God's Message came to me:
"Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her outrageous violations.
Say this: 'The Message of God, the Master, to Jerusalem: You were born and bred among Canaanites. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.
"'On the day you were born your umbilical cord was not cut, you weren't bathed and cleaned up, you weren't rubbed with salt, you weren't wrapped in a baby blanket.
No one cared a fig for you. No one did one thing to care for you tenderly in these ways. You were thrown out into a vacant lot and left there, dirty and unwashed - a newborn nobody wanted.
"'And then I came by. I saw you all miserable and bloody. Yes, I said to you, lying there helpless and filthy, "Live!
Grow up like a plant in the field!" And you did. You grew up. You grew tall and matured as a woman, full-breasted, with flowing hair. But you were naked and vulnerable, fragile and exposed.
"'I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine.
I gave you a good bath, washing off all that old blood, and anointed you with aromatic oils.
I dressed you in a colorful gown and put leather sandals on your feet. I gave you linen blouses and a fashionable wardrobe of expensive clothing.
I adorned you with jewelry: I placed bracelets on your wrists, fitted you out with a necklace,
emerald rings, sapphire earrings, and a diamond tiara.
You were provided with everything precious and beautiful: with exquisite clothes and elegant food, garnished with honey and oil. You were absolutely stunning. You were a queen!
You became world-famous, a legendary beauty brought to perfection by my adornments. Decree of God, the Master.
"'But your beauty went to your head and you became a common whore, grabbing anyone coming down the street and taking him into your bed.
You took your fine dresses and made "tents" of them, using them as brothels in which you practiced your trade. This kind of thing should never happen, never. What a Sick Soul!
"'And then you took all that fine jewelry I gave you, my gold and my silver, and made pornographic images of them for your brothels.
You decorated your beds with fashionable silks and cottons, and perfumed them with my aromatic oils and incense.
And then you set out the wonderful foods I provided - the fresh breads and fruits, with fine herbs and spices, which were my gifts to you - and you served them as delicacies in your whorehouses. That's what happened, says God, the Master.
"'And then you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had given birth to as my children, and you killed them, sacrificing them to idols. Wasn't it bad enough that you had become a whore?
And now you're a murderer, killing my children and sacrificing them to idols.
"'Not once during these years of outrageous obscenities and whorings did you remember your infancy, when you were naked and exposed, a blood-smeared newborn.
"'And then to top off all your evil acts, you built your bold brothels in every town square. Doom! Doom to you, says God, the Master!
At every major intersection you built your bold brothels and exposed your sluttish sex, spreading your legs for everyone who passed by.
"'And then you went international with your whoring.
You fornicated with the Egyptians, seeking them out in their sex orgies. The more promiscuous you became, the angrier I got.
Finally, I intervened, reduced your borders and turned you over to the rapacity of your enemies. Even the Philistine women - can you believe it? - were shocked at your sluttish life.
"'You went on to fornicate with the Assyrians. Your appetite was insatiable. But still you weren't satisfied.
You took on the Babylonians, a country of businessmen, and still you weren't satisfied.
"'What a sick soul! Doing all this stuff - the champion whore!
You built your bold brothels at every major intersection, opened up your whorehouses in every neighborhood, but you were different from regular whores in that you wouldn't accept a fee.
"'Wives who are unfaithful to their husbands accept gifts from their lovers.
And men commonly pay their whores. But you pay your lovers! You bribe men from all over to come to bed with you!
You're just the opposite of the regular whores who get paid for sex. Instead, you pay men for their favors! You even pervert whoredom!
"'Therefore, whore, listen to God's Message:
I, God, the Master, say, Because you've been unrestrained in your promiscuity, stripped down for every lover, flaunting your sex, and because of your pornographic idols and all the slaughtered children you offered to them,
therefore, because of all this, I'm going to get all your lovers together, all those you've used for your own pleasure, the ones you loved and the ones you loathed. I'll assemble them as a courtroom of spectators around you. In broad daylight I'll strip you naked before them - they'll see what you really look like.
Then I'll sentence you to the punishment for an adulterous woman and a murderous woman. I'll give you a taste of my wrath!
"'I'll gather all your lovers around you and turn you over to them. They'll tear down your bold brothels and sex shrines. They'll rip off your clothes, take your jewels, and leave you naked and exposed. Then
they'll call for a mass meeting. The mob will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords.
They'll burn down your houses. A massive judgment - with all the women watching!
By then my anger will be played out. My jealousy will subside.
"'Because you didn't remember what happened when you were young but made me angry with all this behavior, I'll make you pay for your waywardness. Didn't you just exponentially compound your outrageous obscenities with all your sluttish ways?
"'Everyone who likes to use proverbs will use this one: "Like mother, like daughter."
You're the daughter of your mother, who couldn't stand her husband and children. And you're a true sister of your sisters, who couldn't stand their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.
"'Your older sister is Samaria. She lived to the north of you with her daughters. Your younger sister is Sodom, who lived to the south of you with her daughters.
Haven't you lived just like they did? Haven't you engaged in outrageous obscenities just like they did? In fact, it didn't take you long to catch up and pass them!
As sure as I am the living God! - Decree of God, the Master - your sister Sodom and her daughters never even came close to what you and your daughters have done.
"'The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury - proud, gluttonous, and lazy. They ignored the oppressed and the poor.
They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them.
"'And Samaria. Samaria didn't sin half as much as you. You've committed far more obscenities than she ever did. Why, you make your two sisters look good in comparison with what you've done!
Face it, your sisters look mighty good compared with you. Because you've outsinned them so completely, you've actually made them look righteous. Aren't you ashamed? But you're going to have to live with it. What a reputation to carry into history: outsinning your two sisters!
"'But I'm going to reverse their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters. And - get this - your fortunes right along with them!
Still, you're going to have to live with your shame. And by facing and accepting your shame, you're going to provide some comfort to your two sisters.
Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will become what they were before, and you will become what you were before.
Remember the days when you were putting on airs, acting so high and mighty, looking down on sister Sodom?
That was before your evil ways were exposed. And now you're the butt of contempt, despised by the Edomite women, the Philistine women, and everybody else around.
But you have to face it, to accept the shame of your obscene and vile life. Decree of God, the Master.
"'God, the Master, says, I'll do to you just as you have already done, you who have treated my oath with contempt and broken the covenant.
All the same, I'll remember the covenant I made with you when you were young and I'll make a new covenant with you that will last forever.
You'll remember your sorry past and be properly contrite when you receive back your sisters, both the older and the younger. I'll give them to you as daughters, but not as participants in your covenant.
I'll firmly establish my covenant with you and you'll know that I am God.
You'll remember your past life and face the shame of it, but when I make atonement for you, make everything right after all you've done, it will leave you speechless.'" Decree of God, the Master.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)