The books of the Old Testament prophets are packed with dense poetry and wild...
1Again the word of the Lord came to me: 2“Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, 3and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite. 4And as for your birth, on the day you were born your navel string was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor swathed with bands. 5No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you; but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.
6“And when I passed by you, and saw you weltering in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live, 7and grow up like a plant of the field.’ And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full maidenhood; your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.
8“When I passed by you again and looked upon you, behold, you were at the age for love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yea, I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine. 9Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you, and anointed you with oil. 10I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with leather, I swathed you in fine linen and covered you with silk. 11And I decked you with ornaments, and put bracelets on your arms, and a chain on your neck. 12And I put a ring on your nose, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. 13Thus you were decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered cloth; you ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful, and came to regal estate. 14And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor which I had bestowed upon you, says the Lord God.
15“But you trusted in your beauty, and played the harlot because of your renown, and lavished your harlotries on any passer-by. 16You took some of your garments, and made for yourself gaily decked shrines, and on them played the harlot; the like has never been, nor ever shall be. 17You also took your fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the harlot; 18and you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. 19Also my bread which I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing odor, says the Lord God. 20And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter 21that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? 22And in all your abominations and your harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, weltering in your blood.
23“And after all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! says the Lord God), 24you built yourself a vaulted chamber, and made yourself a lofty place in every square; 25at the head of every street you built your lofty place and prostituted your beauty, offering yourself to any passer-by, and multiplying your harlotry. 26You also played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your harlotry, to provoke me to anger. 27Behold, therefore, I stretched out my hand against you, and diminished your allotted portion, and delivered you to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. 28You played the harlot also with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; yea, you played the harlot with them, and still you were not satisfied. 29You multiplied your harlotry also with the trading land of Chaldeʹa; and even with this you were not satisfied.
30“How lovesick is your heart, says the Lord God, seeing you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot; 31building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned hire. 32Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! 33Men give gifts to all harlots; but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side for your harlotries. 34So you were different from other women in your harlotries; none solicited you to play the harlot: and you gave hire, while no hire was given to you; therefore you were different.
35“Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord: 36Thus says the Lord God, Because your shame was laid bare and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotries with your lovers, and because of all your idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, 37therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers, with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you loathed; I will gather them against you from every side, and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. 38And I will judge you as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. 39And I will give you into the hand of your lovers, and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber and break down your lofty places; they shall strip you of your clothes and take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare. 40They shall bring up a host against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. 41And they shall burn your houses and execute judgments upon you in the sight of many women; I will make you stop playing the harlot, and you shall also give hire no more. 42So will I satisfy my fury on you, and my jealousy shall depart from you; I will be calm, and will no more be angry. 43Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things; therefore, behold, I will requite your deeds upon your head, says the Lord God.
“Have you not committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations? 44Behold, every one who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed 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. 46And your elder sister is Samarʹia, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47Yet you were not content to walk in their ways, or do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them, when I saw it. 51Samarʹia has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations which you have committed. 52Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have made judgment favorable to your sisters; because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
53“I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samarʹia and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in the midst of them, 54that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them. 55As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former estate, and Samarʹia and her daughters shall return to their former estate; and you and your daughters shall return to your former estate. 56Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride, 57before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you have become like her an object of reproach for the daughters of Edom and all her neighbors, and for the daughters of the Philistines, those round about who despise you. 58You bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, says the Lord.
59“Yea, thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, 60yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant. 61Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed when I take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. 62I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 63that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord God.”
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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