Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
Perhaps the key word here is "appear." Samaria only appeared righteous. We can assume that this appearance was in the eyes of humans, because God knows all--which would mean that Samaria was in fact not righteous. However, we cannot ignore the phrases I have bolded above. God clearly states that Israel's sin was more detestable, more vile than those of its "sister."
I think it boils down to this: while Israel's sins may have been more heinous, the difference between the two is like the difference between vomit and feces--one might be better than the other but is either one desirable? Or better said in Isaiah 64:6, "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." God hates all sin because sin is the antithesis of Him; sin is separation from Him. So while there may be degrees of "badness," they are irrelevant because all sin causes us to "fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
|Photo by Breno Machado|