New Defender's Study Bible Notes
23:2 two women. This phrase introduces a remarkable allegory, treating the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, respectively, as two sisters who became two harlots. Although there is no connection, there is one other allegory in Scripture, involving two real women, Sarah and Hagar, who were used by the Apostle Paul to represent the conflict between grace and law, or between the Spirit and the flesh.
23:4 Aholibah. This long chapter is a graphic account of the spiritual harlotry of Israel and Judah and their respective capitals, Samaria and Jerusalem, under the figure of two wanton sisters, Aholah (“her tent”) and Aholibah (“my tent is in her”). The extended and lurid account of their whoredoms evidently has the dual purpose of condemning Israel’s blatant spiritual prostitution and also of reaffirming God’s hatred of actual sexual activity—especially promiscuity—outside the marriage relation. Both warnings seem urgent today as well.