Ezekiel 22-23 – Jerusalem Under Judgment

22:1-5 – Jerusalem is named “city of bloodshed” (see the similar naming of Nineveh in Nahum 3:1).  The making of idols and shedding of blood were violations of the two-fold sense of the commandments: love the LORD your God with all heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  Jerusalem therefore faced judgment at the hands of the LORD and mockery before the other nations.
22:6-12 – The specific sins of the “princes” of Jerusalem.  “Treated father and mother with contempt” (Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lv. 19:3; 20:9); “oppressed the alien and mistreated the fatherless and widow” (Ex. 22:21-22; Dt. 14:29; 24:17, 19-21); “desecrated the Sabbaths” (Ex. 20:11; Lv. 25:1-7; Dt. 5:15); “slanderous” (Lv. 19:16); “eat at mountain shrines” (Lv. 19:26); “dishonor your father’s bed” (Lv. 18:7-8; 20:11); “violate women during their period” (Lv. 18:19; 20:18); “detestable offense with his neighbor’s wife” (Lv. 18:20; 20:10); “defiles his daughter-in-law” (Lv. 18:15); “violates his sister” (Lv. 18:9; 20:17); “accept bribes” (Ex. 18:21; Dt. 27:25); “take usury and excessive interest” (Lv. 25:36); “unjust gain” (Lv. 19:13).  All of these sins were indicative of the sin of having “forgotten” the LORD (Dt. 4:9, 23; 8:19). 
22:13-16 – Why would the LORD clap his hands against Jerusalem?  Who can stand in the day of God’s judgment?  What is the positive and negative significance of the LORD scattering Israel among the nations as judgment?  What is the LORD’s reason for doing this? (vs. 16)
22:17-22 – The process of silver-smithing as the metaphor for judgment here refers to those who remain in Jerusalem as nothing more than the dross of the process (cf. Prov. 25:4; for specifics of the process see A. Konkel, NIDOTTE “sig”).
22:23-31 – Note the various classes of Israel and their respective failures towards the covenant (cf. Mic. 3:5-12; Zeph. 3:3-4).  What is the significance of no rain? (Lv. 26:19-20; Dt. 28:23-24)  Also, note how the priests are censured here concerning their failure to distinguish between the holy/profane and clean/unclean (Lv. 10:10; 11-15).  “Those who pervert ‘Thy kingdom come’ to ‘my kingdom come’ invite the wrath of God” (Block NICOT 728).  Verse 30 declares that no one was found to be a righteous intermediary on behalf of the people and therefore Jerusalem would be judged.
23:1-4 – A tale of two sisters: Oholah and Oholibah.  Oholah (Samaria) means “her own tent” and Oholibah (Jerusalem) “my tent in her” though the possible reasoning for these names remains rather obscure, the point of the names is to identify the two as indeed sisters belonging to the same family (Block NICOT 735-6).  What might be the significance of the LORD taking two wives who are sisters (cf. Gen. 29; Lv. 18:18).
23:5-10 – What does the spirit of prostitution from Oholah’s days in Egypt refer to?  Her adultery with Assyria seems to refer at least to the alliance King Jehu made with Shalmaneser III of Assyria in 840BC (memorialized on the Black Stele).  What are the consequences of her adulterous seeking after the Assyrians?  Who is declared to suffer for her sins? (vs. 10)
23:11-21 – What was the difference between Oholah and Oholibah?  Notice that Oholibah not only saw what happened to Oholah, but committed the same adultery with Assyria and then still went after Babylon based off of pictures of them on a wall.  The adultery with Assyria seems to refer at least to the seeking of an alliance by King Ahaz with Tiglath-Pileser in 734BC (2 Kings 16:5-7); while the adultery with Babylon seems to refer at least to the attempts by King Hezekiah to allure Merodach-Baladan in 714BC (2 Kings 20:12-13).  Did Oholibah’s fornication lead to either fulfillment or satisfaction?  The lusting after the images of the Babylonians is similar to the idolatry committed by the elders of Jerusalem in the secret room of the wall of the Temple (Eze. 8:9-12).  Had Oholibah ever really been faithful or pure?  What kind of satisfaction was she seeking?
23:22-35 – Who will carry out the judgment?  In verse 23, Pekod means “punishment”; Shoa means “war cry”; Koa means “shriek”.  What sorts of things will Oholibah suffer?  What is the charge laid against her in verse 30?  The “cup” of the LORD’s wrath is described here as elsewhere (Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15-17; 49:12; Lam. 4:21; Matt. 20:22; 26:39; Rev. 14:10).  Again note the charge of having forgotten the LORD.
23:36-49 – The charge of adultery and murder.  How did these apply?  Notice that the children sacrificed were the LORD’s own, and it was His temple that was defiled and His Sabbaths that were violated.  What does the LORD call Oholah and Oholibah for their adulteries?  How did the LORD intend to cleanse the land?  Finally it is once again stated that when all this would be accomplished that they would know the LORD as sovereign.  How does judgment demonstrate this?
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