CAN YOU DEFINE “PARAMOURS?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
The word appears only once in the King James Bible: “For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses” (Ezekiel 23:20). If we start at the beginning, the concept will become clearer. In this context, the LORD rebukes idolatrous Samaria (Northern Kingdom, Israel) and idolatrous Jerusalem (Southern Kingdom, Judah).
Read the opening seven verses of the chapter: “ The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,  Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:  And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.  And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.  And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours,  Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.  Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.”
“Aholah”—Samaria, Israel’s northern 10 tribes—became more and more involved with heathen Assyrian religion. These pagan gods distracted her from the JEHOVAH God of her patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: her behavior was just like a wife cheating on her husband (cf. Exodus 20:1-3; Exodus 34:10-17; Jeremiah 31:32; Hosea 1:1-2; et cetera). Verse 5 above describes this in the following terms: “And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours,….” These Assyrian deities and common citizens are her illicit lovers, after whom she lusts most intensely!
“Aholibah”—Jerusalem, capital of Judah’s southern two tribes—becomes the focus of verse 11 onward: “ And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in her whoredoms.  She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbours, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men….  And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.  So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.  Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.  For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses….
“ Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side;  The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.  And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments….  And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.  I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols.”
As Samaria had lovers upon whom she doted, so Jerusalem had lovers whom she adored—the “paramours” of Ezekiel 23:20. Both had intimate relations with the very idols of the Gentiles! Our English word “paramour” is borrowed from Old French (literally, “by or through love”). “For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.” God likens these idolaters to donkeys and horses, an insult most terrible! As history reports, He took their Gentile “lovers” and turned them into their oppressors.