Ezekiel 23

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Webster's Bible         

← Ezekiel 22   Ezekiel 24 →

1 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,

2 Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:

3 And they committed lewd deeds in Egypt; they committed lewd deeds in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they were first corrupted.

4 And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bore sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.

5 And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbors.

6 Who were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.

7 Thus she committed her lewd deeds with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.

8 Neither left she her lewd deeds brought from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they first corrupted her, and poured their impurities upon her.

9 Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted.

10 These uncovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed judgment upon her.

11 And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her prostitutions more than her sister in her prostitutions.

12 She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbors, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.

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

14 And that she increased her prostitutions: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion.

15 Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:

16 And as soon as she saw them with her eyes she doted upon them, and sent messengers to them into Chaldea.

17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their lewdness, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.

18 So she disclosed her lewd deeds, and exposed her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, as my mind was alienated from her sister.

19 Yet she multiplied her prostitutions, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, in which she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

20 For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

21 Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, by being corrupted by the Egyptians in thy youth.

22 Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side;

23 The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.

24 And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet on every side: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.

25 And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thy ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.

26 They shall also strip thee of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels.

27 Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy adultery brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not 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 hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated:

29 And they shall treat thee with hatred, and shall take away all thy labor, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy prostitutions shall be disclosed, both thy lewdness and thy prostitutions.

30 I will do these things to thee, because thou hast gone astray after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols.

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

32 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be treated with scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.

33 Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.

34 Thou shalt even drink it, and empty it to the dregs, and thou shalt break its pieces, and pluck off thy own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

35 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdness and thy prostitutions.

36 The LORD said moreover to me; Son of man, wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? yes, declare to them their abominations;

37 That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bore to me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them.

38 Moreover this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.

39 For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and lo, thus have they done in the midst of my house.

40 And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, to whom a messenger was sent; and lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paint thy eyes, and deck thyself with ornaments,

41 And sattest upon a stately bed and a table prepared before it, upon which thou hast set my incense and my oil.

42 And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, who put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.

43 Then said I to her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit lewd deeds with her, and she with them?

44 Yet they went in to her, as they go in to a woman that playeth the harlot: so they went in to Aholah and to Aholibah, the lewd women.

45 And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.

46 For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to be removed and plundered.

47 And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire.

48 Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.

49 And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye 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

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...

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...

Two women, the daughters of one mother
Two women, the daughters of one mother (Ezek. 23:2), signify the Israelitish and Jewish churches.

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...

the daughters of
The daughters of Rabbah' signify people who are in natural good and falsify the truths of the church.

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
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

egypt
'Mizraim' signifies the same thing as Egypt.

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

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...

sister
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...

sons
'Sons of the stranger' signify counterfeit truths, or falsities. 'Our sons' signify the doctrines of truth, and 'our daughters,' the doctrines of good, as in...

Samaria
'The woman of Samaria' signifies the church which would be founded among the Gentiles.

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...

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

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...

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

desirable
Generally, when the Bible describes something as "pleasant" or "desirable," it is talking about true ideas and concepts, things of the intellect. A good example...

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...

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...

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

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...

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...

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

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

Vermilion
In Jeremiah 22:14, 'painted with vermillion' signifies falsified intellectual and spiritual truths. 'To be painted' or 'portrayed with vermillion,' as in Ezekiel 23:14, refers to...

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...

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,...

chaldea
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...

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

Nativity
'Nativity,' as in Genesis 10:32, signifies reformation. Out of thy nativity and out of thy father's house,' as in Genesis 12:1, signifies corporeal and worldly...

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...

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...

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...

bed of
'A bed of roses' signifies the delights of the truth of wisdom.

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

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...

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...

egyptians
Egyptians represent those who are in natural science, thus the natural, but the Hebrews, those who are of the church, thus respectively the spiritual. The...

saith
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...

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...

side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

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

assembly
A congregation is a group of people with common loves, interests, and purposes. It often refers to a church group. In the Word it is...

Shield and helmet
'A shield and helmet' are things that pertain to spiritual war. 'The habitation of Shiloh,' as in Psalm 78:60-61, signifies the church which is principled...

shield
'A shield' signifies defense which is trusted against evils and falsities. In respect to the Lord, it signifies defense, and in respect to people, confidence...

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...

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...

Judgments
'Great judgments' signify the laws of divine order, or divine truths.

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...

clothes
'To rend the garments' signifies mourning for truth lost or destroyed, or the loss of faith.

jewels
Jewels' when applied to the ears, signify good in act.

make
'Make mention' denotes communication.

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...

labor
In Jeremiah 20:4-5, 'wealth,' 'labor,' 'precious things,' and 'all the treasures of the kings of Judah' signify the knowledges of faith.

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

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

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...

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...

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.

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.

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

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.

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....

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...

Messenger
'A messenger' signifies communication.

wash
'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.

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...

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...

Incense
'Incense' or 'odors' signify worship and confession of the Lord, from spiritual goods and truths.

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

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

wilderness
'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...

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

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

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

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...

Woman
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

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...

removed
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...

stone
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...

Slay
'To slay a man to his wounding,' means extinguishing faith, and 'to slay a young man to his hurt,' signifies extinguishing charity, as in Genesis...

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...


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