Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ezekiel 23 - The Adulterous Sisters

LINK: Ezekiel 23


BACKGROUND

This parable about the two adulterous sisters, Oholah and Oholibah, is similar to Ezekiel 16 because both deal with Judah's unfaithfulness to God. Ezekiel 16 emphasized Judah's idolatry and trust in other gods while this chapter focused on Judah's foreign alliances and trust in other nations on top of her idolatry.

The two sisters became prostitutes in Egypt. Oholah means "her tent" and Oholibah means "my tent is in her." Oholah represented Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, and Oholibah represented Jerusalem, the capital city of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Israel (Oholah) made an alliance with Assyria. 

The Black Obelisk of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (ca. 841 B.C.) mentions "Jehu son of Omri" with a picture of him bowing down to this Assyrian king. Jehu allied Israel with Assyria in order to avoid the Syrian threat, becoming a vassal and paying tribute that continued into the reigns of Menahem and Hoshea (2 Kings 10:32-34, 15:19-20; 17:3-4; Hosea 5:13-14; 7:11; 8:9; 12:1). When she tried to break away from Assyria by attempting to align with Syria and Egypt (2 Kings 17:4; Isaiah 7:1), Assyria crushed Samaria in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:5-6; 18-20).

This did not keep the younger sister, "Oholibah" (Jerusalem), from relying on Assyria rather than God. This may have been when Ahaz refused to align with Israel and Syria and aligned with Assyria by becoming its vassal. Despite Isaiah's urging to trust in God, Judah trusted in the nation of Assyria (2 Kings 16:5-9; Isaiah 7) and became its vassal for the next century. Then, they were vassals of Egypt until King Hezekiah turned to Babylon (2 Kings 20:12ff; Isaiah 38, 39). Then, King Jehoiakim turned to Egypt in 600 B.C. to free themselves from Babylonian oppression (2 Kings 24:1). Judah's final revolt happened in 588 B.C. when Egypt failed to help them and they were taken to captivity in Babylon (2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 37:5-8; Ezekiel 29:6-7). 

All of Ezekiel's prophecies came true! Jerusalem truly drank her sister's cup of judgment (23:31; Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17-23; Jeremiah 25:15-19; 51:7; Habakkuk 2:16; Revelation 17:3-4; 18:6) because she had "forgotten" God and "cast" Him behind her back (23:35).

No REFLECTION and APPLICATION today since yesterday was such a long one!

Keep Reading!

PRAYER

Lord, we are Your bride. Keep us faithful to You alone. Amen.
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