God's Message came to me:
"Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother.
They became whores in Egypt, whores from a young age. Their breasts were fondled, their young bosoms caressed.
The older sister was named Oholah, the younger was Oholibah. They were my daughters, and they gave birth to sons and daughters. "Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
"Oholah started whoring while she was still mine. She lusted after Assyrians as lovers: military men
smartly uniformed in blue, ambassadors and governors, good-looking young men mounted on fine horses.
Her lust was unrestrained. She was a whore to the Assyrian elite. She compounded her filth with the idols of those to whom she gave herself in lust.
She never slowed down. The whoring she began while young in Egypt she continued, sleeping with men who played with her breasts and spent their lust on her.
"So I left her to her Assyrian lovers, for whom she was so obsessed with lust.
They ripped off her clothes, took away her children, and then, the final indignity, killed her. Among women her name became Shame - history's judgment on her.
"Her sister Oholibah saw all this, but she became even worse than her sister in lust and whoring, if you can believe it.
She also went crazy with lust for Assyrians: ambassadors and governors, military men smartly dressed and mounted on fine horses - the Assyrian elite.
And I saw that she also had become incredibly filthy. Both women followed the same path.
But Oholibah surpassed her sister. When she saw figures of Babylonians carved in relief on the walls and painted red,
fancy belts around their waists, elaborate turbans on their heads, all of them looking important - famous Babylonians! -
she went wild with lust and sent invitations to them in Babylon.
The Babylonians came on the run, fornicated with her, made her dirty inside and out. When they had thoroughly debased her, she lost interest in them.
Then she went public with her fornication. She exhibited her sex to the world.
But that didn't slow her down. She went at her whoring harder than ever. She remembered when she was young, just starting out as a whore in Egypt.
That whetted her appetite for more virile, vulgar, and violent lovers - stallions obsessive in their lust.
She longed for the sexual prowess of her youth back in Egypt, where her firm young breasts were caressed and fondled.
"'Therefore, Oholibah, this is the Message from God, the Master: I will incite your old lovers against you, lovers you got tired of and left in disgust. I'll bring them against you from every direction,
Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all Assyrians - good-looking young men, ambassadors and governors, elite officers and celebrities - all of them mounted on fine, spirited horses.
They'll come down on you out of the north, armed to the teeth, bringing chariots and troops from all sides. I'll turn over the task of judgment to them. They'll punish you according to their rules.
I'll stand totally and relentlessly against you as they rip into you furiously. They'll mutilate you, cutting off your ears and nose, killing at random. They'll enslave your children - and anybody left over will be burned.
They'll rip off your clothes and steal your jewelry.
I'll put a stop to your sluttish sex, the whoring life you began in Egypt. You won't look on whoring with fondness anymore. You won't think back on Egypt with stars in your eyes.
"'A Message from God, the Master: I'm at the point of abandoning you to those you hate, to those by whom you're repulsed.
They'll treat you hatefully, leave you publicly naked, your whore's body exposed in the cruel glare of the sun. Your sluttish lust
will be exposed. Your lust has brought you to this condition because you whored with pagan nations and made yourself filthy with their no-god idols.
"'You copied the life of your sister. Now I'll let you drink the cup she drank.
"'This is the Message of God, the Master: "'You'll drink your sister's cup, a cup canyon-deep and ocean-wide. You'll be shunned and taunted as you drink from that cup, full to the brim.
You'll be falling-down-drunk and the tears will flow as you drink from that cup titanic with terror: It's the cup of your sister Samaria.
You'll drink it dry, then smash it to bits and eat the pieces, and end up tearing at your breasts. I've given the word - Decree of God, the Master.
"'Therefore God, the Master, says, Because you've forgotten all about me, pushing me into the background, you now must pay for what you've done - pay for your sluttish sex and whoring life.'"
Then God said to me, "Son of man, will you confront Oholah and Oholibah with what they've done? Make them face their outrageous obscenities,
obscenities ranging from adultery to murder. They committed adultery with their no-god idols, sacrificed the children they bore me in order to feed their idols!
And there is also this: They've defiled my holy Sanctuary and desecrated my holy Sabbaths.
The same day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they walked into my Sanctuary and defiled it. That's what they did - in my house!
"Furthermore, they even sent out invitations by special messenger to men far away - and, sure enough, they came. They bathed themselves, put on makeup and provocative lingerie.
They reclined on a sumptuous bed, aromatic with incense and oils - my incense and oils!
The crowd gathered, jostling and pushing, a drunken rabble. They adorned the sisters with bracelets on their arms and tiaras on their heads.
"I said, 'She's burned out on sex!' but that didn't stop them. They kept banging on her doors night and day
as men do when they're after a whore. That's how they used Oholah and Oholibah, the worn-out whores.
"Righteous men will pronounce judgment on them, giving out sentences for adultery and murder. That was their lifework: adultery and murder."
"God says, 'Let a mob loose on them: Terror! Plunder!
Let the mob stone them and hack them to pieces - kill all their children, burn down their houses!
"'I'll put an end to sluttish sex in this country so that all women will be well warned and not copy you.
You'll pay the price for all your obsessive sex. You'll pay in full for your promiscuous affairs with idols. And you'll realize that I am 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)