Ezekiel 23-24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Two Sinful Sisters
23 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, listen to this story about two sisters. 3 While they were young and living in Egypt, they became prostitutes. 4 The older one was named Oholah, which stands for Samaria; the younger one was Oholibah, which stands for Jerusalem.[a] They became my wives and gave birth to my children.
5 Even though Oholah was my wife, she continued to be a prostitute and chased after Assyrian lovers. 6 She offered herself to soldiers in purple uniforms, to every handsome, high-ranking officer, and to cavalry troops. 7 She had sex with all the important Assyrian officials and even worshiped their disgusting idols. 8 Once she started doing these things in Egypt, she never stopped. Men slept with her, and she was always ready for sex.
9 So I gave Oholah to the Assyrian lovers she wanted so badly. 10 They ripped off her clothes, then captured her children and killed her. Women everywhere talked about what had happened to Oholah.
11 Oholibah saw all this, but she was more sinful and wanted sex more than her sister Oholah ever did. 12 Oholibah also chased after good-looking Assyrian officers, uniformed soldiers, and cavalry troops. 13 Just like her sister, she did vulgar things.
14 But Oholibah behaved worse than her sister. Oholibah saw images of Babylonian men carved into walls and painted red. 15 They had belts around their waists and large turbans on their heads, and they reminded her of Babylonian cavalry officers. 16 As soon as she looked at them, she wanted to have sex with them. And so, she sent messengers to bring them to her. 17 Men from Babylonia came and had sex with her so many times that she got disgusted with them. 18 She let everyone see her naked body and didn’t care if they knew she was a prostitute. That’s why I turned my back on her, just as I had done with her older sister.
19 Oholibah didn’t stop there, but became even more immoral and acted as she had back in Egypt. 20 She eagerly wanted to go to bed with Egyptian men, who were famous for their sexual powers. 21 And she longed for the days when she was a young prostitute, when men enjoyed having sex with her.
The Lord Will Punish Oholibah
22 The Lord God said:
Oholibah,[b] though you no longer want to be around your lovers, they will surround you like enemies, when I turn them against you. 23 I will gather all the handsome young officials and the high-ranking cavalry officers from Babylonia and Assyria, as well as from the Chaldean tribes of Pekod, Shoa, and Koa. 24 Their large armies will come from the north[c] with chariots and wagons carrying weapons. They will wear shields and helmets and will surround you, and I will let them judge and sentence you according to their own laws. 25 I am angry with you, so I will let them be very cruel. They will cut off your nose and ears; they will kill your children and put to death anyone in your family who is still alive. 26 Your clothes and jewelry will be torn off. 27 I will stop your wickedness and the prostitution you started back in Egypt. You will never want to think about those days again.
28 I, the Lord God, am ready to hand you over to those hateful enemies that you find so disgusting. 29 They will cruelly take away everything you have worked for and strip you naked. Then everyone will see you for the prostitute you really are. Your own vulgar sins 30 have led to this. You were the one determined to have sex with men from other nations and to worship their idols. 31 You have turned out no better than your older sister, and now you must drink from the cup filled with my anger.
32 I, the Lord God, gave your sister a large, deep cup filled with my anger. And when you drink from that cup, you will be mocked and insulted. 33 You will end up drunk and devastated, because that cup is filled with horror and ruin. 34 But you must drink every drop! Then smash the cup to pieces and use them to cut your breasts in sorrow. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
35 You have completely rejected me, and so I promise that you will be punished for the disgusting things you did as a prostitute.
The Two Sisters Are Condemned
36 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, it’s time for you to tell Oholah and Oholibah[d] that they are guilty. Remind them of their evil ways! 37 They have been unfaithful by worshiping idols, and they have committed murder by sacrificing my own children as offerings to idols. 38-39 They came into my temple that same day, and that made it unfit as a place to worship me. They have even stopped respecting the Sabbath.
40 They sent messengers to attract men from far away. When those men arrived, the two sisters took baths and put on eye shadow and jewelry. 41 They sat on a fancy couch, and in front of them was a table for the olive oil and incense that had belonged to me. 42 Their room was always filled with a noisy crowd of drunkards brought in from the desert. These men gave the women bracelets and beautiful crowns, 43 and I noticed that the men were eager to have sex with these women, though they were exhausted from being prostitutes.[e] 44 In fact, the men had sex over and over with Oholah and Oholibah, the two sinful sisters. 45 But good men will someday accuse those two of murder and of being unfaithful, because they are certainly guilty.
46 So I, the Lord God, now say to these sisters:
I will call together an angry mob that will abuse and rob you. 47 They will stone you to death and cut you to pieces; they will kill your children and burn down your houses. 48 I will get rid of sinful prostitution in this country, so that women everywhere will be warned not to act as you have. 49 You will be punished for becoming prostitutes and for worshiping idols, and you will know that I am the Lord God.
A Cooking Pot
24 Nine years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the Lord spoke to me on the tenth day of the tenth month.[f] He said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, write down today’s date, because the king of Babylonia has just begun attacking the city of Jerusalem. 3 Then tell my rebellious people:
“Pour water in a cooking pot
6 These words mean that Jerusalem is doomed! The city is filled with murderers and is like an old, rusty pot. The meat is taken out piece by piece, and no one cares what happens to it.[h] 7 The people of Jerusalem murdered innocent people in the city and didn’t even try to cover up the blood that flowed out on the hard ground. 8 But I have seen that blood, and it cries out for me to take revenge.
9 I, the Lord God, will punish that city of violence! I will make a huge pile of firewood, 10 so bring more wood and light it. Cook the meat and boil away the broth[i] to let the bones scorch. 11 Then set the empty pot over the hot coals until it is red-hot. That will clean the pot and burn off the rust. 12 I’ve tried everything else. Now the rust must be burned away.[j]
13 Jerusalem is so full of sin and evil that I can’t get it clean, even though I have tried. It will stay filthy until I let loose my fierce anger against it. 14 That time will certainly come! And when it does, I won’t show the people of Jerusalem any pity or change my mind. They must be punished for the evil they have done. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
Ezekiel’s Wife Dies
15 The Lord said, 16 “Ezekiel, son of man, I will suddenly take the life of the person you love most. But I don’t want you to complain or cry. 17 Mourn in silence and don’t show that you are grieving. Don’t remove your turban or take off your sandals; don’t cover your face to show your sorrow, or eat the food that mourners eat.”[k]
18 One morning, I was talking with the people as usual, and by sunset my wife was dead. The next day I did what the Lord told me, 19 and when people saw me, they asked, “Why aren’t you mourning for your wife?”
20 I answered:
The Lord God says 21 he is ready to destroy the temple in which you take such pride and which makes you feel so safe. Your children who now live in Jerusalem will be killed. 22 Then you will do the same things I have done. You will leave your face uncovered and refuse to eat the food that mourners usually eat. 23 You won’t take off your turbans and your sandals.[l] You won’t cry or mourn, but all day long you will go around groaning because of your sins.
24 I am a warning sign—everything I have done, you will also do. And then you will know the Lord God has made these things happen.
25 The Lord said, “Ezekiel, I will soon destroy the temple that makes everyone feel proud and safe, and I will take away their children as well. 26 On that same day, someone will escape from the city and come to tell you what has happened. 27 Then you will be able to speak again,[m] and the two of you will talk. You will be a warning sign to the people, and they will know that I am the Lord.”
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