Ezekiel 23 – “Jerusalem and Samaria: Two Whoring Sisters”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God likens Jerusalem and Samaria to two sisters killed for their whoring.

II. Photo
Jerusalem will suffer the same fate as Samaria: “The cup of your sister Samaria — you shall drink it and drain it, and gnaw its shards!” (vv. 33b-34a)

III. Important Verses
2-4: O mortal, once there were two women, daughters of one mother. They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore while still young. There their breasts were squeezed, and there their virgin nipples were handled.  Their names were: the elder one, Oholah; and her sister, Oholibah. They became Mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
22-23: Assuredly, Oholibah, thus said the Lord GOD: I am going to rouse against you the lovers from whom you turned in disgust, and I will bring them upon you from all around —  the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, [the people of] Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, all of them handsome young fellows, governors and prefects, officers and warriors, all of them riding on horseback.
32-34: Thus said the Lord GOD: You shall drink of your sister’s cup, So deep and wide; It shall cause derision and scorn, It holds so much. You shall be filled with drunkenness and woe. The cup of desolation and horror, The cup of your sister Samaria — You shall drink it and drain it, And gnaw its shards; And you shall tear your breasts. For I have spoken — declares the Lord GOD.
36-39: Then the LORD said to me: O mortal, arraign Oholah and Oholibah, and charge them with their abominations. For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands; truly they have committed adultery with their fetishes, and have even offered to them as food the children they bore to Me. At the same time they also did this to Me: they defiled My Sanctuary and profaned My sabbaths. On the very day that they slaughtered their children to their fetishes, they entered My Sanctuary to desecrate it. That is what they did in My House.

IV. Outline

1. Introduction
2-3. God’s two virgin cities cheated with Egypt
4-10. Samaria was destroyed for cheating with Assyria
11-21. Jerusalem cheated with Assyria and then returned to Egypt
22-35. Jerusalem will suffer the same fate as Samaria
36-39. The specific sins of the cities
    36. Condemnation
    37a. Adultery
    37b. Murder
    37c. Idolatry
    38d. Child sacrifice
    38a. Defiling the sanctuary
    38b. Sabbath desecration
    39. Defiling the sanctuary
40-49. The cities will be punished for their cheating

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)
Photo taken from http://www.potteryrestoration.co.uk/userimages/broken%20cup.jpg