Ezekiel 16 – “Jerusalem the Harlot”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God accuses Jerusalem of being a whore and vows to punish her accordingly.

II. Photo
God treated Jerusalem like his wife: “I clothed you with embroidered garments, and gave you sandals of tahash-leather to wear.” (v. 10a)

III. Important Verses
3-5: Thus said the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: By origin and birth you are from the land of the Canaanites — your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.  As for your birth, when you were born your navel cord was not cut, and you were not bathed in water to smooth you; you were not rubbed with salt, nor were you swaddled.  No one pitied you enough to do any one of these things for you out of compassion for you; on the day you were born, you were left lying, rejected, in the open field.
15-19: But confident in your beauty and fame, you played the harlot: you lavished your favors on every passerby; they were his. You even took some of your cloths and made yourself tapestried platforms and fornicated on them — not in the future; not in time to come. You took your beautiful things, made of the gold and silver that I had given you, and you made yourself phallic images and fornicated with them. You took your embroidered cloths to cover them; and you set My oil and My incense before them. The food that I had given you — the choice flour, the oil, and the honey, which I had provided for you to eat — you set it before them for a pleasing odor. And so it went — declares the Lord GOD.
20-21: You even took the sons and daughters that you bore to Me and sacrificed them to those [images] as food — as if your harlotries were not enough, you slaughtered My children and presented them as offerings to them!
35-42: Now, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD. Thus said the Lord GOD: Because of your brazen effrontery, offering your nakedness to your lovers for harlotry — just like the blood of your children, which you gave to all your abominable fetishes: —  I will assuredly assemble all the lovers to whom you gave your favors, along with everybody you accepted and everybody you rejected. I will assemble them against you from every quarter, and I will expose your nakedness to them, and they shall see all your nakedness. I will inflict upon you the punishment of women who commit adultery and murder, and I will direct bloody and impassioned fury against you. I will deliver you into their hands, and they shall tear down your eminence and level your mounds; and they shall strip you of your clothing and take away your dazzling jewels, leaving you naked and bare. Then they shall assemble a mob against you to pelt you with stones and pierce you with their swords. They shall put your houses to the flames and execute punishment upon you in the sight of many women; thus I will put a stop to your harlotry, and you shall pay no more fees. When I have satisfied My fury upon you and My rage has departed from you, then I will be tranquil; I will be angry no more.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2. God tells Ezekiel to proclaim Jerusalem’s abominations
3-5. Jerusalem was a neglected baby
6-7a. God raised Jerusalem
7b-8. God entered into a covenant with the sexually mature Jerusalem
9-14. God gave Jerusalem enviable beauty
15-19. Jerusalem fornicated like a harlot
20-21. Jerusalem sacrificed its own children
22. The people forgot their humble beginnings
23-26. Jerusalem continued her promiscuity
27. God will withhold his support
28-34. Jerusalem was worse than most harlots
35-41. Jerusalem will be stoned to death by those who it strayed with
42. God will be placated
43-52. Jerusalem is worse than Samaria and Sodom
53-55. God will restore Samaria and Sodom
56-58. Jerusalem will become a byword like Sodom
59-63. God will not destroy Israel because of the covenant

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Allen, Leslie C. “Ezekiel 1-19” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 28 (Waco, Texas: Wordbook, 1994).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hals, Ronald M. “Ezekiel” The forms of the Old Testament Literature vol. 19 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1989)
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