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Ezekiel 23:22-44

Context

23:22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look here, 1  I am about to stir up against you the lovers with whom you were disgusted; I will bring them against you from every side: 23:23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, 2  Shoa, 3  and Koa, 4  and all the Assyrians with them, desirable young men, all of them governors and officials, officers and nobles, all of them riding on horses. 23:24 They will attack 5  you with weapons, 6  chariots, wagons, and with a huge army; 7  they will array themselves against you on every side with large shields, small shields, and helmets. I will assign them the task of judgment; 8  they will punish you according to their laws. 23:25 I will direct 9  my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in rage. They will cut off your nose and your ears, 10  and your survivors will die 11  by the sword. They will seize your sons and daughters, and your survivors will be consumed by fire. 23:26 They will strip your clothes off you and take away your beautiful jewelry. 23:27 So I will put an end to your obscene conduct and your prostitution which you have practiced in the land of Egypt. 12  You will not seek their help 13  or remember Egypt anymore.

23:28 “For this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look here, 14  I am about to deliver you over to 15  those whom you hate, to those with whom you were disgusted. 23:29 They will treat you with hatred, take away all you have labored for, 16  and leave you naked and bare. Your nakedness will be exposed, just as when you engaged in prostitution and obscene conduct. 17  23:30 I will do these things to you 18  because you engaged in prostitution with the nations, polluting yourself with their idols. 23:31 You have followed the ways of your sister, so I will place her cup of judgment 19  in your hand. 23:32 “This is what the sovereign Lord says: “You will drink your sister’s deep and wide cup; 20  you will be scorned and derided, for it holds a great deal. 23:33 You will be overcome by 21  drunkenness and sorrow. The cup of your sister Samaria is a cup of horror and desolation. 23:34 You will drain it dry, 22  gnaw its pieces, 23  and tear out your breasts, 24  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, 25  you must bear now the punishment 26  for your obscene conduct and prostitution.”

23:36 The Lord said to me: “Son of man, are you willing to pronounce judgment 27  on Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominable deeds! 23:37 For they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and their sons, whom they bore to me, 28  they have passed through the fire as food to their idols. 29  23:38 Moreover, they have done this to me: In the very same day 30  they desecrated my sanctuary and profaned my Sabbaths. 23:39 On the same day they slaughtered their sons for their idols, they came to my sanctuary to desecrate it. This is what they have done in the middle of my house.

23:40 “They even sent for men from far away; when the messenger arrived, those men set out. 31  For them you bathed, 32  painted your eyes, and decorated yourself with jewelry. 23:41 You sat on a magnificent couch, with a table arranged in front of it where you placed my incense and my olive oil. 23:42 The sound of a carefree crowd accompanied her, 33  including all kinds of men; 34  even Sabeans 35  were brought from the desert. The sisters 36  put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 23:43 Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, ‘Now they will commit immoral acts with her.’ 23:44 They had sex with her 37  as one does with a prostitute. In this way they had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, promiscuous women.

1 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

2 sn Pekod was the name of an Aramean tribe (known as Puqudu in Mesopotamian texts) that lived in the region of the Tigris River.

3 sn Shoa was the name of a nomadic people (the Sutu) that lived in Mesopotamia.

4 sn Koa was the name of another Mesopotamian people group (the Qutu).

5 tn Heb “come against.”

6 tn This is the only occurrence of this term in the OT. The precise meaning is uncertain.

7 tn Heb “an assembly of peoples.”

8 tn Heb “I will place before them judgment.”

9 tn Heb “give.”

10 tn Heb “they will remove.”

sn This method of punishment is attested among ancient Egyptian and Hittite civilizations. See W. Zimmerli, Ezekiel (Hermeneia), 1:489.

11 tn Heb “fall.”

12 tn Heb “I will cause your obscene conduct to cease from you and your harlotry from the land of Egypt.”

13 tn Heb “lift your eyes to them.”

14 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

15 tn Heb “I am giving you into the hand of.”

16 tn The Hebrew term means “labor,” but by extension it can also refer to that for which one works.

17 tn Heb “The nakedness of your prostitution will be exposed, and your obscene conduct and your harlotry.”

18 tn The infinitive absolute continues the sequence begun in v. 28: “Look here, I am about to deliver you.” See Joüon 2:430 §123.w.

19 tn Heb “her cup.” A cup of intoxicating strong drink is used, here and elsewhere, as a metaphor for judgment because both leave one confused and reeling. (See Jer 25:15, 17, 28; Hab 2:16.) The cup of wrath is a theme also found in the NT (Mark 14:36).

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

21 tn Heb “filled with.”

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

23 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.

24 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).

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

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

27 tn Heb “will you judge.” Here the imperfect form of the verb is probably used with a desiderative nuance. Addressed to the prophet, “judge” means to warn of or pronounce God’s impending judgment. See 20:4; 22:2.

28 sn The Lord speaks here in the role of the husband of the sisters.

29 tn Heb “they have passed to them for food.” The verb is commonly taken to refer to passing children through fire, especially as an offering to the pagan god Molech. See Jer 32:35.

30 tn Heb “in that day.”

31 tn Heb “to whom a messenger was sent, and look, they came.” Foreign alliances are in view here.

32 tn The Hebrew verb form is feminine singular, indicating that Oholibah (Judah) is specifically addressed here. This address continues through verse 42a (note “her”), but then both sisters are described in verse 42b, where the feminine pronouns are again plural.

33 tn Heb “(was) in her.”

34 tn Heb “and men from the multitude of mankind.”

35 tn An alternate reading is “drunkards.” Sheba is located in the area of modern day Yemen.

36 tn Heb “they”; the referents (the sisters) have been specified in the translation for the sake of clarity.

37 tn Heb “and they came to her.”



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