Ezekiel's Three Sisters
THE THREE SISTERS OF BIBLE PROPHECY: A STUDY OF EZEKIEL 16
"It is as scathing an indictment as anything written by the prophet."
An often ignored prophecy (Ezekiel 16:44-63) begins with as scathing an indictment as anything ever spoken through a prophet. Ezekiel specifically addresses Jerusalem: Again the word of YAHUAH came unto me, saying, “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,” (Ezekiel 16:1-2)
One curious thing within Ezekiel’s prophecy is that Jerusalem is called a "sister". "You are your mother's daughter who loathes her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. Your elder sister is Shomeron [Samaria]. She and her daughters dwell at your left hand [north of you]. Your younger sister is Sodom, and her daughters, who dwell at your right hand [south of you]. Yet you have not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations. But, as if that were a very little thing, you were more corrupted than they in all your ways. As I live, says Sovereign YAHUAH, Sodom your sister has not done, she, nor her daughters, as you have done, you and your daughters." (Ezekiel 16:45-48) Who are these three sisters, Jerusalem, Samaria and Sodom? Were they really the offspring of a common mother?
To answer the questions, let’s do a word study on "sister.” This word is translated from “achot” (H269). This Hebrew word is related to “ach” (H251) which means "brother". In Scripture, these words can also refer to blood relatives, or kinsmen. For example:
1. Abraham's nephew, Lot is called a “brother (ach)” i.e. his kinsman. "When Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them to Dan. He divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them to Hovah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. He brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people." (Genesis 14:14-16)
2. The saying "we are brethren" means kinsmen. Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife, I pray you, between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen for we are brethren.” (Genesis 13:8)
3. Moses’ "brethren" are Hebrews. "It came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren, and looked on their burdens. He spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren." (Exodus 2:11) "Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said to him, 'Let me go, I pray you, and return to my brethren, who are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive.' Jethro said to Moses, 'Go in peace'.” (Exodus 4:18)
4. The Israelites are "our brethren" and basic to this word is the concept that the tribes and nation are descended from a common father. Often, the word “ach” is used of the people of the land or fellow countrymen. The people contended with Moses exclaiming, “Would Elohim that we had died when our brethren died before YAHUAH!” (Numbers 20:3)
5. Israelites are indeed permitted to accept interest from a “nokri”, but they are forbidden to demand interest from an “ach”, an ethnic relative. "To a stranger you may lend upon usury. But to your brother you shall not lend upon usury so that YAHUAH your Elohim may bless you in all that you set your hand to in the land where you go to possess it." (Deuteronomy 23:20)
6. In Hebrew language, there is a distinction between “ach” (a brother), “ger” (a sojourner), “rea” (a friend), and “yodhea” (an acquaintance). "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is of your brethren, or of your strangers who are in your land within your gates." (Deuteronomy 24:14)
7. According to Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (vol. 1, p.188, 190), "The root 'ach’ is a common Semitic root; it signifies first of all a person's own blood brother, but it also has the broader meaning of kinsman ...”
Therefore, we can conclude that the three sisters are indeed ethnically-associated peopleand thus Israelite relatives. So, who are these three related Israelite "sisters" that Ezekiel prophesied about? Let's consider each one of them individually.
Who is the Samaria of Ezekiel’s prophecy?
Samaria was the capital city of the ten-tribe northern House of Israel. In Ezekiel’s prophecy, cities can refer to the entire nation that they govern. So, Ezekiel refers to the nation of ten-tribe Ephraim-Israel metaphorically as "Shomeron," a Hebrew name for "Samaria."
Why is Samaria called the "elder sister" (16:46) when it was built last? Omri built Samaria (in 876 BC). "He bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria." (1 Kings 16:24)
David conquered Jerusalem well over a century earlier (in 999 BC) and Sodom was founded over a millennium before either Samaria or Jerusalem (about 2000 BC). Obviously Ezekiel is not using the word "elder" in a chronological sense. Unfortunately, some popular commentaries give different and often conflicting reasons for Ezekiel's use of the term, elder:
1. Dr. Paul M. Joyce (Ezekiel: A Commentary, p.133) writes, "This may be because the northern kingdom fell first..." So, if a baby dies in infancy, do we call it the eldest because it died first? No, the eldest is the child that is born first!
2. Another commentary writes, "Sodom is depicted as Jerusalem's younger sister probably because it was a small city-state much less in importance than Samaria." Yes, but Jerusalem is also called a younger sister of Samaria! Was Samaria more important than the city of David, known as Zion, where Kings David and Solomon reigned, and Elohim dwelled in the holy temple? "Behold, I and the children whom YAHUAH has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from YAHUAH Tzaviot [of hosts], who dwells in Mount Zion." (Isaiah 8:18) No, certainly not more important! Nor was Samaria a larger city than Jerusalem.
3. Hadock's Commentary suggests that "Samaria shewed Jerusalem the road to idolatry, and therefore is called her elder sister." This implies the Israelites never sinned until after the city of Samaria was built (in 876 BC). Yet Ezekiel accused Israelites of sin as far back as their time in Egypt!
4. Hadock's gives another suggestion. "The number of the ten tribes was also greater than that of the kingdom of Juda ..." and therefore Samaria is called the Elder. So, if my family is larger than your family, does that make me your elder? This is a mix-up of the terms elder and larger! They are two entirely different things. So many commentaries seem lost on this passage. They either do not know the answer, or they may not want to give the answer!
5. The Birthright! One explanation that commentators seem to avoid is in Scripture. "Now the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel, for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's." (1 Chronicles 5:1-2)
The eldest child typically inherits the birthright. Although Joseph was not the eldest of Jacob's sons, he was the eldest son of Jacob's favored wife, Rachel, and so became a birthright holder. He in turn passed the birthright on to his son Ephraim (Gen. 48), who was the leading and ruling tribe in the House of Israel, whose capital was at Samaria. Theologians often seem to ignore the birthright and its ramificationsbecause it clearly did not belong to Judah, or the Jewish people. It belongs to those whom Dr. Albert Barnes called, "A Mighty People" in our world today!
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, under the entry, "Birthright" states: "As firstborn he inherited a double portion of the paternal estate... Discoveries at Mari, Nuzi, and Alalakh, however, show the father could disregard the law of primogeniture and divert the birthright to a younger son, as in the case of Reuben (Genesis 48:22; 49:3f.), of Shimri (1 Chronicles 26:10), and of Joseph's children as they were blessed by Jacob (Genesis 48:13-20)." Some scholars believe the Birthright holder had a double portion only of property that could be divided. With lands that were kept together, the elder may have received them all.
Who is the Jerusalem of Ezekiel’s prophecy?
Yah clearly told Ezekiel to address his prophecy to Jerusalem (16:1). But why was Jerusalem a separate sister from Israel and Judah? Was not the city also a part of Judah? Why did Ezekiel make Jerusalem a separate prophetic object?
A leading 20thcentury mid-east scholar, William F. Albright, wrote "Jerusalem was quite outside of the Israelite tribal system; it vowed allegiance only to the king, and it became peopled largely by his personal retainers, who had abandoned their original allegiances and were legally 'slaves of the king', a term used regularly by the Israelites and their neighbors in the sense of 'royal officials'. This act of David was sheer political genius." (The Biblical Period from Abraham To Ezra, p.50)
So, Jerusalem's officials answered to no one except David and Solomon themselves, which brought serious consequences. Jerusalem was a tremendous drain on the twelve tribes and helped lead to the breakup of the nation. According to Albright, "[David's] new prefects, whose names are listed in I Kings 4, seem to have been officials from the royal entourage ... A principle duty of these prefects was to furnish provisions for the royal court, each for a month. If the daily amount recorded in I Kings 5:2ff is correct ... this was a very heavy drain on a population which probably averaged less than 100,000 for each [tribal] prefecture ... Small wonder that Israel rebelled after Solomon's death!" (ibid. p.56)
Just as Jerusalem was an entity politically separate from Ephraim and Judah, so is the modern Vatican City a political entity that is separate from the government of Italy. The Vatican is described as "a landlockedsovereigncity-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy."
According to the theory of “Amillennialism” the Roman Catholic Church represents the millennial kingdom existing now, and replaces Old Testament Israel. Messianic believers refer to this as a classic example of "Replacement Theology," in which Old Testament Physical Israel is replaced by Roman Catholicism as a Spiritual Israel. According to “Amillennialism” there is no 1,000 year millennium. The millennium (Revelation 20) is the present Church Age led by a pontiff in Rome, Italy. The Roman Catholic Church supersedes and replaces Old Testament Israel; the Pope supersedes and replaces Kings David and Solomon; and Vatican City in Rome supersedes and replaces Jerusalem in Israel.
Parallels between Old Jerusalem and Modern Vatican
1. Vatican is a walled city like ancient Jerusalem.
2. Vatican is a political administration separate from the religious Holy See. It is said to have "temporal jurisdiction" so that it is a political nation-state, not a religious organization per se.
3. Vatican has capital punishment rights under Italy’s 1929 Constitution although that right was allegedly never exercised.
4. Vatican's physical location is the site of the martyrdom of many Christians, including where Apostle Peter was martyred by being crucified upside down. Nero's persecution of Christians in Rome (64 AD) involved their martyrdom at that location. Rome's persecution of Protestants during the Reformation is comparable to Jerusalem's persecution of early 1st century Believers as recorded in Scripture (Book of Acts).
5. Vatican was purposely built on the west bank of the Tiber River, mimicking New Jerusalem's location along the "River of the Water of Life" (Revelation 21:2).
6. Vatican is called the "Holy City" in parallel with Jerusalem the "Holy City."
7. The Pope is crowned as if a king, in replication of the crowning of Kings David and Solomon.
8. The Pope is given the title, "Vicarius Filii Dei" which is Latinfor representative of the Son of God, much like David and Solomon were considered Divine agents in their kingly roles. In Gematria (numerology), this title adds to 666. The Protestant Reformation popularly taught the Roman Catholic Church was the Anti-Christ, or "Substitute Christ."
9. Vatican is the "Substitute Israel" replacing physical Old Testament Israel, and the Papacy succeeds or replaces the throne of Israel, David's throne.
10. Vatican was the political capital of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806.
11. Lastly another fascinating fact: the Vatican attempts to keep its workforce at approximately 2400 workers, which is a symbolic parallel to the 24 courses of priests (I Chronicles 24:7-18), and the 24 Elders (Revelation 4:4; 19:4).
So, Jerusalem was a political state separate from her sisters of Judah and Ephraim, but... why was Jerusalem worse (“more corrupted”) than her sisters? (Ezekiel 16:47) Why was Sovereign YAHUAH furious with the people of Jerusalem? (Ezekiel 16:42)
Haydock's Commentary explains, "This is the most terrible effect of God's wrath, when the sinner is left to himself."So here is a prophecy specifically against Jerusalem that is turned into a non-descript gospel plea to the sinner!
Catholic theologian, Joseph Benkinsopp (Ezekiel, p.79) has a different opinion. He believes calling Jerusalem more corrupt is just "hyperbole." He thus accuses Ezekiel of baseless name-calling and seemingly implies that the prophet (who speaks Yah’s words) is guilty of a form of character assassination!
Samaria (the House of Israel) was divorced for their sins (Hosea 2:2), yet Ezekiel proclaimed that Samaria "has not committed half the sins of Jerusalem." (16:51) Punished with destruction from Elohim, Jerusalem was never to be restored to its previous Divine favor and use, as vividly described in the Broken Bottle Prophecy (Jeremiah 19). Although Jerusalem was physically rebuilt after the Babylonian captivity, Yah's presence was not there, having left the city (Ezekiel 11:23). The prophetic New Jerusalem (Revelation 21), which exists now in a spiritual form in the body of His people (Luke 17:21; Hebrews 12:22-24), supersedes the physical old city. New Jerusalem's glorious physical presence will shine forth at Messiah’s return and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom. (Revelation 20 - 22)
Who is the Sodom of Ezekiel’s prophecy?
“Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom. Pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. They were haughty and committed abomination before me. Therefore I took them away as I saw good. Neither has Samaria committed half of your sins. But you multiplied your abominations more than they and justified your sisters in all your abominations which you have done. You, who judged your sisters, bear your own shame for your sins that you committed more abominable than they. They are more righteous than you. Yea, be you confounded also, and bear your shame in that you have justified your sisters.” (Ezekiel 16:49-52)
Albert Barnes refers to these verses as, "A denunciation of hopeless ruin. When Sodom shall be rebuilt and shall flourish, when Samaria shall be again a mighty people, then, but not until then, shall Jerusalem be restored." Professor Barnes, in “Notes to the Scriptures,” wrote this prior to the establishment of a Jewish Israeli state (in 1948). If he is correct that Jerusalem was restored according to prophecy, then two things had to happen first. The ten tribes of the House of Israel, called by the name of their capital city, Samaria, must be a mighty people today! And, Sodom must also have been restored, rebuilt and flourishing. Who are these people in our modern world?
Adam Clarke's Commentary says, "It is supposed that the prophet by Sodom in this place means the Israelites that dwelt beyond Jordan, in the land or the Moabites and Ammonites; or rather of the Moabites and Ammonites themselves."Thus he claims that prophetic Sodom either represents the Israelites, or the non-Israelites of Moab and Ammon. Neither is correct. He is creating more confusion, not less, in understanding the prophecy.
Sodom's inhabitants were indeed wicked: “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before YAHUAH exceedingly." (Genesis 13:13) However, historic Sodom was not known for the Ezekiel 16:48 list of sins, but Judah was. Conversely, Judah was not known for the sin of sodomy, but Sodom was! These points illustrate that in Ezekiel's prophecy the term "Sodom" was in fact both a symbolic emblem for sin and a label for sinful Judah. Daniel I. Block agrees, saying that ancient Sodom was associated with "homosexual gang rape," which is not in Judah’s list of crimes.
In Ezekiel's prophecy, his "Sodom" was exiled rather than destroyed: "They were haughty and committed abomination before me. Therefore I took them away.” (Ezekiel 16:50). In contrast, according to Scripture ancient historic Sodom was destroyed, not exiled! (Genesis 18:20-32)
Sodom and Samaria did not even live at the same time. They were in existence a millennium apart. So they were not co-existing “sisters”.Sodom and Samaria were also of different ethnic origins and therefore again could not be called "sisters." The ancient city of Sodom was peopled by Canaanites, who were Hamitic, not Semitic, according to the register of nations. (Genesis 10:15-20)
In Ezekiel's prophecy, Sodom had outlying villages, or colonies, called "daughters". Could this represent trading colonies established by Judah during the time of Solomon? (1 Kings 9:26-28) Yet it is doubtful that the small town of Sodom, destroyed a millennium earlier, and referred to by Daniel I. Block as "a third-rate city-state at best" (p.507, n256), had any such daughter colonies.
Ezekiel prophesied of the restoration of the two sisters, Samaria (House of Israel) and House of Judah. (Ezekiel 16:53) Block explains that the Hebrew phrase "shub shebut," means "a model of restoration according to which Yahweh reverses his judgment and restores a condition of well-being..." (Ezekiel, p.513) The same wording describes the lands, family and livestock of righteous Job being restored. (Job 42:10) Yet why would wicked Sodom be restored? According to Scripture, Yah destroyed four cities of the plain (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim). (Deuteronomy 29:23) Yet of these four why is only Sodom promised restoration? That would be unlikely.
A Bronze Age Ghost Town rebuilt?
Let’s examine Scripture about this restoration of Sodom. “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then I will bring again the captivity of your captives in the midst of them that you may bear your own shame and may be confounded in all that you have done, in that you are a comfort to them. When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then you and your daughters shall return to your former estate.” (Ezekiel 16:53-55) An alternate translation of Ezekiel 16:53 says that Yah will "restore... the fortunes of Sodom and... Samaria." (Another alternate translation has “shall return to their former estate.”)
One commentary claims that only Sodom's buildings were to be restored, not the people! (If so, the same would also be true of the House of Israel.) Why restore Bronze Age mud brick houses, empty little ramshackle huts with dirt floors and no indoor plumbing or toilets? For what purpose? Is Yah in the business of restoring buildings instead of people? Does Yah plan to recreate an empty Tourist Attraction? Will this be the Disney World of the Mideast? "Come visit the ancient Sodom that Elohim restored to its ancient splendor!?”
Commentators just cannot understand what Ezekiel is talking about! For example, Dr. Walter Zimmerli writes, "This is still more surprising ... For this reason there is a real question as to whether this section (vv. 53-58) is secondary." (p.85, Ezekiel: A Commentary) When Biblical scholars do not understand a prophecy, they want to throw it out!
Most Biblical commentaries believe that the Sodom of the prophecy is the old literal city rather than a euphemism for Judah. Yet why would a treatise on the sins of Yah's people entirely disregard the House of Judah? Why should only the ten tribes and the city of Jerusalem be mentioned as sinners among Yah's people?
We previously read Ezekiel 15:50, "I took them away as thou hast seen" (Douay-Rheims); or, alternatively translated as, "I did away with them as you have seen." (NIV) This phrase "as you have seen" may refer to the Assyrian conquest of all of the land of Judah except Jerusalem in 701 BC, rather than the previous destruction of Sodom over a millennium before.
The answer to the mysterious identity of Sodom is found in the Prophet Isaiah. He denounced Judah's princes as rulers of Sodom. "The daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except YAHUAH of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. Hear the word of YAHUAH, you rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our Elohim, you people of Gomorrah [both city-names applied to Judah]. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? says YAHUAH. I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts. I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats." (Isaiah 1:8-11)
It is also interesting to notice Ezekiel 16:61, "Take your sisters ...and give them to you as daughters." Samaria and Judah were indeed subordinate “sisters” to Jerusalem, but ancient Sodom was gone a millennium before the Israelites conquered Jerusalem!
The Three Sisters therefore designate the three political sections of the Hebrew people, all kinsfolk. Yet there is still another plausible reason why Ezekiel’s prophecy broke down the Hebrew nation into three parts! An exilic parallel also existed for Ephraim, Judah and Jerusalem:
1. The House of Israel was conquered and exiled over a period of a dozen years (from 732 - 720 BC) by the Assyrian kings Tiglath-pileser III (Tukultī-apil-Ešarra, "my trust is in the son of Esharra"), Shalmaneser V (Šulmanu-ašarid, "the god Shulmanu is pre-eminent"), and Sargon II (Sarru-ukin, "he [= the god] made firm the king") (2 Kings 15:29; 17:6)
2. The House of Judah (except for Jerusalem) was conquered (in 701 BC) and exiled by Assyrian king Sennacherib (Sin-ahhe-eriba, 705 – 681 BC). Label this the “Unknown Exile” because it is widely ignored by numerous Bible commentaries that imply that all of Judah went into the Babylonian exile. This is incorrect. The Assyrians, in fact, exiled most of Judah (46 fenced cities). (2 Kings 18:13)
3. The city of Jerusalem was conquered and deported by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in a series of exiles between 605 and 582 B.C. (2 Kings 25)
If any of these three political divisions of Israel had repented and turned back to the Elohim of Israel, they could have avoided conquest and exile. That did not happen, however, and Ezekiel prophetically characterizes and castigates all three for their sins. Only one of nearly three dozen standard Bible commentaries I consulted correctly understood who the three figurative sisters represented.
New Jerusalem and New Covenant
For thus declares Sovereign YAHUAH, “I will even deal with you as you have done, who has despised the oath in breaking the covenant [the Mosaic or Old Covenant]. Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish unto you an everlasting covenant [the New Covenant]. Then you shall remember your ways and be ashamed, when you shall receive your sisters, your elder and your younger [This is the reunion of Judah and Ephraim, who reunite through faith in the Messiah, Yahshuah, under the New Covenant]. I will give them to you for daughters [the daughter is not the old mother, and the daughter of Jerusalem is New Jerusalem, not the old city], but not by your covenant [Not by the Old Covenant but by the New Covenant]. I will establish my covenant with you. You shall know that I am YAHUAH that you may remember, and be ashamed, and never open your mouth any more because of your shame, when I pardon you for all that you have done,” declares Sovereign YAHUAH. [When are sins pardoned or forgiven? When an individual believes on Yahshuah] (Ezekiel 16:59-63)
The prophecy (Ezekiel 37:15-28) of the Joining of the Two Sticks (Ephraim and Judah) states that three things will take place when the two Houses are rejoined. They would: (1) have one king (v.22) David's greater Son the Messiah (v.24), who would be their one shepherd; (2) keep the Torah and sin no more (v.24, which appears to be Millennial); and (3) live in the land, the re-establishment of the nation in Palestine (v.25). This could not have occurred before 1948, since it says that they would live there forever. (Yet again, I believe that this actually has a Millennial fulfillment, not 1948, since it says that the Davidic Messiah would be with them forever). For these reasons, according to Ezekiel’s prophecy the two Houses of Israel (Ephraim and Judah) cannot have been rejoined into one as yet. Ezekiel’s theme, therefore, is that the reunion of Israel’s two houses is a harbinger of the Messiah’s return.
Dr. S. Fisch’s commentary in "Ezekiel" says concerning Jerusalem, "[The fire of Divine punishment was seen already] in the destruction of the Northern Kingdom and the Judean captivity in 597 B.C.E. What remains, Jerusalem, is like the singed wood from which nothing can be made... When a whole branch is valueless, how can a fragment of it be of use! So, if the whole nation... failed in its purpose, what hope is there of the remnant in Jerusalem?" (p.82 on Ezek. 16:4-5)
It is not generally recognized that the Old Jerusalem failed in its mission and purpose and has been superseded by New Jerusalem under the New Covenant. This theme is evident in the New Testament: "But you are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living Elohim, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to Elohim the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Yahshua the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel." (Hebrews 12:22-24)
The New Covenant was also proclaimed (Jeremiah 31:31-34) to include Yah's two houses of Israel and Judah who reunite by faith in the Messiah Yahshuah. (cf. Hebrews 8:8-11)
Few realize that the prophecy in Ezekiel 43:20 which foretold the New Covenant also speaks of making a blood atonement, using the Hebrew word, Kipper, meaning to purge or purify. It is related to another important Hebrew word, Kapporeth, the "Mercy Seat" or covering. This concept concerns Yahshua, for "He is the propitiation for our sins..." (1 John 2:2) A propitiation is a covering. The Complete Jewish Bible translation says, "Also, he is the kapparah for our sins..."
Importance of learning from the past
In addition to knowing Yahshuah, one commentator observes, "Ezekiel attributes Jerusalem's abominable behavior (vv. 15-34) to her failure to acknowledge her past: 'you have not remembered.' (16:43; 36:26)" My prayer is that we all may benefit from a knowledge of Israel's past mistakes and not repeat them as a people!