Ezekiel 18

Study the Inner Meaning

English: World English Bible         

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1 The word of Yahweh came to me again, saying,

2 What do you mean, that you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?

3 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, you shall not have [occasion] any more to use this proverb in Israel.

4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins, he shall die.

5 But if a man is just, and does that which is lawful and right,

6 and has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither has defiled his neighbor's wife, neither has come near to a woman in her impurity,

7 and has not wronged any, but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery, has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment;

8 he who has not given forth on interest, neither has taken any increase, who has withdrawn his hand from iniquity, has executed true justice between man and man,

9 has walked in my statutes, and has kept my ordinances, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, says the Lord Yahweh.

10 If he fathers a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, and who does any one of these things,

11 and who does not any of those [duties], but even has eaten on the mountains, and defiled his neighbor's wife,

12 has wronged the poor and needy, has taken by robbery, has not restored the pledge, and has lifted up his eyes to the idols, has committed abomination,

13 has given forth on interest, and has taken increase; shall he then live? he shall not live: he has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be on him.

14 Now, behold, if he fathers a son, who sees all his father's sins, which he has done, and fears, and does not such like;

15 who has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, has not defiled his neighbor's wife,

16 neither has wronged any, has not taken anything to pledge, neither has taken by robbery, but has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment;

17 who has withdrawn his hand from the poor, who has not received interest nor increase, has executed my ordinances, has walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother, and did that which is not good among his people, behold, he shall die in his iniquity.

19 Yet you say, Why doesn't the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live.

20 The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him.

21 But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

22 None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live.

23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Yahweh; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live?

24 But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of his righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die.

25 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, house of Israel: Is my way not equal? Aren't your ways unequal?

26 When the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and dies therein; in his iniquity that he has done shall he die.

27 Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.

28 Because he considers, and turns away from all his transgressions that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

29 Yet says the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. house of Israel, are not my ways equal? Aren't your ways unequal?

30 Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, everyone according to his ways, says the Lord Yahweh. Return, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, in which you have transgressed; and make yourself a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, house of Israel?

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord Yahweh: therefore turn yourselves, and live.

← Ezekiel 17   Ezekiel 19 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 141


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 113, 1093, 5433, 5764, 6353, 6563, 8972, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 209, 213, 668

Conjugial Love 487

Doctrine of the Lord 49

Sacred Scripture 85

True Christian Religion 51, 143, 156, 601


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 183, 195, 238, 240, 268, 328, 329, ...

Marriage 51

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 20:5, 22:25, 32:33

Leviticus 18:19, 20, 20:9

Deuteronomy 6:25, 16:19, 23:20, 21, 24:16

2 Samuel 14:14

1 Kings 9:4

2 Kings 22:1, 2

2 Chronicles 6:23

Ezra 10:11

Nehemiah 5:10

Job 8:4, 15:13, 34:11

Psalms 18:31, 103:12, 119:3

Proverbs 12:28, 19:3

Isaiah 42:5, 55:7, 57:16, 58:7

Jeremiah 3:22, 4:4, 7:3, 5, 18:8, 22:3, 26:3, 31:29, 44:4

Lamentations 5:7

Ezekiel 3:18, 20, 7:3, 8, 11:19, 14:6, 16:49, 18:4, 20, 20:11, 18, 22:9, 33:8, 10, 15, 25, 36:19

Zechariah 1:3, 4, 8:16, 19

Matthew 16:27

Luke 13:3, 5, 15:10

Acts of the Apostles 3:19, 10:35

Romans 2:7, 9, 6:23

Galatians 7

1 Timothy 2:4

2 Peter 20, 3:9

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...

yahweh
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...

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...

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...

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....

teeth
'Teeth' signify the outer edges of the life of the natural self, or the sensory level. This has two kinds, the will, and the understanding....

souls
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...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

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...

die
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

mountains
'Hills' signify the good of charity.

lifted
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...

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...

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...

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...

neighbor's
'The neighbor' is not only an individual person, but also people collectively, as a less or greater society, our country, the church, the Lord’s kingdom,...

wife
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

woman
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

restored
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...

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...

hungry
Food and drink in the Bible represent the desire for good and the understanding of what is true, which nourish and delight us spiritually the...

Garment
It is said, in Deuteronomy 22:11, "Thou shalt not wear a garment of diverse sorts; as of woolen and linen together…”. This means that the...

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...

justice
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...

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...

Ordinances
'Ordinances' in the prophets, signify changes relative to spiritual and celestial things, both in general and particular, which are also compared to the changes of...

truly
There's a great deal of talk in Swedenborg about "truth" as a concept – it's how we learn the Lord's will, what we must seek...

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

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...

Poor
'Poor' signifies someone who is not in truths, and people who are ignorant of good and truth, but desire instruction.

needy
In most cases, those described as "needy" in the Bible are those who lack true knowledge of the Lord and his teachings, but have a...

oppressed
'Oppression' signifies destruction of truth by falsities.

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

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

say
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...

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...

righteousness
'Justice' signifies both good and truth.

wickedness
Swedenborg several times associates the “wicked” with “malevolence,” defines “malevolence” as “destroying good, interior and exterior,” and says that the wicked do this by disowning...

keep
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

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

turns
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...

hear
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

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....

save
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

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...

transgressed
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...

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...


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