I was recently pointed to David Ker’s blog entry on Ezekiel 23 – a passage I find fascinating on account of its rather shocking nature. In my analysis of Ezekiel, chapter 23 being a long chapter, it cost me at least a week’s work, and with its explicitness, it wasn’t pleasant work. That the word of God would use such a jarring language for his people is something that has stuck with me. It gives me pause as to what depths God’s people had sunk to so that this was a way to reach them – and it gives me pause to what God’s people are up to now that makes us so often ignore this passage and the messiness in it.
The following is a brief excerpt from David Ker’s thoughts on Ezekiel 23:
“…When I was a little boy in Sunday School this was one of our favorite chapters. My buddies and I, we gravitated to this chapter, verse 20 in particular, and snickered. How did we even find the verse? Maybe like dirty jokes, naughty bits of the Bible are passed down from older boys to the younger.
The language of Ezekiel 23 is wildly inappropriate for a sacred text. Would Ezekiel 23 pass Paul’s “whatsoever things” test in Philippians 4:8?
The context of this chapter is a long and detailed denunciation of Israel and Judah for their idolatry imported from Egypt and their political alliances with neighboring countries. Note well that this isn’t a story told by Ezekiel, this is him verbatim reporting “the word of the Lord.” So God is talking here and he uses some really shocking sexual vocabulary. Breasts are squeezed. Men’s genitals and their functions are described in vivid imagery….”