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Ezekiel 23

A story about two bad sisters

1 The LORD spoke to me. 2 ‘Son of man, a woman had two daughters. They were sisters. 3 Men in Egypt paid to have sex with them. They sold themselves to men from the time that they were young. Men touched their young breasts and made love to them. 4 The older sister was called Oholah. The younger one was Oholibah. They belonged to me, and they gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

5 Oholah sold herself to other men while she was still mine. She wanted to have sex with the people who live in Assyria, her lovers. 6 Their soldiers wore red and blue clothes. They were officers and rulers and they were all very beautiful. They rode on horses. 7 Oholah had sex with all the important people who live in Assyria. And she worshipped their idols. 8 She continued to sell her body as she had done in Egypt. She had sex with men. She was quite as bad as when she was young.

9 I gave her to her lovers, the people who live in Assyria. That was because she had not been faithful to me. 10 They took off all her clothes and they took all her sons and daughters. Then they killed her. Her story made women afraid because I punished her.

11 Oholibah, her sister saw this, but did even worse things than her sister. 12 She, too, wanted to have sex with the people who live in Assyria. She wanted the beautiful young officers and the rulers on horses to love her. 13 I saw that she, like her sister, was not faithful to me. She became not clean.

14 But she did more bad things than her sister. She saw pictures on the walls. They were pictures of men from Babylon They wore red clothes. 15 They had belts round their bodies and cloths round their heads. They looked like officers who drove chariots. 16 As soon as she saw the officers, she wanted them. She sent messengers to them in Babylon. 17 Then they came to her from Babylon. And they had sex with her. They made her not clean. After they had done this to her, she did not want them any longer. She turned away from them. 18 I turned away from her when she had sex with other men. She was quite like her sister. 19 But she wanted more and more men to love her. She had had sex when she was young. She remembered about that. At that time she had sex with men in Egypt. 20 They had loved her more like animals than men. 21 She very much wanted to have sex like that again.

22 So this is what the LORD God says to you, Oholibah: “The men that you had sex with will turn against you. I will make them do this. You turned away from them. But I will bring them all round you. 23 Men from Babylon and Chaldea will come. And men from Pekod, Shoa and Koa will come. All the people who live in Assyria will come with them. They will be beautiful young men, officers, rulers and important men. They will all ride on horses. 24 They will fight you with arms and chariots and with many soldiers. They will come to attack you from every side. They will have shields (flat metal or leather plates to save them from sharp knives and stones) and they will wear strong hats on their heads. I will let them punish you as they think best. 25 I am very angry with you. And they are angry with you. They will cut off your noses and ears. They will kill any men that remain. They will take away your sons and daughters. And they will burn the rest of your people with fire. 26 They will take away your clothes and all your valuable things. 27 You will no longer do the wrong things that you began to do in Egypt. I will stop you. You will never want to think about them or remember Egypt any longer.”

28 So this is what the LORD God says: “I will give people power over you. I will give that power to people that you hate. You turned away from them because they did bad things to you. 29 They will show you how much they hate you. They will take away everything for which you have worked. You will have no clothes or food. You will be ashamed of the things that you did. Everyone will know what you did. 30 I am punishing you because you did those things. I am punishing you because you wanted to be like other nations. And because you worshipped their idols. 31 You have done the same bad things that your sister did. So I will punish you as I punished her.”

32 This is what the LORD God says:

“I will give you the same punishment that I gave to your sister.

It will be a strong punishment.

It will make people laugh. And they will think that you have no value.

33 You will all be sad and you will get drunk.

They will break down your cities and your country will be empty.

It will be like your sister Samaria.

34 Your punishment will be complete and you will be very sad.

That is what I have said”, says the LORD God.

35 “So this is what I say to you”, says the LORD God. “You have forgotten me and men have paid to have sex with you. You were not ashamed. You thought that I could not see. But now I will punish you because of the bad things that you have done.” ’

36 The LORD spoke to me. ‘Son of man, you must judge Oholah and Oholibah. Make them see that they have done wrong things. 37 They have not been faithful to me and they have caused men to die. They worshipped idols and they even offered their children to the idols as food. 38 At the same time, they did not keep holy the place where they should have worshipped me. They did not keep the Sabbaths as my special days. 39 The same day that they gave their children to idols they made my house not clean. That is what they did to my house.

40 The sisters sent messages to men in a far country. When the men came to visit them they made themselves beautiful with paint and pretty stones. 41 They sat on a soft seat and they put a table in front of it. On the table they put oils with sweet smells. But those oils belonged to me.

42 Men from the desert (Sabeans) came with a crowd who were making a noise. Some of them put pretty things on the women's arms and crowns (special hats that rulers wear) on their heads. 43 I said: “Let them have sex with the woman. She has had so much sex that she is tired. That is now the only way that anyone can use her.” 44 So the men used her for sex. They paid Oholah and Oholibah to have sex with them. 45 But men who do good things will punish them. They will punish them because they were not faithful to me. And because they caused men to die.

46 This is what the LORD God says: “You good men must take a crowd to attack them. You will make them afraid and you will take their things. 47 The crowd will throw stones at them and cut them with swords. They will kill their sons and daughters and they will burn down their houses.

48 So I will stop people from using their bodies in a wrong way. I will make women want to do what is good and right. 49 I will punish you because of the bad things that you have done. And I will punish you because you have worshipped idols. Then you will know that I am the LORD God.” ’

23:49The 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 are like wives who are not faithful to their husbands. That is because they worship false gods.
23:49The name Oholah means ‘her tent.’ The name Oholibah means ‘her tent is mine’.