Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2003 James Melough
16:1. “Again the word of the Lord came unto me,
16:2. “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her
abominations (filthy practices),”
The prophet was commanded to declare to the people of Jerusalem - and
therefore to the whole land since Jerusalem was its capital - the filthiness
of their lifestyles, beginning with their idolatry and the gross immorality
associated with it.
16:3. “And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto
Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was
an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.”
The statement relative to the Canaanite character of their birth and nativity
is related to God’s having brought them out of Egyptian bondage, and having
given them Canaan to be their land, on the condition that they exterminate the
Canaanites. This they had failed to do, however, settling down instead among
them, and then adopting their filthy idolatrous lifestyles, so that
spiritually they had very quickly become Amorite and Hittite in character, for
Amorite means sayer; and Hittite, terror. They professed to be
God’s people, but they were a terror to those who did belong to Him, for those
few obedient ones knew that the rebellion of the majority would bring the
judgment of God upon the whole nation.
16:4. “And as for thy nativity, in the day thou
wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple
thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
The uncut navel cord speaks metaphorically of their never having been
separated spiritually from Adam, so that, like all others born into this
world, they had inherited his fallen, corrupt nature which is at enmity with
God, and delights in sin.
Their being unwashed continues to emphasize that from birth, they, like all
others, were unclean in God’s sight, for Adam’s spiritual contamination is
transmitted to all his descendants.
“... to supple thee,” is also translated to prepare you for rubbing,
this apparently referring to the process of cleansing the infant in
preparation for rubbing its body with salt, following which it was wrapped in
While the exact spiritual analogy of every process may be difficult to
determine, the whole picture is crystal clear: it is of Israel’s national
origin which began in Egypt. There they were like the neglected infant
described above. To their Egyptian taskmasters they were as worthless as that
16:5. “None eye pitied thee, to do any of these
unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou was cast out in the open
field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.”
This may well be the metaphoric description of the edict of Pharaoh which
decreed that every male Hebrew child was to be killed at birth to prevent the
multiplication of the people, see Ex 1:16.
16:6. “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee
polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood,
Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.”
This can scarcely have any application other than to God’s speaking to Moses
relative to His decision to deliver His people out of the hands of their
Egyptian taskmasters, “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of
my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their
taskmasters for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out
of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land into a
good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey ....” Ex 3:7-8.
16:7. “I have caused thee to multiply as the bud
of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to
excellent ornaments; thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown,
whereas thou wast naked and bare.”
God continues His description of the nation as she was just prior to His
delivering her out of the hand of her Egyptian oppressors. She was like a
beautiful young woman just come to marriageable age, but without any clothing
to cover her nakedness.
16:8. “Now when I passed by thee, and looked
upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over
thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a
covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.”
This type was fulfilled on the night of the Passover, when God, loving Israel,
chose her to be as it were His bride, thus entitling her to live in the
enjoyment of His provision, protection, care, and love.
“I spread my skirt over thee ....” This was the customary ritual in which a
man placed the end of his robe over a woman thus signifying that he wanted her
to become his wife. The covenant mentioned here was that of marriage.
16:9. “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I
thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.”
The typological picture here is of Israel on the night of the Passover,
redeemed by the blood of the Passover lamb, her bondage in Egypt ended, she
having become the wife of her Great Kinsman Redeemer, Jehovah. That night the
whole nation was symbolically cleansed from sin, and anointed with oil,
symbol of the unction of the Holy Spirit, though in reality only the small
believing remnant within the unbelieving mass of the nation had been cleansed
and had become God’s redeemed people.
Relative to the anointing with oil, it must be understood that there was no
literal anointing that night either with oil or with the Holy Spirit. The
language is purely metaphoric, and is the language God uses here to describe
them as a redeemed people, the redemption being literally from Egyptian
bondage, and not from the spiritual bondage in which Satan holds all men until
they are born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
16:10. “I clothed thee with broidered work, and
shod thee with badgers’ skin, and girded thee about with fine linen, and I
covered thee with silk.”
The language here is not just symbolic, for in Ex 12:35-36 it is recorded
that, “... the children of Israel ... borrowed (demanded) of the Egyptians
jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the Lord gave the
people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent (gave) unto them
such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.” What they
demanded was the wages owing to generations who, as slaves, had served the
Egyptians for nothing, so that their attire as described in this verse may
well have been furnished by their former masters.
Spiritual eyes, however, will have no difficulty seeing in this a symbolic
picture of what occurs at the moment of a sinner’s conversion. As the
prodigal son was stripped of his filthy rags, and clad in the best robe, and
new shoes, so is the sinner stripped of the filthy rags of his
self-righteousness, and is clothed instead in the spotless righteousness of
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Nor should we miss the significance of the mention of the new shoes, both for
the returned prodigal, and here for the liberated Israelites, for as the shoe
separates the foot from the ground, so is the believer to walk in separation
from the sinful world through which he travels on is way home to heaven.
Israel should have walked as a people redeemed and separated unto God, but
16:11. “I decked thee also with ornaments, and I
put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.”
These jewels were part of what they had demanded from their former Egyptian
masters, and their being adorned with them reminds us that believers are to
display their equivalents, e.g., “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,” 1
They were glorified by what God had given them, and they in turn were to live
to glorify the Giver. This applies also to us. The
bracelets upon the hands ought to remind us that our actions are to be such as
will glorify the Lord; while the neck chain may be the symbolic reminder that
we belong to Him, and are to live our lives to His glory.
16:12. “And I put a jewel upon thy forehead, and
earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.”
Many understand the jewel to have been attached to a pierced nostril, which of
course is part of the head. As the head speaks of the intellect, the jewel
upon each Israelite’s forehead may be the symbolic reminder that conversion is
to be accompanied by a renewal of our minds, as it is written, “And be not
conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good , and acceptable, and perfect, will of
God,” Ro 12:2; and again, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ
Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with
God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a
man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross,” Php 2:5-8.
The earrings in the ears scarcely need comment. Our ears are to be constantly
attuned to hear His voice, and to obey His commands.
The crown likewise scarcely needs comment. Following the few brief years of
our apprenticeship here on earth, we will reign with Christ, our positions in
His eternal administration being in direct proportion to the faithfulness of
our service here on earth, see Lk 19:15-19.
16:13. “Thus wast thou decked with gold and
silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou
didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou was exceeding beautiful,
and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.”
Beyond the literal gold and silver, etc., lies deeper spiritual truth. Since
gold speaks of glory; and silver, of redemption, the declaration here is that
Israel, as constituted by the small believing remnant, had been redeemed,
glorified, and clothed in the righteousness of which fine linen is the symbol;
the silk and broidered work pointing to her beauty as a redeemed people.
Fine flour is a symbol of the written Word; and honey, of the deeper spiritual
truth hidden beneath the literal language of Scripture; while oil is a symbol
of the Holy Spirit, by Whom that deeper spiritual truth is revealed to
obedient believers, but kept concealed from the disobedient and from the
The phenomenal beauty of Israel, redeemed, and walking in obedience before
God, is the same spiritual beauty that marks every obedient believer, and
which is essential if we would worship God as He desires, i.e., in spirit, and
in truth, as it is written, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name:
bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of
holiness,” 2 Chr 16:29; and again, “... the true worshipers shall worship the
Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him,”
“... and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.” The believers of this present
Church age have been constituted a royal kingdom of priests, as it is written,
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a
peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called
you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” 1 Pe 2:9.
16:14. “And thy renown went forth among the
heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness (splendor),
which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.”
When Israel had walked in obedience God had clothed her with glory, honor, and
splendor; and the fame of her beauty had been spread among the surrounding
nations. This was in the reign of Solomon, the splendor of his kingdom
causing the Queen of Sheba to exclaim, “... the half was not told me: thy
wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard .... Blessed be the
Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel:
because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do
judgment and justice,” 1 Ki 10:7-9.
16:15. “But thou didst trust in thine own
beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy
fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.”
Foolish ungrateful Israel, puffed up with pride, despising her Husband God,
the Benefactor Who had given her everything she possessed, turned from Him to
prostrate herself before the idols of her heathen neighbors, giving to
inanimate objects formed by men’s hands, the worship which belonged alone to
Him. And apostate Christendom has walked in her footsteps, for she too has
turned from Him to worship money, pleasure, education, art, literature, music,
to name but a few of the idols before which today’s world prostrates itself.
16:16. “And of thy garments thou didst take, and
deckedst thy high places with divers colors, and playedst the harlot
thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.”
The base ingrate had taken the fine linen, silk, embroidered garments, gold,
silver, and jewels with which God had clothed and adorned her, and used them
to adorn their wretched idols and shrines.
The latter part of the verse means that the like had never been done, nor
would ever be done by any other people. None of Israel’s heathen neighbors
had ever been known to abandon its idol god for another. To Israel alone
belonged that terrible and fatal distinction.
16:17. “Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of
my gold, and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself
images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them.”
The things God had given Israel for her enrichment and glory, she had used to
manufacture idols - in the present context, it is generally believed, of the
phallus - making herself a spiritual adulteress by giving to them the worship
that belonged alone to Jehovah, Who had redeemed her out of Egyptian bondage
to be His Own exclusive people.
16:18. “And tookest thy broidered garments, and
coveredst them: and thou has set mine oil and mine incense before them.”
The costly embroidered garments, expensive perfumed oil, and incense which God
had enabled them to acquire, and which were to have been used in connection
with His worship, they had lavished upon their vile idols.
16:19. “My meat also which I gave thee, fine
flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before
them for a sweet savor, and thus it was, saith the Lord God.”
Of all the good things God had given them for their food, the part that ought
to have been offered to Him in worship as their grateful acknowledgment of Him
as the Giver, they had presented instead to their inanimate idols.
16:20. “Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and
thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed
unto them to be devoured.”
This reveals the unbelievable depths of depravity to which Israel’s idolatry
had carried her: she sacrificed her own infants in worship to idols, which was
in fact her worship of devils, of whom Satan is the chief, see 1 Cor 10:20,
“... the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils ....”
16:21. “Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter,
That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass
through the fire for them?”
Terrible as was the fact that they sacrificed their infants in the worship of
idols, but even more terrible was the mode of immolation: the children were
burnt alive, all of this diabolic cruelty being practiced in the name of
16:22. “And in all thine abominations and thy
whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked
and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood.”
Israel had forgotten her pitiable state when God first took her up, redeemed
and cleansed her, and acted towards her as a loving Husband to his wife. She
who had been the object of His love and pity, had departed so far from Him as
to have neither love for Him, nor love or pity for her own infants.
16:23. “And it came to pass after all thy
wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord God;)”
The double woe indicates the severity of the judgment with which God was about
to punish their wickedness.
16:24. “That thou hast also built unto thee an
eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street.”
The rampancy of their idolatry is declared here. They had erected shrines in
every public place for the worship of their false gods.
“Eminent place” is also translated “fornication chamber” because of the vile
sexual practices associated with the idolatrous worship.
16:25. “Thou hast built thy high place at every
head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy
feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.”
Her idolatrous shrines were everywhere, and like a harlot soliciting clients,
she was tireless in encouraging all and sundry to participate in her spiritual
16:26. “Thou hast also committed fornication
with the Egyptians thy neighbors, great of flesh; and hast increased thy
whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.”
Not satisfied with her own idolatrous shrines, she had also adopted some of
the practices of the Egyptians, “great of flesh” being translated lustful:
sensual, and indicating that the idolatrous worship involved gross sexual
16:27. “Behold, therefore I have stretched out
my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee
unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which
are ashamed of thy lewd way.”
“... diminished thine ordinary food.” Though some understand this to refer to
diminution of her territory, it seems more likely that it means He had
reduced the rations allotted them by their Babylonian masters, those involved
being the captives in Babylon. Those delivered to “the will of them that hate
thee” appear to have been those who had been allowed to remain in the land,
but who had become subject to the will of the Philistines, “the daughters of
the Philistines” being a synonym for “the towns of the Philistines.” So vile
had Israel become that even the heathen Philistines were ashamed of her
16:28. “Thou hast played the whore also with the
Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with
them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.”
The reference here is to Israel’s having sought an alliance with Assyria, just
as she had with Egypt, instead of depending on God to protect her against
every foe. Her continual quest for alliances with foreign powers is likened
here to a harlot’s insatiable lust for paramours.
16:29. “Thou hast moreover multiplied thy
fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not
In addition to seeking alliances with the Canaanites whom she had failed to
dispossess, she had also entered into an alliance with Chaldea (Babylon), but
had then incurred the fury of Babylon by violating the treaty. She could
neither be trusted to keep her agreements with God nor with man.
16:30. “How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord
God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish
“How weak is thine heart” is also translated How lovesick is your heart:
what a passion consumes you: how wild your lust. God likens Israel’s
conduct to that of an impudent harlot.
16:31. “In that thou buildest thine eminent
place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street;
and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire:”
“... eminent ... high place” are terms used to designate the idol shrines
which filled the land, having been set up in every public place and street
corner. And yet the one thing in which harlot Israel differed from her
literal counterpart was that she neither looked for nor was paid anything for
her harlotry: she indulged in her wickedness because she loved her false gods,
while despising her true spiritual Husband and Benefactor, and only true God,
16:32. “But as a wife that committeth adultery,
which taketh strangers instead of her husband!”
Another difference between her and a literal harlot was that she had no
financial need: she simply preferred strangers to her husband, the figure
being of Israel’s preference for idols rather than for Jehovah.
16:33. “They give gifts to all whores: but thou
givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto
thee on every side for thy whoredom.”
The difference between harlot Israel and her literal counterpart was that the
harlot was paid by her paramours, but lustful Israel paid them to come to her,
the reference being to her inducements to other nations to form alliances with
her, while she refused to put her trust in Jehovah.
16:34. “And the contrary is in thee from other
women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and
in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou
Yet another difference between harlot Israel and her literal counterpart was
that the paramour customarily sought out the harlot, and not the harlot the
lover; but Israel had reversed the roles: she was the suitor rather than the
pursued; she paid her clients rather than receiving payment from them.
16:35. “Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of
16:36. “Thus saith the Lord God; Because thy
filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms
with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood
of thy children, which thou didst give unto them;”
Israel’s wickedness was great. It had been like filthiness poured out
continually and shamelessly, no attempt having been made to hide her
dalliances with her heathen neighbors, or her idolatry which included the
literal sacrifice of her children to her false gods.
16:37. “Behold, therefore I will gather all thy
lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou has loved,
with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about
against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all
The lovers were the nations with whom Israel had made alliances. God was
going to assemble them against her, together with those who had been her
enemies, delivering her into their hand, and exposing all her wickedness.
The lesson being taught in this is that he who lives for the things of the
world will be destroyed by the world.
16:38. “And I will judge thee, as women that
break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury
In turning from God to worship idols, Israel had been guilty of spiritual
adultery; and in sacrificing her infants to her false gods she had been guilty
of murder, the penalty for both crimes being death. As she had thus shed
innocent blood so now was her own blood to be shed by the Babylonians whom God
was about to bring against her as His instrument of destruction. That
generation of Israel was doomed, for in their failure to repent in God’s time
they had crossed irrevocably that invisible line that separates His mercy from
16:39. “And I will also give thee into their
hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy
high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy
fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.”
Their “eminent place” was their principal idolatrous shrine, undoubtedly the
one they had set up in Jerusalem. It and all their shrines which they had set
up on every hilltop (high place) or prominent place, would be thrown down by
the invader, it being the practice of the conquering army to carry away the
gods of the conquered, thus showing the inability of those gods to preserve their
votaries from harm.
While the stripping of clothing and jewels relates primarily to the spoilation
of Israel’s shrines, it obviously applies also to them as individuals.
16:40. “They shall also bring up a company
against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through
with their swords.”
In addition to what they would suffer at the hand of the Babylonians, they
would also become the prey of marauding bands who would pillage in the wake of
In the present context “stone thee with stones” refers to the stones hurled by
the machines of the Babylonians to batter down the walls of Jerusalem.
16:41. “And they shall burn thy houses with
fire, and execute judgments (justice) upon thee in the sight of many women;
and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt
give no hire any more.”
Among those who would witness God’s judgment upon Israel would be “many
women,” one possible reason for this being perhaps that God would have them
see in His punishment of Israel’s spiritual adultery, a warning to them not to
be guilty literally of the same crime. It is generally accepted, however,
that “many women” is used here figuratively of the surrounding nations.
As for God’s causing Israel “to cease from playing the harlot,” it is
instructive to note that since the Babylonian captivity, Israel has never
since been guilty of literal idolatry.
“... thou shalt give no hire any more” means that Israel would cease from
seeking foreign alliances.
16:42. “So will I make my fury toward thee to
rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be
no more angry.”
Idolatry by Israel would cease to be a cause for God’s anger against her, but
that doesn’t mean to say that she would never again arouse is wrath by other
means. Her most terrible sin was that of slaying His Son, the Lord Jesus
Christ, and for that crime He scattered her amongst the nations in AD 70,
where she remains to this day, except for the few who have begun to trickle
back to the land since 1948, that return being one of the proofs that this
present age is about to end.
16:43. “Because thou hast not remembered the
days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore
I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord God: and thou
shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations.”
Israel, having forgotten the days when she had walked with God following her
redemption from Egypt’s bondage, had fretted, i.e., enraged, exasperated,
provoked Him, compelling Him to visit her with judgment instead of blessing,
judgment accomplishing what love had failed to do, i.e., end her idolatry; and
it is significant that since the Babylonian captivity, Israel has never since
been guilty of that sin.
16:44. “Behold, every one that useth proverbs
shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her
16:45. “Thou art thy mother’s daughter, that
loatheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters,
which loatheth their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite,
and your father an Amorite.”
Hittite, meaning terror; and Amorite, meaning a sayer, are used here
metaphorically to describe Israel’s spiritual ancestry, for apart from the
small believing remnant within the apostate mass of the nation, they had
always been as described by the Lord when He denounced them as recorded in
John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil ....” and as He declared again in
Mt 15:8, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me
with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” They were Amorites. Their
religion was all talk.
But their having been descended also from a Hittite mother is a further
metaphoric description of their spiritual state relative to terror. Their
religion was not only one of mere talk: it was also one of fear, for it was
a religion of works, and as such it robbed the sincere dupe of the certainty
that he had ever done enough to merit entry into heaven.
As for their being daughters and siblings of women who hated their husbands
and children, the type is easily read: the husband is God, and the children
are the infants they sacrificed to their idols.
16:46. “And thine elder sister is Samaria, she
and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that
dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.”
In Scripture the left is frequently used for the north; and the right, for the
Samaria is synonymous with a false worship which originated with Jeroboam’s
setting up two golden calves, one at Dan in the north, and the other at Bethel
in the south, under the pretext of making it easier for the people to worship
by eliminating the need to travel to Jerusalem to keep the appointed feasts,
see 1 Ki 12:25-29.
Samaria’s being here called Israel’s elder sister is the symbolic way of
saying that Israel’s worship was according to human, not Divine appointment,
and was therefore an abomination to God.
Sodom, synonymous with gross sexual perversion, has given its name to this
very sin, which in both Testaments is declared a capital offence. In the
present context it brands Israel as being guilty of this same wickedness.
“... daughters” is used here to designate smaller towns subject to the
jurisdiction of the larger town or city.
16:47. “Yet hast thou not walked after their
ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little
thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways.”
The New American Bible translates this verse, “Yet not only in their
ways did you walk, and act as abominably as they did: in a very short time you
became more corrupt in all your ways than they.”
Having begun to practice the gross sins of Samaria and Sodom, Israel in a very
short time had excelled them in evil.
16:48. “As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy
sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy
God had destroyed Sodom for her wickedness, yet Israel’s was even greater.
16:49. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy
sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her
and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and
16:50. “And they were haughty, and committed
abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”
Sodom’s iniquity consisted of pride, material riches, idleness, selfishness
(neglect of the poor), haughtiness, and homosexuality, the city having given
its name to this latter sin. Today’s world, particularly western society,
Christendom, is characterized by the same evils, and it is ominously
significant that one of the signs of the end of this present evil age is that
homosexuality will be rampant, see Lk 17:28-29. But as God took away the
Sodomites in a phenomenal judgment, so will He also banish every evildoer into
hell at the end of the now imminent Great Tribulation, see Mt 25:31-46.
16:51. “Neither hath Samaria committed half of
thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast
justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done.”
See verse 46 for comments relative to Samaria’s sin.
16:52. “Thou also, which hast judged thy
sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more
abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou
confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.”
Other translations aid in the understanding of this verse, e.g., “You must
bear the shame of having your sister judged more favorably than yourself. In
comparison with you and your abominations, she is adjudged less guilty than
you,” The New Berkley Version of the Bible; “... you are an argument
in favor of your sisters! In view of your sinful deeds, more abominable than
theirs, they appear just in comparison with you,” The New American Bible;
“... since the grossness of the sins for which you bear the guilt is more
horrible than theirs, they now appear more virtuous than you are,” The
16:53. “When I shall bring again their
captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of
Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy
captives in the midst of them.”
This is generally understood to mean that when God would restore Sodom and
Samaria - which He will not - then would He restore that wicked generation of
Israel, i.e., she would be destroyed, not restored.
“... bring again their captivity” is better translated, “restore their fortune
....” The Bible: An American Translation; “... reverse the doom of
exile ....” Knox.
16:54. “That thou mayest bear thine own shame,
and be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort
The dreadful degree of Israel’s wickedness was that the sin of others would
seem small by comparison, thus affording them some measure of comfort.
16:55. “When thy sisters, Sodom and her
daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters
shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return
to your former estate.”
Some take this to mean that in a future day Israel, Sodom, and Samaria will be
restored to a righteous state; while others understand it to be the
affirmation of the doom of all three. The latter seems the more likely in
view of the fact that Sodom was totally destroyed, plus the fact that it has
become a synonym for a sin which in both Testaments is a capital offence. The
doom of that generation of Israel was irrevocable. It will be a new repentant
generation of Israel that will inherit millennial blessings.
16:56. “For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned
by thy mouth in the day of thy pride.”
This has also been translated, “Yet was not Sodom a byword in your mouth,
during your days of pride ....?”
In the days of Israel’s complacent self-righteousness she had despised Sodom
as being synonymous with utter sinfulness, but now by comparison with Israel,
Sodom was sinless. How terrible was Israel’s sin! its enormity lying in the
fact that she had sinned against greater light: she had been given the
knowledge of God.
16:57. “Before thy wickedness was discovered, as
at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round
about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about.”
As it was before Israel’s sin was disclosed, and when she had charged Syria
with wickedness, so now had she become the object of contempt and disgust of
the Edomites and the Philistines and all the surrounding nations.
16:58. “Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine
abominations, saith the Lord.”
Now she must suffer the penalty of her spiritual harlotry and filthy
16:59. “For thus saith the Lord God; I will even
deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the
When God had redeemed Israel from Egyptian bondage He had set before her all
the requirements of His holy law, and she, foolishly failing to recognize her
own weakness, had agreed to keep them, history attesting the completeness of
her failure. But now faced with the consequences, she brazenly refused to
acknowledge her guilt, and adopted the attitude that that covenant was of
16:60. “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant
with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an
Israel might choose to forget that covenant, but God couldn’t without making
Himself also a transgressor. To refuse to execute the sentence against the
guilty would be to impugn His Own holiness. But in grace beyond human
comprehension, He resolved the difficulty. He gave His Own sinless Son to
die, not only for Israel’s transgressions, but for those of the whole world,
thus preserving His Own moral integrity, and providing a way of escape for
guilty men. It was in anticipation of that sacrifice that He could pardon
Israel, if she would but repent, and make a new and better covenant with her,
guaranteed by the blood of her Divine Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, and
apart from any work on her part.
16:61. “Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and
be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger:
and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant.”
This looks on to a day still future, but imminent: the Millennium, there
emerging out of the crucible of the terrible judgments of the Great
Tribulation, a repentant converted remnant, not only of Israel, but also of
the nations, to enjoy millennial blessing. Then will the Gentiles be given to
Israel as daughters, i.e., they will be blessed in subjection to her as the
head of all the millennial nations.
“... but not by thy covenant.” Millennial blessing will be based, not on the
old covenant of law, but on the infinitely better one of grace, through faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior of repentant, believing Jew and Gentile
16:62. “And I will establish my covenant with
thee: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.”
16:63. “That thou mayest remember, and be
confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am
pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God.”
Under the new covenant of grace, repentant and pardoned Israel will never
again dare to open her mouth in self-vindication, but will demonstrate the
reality of her repentance and self-abnegation by perfect loving obedience to
her Savior God.
Relative to “thou shalt know that I am the Lord,” The Jamieson, Fausset,
and Brown Commentary makes the following pertinent remark, “... not as
elsewhere by the judgments falling upon thee, but by my so marvelously
restoring thee through grace.”