Ezekiel 4

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Douay-Rheims         

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1 And thou, O son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee: and draw upon it the plan of the city of Jerusalem.

2 And lay siege against it, and build forts, and cast up a mount, and set a camp against it, and place battering rams round about it.

3 And take unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face resolutely against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it: it is a sign to the house of Israel.

4 And thou shalt sleep upon thy left side, and shalt lay the iniquities of the house of Israel upon it, according to the number of the days that thou shalt sleep upon it, and thou shalt take upon thee their iniquity.

5 And I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days three hundred and ninety days: and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

6 And when thou hast accomplished this, thou shalt sleep again upon thy right side, and thou shalt take upon thee the iniquity of the house of Juda forty days: a day for it year, yea, a day for a year I have appointed to thee.

7 And thou shalt turn thy face to the siege of Jerusalem, and thy arm shall be stretched out: and thou shalt prophesy against it.

8 Behold I have encompassed thee with bands: and thou shalt not turn thyself from one side to the other, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

9 And take to thee wheat and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side: three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

10 And thy meat that thou shalt eat, shall be in weight twenty staters a day: from time to time thou shalt eat it.

11 And thou shalt drink water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time thou shalt drink it,

12 And thou shalt eat it as barley bread baked under the ashes: and thou shalt cover it, in their sight, with the dung that cometh out of a man.

13 And the Lord said: So shall the children of Israel eat their bread all filthy among the nations whither I will cast them out.

14 And I said: Ah, ah, ah, O Lord God, behold my soul hath not been defiled, and from my infancy even till now, I have not eaten any thing that died of itself, or was torn by beasts, and no unclean flesh hath entered into my mouth.

15 And he said to me: Behold I have given thee neat's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt make thy bread therewith.

16 And he said to me: Son of man: Behold, I will break in pieces the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care: and they shall drink water by measure, and in distress.

17 So that when bread and water fail, every man may fall against his brother, and they may pine away in their iniquities.

← Ezekiel 3   Ezekiel 5 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Apocalypse Explained 805

Apocalypse Revealed 350, 880

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 56

Doctrine of the Lord 64

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 127

True Christian Religion 130


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 426, 730, 1296, 2165, 2959, 3104, 3332, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 50, 315, 485, 598, 610

Doctrine of the Lord 15, 16, 28

Sacred Scripture 16

True Christian Religion 296, 782


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 63, 71, 600, 617, 633, 655, 706, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 165

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 60

Spiritual Experiences 2283

Spiritual Experiences (Travel Diary) 4720

Marriage 39

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 22, 52

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Bible Study Videos:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

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...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

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...

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...

mount
'Mount Olivet' signifies the celestial church, or celestial good, which comes from love towards the Lord, and divine love.

camp
Camps in the Bible represent spiritual order – a person’s (or a church community’s) whole collection of desires for good and true ideas on how...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

Pan
'An iron pan,' as in Ezekiel 4:3, signifies the truth that was falsified and adulterated among the Jewish people.

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...

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...

Siege
'To lay siege' means bringing distress by evils and falsities.

sign
'A token,' as in Genesis 9:12, 13, 17, signifies causing it to be.

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...

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...

Side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

iniquities
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...

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

hundred
It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

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...

juda
City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

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...

a day
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

arm
Arms and feet (Daniel 10:6) signify the exterior things of the Word, which are its literal sense.

turn
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...

Wheat and barley
In Joel 1:11, 'wheat' signifies celestial love, and 'barley,' spiritual love.

millet
'Wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and vetches,' as in Ezekiel 4:9, 12, signify various kinds of good, and their derivative truths. Bread, or a cake,...

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

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...

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...

Twenty
'Twenty,' when referring to a quantity, signifies everything or fullness, because it is ten twice. 'Twenty,' as in Genesis 18:31, like all numbers occurring 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...

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...

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...

measure
'To measure' signifies knowing and exploring the quality of something.

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

Sixth part
Because 'six' means completeness, the words 'to divide into six' or 'give a sixth part,' came into use. In a spiritual sense, this means completeness,...

hin
'A hin' denotes the measurement of conjunction.

sight
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...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

Infancy
The good of infancy is instilled from a person's infancy to the tenth year of age. The good of innocence is instilled from the tenth...

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...

died
'The soul going forth' and 'dying,' as in Genesis 35:18, signifies the extreme of temptation, which is when the old self dies and the new...

torn
'Torn,' as in Genesis 31:38, signifies death caused by another, so evil without blame. 'Torn' relates to good, which falsity is injected into, which means...

unclean
'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

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...

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...

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...

break
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...

Pieces
'Broken into pieces' denotes the way good not from the Lord will be dissipated.

Staff
In Jeremiah 48:17, 'the strong staff' signifies power from good, 'and beautiful rod,' power from truth.

fail
For something to “fail” in the Bible means there is not enough understanding of truth and desire for good for someone to attain a higher...

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

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.


 Ezekiel: The Prophet As an Example
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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