Eze 23: This chapter possesses some similarity with Eze 16.
Whereas the main emphasis in Eze 16 is the actual idolatry of God's people,
however, the main emphasis in Eze 23 is their military and political
In this chapter the wicked alliances of Israel and Judah are
represented under the metaphor of two harlots, disgusting in their lewdness. The
"idolatries" of Israel, or the ten tribes -- under the name of Oholah -- were
committed with the Assyrians (vv 5-8), and their punishment for them is declared
(vv 9,10). Then the idolatries of Judah, or the two tribes -- under the name of
Oholibah -- are represented as greater than those of the ten tribes (v 11);
these idolatries were committed with the Assyrians (v 12) and the Babylonians
Like Jacob, God had two "wives" who were sisters. Ct Lev
OHOLAH IS SAMARIA, AND OHOLIBAH IS JERUSALEM: Sig,
respectively, "his tent" and "my tent". There were tents, or tabernacles, of
worship in both places, but Jerusalem was "God's tabernacle". God has chosen
Zion: Psa 132:13,14. Perhaps an allusion also to tents set up for
More specifically... " 'Aholah' = 'She has her own tent (or
tabernacle)', whereas 'Aholibah' = 'My tent (or tabernacle) is in her' -- making
the distinct difference between Samaria and Jerusalem: both had turned to
idolatry, yet the promises still applied to Jerusalem. Even in this ch of doom
there is evidence in these names that God still intended to make His tabernacle
with men by the results of the work and life of Jesus, who would establish God's
tabernacle with man eternally" (PC).
Vv 5-10: Whoredoms of Oholah.
ASSYRIANS -- WARRIORS: Or "neighbors" (as AV). The
territory of Assyria bordered Israel at this time. "For they have gone up to
Assyria like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers"
(Hos 8:9; 5:3; 7:11; 12:1). Menahem formed alliance with Pul (2Ki 15:19). Hoshea
bought off Shalmaneser (2Ki 17:3).
IDOLS: Religious alliances often preceded political
ones (cp v 30).
Hoshea was dethroned and 10 tribes carried captive into
Assyria: 2Ki 17:4-6.
SHE BECAME A BYWORD AMONG WOMEN: "You will become a
thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the
LORD will drive you" (Deu 28:37).
Vv 11-35: Whoredoms of Oholibah. "I gave faithless Israel her
certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I
saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and
committed adultery" (Jer 3:8).
When, for example, Ahaz (Judah) was threatened by a
combination of Syria and Israel, he sought the help of Tiglathpileser III,
refusing to put his trust in God (2Ki 20:12-19) -- 2Ki 16:7-10; cp Isa 7:3-17;
Ahaz's son Hezekiah at one time received ambassadors from
Merodach-Baladan of Chaldea -- both being opposed to Assyria at the time (2Ki
Judah's frequent overtures to Egypt: Isa 30:1,2; 31:1; Jer
2:18; Lam 4:17.
This verse is about as graphic and revolting as anything to be
found in the Bible. The purpose is not to titillate or to stimulate pleasurably,
but to shock. Whether it be in portraying violence or sex, the prophets who
wrote the Bible were not interested in staying out of trouble with the "censors"
or in retaining a "G" rating. Nevertheless, when sin is portrayed, there is --
unlike with Hollywood -- no uncertainty as to its sinfulness, nor any ambiguity
as to the ultimate fate of those who practice such things and remain
Vv 22-27: The Babylonians to come against her. Her "lovers"
were to be her "judges".
THOSE YOU TURNED AWAY FROM IN DISGUST: First alienation
was shown by Jehoiakim in rebellion of 2Ki 24:1. Zedekiah later rebels also (2Ki
PEKOD: Typical name, sig "visitation" or "judgment".
Used of Babylon in Jer 50:21.
SHOA: Sig "rich".
KOA: Sig "noble" or "powerful". "Armenian tribes from
east of Tigris River" (BS 5:90).
THEY WILL CUT OFF YOUR NOSES AND YOUR EARS: Horribly
disfigured by sword or fire -- common occurrences.
The removal of precious things from temple: 2Ki
Vv 28-31: The reasons why her lovers came against
A person devoid of sense and reason. Drinking of cup from God
sym utter prostration, helpless impotence: Jer 51:7; Nah 3:11; Hab 2:15,16. Cp
foolhardy act of killing the potentially good leader of the remnant, Gedaliah:
Vv 36-49: Judgments upon both Oholah and Oholibah.
Idolatry of the grossest kind: involving the sacrifice of
PAINTED YOUR EYES: A sign of a harlot: Jer
A TABLE SPREAD BEFORE IT: Cp the adulterous wife in Pro
7:13-18. A despicable mixture of harlotry and worship of God!
Under LM, adulteresses were stoned: Lev 20:10.
GIVE THEM OVER TO TERROR AND PLUNDER: "Give them to be
removed and spoiled" (AV). "The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your
enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven,
and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth" (Deu
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with
the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world
becomes an enemy of God" (Jam 4:4).
THEN YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE SOVEREIGN LORD: At the
very last, something remedial arising out of all God's judgments!