Ezekiel 21

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version         

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

2 Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,

3 And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.

4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:

5 That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.

6 Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.

7 And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.

8 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:

10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree.

11 And he hath give it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.

12 Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.

13 Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD.

14 Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers.

15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.

16 Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set.

17 I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.

18 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

19 Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.

20 Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.

21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.

22 At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.

23 And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.

24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.

25 And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,

26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

28 And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:

29 Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end.

30 Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.

31 And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.

32 Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 144


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 309, 574, 2799, 4111, 6563, 8294, 8813, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 52, 748, 759, 924

Conjugial Love 156

Doctrine of the Lord 4, 28, 48

True Christian Religion 156, 322


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 126, 131, 183, 504, 600, 840, 1082

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 58

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 49:10

Judges 17:5

2 Chronicles 36:17

Esther 4:1

Job 9:22

Psalms 48:13, 80:17, 83:15, 89:40

Isaiah 13:7, 22:4, 37:24, 47:12

Jeremiah 6:7, 25, 12:12, 17:27, 21:14, 23:20, 26:12, 31:19, 32:24, 47:7, 49:1, 2, 52:4

Ezekiel 4:2, 5:12, 13, 6:2, 11, 7:2, 17, 12:10, 14:17, 15:1, 17:2, 13, 15, 21:3, 4, 9, 10, 22:13, 23:23, 24:9, 25:5, 28:23, 36:31

Hosea 3:4, 7:2, 9:9

Joel 2:1

Amos 1:14, 5:6, 7:4

Micah 5:1

Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 13:10, 23:12

Luke 1:52

Revelation 6:4

Word/Phrase Explanations

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

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...

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...

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...

son of man
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according 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...

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...

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...

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...

Cut off
To be cut off, as in Genesis 41:36, signifies to perish.

righteous
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...

Wicked
'The wicked' or 'unrighteous' denotes being not in truth of faith.

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...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Go forth
To go forth, as in Genesis 19:14, signifies to recede from, or not to remain in [evil]. To go forth, as in Genesis 41:45, denotes...

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...

South
'South' denotes truth in light.

North
'North' signifies people who are in obscurity regarding truth. North,' in Isaiah 14:31, signifies hell. The North,' as in Jeremiah 3:12, signifies people who are...

know
In a general sense, men represent things of the intellect – facts, ideas, knowledge, everything from the deepest truths to the most pernicious falsities about...

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...

Loins
'Loins' in general, signify love, and when referring to the Lord, divine love. 'Loins' signify the interiors of conjugial love. Loins,' as in Isaiah 11:5,...

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

to
‘To grieve at heart’ is in reference to love, and ‘to repent,’ to wisdom, as in Genesis 6:6.

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

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...

Melt
'To melt' denotes vanishing before the heat of lust.

knees
A knee,' as in Genesis 30:5, signifies conjugial love. The king,' as in Isaiah 66:12, signifies celestial love. A knee,' as in Ezekiel 7:17, signifies...

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...

Slaughter
'Slaughter' signifies perdition and damnation. 'Slaughter' and 'a storm of slaughter,' signifies evils which destroy the goods of the church. 'The day of great slaughter'...

rod
To ask counsel at their stocks,' as in Hosea 4:12, signifies the good of the delight that comes from some lusts.

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...

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
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

Cry
As with most common verbs, the spiritual meaning of “crying” or “crying out” (meaning a shout or wail, not weeping) is highly dependent on context....

howl
'To wail and howl,' as in Micah 1:8, signifies the grief of the angels of heaven and the people of the church, where the church...

Thigh
'To uncover the thigh passing over the rivers,' as in Isaiah 47:2, signifies adulterating goods by reasoning.

Smite
'To smite' signifies condemnation. 'To smite,' as in Genesis 14:15, signifies vindication. 'To smite,' as in Genesis 32:8, signifies destruction. 'To smite the earth with...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

third
'Three' denotes fullness, and 'a third,' not full.

Slain
'A multitude of slain' relates to people who perish from falsities, and 'a great number of carcasses,' of people who perish from evils, as in...

great
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

Great men
Great men, as in Revelation 6:15, signify those who are in good, and, in an opposite sense, those who are in evil. Great men, as...

gates
In Lamentations 2:8-9, 'wall,' 'rampart,' 'gates,' and 'bars' signify doctrines.

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

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...

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...

Way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

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....

babylon
Babylon was an ancient city built on the Euphrates river in what is now southern Iraq. It once was the capital of a great empire...

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

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

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....

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

rabbath
Rabbath

Rabbath of the Ammonites
'Rabbath of the Ammonites' signifies the falsifications of truth.

ammonites
The children of Ammon ('Jeremiah 49:1'), signify those who falsify the truths of the Word, and of the church.

Judah
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.

arrows
'Shafts' or 'arrows' signify truths and spiritual truth.

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

Liver
'The liver,' as in Exodus 29:13, signifies interior purification, and 'the caul above the liver,' the inferior good of the external or natural self.

Right hand
'The man of the right hand,' as in Psalm 80:17, signifies the Lord with respect to the Word. He is called 'the man of the...

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

Open the mouth
'To open the mouth,' as in Revelation 12:16, signifies bringing truths from the Word.

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...

Shouting
'Shouting, singing, and playing' have respect to spiritual things.

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...

Fort
Fortifications denote truths so far as they defend good. Fortifications signify defense against falsities and evils.

remembrance
'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...

iniquity
In Isaiah 59:6, 'webs' and 'garments' signify aspects of the understanding, or thought, 'Iniquity' and 'violence,' aspects of the will, or works.

Transgressions
'Transgressions' or 'trespasses' denote such evils as are done against the truths of faith.

sins
'Bound up transgressions,' as in Lamentations 1:14, stands for falsities coming up towards interior or rational things.

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...

remove
As with many verbs, the meaning of "remove" in the Bible varies a good bit depending on context. It generally involves a separation of spiritual...

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

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

vanity
'Vanity' signifies evil and the falsity of evil. 'Vanities of strangers' signifies falsities of religion.

lie
When people lie or speak falsely in the Bible, It represents what Swedenborg calls "falsity of faith" and the resulting "evil of faith." This is...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

necks
'The neck' signifies influx and the communication of interior and exterior levels and the following conjunction. The inmost or third heaven has reference to the...

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...

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

created
The creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means the new creation of the celestial church called 'Man'.

Pour out
Pouring out the vials upon the earth, which contained the plagues,' in Revelation 16:1, signifies influx of the reformed into the church, or into people...

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...

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

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...

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...


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