Ezekiel 18

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Basic English Bible         

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1 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying,

2 Why do you make use of this saying about the land of Israel, The fathers have been tasting bitter grapes and the children's teeth are on edge?

3 By my life, says the Lord, you will no longer have this saying in Israel.

4 See, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is mine: death will be the fate of the sinner's soul.

5 But if a man is upright, living rightly and doing righteousness,

6 And has not taken flesh with the blood for food, or given worship to the images of the children of Israel; if he has not had connection with his neighbour's wife, or come near to a woman at the time when she is unclean;

7 And has done no wrong to any, but has given back to the debtor what is his, and has taken no one's goods by force, and has given food to him who was in need of it, and clothing to him who was without it;

8 And has not given his money out at interest or taken great profits, and, turning his hand from evil-doing, has kept faith between man and man,

9 And has been guided by my rules and has kept my laws and done them: he is upright, life will certainly be his, says the Lord.

10 If he has a son who is a thief, a taker of life, who does any of these things,

11 Who has taken flesh with the blood as food, and has had connection with his neighbour's wife,

12 Has done wrong to the poor and to him who is in need, and taken property by force, and has not given back to one in his debt what is his, and has given worship to images and has done disgusting things,

13 And has given out his money at interest and taken great profits: he will certainly not go on living: he has done all these disgusting things: death will certainly be his fate; his blood will be on him.

14 Now if he has a son who sees all his father's sins which he has done, and in fear does not do the same:

15 Who has not taken the flesh with the blood for food, or given worship to the images of the children of Israel, and has not had connection with his neighbour's wife,

16 Or done wrong to any, or taken anything from one in his debt, or taken goods by force, but has given food to him who was in need of it, and clothing to him who was without it;

17 Who has kept his hand from evil-doing and has not taken interest or great profits, who has done my orders and been guided by my rules: he will certainly not be put to death for the evil-doing of his father; life will certainly be his.

18 As for his father, because he was cruel, took goods by force, and did what is not good among his people, truly, death will overtake him in his evil-doing.

19 But you say, Why does not the son undergo punishment for the evil-doing of the father? When the son has done what is ordered and right, and has kept my rules and done them, life will certainly be his.

20 The soul which does sin will be put to death: the son will not be made responsible for the evil-doing of the father, or the father for the evil-doing of the son; the righteousness of the upright will be on himself, and the evil-doing of the evil-doer on himself.

21 But if the evil-doer, turning away from all the sins which he has done, keeps my rules and does what is ordered and right, life will certainly be his; death will not be his fate.

22 Not one of the sins which he has done will be kept in memory against him: in the righteousness which he has done he will have life.

23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the evil-doer? says the Lord: am I not pleased if he is turned from his way so that he may have life?

24 But when the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, like all the disgusting things which the evil man does, will he have life? Not one of his upright acts will be kept in memory: in the wrong which he has done and in his sin death will overtake him.

25 But you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Give ear, now, O children of Israel; is my way not equal? are not your ways unequal?

26 When the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, death will overtake him; in the evil which he has done death will overtake him.

27 Again, when the evil-doer, turning away from the evil he has done, does what is ordered and right, he will have life for his soul.

28 Because he had fear and was turned away from all the wrong which he had done, life will certainly be his, death will not be his fate.

29 But still the children of Israel say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O children of Israel, are my ways not equal? are not your ways unequal?

30 For this cause I will be your judge, O children of Israel, judging every man by his ways, says the Lord. Come back and be turned from all your sins; so that they may not be the cause of your falling into evil.

31 Put away all your evil-doing in which you have done sin; and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit: why are you desiring death, O children of Israel?

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him on whom death comes, says the Lord: be turned back then, and have life.

← Ezekiel 17   Ezekiel 19 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 141


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 113, 1093, 5433, 5764, 6353, 6563, 8972, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 209, 213, 668

Conjugial Love 487

Doctrine of the Lord 49

Sacred Scripture 85

True Christian Religion 51, 143, 156, 601


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 183, 195, 238, 240, 268, 328, 329, ...

Marriage 51

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 20:5, 22:25, 32:33

Leviticus 18:19, 20, 20:9

Deuteronomy 6:25, 16:19, 23:20, 21, 24:16

2 Samuel 14:14

1 Kings 9:4

2 Kings 22:1, 2

2 Chronicles 6:23

Ezra 10:11

Nehemiah 5:10

Job 8:4, 15:13, 34:11

Psalms 18:31, 103:12, 119:3

Proverbs 12:28, 19:3

Isaiah 42:5, 55:7, 57:16, 58:7

Jeremiah 3:22, 4:4, 7:3, 5, 18:8, 22:3, 26:3, 31:29, 44:4

Lamentations 5:7

Ezekiel 3:18, 20, 7:3, 8, 11:19, 14:6, 16:49, 18:4, 20, 20:11, 18, 22:9, 33:8, 10, 15, 25, 36:19

Zechariah 1:3, 4, 8:16, 19

Matthew 16:27

Luke 13:3, 5, 15:10

Acts of the Apostles 3:19, 10:35

Romans 2:7, 9, 6:23

Galatians 7

1 Timothy 2:4

2 Peter 20, 3:9

Word/Phrase Explanations

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Teeth
'Teeth' signify the outer edges of the life of the natural self, or the sensory level. This has two kinds, the will, and the understanding....

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

souls
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

images
'Images' denote things fashioned from man’s own intelligence.

neighbour's
'The neighbor' is not only an individual person, but also people collectively, as a less or greater society, our country, the church, the Lord’s kingdom,...

wife
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

woman
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

unclean
'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

back
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

food
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

clothing
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

Laws
All laws, even civil and judicial laws, which are in the Word, correspond to the laws of good and truth, which are in heaven.

Poor
'Poor' signifies someone who is not in truths, and people who are ignorant of good and truth, but desire instruction.

blood
Bloods signify evil, in Ezek. 16:9.

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

Overtake
'To overtake' denotes communication and influx.

say
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Punishment
Punishment' is the consummation of evil, because after punishment, reformation succeeds. This is why it says in Deuteronomy 25:3, 'that no more than forty stripes...

right
'Justice' signifies both good and truth.

keeps
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

way
'To set a way,' as in Genesis 30:36, signifies being separated.

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

ways
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

turned
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

judging
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

heart
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...


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