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2002 11 11
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Chapter 16


Thus the word of the LORD came to me:


Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations.


1 Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: By origin and birth you are of the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.


As for your birth, the day you were born your navel cord was not cut; you were neither washed with water nor anointed, nor were you rubbed with salt, nor swathed in swaddling clothes.


No one looked on you with pity or compassion to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out on the ground as something loathsome, the day you were born.


Then I passed by and saw you weltering in your blood. I said to you: Live in your blood


and grow like a plant in the field. You grew and developed, you came to the age of puberty; your breasts were formed, your hair had grown, but you were still stark naked.


2 Again I passed by you and saw that you were now old enough for love. So I spread the corner of my cloak over you to cover your nakedness; I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you; you became mine, says the Lord GOD.


Then I bathed you with water, washed away your blood, and anointed you with oil.


I clothed you with an embroidered gown, put sandals of fine leather on your feet; I gave you a fine linen sash and silk robes to wear.


I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms, a necklace about your neck,


a ring in your nose, pendants in your ears, and a glorious diadem upon your head.


Thus you were adorned with gold and silver; your garments were of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. Fine flour, honey, and oil were your food. You were exceedingly beautiful, with the dignity of a queen.


You were renowned among the nations for your beauty, perfect as it was, because of my splendor which I had bestowed on you, says the Lord GOD.


But you were captivated by your own beauty, you used your renown to make yourself a harlot, and you lavished your harlotry on every passer-by, whose own you became.


3 You took some of your gowns and made for yourself gaudy high places, where you played the harlot. . . .


You took the splendid gold and silver ornaments that I had given you and made for yourself male images, with which also you played the harlot.


You took your embroidered gowns to cover them; my oil and my incense you set before them;


the food that I had given you, the fine flour, the oil, and the honey with which I fed you, you set before them as an appeasing odor, says the Lord GOD.


4 The sons and daughters you had borne me you took and offered as sacrifices to be devoured by them! Was it not enough that you had become a harlot?


You slaughtered and immolated my children to them, making them pass through fire.


And through all your abominations and harlotries you remembered nothing of when you were a girl, stark naked and weltering in your blood.


Then after all your evildoing - woe, woe to you! says the Lord GOD


5 you raised for yourself a platform and a dais in every public place.


At every street corner you built a dais for yourself to use your beauty obscenely, spreading your legs for every passer-by, playing the harlot countless times.


You played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, so many times that I was provoked to anger.


Therefore I stretched out my hand against you, I diminished your allowance and delivered you over to the will of your enemies, the Philistines, who revolted at your lewd conduct.


You also played the harlot with the Assyrians, because you were not satisfied; and after playing the harlot with them, you were still not satisfied.


Again and again you played the harlot, now going to Chaldea, the land of the traders; but despite this, you were still not satisfied.


How wild your lust! says the Lord GOD, that you did all these things, acting like a shameless prostitute,


building your platform at every street corner and erecting your dais in every public place! Yet you were unlike a prostitute, since you disdained payment.


The adulterous wife receives, instead of her husband, payment.


All harlots receive gifts. But you rather bestowed your gifts on all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from all sides for your harlotry.


Thus in your harlotry you were different from all other women. No one sought you out for prostitution. Since you gave payment instead of receiving it, how different you were!


Therefore, harlot, hear the word of the LORD!


Thus says the Lord GOD: Because you poured out your lust and revealed your nakedness in your harlotry with your lovers and abominable idols, and because you sacrificed the life-blood of your children to them,


I will now gather together all your lovers whom you tried to please, whether you loved them or loved them not; I will gather them against you from all sides and expose you naked for them to see.


I will inflict on you the sentence of adulteresses and murderesses; I will wreak fury and jealousy upon you.


I will hand you over to them to tear down your platform and demolish your dais; they shall strip you of your garments and take away your splendid ornaments, leaving you stark naked.


They shall lead an assembly against you to stone you and hack you with their swords.


They shall burn your apartments with fire and inflict punishments on you while many women look on. Thus I will put an end to your harlotry, and you shall never again give payment.


When I have wreaked my fury upon you I will cease to be jealous of you, I will be quiet and no longer vexed.


Because you did not remember what happened when you were a girl, but enraged me with all these things, therefore in return I am bringing down your conduct upon your head, says the Lord GOD. For did you not add lewdness to the rest of your abominable deeds?


See, everyone who is fond of proverbs will say of you, 'Like mother, like daughter.'


6 Yes, you are the true daughter of the mother who spurned her husband and children, and you are a true sister to those who spurned their husbands and children - your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.


7 Your elder sister was Samaria with her daughters, living to the north of you; and your younger sister, living to the south of you, was Sodom with her daughters.


Yet not only in their ways did you walk, and act as abominably as they did; in a very short time you became more corrupt in all your ways than they.


As I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear that your sister Sodom, with her daughters, has not done as you and your daughters have done!


And look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in their prosperity, and they gave no help to the poor and needy.


Rather, they became haughty and committed abominable crimes in my presence; then, as you have seen, I removed them.


Samaria did not commit half your sins! You have done more abominable things than they, and have even made your sisters appear just, with all the abominable deeds you have done.


You, then, bear your shame; you are an argument in favor of your sisters! In view of your sinful deeds, more abominable than theirs, they appear just in comparison with you. Blush for shame, and bear the shame of having made your sisters appear just.


I will restore their fortunes, the fortune of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters (and I will restore your fortune along with them),


that you may bear your shame and be disgraced for all the comfort you brought them.


Yes, your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, Samaria and her daughters, shall return to their former state (you and your daughters shall return to your former state).


Was not your sister Sodom kept in bad repute by you while you felt proud of yourself,


before your wickedness became evident? Now you are like her, reproached by the Edomites and all your neighbors, despised on all sides by the Philistines.


The penalty of your lewdness and your abominations - you must bear it all, says the LORD.


For thus speaks the Lord GOD: I will deal with you according to what you have done, you who despised your oath, breaking a covenant.


Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl, and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you.


Then you shall remember your conduct and be ashamed when I take your sisters, those older and younger than you, and give them to you as daughters, even though I am not bound by my covenant with you.


For I will re-establish my covenant with you, that you may know that I am the LORD,


that you may remember and be covered with confusion, and that you may be utterly silenced for shame when I pardon you for all you have done, says the Lord GOD.



1 [3-4] By origin and birth . . . Canaan . . . Amorite . . . Hittite: the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah absorbed not only pre-Israelite racial strains, but also many elements of the country's pagan cult and customs.

2 [8] I spread the corner of my cloak over you to cover your nakedness: and also to signify the intention of marriage; cf Ruth 3:9.

3 [16] Fine robes were used to cover a couch for harlotry; cf Proverb 7:16-17. In the allegory of this chapter the viewpoint often shifts from the figure (harlotry) to the reality (idolatry).

4 [20-21] Human sacrifice was introduced under Judah's impious kings; cf 2 Kings 16:3; 17:17; Jeremiah 7:31.

5 [24] A platform and a dais: associated with ritual prostitution, which the Israelites borrowed from Canaanite practice.

6 [45] True daughter of the mother: Jerusalem has followed in the footsteps of its heathen forebears; cf Ezekiel 16:3.

7 [46] Your elder sister was Samaria: Samaria can be called an elder sister in view of the relatively greater importance of the northern kingdom, Israel, during most of Old Testament history. Also, the relatively insignificant Sodom of ancient history can be called your younger sister.

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