Description of the false female prophetesses (Ezek 13:18-13:19)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

Say to them!

‘Woe to the women

Who sew bands

On all wrists!

Woe to the woman

Who make veils

For the heads of persons

Of every height,

In the hunt for human lives!

Will you hunt down lives

Among my people?

Will you maintain

Your own lives?

You have profaned me

Among my people

For handfuls of barley,

For pieces of bread.

You put to death

Persons

Who should not die.

You keep alive

Persons

Who should not live,

By your lies

To my people,

Who listen to lies.’”

Yahweh said to Ezekiel that these prophetesses should be cursed. Then he went into a description of their activities. One group of these female prophetesses sewed bands on the wrists of people. What exactly was that? Most commentators are not sure. It was some kind of band, pillow, or lucky charm on the arm by the wrist, elbow, or armpit. They also made veils or kerchiefs for the head. How they were hunting down human lives is not clear.   However, they were profaning Yahweh with their lies. Apparently, they received a few handfuls of barley or pieces of bread for their activities. More serious is the fact that these women were sometimes asked to be judges. They would judge the innocence or guilt of a person, leading to their free life or the death penalty of a person, perhaps wrongly as indicated in this passage. Whatever their lies, the people of Israel were listening to them.

Yahweh takes away the feminine beauty items (Isa 3:18-3:24)

“In that day,

Yahweh will take away

The finery of the anklets,

The headbands,

The crescents,

The pendants,

The bracelets,

The scarves,

The headdresses,

The armlets,

The sashes,

The perfume boxes,

The amulets,

The signet rings,

The nose rings,

The festal robes,

The mantles,

The cloaks,

The handbags,

The garments of gauze,

The linen garments,

The turbans,

And the veils.

Instead of perfume

There will be rottenness.

Instead of a girdle,

There will be a rope.

Instead of well-set hair,

There will be baldness.

Instead of a rich robe,

There will be a girding of sackcloth.

Instead of beauty,

There will be shame.”

One of the ways that Yahweh reacted to the proud Jerusalem women was to take away their beauty items. What is surprising to me is to see how many different items there were. Some are common, but some are also exotic. The list includes the following items: anklets, headbands, crescents, pendants, bracelets, scarves, headdresses, armlets, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, signet rings, nose rings, festal robes, mantles, cloaks, handbags, gauze, linens, turbans, and veils. There would be reversal of some things, like rottenness instead of perfume, rope instead of fine girdles, baldness instead of fine hair, sackcloth instead of rich robes, and shame instead of beauty. I do not know how these women reacted to this oracle.