Study Guide

Book of Ezekiel Chapter 23

Chapter 23

Sister Act

  • God says that once upon a time there were two sisters who were the daughters of one mother. They were named Oholah (Israel) and Oholibah (Samaria). 
  • They both grew up to be prostitutes and sold themselves to Egyptian gods who fondled their breasts. 
  • Nonetheless, God took them (as his wives, apparently) and they bore sons and daughters for him.
  • But Oholah took a fancy to handsome Assyrian horsemen (probably Assyrian gods) and prostituted herself to them like she'd done in Egypt. So God let the Assyrians kill her children and strip her naked.

Sister Act II

  • Shmoop Advisory: The following paragraph is rated R for mature audiences. Reader discretion is advised.
  • Oholibah is the same as her sister, except she doesn't just commit adultery with Assyrians but with Babylonians as well. She sends messengers to the Babylonians and they come and defile her with their lusts. (Sounds more like late-night Cinemax than the Bible…) 
  • God turns in disgust from her, but Oholibah continues to step up her "whorings," remembering (and hold on, because this gets way gross and way disturbing) how her lovers in Egypt had penises like donkeys and ejaculations like horses.

Sister Act III: God's Vengeance

  • Donkey penises??
  • Anyway, back to our story…
  • In vengeance, God is going to send all the former lovers of Oholibah to come attack her. Babylonian and Assyrian horsemen will all ride down and hack off her nose, strip her clothes off, and kill her sons and daughters. 
  • God tells Judah and Jerusalem that they'll drink the same cup of wrath as their sister Oholibah, suffering at the hands of her former lovers for her idolatries and injustices. She'll drink the cup of wrath until it's empty and cut her breasts with the shattered pieces of the cup. 
  • God tells Ezekiel to judge Oholah and Oholibah, condemning them for adultery, breaking the Sabbath, and sacrificing their children to idols. 
  • Israel even committed adultery with men (gods) from distant lands involving an elaborate sequence with beds, bathing, and beyond. Raucous partiers and drunk people put bracelets and beautiful crowns on the heads of women. 
  • So the sisters keep on committing adultery, but righteous judges will judge them accordingly. 
  • And of course, the judgment against them will involve getting attacked and having their children killed by invading armies—the usual stuff.

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