Ezekiel 18

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: What is the meaning?

2 That you use among you this parable as a proverb in the land of Israel, saying: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are set on edge.

3 As I live, saith the Lord God, this parable shall be no more to you a proverb in Israel.

4 Behold all souls are mine: as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, the same shall die.

5 And if a man be just, and do judgment and justice,

6 And hath not eaten upon the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel: and hath not defiled his neighbour's wife, nor come near to a menstruous woman:

7 And hath not wronged any man: but hath restored the pledge to the debtor, hath taken nothing away by violence: hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment:

8 Hath not lent upon usury, nor taken any increase: hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, and hath executed true judgment between man and man:

9 Hath walked in my commandments, and kept my judgments, to do truth: he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.

10 And if he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that hath done some one of these things:

11 Though he doth not all these things, but that eateth upon the mountains, and that defileth his neighbour's wife:

12 That grieveth the needy and the poor, that taketh away by violence, that restoreth not the pledge, and that lifteth up his eyes to idols, that committeth abomination:

13 That giveth upon usury, and that taketh an increase: shall such a one live? he shall not live. Seeing he hath done all these detestable things, he shall surely die, his blood shall be upon him.

14 But if he beget a son, who, seeing all his father's sine, which he hath done, is afraid, and shall not do the like to them :

15 That hath not eaten upon the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, and hath not defiled his neighbour's wife:

16 And hath not grieved any man, nor withholden the pledge, nor taken away with violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and covered the naked with a garment:

17 That hath turned away his hand from injuring the poor, hath not taken usury and increase, but hath executed my judgments, and hath walked in my commandments: this man shall not die for the iniquity of his father, but living he shall live.

18 As for his father, because he oppressed and offered violence to his brother, and wrought evil in the midst of his people, behold he is dead in his own iniquity.

19 And you say: Why hath not the son borne the iniquity of his father? Verily, because the son hath wrought judgment and justice, hath kept all my commandments, and done them, living, he shall live.

20 The soul that sinneth, the same shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

21 But if the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment, and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die.

22 I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done: in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live.

23 Is it my will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?

24 But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die.

25 And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?

26 For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, he shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die.

27 And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment, and justice: he shall save his soul alive.

28 Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die.

29 And the children of Israel say: The way of the Lord is not right. Are not my ways right, O house of Israel, and are not rather your ways perverse?

30 Therefore will I judge every man according to his ways, O house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities: and iniquity shall not be your ruin.

31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, by which you have transgressed, and make to yourselves a new heart, and a new spirit: and why will you die, O house of Israel?

32 For I desire not the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God, return ye and live.

← 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...

fathers
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...

eaten
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...

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....

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....

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...

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...

just
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...

Judgment
Judgement' pertains to the Lord's divine human and holy proceeding. Judgment' has two sides, a principle of good, and a principle of truth. The faithful...

Justice
'Justice' signifies both good and truth.

mountains
'Hills' signify the good of charity.

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

eyes
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...

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...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

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...

restored
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...

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...

hungry
Food and drink in the Bible represent the desire for good and the understanding of what is true, which nourish and delight us spiritually the...

Garment
It is said, in Deuteronomy 22:11, "Thou shalt not wear a garment of diverse sorts; as of woolen and linen together…”. This means that the...

hand
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walked
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kept
"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...

truth
There's a great deal of talk in Swedenborg about "truth" as a concept – it's how we learn the Lord's will, what we must seek...

beget
To beget or to be begotten is very similar in meaning to birth: It represents one spiritual state leading to the next spiritual state. "Beget,"...

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

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...

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...

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

giveth
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...

seeing
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...

oppressed
'Oppression' signifies destruction of truth by falsities.

brother
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of 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...

Dead
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

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...

wicked
Swedenborg several times associates the “wicked” with “malevolence,” defines “malevolence” as “destroying good, interior and exterior,” and says that the wicked do this by disowning...

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...

ways
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turn
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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...

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...

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

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...

save
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

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...

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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