Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness

The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, show Jerusalem her detestable practices. Say, The Lord God proclaims to Jerusalem: By origin and birth you are from the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite, your mother a Hittite. This is how you were treated on the day you were born: Your umbilical cord wasn’t cut, you weren’t washed clean with water or rubbed with salt, and you weren’t wrapped in blankets. No one took pity or cared enough to do any of these things for you. You were despised on the day of your birth and thrown out on the open field. When I happened to come by, I saw you flailing about in your blood. I said to you while you were still bloody, “Live!” I helped you to flourish like a young plant in the field, and you grew tall and became wonderfully endowed. Your breasts were firm, your hair beautifully thick. And you were completely naked.

When I passed by you, I realized that you were ready for love. So I spread my cloak over you and covered your nakedness. I made a solemn promise and entered into a covenant with you, and you became mine. This is what the Lord God says. Then I washed you with water, rinsed off your blood, and poured oil on you. 10 I clothed you with colorful garments, put fine sandals on you, wrapped your head in linen, and covered you with jewels. 11 I adorned you with fine jewelry, and put bracelets on your wrists and a necklace around your neck. 12 I put a ring in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 I adorned you with gold and silver, and your garments were made of the finest linen and brocade. You ate the finest flour, honey, and oil. You became very beautiful, fit for royalty. 14 Among the nations you were famous for your beauty. It was perfect because of the splendor that I had given you. This is what the Lord God says.

15 But you trusted in your beauty and traded on your fame. At every opportunity, you seduced all who came by. 16 You took some of your clothing to make colorful shrines and prostituted yourself in them. 17 You took the beautiful gold and silver jewelry that I had given to you, and you made male images for yourself and prostituted yourself with them. 18 You took your fine garments and clothed them. You set my oil and incense before them. 19 You set my food that I had given you to eat—fine wheat, oil, and honey—before them as a pleasing aroma. This is what the Lord God says. 20 You took your sons and daughters, which you had borne to me, and you sacrificed these to them so they could consume them. Was this promiscuity of yours a small thing? 21 You slaughtered my sons and placed them in the fire for them! 22 In all your detestable practices and promiscuities, you didn’t remember the days of your infancy when you lay completely naked, flailing about in your blood.

23 After all your wickedness—doom, doom to you, proclaims the Lord God— 24 you built a pavilion for yourself and set up platforms in every square. 25 At every crossroad you built your platform and degraded your beauty by spreading your legs to all comers. And so you encouraged even more promiscuity. 26 You prostituted yourself with the Egyptians, your neighbors with the large sexual organs, and as you added to your seductions, you provoked me to anger. 27 So I used my power against you, cut off your allowance, and gave you up to the passions of the Philistine women who had been confounded by your infamous ways and had rejected you. 28 Still not satisfied, you prostituted yourself to the Assyrians, but they weren’t enough for you either. 29 So you prostituted yourself with the Babylonians, the land of traders, but again you weren’t satisfied. 30 How sick was your heart—the Lord God proclaims—that you could do all these things, the deeds of a hardened prostitute. 31 But you weren’t like an ordinary prostitute! When you built your pavilion at the head of every street and made your platform in every square, you refused to be paid. 32 You are like an adulterous wife: you take in strangers instead of your husband. 33 Ordinary prostitutes are given gifts, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers. From every direction you even bribed them to come to you for your sexual favors. 34 As a prostitute, you were more perverse than other women. No one approached you for sexual favors, but you yourself gave gifts instead of receiving them. You are perversion itself! 35 Therefore, you prostitute, hear the Lord’s word!

36 The Lord God proclaims: You were in a constant state of arousal[a] and exposed yourself when you acted like a prostitute with your lovers and with the idols to which you gave your children’s blood. 37 Therefore, I will now gather all of your lovers whom you pleased, the ones you loved and the ones you rejected. I will gather them against you from all around, and I will expose you to them. They will see it all. 38 I will convict you of adultery and murder, and I will hand you over in bloody fury and zeal. 39 I will hand you over to them, and they will tear down your pavilion and destroy your platforms. They will strip you of your garments, take your beautiful jewels, and they will leave you completely naked. 40 They will bring an army against you, pelt you with stones, and slaughter you with their swords. 41 They will burn down your houses and execute judgments against you in the sight of many women. I will bring an end to your prostitution; indeed, you will never again give payment. 42 When I’ve satisfied my anger, and my rage has turned away from you, I will be calm and no longer angry. 43 Because you didn’t remember your youthful days, and infuriated me with all these things, I will hold you accountable for what you’ve done. This is what the Lord God says.

Have you not added bad reputation to all your detestable acts? 44 Now everyone who speaks in proverbs will say this about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are your mother’s daughter! She loathed her husband and also her children. You are just like your sisters too! They also loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite, and your father was an Amorite. 46 Your older sister is Samaria, who lives with her daughters in the north. Your younger sister is Sodom, who lives with her daughters in the south. 47 You didn’t follow in their ways or engage in their detestable practices in any small way. You were far more destructive. 48 As surely as I live, says the Lord God, not even your sister Sodom and her daughters did what you and your daughters have done! 49 This is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were proud, had plenty to eat, and enjoyed peace and prosperity; but she didn’t help the poor and the needy. 50 They became haughty and did detestable things in front of me, and I turned away from them as soon as I saw it.

51 Samaria didn’t sin even half as much as you did. You’ve so outstripped her in multiplying your detestable practices, with all the detestable things you’ve done, that you’ve even made your sisters seem innocent. 52 Bear your disgrace, which has actually improved your sisters’ position. Because your sins and detestable acts were greater than theirs, they are now more righteous than you. Be ashamed, and bear the disgrace of making your sisters righteous! 53 I will improve the circumstances of Sodom and her daughters and the circumstances of Samaria and her daughters. And what’s left of your fortune will go to them, 54 so that you will bear your disgrace and be humiliated by all that you’ve done to make them feel better. 55 Then your sister Sodom and her daughters will return to their former state, and your sister Samaria and her daughters will return to their former state. You and your daughters will return to your former state, 56 but you will no longer talk about your sister Sodom as in your haughty days 57 before your wickedness was exposed. You are now the reproach of all the daughters of Edom[b] and all those around her, including the daughters of the Philistines. They mock you on every side. 58 You alone must bear your bad reputation and your detestable ways. This is what the Lord says.

59 The Lord God proclaims: I will do to you just as you have done, despising solemn pledges and breaking covenants. 60 Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with you when you were young, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 And you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when in spite of your covenant I[c] take your big sisters and little sisters from you and give them back to you as daughters. 62 I myself will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 Then you will remember and be ashamed, and you won’t even open your mouth because of your shame, after I’ve forgiven you for all that you’ve done. This is what the Lord God says.


  1. Ezekiel 16:36 Heb uncertain
  2. Ezekiel 16:57 Syr; MT Aram
  3. Ezekiel 16:61 LXX; MT you