The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Ezechiel
Chapter 23
Word came to me from the Lord:
There were two women once, son of man, daughters of the same mother,
that went to Egypt and played the wanton there, so wanton and so young! There those breasts surrendered to the attack, virginity was ravished.
For their names, the elder was called Oölla, the younger Oöliba; both I espoused, and they bore me sons and daughters. (Samaria and Jerusalem are the true names.)

What did Oölla? She played me false, love-sick for the Assyrians that dwelt hard by, her paramours.
Gay gallants were these, princes and noblemen that went clad in purple, and proudly they came riding, for they were horsemen all.
Among the flower of Assyrian chivalry was none but enjoyed her favours; and she, that courted all alike, soiled herself with their idolatry.
Alas, still unforgotten her dalliance in Egypt; the lovers that bedded her in her youth, mishandled her virgin breast, plied her with their debauchery!
Love-sick for new paramours, into their keeping she should be given up, the Assyrians should have the mastery of her.
How they stripped and dishonoured her, robbed her of sons and daughters both, and then put her to the sword! Never fell such signal punishment upon womankind.

That sight before her, what did the other sister, Oöliba? Why, she outwent the first in her wantonness, more lascivious yet;
she too cast shame aside, gave herself to the gallants of Assyria that came riding by, horsemen all, princes and noblemen in their broidered cloaks, so young, so fair!
Light women both; I knew them now.
This other would set no bounds to her lust; her eye fell on some pictured wall, where the men of Chaldaea stood portrayed, all in crimson.
What girdles they had about their loins, these men of Babylon, what gaily-coloured turbans they wore! Sure, they must be princes, all of them, in their own Chaldaean land!
And with that, her eye fell a-doting on them, and she must send them a message all the way to Chaldaea.
So the Chaldaeans, too, were her bed-fellows, dishonoured her with their embraces, till even she grew weary of dishonour.
Weary was I too, as once of her sister; the open harlotry, the public shame!
Must she still renew her unfaithfulness, hanker still after those old debaucheries in Egypt,
when she was love-sick for gallants lusty as the wild ass, hot as stallions?

Alas, Oöliba, are they remembered still, the passions of thy youth, far away in Egypt, when those breasts surrendered to the attack, that virginity was ravished?
This doom, then, the Lord God pronounces on thee: They shall be summoned to the attack, all those old lovers thou art wearied of, beleaguer thee round about;
all those Chaldaeans from Babylon, nobleman and prince and chieftain, all those gay gallants from Assyria, captains and rulers, lords paramount and knights of renown!
What rattling of chariot-wheels, what hordes of warriors in breastplate and shield and helmet, mustered about thy walls! These shall be thy judges; theirs the sentence thou must abide.
Ministers of my jealous anger, they shall cut nose and ears off thee, and there shall be sword-strokes yet; carry off thy sons and thy daughters, and the fire shall have work to do yet.
They shall strip thee of thy clothes, rifle thy proud ornaments;
gone the memory of thy harlotries in Egypt, no hankering for them now, no thought of Egypt now!

Weary thou art and disdainful of them, says the Lord God, but they shall have the mastery of thee;
and they shall use thee cruelly enough; carry all thy harvest away, and leave thee stripped and humbled; lay bare the secret of thy shame. Lust it is and lechery of thine
that has brought thee to this pass; so wantonly didst thou court the heathen, till at last their idolatry infected thee.
Thy sister’s counterpart, the cup of thy sister’s doom thou shalt inherit;
deep thy cup shall be as hers, wide as hers; full of mockery and reproach, so much it holds,
full of dizziness and dismay, full of despair and melancholy, the cup of thy sister Samaria.
Drink it thou shalt, ay, drain it to the dregs, till thou art ready to devour cup itself piecemeal, or mutilate thy own breasts in thy madness.
Me thou didst forget; on me thy back was turned; wanton and faithless, thou shalt be held to account.

Arraign them, son of man, the Lord God said to me; confront Oölla and Oöliba with the record of their foul deeds.
Blood-stained those adulterous hands; false gods they have taken for their paramours, and to the greed of false gods sacrificed their own children and mine.
Theirs to defile my sanctuary, profane my sabbath;
no sooner had they done offering their sons to false gods, than my sanctuary must be violated; so would they treat me in my own house.
And then they sent word to their paramours, summoning them from afar.

They came, those paramours; and thou, fresh from the bath, eyes painted, all thy ornaments hung about thee,
didst await them, sitting on a fine bed with a table before it; incense of mine, oil of mine was there.
What a stir was heard there, as of a great throng taking their ease! They had brought in a rabble of desert folk with them, and these must be given bracelets for their arms, fine garlands for their heads.
And I wondered whether she would grant them her favours, even she, that had grown so old in unfaithfulness;
but sure enough they went in, boldly as to a harlot’s bed.

Such lovers had Oölla and Oöliba, wantons both.
Yet honest folk there be, that can judge their deeds as adultery should be judged and murder; adulterous they are and murderous both at once.
Muster me a company of such men, the Lord God says, and let them make a fearful example of these women, their prize.
With stones from many hands, with swords from every side dispatch them; death for their children, the fire for their homes!
Rid we the land of its guilt; of such harlotry let all women beware!
Wantonness punished, idolatry’s guilt uncondoned; you shall know the Lord’s power at last.