Ezek 23.1-49 gives us an allegory about Israel and Judah being represented by two sisters who were harlots. Israel is called “Oholah” and Judah is called “Oholibah.” Their idolatry is exposed.
v 1…The word of the Lord (Yehovah) came to me saying,
v 2…”Son of man (when this is used Ezekiel represents the people), there were two women, the daughters of one mother (Sarah by descent);
v 3…and they played the harlot in Egypt (loose morals even then-Josh 24.14). They played the harlot in their youth; there their breasts were pressed, and there their virgin breast were handled (were drawn into idolatry/spiritual adultery by the Egyptians).
v 4…And their names were Oholah (“her tent” meaning they had a tent of her own, he did not dwell there) the greater (her ten tribes were more in number than Judah) and Oholibah (“my tent is in her, meaning the Temple of God where Yehovah dwelt was in Judah) her sister. And they became mine (I had them when they were together, married and one nation), and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah and Jerusalem is Oholibah.
v 5…And Oholah played the harlot while she was mine (as his wife she committed spiritual adultery through her idolatry); and she lusted after her lovers (inflamed with evil passion), after the Assyrians, her neighbors (by seeking alliances with them and copying their pagan ways),
v 6…who were clothed in purple, governors and officials, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding horses (she was seduced by their majestic appearance and splendor).
v 7…And she bestowed her harlotries on them (entered alliances with them and joined in with their idolatrous worship), all of whom were the choicest men of Assyria (as seen in v 6); and with all whom she lusted after, with all their idols she defiled herself.
v 8…And she did not forsake her harlotries from the time in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her, and they handled her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her (as evidence by the calves set up by Jeroboam in Dan and Bethel; they defiled themselves with Egyptian idolatry).
v 9…Therefore, I gave her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted (first to Pul, then Tiglat-pileser, then Shalmaneser, all kings of Assyria).
v 10…They uncovered her nakedness (stripped them of everything); they took her sons and her daughters (into exile), but they slew her with the sword (destroyed Samaria). Thus she became a byword (example) among women, and they executed judgments on her (by her overthrow).
v 11…Now her sister Oholibah saw this, yet she was more corrupt in her lust than she, and her harlotries were more than the harlotries of her sister (Judah had the Temple, the priesthood, and true worship but they still went further than Samaria).
v 12…She lusted after the Assyrians (like Ahaz who sent messengers to Tiglat-pileser for help and even copied their altar and had one built in Jerusalem-2 Kings 16.7), governors and officials, the ones near (neighbors), magnificently dressed, horsemen riding horses, all of them desirable young men (their splendor and power dazzled them).
v 13…And I saw that she defiled herself; (with idols); they both took the same way (both Samaria and Jerusalem took the way of wickedness).
v 14…So she increased her harlotries. And she saw them portrayed on the wall, images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermillion (base reliefs, carvings, sculptures in a brilliant red color),
v 15…girded with belts on their loins, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them looking like officers (majestic), like the sons of Babylon in Chaldea, the land of their birth (Abraham from there).
v 16…And when she saw them she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea (for an alliance with the mightier empire, totally forgetting the power of Yehovah).
v 17…And then Babylon’s sons came to her, to the bed of love (for an alliance which was forbidden by Yehovah), and they defiled her with their harlotry. And when she had been defiled by them, she became disgusted (alienated) with them (Yehoiakim and Zedekiah rebelled and turned to the Egyptians for help-2 Kings 24.1; 2 Chr 36.13).
v 18…And she uncovered her harlotries and uncovered her nakedness (got into more idolatry); then I became disgusted (alienated) with her, as I became disgusted (alienated) with her sister (as a husband).
v 19…Yet she multiplied her idolatries, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
v 20…And she lusted after their lovers, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and heat like horses (their licentious character-Jer 5.8).
v 21…Thus you longed for (searched for it, not to miss it) the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom because of the breasts of your youth (by committing the same idolatries).
v 22…Therefore, O Oholibah (the southern tribes in Judah), thus says the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah), ‘Behold (see for yourself, take note) I will arouse your lovers against you, from whom you were alienated (by breaking their covenant with Babylon and trying to cast off their yoke), and I will bring them against you from every side.
v 23…The Babylonians and all the Chaldeans (meaning “sod-busters”), Pekod (punishment) and Shoa (rich) and Koa (squashed), and all the Assyrians with them, officers and men of renown (called ones), all of them riding horses (Judah wanted an alliance with them, and now they will be his instrument of judgment).
v 24…And they will come against you with weapons, chariots, and wagons, and with a company of peoples (troops from various countries under Babylonian control). They will set themselves against you on every side with buckler (a zinah or full body shield) and shield (a magen or a smaller shield used in close combat) and helmet; and I shall commit judgment to them (appointed to carry out God’s judgment), and they will judge you according to their customs (not according to my laws or judgments, but their own pagan ways and customs-2 Kings 25.7 for instance).
v 25…And I will set my jealousy against you (like a jealous husband), that they may deal with you in wrath. They will remove your nose and ears (be taken into captivity, mutilated); and your survivors will fall by the sword. They will take your sons and your daughters; and the last one (remaining in Jerusalem) will be consumed by the fire.
v 26…They will also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels (ornaments of every kind that has value, the spoil of the city).
v 27…Thus I shall make your lewdness (idolatry) and your harlotry (brought) from the land of Egypt to cease (be abolished) from you, so that you will not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt any more.’
v 28…For thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will give you into the hand of those whom you hate, into the hand of those from whom you were alienated (by breaking the covenant they had with them).
v 29…And they shall deal with you in hatred, take all your property, and leave you naked and bare (just like Yehovah found her-Ezek 16). And the nakedness of your harlotries shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotries (their guilt will be evident to all; Judah should have looked at Samaria and repented of their idols but didn’t, and Christianity doesn’t think they are involved in idolatry either).
v 30…These things will be done to you because you have played the harlot with the nations (imitated them in their idolatry), because you have defiled yourself with their idols.
v 31…You have walked in the way of your sister (Oholah, Samaria), therefore I will give her cup (the wrath of God) into your hand (experience what happened to her).’
v 32…Thus says the Lord God, ‘You will drink your sister’s cup (suffer the same fate), which is deep and wide (very big cup, holds much suffering). You will be laughed at and held in derision (instead of being pitied); it contains much (the cup is big enough to hold all the punishments that are coming).
v 33…You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow (usually a drunk person is confused but happy, but this cup will bring nothing but misery), the cup of horror and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria (the ten northern tribes).
v 34…And you will drink it and drain it (feel the full effect of it). Then you will gnaw its fragments (to get the very last drop) and tear your breasts (wounding themselves); for I have spoken,’ declares the Lord God.
v 35…Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back (out of your sight), bear now the punishment of your lewdness and your harlotries.’ “
v 36…Moreover, the Lord said to me, “Son of man, will you judge (rebuke) Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations (that they may confess, repent, be ashamed and forsake them).
v 37…For they have committed adultery (literally and spiritually) and blood is on their hands (of the innocent, the prophets, unlawful sacrifices, etc.). Thus they have committed adultery with their idols and even caused their sons whom they bore to me (to be raised in the Torah), to pass through the fire to them as food (to Baal and Molech).
v 38…Again, they have done this to me, they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day (entered the Temple after they killed their children) and have profaned my sabbaths (by slaying them on the sabbath).
v 39…For when they had slaughtered their children for their idols, they entered my sanctuary on the same day to profane it; and lo, thus they did within my house (without the slightest respect to kedusha).
v 40…Furthermore, they have even sent for men who came from afar, to whom a messenger was sent (in order to enter into forbidden alliances); and lo, they came-for whom you bathed, painted your eyes, and decorated yourselves with ornaments (adorned like a harlot receiving her lovers);
v 41….and you sat on a splendid couch with a table arranged before it, on which you had set my incense and oil (for anointing and burning at the meal, both of which God had given her, not to be used for her lovers).
v 42…And the sound of a crowd at ease was with her (quiet was the result of these alliances); and drunkards (Babylon was known for its wine consumption) from the wilderness (they passed through the wilderness to Judah) were brought with the men of the host of mankind; and they (Babylon) put bracelets on their hands, and crowns of beauty on their heads (not satisfied with these very same gifts from Yehovah in Ezek 16.11, Judah became wealthy because of these forbidden alliances).
v 43…Then I said concerning her who was worn out by adulteries, ‘Will they now commit adultery with her when she is thus (an old, worn out harlot)?’
v 44…But they went in to her as they would go in to a harlot. Thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women.
v 45…But they, the righteous men (Babylon as God’s instrument of judgment) will judge them with the judgments of adulteresses, and with the judgment of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses and blood is on their hands (guilty of murdering the righteous and even their own children).
v 46…For thus says the Lord God, ‘Bring up a company (Babylon and the nations allied with them) against them, and give them over to terror and plunder.
v 47…And the company will stone them with stones (the punishment of adulterers and idolaters-Deut 13.10, and this would be done by the siege machines throwing stones into Jerusalem) and cut them down with their swords (when they fell into their hands); they will slay their sons and their daughters and burn their houses with fire.
v 48…Thus shall I make lewdness cease from the land (idolatry stopped), that all the women (other nations) may be admonished and not commit lewdness (idolatry) as you have done.
v 49…And your lewdness will be required upon you (returned on their own head), and you will bear the sins of your idols; thus you will know that I am the Lord God (these things will all happen as proof that I have spoken to you).’ ”