Ezekiel 16

Listen to Ezekiel 16

The Lord's Faithless Bride

1 Again the word of the LORD came to me:
2 1"Son of man, 2make known to Jerusalem her abominations,
3 and say, Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an 3Amorite and your mother a 4Hittite.
4 And as for your birth, 5on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.
5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, 6but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, 7on the day that you were born.
6 "And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing 8in your blood, I said to you 9in your blood, 'Live!' I said to you 10in your blood, 'Live!'
7 11I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall 12and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet 13you were naked and bare.
8 "When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and 14I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you 15and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, 16and you became mine.
9 Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and 17anointed you with oil.
10 18I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.[a]
11 19And I adorned you with ornaments and 20put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.
12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.
13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. 21You ate fine flour and honey and oil. 22You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.
14 And 23your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD.
15 24"But you trusted in your beauty 25and played the whore[b] because of your renown 26and lavished your whorings[c] on any passerby; your beauty[d] became his.
16 You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be.[e]
17 You also took 27your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and 28made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore.
18 And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, 29and set my oil and my incense before them.
19 30Also my bread that I gave you--31I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey--you set before them for 32a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord GOD.
20 33And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and 34these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter
21 that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?
22 And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember 35the days of your youth, 36when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood.
23 "And after all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! declares the Lord GOD),
24 you built yourself 37a vaulted chamber and made yourself a lofty place in every square.
25 At the head of every street 38you built your lofty place and made 39your beauty an abomination, 40offering yourself[f] to any passerby and multiplying your whoring.
26 41You also played the whore 42with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, 43multiplying your whoring, 44to provoke me to anger.
27 Behold, therefore, I stretched out my hand against you 45and diminished your allotted portion 46and delivered you to the greed of your enemies, 47the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior.
28 48You played the whore also 49with the Assyrians, because you were not satisfied; yes, you played the whore with them, and still you were not satisfied.
29 You multiplied your whoring also with the trading land 50of Chaldea, and even with this you were not satisfied.
30 "How sick is your heart,[g] declares the Lord GOD, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute,
31 building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a prostitute, 51because you scorned payment.
32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband!
33 Men give gifts to all prostitutes, 52but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings.
34 So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and 53you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different.
35 "Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the LORD:
36 Thus says the Lord GOD, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, 54and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them,
37 therefore, behold, 55I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and 56all those you hated. 57I will gather them against you from every side 58and will uncover your nakedness to them, that 59they may see all your nakedness.
38 60And I will judge you 61as women who commit adultery and 62shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy.
39 And I will give you into their hands, and they shall throw down your 63vaulted chamber and break down 64your lofty places. 65They shall strip you of your clothes and take 66your beautiful jewels and leave you 67naked and bare.
40 68They shall bring up a crowd against you, 69and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords.
41 70And they shall 71burn your houses and 72execute judgments upon you in the sight of many women. 73I will make you stop playing the whore, and 74you shall also give payment no more.
42 75So will I satisfy my wrath on you, and my jealousy shall depart from you. I will be calm and will no more be angry.
43 Because you have not remembered 76the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things, therefore, behold, 77I have returned your deeds upon your head, declares the Lord GOD. Have you not 78committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations?
44 "Behold, everyone 79who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: 'Like mother, like daughter.'
45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of 80your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. 81Your mother was a Hittite and 82your father an Amorite.
46 And 83your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and 84your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters.
47 85Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time 86you were more corrupt than they in all your ways.
48 87As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister 88Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.
49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, 89excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
50 They were haughty and 90did an abomination before me. So 91I removed them, when I saw it.
51 92Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and 93have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed.
52 94Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
53 95"I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in their midst,
54 that you may bear your disgrace 96and be ashamed of all that you have done, 97becoming a consolation to them.
55 As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former state, 98and Samaria and her daughters shall return 99to their former state, 100and you and your daughters shall return 101to your former state.
56 Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth 102in the day of your pride,
57 before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you have become 103an object of reproach for the daughters of Syria[h] and all those around her, and for 104the daughters of the Philistines, 105those all around who despise you.
58 106You bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, declares the LORD.

The Lord's Everlasting Covenant

59 "For thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, you 107who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant,
60 yet 108I will remember my covenant with you 109in the days of your youth, 110and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant.
61 111Then you will remember your ways 112and be ashamed when you take 113your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you 114as daughters, but not on account of[i] the covenant with you.
62 I will establish my covenant with you, 115and you shall know that I am the LORD,
63 that you may remember and be confounded, and 116never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD."

Ezekiel 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

A parable showing the first low estate of the Jewish nation, its prosperity, idolatries, and punishment.

Verses 1-58 In this chapter God's dealings with the Jewish nation, and their conduct towards him, are described, and their punishment through the surrounding nations, even those they most trusted in. This is done under the parable of an exposed infant rescued from death, educated, espoused, and richly provided for, but afterwards guilty of the most abandoned conduct, and punished for it; yet at last received into favour, and ashamed of her base conduct. We are not to judge of these expressions by modern ideas, but by those of the times and places in which they were used, where many of them would not sound as they do to us. The design was to raise hatred to idolatry, and such a parable was well suited for that purpose.

Verses 59-63 After a full warning of judgments, mercy is remembered, mercy is reserved. These closing verses are a precious promise, in part fulfilled at the return of the penitent and reformed Jews out of Babylon, but to have fuller accomplishment in gospel times. The Divine mercy should be powerful to melt our hearts into godly sorrow for sin. Nor will God ever leave the sinner to perish, who is humbled for his sins, and comes to trust in His mercy and grace through Jesus Christ; but will keep him by his power, through faith unto salvation.

Cross References 116

  • 1. See Ezekiel 2:1
  • 2. Ezekiel 22:2
  • 3. ver. 45; Genesis 15:16; Deuteronomy 7:1
  • 4. ver. 45; Deuteronomy 7:1; Judges 1:26
  • 5. [Hosea 2:3]
  • 6. [Deuteronomy 32:10]
  • 7. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 8. ver. 22
  • 9. ver. 22
  • 10. ver. 22
  • 11. [Exodus 1:7]
  • 12. [ver. 11, 13]
  • 13. ver. 22, 39; Ezekiel 23:29
  • 14. Ruth 3:9; [Jeremiah 2:2]
  • 15. [Exodus 24:7, 8]
  • 16. See Exodus 19:5
  • 17. Ruth 3:3; [Psalms 23:5]
  • 18. ver. 13, 18; [Ezekiel 26:16; Ezekiel 27:7, 16; Exodus 26:36]
  • 19. [Ezekiel 23:40]
  • 20. [Ezekiel 23:42; Gen. 24:22, 30, 47]
  • 21. Deuteronomy 32:13, 14
  • 22. [ver. 15, 25; Psalms 48:2]
  • 23. Lamentations 2:15; [Ezekiel 23:10]
  • 24. [ver. 13]
  • 25. Ezekiel 23:3, 8, 11, 12; Leviticus 17:7; Isaiah 1:21; Isaiah 57:8; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:2, 6, 20; Hosea 1:2
  • 26. [ver. 25]
  • 27. [ver. 11]
  • 28. [Ezekiel 7:20; Ezekiel 23:14]
  • 29. Ezekiel 23:41
  • 30. [Hosea 2:8]
  • 31. [See ver. 13 above]
  • 32. See Ezekiel 6:13
  • 33. [ver. 21, 36]
  • 34. Ezekiel 20:26, 31; Ezekiel 23:37
  • 35. ver. 43, 60
  • 36. ver. 6, 7
  • 37. ver. 39
  • 38. ver. 31; [Isaiah 57:7; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:2]
  • 39. [ver. 14]
  • 40. [ver. 15]
  • 41. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 42. Ezekiel 20:7, 8; Ezekiel 23:19-21
  • 43. Ezekiel 23:14, 19
  • 44. Jeremiah 7:18, 19
  • 45. [Ezekiel 5:10, 11]
  • 46. [ver. 37]
  • 47. ver. 57; [2 Samuel 1:20]
  • 48. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 49. Ezekiel 23:12; Jeremiah 2:18, 36; See 2 Kings 16:7-18; 2 Chronicles 28:16-21
  • 50. See Ezekiel 23:14-16
  • 51. [ver. 33, 34]
  • 52. [ver. 41; Hosea 8:9]
  • 53. [See ver. 33 above]
  • 54. [ver. 20, 21, 38]
  • 55. Hosea 8:10
  • 56. [ver. 27; Ezekiel 23:28]
  • 57. Ezekiel 23:22
  • 58. Ezekiel 23:10, 29; Hosea 2:10; Revelation 17:16; [ver. 39]
  • 59. Lamentations 1:8
  • 60. Ezekiel 21:30
  • 61. Ezekiel 23:45; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22
  • 62. Genesis 9:6; [Ezekiel 18:10; Ezekiel 23:37, 45]
  • 63. ver. 24
  • 64. ver. 25
  • 65. Ezekiel 23:26; [Hosea 2:3]
  • 66. ver. 11, 12
  • 67. ver. 7
  • 68. Ezekiel 23:46
  • 69. Ezekiel 23:47; [Joshua 7:24, 25]
  • 70. [See ver. 40 above]
  • 71. 2 Kings 25:9; Jeremiah 39:8; Jeremiah 52:13
  • 72. See Ezekiel 5:8
  • 73. Ezekiel 23:27, 48
  • 74. [ver. 33, 34]
  • 75. See Ezekiel 5:13
  • 76. ver. 22, 60
  • 77. See Ezekiel 7:4
  • 78. Ezekiel 22:9
  • 79. [Ezekiel 12:22; Ezekiel 18:2, 3]
  • 80. [ver. 46]
  • 81. See ver. 3
  • 82. See ver. 3
  • 83. ver. 51, 53, 55; [Ezekiel 23:4, 33]
  • 84. ver. 48, 49, 53, 55; [Isaiah 1:10]
  • 85. Ezekiel 5:7
  • 86. ver. 48, 51, 52; Ezekiel 5:6; [2 Kings 21:9; 2 Chronicles 33:9; Jeremiah 2:10, 11]
  • 87. Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 14:16, 18, 20; Ezekiel 17:16, 19; Ezekiel 18:3; Ezekiel 20:3, 33; Isaiah 49:18; Zephaniah 2:9
  • 88. ver. 47; [Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:24]
  • 89. [Genesis 13:10]
  • 90. See Genesis 13:13
  • 91. See Genesis 19:24
  • 92. ver. 46, 47
  • 93. ver. 52; Jeremiah 3:11
  • 94. See Ezekiel 32:24
  • 95. [Ezekiel 29:14; Ezekiel 39:25; Zephaniah 2:7; Zephaniah 3:20]
  • 96. ver. 61
  • 97. [Ezekiel 14:22, 23]
  • 98. [See ver. 53 above]
  • 99. Ezekiel 36:11
  • 100. [See ver. 53 above]
  • 101. Ezekiel 36:11
  • 102. See Isaiah 2:6-11
  • 103. See 2 Kings 16:5-7; Isaiah 7:1, 2
  • 104. ver. 27; [2 Chronicles 28:18]
  • 105. Ezekiel 28:24, 26
  • 106. [Ezekiel 14:10; Ezekiel 23:35, 49]
  • 107. [Ezekiel 17:15, 16, 18, 19]
  • 108. See Leviticus 26:42
  • 109. ver. 8, 22, 43
  • 110. Jeremiah 32:40; Jeremiah 50:5
  • 111. See Ezekiel 6:9
  • 112. ver. 54
  • 113. [ver. 45, 46]
  • 114. [Isaiah 54:1]
  • 115. See Ezekiel 6:7
  • 116. [Romans 3:19]

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. Or with rich fabric
  • [b]. Or were unfaithful; also verses 16, 17, 26, 28
  • [c]. Or unfaithfulness; also verses 20, 22, 25, 26, 29, 33, 34, 36
  • [d]. Hebrew it
  • [e]. The meaning of this Hebrew sentence is uncertain
  • [f]. Hebrew spreading your legs
  • [g]. Revocalization yields How I am filled with anger against you
  • [h]. Some manuscripts (compare Syriac) of Edom
  • [i]. Or not apart from

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the Jewish nation is represented under the simile of a female infant, whose birth, breeding, marriage, grandeur, and conduct, are described, in order to show the wickedness and ingratitude of, his people; who, on account thereof, are threatened with judgments; though mercy is promised to a remnant that should repent. The prophet is directed to make known to Jerusalem her abominable sins, Eze 16:1,2; and, in order to this, is bid to take up the following parable of a female infant; whose descent, birth, and wretched condition, at the time of it, are pointed at, Eze 16:3-5; which are expressive of the low and forlorn estate of the Jews originally; and then follow the benefits and blessings of God bestowed upon them, both in their infant and adult state; the preserving them alive in Egypt, and their multiplication there; and afterwards the covenant made with them, when brought out from thence; and the Lord's espousal of them to himself, as his own people, having a strong affection for them, Eze 16:6-8; the large provision of good things he made for them, both in the wilderness, and especially in the land of Canaan; the riches he bestowed upon them, and the flourishing and prosperous kingdom he raised them to, which made them famous among all the nations round about them, Eze 16:9-14; and yet, after all this, such was the ingratitude of this people, as to commit spiritual whoredom, that is, idolatry, to a very great degree, Eze 16:15; which is aggravated by their converting and applying the good things which the Lord gave them to idolatrous uses, Eze 16:16-19; by sacrificing their sons and daughters to idols, which were the Lord's, Eze 16:20,21; by not calling to mind the former wretched estate out of which they were brought, Eze 16:22; by building high places in every street and way, and there committing idolatries, Eze 16:23-25; by the various nations, whose examples they followed, and with whom they joined, as the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Chaldeans, Eze 16:26-29; and by the great difference between them and all other harlots, whom they exceeded, Eze 16:30-34; wherefore, on account of all this, they are threatened to be dealt with as an adulterous woman; made a spectacle of; condemned to die, to be stripped, stoned, and burned, Eze 16:35-43; and, that the Lord might appear to be just in executing such judgments on them, they are declared to be as bad as the Hittites and Amorites their parents; and worse than their sisters Samaria and Sodom; and therefore could expect to fare no better than they; and should become proverb and a byword, and bear their sins, shame, and punishment, in the sight of their neighbours, and be despised by them, Eze 16:44-59; nevertheless, the covenant of grace made with his chosen people among them should stand firm; which being manifested to them, would be a means of bringing them to a sense of sin, shame for it, and an acknowledgment of the Lord's grace and goodness to them Eze 16:60-63.

Ezekiel 16 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.