Your sister’s cup (Ezek 23:31-23:34)

“‘You have gone

The way

Of your sister.

Therefore,

I will give her cup

Into your hand.’

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You shall drink

Your sister’s cup!

It is deep!

It is wide!

You shall be scorned!

You shall be derided!

It holds so much!

You will be filled

With drunkenness!

You will be filled

With sorrow!

It is a cup of horror!

It is a cup of desolation!

It is the cup

Of your sister

Samaria!

You shall drink it!

You shall drain it out!

You shall gnaw its sherds!

You shall

Tear out your breasts!

I have spoken.’

Says Yahweh God.”

This seems to be a poem or oracle about a cup of wrath. Jerusalem has gone the way of her sister Samaria. Thus she will be given her sister’s cup, the Samarian cup. Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that Jerusalem would drink her sister’s deep and wide cup. Thus she was going to be scorned and derided. Jerusalem would drink from this large cup. She would be filled with drunkenness and sorrow because this was a cup of horror and desolation. Jerusalem was to drain this big cup by drinking from it. She would then gnaw and eat the glass pottery sherd pieces of this cup. Finally, she would tear out her breasts. This is what Yahweh, God, had spoken. This did not sound like a good experience.

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The longing for the youth wasted in Egypt (Ezek 23:19-23:21)

“Yet Oholibah increased
Her prostitution activities.
She remembered
The days of her youth,
When she played
The whore
In the land of Egypt.
She lusted
After her lovers there.
Their sexual organs were
Like those of donkeys.
Their sexual emissions were
Like those of stallions.
Thus you longed
For the lewdness
Of your youth.
The Egyptians fondled
Your bosom.
They caressed
Your young breasts.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, portrayed Oholibah, Jerusalem, as a sex starved female teenager. However, now she had become a full fledged prostitute. She remembered the good old days when she was a young whore in Egypt. There she lusted after all her lovers, who seem to have been well endowed. Yahweh compared their sexual prowess with donkeys and stallions. Thus Jerusalem longed for the days of her youth when her Egyptians lovers fondled and caressed her breasts.

The effect of the female lover (Song 7:6-7:9)

Male lover

“How fair you are!

How pleasant you are!

O loved one!

Delectable maiden!

You are stately as a palm tree.

Your breasts are like its clusters.

I say

I will climb the palm tree.

I will lay hold of its branches.

O may your breasts be

Like clusters of the vine!

The scent of your breath is like apples.

Your kisses are

Like the best wine

That goes down smoothly.

They glide over my lips and teeth.”

What has been the effect of this female lover on the male lover? We find that he saw her as fair, pleasant, and delectable. She appeared stately as a palm tree. Then he went into an elaborate description of her breasts that were like clusters of a palm tree, not like gazelles or fawns. He wanted to climb this palm tree and grab hold of its branches, her breasts. He wanted her breasts to be like clusters in a vineyard. Then he went on to talk about her apple scented breath. He proclaimed that her kisses were sweeter than wine. They were in fact the best wine that went done smoothly over his lips and teeth. Certainly this was a vivid graphic description of how he perceived his lover.

A description of the beautiful lady (Song 4:1-4:5)

Male lover

“How beautiful you are!

My love!

How very beautiful!

Your eyes are doves

Behind your veil.

Your hair is

Like a flock of goats,

Moving down the slopes of Gilead.

Your teeth are

Like a flock of shorn ewes,

That was come up from the washing.

They all bear twins.

Not one among them is bereaved.

Your lips are

Like a crimson thread.

Your mouth is lovely.

Your cheeks are                               

Like halves of a pomegranate,

Behind your veil.

Your neck is

Like the tower of David,

Built in courses.

On it hang a thousand bucklers.

All of them are shields of warriors.

Your two breasts are

Like two fawns.

There are twins of a gazelle,

That feed among the lilies.”

This male lover, either a shepherd or a king, describes his female lover by starting out saying how beautiful she is. Then he goes into a vivid description of her starting with her eyes that are hidden behind the veil that was common for unmarried women. They were like doves. Her hair was like a flock of goats coming down the mountain of Gilead. I am not sure how this was a complement. These goats were happy unblemished twins, while Gilead was east of the Jordan River. Her teeth were like a flock of young sheep that had just been washed. Her cheeks, although covered with the veil, were like half pomegranates, a fruit tree that was planted for domestic usage in Babylon. Her neck was like the tower of David since it had over 1,000 little shields on it. It is hard to image that many little trinkets around her neck. Her breasts were like twin young gazelles. I am not sure how he was able to make that comparison.

Sweet smells (Song 1:12-1:14)

Female lover

“While the king was on his couch,

My nard gave forth its fragrance.

My beloved is to me

A bag of myrrh,

That lies between my breasts.

My beloved is to me

A cluster of henna blossoms

In the vineyards of En-gedi.”

This female lover responded, while the king was on his couch. She said that her nard plant had a lovely fragrance. Myrrh was another fragrant plant that had a lovely aroma. This bag of myrrh was placed between her breasts. He was like a cluster of colored blossoms in the vineyards. Today En-gedi is a natural preserve on the edge of the Dead Sea, so that it must have been a natural place of beauty for years.