1 A message from the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, there were once two women. They were daughters of the same mother. 3 They became prostitutes in Egypt. In fact, they were prostitutes from the time they were young. They allowed their virgin breasts to be fondled and their nipples squeezed. 4 The older girl was called Oholah, and her sister Oholibah.* “Oholah” means “her tent,” and is thought to refer to the pagan shrines set up in the northern kingdom. “Oholibah” means “my tent is in her,” which would apply to the Lord's Tent of Meeting in Judah. I married them both and they had sons and daughters. Oholah represents Samaria, and Oholibah represents Jerusalem.
5 Oholah prostituted herself while she was still married to me. She wanted to have sex with her lovers, the Assyrians. 6 They were soldiers dressed in blue, leaders and commanders, all of them handsome young men in the cavalry. 7 She gave away herself sexually to all the important men of Assyria. She made herself unclean by her worship of all the idols of those men she wanted to have sex with.
8 She didn't stop her prostitution that she started in Egypt—men sleeping with her when she was young, squeezing her virgin breasts and using her to satisfy their sexual appetite. 9 So I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians she wanted to have sex with. 10 They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters, and killed her with the sword. She became infamous among women, and they punished her.
11 Oholibah saw what happened to her sister, but she became even worse than her in her wanting sex and practicing prostitution. 12 She also wanted to have sex with the Assyrians: their leaders and commanders, their splendidly-dressed soldiers—all of them handsome young men in the cavalry. 13 I saw that she had also made herself unclean—both sisters were doing the same thing.
14 However, Oholibah's prostitution was even worse. She saw pictures of Babylonian soldiers wearing bright red uniforms painted on the wall. 15 They were wearing belts on their waists and large turbans on their heads. They all looked like Babylonian officers in Chaldea, the country where they were born. 16 When she saw the paintings of them, she wanted to have sex with them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 The Babylonians came to her and her love bed, and made her unclean with their sexual desire. However, after she had been dishonored by them, she rejected them in disgust.
18 When Oholibah so blatantly prostituted herself, exposing herself naked, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had done to her sister. 19 But she practiced even more prostitution, remembering how she'd been a prostitute in Egypt when she was young. 20 She wanted to have sex with her lovers who had genitals like donkeys and who ejaculated like stallions.
21 You went back to the indecent acts when you were young, when the Egyptians squeezed your nipples and fondled your young breasts. 22 So Oholibah, this is what the Lord God says: I'm going to encourage your lovers to attack you, those you rejected in disgust. I will bring them to attack you from every direction: 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians along with them—all handsome young men, leaders and commanders, chariot captains and important officers, all riding horses.
24 They will attack you from the north,† “From the north”: Septuagint reading. invading with a great army, chariots, and wagons. They will come with their shields and helmets and surround you. I will hand you over to them for punishment, and they will judge and punish you following their own laws. 25 I feel so strongly about what you've done that I will oppose you, and they will treat you very badly. They will cut off your noses and ears, and they will kill those of you who are left. They will take away your sons and daughters as prisoners, and those of you who are left will be destroyed by fire. 26 They will tear off your clothes and take your beautiful jewelry. 27 I'm going to put a stop to your immorality and prostitution, which started in Egypt. You won't think longingly about those times, and you'll forget all about Egypt.
28 For this is what the Lord God says: Believe it when I say that I'm going to hand you over to the people you hate, the ones you rejected in disgust. 29 They will treat you with hatred. They will take away everything you've worked for, leaving you stark naked with nothing, so that so that the indecent acts of your prostitution will be exposed. Your immorality and prostitution 30 is why all this has happened to you, because you acted as a prostitute with the nations and made yourself unclean by worshiping their idols. 31 Because you did what your sister did, I will give you her cup to drink.‡ Being handed a cup to drink was symbolic of experiencing punishment.
32 This is what the Lord God says: You will drink from your sister's cup—a large, deep cup. You will be laughed at and insulted. You'll have to endure much of this. 33 It will make you drunk and full of grief because it's a cup of that brings horror and destruction, the cup your sister Samaria drank from. 34 You will drink it all down, smash it to pieces on the ground, and tear at your breasts. This is what I have spoken, declares the Lord God. 35 In summary this is what the Lord God says: Because you have forgotten about me and have ignored me, you will have to experience the consequences of your immorality and prostitution.”
36 Then the Lord said to me: “Son of man, are you going to condemn Oholah and Oholibah? Expose the disgusting things they've done! 37 For they have committed adultery, and they are guilty of murder. They have committed adultery with their idols, and have even offered their children, whom they had for me, as sacrifices to their idols.
38 They also did this to me: On the very same day they both made my sanctuary unclean and violated my Sabbaths. 39 On very day that they killed their children for their idols, they went my sanctuary and made it unclean. Look at what they did right inside my Temple!
40 They§ Referring back to the two sisters. even kept on sending messengers for men to come from far away. When the men arrived, you would get yourselves ready for them by bathing, doing your eye makeup, and putting in your jewelry. 41 You sat on an expensive couch, with my incense and my oil on a table placed in front of it. 42 The room was full of the noise of people partying. Drunk men were brought in from the desert along with some common people and they put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your head.
43 Then I said about the old worn-out woman, ‘Now they can have her as a prostitute because that's what she is!’
44 So they had sex with her like a prostitute. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, those immoral women. 45 But men who believe in what's right will judge them and impose the punishment for committing commit adultery and murder, because they are adulterers and murderers.
46 This is what the Lord God says: Have a mob attack them! Make them terrified and rob them. 47 The mob will stone them and kill them with their swords, slaughtering their sons and daughters and burning down their houses. 48 This is how I will put an end to immorality in the country, and all the women will be warned not to do what you have done. 49 They will punish you for your immorality, and you will have to experience the consequences of your idol worship. Then you will know that I am the Lord God.”
*23:4 “Oholah” means “her tent,” and is thought to refer to the pagan shrines set up in the northern kingdom. “Oholibah” means “my tent is in her,” which would apply to the Lord's Tent of Meeting in Judah.
†23:24 “From the north”: Septuagint reading.
‡23:31 Being handed a cup to drink was symbolic of experiencing punishment.
§23:40 Referring back to the two sisters.