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CHAPTER 16 Sep. 20 
Judah’s Unfaithfulness
Again the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 2Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations 3and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh to Jerusalem: Your birthplace is in the land of the Canaanite; the Amorite was your father, and your mother was a Hittite. 4As for your birth, in the day you were born your navel was not tied neither were you washed in water to cleanse you; you weren’t salted at all, nor swaddled at all. 5No eye pitied you to do any of these things to you, to have compassion on you; but you were cast out in the open desert, because your existence was despised in the day that you were born. 6When I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you, Though you are in your blood, live; yes, I said to you, Though you are in your blood, live. 7I caused you to multiply as that which grows in the field, and you increased and grew great, and you attained to excellent beauty; your breasts were fashioned, and your hair was grown; yet you were naked and bare. 8Now when I passed by you and looked at you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread My skirt over you, and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore to you, and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord Yahweh, and you became Mine. 9Then washed I you with water; yes, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil. 10I clothed you also with embroidered work, gave you shoes of sealskin, dressed you with fine linen, and covered you with silk. 11I beautified you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a chain on your neck. 12I put a jewel on your forehead, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13Thus you were decked with gold and silver; and your clothing was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered work; you ate fine flour, honey and oil; and you were exceedingly beautiful, and you prospered to become a kingdom. 14Your renown went forth among the nations for your beauty; for it was perfect on account of My majesty which I had put on you, says the Lord Yahweh. 15But you trusted in your beauty and played the prostitute because of your renown, and poured out your prostitution on everyone who passed by; his it was. 16You took of your garments and made for yourselves high places decorated with various colours, and played the prostitute on them: such things shall not come, neither shall it be so. 17You also took your beautiful jewels of My gold and of My silver which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men and played the prostitute with them; 18and you took your embroidered garments and put them on the images, and set My oil and My incense before them. 19My bread also which I gave you, fine flour, and oil, and honey, with which I fed you, you even set it before them for a pleasant aroma; and thus it was, says the Lord Yahweh. 20Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters whom you have borne to Me, and you have sacrificed these to them to be devoured. Was your prostitution a small matter, 21that you have slain My children and delivered them up, in causing them to pass through the fire to them? 22In all your abominations and your prostitution you have not remembered the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, and were wallowing in your blood. 23It has happened after all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! says the Lord Yahweh), 24that you have built for yourselves a vaulted place, and have made yourselves a high place in every street. 25You have built your lofty place at the head of every street, and have made your beauty an abomination, and have opened your feet to everyone who passed by and multiplied your prostitution. 26You have also committed sexual immorality with the Egyptians your lustful neighbours, and have multiplied your prostitution, to provoke Me to anger. 27See therefore, I have stretched out My hand over you and have diminished your allotted portion of food, and delivered you to the will of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who are ashamed of your lewd way. 28You have played the prostitute also with the Assyrians because you were insatiable; yes, you have played the prostitute with them, and yet you weren’t satisfied. 29You have moreover multiplied your prostitution to the land of merchants, to Chaldea; and yet you weren’t satisfied with this. 30How weak is your heart, says the Lord Yahweh, since you do all these things, the work of an impudent prostitute; 31in that you build your vaulted place at the head of every street, and make your high place in every street, and have not been as a prostitute, in that you scorn pay. 32A wife who commits adultery! Who takes strangers instead of her husband! 33They give gifts to all prostitutes; but you give your gifts to all your lovers and bribe them that they may come to you on every side for your prostitution. 34You are different from other women in your prostitution, in that no one follows you to play the prostitute; and whereas you give hire, and no hire is given to you, therefore you are different. 35Therefore, prostitute, hear the word of Yahweh: 36Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered through your prostitution with your lovers; and because of all the idols of your abominations, and for the blood of your children that you gave to them; 37therefore see, I will gather all your lovers, with whom you have taken pleasure, and all those who you have loved, with all those who you have hated; I will even gather them against you on every side, and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. 38I will judge you, as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy. 39I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your vaulted place, and break down your lofty places; and they shall strip you of your clothes, and take your beautiful jewels; and they shall leave you naked and bare. 40They shall also bring up a company against you, and they shall stone you with stones and thrust you through with their swords. 41They shall burn your houses with fire, and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; and I will cause you to cease from playing the prostitute, and you shall also give no hire any more. 42So will I cause My wrath toward you to rest, and My jealousy shall depart from you, and I will be quiet and will be no more angry. 43Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have raged against Me in all these things; therefore, behold, I also will bring your way on your head, says the Lord Yahweh: and you shall not commit this lewdness with all your abominations. 44Behold, everyone who uses proverbs shall use this proverb against you, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. 45You are the daughter of your mother, who loathes her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children: your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite. 46Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells at your left hand, she and her daughters; and your younger sister, who dwells at your right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. 47Yet have you not walked in their ways, nor done after their abominations; but, as if that were a very little thing, you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, Sodom your sister has not done, she nor her daughters, as you have done, you and your daughters. 49Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50They were proud and committed sexual abomination before Me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. 51Neither has Samaria committed half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters by all your abominations which you have done. 52You also bear you your own shame, in that you have given judgment for your sisters; through your sins that you have committed more abominable than they, they are more righteous than you: yes, be also confounded, and bear your shame, in that you have justified your sisters. 53I will turn again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and the captivity of your captives in their midst; 54that you may bear your own shame, and may be ashamed because of all that you have done, in that you are a comfort to them. 55Your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate; and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate; and you and your daughters shall return to your former estate. 56For your sister Sodom was a byword to you in the day of your pride, 57before your wickedness was uncovered, as at the time of the reproach of the daughters of Syria, and of all who are around her, the daughters of the Philistines, who do despite to you all around. 58You have borne your lewdness and your abominations, says Yahweh. 59For thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will also deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant. 60Nevertheless I will remember My covenant made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish to you an everlasting covenant. 61Then you shall remember your ways, and be ashamed, when you shall receive your sisters, your elder sisters and your younger; and I will give them to you for daughters, but not by your covenant. 62I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall know that I am Yahweh; 63that you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more because of your shame, when I have forgiven you all that you have done, says the Lord Yahweh.


16:3 Israel are reminded that ethnically they’re not so different from the surrounding nations, seeing that Abraham their ancestor was originally from Ur. The basis of being ‘Jewish’ and part of God’s people was therefore God’s grace rather than anything ethnic.
16:5 This is very much the language of Isaac’s half brother Ishmael, ancestor of many of Israel’s enemies (Gen. 21:10-16). Israel were no better than the Gentile world, just as they are today not inherently better than their Arab cousins, and as we in essence are no better than the world around us. It’s God’s calling, which is by grace alone, which makes all the difference.
16:8 God found Israel in the wilderness, covered them with a cloud (cp. His ‘skirt’) at Sinai, and there entered a covenant with them. 
16:10 This alludes to the materials used for the tabernacle and priestly clothing. The intention of all that legislation, as with all God’s Law, is to make us beautiful in His eyes.
16:13 You ate fine flour, honey and oil- A reference to the priests eating these offerings. The whole people of Israel are spoken of here as if they were priests; it was God’s intention that the whole nation should become priests (Ex. 19:6). We as the modern people of God are likewise all intended to be priests (1 Pet. 2:9), taking spiritual responsibility for others rather than leaving it to a dedicated minority of the community.
16:20 Our children are borne to God; we’re not therefore free to raise them as we wish, but as He wishes, because they are His children.
16:37 The metaphors used to describe the anger of God with Israel are pretty awful. Her children to be slain with thirst, she was to be stripped naked by her husband (Hosea 2), gang raped by her lovers, having her nose cut off and left a battered, bleeding mess in the scrubland (Ez. 16,23), to have her skirt pulled up over her head and her nakedness revealed (Jer. 13:20-27), wishing to pluck off her own breasts for shame (23:34). Jerusalem is to be raped, violated and humiliated, according to Ezekiel. Indeed, Ezekiel’s images verge at times on what some would consider pornographic. He speaks of the woman Israel’s pubic hair, breasts, menstrual cycle (:7,9,10); the gang rape by her enemies which God would bring about, leaving her mutilated and humiliated (:37; 23:22-49); about the size of her lovers’ sexual organs and coital emissions, and how she let them fondle her breasts (23:8,20). This is shocking language, which perhaps we skip over in our Bible reading from sheer embarrassment- and we are 21st century readers brutalized by exposure to this kind of stuff in the media. For early Israel, it would all have been even more shocking. It all seemed out of proportion to having ‘merely’ made a few political alliances with Egypt and Assyria. Was that really like a wife letting other men fondle her breasts and have sex with her, admiring their bodies as she did so? Did it all have to end in such brutality and vulgarity? Today, sex and violence are what attract attention. From lyrics of songs to advertising and movies, that’s clear enough. And the prophets are using the same tactics to arrest Israel’s attention, all the more so because nudity and sex were things simply not up for public discussion. There’s an anxiety which any talk about sex seems to arouse in us, and it was the prophets’ intention to make us likewise get on the edge of our seats, anxious, rapt, sensitive for the next word… realizing that really and truly, this is what human sin does to God. The outrageous sex talk was to bring out how outrageous and obscene are our sins and unfaithfulness to the covenant we cut with God in baptism. The shocking sexual language and imagery of the prophets was in order to help Israel see that this was how far they had outraged God. It was and is a rhetoric that cannot be forgotten, shrugged off, re-interpreted. The rhetoric pushes relentlessly for a response in our consciences. 
16:49 Note how pride, ignoring the poor and self-indulgence are highlighted as Sodom’s essential sins; the sin of homosexuality is no worse nor better than these sins.
This was the iniquity… fullness of bread- The “fullness of bread” was itself a sin. Hoarding wealth when others are poor and needy is “iniquity”.
16:50 The abomination of their sexual perversion is placed last in the list of their sins, as if to emphasize that all the other sins were just as much sin. Likewise Paul writes to the Corinthians about their failures, but he doesn’t start where I would have started- with their drunkenness at the memorial meeting. Instead he starts off with their disunity. Those things which we may consider as lesser sins, the Bible continually lists together with those things we have been conditioned into thinking are the greater sins. Clearest of all is the way Paul lists schism and hatred in his lists of sins that will exclude from the Kingdom. The worldviews of many societies have taught that sexual sin is so infinitely far worse than a bit of argument within a church, or ignoring others’ poverty. But is this really right…?
16:51 This statement that Judah (the two tribe Kingdom) sinned more than Israel (the ten tribes) needs some meditation upon; God really did lavish grace upon the weakest of the weak.