Ezekiel 34

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Basic English Bible         

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1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2 Son of man, be a prophet against the keepers of the flock of Israel, and say to them, O keepers of the sheep! this is the word of the Lord: A curse is on the keepers of the flock of Israel who take the food for themselves! is it not right for the keepers to give the food to the sheep?

3 You take the milk and are clothed with the wool, you put the fat beasts to death, but you give the sheep no food.

4 You have not made the diseased ones strong or made well that which was ill; you have not put bands on the broken or got back that which had been sent away or made search for the wandering ones; and the strong you have been ruling cruelly.

5 And they were wandering in every direction because there was no keeper: and they became food for all the beasts of the field.

6 And my sheep went out of the way, wandering through all the mountains and on every high hill: my sheep went here and there over all the face of the earth; and no one was troubled about them or went in search of them.

7 For this cause, O keepers of the flock, give ear to the word of the Lord:

8 By my life, says the Lord, truly, because my sheep have been taken away, and my sheep became food for all the beasts of the field, because there was no keeper, and my keepers did not go in search of the sheep, but the keepers took food for themselves and gave my sheep no food;

9 For this reason, O you keepers of the flock, give ear to the word of the Lord;

10 This is what the Lord has said: See I am against the keepers of the flock, and I will make search and see what they have done with my sheep, and will let them be keepers of my sheep no longer; and the keepers will no longer get food for themselves; I will take my sheep out of their mouths so that they may not be food for them.

11 For this is what the Lord has said: Truly, I, even I, will go searching and looking for my sheep.

12 As the keeper goes looking for his flock when he is among his wandering sheep, so I will go looking for my sheep, and will get them safely out of all the places where they have been sent wandering in the day of clouds and black night.

13 And I will take them out from among the peoples, and get them together from the countries, and will take them into their land; and I will give them food on the mountains of Israel by the water-streams and wherever men are living in the country.

14 I will give them good grass-land for their food, and their safe place will be the mountains of the high place of Israel: there they will take their rest in a good place, and on fat grass-land they will take their food on the mountains of Israel.

15 I myself will give food to my flock, and I will give them rest, says the Lord.

16 I will go in search of that which had gone wandering from the way, and will get back that which had been sent in flight, and will put bands on that which was broken, and give strength to that which was ill: but the fat and the strong I will give up to destruction; I will give them for their food the punishment which is theirs by right.

17 And as for you, O my flock, says the Lord, truly, I will be judge between sheep and sheep, the he-sheep and the he-goats.

18 Does it seem a small thing to you to have taken your food on good grass-land while the rest of your grass-land is stamped down under your feet? and that after drinking from clear waters you make the rest of the waters dirty with your feet?

19 And as for my sheep, their food is the grass which has been stamped on by your feet, and their drink the water which has been made dirty by your feet.

20 For this reason the Lord has said to them, Truly, I, even I, will be judge between the fat sheep and the thin sheep.

21 Because you have been pushing with side and leg, pushing the diseased with your horns till they were sent away in every direction;

22 I will make my flock safe, and they will no longer be taken away, and I will be judge between sheep and sheep.

23 And I will put over them one keeper, and he will give them food, even my servant David; he will give them food and be their keeper.

24 And I the Lord will be their God and my servant David their ruler; I the Lord have said it.

25 And I will make with them an agreement of peace, and will put an end to evil beasts through all the land: and they will be living safely in the waste land, sleeping in the woods.

26 And I will give the rain at the right time, and I will make the shower come down at the right time; there will be showers of blessing.

27 And the tree of the field will give its fruit and the earth will give its increase, and they will be safe in their land; and they will be certain that I am the Lord, when I have had their yoke broken and have given them salvation from the hands of those who made them servants.

28 And their goods will no longer be taken by the nations, and they will not again be food for the beasts of the earth; but they will be living safely and no one will be a cause of fear to them.

29 And I will give them planting-places of peace, and they will no longer be wasted from need of food or put to shame by the nations.

30 And they will be certain that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, the children of Israel, are my people, says the Lord.

31 And you are my sheep, the sheep of my grass-lands, and I am your God, says the Lord.

← Ezekiel 33   Ezekiel 35 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 157


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 46, 93, 415, 666, 908, 1038, 1085, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 3, 49, 243, 270, 306, 336, 383, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 86

Doctrine of the Lord 4, 28, 43

Faith 68

True Christian Religion 171, 689, 844


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 67, 280, 316, 340, 365, 388, 405, ...

Spiritual Experiences 4573

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 22, 53

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 9:16

Exodus 29:45, 46

Leviticus 26:4, 6, 13

1 Kings 22:17

Job 5:23, 11:19, 34:29

Psalms 23:1, 2, 72:2, 78:71, 72, 84:7, 100:3, 119:176

Proverbs 3:24, 30:14

Isaiah 32:6, 18, 35:9, 40:11, 49:9, 51:18, 54:10, 55:3, 56:11, 61:8

Jeremiah 3:15, 10:21, 12:9, 10, 23:1, 3, 4, 5, 30:3, 8, 9, 10, 31:1, 10, 14, 33:12, 50:6, 19

Ezekiel 11:17, 13:23, 19:6, 7, 9, 20:5, 7, 36, 37, 38, 28:25, 26, 30:3, 36:6, 8, 15, 24, 30, 37:21, 24, 26, 38:8, 39:26

Hosea 2:20

Joel 23

Amos 4:1, 2, 5:11

Micah 2:12, 3:1, 4:6, 5:3, 7:3, 14

Zephaniah 3:13

Zechariah 8:12, 13, 9:16, 10:1, 2, 3, 11:5, 15

Matthew 9:12, 36, 18:12, 25:33

Luke 1:71, 15:4, 5

John 10:1, 8, 11, 12, 14

1 Peter 2:25, 5:1

Jude 1:12

Revelation 7:17

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...

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...

Flock
A flock, as in Genesis 26, denotes interior or rational good. A flock signifies those who are in spiritual good. A flock signifies natural interior...

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...

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

fat
'Fat things full of marrow,' signify goods.

broken
To “break” something creates an image that is much different from “attacking,” “destroying,” or “shattering.” It is less emotional, less violent in its intent; it...

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...

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

way
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....

mountains
'Hills' signify the good of charity.

High
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

hill
The Writings tell us that the Lord's love is the sun of heaven, and it is natural for us to look above ourselves to the...

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

earth
'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

said
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...

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...

mouths
In most cases, "mouth" in the Bible represents thought and logic, especially the kind of active, concrete thought that is connected with speech. The reason...

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

clouds
In Isaiah 19:1, "Jehovah rides upon a light cloud, and comes into Egypt", signifies the visitation of the natural man from spiritual-natural Divine Truth, for...

country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

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...

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
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

judge
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...

the rest
In Leviticus 6:16, 'Aaron and his sons eating the remainder' signifies a person’s reciprocation and making something one's own. This represents conjunction by means of...

feet
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

Waters
'Waters' signify truths in the natural self, and in the opposite sense, falsities. 'Waters' signify particularly the spiritual parts of a person, or the intellectual...

drink
To be drunken without wine (Isa. 29:9), are they who are unconcerned about the Word, and the truths of faith, and thus have no inclination...

Side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

horns
'A horn,' when spoken of the Lord, signifies omnipotence. 'The little horn that rose up,' as mentioned in Daniel 7:3-8, signifies the full perversion of...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

david
David is one of the most significant figures in the Bible. He was a musician, one of history’s greatest poets, the boy warrior who killed...

god
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

evil
'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

time
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

tree
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

fruit
We tend to think of "fruit" in two ways in natural language. One is as food that grows on trees and vines, sweet and delicious,...

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

nations
'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

shame
On a natural level, there are a variety of things that can cause shame. We might be ashamed of physical weakness or ugliness; we might...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Heal Me (sheet music)
Song | Ages over 11

 I Will Save My Flock
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Lost Sheep
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Good Shepherd
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Shepherds Visit
The Word is the story of ourselves. What are our "sheep", "shepherds", and the miracle of the Lord's birth in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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