My name is Jerusalem. (A poem.)

Today I was reading my Bible and one of the chapters I read was Ezekiel 16. This chapter is part of the prophecy of Ezekiel, whom God charged to forewarn Jerusalem of its sinfulness and imminent destruction if they did not turn back to Him. The metaphor in this passage (one of the most graphic metaphors in the Old Testament) depicting idolatrous Jerusalem as a sexually promiscuous wife grabbed hold of my heart so violently that I just began free-writing a poem in my journal. I wrote it from the point of view of Jerusalem personified as a woman. So, be forewarned: this poem is rated PG-13 for some strong (but totally Biblical) language, imagery and themes. But it ends quite a bit more happily than Ezekiel 16 did, I promise. Please feel free to comment with feedback! In His Love, Erin


My name is Jerusalem.

Naked, I am naked,
I was never satisfied,
although I faked it, I was
always hungry,
unable to abide
and I whored and sold myself
and the beauty You poured on me became an abomination.
I destroyed Your creation
when I slept with many lovers,
one after the other,
until my soul was numb
and my heart is SICK SICK SICK
I am so fickle and so faithless
Now I am black and bruised and bleeding
and I had everything, everything,
and I threw it all away with every closed door
every time I wanted more
than who You are.
I wrecked Your heart and mine
with every shameful thought
and every lust-filled fantasy.
I took what You gave me
and I molded the gold into a pagan temple
and there I sacrificed my purity and my piety.
I bent and broke the golden crown
You so lovingly, tenderly
placed on my brow, and I screamed,
when You were crying out
in agony
because I was Your wife, Your beautiful bride,
but I tossed You aside.
And now I am some cheap trick
who threw it all away
because all I knew was how to run away
and survive
and keep myself and my
pain alive.
I am a prostitute, a whore.
“My name is JERUSALEM,”
You heard me roaring.
I am so ill and so in need
I bleed with every touch
I don’t require much to be
momentarily satisfied
my standards lowered as I close doors
and, naked, hide
under clean white covers
but all that waits for me
are the bedsores
of the whore of Zion.
And I was proud and hidden
I bargained and tried to return the purchase
Because I was unsatisfied
I lied to You
and I told You I loved You
but really I thought myself above
But the truth is
I did not even require payment
for my basest hunger
which was sated on the flesh
No, I was cheap, an easy thrill
no bill, no cost
unlike Your Son’s death
on the cross, which said,
“I love you and forgive you. Give me you,”
but I did not believe
and so I deceived and grieved
for nothing
because I could have gone home to You.
Instead I paid the demons who owed
me to fester and nest
inside my mind
and cause me death
after tiny death
with every ragged, shaming breath I took.
I was the prostitute who paid her client
in innocence
and life,
handing the treasure over to liars and thieves
without a thought
of the One who bought it all for me,
saved me,
lay His life down for me.
He poured out his blood on the cross
and I poured out my lust
on things now lost,
idols with no faces,
choking me,
and now I sit here,

But the vow still holds.
I am Your wife.
You promise me life and love
Forgive me, Father, and let me live
though I don’t deserve to serve
I stand naked
and ashamed like Eve
who believed the lies of the enemy,
the cry of humanity
resides deep inside
my bones.
But the Good News:
You satisfied Your wrath on the Son
So give me strength
And confidence
To journey on and love You rightly
You’re jealous for me
in fact, You adore me because
I believed
and so received the gift of life
because of Christ.
You cover me, my shame
and now my game has changed.
Because although I sold myself,
You bought me
back and cleaned me up,
clothed me in righteousness
and purity,
and touched my face
and now
my name is GRACE
and I am free


4 thoughts on “My name is Jerusalem. (A poem.)”

  1. “but I did not believe and so I deceived and grieved for nothing because I could have gone home to You.” beautiful. chased after false lovers! I think this poem has so much going on that’s awesome! I think what would be really interesting is to see Jerusalem’s inner struggle to choose between the sin and going to God…maybe you can try writing the poem in her perspective as if she is fighting to believe what God says? Right now it sounds like she totally believes it because she has fallen so tremendously! That’s beautiful. I am intrigued to see this character stuck and scrambling to escape her own sin, her own proclivity to go back to the lovers…lots of potential!!! thanks for sharing.


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