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Ezekiel 23:1-35 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 23

The Two Sisters. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. Even as young girls, they were prostitutes, serving as prostitutes in Egypt. There the Egyptians fondled their breasts and caressed their virgin nipples. Oholah was the name of the elder, and the name of her sister was Oholibah.[a] They became mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. As for their names: Samaria was Oholah and Jerusalem, Oholibah. Oholah became a prostitute while married to me and lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians: warriors dressed in purple, governors and officers, all of them handsome young soldiers, mounted on horses. She gave herself as a prostitute to them, to all the Assyrian elite; with all those for whom she lusted, she also defiled herself with their idols. She did not abandon the prostitution she had begun with the Egyptians, who had lain with her when she was young, fondling her virgin breasts and pouring out their lust upon her. Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, to the Assyrians for whom she lusted. 10 They exposed her nakedness; her sons and daughters they took away, and her they killed with the sword. She became a byword for women because of the sentence carried out against her.

11 Although her sister Oholibah saw all this, her lust was more depraved than her sister’s; she outdid her in prostitution. 12 She too lusted after the Assyrians, governors and officers, warriors impeccably clothed, mounted on horses, all of them handsome young soldiers. 13 I saw that she had defiled herself—now both had gone down the same path. 14 She went further in her prostitution: She saw male figures drawn on the wall, images of Chaldeans drawn with vermilion, 15 with sashes tied about their waists, flowing turbans on their heads, all looking like chariot warriors, images of Babylonians, natives of Chaldea. 16 As soon as she set eyes on them she lusted for them, and she sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 The Babylonians came to her, to her love couch; they defiled her with their impurities. But as soon as they had defiled her, she recoiled from them. 18 When her prostitution was discovered and her shame revealed, I recoiled from her as I had recoiled from her sister. 19 But she increased her prostitution, recalling the days of her youth when she had served as a prostitute in the land of Egypt. 20 She lusted for the lechers of Egypt, whose members are like those of donkeys, whose thrusts are like those of stallions.

21 You reverted to the depravity of your youth, when Egyptians fondled your breasts, caressing your young nipples. 22 Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord God: I will now stir up your lovers against you, those from whom you recoiled, and I will bring them against you from every side: 23 the men of Babylon and all of Chaldea, Pekod, Shoa and Koa,[b] along with all the Assyrians, handsome young soldiers, all of them governors and officers, charioteers and warriors, all of them horsemen. 24 They shall invade you with armor, chariots and wagons, a horde of peoples; they will array against you on every side bucklers and shields and helmets. I will give them the right of judgment, and they will judge you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealousy against you, so that they deal with you in fury, cutting off your nose and ears; what is left of you shall fall by the sword. They shall take away your sons and daughters, and what is left of you shall be devoured by fire. 26 They shall strip off your clothes and seize your splendid jewelry. 27 I will put an end to your depravity and to your prostitution from the land of Egypt; you shall no longer look to them, nor even remember Egypt again.

28 For thus says the Lord God: I am now handing you over to those whom you hate, to those from whom you recoil. 29 They shall treat you with hatred, seizing all that you worked for and leaving you stark naked, so that your indecent nakedness is exposed. Your depravity and prostitution 30 brought these things upon you because you served as a prostitute for the nations, defiling yourself with their idols.

31 Because you followed your sister’s path, I will put her cup into your hand.[c]

32 Thus says the Lord God:
The cup of your sister you shall drink,
    deep and wide;
It brings ridicule and mockery,
    it holds so much;
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and grief—
    A cup of horror and devastation,
    the cup of your sister Samaria;
34 You shall drink it dry,
    its very sherds you will gnaw;
And you shall tear out your breasts;
    for I have spoken—oracle of the Lord God.

35 Therefore thus says the Lord God: You have forgotten me and cast me behind your back; now suffer for your depravity and prostitution.


  1. 23:4 Oholah…Oholibah: symbolic names for Samaria, “her own tent,” and Jerusalem, “my tent is in her.” Cf. Ps 15:1 where “tent” is a synonym for “holy mountain.” The names refer to the temple set up in the Northern Kingdom of Samaria (1 Kgs 12:28–29) and the Jerusalem Temple.
  2. 23:23 Pekod, Shoa and Koa: nations along the Tigris River, part of “greater Babylonia.”
  3. 23:31 The cup is a metaphor for divine punishment, the lot of all who rebel against the Lord (cf. Ps 75:9; Jer 25:15–16; 51:7; Is 51:21–23; Lam 4:21; Hb 2:15–16).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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