by Clarence E. Macartney

This content is part of a series.

The Parable of the Faithless Wives (7 of 15)
Series: The Parables of the Old Testament
Clarence Macartney
Ezekiel 23

They might have learned it in another way, but that was the way they had chosen-the way of sin and suffering and judgment. By one way or by another, by the way of obedience and faith and good works, or by the hard and bitter way of rebellion and sin and retribution, men and nations must learn that God is the Lord. That is life's greatest lesson.

Musing one October evening amid the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter, Edward Gibbon first conceived the design of writing the ''Decline and the Fall of the Roman Empire.'' To Ezekiel, as he sat among the captives on the banks of the rivers of Babylon, the heavens were opened and he saw visions of God. In metaphors of flaming splendor, but almost impenetrable mystery, he tells us what he saw.

After the vision came the Voice commissioning him to go and speak to the defeated and crushed but still rebellious people of Israel. It was not his, like Isaiah, to hold up the hands of faltering kings and call the nation to repentance and heroic resistance. It was too late for that: the blow had fallen. The visible kingdom and empire of Israel had passed forever and its inhabitants had been carried into captivity. It was his to contemplate the rain; to stand amid the smoke and ashes of Hebrew nationality, and hear God's verdict on the Decline and Fall of the Hebrew Monarchy, and repeat that verdict to the people.

With a multitude of signs and allegories and parables he delivers himself of his message. In this chapter he speaks to the nation in the parable of the faithless wives. There were two women, daughters of one mother and wives of one husband. The name of the one was Oholah and the name of the other Oholibah. By these names the prophet means the northern kingdom of Samaria and the kingdom of Judah.

It was a favorite method of the ...

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