Ezekiel 16 International Standard Version (ISV)
A Prophecy Confronting Jerusalem
16 This message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of Man, make known to Israel her detestable practices. 3 You are to declare, ‘This is what the Lord God says to Jerusalem: “Your birth place[a] was the territory that belonged to the Canaanites. Your father was an Ammonite and your mother was a Hittite. 4 Now as to your birth, on the day you were born your umbilical cord wasn’t cut. You weren’t washed with water to clean you, and nobody rubbed you with salt. And it’s certain that you weren’t wrapped in strips of cloth. 5 Nobody pitied you to do any of these things for you, and nobody showed you any compassion. You were tossed outside on the ground, because you[b] were detested from the day you were born.
6 “‘“When I passed by you, I saw you kicking around, covered in your own blood. That’s when I told you, ‘Live!’—while you were wallowing in your blood. I commanded you to live, even as you lay there in your own blood. 7 I made you increase like sprouting grain[c] in the field. As a result, you multiplied greatly. Eventually, you reached the age when young women start wearing jewelry. Your breasts were formed, your hair had grown, but you were still bare and naked.”’”
God’s Betrothal to Jerusalem
8 “When I passed by you again, I looked at you, and noticed that it was your proper time for love. I spread my cloak[d] over you to cover your nakedness. I made a solemn promise to you and entered into a covenant with you,” declares the Lord God. “You belong to me. 9 I bathed you with water, rinsed your own blood from you, and anointed you with oil. 10 Then I covered you with embroidered clothing, clothed your feet with leather sandals, wrapped[e] you with fine linen, and dressed you in silk. 11 I adorned you with jewels, placing bracelets on your hand and necklaces on your neck. 12 I put a ring in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a crown encrusted with jewels on your head. 13 You were adorned with gold, silver, clothing of fine linen, silk, and embroidery. You ate food made from the finest flour, honey, and olive oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, attaining royal status. 14 Your fame[f] spread throughout the nations because of your beauty. You were perfectly beautiful due to my splendor with which I endowed you,” declares the Lord God.
Jerusalem’s Arrogant Unfaithfulness
15 “But you trusted in your beauty. You did what whores do, as a result of your fame. You passed out your sexual favors[g] to anyone who passed by, giving yourself to anyone. 16 You took some of your clothes and made gaily-colored high places and prostituted yourself all around them—something which had never happened before nor will ever happen again.
17 “You also took your fine jewelry—including my gold and my silver that I had given you. Then you made for yourself male images and had sex with them! 18 You took your embroidered gowns and made clothes to cover them. Then you offered my olive oil and incense to them.
19 “Not only that, you took the food I gave you—my fine flour, olive oil, and honey with which I fed you, and you offered[h] them to those gods[i] in order to appease them.[j] That’s exactly what happened,” says the Lord God. 20 “Then you took your sons and daughters whom you bore for me and sacrificed them for your idols to eat. As though your prostitutions were an insignificant thing, 21 you also slaughtered my sons and offered them to idols, incinerating them in fire.[k] 22 Throughout all of your detestable practices and immorality, you never did remember your earlier life when you were bare, naked, and wallowing in your own blood.”
The Unfaithfulness of God’s People
23 “How terrible! How terrible it will be for all of your wickedness!” declares the Lord God. 24 “You built raised mounds and high places for yourself on every plaza. 25 At every street corner you made your beauty abhorrent when you made yourself available for sex to[l] anyone who was passing by. By doing this, you kept on committing more and more immorality. 26 Then you committed immorality with your neighbors, the Egyptians,[m] with perverted lust,[n] and by doing so you fornicated even more, provoking me to anger.
27 “Therefore, look out! I’ve reached out to oppose you. I withdrew your rations and delivered you[o] to those Philistine women who hate you. Even they were embarrassed at your wicked ways! 28 You committed immorality with the Assyrians,[p] because you still weren’t satisfied. You committed immorality with them, but you still weren’t satisfied. 29 You committed even more immorality with that land of the merchants, the Chaldeans. But you weren’t satisfied even with these!
30 “How weak is your heart,” declares the Lord God, “when you committed all of these deeds, the acts of an imperious whore! 31 When you built your mound on every street corner and constructed your high place at every plaza, you weren’t like a common prostitute, in that you’ve insulted the wages of a prostitute 32 who commits adultery, preferring a stranger over her husband!
33 “All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give your gifts to all your lovers, then you bribe them to come to you from everywhere to get your sexual favors![q] 34 You’re different from other women when you commit immorality—no one can match you in that![r] After all, you pay fees, but no fee is given to you. You’re certainly different!”
The Coming Punishment
35 “Therefore listen to this message from the Lord, you whore! 36 This is what the Lord God says: ‘Because your lust has been poured out and your nakedness has been uncovered by your acts of fornication with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols and the blood of your sons, whom you offered to them, 37 therefore, watch out! I’m about to gather all your lovers from whom you’ve received your pleasure, everyone whom you’ve loved, and those whom you’ve hated. I’ll gather them together to oppose you from every side, and they’ll uncover your nakedness in their presence. Then they’ll see you completely naked. 38 I’ll judge you with the same standards by which I issue verdicts against a woman who commits adultery and murder.[s] I’ll avenge the blood you’ve shed with impassioned wrath.[t]
39 “I’ll also deliver you into their control, and they’ll break down your mounds, tear down your high places, strip off your clothes, remove your fine jewels, and then they’ll leave you stark naked! 40 They’ll bring a mob against you to stone you to death[u] and cut you into pieces with their swords. 41 Then they’ll burn your houses and carry out my sentence[v] against you in the sight of many women.
“That’s how I’ll make you stop your prostitution so you won’t pay any prostitute’s fees anymore. 42 I’ll stop being angry with you, and I’ll cease being jealous.[w] I’ll be calm and not be indignant anymore. 43 Because you didn’t remember the time when you were young, but instead you provoked me to anger because of all these things, watch out! I’m going to bring your behavior back to haunt[x] you!” declares the Lord God. “Didn’t you do this wicked thing, in addition to all your other[y] detestable practices?”
Like Mother, Like Daughter
44 “Now, everyone who likes proverbs will quote this proverb about you, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You’re the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and children. You’re the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children.
“Your mother was a Hittite and your father was an Amorite. 46 Your elder sister was Samaria. She and her daughters lived in the north,[z] while your younger sister who lived in the south[aa] with her daughters was Sodom. 47 It wasn’t just that you lived like they did and committed their detestable practices, but in just a little while your behavior led you to become more corrupt than they were!”
Sins of Sodom
48 “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “your sister Sodom and her daughters didn’t do what you and your daughters have done. 49 Look! This was the sin of your sister Sodom and her daughters: Pride, too much food, undisturbed peace, and failure to help[ab] the poor and needy. 50 In their arrogance, they committed detestable practices in my presence, so when I saw it, I removed them. 51 Samaria didn’t commit half of your sins—you practiced more detestable deeds than they did! You’ve caused your sister to be more righteous than you, because of the detestable practices that you’ve committed. 52 So now, bear your own shame as you mediate for your sisters. The sins that you’ve committed are more detestable than theirs. That makes them more righteous than you. Indeed, be ashamed and bear your reproach, because you’ve made your sisters to be more righteous than you.”
A Change in Circumstances
53 “I’ll bring them back from their captivity—that is, from the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, along with the captivity of Samaria and her daughters and the captivity of your captives among them. 54 But you’ll continue to bear your own reproach and be humiliated for everything that you’ve done. You’ll be a comfort to them. 55 Your sister Sodom and her daughters will be restored to their former status. Samaria and her daughters will be restored to their former status. Then you and your daughters will be restored to your former status.
56 “When you were being so arrogant, you never once mentioned your sister Sodom 57 before your wickedness was revealed. Now you’ve become an object of derision to the inhabitants[ac] of Aram and its neighbors, including the Philistines[ad]—all those around you who despise you. 58 You are to bear the punishment of your wickedness and detestable practices,” declares the Lord, 59 “since the Lord God says, ‘I’ll deal with you according to what you’ve done, when you despised your oath by breaking the covenant.
60 “‘Meanwhile, as for me, I’ll remember my covenant with you from when you were young, because I’ll establish an eternal covenant with you. 61 Then you’ll remember your behavior and be ashamed when you greet your sisters—your elder sister and your younger sister. I’ll give them to you as daughters, but not on account of my covenant with you. 62 I’ll establish my covenant with you, and then you’ll know that I am the Lord. 63 Then you will remember, be ashamed, and you won’t open your mouth anymore due to humiliation when I will have made atonement for you for everything that you’ve done,’ declares the Lord God.”
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Upgrade to the best Bible Gateway experience! With Bible Gateway Plus, you gain instant access to a digital Bible study library, including complete notes from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible and the New Bible Commentary. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.