Ezekiel 23

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Douay-Rheims         

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1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Son of man, there were two women, daughters of one mother.

3 And they committed fornication in Egypt, in their youth they committed fornication: there were their breasts pressed down, and the teats of their virginity were bruised.

4 And their names were Oolla the elder, and Ooliba her younger sister: and I took them, and they bore sons and daughters. Now for their names, Samaria is Oolla, and Jerusalem is Ooliba.

5 And Oolla committed fornication against me, and doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians that came to her,

6 Who were clothed with blue, princes, and rulers, beautiful youths, all horsemen, mounted upon horses.

7 And she committed her fornications with those chosen men, all sons of the Assyrians: and she defiled herself with the uncleanness of all them on whom she doted.

8 Moreover also she did not forsake her fornications which she had committed in Egypt: for they also lay with her in her youth, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured out their fornication upon her.

9 Therefore have I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the sons of the Assyrians, upon whose lust she doted.

10 They discovered her disgrace, took away her sons and daughters, and slew her with the sword: and they became infamous women, and they executed judgments in her.

11 And when her sister Ooliba saw this, she was mad with lust more than she: and she carried her fornication beyond the fornication of her sister.

12 Impudently prostituting herself to the children of the Assyrians, the princes, and rulers that came to her, clothed with divers colours, to the horsemen that rode upon horses, and to young men all of great beauty.

13 And I saw that she was defiled, and that they both took one way.

14 And she increased her fornications: and when she had seen men painted on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans set forth in colours,

15 And girded with girdles about their reins, and with dyed turbans on their heads, the resemblance of all the captains, the likeness of the sons of Babylon, and of the land of the Chaldeans wherein they were born,

16 She doted upon them with the lust of her eyes, and she sent messengers to them into Chaldea.

17 And when the sons of Babylon were come to her to the bed of love, they defiled her with their fornications, and she was polluted by them, and her soul was glutted with them.

18 And she discovered her fornications, and discovered her disgrace: and my soul was alienated from her, as my soul was alienated from her sister.

19 For she multiplied her fornications, remembering the days of her youth, in which she played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

20 And she was mad with lust after lying with them whose flesh is as the flesh of asses: and whose issue as the issue of horses.

21 And thou hast renewed the wickedness of thy youth, when thy breasts were pressed in Egypt, and the papa of thy virginity broken.

22 Therefore, Ooliba, thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will raise up against thee all thy lovers with whom thy soul hath been glutted: and I will gather them together against thee round about.

23 The children of Babylon, and all the Chaldeans, the nobles, and the kings, and princes, all the sons of the Assyrians, beautiful young men, all the captains, and rulers, the princes of princes, and the renowned horsemen.

24 And they shall come upon thee well appointed with chariot and wheel, a multitude of people: they shall be armed against thee on every side with breastplate, and buckler, and helmet: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee by their judgments.

25 And I will set my jealousy against thee, which they shall execute upon thee with fury: they shall cut off thy nose and thy ears: and what remains shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons, and thy daughters, and thy residue shall be devoured by fire.

26 And they shall strip thee of thy garments, and take away the instruments of thy glory.

27 And I will put an end to thy wickedness in thee, and thy fornication brought out of the land of Egypt: neither shalt thou lift up thy eyes to them, nor remember Egypt any more.

28 For thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will deliver thee into the hands of them whom thou hatest, into their hands with whom thy soul hath been glutted.

29 And they shall deal with thee in hatred, and they shall take away all thy labours, and shall let thee go naked, and full of disgrace, and the disgrace of thy fornication shall be discovered, thy wickedness, and thy fornications.

30 They have done these things to thee, because thou hast played the harlot with the nations among which thou wast defiled with their idols.

31 Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister, and I will give her cup into thy hand.

32 Thus saith the Lord God: Thou shalt drink thy sister's cup, deep, and wide: thou shalt be had in derision and scorn, which containeth very much.

33 Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness, and sorrow: with the cup of grief, and sadness, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.

34 And thou shalt drink it, and shalt drink it up even to the dregs, and thou shalt devour the fragments thereof, thou shalt rend thy breasts: because I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.

35 Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Because thou hast forgotten me, and hast cast me off behind thy back, bear thou also thy wickedness, and thy fornications.

36 And the Lord spoke to me, saying: Son of man, dost thou judge Oolla, and Ooliba, and dost thou declare to them their wicked deeds?

37 Because they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and they have committed fornication with their idols: moreover also their children, whom they bore to me, they have offered to them to be devoured.

38 Yea, and they have done this to me. They polluted my sanctuary on the same day, and profaned my sabbaths.

39 And when they sacrificed their children to their idols, and went into my sanctuary the same day to profane it: they did these things even in the midst of my house.

40 They sent for men coming from afar, to whom they had sent a messenger: and behold they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, and didst paint thy eyes, and wast adorned with women's ornaments.

41 Thou sattest on a very fine bed, and a table was decked before thee: whereupon thou didst set my incense, and my ointment.

42 And there was in her the voice of a multitude rejoicing: and to some that were brought of the multitude of men, and that came from the desert, they put bracelets on their hands, and beautiful crowns on their heads.

43 And I said to her that was worn out in her adulteries: Now will this woman still continue in her fornication.

44 And they went in to her, as to a harlot: so went they in unto Oolla, and Ooliba, wicked women.

45 They therefore are k just men: these shall judge them as adulteresses are judged, and as shedders of blood are judged: because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.

46 For thus saith the Lord God: Bring a multitude upon them, and deliver them over to tumult and rapine:

47 And lee the people stone them with stones, and let them be stabbed with their swords: they shall kill their sons and daughters, and their houses they shall burn with fire.

48 And I will take away wickedness out of the land: and all women shall learn, not to do according to the wickedness of them.

49 And they shall render your wickedness upon you, and you shall bear the sins of your idols: and you shall know that I am the Lord God.

← Ezekiel 22   Ezekiel 24 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 8904

Apocalypse Explained 433, 1029

Apocalypse Revealed 350, 880

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

The Lord 64

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 146


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 213, 1165, 1186, 1368, 2466, 2588, 3105, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 134, 137, 166, 216, 298, 434, 436, ...

Doctrine of the Lord 28

Doctrine of Life 79

True Christian Religion 314, 782


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 126, 141, 195, 240, 315, 355, 555, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 56

The White Horse - Appendix 1

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Leviticus 20:2

Numbers 14:33, 34

Deuteronomy 13:12

2 Kings 9:30, 15:29, 17:19, 21:4, 6, 13, 16, 23:10, 24:13

2 Chronicles 21:11

Psalms 75:9

Proverbs 30:9

Isaiah 39:6, 57:7, 9

Jeremiah 2:7, 18, 19, 34, 3:6, 7, 8, 11, 6:8, 22, 23, 13:25, 17:3, 22:14, 32:29, 52:9, 11

Lamentations 1:8, 2:15, 16, 4:14

Ezekiel 5:11, 13, 6:13, 16:1, 15, 16, 40, 20:4, 7, 8, 26, 31, 21:24, 22:4, 8, 12, 14, 15, 26, 23:3, 8, 19, 24:7, 21, 27:22

Hosea 2:7, 5:13, 13:6

Micah 3:8

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...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

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...

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...

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...

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...

egypt
'Mizraim' signifies the same thing as Egypt.

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

pressed
These verbs in the Bible indicate a conflict between two spiritual states, and the effort it takes to attain the higher state. It's easy to...

names
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

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.

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...

Blue
Blue and purple signify celestial goods and truths, and scarlet double-dyed and fine-twined linen, spiritual goods and truths. (Exod. 28:33.) Blue and purple from the...

horsemen
'A horseman' signifies intelligence, or one who is intelligent. 'A horseman,' as mentioned in Revelation 9:16, signifies reasonings concerning faith alone. 'A horseman' can also...

horses
'A horse' signifies knowledges or understanding of the Word. In an opposite sense it signifies the understanding of the Word falsified by reasonings, and likewise...

sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

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...

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....

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

seen
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

Wall
'A wall' signifies truth in outer extremes. 'A wall,' as in Revelation 21, signifies the divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and so, the truth...

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

chaldeans
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...

girded
In a sense, the whole point of trying to accept the Lord and align ourselves with His love and His leading is so that we...

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

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...

sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

messengers
'A messenger' signifies communication.

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

Bed
A bed of ivory (Amos 6:4) are doctrines apparently from rational truths.

soul
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...

days
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...

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

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...

captains
'Officers' signify principles of what is false and evil.

Side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

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...

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...

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

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...

fall
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

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...

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

instruments
Instruments of music,' according to correspondences, signify the pleasant and delightful affection of spiritual and celestial things. Therefore, also in many of the Psalms of...

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

lift
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...

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...

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

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

sister's
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...

filled
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

sorrow
'The woman condemned to 'bring forth sons in sorrow' denotes the anxieties and combats in the production of truths.

grief
Grief is anxiety of heart or will.

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

forgotten
To forget, in the internal sense, signifies nothing else but removal and apparent privation.

behind
Behind, or after, (Gen. 16:13), signifies within or above, or an interior or superior principle.

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...

declare
To "declare" something means to say it formally, publicly and with emphasis; you might say what you think, but you only declare things you're sure...

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

Sabbaths
In Exodus 31:13, 'verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep,' signifies continuous holy thought about the union of the Lord’s divine with His human.

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...

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...

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

wash
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...

table
Food and drink in the Bible represent the desire to be loving and the understanding of how to be loving, gifts that flow from the...

Voice
'Voice' signifies what is announced from the Word. 'Voice' often refers and is applied to things that cannot have a voice, as in Exodus 4,...

desert
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

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

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...

adulteries
All the various kinds or degrees of adultery are spiritually understood by the prohibited conjunctions ('Leviticus 18:24, 28.')

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...

judged
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...

Rapine
'Rapine' signifies violence offered by the false principle.

stones
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...

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...


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