The Assyrian conquerors (Ezek 23:8-23:10)

“She did not give up
Her prostitution activities.
She had practiced them
Since her days
In Egypt.
In her youth,
Men had lain
With her.
They had fondled
Her virgin bosom.
They had poured out
Their lust
Upon her.
Therefore I delivered her
Into the hands
Of her lovers,
Into the hands
Of the Assyrians.
She had lusted
After them.
These Assyrians
Uncovered her nakedness.
They seized her sons.
They seized her daughters.
They killed her
With the sword.
Judgment was executed
Upon her.
She became a byword
Among women.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the story of Samaria, Oholah. She had practiced prostitution since her youth, when she had played the whore with Egypt. She slept and had sex with the Egyptians. She let them fondle her virgin breasts, so that they poured out their lust on her. Thus Yahweh decided to deliver Oholah into the hand of her Assyrian lovers, since she had lusted after them. Thus Assyria uncovered her nakedness. Then they seized her sons and daughters. Finally, they killed her with the sword, as judgment was executed upon her. She became a byword among women. This is obviously an allusion to the end of the northern kingdom of Israel at Samaria in 724, when the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V conquered and took over northern Israel. Thus the kingdom of Israel at Samaria came to an end.

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Jerusalem as an object of reproach (Ezek 16:56-16:58)

“‘Was not

Your sister Sodom

A byword

In your mouth

In the day

Of your pride?

This was before

Your wickedness

Was uncovered.

Now you are

A mockery

To the daughters

Of Edom

With all her neighbors.

The daughters

Of the Philistines,

Those all around you,

Despise you.

You must bear

The penalty

Of your lewdness

With your abominations.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem had become an object of reproach. Her sister Sodom had been a byword for evil in her day of pride. Then the wickedness of Jerusalem was uncovered. Now Jerusalem was a mockery to those around her, especially the daughters of Edom and the daughters of the Philistines, as they despised her. Jerusalem was going to bear the penalty for all her lewdness and abominations.

The basket of bad figs (Jer 24:8-24:10)

“But thus says Yahweh.

‘Like the bad figs

That are so bad

That they cannot be eaten,

So will I treat King Zedekiah

Of Judah,

His officials,

The remnant of Jerusalem

Who remain in this land,

As well as those

Who live in the land of Egypt.

I will make them a horror.

I will make them an evil thing

To all the kingdoms of the earth.

They will be

A disgrace,

A byword,

A taunt,

A curse

In all the places

Where I shall drive them.

I will send the sword,

Famine,

Pestilence

Upon them.

They shall be utterly destroyed

From the land

That I gave to them

As well as to their ancestors.’”

Next Yahweh gave Jeremiah the explanation about the uneatable bad figs. In particular, he cited King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE) who became the titular king subservient to Babylon after the first exile in 598 BCE. Yahweh compared these bad figs to the officials and people who stayed in Jerusalem and Judah, instead of going into exile. Like King Zedekiah, they were traitors or betrayers. Yahweh also mentioned those who had gone to Egypt as evil horrible ones also. They would be known to all the various countries as a disgrace, a byword. They would be taunted and cursed, no matter where they went. They would suffer from the sword, famine, and pestilence until they were completely wiped out. They would never inherit the land that they and their ancestors had. It seems that non-exiles had a worse fate than those who went into exile.

They live in shame (Ps 44:13-44:16)

“You have made us the taunt of our neighbors.

You have made us the derision and scorn of those about us.

You have made us a byword among the nations.

You have made us a laughing stock among the peoples.

All day long my disgrace is before me.

Shame has covered my face,

At the words of the taunters

At the words of the revilers,

At the sight of the enemy,

At the sight of the avenger.”

Their neighbors were taunting them. Obviously this psalm was written after the captivity, not at the time of David. They were scorned as they became a byword among the various nations. They were a laughing stock among the various peoples. They were ashamed at the words of the taunters and revilers. They were shamed in the sight of their enemies and avengers.