Study Guide

Book of Ezekiel Chapter 16

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Chapter 16

God's Adopted Daughter/Wife

  • Next, God tells Ezekiel an extended allegory for how he raised the people of Israel. He says that they were like a female baby, the child of a Hittite mother and an Amorite father, abandoned in a field with her umbilical cord still uncut, dirty and bloody and with no one to pity her.
  • God walked by the baby, flailing around in her own blood, and gave her the power to live. 
  • The baby grows up and reaches full womanhood, but she's still naked. Get this girl a Gap credit card.
  • God sees that the woman is now "at the age for love." He marries/makes a covenant with her and covers her nakedness with his cloak.
  • God bathes her and showers his new bride with gifts: sandals, silver, gold, linen clothes, ornaments, bracelets, rings, oil, flour, honey, a necklace, and a crown. 
  • Cancel the Gap card.
  • The Israel-bride-woman's fame and word of her beauty spreads through the nations.
  • So far so good.

Adulterous Shenanigans

  • But then things start to go downhill. Wowed by her own beauty and glory, Israel starts to commit adultery and "whore" (God's term) herself out to various passers-by (foreign gods). 
  • She takes the gifts God's given her and uses them for these idolatrous purposes, making shrines from the fabrics, offering the flour and honey as offerings, and making images of the gods from the jewels and metals. 
  • She even sacrifices the children she had borne to God. She completely forgets how she'd been saved. 
  • Israel continually "plays the whore" with the gods of different countries—Egypt, Assyria, and Chaldea (Babylon). After cheating with the Egyptians, God punished the Israelites by sending the Philistines to attack them, but that didn't make an impression. 
  • God accuses Israel of not even being like a normal prostitute, since normal prostitutes are paid for their services. Israel actually paid her clients, the gods she was worshipping, with offerings from the things God had given her.

A Very Jealous Husband

  • God will unleash his vengeance on his former bride. Using the Babylonians, he'll take back all his gifts, destroy their idols, and will strip Judah/Israel naked, just as she was in the beginning. 
  • She'll be judged as an adulteress and punished as one, by stoning and by being cut to pieces with swords. 
  • The House of Israel will stop its prostitution and payments to idols and foreign gods. God will rage in anger against them until he's satisfied that they've been justly punished for forgetting how he led them in the wilderness.

Worse than Sodom

  • God says that people will mock Judah/Israel saying that she's like her mother—a Hittite—and her (Israel's) sisters, Samaria and Sodom, who also were faithless and betrayed their husbands and children. 
  • The people of Israel, says God, are even worse than Sodom. They've committed its sins of pride and gluttony without caring for the poor and needy.
  • Israel has made Sodom and Samaria look good in comparison, and God'll take it easy on them. 
  • When you're so bad that you make Sodom look good, you know you're in for some serious divine wrath.
  • In the end, God will restore the fortunes of all these sisters, Israel included. But for now, Israel will need to pay for its sins and its lewdness. 
  • After punishing Israel, God will forgive it, establish an everlasting covenant with it, and let it be ashamed at how God has actually allowed it to return. 
  • Israel will receive Samaria and Sodom as daughters instead of sisters, and will be forgiven by God for everything (though after he's punished it for everything, apparently). This will make Israel pretty embarrassed and ashamed. How could she have cheated on this wonderful guy?

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