah, and made her promiscuous acts worse than those of her sister. 12 She lusted after the Assyrians: governors and prefects, warriors splendidly dressed, horsemen riding on steeds, all of them desirable young men. 13 And I saw that she had defiled herself; both of them had taken the same path. 14 But she increased her promiscuity when she saw male figures carved on the wall, images of the Chaldeans, engraved in bright red, 15 wearing belts on their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like officers, a depiction of the Babylonians in Chaldea, their native land. 16 At the sight of them[c] she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and defiled her with their lust. But after she was defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she flaunted her promiscuity and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust just as I turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she multiplied her acts of promiscuity, remembering the days of her youth when she acted like a prostitute in the land of Egypt 20 and lusted after their lovers, whose sexual members[d] were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of stallions. 21 So you revisited the depravity of your youth, when the Egyptians caressed your nipples to enjoy your youthful breasts.

22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Lord God says: I am going to incite your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust. I will bring them against you from every side: 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans; Pekod, Shoa, and Koa; and all the Assyrians with them—desirable young men, all of them governors and prefects, officers and administrators, all of them riding on steeds. 24 They will come against you with an assembly of peoples and with weapons, chariots, and[e] wagons. They will set themselves against you on every side with large and small shields and helmets. I will delegate judgment to them, and they will judge you by their own standards. 25 When I vent my jealous fury on you, they will deal with you in wrath. They will cut off your nose and ears, and the rest of you[f] will fall by the sword. They will seize your sons and daughters, and the rest of you will be consumed by fire. 26 They will strip off your clothes and take your beautiful jewelry. 27 So I will put an end to your depravity and sexual immorality, which began in the land of Egypt, and you will not look longingly at them or remember Egypt anymore.

28 “For this is what the Lord God says: I am going to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. 29 They will treat you with hatred, take all you have worked for, and leave you stark naked, so that the shame of your debauchery will be exposed, both your depravity and promiscuity. 30 These things will be done to you because you acted like a prostitute with the nations, defiling yourself with their idols. 31 You have followed the path of your sister, so I will put her cup in your hand.”

32 This is what the Lord God says:

“You will drink your sister’s cup,
which is deep and wide.
You will be an object of[g] ridicule and scorn,
for it holds so much.
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and grief,
with a cup of devastation and desolation,
the cup of your sister Samaria.
34 You will drink it and drain it;
then you will gnaw its broken pieces,
and tear your breasts.
For I have spoken.”
This is the declaration of the Lord God.

35 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: “Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your indecency and promiscuity.”

36 Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, will you pass judgment against Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare their detestable practices to them. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands; they have committed adultery with their idols. And the children they bore to me they have sacrificed in the fire[h] as food for the idols. 38 They also did this to me: they defiled my sanctuary on that same day and profaned my Sabbaths. 39 On the same day they slaughtered their children for their idols, they entered my sanctuary to profane it. Yes, that is what they did inside my house.

40 “In addition, they sent for men who came from far away when a messenger was dispatched to them. And look how they came! You bathed, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with jewelry for them. 41 You sat on a luxurious couch with a table spread before it, on which you had set my incense and oil. 42 The sound of a carefree crowd was there. Drunkards[i] from the desert were brought in, along with common men. They put bracelets on the women’s hands and beautiful tiaras on their heads. 43 Then I said concerning this woman worn out by adultery: Will they[j] now have illicit sex with her, even her? 44 Yet they had sex with her as one does with a prostitute. This is how they had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, those depraved women. 45 But righteous men will judge them the way adulteresses and those who shed blood are judged, for they are adulteresses and blood is on their hands.

46 “This is what the Lord God says: Summon[k] an assembly against them and consign them to terror and plunder. 47 The assembly will stone them and cut them down with their swords. They will kill their sons and daughters and burn their houses. 48 So I will put an end to depravity in the land, and all the women will be admonished not to imitate your depraved behavior. 49 They will punish you for your depravity, and you will bear the consequences for your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Lord God.”

Parable of the Boiling Pot

24 The word of the Lord came to me in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month: “Son of man, write down today’s date, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. Now speak a parable to the rebellious house. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says:

Put the pot on the fire—
put it on,
and then pour water into it!
Place the pieces of meat in it,
every good piece—
thigh and shoulder.
Fill it with choice bones.
Take the choicest of the flock
and also pile up the fuel[l] under it.
Bring it to a boil
and cook the bones in it.

“‘Therefore, this is what the Lord God says:

Woe to the city of bloodshed,
the pot that has corrosion inside it,
and its corrosion has not come out of it!
Empty it piece by piece;
lots should not be cast for its contents.
For the blood she shed[m] is still within her.
She put it out on the bare rock;
she didn’t pour it on the ground
to cover it with dust.
In order to stir up wrath and take vengeance,
I have put her blood on the bare rock,
so that it would not be covered.

“‘Therefore, this is what the Lord God says:

Woe to the city of bloodshed!
I myself will make the pile of kindling large.
10 Pile on the logs and kindle the fire!
Cook the meat well
and mix in the spices![n][o]
Let the bones be burned!
11 Set the empty pot on its coals
so that it becomes hot and its copper glows.
Then its impurity will melt inside it;
its corrosion will be consumed.
12 It has frustrated every effort;[p]
its thick corrosion will not come off.
Into the fire with its corrosion!
13 Because of the depravity of your uncleanness—
since I tried to purify you,
but you would not be purified from your uncleanness—
you will not be pure again
until I have satisfied my wrath on you.
14 I, the Lord, have spoken.
It is coming, and I will do it!
I will not refrain, I will not show pity,
and I will not relent.
I[q] will judge you
according to your ways and deeds.

This is the declaration of the Lord God.’”

The Death of Ezekiel’s Wife: A Sign

15 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you with a fatal blow. But you must not lament or weep or let your tears flow. 17 Groan quietly; do not observe mourning rites for the dead. Put on your turban and strap your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache or eat the bread of mourners.”[r]

18 I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening. The next morning I did just as I was commanded. 19 Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things you are doing mean for us?”

20 So I answered them: “The word of the Lord came to me, 21 Say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the desire of your heart. Also, the sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. 22 Then you will do just as I have done: You will not cover your mustache or eat the bread of mourners. 23 Your turbans will remain on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not lament or weep but will waste away because of your iniquities and will groan to one another. 24 Now Ezekiel will be a sign for you. You will do everything that he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Lord God.’

25 “As for you, son of man, know that on that day I will take from them their stronghold—their pride and joy, the delight of their eyes, and the longing of their hearts—as well as their sons and daughters. 26 On that day a fugitive will come to you and report the news. 27 On that day your mouth will be opened to talk with him; you will speak and no longer be mute. So you will be a sign for them, and they will know that I am the Lord.”

Ezekiel is a captive, a priest, a prophet, a messenger speaking to a stubborn nation. Now God will ask something more of Ezekiel. In the end of chapter 24, Ezekiel’s wife dies. God instructs Ezekiel is not to mourn in the traditional methods and practices of Israel. In the time of tremendous grief, Ezekiel followed God’s instructions, and he continued to bring glory to God. 

Grief and sorrow are a part of this life. How we use that grief and sorrow may have an eternal impact on someone near us. Giving God the glory through our hardships can be the very reason He has called us to endure those hardships.

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