It may be surprising at how direct and blunt the scriptures are. There is a broad and important lesson in Ezekiel 23.
Ezekiel 23:2-3 “…there were two women, the daughters of one mother: And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth…” We need not wonder who these two daughters were: one was Samaria, the capital of the ten-tribe kingdom called Israel, and the other was Jerusalem, the capital of the two-tribe kingdom called Judah. (Ezekiel 23:4) The nature of their whoredoms (adultery) began even before they left Egypt in the Exodus and their sexual excesses are described in graphic detail.
Both Samaria and Jerusalem sought cultural and military alliances with Egypt. God considered this adultery because God stated He was Israel's husband. “I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt…I was a husband to them, says the LORD,” Jeremiah 31:32.
These two Jewish nations later sought alliance with Assyria. The Assyrian adultery ended in disaster. The ten-tribe kingdom was conquered and physically removed from the land by the Assyrians, and the two-tribe kingdom nearly fell to Assyria. The miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem during the Assyrian siege is found in Isaiah 37. Good king Hezekiah set the boastful letter from the Assyrians before the Lord, and the Lord executed judgment on the Assyrian army. A plague destroyed 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian army in one night (Isaiah 37:36).
However, there is a bigger, symbolic picture here. The adultery with Egypt seems to picture the conservative influences of the world that seek the status quo. This adultery pictured the Jewish leaders' willingness to compromise to save their worldly status. (John 11:48) This adultery is held responsible even for crucifying Jesus (Revelation 11:8). Egypt was unified and led by the all-powerful Pharaoh. Egypt was very conservative, unconquerable – or so it seemed – and predictable.
The two sisters also committed adultery with Assyria. Assyria was known for its independently-minded calvary. Ezekiel 23:12 states, “She (Israel and Judah) doted upon the Assyrians her neighbors, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.”
What might horses and horsemen picture?
In Zechariah 6:1-5, Zechariah asks the angel, “What are these (horses), my lord? And the angel answered…These are the four winds of heaven…” To interpret: these are the powerful forces (ideas) which motivate and drive mankind. The Assyrians seem to picture the ideas or proposed remedies for the ills of the world. Communism, socialism, nihilism, and even anarchy are but a few “solutions.” All of these “isms” share one thing in common, they are remedies that have no need for God. They will fail to bring the blessings they promise.
These lessons from Israel's history should benefit us as well. Let us not look for conservative nor liberal worldly solutions. Let us trust in God and obey His wise will.