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Ezekiel 23 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.

36 [d]Then the Lord said to me: Son of man, would you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then make known to them their abominations. 37 For they committed adultery, and blood covers their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; even the children they bore for me they burnt as food for them. 38 And they also did this to me: on that day, they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my sabbaths. 39 On the very day they slaughtered their children for their idols, they entered my sanctuary to desecrate it. Thus they acted within my house! 40 Moreover, they sent for men who had to come from afar; when a messenger was sent to them, they came. On their account you bathed, painted your eyes, and put on jewelry. 41 You sat on a magnificent couch, set before it a table, on which to lay my incense and oil. 42 The cries of a mob! The shouts of men coming in from the wilderness! They put bracelets on the women’s arms and splendid crowns on their heads. 43 I said: “That worn-out one still has adulteries in her! Now they engage her as a prostitute and she…” 44 And indeed they did come in to her as men come in to a prostitute. Thus they came to Oholah and Oholibah, the depraved women. 45 The righteous shall certainly punish them with sentences given to adulterers and murderers, for they committed adultery, and blood is on their hands.

46 Indeed, thus says the Lord God: Raise up an army against them and hand them over to terror and plunder. 47 The army will stone them and hack them to pieces with their swords. They will kill their sons and daughters and set fire to their houses. 48 Thus I will put an end to depravity in the land, and all women will be warned not to imitate your depravity. 49 They shall inflict on you the penalty of your depravity, and you shall pay for your sins of idolatry. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  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).
  4. 23:36–49 Unlike vv. 1–35, this short poem juxtaposes the careers of the two sisters and looks to a future punishment. The male lovers of the first poem become the sisters’ executioners, and the guests at the love feast a lynch mob. So corrupt and depraved are the two sisters that their executioners win the esteemed title “righteous,” for they have acted appropriately as agents of the Lord’s judgment.
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.

Ezekiel 23 New International Version (NIV)

Two Adulterous Sisters

23 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

“Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians—warriors clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after. She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.

“Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. 10 They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.

11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister. 12 She too lusted after the Assyrians—governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men. 13 I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.

14 “But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans[a] portrayed in red, 15 with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea.[b] 16 As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her naked body, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.[c]

22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses. 24 They will come against you with weapons,[d] chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire. 26 They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. 27 So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore.

28 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to deliver you into the hands of those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. 29 They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you stark naked, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity 30 have brought this on you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand.

32 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“You will drink your sister’s cup,
    a cup large and deep;
it will bring scorn and derision,
    for it holds so much.
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,
    the cup of ruin and desolation,
    the cup of your sister Samaria.
34 You will drink it and drain it dry
    and chew on its pieces—
    and you will tear your breasts.

I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.

35 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.”

36 The Lord said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, 37 for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. 38 They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths. 39 On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.

40 “They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, applied eye makeup and put on your jewelry. 41 You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and olive oil that belonged to me.

42 “The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; drunkards were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the wrists of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, ‘Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.’ 44 And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah. 45 But righteous judges will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.

46 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. 47 The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.

48 “So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. 49 You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 23:14 Or Babylonians
  2. Ezekiel 23:15 Or Babylonia; also in verse 16
  3. Ezekiel 23:21 Syriac (see also verse 3); Hebrew caressed because of your young breasts
  4. Ezekiel 23:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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