Ezekiel 23 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Ezekiel 23)

Verse 2

[2] Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:

Two women — Judah, and Israel, two kingdoms.

Verse 3

[3] And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

Whoredoms — Idolatry.

Verse 4

[4] And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.

Aholah — That is, his own tabernacle; for Israel falling off from the house of David, fell off from the tabernacle, or temple of God; so that all the temple they had was of their own making.

The elder — Greater for number of tribes, and for power, wealth, and for multitudes of people.

Aholibah — That is, my tabernacle in her: the two tribes had the temple of God with them.

Mine — By solemn marriage-covenant.

Bare sons — Were fruitful and brought forth children to me; they increased in numbers of people; and among these, some there were that were children of God by faith, love, and obedience.

Verse 5

[5] And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours,

Played the harlot — United in idolatry, with the Assyrians.

Mine — When under my government, and protection.

Verse 6

[6] Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.

Horsemen — Skillful in riding, and well furnished with choice horses.

Verse 7

[7] Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.

With all — Other nations, with whom she had commerce.

Verse 10

[10] These discovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed judgment upon her.

Discovered — Stript her naked, and exposed her to shame.

Took her sons — Captives.

Slew her — The kingdom of Israel, under Hoshea, was by Salmanesar utterly destroyed.

They — The Assyrians, had executed God's just displeasure upon her.

Verse 15

[15] Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:

Girded — With soldiers belts, which includes the rest of the habit of soldiers.

In dyed attire — Both rich, comely, large, and of divers colours.

Princes — Of princely aspect and majesty.

Verse 17

[17] And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.

Alienated — She grew weary of the Chaldeans.

Verse 18

[18] So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.

Discovered — Made it appear to all, far and near.

Verse 19

[19] Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

By — Remembering her idolatries in Egypt, her alliance with it in days past, which she now resolved to act over again.

Verse 20

[20] For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

Paramours — The nations, that were confederate with the Egyptians.

Verse 23

[23] The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.

Pekod — Pekod is the province between Tigris, and Lycus; in this was old Nineveh.

Shoa — Either Sia in Armenia, or the Sohia, among which were the Adiabeni, and this contained the middle part of the kingdom of Babylon.

Koa — This bordered upon Media, the inhabitants were called Kohai, and dwelt about Arbela.

And all — All subjects of the Assyrian monarchy.

Verse 24

[24] And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.

And wheels — Lest in their march the carriage wheels should break, a store of these were provided.

An assembly — A mighty confluence of people.

I will set — Give them a power in right of conquest over their rebels, as well as mine, and I will give them a spirit of judgment to discern the greatness of this people's sins.

Judge — Condemn, and execute sentence upon thee.

According — To their will, power, wrath, and custom, against rebels; for these are their rules of judgment.

Verse 25

[25] And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.

I will set my jealousy — As a jealous provoked husband, I will be as much against thee as they are.

Thy residue — Either the people, who hid themselves in vaults and cellars, or what the Chaldeans cannot carry away, all this shall be devoured by fire.

Verse 29

[29] And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.

Take away — Deprive thee of the comfortable use of all thy labour, which they will exact of thee in captivity.

Verse 32

[32] Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.

It — Is large, and contains what will last many years, even 'till the seventy years be expired.

Verse 34

[34] Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

Thou — Shalt stagger with sorrows, that shall intoxicate, and astonish.

Suck it out — The dregs shalt thou drink, and multiply thine own sorrows.

Break the sheards — To suck out what remains.

And pluck — Revenging thyself upon thyself.

Verse 35

[35] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.

Bear thou — The guilt, I will impute it, the punishment, I will not pardon it.

Verse 38

[38] Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.

In the same day — When they had newly polluted themselves with idolatry and murder, they thrust into the temple.

Verse 39

[39] For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.

My house — Nay, these things have been in my house.

Verse 40

[40] And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments,

Wash thyself — After the manner of harlots.

Verse 41

[41] And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil.

Sattest — Prepared to feast them.

A stately bed — A magnificent bed, on which women sat to feast, when men leaned on their sides.

Incense — Offered to their idols.

Verse 42

[42] And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.

A voice — A shout for joy, that there was a treaty of peace between the Jews, and the Chaldeans.

Verse 45

[45] And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.

Righteous men — Men that keep the law of their God.

Verse 46

[46] For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to be removed and spoiled.

Upon them — Against the Jews, the children of this Aholibah.

Verse 47

[47] And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.

The company — The Babylonian army.

Verse 48

[48] Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.

Lewdness — Idolatry. And indeed we do not read of any after their return out of this captivity.

Verse 49

[49] And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

They — The Babylonians.

The sins — The guilt of worshipping idols; and you shall bear the punishment of idolaters.