Why is this chapter so graphic? Why is their idolatry compared to adultery?
Ezekiel 23:1 - 49
LS1910 - 1 La parole de l'Eternel me fut adressée, en ces mots: 2 Fils de l'homme, il y avait deux femmes, Filles d'une même mère.
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If we still consider the terminology used in this passage to be graphic today (and it certainly is), you can imagine how shocking it must have seemed to people of less prurient times and cultures. However, God chose this imagery not to arouse lust, but to depict in the starkest terms possible the sinfulness of the idolatry practiced by the people of Judah and Israel. There is no closer human relationship on earth than that between a husband and wife in marriage (an institution that God Himself initiated). It is so intimate (both emotionally and physically) that the Bible uses the term "one flesh" to describe it (Genesis 2:24). By the same token, therefore, the betrayal of that relationship through adultery creates emotional pain and scars that are matched by few (if any) other possible human actions. God used the same metaphor to describe His relationship with His chosen people. Multiple passages in the Bible depict God as a husband to Israel -- not in a physical sense, but through loving, nurturing, and caring for it; being faithful to it; and expecting love, appreciation, exclusiveness, and fidelity from it in return (as an earthly husband would with his wife). When the people of Israel (and, later, of the separate kingdoms of Judah and Israel following the division of Israel after the death of King Solomon, as described in 1 Kings 12) deliberately forsook the worship of God, and started worshiping and sacrificing (including the sacrifice of children) to the false gods and idols of other nations and tribes -- and not just covertly or secretly, but openly and brazenly -- it was in God's view as serious a betrayal as unashamed adultery on the part of a wife. To emphasize how seriously He regarded the sin of Judah and Israel, and to warn Judah and Israel of the potential judgment that awaited them, God therefore described the situation from His perspective to the prophet Ezekiel in the strongest and most graphic terms possible. And yet, even then, God was doing so in one more attempt to get Judah and Israel to view their sin in the same light that God did, and to persuade them to repent and forsake their idolatry, in order to prevent God from finally deciding to cease His efforts to reason with them, and abandoning them to slaughter or captivity by other nations (such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians), in which the false gods whom Israel and Judah had worshiped would be of no help to them.
Throughout the scriptures the relationship between God and His chosen people has been symbolised by the marriage relationship. This is very clear in the New Testament where the church is described as the bride of Christ, but it is also evident in the Old Testament, (especially in the Song of Solomon). When Israel was split into two separate people after Solomon's death they became known as Samaria and Judah (the latter based in Jerusalem), referred to in the passage mentioned as Oholah and Oholibah Both were God's people and both were unfaithful to Him. They went after other gods, the gods of the surrounding nations, becoming intimate with them through worship, and so God compared them to unfaithful wives. I suspect the language is so graphic because God wants to impress on us how easily we can go down the slippery slope from looking lustfully at other gods (anything that replaces God in our lives) and outright prostitution/adultery.
The Bible (2nd Tim 3:16) clearly states that all Scripture is given to us for reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. God has been explicit to us regarding their actions, which brought righteous judgment upon them. This way we should have neither questions nor excuses regarding that of which we are warned. We now live in a day and age, where philosophy, logic, and reason are used to turn the truth on its ear, in order to justify all manner of the most gross immoralities. Those acts which were once practiced only by the peoples of pagan nations, or hidden amongst the publications of some back alley smut store, are now celebrated in parades across the land, and wired into our homes on dozens of different channels. Even the halls of so-called Christian churches have opened their doors to those who openly condone the practice of such things, not just for membership, but even for leadership. Jesus warned that in the final days, it would be "as in the days of Noah" (Mat 24:37), which has been written of by many, as of late, especially with the revelation of the Dead Sea Scrolls' contents. Idolatry - especially involving astrology, witchcraft, fornication, homosexuality, beastiality, crossbreeding, and incest were hallmarks of Noah's day, as they are now of our own. Dr. Ken Johnson, in his books: "Ancient Pre-Flood History" and "Ancient Paganism", cited rabbinical and historical writings, which indicated that pre-flood idolatry produced immorality, which, in turn, brought about the great apostasy and extreme forms of homosexuality, which caused the Genesis flood. Just one example: "Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rabbi Joseph, 'the generation of the flood was not wiped out until they wrote marriage documents for the union of a man to a man or to an animal.' And what did they do? A man got married to a man and woman to a woman, a man married a woman and her daughter, and a woman was married to two (men). Therefore it is said, "And You shall not walk in their statutes." Sifra Acharei Mot, Parashah 9:8 (Commentary on Leviticus 18:3) Still another example: Clement of Alexandria and Tatian tell us the ancient Romans and barbarians considered homosexuality and pederasty crimes punishable by death. Yet, by the 1st century, following a continuous degradation of their moral standards, homosexuality and pederasty had become widely practiced by the Romans. In summary, God is ever so specific in both his scriptural instructions and examples of those things which might bring us to ruin. This is so that we would know what is the perfect and acceptable will of God for our lives, and follow it. Should we have any inclination to rebellion, for whatever reason, the reward of such decisions is not hidden under a rock, but made quite plain.
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