Ezekiel 23:4
And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bore sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.—Samaria, as the capital, is put for the northern kingdom, and is called Aholah = her own tabernacle, because she set up her own worship instead of resorting to the Temple; while the southern kingdom, represented by Jerusalem, is called Aholibah = my tabernacle is in her, because she still contained the sanctuary of the Lord. The word “elder” should be translated greater, as in Ezekiel 16:46. (See Note there.)

Ezekiel 23:4. The names of them were Aholah and Aholibah — “The word Aholah signifies, Her tent, or tabernacle: Aholibah denotes, My tent, or tabernacle, is in her. These two different appellations imply that Samaria had indeed a tabernacle, or place for public worship, but of her own devising; namely, the cities of Dan and Bethel, where the golden calves were set up; whereas God’s tabernacle first, and afterward his temple, was placed in Jerusalem. He placed his name there, or chose it for the place of his peculiar residence,” 1 Kings 8:29. Aholah, or Samaria, is here called the elder sister, as having the greatest dominion, power, wealth, and number of people belonging to her, ten tribes out of twelve being under her jurisdiction. And they were mine — By a solemn marriage covenant. And they bare sons and daughters — Were fruitful, and brought forth children to me: they increased in number of people, and among these there were some that were my spiritual children by adoption and grace, by faith, love, and obedience.23:1-49 A history of the apostacy of God's people from him, and the aggravation thereof. - In this parable, Samaria and Israel bear the name Aholah, her own tabernacle; because the places of worship those kingdoms had, were of their own devising. Jerusalem and Judah bear the name of Aholibah, my tabernacle is in her, because their temple was the place which God himself had chosen, to put his name there. The language and figures are according to those times. Will not such humbling representations of nature keep open perpetual repentance and sorrow in the soul, hiding pride from our eyes, and taking us from self-righteousness? Will it not also prompt the soul to look to God continually for grace, that by his Holy Spirit we may mortify the deeds of the body, and live in holy conversation and godliness?Aholah ... and Aholibah - More correctly "Oholah" ("her own tent or tabernacle") and "Oholibah" ("My tent or tabernacle is in her"): names chosen to express that after the division Israel set up her own tabernacle in the place of the temple in which God dwelt 1 Kings 12:32, while with Judah the Temple of God still remained. The presence of God aggravated Judah's sins. In the times of the captivity it was customary among the Jews to give their children names connected with the temple or tabernacle. 4. Aholah—that is, "Her tent" (put for worship, as the first worship of God in Israel was in a tent or tabernacle), as contrasted with Aholibah, that is, "My tent in her." The Beth-el worship of Samaria was of her own devising, not of God's appointment; the temple-worship of Jerusalem was expressly appointed by Jehovah, who "dwelt" there, "setting up His tabernacle among the people as His" (Ex 25:8; Le 26:11, 12; Jos 22:19; Ps 76:2).

the elder—Samaria is called "the elder" because she preceded Judah in her apostasy and its punishment.

they were mine—Previous to apostasy under Jeroboam, Samaria (Israel, or the ten tribes), equally with Judah, worshipped the true God. God therefore never renounced the right over Israel, but sent prophets, as Elijah and Elisha, to declare His will to them.

That we might know them, they are described.

Aholah; which, rendered in English, is, His own tabernacle; for Israel, falling off from the house of David, also fell off from the tabernacle or temple of God, so that all the temple and worship they had amongst them was of their own making.

The elder; greater for number of tribes, being ten of twelve; and greater for power, wealth, and multitudes of people.

Aholibah: this, rendered in English, is, My tabernacle in her: the two tribes had the temple and worship of God with them; God’s own tent was pitched there, and his solemn services.

They were mine, by solemn marriage covenant, Ezekiel 16:18.

They bare sons and daughters; were fruitful, and brought forth children to me, saith God; they increased in numbers of people, and among these, some there were that were children of God by faith, love, and obedience.

Samaria; the chief city of the apostate ten tribes.

Jerusalem; the chief city of the two tribes. And the names of them were Aholah the elder,.... Or, "the greater" (m) meaning the ten tribes of Israel, which were more in number than Judah, and greater in power and riches; their name, Aholah, signifies "her tent or tabernacle", which was entirely their own, and not the Lord's: their worship, and places of worship, were of their own appointing, namely, their calves at Dan and Bethel; God had nothing to do with them, there he did not dwell; his tabernacle was not there, that was at Salem, Psalm 76:1,

and Aholibah her sister; which name signifies "my tent or tabernacle is in her": this is the name of Judah or the two tribes, in which stood the temple of the Lord, where he was worshipped, and where he dwelt: some think these were proper names of two Egyptian harlots; others think there is allusion to the wife of Esau, Genesis 36:2,

and they were mine; or, "I had them (n)"; when they were together; they were originally espoused unto him; he avouched them to be his people, and they avouched him to be their God; he chose them for himself above all other people, and they professed themselves to be his, and promised to serve and worship him; and for a while did continue in his service and worship: and they bare sons and daughters; to the Lord, whom they brought up in the fear of God, and taught them to serve him: the phrase is expressive of their increase, and of their happiness and prosperity, while they adhered to the pure worship of God:

thus were their names; this is the application of them: "Samaria is Aholah"; or Aholah signifies Samaria, which was the metropolis of Ephraim, and belonged to the ten tribes, and is put for the whole, Isaiah 7:9, "and Jerusalem Aholibah"; or Aholibah designs Jerusalem, the head city of Judah, and stands for the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

(m) "major", Junius and Tremellius, Polanus, Starckius. (n) "et habui eos", V. L. Heb.; "facte sunt mihi", Piscator; "sub uxores", Grotius.

And the names of {c} them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bore sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.

(c) Aholah signifies a mansion or dwelling in herself, meaning Samaria, which was the royal city of Israel and Aholibah signifies my mansion in her, by which is meant Jerusalem, where God's temple was.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. The name Oholah may mean “her tent,” though not so pointed, and Oholibah “my tent in her.” Possibly the words mean “tent” (or, tents) and “tent in her;” and the reference may be to the worship practised on the high places in both kingdoms, cf. Ezekiel 16:16. It is doubtful if the prophet means that Samaria had “her tent,” i.e. a sanctuary or worship of her own devising, while Jerusalem had Jehovah’s tent or true sanctuary in her. Cf. the names Hephzi-bah, Isaiah 62:4, and Oholibamah (high-place tent), Genesis 36:2. It was common in the east to give sisters or brothers names almost the same, as Hasan and Husein (little Hasan), the two sons of ‘Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammed.

they were mine] became mine, my wives, cf. Ezekiel 16:8; Ezekiel 16:20. It is curious that Jehovah is represented as the husband of two sisters, a thing which the law disallows, Leviticus 18:18.Verse 4. - The occurrence of proper names is almost unique in the parables of the Bible, the Lazarus of Luke 16:20 being the only other instance. Their meaning is sufficiently clear. Aholah (but both names should begin with O rather than A) means "Her tent;" Aholibah, "My tent is in her." A parallel, which may have suggested the names, is found in the Aholibamah (equivalent to "My tent is in the high place") of Genesis 36:2, and another in the use of Ohel as a proper name in 1 Chronicles 3:20. The common element of the two names is the word that is commonly used for the sacred tent or tabernacle in the Pentateuch and elsewhere. The distinctive element of each points to the fact that the worship in Samaria was unauthorized. Her "tent" was hers, not Jehovah's. Of Jerusalem with its temple Jehovah could say, "My tent is in her," and this, as magnifying her privilege, also aggravated her guilt. Keil and others take the adjective here, as in Ezekiel 16:46, as meaning "greater" rather than "older." The former adjective is, of course, applicable to the greater power of the kingdom of the Ten Tribes, and, even if we retain the renderings of the Authorized Version, is probably the explanation of Samaria being named as the elder of the two. Refining of Israel in the Furnace of Besieged Jerusalem

Ezekiel 22:17. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 22:18. Son of man, the house of Israel has become to me as dross; they are all brass, and tin, and iron, and lead in the furnace; dross of silver have they become. Ezekiel 22:19. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because ye have all become dross, therefore, behold, I gather you together in Jerusalem. Ezekiel 22:20. As men gather together silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin into the furnace, to blow the fire upon it for melting, so will I gather (you) together in my anger and my wrath, and put you in and melt you. Ezekiel 22:21. And I will collect you together, and blow the fire of my wrath upon you, that ye may be melted therein. Ezekiel 22:22. As silver is melted in the furnace, so shall ye be melted therein (viz., in Jerusalem), and shall learn that I Jehovah have poured out my wrath upon you. - This second word of God rests no doubt upon the figure in Ezekiel 22:15, of the uncleanness or dirt of sin; but it is not an exposition of the removal of the dirt, as predicted there. For that was to be effected through the dispersion of Israel among the nations, whereas the word of God, from Ezekiel 22:17 onwards, represents the siege awaiting Jerusalem as a melting process, through which God will separate the silver ore contained in Israel from the baser metals mingled with it. In Ezekiel 22:18 it commences with a description of the existing condition of Israel. It has turned to dross. היוּ is clearly a perfect, and is not to be taken as a prophetical future, as Kliefoth proposes. Such a rendering is not only precluded by the clause 'יען היות in Ezekiel 22:19, cut could only be made to yield an admissible sense by taking the middle clause of the verse, "all of them brass and tin," etc., as a statement of what Israel had become, or as a preterite in opposition to all the rules of Hebrew syntax, inasmuch as this clause merely furnishes an explanation of היוּ־לסוּג. סוּג, which only occurs here, for סיג signifies dross, not smelting-ore (Kliefoth), literally, recedanea, the baser ingredients which are mixed with the silver, and separated from it by smelting. This is the meaning here, where it is directly afterwards interpreted as consisting of brass, tin, iron, and lead, and then still further defined as סגּים כּסף, dross of silver, i.e., brass, tin, iron, and lead, with a mixture of silver. Because Israel had turned into silver-dross of this kind, the Lord would gather it together in Jerusalem, to smelt it there as in a smelting furnace; just as men gather together brass, iron, lead, and tin in a furnace to smelt them, or rather to separate the silver contained thereon. קבצת כּסף, literally, a collection of silver, etc., for "like a collection." The כ simil. is probably omitted for the sake of euphony, to avoid the discord occasioned by prefixing it to קבצת. Ezekiel mentions the silver as well, because there is some silver contained in the brass, iron, etc., or the dross is silver-dross. התּוּך, nomen verbale, from נתך in the Hiphil, smelting; literally, as the smelting of silver takes place in the furnace. The smelting is treated here simply as a figurative representation of punishment, and consequently the result of the smelting, namely, the refining of the silver by the removal of the baser ingredients, is not referred to any further, as in the case in Isaiah 1:22, Isaiah 1:25; Jeremiah 6:27-30; Malachi 3:2-3. This smelting process was experienced by Israel in the last siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans.

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