Parable of Two Sisters

Text: Ezekiel 23


I.         Two sisters from one mother

            A.        The northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah

            B.        Same imagery used in Jeremiah 3:7-10

            C.        Named - Ezekiel 23:4

                        1.         Oholah - Her tent (Samaria)

                                    a.         She had her own temple (tabernacle)

                        2.         Oholibah - My tent is in her (Jerusalem)

                                    a.         God’s temple (tabernacle) was in Jerusalem - Leviticus 26:11-12; Psalm 76:2

II.        In their youth, committed harlotry in Egypt

            A.        While in captivity in Egypt - Hosea 2:15

            B.        Israel worshiped the Egyptian gods - Ezekiel 20:8; Leviticus 17:7; Joshua 24:14

            C.        A parallel is made between idolatry and prostitution

                        1.         Adam Clarke notes that the original language is more graphic and specific than the translations.

                        2.         Why such a rough description that would make any reader squirm in embarrassment?

                                    a.         Because this was the nature of Israel’s sins.

                                    b.         It should have been embarrassing for their dirty laundry to be displayed in this fashion.

III.       The sins of Israel - Ezekiel 23:5-10

            A.        Though belonging to God, Israel longed for ties to Assyria - II Kings 15:19; 16:7-9; 17:3; Hosea 8:9

                        1.         Israel was seduced by the pomp and power of Assyria - Isaiah 10:5, 8-9

                        2.         She went so far as to worship the Assyrian gods - Hosea 5:3; 6:10

            B.        In addition, Israel never gave up worshiping the Egyptian gods

                        1.         They also made political alliances - Isaiah 30:2-3; 31:1

                        2.         Some suggest the molten calf was borrowed from Egyptian worship - Exodus 32:4; I Kings 12:28

            C.        Since Israel desired Assyria, God gave them Assyria – Assyria came and conquered them - II Kings 17:3-6. 23

                        1.         She was stripped naked of her possessions - Hosea 2:3,10

                        2.         Her people were carted off

                        3.         She became notorious among the nations

IV.      The sins of Judah - Ezekiel 23:11-21

            A.        She did not learn the lesson from Israel - Jeremiah 3:8-11

                        1.         Hosea warned against it - Hosea 4:15; 11:12

            B.        She became a worse harlot than Israel - Isaiah 1:21, II Kings 17:19

            C.        She chased after Assyria

            D.        She longed for Babylonia - Isaiah 39:2; II Kings 24:1

                        1.         Seeing the images displayed on Babylon’s palaces

                                    a.         Vermilion - A red ochre color

                                    b.         Jehoiakim copied the style - Jeremiah 22:14

                        2.         Awed by the fashion styles of the Babylonians - Ezekiel 16:29

                        3.         The alliance was sought for protection against Egypt - II Kings 23:29-24:7

                        4.         The problem was that Babylon’s idolatry came with the alliance

                        5.         Eventually Judah became tired of dealing with Babylon

            E.        Judah was so wrapped up in her alliances and idolatries that she didn’t notice that God had withdrawn from her - Isaiah 3:9; Jeremiah 8:12; Jeremiah 6:8; 12:8; Amos 6:8

            F.        Judah sought to deal with Egypt

                        1.         Like a evil woman who thinks bigger is better - Jeremiah 5:8

V.        God will do to Judah what was done to Israel - Ezekiel 23:22-35

            A.        God will cause all the alliances to sour. All the nations will turn against Judah - Habakkuk 1:6-10; Jeremiah 12:9-12

                        1.         The Babylonians and Chaldeans

                        2.         Pekod, Shoa, Koa - Either small countries near Babylon and apart of the empire, or descriptive terms (judgment, rich, noble)

                        3.         Assyria, whom Babylon had conquered.

            B.        In irony, the desirable traits of Babylon that caused Judah to look to Babylon for protection will be used against Judah in punishment. They will do to Judah as they desire.

            C.        God will act as a jealous husband - Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 32:21-22

                        1.         God threatens to remove Judah’s ears and nose, a frequent punishment against adulterers used among the Egyptians and Chaldeans - Micah 5:10-14

                        2.         Everything used to attract will be removed - Isaiah 3:17-24

            D.        The result will cause Judah to give up idolatry - Hosea 3:4

            E.        God will turn Judah over to her enemies - Jeremiah 34:20

                        1.         They will be treated poorly and what they have will be taken away - Deuteronomy 28:47-51

                        2.         Their sinfulness will be exposed for all to see - Jeremiah 22:8-9

                        3.         It will be a just punishment - Jeremiah 2:18-20; 16:11

            F.        God will give Judah Israel’s cup - Ezekiel 23:31-34

                        1.         Cup of God’s wrath - Psalm 11:6; 75:8; Jeremiah 25:15

                        2.         They will drink deeply of it - Isaiah 51:17

                        3.         Symbolism is used in New Testament - Matthew 20:22-23

                        4.         They will be scorned - Deuteronomy 28:37; I Kings 9:7

                        5.         “Drunk” on God’s anger - Jeremiah 25:27; Habakkuk 2:16; Isaiah 51:22

                        6.         They will drink it completely and then beat themselves up in their sorrow

            G.        This because they had forgotten God - Jeremiah 2:32; 13:25; Hosea 8:14; 13:6

                        1.         Cast God behind their back (no longer giving Him consideration) - I Kings 14:9

VI.      God asks Ezekiel to judge and declare Israel and Judah’s sins - Ezekiel 23:36-45

            A.        If Ezekiel understands their sins, he must declare them - Isaiah 58:1

            B.        They have committed spiritual adultery with their idols, even to the sacrificing of their sons

                        1.         They have profaned God’s sanctuary and His Sabbaths - II Kings 21:4, 7; Jeremiah 17:27

                        2.         They did this the same day as going to their idols - Jeremiah 7:8-11; 11:15

            C.        They have solicited deals with foreign nations - Isaiah 57:9; Jeremiah 4:30

                        1.         Sabeans - bandits of the wilderness - Job 1:15; Joel 3:8

                        2.         God is surprised that the other nations are interested in this worn out whore, but they did

                        3.         Righteous people will see it for what it is

VII.     God will punish - Ezekiel 23:46-49

            A.        God calls for judgment and execution - Jeremiah 34:17

                        1.         Adultery brings the death penalty - Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22

                        2.         What happened - II Chronicles 36:17-19; Jeremiah 39:8; 52:13

            B.        People will know that sins are punished - Deuteronomy 13:11; Isaiah 26:9; II Peter 2:6

            C.        The very ones Israel desired to join in sinning will serve as punishment for their sins - Isaiah 59:18