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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Smith :: Portraits of Christ

Don Smith :: Eze 16; Streetwalkers

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Portraits of Christ
“Streetwalkers” – Ezekiel 16
Ezekiel, “The Prophet of Exile” (BC 622-571)

  1. Ezekiel’s name means, “God Strengthens.”
    • He was born of a high priestly family. His father was Buzi from the lineage of Eleazar, the son of Aaron.
    • He was deported at the age of twenty-five (BC 597) to Babylon, along with other Judean aristocracy such as King Jehoiachin, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.
    • He was a contemporary of Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Habakkuk, and Obadiah.
  2. While in Babylon, “Zeke” saw a majestic, divine theophany at the age of thirty.
    • In BC 593, Ezekiel was called to be God’s prophet.
    • Jeremiah predicted the fall of Jerusalem, while in Jerusalem.
    • Ezekiel predicted the fall of Jerusalem while in Babylon. (BC 593-586)
    • After Jerusalem fell, Ezekiel predicted the restoration of Jerusalem. (BC 586-571)
    • Daniel lived in the courts of Babylon, while Ezekiel lived in a colony of Jewish exiles.
    • His wife died on the same day of the siege of Jerusalem.
    • “Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.’ So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.” (Ezekiel 24:15-18)
    • His prophetic call had to be first and foremost even through his day of grief.
  3. His prophesies are filled with weird and wonderful imagery.
    • He portrayed and personified nations as animals (lions, eagles, crocodiles), plants (vines and cedars), and people (fathers, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and harlots).
    • “The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, ‘What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’” (Ezekiel 18:1-2)
    • Ezekiel also role played his prophetic warnings to his people: lived on bread as a sign of famine; laid on his side in the public as a sign of discomfort to come; shaved his head and beard and threw it in the air as a sign of dispersion; dug through a wall and carried out luggage as a sign of captivity and siege of Jerusalem.
    • He also portrayed Judah as a worthless vine and a faithless wife. (Ezekiel 16; 23)
    • God is passionately jealous for the love and fellowship of His beloved bride.
    • He “…will direct my jealousy against you that they [Jerusalem’s lovers] may deal with you in fury.” (Ezekiel 23:25)
    • He pursued Jerusalem while she sold herself into the hands of abusive paramours.
    • We are reminded that God is faithful to His marital covenant vows, even when His unfaithful bride has forgotten the covenant vows of her youth. (Ezekiel 16:59-63)

Ezekiel portrayed Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness in a parable as a cheap streetwalker.

  1. Jerusalem was like a poor little orphan girl no one wanted. (Ezekiel 16:1-5)
    • Jerusalem was like a baby girl born in Canaanite poverty before Jacob went to Egypt.
    • She had no beauty or merit that anyone would desire her.
    • She was like a new born baby girl facing female infanticide.
  2. God gave life to the little orphan girl no one wanted. (Ezekiel 16:6-7)
    • She was born an outcast hopelessly laying uncared for in her blood.
    • The Lord came along and said, “Live!”
    • She became a beautiful young girl, her breasts became full, her hair flowed and her body was still, naked and bare, (beautiful yet vulnerable and destitute).
  3. God later married the little orphan girl when she came of age. (Ezekiel 16:8-14)
    • The Lord passed by when she was of marriageable age for love.
    • He spread His garments of righteousness over her and made an everlasting marriage vow to be His exclusive, beloved wife.
    • He lovingly bathed her, lavishly clothed and adorned her, and generously fed her like a proud, jealous bridegroom.
    • This girl from “rags to riches” gained everything by God’s grace and not her merit.
  4. God’s wife, Jerusalem, trusted in her beauty and played the whore. (Ezekiel 16:15-34)
    • Her misplaced trust in her husband turned into misplaced passion and infidelity.
    • Everything given to her by God’s grace she used to seduce abusive lovers.
    • She forgot who she was, where she had come from and who she belonged to.
    • She melted her jewelry into phallic objects to stimulate her misplaced desires.
    • She sacrificed her husband‘s children into the burning arms of foreign idols.
    • She sought and bribed abusive lovers to please her from Egypt, Assyria and Babylon.
  5. Out of jealous love, God judged Jerusalem—His whoring wife. (Ezekiel 16:35-43)
    • The queen of God’s affection became a household tramp.
    • She exposed herself to others, so God determined to expose her sins to all.
    • He would judge her according to the law as an adulterer, harlot and whore having the people stoned by rocks and slain by the sword and the city burned to the ground.
    • God’s anger would subside after His righteous justice fulfilled, (a quote from Tasker).
    • “Just as human love is deficient if the element of anger is entirely lacking, so too is anger an essential element of divine love. God’s love is inseparably connected with His holiness and His justice. He must therefore manifest anger when confronted with sin and evil.”
  6. God judged His adulterous wife, Jerusalem, and her twin sisters. (Ezekiel 16:44-58)
    • Samaria and Sodom were like Jerusalem’s sisters.
    • Sodom’s sin was sexual inversion as well as social injustice. (Genesis 19:4-5; Ezekiel 16:49-50)

    “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

  7. God will establish His marriage covenant with His beloved wife. (Ezekiel 16:59-63)
    • He would remember His vows and make atonement for her, so she could never open her mouth in self-righteous pride.
    • “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek 36:25-27)

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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