Ezekiel 23

Listen to Ezekiel 23

Oholah and Oholibah

1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 1"Son of man, there were 2two women, the daughters of one mother.
3 3They played the whore in Egypt; 4they played the whore 5in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms[a] handled.
4 Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. 6They became mine, and they 7bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is 8Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem
5 "Oholah played the whore 9while she was mine, and 10she lusted after her lovers 11the Assyrians, warriors
6 clothed in purple, 12governors and commanders, 13all of them desirable young men, 14horsemen riding on horses.
7 She bestowed her whoring upon them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them, and she defiled herself with all the idols of everyone after whom she lusted.
8 She did not give up her whoring 15that she had begun in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her and handled her virgin bosom and poured out their whoring lust upon her.
9 Therefore 16I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted.
10 17These uncovered her nakedness; 18they seized her sons and her daughters; and as for her, they killed her with the sword; and she became 19a byword among women, 20when judgment had been executed on her.
11 21"Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became 22more corrupt than her sister[b] in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister.
12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, 23all of them desirable young men.
13 And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way.
14 But she carried her whoring further. She saw men 24portrayed on the wall, the 25images of 26the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion
15 wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea.
16 When she saw them, she lusted after them and 27sent messengers to them 28in Chaldea.
17 And the Babylonians came to her 29into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, 30she turned from them in disgust.
18 When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister.
19 Yet she increased her whoring, 31remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egyp
20 and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses.
21 Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed[c] your young breasts.
22 Therefore, O Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I will stir up against you your lovers 32from whom you turned in disgust, 33and I will bring them against you from every side:
23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, 34Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, 35desirable young men, 36governors and commanders all of them, officers and men of renown, all of them riding on horses.
24 And they shall come against you from the north[d] with chariots and wagons and a host of peoples. 37They shall set themselves against you on every side with buckler, shield, and helmet; and 38I will commit the judgment to them, and 39they shall judge you according to their judgments.
25 And I will direct my jealousy against you, 40that they may deal with you in fury. They shall cut off your nose and your ears, and your survivors shall fall by the sword. 41They shall seize your sons and your daughters, and your survivors shall be devoured by fire.
26 42They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels.
27 43Thus I will put an end to your lewdness and 44your whoring begun in the land of Egypt, so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.
28 "For thus says the Lord GOD: 45Behold, I will deliver you into the hands of those whom you hate, 46into the hands of those from whom you turned in disgust,
29 and 47they shall deal with you in hatred and take away all the fruit of your labor 48and leave you naked and bare, and 49the nakedness of your whoring shall be uncovered. Your lewdness and your whoring
30 have brought this upon you, because 50you played the whore with the nations and defiled yourself with their idols.
31 You have gone the way of your sister; 51therefore I will give 52her cup into your hand.
32 Thus says the Lord GOD: "You shall drink your sister's cup that is deep and large; you shall be laughed at and held in derision, for it contains much;
33 you will be filled with 53drunkenness and sorrow. 54A cup of horror and desolation, the cup of 55your sister Samaria;
34 56you shall drink it and drain it out, and gnaw its shards, and tear your breasts;for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD.
35 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because 57you have forgotten me and 58cast me behind your back, you yourself 59must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring."
36 The LORD said to me: 60"Son of man, 61will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations
37 For 62they have committed adultery, 63and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even 64offered up[e] to them for food the children whom they had borne to me.
38 Moreover, this they have done to me: 65they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and 66profaned my Sabbaths
39 For when 67they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day 68they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, 69this is what they did in my house.
40 They even sent for men to come from afar, 70to whom a messenger was sent; and behold, they came. For them you bathed yourself, 71painted your eyes, 72and adorned yourself with ornaments.
41 You sat on 73a stately couch, with a table spread before it 74on which you had placed my incense and 75my oil.
42 The 76sound of a carefree multitude was with her; and with men of the common sort, drunkards[f] were brought from the wilderness; and they put 77bracelets on the hands of the women, and 78beautiful crowns on their heads.
43 "Then I said of her who was worn out by adultery, Now they will continue to use her for a whore, even her![g]
44 For they have gone in to her, as men go in to a prostitute. Thus they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, lewd women!
45 But righteous men 79shall pass judgment on them with the sentence of adulteresses, and with the sentence of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands."
46 For thus says the Lord GOD: 80"Bring up a vast host against them, and make them 81an object of terror and 82a plunder.
47 83And the host shall stone them and cut them down with their swords. 84They shall kill their sons and their daughters, and 85burn up their houses.
48 86Thus will I put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you have done.
49 And they shall return your lewdness upon you, and 87you shall bear the penalty for your sinful idolatry, and 88you shall know that I am the Lord GOD."

Ezekiel 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

A history of the apostacy of God's people from him, and the aggravation thereof.

- In this parable, Samaria and Israel bear the name Aholah, "her own tabernacle;" because the places of worship those kingdoms had, were of their own devising. Jerusalem and Judah bear the name of Aholibah, "my tabernacle is in her," because their temple was the place which God himself had chosen, to put his name there. The language and figures are according to those times. Will not such humbling representations of nature keep open perpetual repentance and sorrow in the soul, hiding pride from our eyes, and taking us from self-righteousness? Will it not also prompt the soul to look to God continually for grace, that by his Holy Spirit we may mortify the deeds of the body, and live in holy conversation and godliness?

Cross References 88

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Hebrew nipples; also verses 8, 21
  • [b]. Hebrew than she
  • [c]. Vulgate, Syriac; Hebrew bosom for the sake of
  • [d]. Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew word is unknown
  • [e]. Or have even made pass through the fire
  • [f]. Or Sabeans
  • [g]. The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the idolatries of Israel and Judah are represented under the metaphor of two harlots, and their lewdness. These harlots are described by their descent; by the place and time in which they committed their whoredoms; by their names, and which are explained, Eze 23:1-4, the idolatries of Israel, or the ten tribes, under the name of Aholah, which they committed with the Assyrians, and which they continued from the Egyptians, of whom they had learned them, are exposed, Eze 23:5-8, and their punishment for them is declared, Eze 23:9,10 then the idolatries of Judah, or the two tribes, under the name of Aholibah, are represented as greater than those of the ten tribes, Eze 23:11, which they committed with the Assyrians, Eze 23:12, with the Chaldeans and Babylonians, Eze 23:13-18 in imitation of the Egyptians, reviving former idolatries learnt of them, Eze 23:19-21, wherefore they are threatened, that the Chaldeans, Babylonians, and Assyrians, should come against them, and spoil them, and carry them captive, Eze 23:22-35, and the prophet is bid to declare the abominable sin of them both, Eze 23:36-44, and to signify that they should be judged after the manner of adulteresses, should be stoned, and dispatched with swords, their sons and their daughters, and their houses burnt with fire; by which means their adulteries or idolatries should be made to cease, Eze 23:45-49.

as the Targum; another prophecy, one upon the same subject, as in Eze 16:1,

\\saying\\; as follows:


Ezekiel 23 Commentaries

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