In this chapter the Lord compares Samaria and Jerusalem to two sisters named Oholah and Oholibah, Oholah is Samaria the capitol of Israel, and Oholibah is Jerusalem the capitol of Judah. The name Oholah means tent, the tent of God is Samaria, the capital of Israel. Oholibah means My [God's] tent is therein, indicating the Temple which is located in Jerusalem. (JewishEncyclopedia.com, 2011).
Oholah or Samaria, the older sister cheated first. She cheated with Egypt, then Assyria. The Lord let Assyria have her and she was destroyed. Verse 10 describes Samaria’s destruction.
“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.”
Samaria went the way of the surrounding nations. She adopted their customs, their idols, and their religions and became so much like them that she was indistinguishable from them. Samaria’s reputation was so bad we are still aware of the derision against them today when we read about the Good Samaritan or The Woman at the Well.
But did that teach Oholibah or Jerusalem not to go the way of her sister? No, Oholibah went further than Oholah. She sinned with Egypt and Assyria, but then she lusted after Chaldea. She looked for opportunities to cheat and invited them to her bed. She made her promiscuity known to every nation. She brought those lewd acts into God’s sacred places. She defiled herself and the Temple. God turned His face from her in disgust but that didn’t stop her. He warned her that she would have the same fate as her sister. But she only increased her infidelity. Verses 36-42 in The Message read,
“Then God said to me, “Son of man, will you confront Oholah and Oholibah with what they’ve done? Make them face their outrageous obscenities, obscenities ranging from adultery to murder. They committed adultery with their no-god idols, sacrificed the children they bore me in order to feed their idols! And there is also this: They’ve defiled my holy Sanctuary and desecrated my holy Sabbaths. The same day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they walked into my Sanctuary and defiled it. That’s what they did—in my house!
40-42 “Furthermore, they even sent out invitations by special messenger to men far away—and, sure enough, they came. They bathed themselves, put on makeup and provocative lingerie. They reclined on a sumptuous bed, aromatic with incense and oils—my incense and oils! The crowd gathered, jostling and pushing, a drunken rabble. They adorned the sisters with bracelets on their arms and tiaras on their heads.”
Samaria forgot the Lord and was divorced and destroyed. Jerusalem forgot the Lord and ignored the lessons she might have learned from Samaria. She flouted the warnings to repent and so God decided to let her pay for her sins. Verse 35 reads,
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring.”
The Lord said that the righteous would pass judgment on her they would call her what she was a murderer and an adulterer. He said the sentence for that verdict would be public death by stoning and swords. She would become the example of what happens to an idolatrous nation.
The upright can look at the offender and recognize the sin and call it what it is. She doesn’t do it to call the sinner out, she does it so that she doesn’t participate. She sees the obscenity and steers clear instead of partaking and thereby giving her endorsement, which would be taken as God’s approval.
The lost need to know they are lost, not by our accusations but by our testimony and love. They need to know God loves them and wants a relationship with them. They need the chance to accept Jesus as their Savior. If they reject Him, then their sins on their own heads and they must pay the price. But if they accept Him, then He takes their sins onto His head and pays the price.
Have you made a practice of sinning? Has God warned you repeatedly to stop? Have you seen the examples of immorality around you and still choose to close your eyes to God? God will not force you into a relationship with Him. You are free to keep living life any way you choose. But if you disregard God, He will let you pay the price for your sins just as you’ve chosen to do.
JewishEncyclopedia.com. (2011). OHOLAH and OHOLIBAH (A. V. Aholah, Aholibah):. Retrieved from Jewish Encyclopedia: http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11675-oholah