Ezekiel 4

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version         

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1 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:

2 And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.

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

4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.

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

6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

7 Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.

8 And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, 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 which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.

11 Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.

12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.

13 And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

14 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.

15 Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.

16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:

17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

← 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 Christianity 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 Christianity 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

Exodus 22:30

Leviticus 11:39, 40, 26:26, 39

Numbers 14:34

Deuteronomy 3

2 Kings 6:25, 25:3

2 Chronicles 34:24

Isaiah 20:3, 22:7

Jeremiah 6:6, 32:24

Lamentations 4:9

Ezekiel 3:25, 5:1, 2, 16, 12:3, 6, 11, 18, 14:13, 21:27, 24:23, 24, 27

Daniel 1:8, 9:24

Hosea 3

Luke 19:43

Acts of the Apostles 10:14

Word/Phrase Explanations

a
A help-meet for him,' or 'a help as before him,' as mentioned in Genesis 2:18, signifies proprium, or what is one's own. However, whereas the...

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...

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...

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...

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
wrought (also entwined or entwisted) is predicated of the natural scientific principle, and in Isaiah 45:13, of divine natural truth.

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

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...

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

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

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

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.

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

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...

Three hundred
'Three hundred' signifies fullness, because the number comes from three and a hundred multiplied. Both 'three' and 'a hundred' signifies fullness. The significance of products...

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...

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.

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...

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

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

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...

one side
Generally when things in the Bible are described as having two sides – especially when the two sides are equal – it has to do...

wheat
In Revelation 18:13, 'wine, oil, flour, and wheat' signify celestial principles of worship.

beans
'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...

shekels
'A shekel' signifies the price or estimation of good and truth, and 'half a shekel' signifies the determination of the quantity thereof.

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...

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 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,...

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...

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....

gentiles
'The time of the heathen,' as mentioned in Ezekiel 30:3, signifies the heathen, or wickedness.

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...

polluted
'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

youth
'Tender of age' denotes the state of truths newly received not yet genuine.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

given
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...

cow
'The son of a cow' signifies the celestial natural level and natural exterior good.

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...

staff
'A staff' signifies power because it is a support for the hand and arm, and through these to the whole body. A staff takes on the...

want
'Want of spiritual nourishment,' denotes a lack of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.

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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