Of course, Jerusalem was not alone in her misdeeds. All the cities of the Levant would have had idolators in them. Smaria was the northern kingdom’s capital and was sacked by the Assyrians when they conquered it about 150 years before Ezekiel’s time. The Lord had sent several prophets to Israel to warn them of the coming judgements the Assyrians would bring upon them for abandoning the worship of the Lord and following after idols.
The city of Sodom is mentioned as the younger sister of Jerusalem, which I find difficult to understand. The Sodom that Lot lived in was destroyed nearly 1,000 years before Ezekiel’s time, so calling it younger than Jerusalem seems odd. However, that doesnt mean there wasn’t a city of Jerusalem even then, so maybe it really was older than Sodom.
In any case, the point of bringing up these famously wicked cities is that Jerusalem did more evil than they did. Not only were the people of Jerusalem following false gods and sacrificing their children to them, they were not generous with their food and wealth, causing burdens on the poor and needy because of their prideful attitudes. They were so terrible they could make Sodom and Samaria appear righteous in comparison!
And yet, despite the destruction and the furious anger He has displayed against all of these, the Lord says He will restore the fortunes of these cities and bring them back the way they were. The purpose of this is to ensure that they are ashamed of the evil things they have done, but also to console them because God loves His people even still. He remembers the covenant that they have broken, but will still hold up His end. Sodom and Samaria will be given to Jerusalem as daughters in their restoration, and the Lord will establish His covenant with them again. And they will be dumbfounded at the great mercy the Lord has shown them, in spite of all they have done against Him.
Do not look down upon these cities. You and I are just as sinful and rebellious as they were. We may not have done all the same things, but we still deserve the death they deserved. Praise God that He can give us new life with Him and “atone for all that you have done”. (v. 63)
That You would be so gracious to sinners such as us is beyond any words we could say.