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Ezekiel 23:14-21

23:14 But she increased her prostitution. She saw men carved on the wall, images of the Chaldeans carved in bright red, 1  23:15 wearing belts on their waists and flowing turbans on their heads, all of them looking like officers, the image of Babylonians 2  whose native land is Chaldea. 23:16 When she saw them, 3  she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 4  23:17 The Babylonians crawled into bed with her. 5  They defiled her with their lust; after she was defiled by them, she 6  became disgusted with them. 23:18 When she lustfully exposed her nakedness, 7  I 8  was disgusted with her, just as I 9  had been disgusted with her sister. 23:19 Yet she increased her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth when she engaged in prostitution in the land of Egypt. 23:20 She lusted after their genitals – as large as those of donkeys, 10  and their seminal emission was as strong as that of stallions. 23:21 This is how you assessed 11  the obscene conduct of your youth, when the Egyptians fondled 12  your nipples and squeezed 13  your young breasts.

1 tn The only other occurrence of the Hebrew term is in Jer 22:14.

2 tn Heb “the sons of Babel.”

3 tn Heb “at the appearance of her eyes.”

4 sn The Chaldeans were prominent tribal groups of Babylonia. The imagery is reminiscent of events in the reigns of Hezekiah (2 Kgs 20:12-15) and Jehoiakim (2 Kgs 23:34-24:1).

5 tn Heb “The sons of Babel came to her on a bed of love.”

6 tn Heb “her soul.”

7 tn Heb “She exposed her harlotry and she exposed her nakedness.”

8 tn Heb “my soul.”

9 tn Heb “my soul.”

10 tn Heb “She lusted after their concubines (?) whose flesh was the flesh of donkeys.” The phrase “their concubines” is extremely problematic here. The pronoun is masculine plural, suggesting that the Egyptian men are in view, but how concubines would fit into the picture envisioned here is not clear. Some suggest that Ezekiel uses the term in an idiomatic sense of “paramour,” but this still fails to explain how the pronoun relates to the noun. It is more likely that the term refers here to the Egyptians’ genitals. The relative pronoun that follows introduces a more specific description of their genitals.

11 tn Or “you took note of.” The Hebrew verb פָּקַד (paqad) in the Qal implies evaluating something and then acting in light of that judgment; here the prophet depicts Judah as approving of her youthful unfaithfulness and then magnifying it at the present time. Some translations assume the verb should be repointed as a Niphal, rendering “you missed” or by extension “you longed for,” but such an extension of the Niphal “to be missing” is otherwise unattested.

12 tn Heb “when (they) did,” but the verb makes no sense here and is better emended to “when (they) fondled,” a verb used in vv. 3 and 8. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:43.

13 tn Heb “for the sake of,” but the expression is awkward and is better emended to read “to squeeze.” See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:43.

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