June 1, 2003, Vol.3, No.11.
Two new articles every two weeks.
Bible Question? E-mail
THIS ISSUE: "What
is the lesson of Ezekiel 23?" (see
and "Outline of the Book
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS:
What is the lesson
of Ezekiel 23?
by Tom Rainwater
QUESTION: I would like to know
the meaning of Ezekiel 23, specifically verse 13.
ANSWER: Ezekiel 23:13
The Context of Ezekiel 23
"Then I saw that she was defiled; both took the same
In Ezekiel 23, the prophet condemns the immorality of both
Samaria of Northern Israel (23:4,5-10) and Jerusalem of Judah
(23:4,11-21). In summarizing the history of these Israelite cities,
God likens them to two sisters who became harlots at a young
age (23:3,19) and continued their practice to an old age (23:43).
Instead of being faithful to God, they constantly turned their
affections to nations like Egypt (23:3) and embraced all of their
idols and false worship.
The people of Samaria also became infatuated with the might
and religion of Assyria (23:5-7), and incorporated its immorality
into their lives. Meanwhile they never gave up their lust for
God would punish Samaria by delivering her "into the
hands of the Assyrians, for whom she lusted" (23:9-10).
In other words, God allowed this foreign nation, with whom she
was fascinated, to execute judgment upon her for her sin.
At the time Ezekiel spoke these words, the nation of Samaria
had already been punished for its sin and destroyed by the Assyrians.
The prophet speaks of this as an example lesson to the Israelites
in Jerusalem. He then declared that Jerusalem herself had become
defiled by a lust for the sin of Egypt (23:19-21), Assyria (23:12)
and Babylon (23:14-18). She not only followed in "the
same way" of unfaithfulness as her sister Samaria (23:13),
she became more corrupt (23:11). Thus God would likewise punish
her (23:22-35). As God sent the Assyrians to destroy Samaria
in 721 B.C., He sent the Babylonians to level Jerusalem in 586
The great lesson of Ezekiel 23 is that we must learn from
the mistakes of others. The Israelites in Judah and Jerusalem
should have learned from the errors of their brethren in Samaria.
Sin and idolatry brought the wrath of God upon Samaria to its
extinction as a nation. Why didn't the people of Jerusalem reason
that if they did the same things, that they would receive the
same punishment? Failure to do so cost them their city, their
temple, their lives and their souls.
The Bible abounds in examples of ungodly people being punished
-- even those who were once faithful to Him. Let's take warning
from these passages and not become infatuated with the sin of
this world. Instead, let's serve the God of Heaven with diligence.
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