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Ezekiel 23:32-35

Context
23:32 “This is what the sovereign Lord says: “You will drink your sister’s deep and wide cup; 1  you will be scorned and derided, for it holds a great deal. 23:33 You will be overcome by 2  drunkenness and sorrow. The cup of your sister Samaria is a cup of horror and desolation. 23:34 You will drain it dry, 3  gnaw its pieces, 4  and tear out your breasts, 5  for I have spoken, declares the sovereign Lord.

23:35 “Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Because you have forgotten me and completely disregarded me, 6  you must bear now the punishment 7  for your obscene conduct and prostitution.”

1 sn The image of a deep and wide cup suggests the degree of punishment; it will be extensive and leave the victim helpless.

2 tn Heb “filled with.”

3 tn Heb “You will drink it and drain (it).”

4 tn D. I. Block compares this to the idiom of “licking the plate” (Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:754, n. 137). The text is difficult as the word translated “gnaw” is rare. The noun is used of the shattered pieces of pottery and so could envision a broken cup. But the Piel verb form is used in only one other place (Num 24:8), where it is a denominative from the noun “bone” and seems to mean to “break (bones).” Why it would be collocated with “sherds” is not clear. For this reason some emend the phrase to read “consume its dregs” (see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 2:44) or emend the verb to read “swallow,” as if the intoxicated Oholibah breaks the cup and then eats the very sherds in an effort to get every last drop of the beverage that dampens them.

5 sn The severe action is more extreme than beating the breasts in anguish (Isa 32:12; Nah 2:7). It is also ironic for these are the very breasts she so blatantly offered to her lovers (vv. 3, 21).

6 tn Heb “and you cast me behind your back.” The expression pictures her rejection of the Lord (see 1 Kgs 14:9).

7 tn The word “punishment” is not in the Hebrew text but is demanded by the context.



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