Ezekiel 16

1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 Mortal, make known to Jerusalem her abominations,
3 and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite.
4 As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in cloths.
5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you out of compassion for you; but you were thrown out in the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.
6 I passed by you, and saw you flailing about in your blood. As you lay in your blood, I said to you, "Live!
7 and grow up like a plant of the field." You grew up and became tall and arrived at full womanhood; your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.
8 I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine.
9 Then I bathed you with water and washed off the blood from you, and anointed you with oil.
10 I clothed you with embroidered cloth and with sandals of fine leather; I bound you in fine linen and covered you with rich fabric.
11 I adorned you with ornaments: I put bracelets on your arms, a chain on your neck,
12 a ring on your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head.
13 You were adorned with gold and silver, while your clothing was of fine linen, rich fabric, and embroidered cloth. You had choice flour and honey and oil for food. You grew exceedingly beautiful, fit to be a queen.
14 Your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of my splendor that I had bestowed on you, says the Lord God.
15 But you trusted in your beauty, and played the whore because of your fame, and lavished your whorings on any passer-by.
16 You took some of your garments, and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore; nothing like this has ever been or ever shall be.
17 You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and my silver that I had given you, and made for yourself male images, and with them played the whore;
18 and you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them.
19 Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with choice flour and oil and honey—you set it before them as a pleasing odor; and so it was, says the Lord God.
20 You took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. As if your whorings were not enough!
21 You slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering to them.
22 And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, flailing about in your blood.
23 After all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! says the Lord God),
24 you built yourself a platform and made yourself a lofty place in every square;
25 at the head of every street you built your lofty place and prostituted your beauty, offering yourself to every passer-by, and multiplying your whoring.
26 You played the whore with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your whoring, to provoke me to anger.
27 Therefore I stretched out my hand against you, reduced your rations, and gave you up to the will of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior.
28 You played the whore with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; you played the whore with them, and still you were not satisfied.
29 You multiplied your whoring with Chaldea, the land of merchants; and even with this you were not satisfied.
30 How sick is your heart, says the Lord God, that you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen whore;
31 building your platform at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square! Yet you were not like a whore, because you scorned payment.
32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband!
33 Gifts are given to all whores; but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from all around for your whorings.
34 So you were different from other women in your whorings: no one solicited you to play the whore; and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; you were different.
35 Therefore, O whore, hear the word of the Lord:
36 Thus says the Lord God, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whoring with your lovers, and because of all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them,
37 therefore, I will gather all your lovers, with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated; I will gather them against you from all around, and will uncover your nakedness to them, so that they may see all your nakedness.
38 I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring blood upon you in wrath and jealousy.
39 I will deliver you into their hands, and they shall throw down your platform and break down your lofty places; they shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful objects and leave you naked and bare.
40 They shall bring up a mob against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords.
41 They shall burn your houses and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; I will stop you from playing the whore, and you shall also make no more payments.
42 So I will satisfy my fury on you, and my jealousy shall turn away from you; I will be calm, and will be angry no longer.
43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things; therefore, I have returned your deeds upon your head, says the Lord God. Have you not committed lewdness beyond all your abominations?
44 See, everyone who 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 your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.
46 Your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters.
47 You not only followed their ways, and acted according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways.
48 As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.
49 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
50 They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.
51 Samaria has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed.
52 Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have brought about for your sisters a more favorable judgment; 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 I will restore their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes along with theirs,
54 in order that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them.
55 As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former state, Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former state, and you and your daughters shall return to your former state.
56 Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride,
57 before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you are a mockery to the daughters of Aram and all her neighbors, and to the daughters of the Philistines, those all around who despise you.
58 You must bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, says the Lord.
59 Yes, thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath, breaking the covenant;
60 yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant.
61 Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed when I take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and give them to you as daughters, but not on account of my covenant with you.
62 I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord,
63 in order that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says 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.

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. Gk Syr: Heb [Live! I made you a myriad]
  • [b]. Cn: Heb [ornament of ornaments]
  • [c]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [d]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [e]. Heb adds [let it be his]
  • [f]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [g]. Another reading is [Edom]
  • [h]. Syr: Heb [you]
  • [i]. Heb lacks [my]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 16

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