The Old Testament reading for Friday, August 17 is:

Ezekiel 23:11–35 (Listen)

11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became more corrupt than her sister1 in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister. 12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men. 13 And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way. 14 But she carried her whoring further. She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, 15 wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea. 16 When she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. 19 Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt 20 and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. 21 Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed2 your young breasts.”

22 Therefore, O Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will stir up against you your lovers from whom you turned in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side: 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, desirable young men, governors and commanders all of them, officers and men of renown, all of them riding on horses. 24 And they shall come against you from the north3 with chariots and wagons and a host of peoples. They shall set themselves against you on every side with buckler, shield, and helmet; and I will commit the judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments. 25 And I will direct my jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in fury. They shall cut off your nose and your ears, and your survivors shall fall by the sword. They shall seize your sons and your daughters, and your survivors shall be devoured by fire. 26 They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels. 27 Thus I will put an end to your lewdness and your whoring begun in the land of Egypt, so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.

28 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will deliver you into the hands of those whom you hate, into the hands of those from whom you turned in disgust, 29 and they shall deal with you in hatred and take away all the fruit of your labor and leave you naked and bare, and the nakedness of your whoring shall be uncovered. Your lewdness and your whoring 30 have brought this upon you, because you played the whore with the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; therefore I will give her cup into your hand. 32 Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “You shall drink your sister's cup
    that is deep and large;
  you shall be laughed at and held in derision,
    for it contains much;
33   you will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow.
  A cup of horror and desolation,
    the cup of your sister Samaria;
34   you shall drink it and drain it out,
    and gnaw its shards,
    and tear your breasts;

for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. 35 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring.”


[1] 23:11 Hebrew than she
[2] 23:21 Vulgate, Syriac; Hebrew bosom for the sake of
[3] 23:24 Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew word is unknown


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Old Testament Pastoral Commentary for Ezekiel 23:11-35
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
The second sister, Oholibah, representing the Southern Kingdom of Judah, should have heeded the warning given in the downfall of Oholah, the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Instead, she made herself even more corrupt than her sister. She not only sought refuge from enemies by appealing to Assyria, but to the Babylonians as well. Instead of trusting in the LORD and depending on Him, Judah and her princes tried to rescue themselves through foreign alliances or becoming the vassal of these foreign powers. When none of these strategies worked out, "she turned from them in disgust." The result of her spiritual adultery, however, was that the LORD turned away from Judah in disgust. She even played the harlot with Egypt again, as she had in the days of her youth, when Israel was a slave in Egypt. God warned, then, that He would stir up Judah's lovers against her. God would use them as agents of judgment to punish Judah for her idolatry and unfaithfulness. The facial mutilation described by God was frequently used as punishment for adultery in Babylon, since it destroyed the beauty of the adulteress and made her an object of disgust rather than affection. Judah would go from being the beloved bride of the LORD, to being shamefully disgraced, stripped naked and robbed of everything that had made her beautiful and attractive. God told Judah that all of this would happen, "because you played the whore with the nations and defiled yourself with their idols." The cup of her sister that the LORD would give Judah to drink from was the cup of God's wrath. Judah would be forced to completely drain out the cup of judgment and would be left drunken, despised and desolate. God told Judah, "Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring." God will not let our sinful rebellion go unchecked. His love for us will cause Him to chasten and discipline us according to our sin. Israel and Judah's sin was prolonged and pronounced, and therefore her judgment was also horrific. Nevertheless, it served the purpose of purifying a remnant for the LORD, that would ultimately be used by God for the salvation of mankind through the coming of the Messiah.