The Abominableness of Condemned Jerusalem
“the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” – 2 Pet. 2:20
In order to show them how abominable their condition was the people needed to remember from whence they came (Ezek. 16:3-7), whither they went (Ezek. 16:8-14), and where they have come (Ezek. 16:15-59). The Israelite people of old were worthless (Ezek. 16:3-7), then they became worthy (Ezek. 16:8-14), and then they turned worthless again (Ezek. 16:15-59). She who was, wasn’t, and was once again worthless is finally found to be thrice as worthless! In other words, she who was unloved and detested by all, became the beloved of God, but being unsatisfied with this she sought out many lovers! She who was legally unacceptable and polluted, and later chosen and preserved by God, being unthankful for this she sought out the legally unacceptable and polluted families of the earth to join with and do worse than them!
Jerusalem’s Father & Mother Before Salvation
Starting from the very beginning, speaking of the people’s worthlessness of old, the LORD described their first estate by bearing witness to the identity of their Father and Mother, and worse.
“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. 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. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood...” – Ezek. 16:3-6
She was born a native Canaanite whose Father was an Amorite and Mother a Hittite. Furthermore, she, being so detestable (“to the lothing of thy person”), was cast out from the day of her birth: uncared for, unwashed, unsalted, unswaddled, unpitied, polluted in blood, and in the open field.
Jerusalem Adopted, Raised, & Beautified as a Bride
They were without strength, godliness, righteousness, goodness, and love! They were sinners (Rom. 5:6-8). God found them and chose them at such a time (“while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” – Rom. 5:8)! He said,
“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.” – Ezek. 16:8
In God’s perspective, this meant: “I thoroughly washed”, “I anointed”, “I clothed”, “I girded”, “I covered”, “I decked”, “I put”, “I put”, until… God said, “thou wast exceedingly beautiful and thou didst prosper into a Kingdom” (Ezek. 16:9-13)! Jerusalem was not always as worthless as a Vine Tree, my reader. She was “exceedingly beautiful” (Ezek. 16:13) and “perfect through [God’s] comeliness” (Ezek. 16:14)! Hence, to be lifted up from the lowest point unto the highest point and, then, to fall… how perilous is that fall? In understanding this, the people would be compelled to remember their abominations in that, namely: they have marred the most valuable, disgraced the highest status, dishonored the highest dignity, profaned the most holy, and violated the most innocent – GOD’s COMELINESS (Ezek. 16:14).
The LORD took everything personal, saying: “My gold”, “My silver”, “Mine oil”, “Mine incense”, “My meat”, “thy sons and thy daughters whom thou hast borne unto Me”, because all these things came from God and were meant to be used in worship to God (Ezek. 16:15-20). What was given to them by God, they prostituted! They used God’s beauty, for adultery! The people were unable to recognize what came from God and belonged to God because they forgot their former estate. God said, “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” (Ezek. 16:22). They forgot from whence they came (Ezek. 16:3-7) …and so, naturally, whither they went was without the acknowledgement of God (Ezek. 16:8-14); had they remembered from whence they came they would have been loyal to God whither they went. Instead, the LORD said, “thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown…”, as if it was theirs to begin with (Ezek. 16:15).
Jerusalem’s Adultery & Harlotry
Oh, this awful course! “And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! Saith the Lord GOD;)…” (Ezek. 16:23). It was a wicked and woeful course! They waxed worse and worse for the same original cause, God said: “thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth…” (Ezek. 16:22, 43). Even so, wither they went (Ezek. 16:15-59) would prove to be the most abominable. They became a harlot… and worse! The LORD identified the partners of His wife’s infidelity by naming names: “the Egyptians”, “the Philistines”, “the Assyrians”, “Chaldea” (Ezek. 16:26, 27, 28, 29). Her fornications were spread abroad and that, without hire! [Note: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah did either lust after or join inordinately with Egypt at the first, and, apparently, after being reduced to poverty through a God-sent famine (Ezek. 16:27), Judah sought after all the rest of these adulterous lovers out of enjoyment rather than necessity.]
“Thou…hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire; But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her Husband!” – Ezek. 16:31-32
She didn’t do it for pay. She did it for pleasure! God Almighty was infuriated with jealousy, and said, “I will judge thee as women that break wedlock” (Ezek. 16:38)! In revenge, her jealous Husband (the Sovereign) turned the hearts of her lovers in whom she has taken pleasure so that they hated her and gathered together against her. At last, she would be reduced down to her former estate as at the first when God found her.
God’s Jealously & Jerusalem’s Destruction
She who was detested and forsaken by all, “naked and bare” (Ezek. 16:7), would be so again! God said, “they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare” (Ezek. 16:39)! God’s wrath would not be pacified, until,
“They shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords. And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments 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. 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. 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.” – Ezek. 16:40-43
This being the case, that utter destruction was thereby determined (“I will make the Land desolate” – Ezek. 15:8), the LORD expounded how this would be used as the remedy of the problem. The coming destruction was not the problem, it was the solution! The Great Tribulation was ethically necessary and to be embraced by the people. This “no-repentance people” would come to repentance by embracing tribulation (Ezek. 16:52, 54, 61, 63)! As it has been proven in the former Chapters (long before the 6th and 7th year of Zedekiah’s reign), these people were no longer God’s Family or God’s People for the most part. Do you remember when the Prophet Jeremiah identified the people with the title, “Evil Family” (Jer. 8:3)? It’s been 17 to 18 years since then and things have only gotten worse. From the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign to the 7th year of Zedekiah’s reign, things have only gotten worse. Hence, through the prophet Ezekiel, the Family Members of this “Evil Family” were named and thereby greater depth of meaning was offered: the Mother was a Hittite, the Father was an Amorite, the Elder Sister was Samaria, and the Younger Sister was Sodom (Ezek. 16:44-46). What’s the point?
Jerusalem’s Latter End is Worse than her Sisters
The significance of both the Mother and Father was already established in the larger part of this prophecy heretofore (Ezek. 16:22, 43). Therefore, in closing, the LORD detailed the identity of the Sisters, their judgment and restoration, and the shocking estate of Jerusalem in relationship to her Sisters, saying,
“Sodom thy Sister hath not done…as thou hast done” – Ezek. 16:48
“Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins” – Ezek. 16:51
Can you believe it? That Jerusalem was more wicked than these two Cities, Sodom and Samaria! The LORD said of Jerusalem in relationship to her Sisters, “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” (Ezek. 16:47). They were Family Members whose relationship made them live and act like one another (“As is the Mother, so is her Daughter” – Ezek. 16:44). In other words, they were a-kin to the customs of abomination and the culture of alienation. Ah, but Jerusalem did worse than her Sisters!
the Hittites & the Amorites
It would be bad enough that Jerusalem returned to the kinship customs of her Mother and Father, the Hittites and Amorites. These two nations (among others) were given to Israel through the Covenant of Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21). The possession of this Land was granted to Abraham for good reason, though, because they were a people FULL of iniquity (Gen. 15:16), they were more wicked than all other nations (Deut. 9:4-5), and, being made ripe for judgment (Lev. 18:24-30, 20:22-27, Deut. 18:9-14), Israel was sent to WAR! The means by which this Covenant-gift was obtained by Israel wasn’t friendly, my reader. Being sent to war, Israel was commanded to show no mercy and take no prisoners! This was not just any war. God angrily demanded the total annihilation of these wretched nations and their animals, my reader! This included men, women, and children, the elderly and infants (Deut. 20:16-18)! God was so repulsed, every living soul that populated these nations was intolerably wicked in His sight! Take it all in, my reader (Ex. 23:20-33, 34:11-14, Lev. 18:24-30, 20:22-27, Num. 33:51-56, Deut. 7:1-6, 16-19, 23-26, 12:1-4, 29-32, 18:9-14, 20:16-18, 23:1-17, Josh. 23:2-16, Judges 2:2-3). Once again, it could have been said (in reference to these nations), “it repented the LORD that He had made man on the Earth, and it grieved Him at His heart” (Gen. 6:6). God was intent upon eradicating from the Land of Israel every person, tradition, and custom of all Gentile peoples, that He might, in turn, preserve Israel as a holy and set-apart people unto Himself (“I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people”-Lev. 20:24). [For more information, see The Land of Israel & Judah, The Kingdom of God, The City of Jerusalem, & Mount Zion.] Therefore, with all things considered, it was no small error that Jerusalem forgot the days of her youth in that she was saved from the wretched and miserable estate that she inherited from her Mother and Father at birth (Ezek. 16:3-7, 22, 43).
The Greater Condemnation in Relationship to Sodom and Samaria
“the greater condemnation” – James 3:1
Despite all the aforementioned, the half had not been told! Fearfully, it was a “very little thing” (Ezek. 16:47) to Jerusalem that she walked in all the abominations of her Mother, Father, Elder Sister, and Younger Sister! Remember, God said to them: “thou was corrupted more than they in all thy ways” (Ezek. 16:47), “more than they” (Ezek. 16:51), so that they were, at last, “more abominable than they” (Ezek. 16:52), how fearful! In full, the LORD was saying of Jerusalem in comparison to Samaria,
“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. 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.” – Ezek. 16:51-52
How is this possible? Of all the Kings of Judah prior to the Tribulation Period, only Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Ahaz, and Manasseh walked in the ways of the Kings of Israel, and Israel’s sins were far more numerous with her idolatry more abundant. Therefore, how could Judah be considered more wicked than Israel? How exactly did Judah’s wickedness exceed Israel’s when Israel ventured further and abode longer in greater iniquities than Judah from generation to generation? How could it be said that Judah had justified Israel? Take, for example, the history of Israel leading up to the Assyrian Captivity that was unable to fully conquer Judah because of the righteousness that was abiding therein.
Historically, from the time of King Omri onward (1 Kings 16:23-24), Samaria became the capital City of the Nation of Israel politically speaking. Then, after Omri, wicked King Ahab built a Temple for Baal in the City making it the capital of religiously popular idolatry (1 Kings 16:32-33). Notably, this idolatry was different than the widely accepted calf worship that was erroneously directed to the God of Israel, a religion that was invented by Jeroboam the son of Nebat and adopted by every following generation until the desolation of Israel as a Nation. Despite many acts of divine chastisement, the wars with Syria being one instance (1 Kings 20:1, 2 Kings 6-7), the people of Israel continued in rebellion until there was no other option left except utter destruction and worldwide dispersion. God sent the Assyrians (2 Kings 18:9-10, Isaiah 10:5-19)! Furthermore, in reference to Judah being righteously defended and preserved by God while Israel wasn’t, and justly so, when Assyria vanquished Israel they nearly wiped out the whole nation of Judah as well even despite the righteous reforms made under Hezekiah during that time! But… from the last remaining defensed City of Judah, the City of Jerusalem, King Hezekiah and the Prophet Isaiah kept the faith and cried out to God! Shockingly, the LORD defended them by sending angels to slay 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (Isa. 37:36-38)! God put a difference between Israel and Judah, and justly so! My reader, think of all the righteous Kings that ascended the throne of Judah, while Israel had none.
In fact, Judah’s superior standing in righteousness was directly related to her superior standing in wickedness in the latter end. Matthew Henry, taking note of this, identified an important parallel that sheds light on Judah’s latter estate of unprecedented woefulness.
“Jerusalem was more polite, and therefore sinned with more wit, more art and ingenuity, than Sodom and Samaria could. Jerusalem had more wealth and power, and its government was more absolute and arbitrary, and therefore had the more opportunity of oppressing the poor, and shedding malignant influences around her, than Sodom and Samaria had. Jerusalem had the temple, and the ark, and the priesthood, and kings of the house of David; and therefore the wickedness of that holy city, that was so dignified, so near, so dear to God, was more provoking to him than the wickedness of Sodom and Samaria, that had not Jerusalem's privileges and means of grace. Sodom has not done as thou hast done, Eze. 16:48. This agrees with what Christ says. Mat. 11:24, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” – Matthew Henry
Judah had Jerusalem and Mount Zion, the beloved City and Mountain of God. Judah had the Temple and the Ark, the earthly House and Throne of God. Judah had a lineage of Kings via the seed of David, the children to whom God was oath-bound to establish forevermore. Judah had the Aaronic Priesthood and the Levitical Officers, employees of true religion for the prosperity of real salvation via the judgments and statutes of God. All of this, in comparison to the dismal estate of Israel, was a staggering contrast with profound moral implications.
Israel was spiritually bankrupt and Godforsaken, literally, while Judah was spiritually enriched and God-possessed. In other words, the immorality that was commonplace among Samaritans and Sodomites was hard-to-be-achieved in the Moral Sanctuary of God in Judah. An act of rebellion from this place of spiritual prosperity necessitated the squandering of imperishable riches. An act of rebellion from the royalty of a superior holiness necessitated the hard-to-be-accomplished profanation of all that is holy in direct defiance of Him who was hard-to-be-withstood, the Most Holy God. An act of rebellion from this region wherein shined an abundance of Divine Light necessitated a stubborn and steadfast resistance of the emanating virtue, hence the human will must have been profoundly more stubborn than nominal sinners of any sort in any other Nation in the World at that time. An act of rebellion from this morally heightened condition necessitated a far greater immorality than all the commonplace depravity committed by Samaria and Sodom, Judah’s Sisters. On this wise, Judah’s superior standing in righteousness directly related to her superior standing in wickedness in the latter end. The defiance of a greater manifestation of salvation meant a greater damnation because it was a greater wickedness. My reader, this moral protocol of justice is evident in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ when He identified the 1st century Cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum as guilty of greater wickedness than Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom. Furthermore, speaking in reference to all the 1st century Jewish Cities that would reject the Disciples of Christ who were sent as messengers thereunto, the Lord affirmed that their wickedness exceeded that of Sodom and Gomorrha!
“Then began He to upbraid the Cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the Day of Judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment, than for thee.” – Matt. 11:20-24
“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that House or City, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the Land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the Day of Judgment, than for that City.” - Matt. 10:14-15
The moral protocol of justice – used by the Prophet Ezekiel for the identification of Judah’s woefulness – was employed by Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry wherein, like Judah of old, the 1st century Cities that rejected Christ were placed in a morally superior position above Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, and Gomorrah, hence the greater condemnation. They were being visited by God the Son and His messengers, being exercised by the power and virtue of their ministries, therefore upon rejecting the Moral One who walked in their midst performing wonders, let us understand: they became more guilty than Sodom and Gomorrah in God’s estimation! Rightly so, because the accumulation of wickedness necessary to commit that one act of rejection was far greater than the innumerable acts of wickedness committed by Sodom and Gomorrah from generation to generation. See, my reader? The Lord testified that the Sodomites were more tender-hearted than those 1st century Jews who rejected Christ! Vice versa, this means that the 1st century Jews were more hard-hearted than the Sodomites of old! In other words, Sodom would have repented if Christ did in her what was done in Capernaum! Thus, while it appears that Sodom and Gomorrah were more wicked than 1st century Capernaum and other like Cities, for indeed Sodom and Gomorrah did commit far more numerous acts of wickedness in a more devilish society of normalized immorality, yet the reality was the contrary because of the wickedness necessary on the Jews part to reject so great a manifestation of salvation via God the Son. The amassed wickedness necessary to commit that one single act – the rejection of God the Son! – was comparable to the hard-to-be-committed acts of rebellion committed by Judah of old.
As formerly noted, Judah of old was enriched by the Temple, She was ingratiated by the blessing of righteous Kings in the line of David, and She was endowed by an abundance of God’s oversight and direction via the Prophets, and thus when She rebelled in less frequent acts of wickedness and with lesser forms of perversion than Samaria and Sodom, so it seemed, the moral protocol interprets the fewer acts of wickedness as the greatest form of perversion possible, and righteously so! These influences – the Temple, righteous Kings, and God-sent Prophets – weighed in the balances of morality exactly like the ministry of Jesus Christ altered the moral situation of 1st century Jewish Cities. In reference to the aforementioned endowments, lo and behold: Jesus was greater than the Temple (Matt. 12:6), greater than King Solomon (Matt. 12:42), and greater than the Prophet Jonah (Matt. 12:41)! Hence, we must interpret the criminal acts of every City as they relate to the aforementioned endowments. Remember, this is because the magnitude of a crime committed is situational and circumstantial to the value and royalty of the place and people involved. This can be illustrated by the criminal act of thievery, for example; the penalty fluctuates with the value of the object or the royalty of the person stolen. Value and royalty changes criminality because it is a greater evil to steal or harm those things or persons which are the most precious and irreplaceable. In the specific case of 1st century Judaism considered within the scope of human history as a whole, the greatest of sins are those committed against the greatest manifestation of God. Therefore if, in 1st century Judaism, the greatest manifestation of God ever to exist was beheld and rejected – One greater than Jonas, Solomon, and the Temple – then the Jews were, consequentially, the greatest sinners ever to exist!
Because all cleanness is determined by humanity’s relationship to the Cleansing Man, when and if they reject Jesus Christ they are thereby reduced into a state of utter uncleanness beyond any woeful denouncement expressed to any Unclean Land or people throughout all of human history (“It shall be more tolerable for the Land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the Day of Judgment, than for that city.”-Matt.10:15, Lk.10:12).
Because Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the Moral and Ceremonial Law, when and if anyone rejects Him they are committing a crime which is equivalent to rejecting the counsel of every Law in the Old Testament (“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.”-John5:38-39).
Because Jesus Christ is the embodiment of all prophecy and promise – the Prophet of prophets – when and if Israel rejects Him they are committing a crime of unlawful bloodshed which is equivalent to slaying all the prophets which have existed from the foundation of the world (“That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the Temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.”-Lk.11:50-51, 13:34)!
If so great a guilt was reckoned – unthinkable in magnitude! – it was for so great a crime committed, a single act of bloodshed, far outweighing the blood of all the Prophets from the foundation of the world! This one abomination, a single act, was more abominable than all the abominations ever committed! Therefore, if such and such was spoken in regards to the 1st century Jews rejecting God-Incarnate, what can be said of the Old Testament Jews of the Kingdom of Judah who rejected the manifestation of the pre-Incarnate Christ through the endowments granted to her? Very specifically, God reckoned with Judah based upon what She did to His judgments and statutes (the virtues that proceeded from the Temple, righteous Kings, and God-sent Prophets) just as God reckoned with the 1st century Jews based upon what they did to Jesus Christ. Her rejection of God’s judgments and statutes necessitated the amassing of wickedness that far outweighed the criminal activity of other Countries. All other Nations, knowing Judah’s privileged position of royalty and holiness, watched as “She hath changed [God’s] judgments into wickedness more than the Nations, and [God’s] statutes more than the Countries that are round about Her” (Ezek. 5:6), and in God’s estimation this was a greater evil than all the abominations of the Nations that were round about Judah.
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the Nations and Countries that are round about her. And she hath changed My judgments into wickedness more than the Nations, and My statutes more than the Countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations. And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations. Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.” – Ezek. 5:5-10
As you can see, my reader, parallelism resounds. The moral protocol of justice is harmonious. Thereby, Judah was more wicked than her Sisters, Samaria and Sodom. Judah’s man-to-God relationship via the Covenant changed everything. Therefore, God took personally what Judah did to the Covenant (a Covenant which contained judgments to obey, statutes to keep, and oaths to fulfill) and responded likewise, saying: “I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the Covenant” (Ezek. 16:59; see “The Righteous Judgment of God”). Ah, these Jews! The inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, the Evil Figs! They were worse off than Sodomites, spiritually speaking, and they were preaching Unconditional Eternal Security!
“The Captivity of the wicked Jews, and their ruin, shall be as irrevocable as that of Sodom and Samaria. In this sense, as a threatening, most interpreters take Ezek. 16:53, Ezek. 16:55. “When I shall bring again the captivity of Sodom and Samaria, and when they shall return to their former estate, then I will bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them, and as it were for their sakes, and under their shadow and protection, because they are more righteous than thou, and then thou shalt return to thy former estate,” But Sodom and Samaria were never brought back, nor ever returned to their former estate, and therefore let not Jerusalem expect it, that is, those who now remained there, whom God would deliver to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, Jer. 24:9, Jer. 24:10. Sooner shall the Sodomites arise out of the salt sea, and the Samaritans return out of the land of Assyria, than they enjoy their peace and prosperity again; for, to their shame be it spoken, it is a comfort to those of the ten tribes, who are dispersed and in captivity, to see those of the two tribes who had been as bad as they, or worse, in like manner dispersed and in captivity; and therefore they shall live and die, shall stand and fall, together. The bad ones of both shall perish together; the good ones of both shall return together. Note, Those who do as the worst of sinners do must expect to fare as they fare. Let my enemy be as the wicked.” – Matthew Henry
Shockingly, spiritual status of Judah as Sodom and Gomorrah was not new (Jer. 23:14). The backsliding Church was deserving of a total annihilation long ago, as Isaiah and Hosea declared, saying,
“We should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah” - Isa. 1:9
“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.” – Hos. 11:8-9
Why weren’t the Jews totally annihilated? Hosea told the story! Admah and Zeboim were neighboring Cities to Sodom and Gomorrah, my reader. They, like Sodom and Gomorrah, were reduced to ashes via a total annihilation (Jude 1:7)! Ah, but She who was worse than Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t suffer this fate and herein lies a great mystery (Lam. 3:22-23, Neh. 9:30-31)! Is this just? The Prophet Ezekiel will labor to unveil this mystery of injustice in Ezekiel Chapter 20 in unprecedented detail. The truth be told, even though Judah was worse than Sodom and Gomorrah and deserving of a more fiery fate than they, the LORD explained: “I have wrought with you for My Name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings” (Ezek. 20:44). [For more information, see: Chapter 8: The Near Annihilation of God’s People, Chapter 9: “I Am Weary With Repenting”, & Chapter 10: “Mercy On Whom I Will Have Mercy”.]