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Ezekiel 16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Jerusalem Is Unfaithful

16 The Lord said:

Ezekiel, son of man, remind the people of Jerusalem of their disgusting sins and tell them that I, the Lord God, am saying:

Jerusalem, you were born in the country where Canaanites lived. Your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite.[a] When you were born, no one cut you loose from your mother or washed your body. No one rubbed your skin with salt and olive oil,[b] and wrapped you in warm blankets. Not one person loved you enough to do any of these things, and no one even felt sorry for you. You were despised, thrown into a field, and forgotten.

I saw you lying there, rolling around in your own blood, and I couldn’t let you die. I took care of you, like someone caring for a tender, young plant. You grew up to be a beautiful young woman with perfect breasts and long hair, but you were still naked.

When I saw you again, you were old enough to have sex. So I covered your naked body with my own robe.[c] Then I solemnly promised that you would belong to me and that I, the Lord God, would take care of you.

I washed the blood off you and rubbed your skin with olive oil. 10 I gave you the finest clothes and the most expensive robes,[d] as well as sandals made from the best leather. 11 I gave you bracelets, a necklace, 12 a ring for your nose, some earrings, and a beautiful crown. 13 Your jewelry was gold and silver, and your clothes were made of only the finest material and embroidered linen. Your bread was baked from fine flour, and you ate honey and olive oil. You were as beautiful as a queen, 14 and everyone on earth knew it. I, the Lord God, had helped you become a lovely young woman.

15 You learned that you were attractive enough to have any man you wanted, so you offered yourself to every passerby.[e] 16 You made shrines for yourself and decorated them with some of your clothes. That’s where you took your visitors to have sex with them. These things should never have happened![f] 17 You made idols out of the gold and silver jewelry I gave you, then you sinned by worshiping those idols. 18 You dressed them in the clothes you got from me, and you offered them the olive oil and incense I gave you. 19 I supplied you with fine flour, olive oil, and honey, but you sacrificed it all as offerings to please those idols. I, the Lord God, watched this happen.

20 But you did something even worse than that—you sacrificed your own children to those idols! 21 You slaughtered my children, so you could offer them as sacrifices. 22 You were so busy sinning and being a prostitute that you refused to think about the days when you were young and were rolling around naked in your own blood.

23 Now I, the Lord God, say you are doomed! Not only did you do these evil things, 24 but you also built places on every street corner 25 where you disgraced yourself by having sex with anyone who walked by. And you did that more and more every day! 26 To make me angry, you even offered yourself to Egyptians, who were always ready to sleep with you.

27 So I punished you by letting those greedy Philistine enemies take over some of your territory. But even they were offended by your disgusting behavior.

28 You couldn’t get enough sex, so you chased after Assyrians and slept with them. You still weren’t satisfied, 29 so you went after Babylonians. But those merchants could not satisfy you either.

30 I, the Lord God, say that you were so disgusting that you would have done anything to get what you wanted.[g] 31 You had sex on every street corner, and when you finished, you refused to accept money. That’s worse than being a prostitute! 32 You are nothing but an unfaithful wife who would rather have sex with strangers than with your own husband. 33 Prostitutes accept money for having sex, but you bribe men from everywhere to have sex with you. 34 You’re not like other prostitutes. Men don’t ask you for sex—you offer to pay them!

Jerusalem Must Be Punished

The Lord said:

35 Jerusalem, you prostitute, listen to me. 36 You chased after lovers, then took off your clothes and had sex. You even worshiped disgusting idols and sacrificed your own children as offerings to them. 37 So I, the Lord God, will gather every one of your lovers, those you liked and those you hated. They will stand around you, and I will rip off your clothes and let all of those lovers stare at your nakedness. 38 I will find you guilty of being an unfaithful wife and a murderer, and in my fierce anger I will sentence you to death! 39 Then I will hand you over to your lovers, who will tear down the places where you had sex. They will take your clothes and jewelry, leaving you naked and empty-handed.

40 Your lovers and an angry mob will stone you to death; they will cut your dead body into pieces 41 and burn down your houses. Other women will watch these terrible things happen to you. I promise to stop you from being a prostitute and paying your lovers for sex.

42 Only then will I calm down and stop being angry and jealous. 43 You made me furious by doing all these disgusting things and by forgetting how I took care of you when you were young. Then you made things worse by acting like a prostitute. You must be punished! I, the Lord God, have spoken.

Jerusalem’s Two Sisters

The Lord said:

44 People will use this saying about you, Jerusalem: “If the mother is bad, so is her daughter.” 45 You are just like your mother, who hated her husband and her own children. You are also like your sisters, who hated their husbands and children. Your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite.[h] 46 Your older sister was Samaria, that city to your north with her nearby villages. Your younger sister was Sodom, that city to your south with her nearby villages. 47 You followed their way of life and their wicked customs, and soon you were more disgusting than they were.

48 As surely as I am the living Lord God, the people of Sodom and its nearby villages were never as sinful as you. 49 They were arrogant and spoiled; they had everything they needed and still refused to help the poor and needy. 50 They thought they were better than everyone else, and they did things I hate. And so I destroyed them.

51 You people of Jerusalem have sinned twice as much as the people of Samaria. In fact, your evil ways have made both Sodom and Samaria look innocent. 52 So their punishment will seem light compared to yours. You will be disgraced and put to shame because of your disgusting sins.

Jerusalem Will Be Ashamed

The Lord said to Jerusalem:

53 Someday I will bless Sodom and Samaria and their nearby villages. I will also bless you, Jerusalem. 54 Then you will be ashamed of how you’ve acted, and Sodom and Samaria will be relieved that they weren’t as sinful as you. 55 When that day comes, you and Sodom and Samaria will once again be well-off, and all nearby villages will be restored.

56 Jerusalem, you were so arrogant that you sneered at Sodom. 57 But now everyone has learned how wicked you really are. The countries of Syria and Philistia, as well as your other neighbors, hate you and make insulting remarks. 58 You must pay for all the vulgar and disgusting things you have done. I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Makes a Promise to Jerusalem

The Lord said:

59 Jerusalem, you deserve to be punished, because you broke your promises and ignored our agreement. 60 But I remember the agreement I made with you when you were young,[i] and so I will make you a promise that will last forever. 61 When you think about how you acted, you will be ashamed, especially when I return your sisters[j] to you as daughters, even though this was not part of our agreement.[k] 62 I will keep this solemn promise, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 I will forgive you, but you will think about your sins and be too ashamed to say a word. I, the Lord God, have spoken.

Footnotes:

  1. 16.3 Amorite. . . Hittite: People who lived in Canaan before the Israelites and who worshiped idols.
  2. 16.4 rubbed your skin with salt and olive oil: People believed this toughened the skin of the babies.
  3. 16.8 I covered your naked body with my own robe: To show that he would protect and take care of her.
  4. 16.10 most expensive robes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 16.15 so you offered yourself to every passerby: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 16.16 These things should never have happened: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 16.30 wanted: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 30.
  8. 16.45 Amorite. . . Hittite: See the note at 16.3.
  9. 16.60 the agreement. . . when you were young: See verse 8.
  10. 16.61 sisters: Sodom and Samaria (see verses 44-52).
  11. 16.61 even though this was not part of our agreement: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Ezekiel 16 New International Version (NIV)

Jerusalem as an Adulterous Wife

16 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.

“‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”[a] I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew and developed and entered puberty. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, yet you were stark naked.

“‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.

“‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10 I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. 14 And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.

15 “‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. 16 You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. You went to him, and he possessed your beauty.[b] 17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them. 18 And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. 19 Also the food I provided for you—the flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat—you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign Lord.

20 “‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? 21 You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols. 22 In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood.

23 “‘Woe! Woe to you, declares the Sovereign Lord. In addition to all your other wickedness, 24 you built a mound for yourself and made a lofty shrine in every public square. 25 At every street corner you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, spreading your legs with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. 26 You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your neighbors with large genitals, and aroused my anger with your increasing promiscuity. 27 So I stretched out my hand against you and reduced your territory; I gave you over to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were shocked by your lewd conduct. 28 You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied. 29 Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia,[c] a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied.

30 “‘I am filled with fury against you,[d] declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute! 31 When you built your mounds at every street corner and made your lofty shrines in every public square, you were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment.

32 “‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! 33 All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. 34 So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.

35 “‘Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! 36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your naked body in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood, 37 therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see you stark naked. 38 I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring on you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. 39 Then I will deliver you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your mounds and destroy your lofty shrines. They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry and leave you stark naked. 40 They will bring a mob against you, who will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn down your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women. I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers. 42 Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.

43 “‘Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices?

44 “‘Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised her husband and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. 47 You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. 51 Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. 52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

53 “‘However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, 54 so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. 55 And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before. 56 You would not even mention your sister Sodom in the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered. Even so, you are now scorned by the daughters of Edom[e] and all her neighbors and the daughters of the Philistines—all those around you who despise you. 58 You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the Lord.

59 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. 60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, both those who are older than you and those who are younger. I will give them to you as daughters, but not on the basis of my covenant with you. 62 So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 16:6 A few Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts repeat and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”
  2. Ezekiel 16:16 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  3. Ezekiel 16:29 Or Chaldea
  4. Ezekiel 16:30 Or How feverish is your heart,
  5. Ezekiel 16:57 Many Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate Aram
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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