Scriptures

Ezekiel 16

Introduction

The foundling child, ingratitude and unfaithfulness of Jerusalem

Israel as found, unclean, miserable, and near to destruction. Ezekiel 16:1-5.

Israel therefore owes its preservation and exaltation to honour and glory to the Lord its God alone. Ezekiel 16:8-14.

The apostasy of Israel. Ezekiel 16:15-34.

Its origin and nature. Ezekiel 16:15-22.

Its magnitude and extent. Ezekiel 16:23-34.

The punishment will correspond to the sin. Ezekiel 16:35-43.

The judgment is perfectly just. Ezekiel 16:44-52.

Disgrace will not be the conclusion; Israel will attain to the glory promised the people of God. Ezekiel 16:53-63.

Summary:

Similar to Hosea 2:14-20

Figurative resume of Israel’s history. We see the undeserved kindness shown by God. Jerusalem makes Sodom and Samaria look righteous. A promise of reconciliation.

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. ‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, ‘Live!’ I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew and developed and entered puberty. Your breasts had formed, and your hair had grown, yet you were stark naked. ‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine. ‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewellery: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So, you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendour I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ Ezekiel 16:1-14

The unfaithful wife or unwanted foundling

In these opening verses we get a good picture of how the Lord went out of his way to help Israel. She is as a baby left at birth to die until God comes along and gives her what she needs. From the very beginning it was God who supplied Israel with what she needed. They were not literally descended from the Hittites and Amorites. This is probably referring to their ‘spiritual or moral pedigree’. John 8:44-45.

Note, we are not dealing with historical reality in this chapter, but figurative reasoning. The physical is used to express a spiritual sickness.

‘He (Ezekiel) makes no effort to make the details of his story tie up with the details of the Patriarchal period. He is concerned to give a general spiritual picture, not the outward historical one.’ Ellison.

Having reached maturity, God then enters into a marriage covenant with her. Ruth 3:9. Once again we see that all the adornment of the new bride is supplied by the groom, God. Again, we see that if this is a literal picture, we have the problem of God marrying an adopted daughter. But we are again working in figurative language where we are not bound by literal problems.

‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favours on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. You went to him, and he possessed your beauty. You also took the fine jewellery I gave you, the jewellery made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them. And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. Also, the food I provided for you—the flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat—you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign LORD. ‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols. In all your detestable practices and your prostitution, you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood. ‘Woe! Woe to you, declares the Sovereign LORD. In addition to all your other wickedness, you built a mound for yourself and made a lofty shrine in every public square. At every street corner you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, spreading your legs with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your neighbours with large genitals, and aroused my anger with your increasing promiscuity. So, I stretched out my hand against you and reduced your territory; I gave you over to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were shocked by your lewd conduct. You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied. Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia, a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied. ‘I am filled with fury against you, declares the Sovereign LORD, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute! When you built your mounds at every street corner and made your lofty shrines in every public square, you were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment. ‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favours. So, in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favours. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.’ Ezekiel 16:15-34

Inexcusable Infidelity. The unfaithful wife

Having got all she needed from her husband, having entered into a marriage covenant with him, the wife now is shown to have committed adultery. We see first:

Her harlotry with her lovers. He is shown to lavish all the goods given her by her husband on anyone who passes by. Three lovers are specified; Egyptians, verse 26. Assyrians verse 28. Babylonians verse 29. This harlotry is of course a figurative thing and seems to represent the alliances they made with these nations and the gods of these nations. Here is where they were unfaithful as a wife to God.

They committed adultery by going after other gods. So much so that even the Philistines, a thoroughly bad lot, were ashamed of her. But even more; Israel did not act as other harlots receiving pay for their wares. She paid her lovers, verses 33-34.

‘The adulteress may by some be excused by the strength of passion and blind love, but for a harlot there is no excuse except that of stark necessity. But for Israel there is not even this excuse. She has not been paid by her lovers but has paid those that have taken their pleasure of her.’ Ellison.

‘Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your naked body in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood, therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see you stark naked. I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring on you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. Then I will deliver you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your mounds and destroy your lofty shrines. They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewellery and leave you stark naked. They will bring a mob against you, who will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. They will burn down your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women. I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers. Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.’ Ezekiel 16:35-43

We see second; Her punishment for prostitution. The picture is given of her lovers turning on her. A vivid self-explanatory passage.

‘Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign LORD. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices? ‘Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised her husband and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. ‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore, I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous. ‘However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before. You would not even mention your sister Sodom in the day of your pride, before your wickedness was uncovered. Even so, you are now scorned by the daughters of Edom and all her neighbours and the daughters of the Philistines—all those around you who despise you. You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the LORD. ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant.’ Ezekiel 16:44-59

We see third; How far this once pure bride has stooped. The point is to show Judah how sinful they are, and several points are made to prove it. Again, we are shown their moral and spiritual pedigree:

Mother. A Hittite.

Older sister. Samaria.

Younger sister. Sodom.

Was this literally true? No. Again see John 8:44.

Samaria and Sodom were symbols of sinfulness and wickedness, yet God says that Judah is worse than both of them. Judah was so bad she made Samaria and Sodom look good. Now if the less wicked Samaria and Sodom had been judged, and they had, then what was going to happen to Judah. She will be judged in like manner.

But had Judah been punished at this point? No, so to the people that minimized their sin in their own eyes.

For if they were as bad as God was saying, they would have been judged by now.

Further, was God going to bring them up again, after he had judged them? Again, with an affirmative answer, the people reasoned that they could not have been as bad as the two.

So, to show that they were as bad, and because God was going to restore Judah, in the figure he raises up Sodom and Samaria again that Judah might see how bad they were. God was not and is not going to literally raise up Sodom and Samaria again. Jude 7.

Why does Judah have a remnant?

By the mercy of God, not because they deserve it by being less wicked or even righteous. Isaiah 1:9 / Romans 9:27-29.

Note, Judah is worse than Sodom and Samaria. Was Judah’s sin worse than the other two?

Although that could be argued either way, it is true to say that Judah should have known better because they knew more. So, in that sense Judah had the greater sin.

‘He who delivered me to you has the greater sin’. John 19:11

‘Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, both those who are older than you and those who are younger. I will give them to you as daughters, but not on the basis of my covenant with you. So, I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the LORD. Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ Ezekiel 16:60-63

God’s mercy in Reconciliation. One word can be written over this section which describes the renewal of the covenant,

GRACE

Go To Ezekiel 17

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."

Romans 12:1

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