Chapter 16:1-14 (ESV) - Again the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.
“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.
“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.
Question to consider: Why does God say their father was an Amorite and their mother was a Hittite?
The Lord’s insulting “origin story” of Israel reminds me of the French soldier in Monty Python’s, “The Holy Grail,” who said, “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.” Of course, Isaac and Rebekah were the father and mother of Jacob, and neither was an Amorite or a Hittite. In fact Rebekah was exceptionally angry with her other son, Esau, precisely because he had married a Hittite woman. Even Abraham had sent his servant, Eleazar, back to his homeland in order to find a Shemite woman to marry Isaac so he wouldn’t marry from among the Amorites.
Those in Jerusalem who were about to be judged may have been distant relatives of Jacob, but to God, they were birthed from the land of Canaan because of their idolatry. As John the Baptist told the Pharisees from Jerusalem in his day, “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9) Someone’s physical ancestry did not matter if they belonged to other gods.
In case someone didn’t get the point that they were not among those chosen by God, He described Israel as an unwanted infant who was born and then cast out into the wilderness right from the womb. Exposing an infant to the field was done in ancient times instead of aborting them. The idea was that if the gods intended to keep them alive, they would send someone to save them from the elements, starvation, disease and wild animals. This practice even occurred during Roman times, and much like crisis pregnancy centers during our day, the church made a practice of rescuing exposed infants.
The fact that this infant representation of Israel was not cut free from the umbilical cord, washed clean, rubbed with salt, or swaddled was a sign that they were abhorrent and left to die. It was God that rescued Israel and allowed her to flourish. There was nothing about her that earned God’s favor just as there is nothing about any one of us that makes us worthy to be chosen to receive new life. Yet God spread His garment over Israel, making her his wife. He baptized Israel, adorned her with the Law and made her great among the nations.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for raising up Israel so that the true seed of Israel, Christ Jesus, could come and bless the nations. Help us to live faithfully as the bride of Christ. Amen.