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Ezekiel 23-24 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 23

The Two Sisters. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. Even as young girls, they were prostitutes, serving as prostitutes in Egypt. There the Egyptians fondled their breasts and caressed their virgin nipples. Oholah was the name of the elder, and the name of her sister was Oholibah.[a] They became mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. As for their names: Samaria was Oholah and Jerusalem, Oholibah. Oholah became a prostitute while married to me and lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians: warriors dressed in purple, governors and officers, all of them handsome young soldiers, mounted on horses. She gave herself as a prostitute to them, to all the Assyrian elite; with all those for whom she lusted, she also defiled herself with their idols. She did not abandon the prostitution she had begun with the Egyptians, who had lain with her when she was young, fondling her virgin breasts and pouring out their lust upon her. Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, to the Assyrians for whom she lusted. 10 They exposed her nakedness; her sons and daughters they took away, and her they killed with the sword. She became a byword for women because of the sentence carried out against her.

11 Although her sister Oholibah saw all this, her lust was more depraved than her sister’s; she outdid her in prostitution. 12 She too lusted after the Assyrians, governors and officers, warriors impeccably clothed, mounted on horses, all of them handsome young soldiers. 13 I saw that she had defiled herself—now both had gone down the same path. 14 She went further in her prostitution: She saw male figures drawn on the wall, images of Chaldeans drawn with vermilion, 15 with sashes tied about their waists, flowing turbans on their heads, all looking like chariot warriors, images of Babylonians, natives of Chaldea. 16 As soon as she set eyes on them she lusted for them, and she sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 The Babylonians came to her, to her love couch; they defiled her with their impurities. But as soon as they had defiled her, she recoiled from them. 18 When her prostitution was discovered and her shame revealed, I recoiled from her as I had recoiled from her sister. 19 But she increased her prostitution, recalling the days of her youth when she had served as a prostitute in the land of Egypt. 20 She lusted for the lechers of Egypt, whose members are like those of donkeys, whose thrusts are like those of stallions.

21 You reverted to the depravity of your youth, when Egyptians fondled your breasts, caressing your young nipples. 22 Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord God: I will now stir up your lovers against you, those from whom you recoiled, and I will bring them against you from every side: 23 the men of Babylon and all of Chaldea, Pekod, Shoa and Koa,[b] along with all the Assyrians, handsome young soldiers, all of them governors and officers, charioteers and warriors, all of them horsemen. 24 They shall invade you with armor, chariots and wagons, a horde of peoples; they will array against you on every side bucklers and shields and helmets. I will give them the right of judgment, and they will judge you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealousy against you, so that they deal with you in fury, cutting off your nose and ears; what is left of you shall fall by the sword. They shall take away your sons and daughters, and what is left of you shall be devoured by fire. 26 They shall strip off your clothes and seize your splendid jewelry. 27 I will put an end to your depravity and to your prostitution from the land of Egypt; you shall no longer look to them, nor even remember Egypt again.

28 For thus says the Lord God: I am now handing you over to those whom you hate, to those from whom you recoil. 29 They shall treat you with hatred, seizing all that you worked for and leaving you stark naked, so that your indecent nakedness is exposed. Your depravity and prostitution 30 brought these things upon you because you served as a prostitute for the nations, defiling yourself with their idols.

31 Because you followed your sister’s path, I will put her cup into your hand.[c]

32 Thus says the Lord God:
The cup of your sister you shall drink,
    deep and wide;
It brings ridicule and mockery,
    it holds so much;
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and grief—
    A cup of horror and devastation,
    the cup of your sister Samaria;
34 You shall drink it dry,
    its very sherds you will gnaw;
And you shall tear out your breasts;
    for I have spoken—oracle of the Lord God.

35 Therefore thus says the Lord God: You have forgotten me and cast me behind your back; now suffer for your depravity and prostitution.

36 [d]Then the Lord said to me: Son of man, would you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then make known to them their abominations. 37 For they committed adultery, and blood covers their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; even the children they bore for me they burnt as food for them. 38 And they also did this to me: on that day, they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my sabbaths. 39 On the very day they slaughtered their children for their idols, they entered my sanctuary to desecrate it. Thus they acted within my house! 40 Moreover, they sent for men who had to come from afar; when a messenger was sent to them, they came. On their account you bathed, painted your eyes, and put on jewelry. 41 You sat on a magnificent couch, set before it a table, on which to lay my incense and oil. 42 The cries of a mob! The shouts of men coming in from the wilderness! They put bracelets on the women’s arms and splendid crowns on their heads. 43 I said: “That worn-out one still has adulteries in her! Now they engage her as a prostitute and she…” 44 And indeed they did come in to her as men come in to a prostitute. Thus they came to Oholah and Oholibah, the depraved women. 45 The righteous shall certainly punish them with sentences given to adulterers and murderers, for they committed adultery, and blood is on their hands.

46 Indeed, thus says the Lord God: Raise up an army against them and hand them over to terror and plunder. 47 The army will stone them and hack them to pieces with their swords. They will kill their sons and daughters and set fire to their houses. 48 Thus I will put an end to depravity in the land, and all women will be warned not to imitate your depravity. 49 They shall inflict on you the penalty of your depravity, and you shall pay for your sins of idolatry. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.

Chapter 24

Allegory of the Pot.[e] On the tenth day of the tenth month, in the ninth year,[f] the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, write down today’s date this very day, for on this very day the king of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem. Propose this parable to the rebellious house and say to them: Thus says the Lord God:

Put the pot on, put it on!
    Pour in some water;
Add to it pieces of meat,
    all choice pieces;
With thigh and shoulder,
    with choice cuts fill it.
Choose the pick of the flock,
    then pile logs beneath it;
Bring it to a boil,
    cook all the pieces in it.
Therefore thus says the Lord God:
    Woe to the city full of blood!
A pot containing filth,
    whose filth cannot be removed!
Take out its pieces one by one,
    for no lot has fallen on their behalf.
For her blood is still in her midst;
    on a bare rock she left it;
She did not pour it on the ground
    to be covered with dirt.[g]
To arouse wrath, to exact vengeance,
    I have left her blood on bare rock
    not to be covered.
Therefore, thus says the Lord God:
Woe to the city full of blood!
    I will make the pyre great!
10 Pile on the wood, kindle the fire.
Cook the meat, stir the spicy mixture,
    char the bones!
11 Then set it empty on the coals,
    to heat up until its copper glows,
So its impurities melt,
    its filth disappears.
12 [h]The toil is exhausting,
    but the great filth will not come out—
Filth, even with fire.
13 Even in defiling yourself with depravity
    I would still have cleansed you,
    but you would not have your impurity cleansed.
You will not be cleansed now
    until I wreak my fury on you.
14 I, the Lord, have spoken;
    it will happen!
I will do it and not hold back!
    I will not have pity or relent.
By your conduct and deeds you shall be judged—
    oracle of the Lord God.

Ezekiel as a Sign for the Exiles. 15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 Son of man, with a sudden blow I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes, but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears. 17 Groan, moan for the dead, but make no public lament; bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet, but do not cover your beard or eat the bread of mourners.[i] 18 I spoke to the people in the morning. In the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. 19 Then the people asked me, “Will you not tell us what all these things you are doing mean for us?” 20 I said to them, The word of the Lord came to me: 21 Say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes, the concern of your soul. The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword. 22 [j]Then you shall do as I have done, not covering your beards nor eating the bread of mourning. 23 Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet. You shall not mourn or weep, but you shall waste away because of your sins and groan to one another. 24 Ezekiel shall be a sign for you: everything he did, you shall do. When it happens, you shall know that I am the Lord God.

End of Ezekiel’s Muteness. 25 As for you, son of man, truly, on the very day I take away from them their strength, their glorious joy, the delight of their eyes, the desire of their soul, the pride of their hearts, their sons and daughters, 26 on that day a survivor will come to you so that you may hear it with your own ears. 27 On that day, with the survivor, your mouth shall be opened; you shall speak and be mute[k] no longer. You shall be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 23:4 Oholah…Oholibah: symbolic names for Samaria, “her own tent,” and Jerusalem, “my tent is in her.” Cf. Ps 15:1 where “tent” is a synonym for “holy mountain.” The names refer to the temple set up in the Northern Kingdom of Samaria (1 Kgs 12:28–29) and the Jerusalem Temple.
  2. 23:23 Pekod, Shoa and Koa: nations along the Tigris River, part of “greater Babylonia.”
  3. 23:31 The cup is a metaphor for divine punishment, the lot of all who rebel against the Lord (cf. Ps 75:9; Jer 25:15–16; 51:7; Is 51:21–23; Lam 4:21; Hb 2:15–16).
  4. 23:36–49 Unlike vv. 1–35, this short poem juxtaposes the careers of the two sisters and looks to a future punishment. The male lovers of the first poem become the sisters’ executioners, and the guests at the love feast a lynch mob. So corrupt and depraved are the two sisters that their executioners win the esteemed title “righteous,” for they have acted appropriately as agents of the Lord’s judgment.
  5. 24:1–14 As the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem begins (588 B.C.), Ezekiel uses allegory to depict Jerusalem and its over-confident inhabitants as a pot of meat set on the fire for boiling (vv. 3–5; cf. 11:3) and left there until only burnt bones remain (v. 10). In vv. 6–8, the innocent blood shed by Jerusalem’s inhabitants is the rust that, despite efforts to remove it, coats the interior of the pot filled with meat. Once emptied (v. 8), the rust-encrusted pot is set on hot coals (v. 11), but the rust remains (v. 12). Only the brunt of the Lord’s fury can cleanse Jerusalem of its guilt (vv. 13–14).
  6. 24:1 The tenth day…the ninth year: January 15, 588 B.C. The same wording appears in 2 Kgs 25:1 (Jer 52:4).
  7. 24:7 Blood…to be covered with dirt: since blood was sacred to God, it had to be covered with earth (Gn 37:26; Lv 17:13); the blood of innocent victims left uncovered cried out for vengeance; cf. Gn 4:10; Jb 16:18; Is 26:21.
  8. 24:12 A cryptic line in Hebrew.
  9. 24:17 The bread of mourners: a post-burial meal that mourners shared to comfort one another; cf. 2 Sm 3:35; Jer 16:7. The other gestures mentioned here were also popular mourning customs. Because Ezekiel does not observe any of the mourning customs mentioned, the people are puzzled and ask him to explain.
  10. 24:22–24 The fall of the city will be so sudden and final that the exiles will have no time to go into mourning.
  11. 24:27 Mute: unable to preach anything but the Lord’s judgment against Judah and Jerusalem; cf. 3:27 and note on 33:21–22.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 31:16-31 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

16 Eat, like anyone else, what is set before you,
    but do not eat greedily, lest you be despised.
17 Be the first to stop, as befits good manners;
    and do not gorge yourself, lest you give offense.
18 If there are many with you at table,
    do not be the first to stretch out your hand.
19 Does not a little suffice for a well-bred person?
    When he lies down, he does not wheeze.
20 Moderate eating ensures sound slumber
    and a clear mind on rising the next day.
The distress of sleeplessness and of nausea
    and colic are with the glutton!
21 Should you have eaten too much,
    get up to vomit[a] and you will have relief.

22 Listen to me, my child, and do not scorn me;
    later you will find my advice good.
In whatever you do, be moderate,
    and no sickness will befall you.
23 People bless one who is generous with food,
    and this testimony to his goodness is lasting.
24 The city complains about one who is stingy with food,
    and this testimony to his stinginess is lasting.
25 Let not wine be the proof of your strength,
    for wine has been the ruin of many.
26 As the furnace tests the work of the smith,
    so does wine the hearts of the insolent.
27 Wine is very life to anyone,
    if taken in moderation.
Does anyone really live who lacks the wine
    which from the beginning was created for joy?
28 Joy of heart, good cheer, and delight
    is wine enough, drunk at the proper time.
29 Headache, bitterness, and disgrace
    is wine drunk amid anger and strife.
30 Wine in excess is a snare for the fool;
    it lessens strength and multiplies wounds.
31 Do not wrangle with your neighbor when wine is served,
    nor despise him while he is having a good time;
Say no harsh words to him
    nor distress him by making demands.

Footnotes:

  1. 31:21 Get up to vomit: the practice of induced vomiting, well-known among Romans, and less well-known among the Jews, seems to be referred to here.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 John 4 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 4

Testing the Spirits.[a] Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus[b] does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

God’s Love and Christian Life. [c]Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

13 [d]This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. 14 Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world. 15 Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. 16 We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. 17 In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God[e] whom he has not seen. 21 This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:1–6 Deception is possible in spiritual phenomena and may be tested by its relation to Christian doctrine (cf. 1 Cor 12:3): those who fail to acknowledge Jesus Christ in the flesh are false prophets and belong to the antichrist. Even though these false prophets are well received in the world, the Christian who belongs to God has a greater power in the truth.
  2. 4:3 Does not acknowledge Jesus: some ancient manuscripts add “Christ” and/or “to have come in the flesh” (cf. 1 Jn 4:2), and others read “every spirit that annuls (or severs) Jesus.”
  3. 4:7–12 Love as we share in it testifies to the nature of God and to his presence in our lives. One who loves shows that one is a child of God and knows God, for God’s very being is love; one without love is without God. The revelation of the nature of God’s love is found in the free gift of his Son to us, so that we may share life with God and be delivered from our sins. The love we have for one another must be of the same sort: authentic, merciful; this unique Christian love is our proof that we know God and can “see” the invisible God.
  4. 4:13–21 The testimony of the Spirit and that of faith join the testimony of love to confirm our knowledge of God. Our love is grounded in the confession of Jesus as the Son of God and the example of God’s love for us. Christian life is founded on the knowledge of God as love and on his continuing presence that relieves us from fear of judgment (1 Jn 4:16–18). What Christ is gives us confidence, even as we live and love in this world. Yet Christian love is not abstract but lived in the concrete manner of love for one another.
  5. 4:20 Cannot love God: some ancient manuscripts read “how can he love…?”
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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