Tuesday 23 February 2016

Ezekiel 23:20: What it actually means and the abuse of it

No thanks to the late Ahmed Deedat and other apologists, many Muslims love to abuse Ezekiel 23:20 and try to imply some really horrible and dirty things about the text itself.

Here is the verse in question:
"20 and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses." ESV

"20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses." NIV

On a first glance, you would be shocked by this usage of terms, however, like any book, it has a context.

We go back to the very beginning of the chapter:
"23 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. 3 They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms[a] handled. 4 Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem."

The introduction to the chapter shows that it is a parable, it is a passage of judgement. The two women in the story who are present are the two kingdoms in Israel, Ephraim, the northern kingdom and Judah, the southern kingdom. Right off the bat, we are told who these women are, that they are representing the two kingdoms within the nation of Israel.

"5 “Oholah played the whore while she was mine, and she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors 6 clothed in purple, governors and commanders, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. 7 She bestowed her whoring upon them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them, and she defiled herself with all the idols of everyone after whom she lusted. 8 She did not give up her whoring that she had begun in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her and handled her virgin bosom and poured out their whoring lust upon her. 9 Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted. 10 These uncovered her nakedness; they seized her sons and her daughters; and as for her, they killed her with the sword; and she became a byword among women, when judgment had been executed on her."

Adultery is often used as a picture of someone who at one staged worshipped the one true God, but is now prostrating before the idols of men and this particular context, Israel had become reliant on Egypt for help, rather than asking God for help, they were abandoning the one who cares for them. That doesn't mean you can't ask others for help in ordinary life, but in the context of the passage, the nation of Israel were in sin and seeking help from the idolatrous nation of Egypt in order to fight impending threats, rather than trusting and relying on God for help in protecting them from the Assyrians.

Spiritual adultery was what was taking place and this isn't the only illustration, Even James states "friendship with the world is emnity with God" (James 4:4).

"11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became more corrupt than her sister[b] in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister. 12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men. 13 And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way. 14 But she carried her whoring further. She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, 15 wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea. 16 When she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. 19 Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt 20 and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. 21 Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed[c] your young breasts.”"

Despite Ephraim being taken away into exile because of their sins, Judah itself continued on it's destructive path and even did worse than Ephraim had done previously, heaping sin upon sin and defiling the land with idol worship and bloodshed. Judah had no shame in committing the detestable practices of the pagan nations around them. Is there evidence for my assertion? Yes there is, later in the passage:

"36 The Lord said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up[e] to them for food the children whom they had borne to me. 38 Moreover, this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths. 39 For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house. 40 They even sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and behold, they came. For them you bathed yourself, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed my incense and my oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her; and with men of the common sort, drunkards[f] were brought from the wilderness; and they put bracelets on the hands of the women, and beautiful crowns on their heads.

43 “Then I said of her who was worn out by adultery, Now they will continue to use her for a whore, even her![g] 44 For they have gone in to her, as men go in to a prostitute. Thus they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, lewd women! 45 But righteous men shall pass judgment on them with the sentence of adulteresses, and with the sentence of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.”"

To go back a little bit:

"22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side— 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses. 24 They will come against you with weapons,[d] chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire. 26 They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. 27 So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore."

Whenever Israel sinned heavily against YHWH, he would bring in other nations to discipline his people, sometimes in instances even today with the church, an individual may be used to bring correction to a Christian who isn't acting in accordance with scripture (A possible scenario). If however the nations were cruel and malicious, God would bring his judgement upon that nation. Israel in the Old Testament received attacks from their enemies in the context as a result of their disobedience. If there was repentance, there would be deliverance. Let us look at the following in the next set of verses:

"28 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to deliver you into the hands of those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. 29 They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you stark naked, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity 30 have brought this on you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand.

32 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“You will drink your sister’s cup,
    a cup large and deep;
it will bring scorn and derision,
    for it holds so much.
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,
    the cup of ruin and desolation,
    the cup of your sister Samaria.
34 You will drink it and drain it dry
    and chew on its pieces—
    and you will tear your breasts.
I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.

35 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.”"


"46 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. 47 The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.

48 “So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. 49 You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”"

Much like what was quoted earlier, judgement of Israel and then other nations brought in as a means of discipline and punishment for the people of Israel.

It is only by reading the Bible with a filthy and corrupt mindset and ripping the verse out of context that one can paint the Bible is a filthy book.

I would encourage many to read Ezekiel 23:20 in it's context: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+23

Next time someone directs you an Ahmed Deedat video or a Muslim brings up this argument, study the context for yourself to see whether or not what they say stands up to scrutiny.

Answering Judaism.


  1. "Whenever Israel sinned heavily against YHWH, he would bring in other nations to discipline his people, sometimes in instances even today with the church, an individual may be used to bring correction to a Christian who isn't acting in accordance with scripture (A possible scenario). If however the nations were cruel and malicious, God would bring his judgement upon that nation. Israel in the Old Testament received attacks from their enemies in the context as a result of their disobedience. If there was repentance, there would be deliverance."

    You know what Israel had to repent of? Idolatry, even if they worshiped God alongside other gods.

    You know why it's absurd to liken Xtianity to Israel? Because Xtians are idolaters, they worship another besides the God of Israel.

    You know why Jews reject Jesus? Because it requires being idolatrous. And if Jews are idolatrous, we'll be making the same mistake that some of our ancestors did.

    You know what's going to happen to the nations for 2,000 years of persecuting and murdering Jews when were in bitter exile? God is going to slaughter them, letting the beasts of the field dine on their flesh and the birds of the sky get drunk off their blood (Ezekel says these very things; see ch. 38-39).

    Then "HaShem will be one and His Name one", as Zechariah says. Because then, the nations will realize, they'd been messing with God directly by messing with His people. And His people have always been us: the Jewish people. Each of our lives that had been taken will amount to many more lives taken among the nations. God will do this as a personal vengeance upon the nations.

    Then, the real Messiah will appear, and any nations left will submit to the Davidic Kingdom that the Messiah will restore for his father, David, who will again be king over Israel and subjugate the whole world. Yeshu didn't do this, or anything like it, nor are believers in him even hoping for such a thing, they have a different "redemption" in mind. One which won't come to pass.

  2. If you censor that comment, I'll post my reply and a link to this blog on my anti-missionary blog, and I'll be sure to mention you censored the comment - even though you claim to be able to teach Jesus from the Hebrew Bible.

  3. Real, you seem hostile and confused. If you read your Bible, you'll find a great deal of prophetic words that fit Jesus Christ perfectly. It's not idolatry. Again, you're confused.
    Study a bit.