Ezekiel 16

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Darby Version         

← Ezekiel 15   Ezekiel 17 →

1 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,

3 and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto Jerusalem: Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of the Canaanite: thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite.

4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water for cleansing; thou wast not rubbed with salt at all, nor swaddled at all.

5 No eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, from abhorrence of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.

6 And I passed by thee, and saw thee weltering in thy blood, and I said unto thee, in thy blood, Live! yea, I said unto thee, in thy blood, Live!

7 I caused thee to multiply, as the bud of the field; and thou didst increase and grow great, and thou camest to fulness of beauty; [thy] breasts were fashioned, and thy hair grew: but thou wast naked and bare.

8 And I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, and behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness; and I swore unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord Jehovah, and thou becamest mine.

9 And I washed thee with water, and thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil;

10 and I clothed thee with embroidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I bound thee about with byssus, and covered thee with silk.

11 And I decked thee with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck;

12 and I put a ring on thy nose, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thy head.

13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy raiment was byssus, and silk, and embroidered work. Thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil; and thou becamest exceedingly beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.

14 And thy fame went forth among the nations for thy beauty; for it was perfect through my magnificence, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord Jehovah.

15 But thou didst confide in thy beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy whoredoms on every one that passed by: his it was.

16 And of thy garments thou didst take, and madest for thyself high places decked with divers colours, and didst play the harlot thereupon: [the like] hath not come to pass, and shall be no more.

17 And thou didst take thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of males, and didst commit fornication with them.

18 And thou tookest thine embroidered garments, and coveredst them; and thou didst set mine oil and mine incense before them.

19 And my bread which I had given thee, the fine flour and the oil and the honey wherewith I fed thee, thou didst even set it before them for a sweet savour: thus it was, saith the Lord Jehovah.

20 And thou didst take thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hadst borne unto me, and these didst thou sacrifice unto them, to be devoured. Were thy whoredoms a small matter,

21 that thou didst slay my children and give them up in passing them over to them?

22 And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, when thou wast weltering in thy blood.

23 And it came to pass after all thy wickedness (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord Jehovah),

24 that thou didst also build unto thee a place of debauchery, and didst make thee a high place in every street:

25 thou didst build thy high place at every head of the way, and madest thy beauty to be abhorred, and thou didst open thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiply thy whoredom.

26 And thou didst commit fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and didst multiply thy whoredom to provoke me to anger.

27 And behold, I stretched out my hand over thee, and diminished thine appointed portion; and I gave thee over unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, who were confounded at thy lewd way.

28 And thou didst commit fornication with the Assyrians, because thou wast insatiable; yea, thou didst commit fornication with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.

29 And thou didst multiply thy whoredom with the land of merchants, Chaldea, and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith.

30 How weak is thy heart, saith the Lord Jehovah, seeing thou doest all these [things], the work of a whorish woman, under no restraint;

31 in that thou buildest thy place of debauchery at the head of every way, and makest thy high place in every street! And thou hast not been as a harlot, in that thou scornest reward,

32 O adulterous wife, that taketh strangers instead of her husband.

33 They give rewards to all harlots; but thou gavest thy rewards to all thy lovers, and rewardedst them, that they might come unto thee on every side for thy whoredoms.

34 And in thee is the contrary from [other] women, in thy whoredoms, in that none followeth thee to commit fornication; and whereas thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, so art thou contrary.

35 Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of Jehovah.

36 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because thy money hath been poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy fornications with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thine abominations, and because of the blood of thy children which thou didst give unto them;

37 therefore, behold, I will gather all thy lovers with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all that thou hast loved, with all that thou hast hated, -- I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.

38 And I will judge thee with the judgments of women that commit adultery and shed blood; and I will give thee up to the blood of fury and jealousy;

39 and I will give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thy place of debauchery, and shall break down thy high places; and they shall strip thee of thy garments, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.

40 And they shall bring up an assemblage against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords.

41 And they shall burn thy houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women; and I will cause thee to cease from being a harlot, and thou also shalt give no more any reward.

42 And I will appease my fury against thee, and my jealousy shall depart from thee; and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.

43 Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast raged against me in all these [things], behold, therefore, I also will recompense thy way upon [thy] head, saith the Lord Jehovah, and thou shalt not commit this lewdness besides all thine abominations.

44 Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall speak in a proverb against thee, saying, As the mother, [so is] her daughter!

45 Thou art the daughter of thy mother that loathed her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite.

46 And thine elder sister is Samaria that dwelleth at thy left hand, she and her daughters; and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.

47 And thou hast not walked in their ways, nor done according to their abominations; but as though that were a very little, thou hast been more corrupt than they in all thy ways.

48 [As] I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters!

49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and careless ease was in her and in her daughters, but she did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me, and I took them away when I saw [it].

51 And Samaria hath not sinned according to the half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters by all thine abominations which thou hast done.

52 Thou also, who hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own confusion, because of thy sins in which thou hast acted more abominably than they: they are more righteous than thou. So be thou ashamed also, and bear thy confusion, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.

53 And I will bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them;

54 that thou mayest bear thy confusion, and mayest be confounded for all that thou hast done, in that thou comfortest them.

55 And thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate; thou also and thy daughters, ye shall return to your former estate.

56 Yea, Sodom thy sister was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride,

57 before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of the reproach of the daughters of Syria, and of all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, who despise thee on every side.

58 Thy lewdness and thine abominations, thou bearest them, saith Jehovah.

59 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, who hast despised the oath, and broken the covenant.

60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.

61 And thou shalt remember thy ways, and be confounded, when thou shalt receive thy sisters who are older than thou, together with those who are younger than thou; for I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by virtue of thy covenant.

62 And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I [am] Jehovah;

63 that thou mayest remember, and be ashamed, and no more open thy mouth because of thy confusion, when I forgive thee all that thou hast done, saith the Lord Jehovah.

← Ezekiel 15   Ezekiel 17 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Apocalypse Explained 1029

Apocalypse Revealed 350, 880

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

Doctrine of the Lord 64

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 139


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 93, 213, 289, 297, 374, 622, 666, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 134, 166, 189, 209, 213, 216, 245, ...

Conjugial Love 119

Doctrine of the Lord 28

Doctrine of Life 79

Heaven and Hell 180

True Christian Religion 306, 314, 583, 782


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 126, 141, 195, 238, 240, 242, 272, ...

Spiritual Experiences 246, 5160

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 24:22, 38:16

Exodus 15:16, 24:8

Leviticus 26:30

Numbers 35:16, 17, 18, 21, 31

Deuteronomy 1:10, 11, 22:22, 24, 29:24, 32:13, 32, 43

1 Kings 12:28, 14:23

2 Chronicles 21:11, 28:3, 5, 18, 25, 36:17

Esther 9:27

Job 29:6, 34:26, 40:4

Psalms 45:15, 78:37, 85:3, 106:38, 41, 45, 147:14

Proverbs 7:19

Song of Solomon 1:10, 11

Isaiah 3:11, 19, 21, 10:11, 14:1, 24:5, 33:24, 43:1, 27, 44:22, 47:8, 55:3, 57:5, 9, 58:1, 61:8

Jeremiah 1:16, 2:2, 10, 18, 20, 24, 3:1, 11, 20, 24, 11:10, 13:26, 27, 19:5, 23:40, 25:9, 31:32, 46:27, 52:13

Lamentations 2:15

Ezekiel 5:6, 8, 12, 13, 15, 7:3, 8, 20, 9:10, 16:3, 20, 22, 27, 36, 43, 45, 57, 58, 17:19, 18:7, 20:4, 26, 28, 29, 43, 22:2, 23:1, 3, 23, 25, 36:18, 22, 25, 32, 37:26, 43:10

Daniel 9:13, 14

Hosea 1:2, 2:5, 10, 20, 4:18, 8:9, 10, 9:1, 11:1, 14:1

Micah 1:5, 5:12, 13

Luke 1:72, 15:22, 22:20

John 10:3

Romans 2:1, 3:19, 6:21, 9:4

Ephesians 5:26

1 Peter 3:20

1 John 5:6

Revelation 17:16

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...

jehovah
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...

Jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

nativity
'Nativity,' as in Genesis 10:32, signifies reformation. Out of thy nativity and out of thy father's house,' as in Genesis 12:1, signifies corporeal and worldly...

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

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...

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

Hittite
'A Hittite' in a good sense, signifies the spiritual church, or the truth of the church. The Hittites were among the upright Gentiles who were...

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...

born
In a general sense, being "born" in the Bible represents one spiritual state producing another, usually some form of love or affection producing or "giving...

washed
It does not take a great leap of imagination to see that “washing” in the Bible represents purification. Washing dirt from the skin is symbolic...

water
'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...

eye
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

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...

saw
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...

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

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...

to
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

increase
'Produce' denotes fruit derived from the good of charity, and truth of faith.

camest
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

breasts
The breast (Ezek. 16:7), signifies natural good.

hair
The hair is the very outermost part of the body, and "hair" in the Bible represents the outermost expression of whatever the body represents. In...

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...

nakedness
'Unclothed' signifies being deprived of the truths of faith.

entered
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

oil
Oil – typically olive oil – was an extremely important product in Biblical times, for food preparation, medicinal ointment and for burning in lamps. As...

silk
'Silk' signifies intermediate celestial good and truth. It means good because it is soft, and truth because it shines. 'Silk,' like 'fine linen,' denotes genuine...

ornaments
Bracelets (Gen. 25:22) signify truth, and in this passage divine truth, because the Lord is treated of.

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

Nose
'A nose' signifies the life of good, because of the respiration which happens through it, which is life in the internal sense, and because of...

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

silver
'Silver,' in the internal sense of the Word, signifies truth, but also falsity. 'Silver' means the truth of faith, or the truth acquired from selfhood,...

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

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

Flour
Flour, or meal, signifies celestial truth, and wheat, celestial good. Flour and oil signify truth and good from a spiritual origin, and honey, good from...

honey
'Honey' signifies the delight derived from good and truth or from the affection thereof, and specifically the external delight. Thus it signifies the delight of...

Prosper
'To be made to prosper' signifies being provided for. Which is why 'Jehovah made it prosper in his hand' means Divine Providence. 

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...

Beauty
Beauty of his ornament (Ezek. 7:20) signifies the church and its doctrine.

Harlot
'A harlot' signifies the affection of falsities, thus the church corrupted.

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

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

Jewels
Jewels' when applied to the ears, signify good in act.

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

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

bread
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...

Fine flour
Fine flour, as in Ezekiel 16:19, signifies the spiritual principle of charity.

sweet
Sweet' signifies delightful things from the good of truth and the truth of good. Everything sweet in the natural world corresponds to delightful and pleasant...

Daughters
"Behold I have two daughters,” etc. (Gen. 19:8), signifies the affections of good and truth, and the blessedness perceivable from the enjoyment thereof, by those...

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....

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

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

build
To build something generally means to put together a variety of simpler pieces to make a useful and more complex structure, as to build a...

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

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...

egyptians
Egyptians represent those who are in natural science, thus the natural, but the Hebrews, those who are of the church, thus respectively the spiritual. The...

flesh
Flesh has several meanings just in its most obvious form. It can mean all living creatures as when the Lord talks about the flood "destroying...

stretched
The hand in the Bible represents power, which is easy to understand, so to reach out or stretch out the hand means to exercise power,...

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...

hate
If you truly hate someone, that means you would kill them and destroy their reputation if you could do so without repercussion – not a...

philistines
The Philistines play a large role in the Bible as one of the longest-standing and most bitter rivals of the people of Israel, clashing with...

satisfied
'What satisfies' is what nourishes the soul.

chaldea
Chaldea was a land lying along the Euphrates river near its mouth, south of Babylon, part of what is now southern Iraq. It was a...

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...

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...

Strangers
In Ezekiel 28:7, 'strangers' signify falsities which destroy truths, and 'the terrible of the nations,' evils which destroy good.

husband
In general, men are driven by intellect and women by affections, and because of this men in the Bible generally represent knowledge and truth and...

Might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

Women
'Women,' as in Genesis 45:19, signify the affections of truth. But in Genesis 31:50, 'women' signify affections of not genuine truth, so not of the...

givest
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...

hear
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

idols
Idols of stone signify worship from falsities of doctrine. Idols of wood signify worship from evils of doctrine. Idols of silver signify worship from what...

loved
To some degree, there really is no spiritual meaning to the word “love” in the Bible. Why? Because if you truly love another, that is...

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...

Fury
Fury is a receding from good, and anger is a receding from truth.

assemblage
A congregation is a group of people with common loves, interests, and purposes. It often refers to a church group. In the Word it is...

stone
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

quiet
When something is described as quiet, still or calm in the Bible, it represents the state of peace that comes with being aligned with the...

angry
Anger is an emotion so common to people that it requires no definition. However a couple of points of interest can be raised. 1) The...

sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. 'Sister' denotes intellectual truth, when...

elder
In general, things that are “elder” in the Bible represent spiritual states that come before others. For example, of the two sisters Jacob married, Leah...

samaria
'Samaria,' as in Amos 4:1. 6:1, signifies the spiritual church perverted.

Younger
In general, birth order in the Bible reflects the progression of spiritual states, but the specifics of those states depends greatly on context: who the...

sodom
"Sodom" in the Bible represents the love of self and the love of ruling or dominating others springing from the love of self. This is...

walked
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

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....

iniquity
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...

Pride
'Pride' signifies the love of self.

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

needy
In most cases, those described as "needy" in the Bible are those who lack true knowledge of the Lord and his teachings, but have a...

Half
Half and double in reference to numbers in the world have a similar signification as the numbers themselves.

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

righteous
'To justify,' as in Isaiah 5:3, 11, signifies saving by means of divine good.

Ashamed
To be ashamed (Gen 2:25) signifies to be in evil

captives
Captivity and spoil (Daniel 11:33) signifies the deprivation of every truth and good.

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

return
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...

mouth
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...

reproach
To revile something – or "reproach," as it is often translated – represents making a direct and deliberate attack on what is spiritually true, in...

syria
'Syria,' as in Ezekiel 27:16, signifies the church regarding knowledges of truth and good.

despised
We tend to think of "despising" something or someone as just a strong way of expressing dislike, but there is a further shade of meaning...

remember
'To remember,' as in Genesis 41:9, signifies conjunction. 'Remembering' denotes conjunction because the remembrance of anyone in the other life joins them together, because as...

everlasting
In many cases, the use of “eternity” in the Bible is pretty literal, simple meaning forever. This is especially true when the text is referring...

Virtue
'Virtue' denotes strength and power, and in relation to Jehovah or the Lord, denotes all power.


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