Ezekiel 23

A story about two bad sisters

1 The Lord gave this message to me: 2 ‘Son of man, there were two sisters who had the same mother. 3 They were prostitutes in Egypt, from the time that they were both young women. Men touched their breasts and made love to them. 4 The older sister was called Oholah. The younger one was called Oholibah. In this story, Oholah is Samaria. Oholibah is Jerusalem. They became my wives, and later they gave birth to sons and daughters for me.

23:4The two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah are God's pictures of Israel (Samaria) and Judah (Jerusalem). He is saying that their people are not faithful to him. Israel and Judah belong to God. But they have lived like wives who are not faithful to their husbands.

5 Oholah was my wife but she continued to live as a prostitute. She wanted men from Assyria to be her lovers. 6 Her lovers were soldiers who wore blue clothes. Some of them were army officers and leaders. They were all strong young men. Some of them rode on horses. 7 Oholah gave herself to them as a prostitute. She had sex with all the important young men of Assyria. She did these disgusting things with anyone that she wanted. She worshipped their idols and she made herself unclean. 8 She had lived as a prostitute in Egypt when she was young. Men had sex with her. They touched her breasts and they enjoyed her body for themselves. She continued to do that with the Assyrian men.

9 She wanted the Assyrian men to be her lovers. Because of that I put her under their power. 10 They removed her clothes to make her ashamed. They took away her sons and daughters. They attacked her and they killed her. Because of her punishment, women everywhere talked about her.

11 Ohalah's sister, Oholibah, saw this, but she did even worse things than her sister. She wanted other lovers even more than her sister did. 12 She, too, wanted Assyrian men to be her lovers. They were army officers and leaders. They were brave soldiers in beautiful clothes. Some of them rode on horses. They were all strong young men. 13 I saw that she was living in the same way that her sister had done. Like her sister, she made herself unclean.

14 But Oholibah did even worse things, as a prostitute does. She saw pictures of men on the walls. They were bright red pictures that people had made of Babylonian men. 15 The men wore belts around their bodies. They wore large cloths around their heads. They looked like Babylonian army officers who came from Chaldea. 16 When Oholibah saw these pictures, she wanted the men to be her lovers. She sent messages to them in Babylonia. 17 The Babylonian soldiers came to have sex with her. They did many disgusting things with her so that she was unclean. After they had done this to her, she became upset. She turned away from them.

18 She was not ashamed to have sex with many other men. Everyone knew that she lived as a prostitute. So I was very upset. I turned away from her, as I had turned away from her sister. 19 But she wanted more and more men to be her lovers. She remembered how she had lived as a prostitute in Egypt when she was a young woman. 20 She wanted those strong men to be her lovers. They had sex in a strong way, like donkeys or horses. 21 Yes, Oholibah, you thought about the disgusting ways that you had sex when you were young. You wanted men to touch your breasts and make love to you as the Egyptian men had done.

22 So this is what the Almighty Lord says to you, Oholibah: “Listen to me! I will cause your lovers to become angry with you. The lovers that you turned away from will come to attack you. I will bring them from every direction to attack you. 23 The soldiers from Babylon and from Chaldea will come. Men from Pekod, Shoa and Koa will come. All the Assyrian soldiers will come with them. They will be beautiful young men, army officers, leaders and important men. They will all ride on horses. 24 They will attack you with their weapons, their chariots and with a large army of soldiers. They will come together all around you, on every side. They will have different kinds of shields. They will wear helmets on their heads. I will give them authority to judge you. They will punish you in the way that they choose.

25 You have not been faithful to me, so I am very angry with you. I will cause these men to punish you in cruel ways. They will cut off your noses and your ears. They will use their swords to kill any men who remain. They will take away your sons and daughters. Fire will destroy any of your people who remain. 26 They will pull off your clothes. They will take away your beautiful jewels. 27 That is how I will stop you living in a disgusting way. You will no longer live as a prostitute, in the way that you lived in Egypt. You will not want to live in that way again. You will not think about how you lived in Egypt any more.”

28 This is what the Almighty Lord says: “Listen! I will put you under the power of people that you hate. Those were the people that you turned away from because you were upset. 29 They will be cruel to you. They will take away everything that you worked hard to get. When they leave you, you will have no clothes to wear. You will be ashamed. Everyone will see that you have lived as a prostitute and you have done disgusting things. 30 I am punishing you in this way because you were not faithful to me. You wanted other nations to be your lovers. You became unclean because you worshipped their idols. 31 You have lived in the same bad way that your sister lived. So I will punish you as I punished her.”

32 This is what the Lord God says:

“You will drink from the same cup of punishment that I gave to your sister.

It is a cup that holds a lot of punishment.

People will laugh at you and they will insult you.

33 You will suffer very much.

You will be drunk and very sad.

The cup of your punishment will destroy you.

Like your sister Samaria, nothing will remain in you.

34 You will have to drink all the punishment that is in that cup!

Then you will break the cup into pieces.

You will cut your breasts to show that you are very upset.

I, the Almighty Lord, have said this.”

35 This is what the Almighty Lord says: “You have forgotten me. You have not been faithful to me. You have lived as a prostitute and you have done disgusting things. So now you must receive the punishment that you deserve.” ’

36 The Lord said to me, ‘Son of man, you must judge Oholah and Oholibah. Warn them that they have done disgusting things. 37 They have not been faithful to me. They have murdered people. They have worshipped idols. They have not been faithful to me as their husband. They have even offered their children as food to their idols. Those were my children that they burned with fire.

38 Also, they have done these things against me: They made my holy place unclean. At the same time, they did not obey my rules for Sabbath days. 39 They offered their sons as sacrifices to their idols. Then, on the same day, they came into my temple! That is how they made my own special house unclean.

40 The two sisters sent messages to men in places far away. When the men came to visit them, the sisters washed themselves. Yes, you made your eyes beautiful with paint. You wore beautiful jewels. 41 You sat on a beautiful bed with a table in front of it. On the table you put incense and olive oil that I had given to you.

42 There was a crowd of happy men around them. They included men who came from the desert and who were drunk. They put rings on the sisters' hands and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 I said this about the woman who had become tired of having sex with so many men: “They will continue to have sex with her, as she is a prostitute.” 44 So the men had sex with her, as men have sex with prostitutes. That is how they had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, those two prostitutes. 45 But good men will say that those women are guilty. They will punish them as they deserve, because they have not been faithful to me. They have also murdered people.

46 This is what the Almighty Lord says: Bring an army to attack those women. Make them very afraid. Take away their valuable things. 47 The army will throw stones at them and cut them with their swords. They will kill their sons and daughters. They will destroy their houses with fire.

48 That is how I will stop the people of this land from doing disgusting things. All the women will see what has happened to Oholah and Oholibah. They will not do the same disgusting things themselves. 49 And you, Oholah and Oholibah, will receive the punishment that you deserve. You have lived as prostitutes, and you have not been faithful to me. Instead, you have worshipped idols. So I will punish you. Then you will know that I am the Almighty Lord. ’