God’s Love for Jerusalem
16 Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, 2 “Son of man, tell the people of Jerusalem about the terrible things they have done. 3 You must say, ‘This is what the Lord God says to Jerusalem: Look at your history. You were born in Canaan. Your father was an Amorite. Your mother was a Hittite. 4 Jerusalem, on the day you were born, there was no one to cut your navel cord. No one put salt on you and washed you to make you clean. No one wrapped you in cloth. 5 No one felt sorry for you or took care of you. On the day you were born, your parents threw you out into the field, because no one wanted you.
6 “‘Then I passed by. I saw you lying there, kicking in the blood. You were covered with blood, but I said, “Please live!” Yes, you were covered with blood, but I said, “Please live!” 7 I helped you grow like a plant in the field. You grew and grew. You became a young woman: your periods began, your breasts grew, and your hair began to grow. But you were still bare and naked. 8 I looked you over. I saw you were ready for love, so I spread my clothes over you[a] and covered your nakedness. I promised to marry you. I made the agreement[b] with you, and you became mine.’” This is what the Lord God said.
9 “‘I washed you in water. I poured water over you to wash away the blood that was on you, and then I put oil on your skin. 10 [c] I gave you a nice dress and soft leather sandals, a linen headband, and a silk scarf. 11 I also gave you some jewelry. I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck. 12 I gave you a nose ring, earrings, and a beautiful crown to wear. 13 You were beautiful in your gold and silver jewelry, and your linen, silk, and embroidered material. You ate the best foods. You were very, very beautiful, and you became the queen! 14 You became famous for your beauty, all because I made you so lovely!’” This is what the Lord God said.
Jerusalem, the Unfaithful Bride
15 “But you began to trust in your beauty. You used the good name you had and became unfaithful to me. You acted like a prostitute with every man who passed by. You gave yourself to them all! 16 You took your beautiful clothes and used them to decorate your places for worship.[d] And you acted like a prostitute there. You gave yourself to every man who came by! 17 Then you took your beautiful jewelry that I gave you, and you used the gold and silver to make statues of men, and you had sex with them too! 18 Then you took the beautiful cloth and made clothes for those statues. You took the perfume and incense I gave you and put it in front of those idols. 19 I gave you bread, honey, and oil, but you gave that food to your idols. You offered them as a sweet smell to please your false gods. You acted like a prostitute with those false gods!” This is what the Lord God said.
20 “You and I had children together, but you took our children. You killed them and gave them to those false gods! But that is only some of the evil things you did when you were unfaithful to me and went to those false gods. 21 You slaughtered[e] my sons and then passed them through the fire to those false gods. 22 You left me and did all those terrible things. You never remembered what happened when you were young. You did not remember that you were naked and kicking in blood when I found you.
23 “After all these evil things, … it will be very bad for you!” The Lord God said all these things. 24 “After all those things, you made a mound for worshiping that false god. You built those places for worshiping false gods on every street corner. 25 You built your mounds at the head of every road. Then you degraded your beauty. You used it to catch every man who walked by. You raised your skirt so that they could see your legs, and you acted like a prostitute with those men. 26 Then you went to Egypt, your neighbor that is always ready for sex. With more and more sexual sin, you made me angry. 27 So I punished you! I took away part of your land. I let your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, do what they wanted to you. Even they were shocked at the evil things you did. 28 Then you went to have sex with Assyria. You could not get enough. You were never satisfied. 29 So you turned to Canaan, and then to Babylonia, and still you were not satisfied. 30 You are so weak. You let all those men cause you to sin. You acted just like a prostitute who wants to be the one in control.” This is what the Lord God said.
31 God said, “But you were not exactly like a prostitute. You built your mounds at the head of every road, and you built your places for worship at every street corner. You had sex with all those men, but you did not ask them to pay you the way a prostitute does. 32 You are a woman guilty of adultery. You would rather have sex with strangers than with your own husband. 33 Most prostitutes force men to pay them for sex, but you gave money to your many lovers. You paid all the men around to come in to have sex with you. 34 You are just the opposite of most prostitutes who force men to pay them, because you pay the men to have sex with you.”
35 Prostitute, listen to the message from the Lord. 36 This is what the Lord God says: “You have spent your money[f] and let your lovers and filthy gods see your naked body and have sex with you. You have killed your children and poured out their blood. This was your gift to those false gods. 37 So I am bringing all of your lovers together. I will bring all the men you loved and all the men you hated. I will bring them all together and let them see you naked.[g] They will see you completely naked. 38 Then I will punish you. I will punish you as a murderer and a woman who committed the sin of adultery. You will be punished as if by an angry and jealous husband. 39 I will let those lovers have you. They will destroy your mounds. They will burn your places for worship. They will tear off your clothes and take your beautiful jewelry. They will leave you bare and naked as you were when I found you. 40 They will bring a crowd of people and throw rocks at you to kill you. Then they will cut you into pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn your house. They will punish you so that all the other women can see. I will stop you from living like a prostitute. I will stop you from paying money to your lovers. 42 Then I will stop being angry and jealous. I will calm down. I will not be angry anymore. 43 Why will all these things happen? Because you did not remember what happened when you were young. You did all those bad things and made me angry. So I had to punish you for doing them, but you planned even more terrible things.” This is what the Lord God said.
44 “All the people who talk about you will now have one more thing to say. They will say, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You are your mother’s daughter. You don’t care about your husband or your children. You are like your sister. Both of you hated your husband and your children. You are like your parents. Your mother was a Hittite and your father was an Amorite. 46 Your older sister was Samaria. She lived to the north of you with her daughters. Your younger sister was Sodom.[h] She lived to the south of you with her daughters. 47 You did all the terrible things they did, but you also did much worse! 48 I am the Lord God. As I live, I swear that your sister Sodom and her daughters never did as many bad things as you and your daughters.
49 “Your sister Sodom and her daughters were proud. They had too much to eat and too much time on their hands, and they did not help poor, helpless people. 50 Sodom and her daughters became too proud and began to do terrible things in front of me. So I punished them!
51 “And Samaria did only half as many bad things as you did. You did many more terrible things than Samaria! You have done so many more terrible things than your sisters have done. Sodom and Samaria seem good compared to you. 52 So you must bear your shame. You have made your sisters look good compared to you. You have done terrible things, so you should be ashamed.
53 “I destroyed Sodom and the towns around it, and I destroyed Samaria and the towns around it. And I will destroy you too, Jerusalem. But I will build those cities again, and I will rebuild you too. 54 I will comfort you. Then you will remember the terrible things you did, and you will be ashamed. 55 So you and your sisters will be rebuilt. Sodom and the towns around her, Samaria and the towns around her, and you and the towns around you will all be rebuilt.
56 “In the past, you were proud and made fun of your sister Sodom. But you will not do that again. 57 You did that before you were punished, before your neighbors started making fun of you. The daughters of Edom[i] and Philistia are making fun of you now. 58 Now you must suffer for the terrible things you did.” This is what the Lord said.
God Remains Faithful
59 This is what the Lord God said: “I will treat you like you treated me! You broke your marriage promise. You did not respect our agreement. 60 But I will remember the agreement we made when you were young. I made an agreement with you that will continue forever! 61 I will bring your sisters to you, and I will make them your daughters. That was not in our agreement, but I will do that for you. Then you will remember the terrible things you did, and you will be ashamed. 62 So I will make my agreement with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 You will remember me, and you will be so ashamed of the evil things you did that you will not be able to say anything. But I will make you pure, and you will never be ashamed again!” This is what the Lord God said.
- Ezekiel 16:8 spread my clothes over you This showed that he was agreeing to protect her and care for her. See Ruth 3:1-15.
- Ezekiel 16:8 agreement Here, this means the marriage agreement. But it also refers to the agreement God made with the people of Israel. See “agreement” in the Word List.
- Ezekiel 16:10 Verses 10-13 All the materials in this list are the things used in building the Holy Tent. See Ex. 25-40.
- Ezekiel 16:16 places for worship Or “high places.” See “high place” in the Word List. Also in verses 31, 39.
- Ezekiel 16:21 slaughtered This usually means to kill an animal and cut it into pieces for meat, but it often means to kill people as if they were animals.
- Ezekiel 16:36 spent your money Literally, “poured out your copper.” This might also mean “you have done the things that stain you with sin.”
- Ezekiel 16:37 let them see you naked The Hebrew words are like the words meaning “to be carried away as a prisoner to a foreign country.”
- Ezekiel 16:46 Samaria … Sodom Ezekiel is saying the people in Judah are just as evil as the people who lived in Samaria and Sodom—and those people were so evil that God completely destroyed those cities.
- Ezekiel 16:57 Edom Or “Aram.”