1 “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:
3 And they committed whoredoms in
whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and
there they bruised the teats of their virginity.”
After another pause, the prophet enters on another elaborate parallel, after
the pattern of Ezekiel 16., but with a marked variation. There we have the
history of one harlot,
sister harlots, the daughters of one mother, and they are
are represented as having had a separate existence, even during the period
the sojourn in
cleavage caused by the claims of Ephraim to supremacy appearing again
and again long before the revolt of the ten tribes under Jeroboam
(Judges 8:1; 12:1; II Samuel 19:43). Both were alike tainted with
idolatry, as in the
history of the golden calf, when they came out of
(compare ch.16:7; 20:7-8). Yet even then Jehovah, like Hoses in the
personal history which was to be to him as a parable of that of
compassion on them, harlots though they were (Hosea 1:2). They became
his, and “bare sons and daughters.”
4 “And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her
sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus
were their names;
The occurrence of proper names is almost unique in the parables
of the Bible, the Lazarus of Luke 16:20 being the only other instance.
Their meaning is sufficiently clear. Aholah (but both names should begin
with O rather than A) means “Her tent;” Aholibah, “My tent is in her.” A
parallel, which may have suggested the names, is found in the Aholibamah
(equivalent to “My tent is in the high place”) of Genesis 36:2, and
another in the use of Ohel as a proper name in I Chronicles 3:20. The
common element of the two names is the word that is commonly used for
the sacred tent or tabernacle in the Pentateuch and elsewhere. The
distinctive element of each points to the fact that the worship in
was unauthorized. Her “tent”
was hers, not Jehovah’s. Of
her privilege, also aggravated her guilt. Keil and others take the adjective
here, as in ch.16:46, as meaning “greater” rather than “older.” The
former adjective is, of course, applicable to the greater power of the
kingdom of the Ten Tribes, and, even if we retain the renderings of the
Authorized Version, is probably the explanation of
the elder of the two.
Aholah and Aholibah (v. 4)
“Her tent” and “My tent is in her.” These names stand respectively for
independent after secession from
mother’s tent and has one of her own.
representative of the tabernacle of the wilderness; therefore God’s tent was
in her. These prosaic facts were suggestive of deeper traits of national
character, which the symbolical names suggested.
independent. This national independence has its counterpart in individual
independence. Jacob leaves his home and fights his own battle with the
world. Joseph is sent away from his family, and cast in his youth among the
grand opportunities of a great nation and the direful temptations of a
dissolute society. The young man going out into the world enters on the
exhilarating but trying career of independent life. There are special
opportunities, duties, and dangers in having one’s own tent.
Ø Opportunities. The independent position is not hampered with
restrictions. Freedom means a wide range for individual activity. Now is
the time to realize the long-cherished dreams of earlier days.
Ø Duties. Duty dogs the footsteps of opportunity. As our scope for choice
and individual activity is enlarged, the obligations of service are
correspondingly increased. The slave has few duties; the free man great
obligations. The liberty of manhood brings the burden of a man’s duty.
Christian liberty increases the obligations of Christian service.
tyranny of Rehoboam; but the liberty which was got by separation brought
its own great dangers. Cut off from the temple-worship, excluded from the
national festivals, deprived of the highest religious ministrations, the freed
people were tempted to fall into the idolatry of their ancestors and their
neighbors. This temptation was too great for them, and they apostatized
ordinances. The young man who leaves the Christian home of his
childhood for new scenes of worldly life is entering on a path of danger.
A self-contained life is open to temptation. To seek TO BE
INDEPENDENT OF GOD IS TO COURT RUIN!
her. She has the outward means and symbols, at least, of the Divine
presence. This fact represents high privileges, with corresponding guilt
when God is forsaken.
Ø High privileges.
o Prosperity. God’s presence brings joy and true welfare.
o Protection. If God’s tent is in our midst, the Captain of salvation is
with us, and though a host should encamp around us, we need fear
o Spiritual grace. The temple was not a mere meeting-place, sanctuary,
and fortress. Its services were “means of grace.” God is with us to
enlighten, purify, quicken.
Ø Heavy guilt. Aholibah apostatized. Her guilt was all the greater that she
bore such a name, and could claim the symbol of God’s presence as
peculiarly her own. The greatest guilt is that of men who know God and
have enjoyed his presence and grace in the past, and who, sinning openly
against light, have spurned those privileges and willfully rebelled against
their chosen God. No sinners are so guilty as apostatized Christians. Mark:
it is possible to be Aholibah and to enjoy God’s presence, and yet to turn
against Him, fall, and be ruined.
5 “And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted
on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbors,” The history of both the sisters
passes from the time of the Exodus to that of their separate existence, and starts,
fact, from their first intercourse
with the great monarchies of
less a survey of their successive stages of degradation, like that of Ezekiel 16.,
than a retrospect of their political alliances. Aholah played the harlot. The
lovers, as in ch.16:33, are the nations with which the kings of
alliance, and of these the Assyrians are named as preeminent. The word neighbors,
which in its literal sense is hardly applicable, is probably to be taken of spiritual
affinity, or may be taken as “come near” is in Genesis 20:4; Leviticus 20:16;
ch.18:6. The Assyrians were those who, in that sense, came near to the harlot city.
We have in II Kings 15:20 the fact that Menahem paid tribute to Pul. Hosea 5:13
and 7:11 speak generally of such alliances. The black obelisk of Shalmaneser
records the fact that Jehu paid tribute to him (‘Records of the Past,’ 5:41). In the
last-named case the tribute consisted chiefly of vessels of gold, bowls, goblets, etc.
6 “Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them
desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.”
Clothed with blue. The same word as that used in the
description of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:4;31, et al.). It was
probably some hue of the Tyrian purple kind which marked the official
dress of the “captains” of the Assyrian armies. The words, with those that
follow, bring before us the magnificent array of the Assyrian cavalry — a
force in which
Zechariah 9:9; Isaiah 36:8.).
7 “Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that
were the chosen men
with all their idols she defiled herself. 8 Neither left she her whoredoms
the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her.
9 Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the
hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted. 10 These discovered her
nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the
sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed
judgment upon her.” These verses paint the consequence of the alliance
first with Assyria and then with
probably in the form of the worship of Ishtar (Ashtoreth) as the queen of
heaven. Having done this, the kings of
kingdom against the other (see Hosea 7:11; II Kings 17:4). It was,
in fact, the discovery of Hoshea’s treachery in this matter that led
Shalmaneser to besiege
general terms in v. 10. She, the city of
sword, her sons and daughters were taken into exile. So she became
famous (i.e. infamous, like the Latin famosus), literally, a name among
women, sc. among the neighboring nations.
Sinners Left to Themselves and to Their Sins (v. 9)
“Wherefore I delivered her into the hand of her lovers,” etc. The aspect of
idolatry so much as their contracting political alliances which were
forbidden by God. The imagery is similar to that in ch.16.; but here the reference
is not, as there, so much to the breach of the spiritual marriage-covenant with God
by the people’s idolatries, as by their worldly spirit, and their trusting to alliances
with the heathen for safety, rather than to God.” Our text suggests two observations:
THE SINNER TO TAKE HIS OWN COURSE. The Israelites would trust
against political alliances with heathen nations, or conformity to their
religious observances, with warnings of the consequences of so doing, had
been addressed to them in vain. Exhortations to trust in Jehovah alone had
proved fruitless. All moral means had been employed to secure their fidelity
to their duty and their God, but without avail. Wherefore the Lord
“delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians,
upon whom she doted.” The Israelites would have their own way, and God
at length allowed them to take it (Psalm 81:11-12). There are some
today in whom we fear the same process is at work. Here is a man who
makes riches the object of his supreme concern. Money is the god in which
he trusts, and to which he is devoted. His great and constant efforts are
made in order to acquire and retain riches. Remonstrances and rebukes for
the course he is pursuing are unheeded by him. Exhortations and
encouragements to cherish a different and nobler ambition, to trust a
worthy object, and to live to God, are addressed to him in vain. He will go
on in HIS OWN WAY! And at length God allows him to take his course, and
live for money. The same thing takes place with others who make a god of
pleasure, or who will trust supremely in their own sagacity and judgment,
or whose grand ambition and ruling purpose is to attain conspicuous
position or commanding power. If they are invincibly determined to follow
their own course, God allows them to do so. The case is thus forcibly set
forth: a man sets his mind on standing on some high place; he points to a pillar,
and says that if he could ascend to its summit he would see from that lofty
elevation glimpses of heaven, and he determines that he will stand upon that
summit, whatever hazards he may incur. At length God grants him his request;
and when the man has ascended to the eminence which he coveted, what does
he find? Sand, sand, sand! Mile on mile of sand — sand for mile on mile!
(I can remember as a child my grandmother teaching me about the man who
built his house upon the sand! – Matthew 7:26-27 - CY – 2014). And now he
wishes to descend; but how to get down is his great difficulty. There may
be no way down but that which involves suicide. Yet the man was
determined to reach that elevation; nothing could stand between him and
his wish; he urged God to grant him his request; with importunate desire he
besought that he might have his own way; and there is no punishment
heavier than that which falls upon any man when God allows him to take
his own course. God does much to lead men to forsake sin and follow
holiness; He gave His own beloved Son as a sacrifice for the abolition of sin
and the salvation of the sinner; he is working for these ends by many and
powerful agencies; for these objects He will do everything that He can,
everything that is consistent with His own holiness and with the moral
constitution which He has given to man. But one thing He will not do — He
will not compel men to forsake their own evil ways and walk in His way of
holiness. And if men were forced into righteousness of action, what would
such righteousness be worth? The obedience which is not willing is
mechanical, not moral. The goodness which is not hearty is in the sight of
God but a dead and hypocritical form.
SIN ITSELF. “Wherefore I delivered her up into the hand of her lovers,
into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted.” The cause which
at last brought destruction on
conspiracies in Hoshea, who was intriguing
he acknowledged himself a tributary to
Henry says “The neighboring nations, whose idolatries she had
conformed to and whose friendship she had confided in, and in both had
affronted God, are now made use of as the instruments of her destruction.
The Assyrians, on whom she doted, soon spied out the nakedness of the
land, discovered her blind side, on which to attack her, stripped her of all
her ornaments and all her defenses, and so uncovered her, and made her
naked and bare, carried her sons and daughters into captivity, slew her with
the sword, and quite destroyed that kingdom and put an end to it .... And
that the Assyrians, whom they had been so fond of, should be employed in
executing judgments upon them, was very remarkable, and shows how
God, in a way of righteous judgment, often makes that a scourge to sinners
which they have inordinately set their hearts upon. The devil will for ever
be a tormentor to those impenitent sinners who now hearken to him and
comply with him as a tempter.” God often employs tempters to punish
those who listen to them. And Shakespeare:
“Heaven is most just, and of our pleasant vices
Makes instruments to scourge us.”
In the righteous government of God punishment is not arbitrarily annexed
to sin: it grows out of the sin. As Hesiod observes, “The seeds of our own
punishment are sown at the same time we commit sin.” “Whatsoever a man
soweth, that shall he also reap,” etc. (Galatians 6:7-8). If men will trust
in riches or rank, in pleasure or power; if they will live for these things,
their life will bear its appropriate fruit. These their gods will prove their
ruin. Their hopes will be utterly disappointed, their lives deplorably
impoverished and degraded, and their souls lost. Let us take heed to the
object of our trust. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and
whose hope the Lord is,” etc. (Jeremiah 17:7-8). The teaching of God
is “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct
thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6); Jesus said, “Seek ye first the
and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
11 “And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt in
her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her
sister in her whoredoms. 12 She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbors,
captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses,
all of them desirable young men.” The issue of the Assyrian alliance in the fall of
also ‘courted the alliance of the kings of
(II Kings 16:7-10) and Tiglath-Pileser. Hezekiah followed in the same
line, though he too trusted in
paid tribute, and made
included that of
faithful vassal of either Assyria or
the place of “clothed in blue” in v. 6, describing, probably, the same fact.
Doting on the Assyrians (v. 12)
This foolish, fatal infatuation of
striking instance of the fascination
true God, and had been called to a peculiar destiny as a holy and separate
nation; yet she turned aside from her high vocation, lured by the fatal
charms of military splendor and sensuous luxury in a great heathen empire.
FROM THE WORLD. Who hears the call of God must follow Him into the
wilderness, or, if He gives them a land flowing with milk and honey, must
still keep themselves apart from the evil world. This does not mean the
physical separation of a hermit’s exile or a monk’s cloistered imprisonment.
The true separation is spiritual, not local. We are called to forsake the spirit
of the world, to renounce its evil practices, and to repudiate its low,
material, sensuous tone of life.
GOD. It is not content to let them stand aloof; it appears as a tempter
trying to charm the bride of Christ into infidelity. We cannot afford to
despise its fascinating influence, for this is most subtle and potent. It comes
through various means.
Proximity. Assyria was a “neighbor”
world. Christian men are in daily intercourse with worldly men. “Evil
communications corrupt good manners.” (I Corinthians 15:33)
Ø Earthly attractiveness. There was a material splendor in the great empire
made familiar to us by Layard and others put beyond question. The
“governors and rulers clothed most gorgeously,” and the horsemen,
“all of them desirable young men,” awoke the admiration of the poor
little semi-barbarous nation,
luscious literature and sensuous art, its enormous resources, and its
elaborate culture of earthly refinement, are necessarily most fascinating.
Ø Natural inclination. The world could not touch us for harm if it found
nothing sympathetic in us. But it easily discovers remains of its old
dominion. The old Adam is not quite dead. Passion within may be roused
to answer to temptation from without.
ARE ENTANGLED IN THEM.
o to her religion,
o her morals, and
o HER NATIONAL EXISTENCE!
To succumb to the spirit of the world is to MAKE SHIPWRECK OF LIFE!
Ø Religious ruin. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)
The spirit of worldliness is antagonistic to God. As surely as this spirit gains
ground in our lives, the spirit of devotion will recede.
Ø Moral ruin. True worldliness is morally evil. It is not a mere habit of
external and earthly living. It carries with it the indulgence of
THE LOWER LIFE! At least it tends to this, and all its fascinations
drag the soul down.
Ø Life-ruin. In the end the Christian man who gives himself up to the
attractions of worldly living will reap the consequences of his sin in
corruption and death. (Galatians 6:7-8)
13 “Then I saw that she was defiled, that they took both one way,
14 And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men
portrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed
with vermilion,” The sin of
courted the alliance of the Chaldeans. Probably the sojourn of Manasseh at
implies, on the other hand, that
speak, as another act of whoredom. Aholibah saw the images of the
Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion (probably “red ochre:” colors seem
to have been used largely both in Assyrian and Babylonian sculpture as in
Egyptian, and Judah seems to have copied them, Jeremiah 22:14) and
fell in love with them. As the passions of a Messalina might be roused by
sensuous pictures of masculine beauty (today pornography is the bane of
many! – CY – 2014),
the magnificence of the palaces, the strength of the armies, of the Chaldeans.
The journey of Jonah to
the prophecy of Nahum, all indicate a more or less intimate knowledge of the
Mesopotamian monarchies. The mission of Merodach-Baladan would be
naturally followed by a return embassy from
Zedekiah meets us in Jeremiah 29:3.
15 “Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon
their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the
Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:” Exceeding in dyed attire;
better, with dyed turbans, or tiaras, such as are seen on the Assyrian monuments
16 “And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them,
and sent messengers
unto them into
came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom,
and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.
18 So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness:
then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from
her sister.” The words paint the intimate alliance, the political prostitution,
it were, involved in the alliance with
from them. Interpreted by the history, the words point to the fact that
Babylon, and turned, after Josiah’s death, to
the history of Amnon (II Samuel 13:15), lust, when it had wrought its
will, passed into loathing and disgust. Jehoiakim and Zedekiah were
examples of what we may well call this distracted policy. But, as it was,
this alienation did but increase her guilt. As things were, it would have
been better, as Jeremiah all along counseled, to accept the rule of the
The mind of Jehovah was alienated from
been from the Chaldeans.
19 “Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the
days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of
Foreign alliances, and with them foreign idolatries, were courted more eagerly
than ever, though in a different direction. The lovers were changed, but the
harlotry went on.
20 “For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of
asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. 21 Thus thou calledst to
remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the
Egyptians for the paps of thy youth.” She doted on her paramours.
Commonly the word is used of a concubine (Genesis 22:24; Judges 8:31).
Here it is used in scorn of the Egyptian princes whose favor
reminding us of Homer’s Ἀχαιίδες οὐκετ Ἀχαίοι - Achaiides ouket Achaioi –
as indicating their political weakness. –All that need be said of the comparison
that follows is that here also Ezekiel follows in the footsteps of Jeremiah
(Jeremiah 5:8). What is indicated is that
as it were, to her first love, and RENEWED THE WHOREDOMS OF HER
22 “Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will
raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated,
and I will bring them against thee on every side;
23 The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and
Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young
men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them
riding upon horses.” The lovers from whom the mind of
alienated were, as in v. 17, the Chaldeans. With these are joined Pekod,
and Shoa, and Koa. The Authorized and Revised Versions, following the
Septuagint take these as proper names, and Ewald Smend, and Furst find in
them those of Chaldean tribes. The Vulgate, followed by Luther, gives
nobiles, tyrannosque, et principes, and Keil and Hengstenberg substantially
adopt this rendering, giving “rulers, lords, and nobles.” “Pekod” appears as
a place in Jeremiah 50:21 (compare Schrader’s ‘Cuneiform Inscriptions,’ 2.
pp. 32, 117,120, where Shoa and Koa are identified with Medo-Elamite
tribes east of the
the whole, the balance seems in favor of the rendering in the text. With
these are joined all the Assyrians, who, under Nebuchadnezzar, fought, of
course, in his armies.” Now she should see her desirable young men…
riding upon horses (the prophet repeats with sarcasm the phrase v.12)
in another guise than she had expected.
24 “And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and
wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against
thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set
judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their
judgments.” With chariots, wagons, and wheels, etc. The first word is
only found here, and probably means “armor.” So the Revised Version,
with weapons, chariots, and wagons. They shall judge thee according to
their judgments; sc. shall execute the judgment which God has assigned
to them after their own manner, so their usual cruel treatment of barbarous
25 “And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal
furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears;
and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons
and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.
26 They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair
jewels.” They shall take away thy nose and thine ears, etc. (For
instances of this or like mutilation, in the case of prisoners of war, see the
case of Zedekiah, Jeremiah 52:11; Herod., 3:69, 154.) Possibly it may
have been known to Ezekiel as a punishment for the adulterer or adulteress
specially appropriate to his parable. Thy residue shall be consumed with fire.
The Hebrew word for “residue” (not that usually so translated) is the same
as that previously translated “remnant.” In the first clause it clearly points to
is determined by the fact that it follows after the deportation of the sons and
daughters. All that was left — in the parable, of the mutilated trunk of the
adulteress, in the history, of the devastated city, sc. the empty houses —
should be destroyed by fire.
27 “Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy
whoredom brought from the
lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember
Thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt; i.e. the last
political alliance between
Egyptian cultus that accompanied it, should be made to cease. That would
no longer be in the thoughts of the exiles; their hopes from that quarter
were extinguished forever.
28 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will deliver thee into the
hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom
thy mind is alienated:” Once again with incisive sarcasm the prophet
reiterates the phrase of v. 17. The punishment should be all the more terrible as
coming from those whom the adulteress had once loved with the love that
had passed into loathing.
29 “And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy
labor, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of
thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy
whoredoms. 30 I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone
a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols.”
All thy labor; sc. all the results of labor, all thy wealth.
31 “Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her
cup into thine hand. 32 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy
sister’s cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision;
it containeth much. 33 Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,
with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister
the cup as the symbol of good or evil fortune, see Psalm 23:5; Isaiah 51:17;
Jeremiah 25:15; Matthew 20:22; 26:39.) The cup, in this case, was to be
deep and large as that
not with wine” (Isaiah 29:9). And that “cup,” over and above the laughter
and derision, would contain much of unknown calamities, the astonishment
and desolation of v. 33.
A Bad Example (v. 31)
share the fate of
bad example, and of its fatal consequences.
fell power is exerted.
Ø By the fascination of suggestion. The path is made by the pioneer, and
the follower has only to walk in it. The sight of a predecessor indicates
the road, calls attention to it, suggests the idea of walking in it. The
publications of the details of a horrible crime in the newspaper exerts a
most deleterious influence in this way by filling the minds of people with
thoughts of a kindred character. Hence the common occurrence of an
epidemic of similar crimes.
By the attraction of sympathy.
similar manner. Affection is fatal when it induces us to copy the vices of
those whom we love. Even sisters must part when one chooses an evil
way, if the other would not also choose sin. But it is hard to resist the
charms of affection.
By the delusion of a false excuse.
as an excuse. What others are doing seems to be justified by their action.
(Everybody is doing it! Jesus said, “Wide is the gate, and broad is
the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in
thereat.” - Matthew 7:13 – What if one gets to the precipice and
wants to turn around but can’t because of the pressure of the throng?
CY – 2014) Instead of measuring our conduct by the Law of God,
we are tempted to test it by the corresponding conduct of others.
following the bad example of
the misconduct of her sister could be pleaded as a justification for her own
repetition of it. We cannot be excused in our own sin on the ground that
we are simply treading in the footsteps of predecessors. See how this sin is
Ø Because the evil of the way is known. The foolish follower is not
may ensnare the careless, but those who have minds to think for them-
selves cannot be blind to the wrong character of the example before them.
Ø Because of the freedom of the will. A bad example is a temptation to
evil; but it is not a force compelling men to follow. (“There hath no
temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are
able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that
ye may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13). Its attraction can only
work through the will, never contrary to it. Therefore one must consent
voluntarily to follow the evil pattern before doing so, and this free consent
destroys the excuse that the example is to blame rather than the man who
Because of one’s own advantages.
sorely tempted by her sister’s example. But then she possessed higher
She had the
resources. Christians are doubly guilty in following the bad example of
godless men. They sin in spite of higher influences which should suffice to
keep them in the right path.
drink of her sister’s cup. Companions in guilt will be COMPANIONS IN
DOOM! It is impossible to walk in the same path as another without going
towards the same goal. Moreover, if higher religious privileges do not keep us
trom following the sinful practices of worldly men, most certainly they will
not protect us from sharing their fate. He who treads the sinner’s flowery path
will drink of the sinner’s bitter cup.
34 “Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the
sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken
it, saith the Lord GOD. 35 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because
thou hast forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou
also thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.” Thou shalt break the shards thereof.
The picture of the desolate adulteress becomes yet more terrible. Like a forlorn
and desperate castaway, she does shameful execution on herself; breaks her
cup, and completes the work of mutilation in its most terrible form. That is the
doom decreed for her, because she had forgotten her true husband and the
love of her espousals. Revised Version gives gnaw the shards thereof,
painting yet more vividly the despair of the outcast.
Forgetting God (v. 35)
KNOWN. We cannot forget what we have never known. The lower
animal, which is incapable of entertaining a thought of God, cannot forget
him. (“The ox knoweth his owner, and ass his master’s crib: but
If I forget much, I must have known much.
Ø Men have a natural knowledge of God. Few races, if any, are without a
trace of religion. The science of comparative religion reveals an underlying
primitive theism beneath the tangled growth of later mythology. Paul
appealed to the natural knowledge of God among the heathen (Acts
17:28; Romans 1:19-20).
Ø They who have seen the Jewish and Christian revelation have a larger
knowledge of God.
the Law, in His providence and miracles, in the prophets. All Christendom
is open to the higher knowledge of God in Christ. Children in Christian
homes and Sunday schools have known God, though they may have
forsaken Him in later days. (Thank God for the wonderful promise
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he
will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 – CY – 2014)
Ø The people of God have the fullest knowledge of God. True Israelites
and Christians know God as He is never known to the outer world. They
have the knowledge of experience, spiritual sympathy, and fellowship
Ø He is invisible. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The knowledge of God
is held only by faith. The decay of faith leads to forgetting God. It
requires some spiritual effort to keep our hold on the Unseen.
Ø Earthly interests distract our thoughts. These things are seen, present
and pressing; they crowd about us and force themselves upon us. They
make themselves felt as intensely real. Pleasures of life and cares of life,
fascinating delights and absorbing anxieties, all tend to put out the
thought of God. (“While we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are
seen are temporal; BUT THE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT
SEEN ARE ETERNAL!” (II Corinthians 4:18)
Ø Sinful inclinations rouse an aversion to the thought of God. He is holy;
He disapproves of sin. It is not pleasant to think of God when we are
choosing the evil way.
our memory by fixing our thoughts upon God. This is not a case of mere
brain failure. There is a moral defect behind it. Apart from all active deeds,
the very forgetting of God is itself wicked on several grounds.
Ø God has never forgotten us. He has provided for our daily needs, while
we have been ignoring the hand from which the provision came. He is our
Father. Gratitude and love should keep the thought of God warm in our
heart. To forget God implies gross unthankfulness and a base lack of
Ø God claims our attention and obedience. He is our Lord. He expects us:
o to listen to His voice,
o to give heed to His commands, and
o to obey His will.
But to forget God is to ignore these duties.
they miss who forsake their true life and forget their Father in heaven.
Seeking liberty, THEY COURT DEATH!
Ø This is the loss of the best blessings of Heaven.
o The light of God’s countenance is DESPISED!
o His guidance, comfort, support, and salvation
o The joy of communion is RENOUNCED!
Ø This incurs A FATAL DOOM! God cannot let us forget Him forever.
If we do not remember His love today, we may encounter His wrath
tomorrow (Psalm 44:20-21).
Ø He reveals Himself in His Word. The revelation of nature is daily
spread before us (Psalm 19:1-6). But when that is despised, God
adds the more clear voice of prophecy. We have the open Bible
to remind us of God. (What is your personal attitude towards
God’s Word? If it is not ideal, I highly recommend Amos 8 - The
Blank Bible by Henry Rogers – this website – CY – 2014).
Ø God comes to us in His Son. As men had forgotten Him, God came
Right down among them, looked at them through a human countenance,
And spoke in a human voice. Christ comes to save us from forgetting
Ø God rouses us by His providence. We are forgetting God while all
goes smoothly. Then His thunders burst over us. They startle and
alarm, but they awaken. Thus God saves us from forgetting Him.
36 “The LORD said moreover unto me; Son of man, wilt thou judge
Aholah and Aholibah? yea, declare unto them their abominations;”
Abominations Declared (v. 36)
Ø They may be committed in secret. Then they are unknown to every
one but the guilty persons and their accomplices.
Ø Their corrupt character may not be admitted. Then they may be done
in open daylight without shame or rebuke. Not only the public, but
even the guilty persons themselves, may not perceive the full evil of
what they are doing.
Ø They may be forgotten. People do not wish to call to mind a
disagreeable past. As the years glide by it slides further and
further into the dim land of forgetfulness. By dint of reiterated
self-flattery the guilty persons almost persuade themselves that
they did not do the evil things of those old bad years, or that
somehow they have left their former selves behind them in that
evil past; or they put the thought of it quite out of their minds.
forget them. The recording angel has written them in his awful book with
ink that never fades. The subtle poison of them lingers in the souls of the
guilty. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Some seeds
take long to germinate. But the seeds of evil deeds have a fatal vitality,
though they be slow to make an appearance. We cannot escape the
consequences of our misdeeds by forgetting them.
TO THE GUILTY ON EARTH. It is no piece of idle vengeance that
Ø It is well for the guilty to know them. There is no chance of repentance
until the heinousness of sin is acknowledged. But that this may be the
case, the abominations must first be revealed to the sinner. There may
be little good in proclaiming his guilt aloud to the world. What is
needed is that it should be brought well home to his own conscience.
Ø It is well that they should be known now. If men wait for the certain
revelation of final judgment, the abominations will be declared in
trumpet tones of denunciation, and burned into the soul in memories
of fire. It is infinitely better to become conscious of them first, that
the awakening knowledge of guilt may perchance lead to contrition
too merciful to permit His children to perish without warning. The Bible
contains awful revelations of human sin. If we take it as a lamp, and turn its
light on our own lives and into our own hearts, it will reveal many an
abomination of wickedness hitherto calmly ignored. The prophets of
were required to reveal man’s sin quite as much as to make known the
thoughts and will of God. John the Baptist came to prepare for Christ by
declaring to men the abominations of their ways. Christ Himself makes men
feel their sin by His own holy presence. So Peter feared to be near Him
(Luke 5:8). A vision of Christ throws a wholesome light on the hideous
condition of an impenitent soul. This is to lead to repentance and salvation
through Christ. Then the abominations may be blotted out (1 John 1:7).
37 “That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and
with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their
sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour
them. 38 Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my
sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths. 39 For
when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same
day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the
midst of mine house.” As often, Ezekiel emphasizes by reiteration, begins yet a
fresh discourse with the same words, wilt thou judge, as in ch.20:4 and
22:2, and enters on another summary of the sins of the two harlot sisters, in
which Moloch-worship (v. 37 – Today it is called abortion) and sabbath-breaking
(v. 38) were conspicuous elements. The nature of the guilt is emphasized (vs. 38-39)
by the fact that the idolatrous ritual was performed on the very day in
which the people sacrificed in the temple; that it found a local habitation
even there (compare ch. 8:17; II Kings 21.; Jeremiah 32:34).
40 “And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto
whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou
didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with
ornaments, 41 And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared
before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil.”
Ye have sent for men to come from far, etc. The words
obviously refer to the embassies which had been sent from time to time by
of the earlier stage of the harlot’s progress is resumed, and we have a
picture almost the counterpart of that in Proverbs 7:10-21. She takes
her bath, paints her eyelashes with kohol, the black pigment still used in the
East, as Jezebel had done (II Kings 9:30). She decks herself with
jewels, and sits on a divan (a sofa-conch, rather than bed), and prepares a
table for a banquet. And on that table are the incense and the oil, symbols
alike of wealth and worship, which Jehovah claims as His, and which she
offers to her lovers (compare ch. 16:13, 19; Hosea 2:5, 8).
42 And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the
men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the
wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful
crowns upon their heads.” A voice of a multitude, etc. The word for “multitude”
is strictly tumult, and Keil and Currey render, The voice of tumult became
still,” sc. the threats of the alien powers whom
time hushed by the tributes thus paid to them. With the men of the
common sort; literally, as in the margin, of the multitude of men. Sabeans
from the wilderness. The Revised Version, with Keil and almost all recent
commentators, follows the margin, drunkards. “Sabeans” rests on a Jewish
rendering of the text, but, as a people, the Sabeans,
who dwelt south of
though named in Isaiah 45:14, were too remote to come within the horizon of
the parable. What Ezekiel dwells on is the ever-growing degradation of the
harlot city. Not only the officers of the Chaldeans, but the mixed multitude,
very drunkards from the wilderness of
embraces. Possibly the word may point to the false gods to whom libations
of wine were offered, but I incline to refer it rather to those who got drunk
their idol-festivals even in
of the Babylonians, and the prophets, who admired the Rechabites and the
Nazarites (Jeremiah 35.; Amos 2:11), must
have looked on
in that sin as a measureless degradation. The bracelets and crowns symbolize
the wealth and prestige which the Chaldean alliance was supposed to bring
43 “Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now
commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?” 44 “Yet they went
in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot: so went
they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the lewd women.”
The whole verse is obscure, and has been very differently rendered.
was worn out with her whoredoms, passed her prime and enfeebled, Will
they (the foreign nations) commit whoredoms (enter into alliances) with
her? sc. What is there to attract now? And yet the habit is inveterate. She
has grown old in her vice, and cannot cease from it.”
said I of her that was old in adulteries, Now will they commit, etc. So, in
the main, Keil. The text is probably corrupt, and resists conjectural
emendation. In any ease the general meaning is clear. The sin is of too
long standing TO BE CURED!
45 And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of
adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood;
because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.”
The righteous men are in effect the ministers of God’s wrath.
The doom comes at last on both the sisters, who are murderers as well as
adulteresses. They shall suffer the punishment of stoning which the Law
commanded (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22, 24; John 8:5), and after
that their bodies were to be hacked to pieces. The result of that judgment would
be that all women should learn NOT TO DO AFTER THEIR LEWDNESS!
that somehow, capital punishment is not a deterrent! – CY – 2014) i.e. that
idolatry should cease from being the sin of the cities of
46 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will bring up a company upon
them, and will give them to be removed and spoiled.
47 And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them
with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters,
and burn up their houses with fire.
48 Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women
may be taught not to do after your lewdness.
49 And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall
bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord
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