The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 23

Eze 23:1

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 alliances.

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 (vv 13-18).

Eze 23:2

Like Jacob, God had two "wives" who were sisters. Ct Lev 18:18.

Eze 23:4

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 prostitution.

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).

Eze 23:5

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).

Eze 23:7

IDOLS: Religious alliances often preceded political ones (cp v 30).

Eze 23:9

Hoshea was dethroned and 10 tribes carried captive into Assyria: 2Ki 17:4-6.

Eze 23:10

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).

Eze 23:11

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).

Eze 23:12

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; 2Ch 28:19.

Eze 23:17

Ahaz's son Hezekiah at one time received ambassadors from Merodach-Baladan of Chaldea -- both being opposed to Assyria at the time (2Ki 20:12-19).

Eze 23:19

Judah's frequent overtures to Egypt: Isa 30:1,2; 31:1; Jer 2:18; Lam 4:17.

Eze 23:20

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 unrepentant.

Eze 23:22

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 24:20).

Eze 23:23

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).

Eze 23:25

THEY WILL CUT OFF YOUR NOSES AND YOUR EARS: Horribly disfigured by sword or fire -- common occurrences.

Eze 23:26

The removal of precious things from temple: 2Ki 25:13-17.

Eze 23:28

Vv 28-31: The reasons why her lovers came against her.

Eze 23:34

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: Jer 41:2.

Eze 23:36

Vv 36-49: Judgments upon both Oholah and Oholibah.

Eze 23:37

Idolatry of the grossest kind: involving the sacrifice of children.

Eze 23:40

PAINTED YOUR EYES: A sign of a harlot: Jer 4:30.

Eze 23:41

A TABLE SPREAD BEFORE IT: Cp the adulterous wife in Pro 7:13-18. A despicable mixture of harlotry and worship of God!

Eze 23:45

Under LM, adulteresses were stoned: Lev 20:10.

Eze 23:46

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 28:25).

Eze 23:48

"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).

Eze 23:49

THEN YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE SOVEREIGN LORD: At the very last, something remedial arising out of all God's judgments!

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