Jerusalem is like a tree that has no value
1 Again the Lord spoke to me. 2 ‘Son of man,’ he said. ‘The wood of the vine is no better than any other wood that grows. 3 Nobody takes its wood to make into a thing that they can use. They cannot even make from it a little thing on which to hang clothes! 4 They can burn it in the fire. Then only the black, burnt centre remains. But they still cannot use it. 5 They could not use it while it was green. So they surely cannot use it after they have burnt it black.
15:2In the picture language of the Bible, the vine often means Israel.
6 So this is what the Lord God says to you. “I have burnt the wood of the vine. In the same way, I will burn the people who live in Jerusalem. 7 I will not save them. If the fire has not burnt them yet, it will still burn them. I will do this. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 8 I will cause the land to be empty. I will do this because they have not continued to worship me,” says the Lord God.’
1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 ‘Son of man, make Jerusalem's people see what bad things they have done. 3 Say to them, “This is what the Lord God says to Jerusalem's people: Your mother gave you birth in the country called Canaan. Your father was an Ammonite and your mother a Hittite. 4 They did not wash you on the day that you were born. They did not cut you from your mother's body. They did not make you clean or tie you in cloths. 5 Nobody was sorry or wanted to do these things for you.
16:3Ammonite and Hittite were general names for the people in Canaan before the time of Abraham.
16:4The custom in those days was to wash the new baby. The nurse would cut the cord. She would wash it with salt and oil. Then she would wrap the baby in cloths. She would repeat this each 7 days until the baby was 40 days old.
No, they threw you out on the day that you were born. They threw you into a field. They thought that you had no value.
6 Then I came. I was walking by and I saw you. You were lying there. You were kicking and blood covered you. Then I said to you, ‘Stay alive.’ 7 I made you grow like the plants in a field. You became beautiful, like a valuable shining stone. Your breasts and your hair grew. You had no value before, but I had made you beautiful.
8 I walked by again. Then I saw that you were old enough for me to love you. I covered you with my coat. I gave you clothes. I made a strong promise to you. We agreed that you would belong to me, says the Lord God.
9 I washed you with water. I washed away the blood and I put oil on your body. 10 I put a beautiful dress on you and leather shoes on your feet. The clothes that I gave you were very good. They were the best and most expensive that I could find. 11 I made rings out of pretty stones. Then I put them round your neck and your arms. 12 I put valuable rings in your nose and ears. And I put a beautiful ring round your head. I dressed you like a queen. 13 I made you beautiful with gold and silver. I gave you pretty, expensive clothes and I fed you with the best food. You became very beautiful and then you became a queen. 14 The people in all countries heard how beautiful you were. I was the person who had made you so beautiful. I had given you all your good things, says the Lord God.
15 But you used your beauty to do wrong things. You wanted to do what you liked. You thought like this because you were so beautiful. You had sex with those who were not your husband. You had sex with any traveller who came past. He tasted your beautiful body. 16 You took some of your good clothes. You used them to make beautiful the places where they worship idols. 17 You took the things of gold and silver that I had given to you. You made male idols for yourself. You had sex with them. 18 You put your beautiful clothes on them and you gave them my oil and wine. 19 You offered to idols the food that I gave to you. You worshipped them with sweet smells. You made all this happen, says the Lord God.
20 And you took the sons and daughters that I had given to you. 21 You offered them to those idols for food. You did what was wrong. You worshipped other Gods. But you did a much worse thing. You killed my children and you offered them to idols. 22 When I found you, then you had no clothes. And blood covered you. You did not remember this when you had sex with idols.
23 It will be very bad for you, says the Lord God.
You have done even more evil things. 24 In the centre of every town, you have built hills. On each hill you have built a place to worship other gods. 25 You have put these places at the end of every street. There you offered yourself to anyone who went past. You have made yourself of no value. 26 You had sex with the Egyptians, who wanted you. All this made me very angry. 27 So I took away some of your land. I gave your enemies, the people who live in Philistia, power over you. They were ashamed because you were not faithful to me. 28 You gave your body to the people who live in Assyria, too. You could not get enough sex! 29 You had sex with the people from Babylon, who sell things. But even then you had not had enough sex.
30 Your mind is so weak, says the Lord God. You do these things like a woman who is not ashamed. She asks a man for money to have sex with her. 31 But you are not like one of those women. You built places to worship idols in every street. But you did not let men pay you when they had sex with you.
32 You are like a wife that is not faithful wife to me. You want to have sex with strangers more than with your own husband! 33 Men pay bad women who let them have sex with them. But you give gifts to the men who have sex with you. You pay them to come and have sex with you. 34 So you are very different from those other women. You pay your men, and they do not pay you.
35 So listen to what the Lord is saying to you. You are not a faithful wife. 36 You gave your good things to those who were not your husband. And you showed them your body without any clothes. You offered them your children's blood. 37 So I will bring all those with whom you had sex round you. I will bring those that you liked. And I will bring those that you did not like. Then I will remove your clothes in front of them all. They will see you without clothes. 38 They punish wives who are not faithful. You are like those who kill people. So I will punish you. I will show you that I am very angry. I am like a good husband who is angry with a wife. He is angry because she is not faithful. 39 I will make those men who loved you punish you. They will destroy the high places where you worshipped idols. They will take away your beautiful clothes and your things of gold and silver. They will leave you with no clothes. 40 They will bring a crowd of men with swords to cut you up. They will throw stones at you. 41 They will burn down your houses. Women will watch while they punish you. I will stop you from having sex with other men. You will not pay them to have sex with you. 42 After this, I will no longer be angry with you. I will be quiet, and not angry.
16:35The Lord is telling Jerusalem's people a story. He says that they are like a bad wife. Her husband gave her everything that she had. But she was not faithful to her husband. Israel's people do not love the Lord. They do not worship him. They have loved foreign gods. So, like an angry husband, the Lord will punish his people (his wife). He will take away the good things that he gave them.
43 I will surely punish you because of what you have done, says the Lord God. You forgot what I did for you. I was kind to you when you were young. You did many things to make me very angry. And you were not ashamed of the bad things that you did.
44 You say that a daughter will be like her mother. 45 Yes, you are a true daughter of your mother! She thought that her husband and her children were not valuable. And you are like your sisters. They thought that their husbands and their children had no value. Your mother was a Hittite and your father was an Amorite. 46 Your older sister was Samaria. She and her daughters lived north of you. Your younger sister was Sodom. She and her daughters lived south of you. 47 You did all the bad things that they did. But you did even worse things, too. 48 Your sister Sodom and her daughters never did such bad things as you and your daughters have done, says the Lord God.
49 This is the sin that your sister Sodom did. She and her daughters (people) thought that they were better than other people. They ate too much and they did not try to help poor people. 50 They thought that they could do what they liked. And I saw them do all kinds of bad things. So I took them away, as you have seen. 51 Samaria's people did only half as many bad things as you have done. You have done much worse things than your sisters. The things that you have done make your bad sisters seem good! 52 Now I must punish you. You have done such bad things that you should be ashamed. After I have looked at you, your sisters seem to be good.
16:49God destroyed Sodom because the people were so wicked (see Genesis 19).
53 But I will give things back to Sodom and her daughters (people). I will give to Samaria and her daughters the things that I took from them. And I will give you back the things that I took away from you. 54 You will be sorry that you did such bad things. And your sisters will be happy that I punished you. 55 I will make your sisters, Sodom and Samaria with their daughters, the same as they were before. And you and your daughters will become what they were before. 56 Before I punished you, you would not speak about your sister Sodom. You thought that you were much better than she was. 57 But then I showed everyone how bad you were. Now the people in Edom and the people near to that country think that you have no value. The people in Philistia and all the people round you think that you have no value. 58 This is because you were not a faithful wife to me. And you did so many wrong things, says the Lord.
59 You have not kept your promise to me. You did not think that it was important, says the Lord God. Because of this, I must punish you. 60 But I will remember my promise. I agreed it with you when you were young. And I will make a promise with you that will always remain. 61 Then you will remember the bad things that you did. You will be ashamed when you meet your sisters. I will make them like daughters to you. That was not part of my promise but I will do it. 62 I will keep this promise. And then you will know that I am the Lord. 63 When I pay the price of your sin, you will remember. And you will be ashamed. You will remain quiet because you will be so ashamed, says the Lord God.” ’
16:59The Israelites had made a promise to God. They had promised to obey all that was in the agreement (see Exodus 24:7).