Ezekiel 23

Study the Inner Meaning

English: World English Bible         

← Ezekiel 22   Ezekiel 24 →

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

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

3 and they played the prostitute in Egypt; they played the prostitute in their youth; there were their breasts pressed, and there was handled the bosom of their virginity.

4 The names of them were Oholah the elder, and Oholibah her sister: and they became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem Oholibah.

5 Oholah played the prostitute when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians [her] neighbors,

6 who were clothed with blue, governors and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses.

7 She bestowed her prostitution on them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them; and on whoever she doted, with all their idols she defiled herself.

8 Neither has she left her prostitution since [the days of] Egypt; for in her youth they lay with her, and they handled the bosom of her virginity; and they poured out their prostitution on her.

9 Therefore I delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, on whom she doted.

10 These uncovered her nakedness; they took her sons and her daughters; and her they killed with the sword: and she became a byword among women; for they executed judgments on her.

11 Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet was she more corrupt in her doting than she, and in her prostitution which were more than the prostitution of her sister.

12 She doted on the Assyrians, governors and rulers, [her] neighbors, clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.

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

14 She increased her prostitution; for she saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion,

15 dressed with girdles on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them princes to look on, after the likeness of the Babylonians in Chaldea, the land of their birth.

16 As soon as she saw them she doted on them, and sent messengers to them into Chaldea.

17 The Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their prostitution, and she was polluted with them, and her soul was alienated from them.

18 So she uncovered her prostitution, and uncovered her nakedness: then my soul was alienated from her, like as my soul was alienated from her sister.

19 Yet she multiplied her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth, in which she had played the prostitute in the land of Egypt.

20 She doted on their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of donkeys, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

21 Thus you called to memory the lewdness of your youth, in the handling of your bosom by the Egyptians for the breasts of your youth.

22 Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will raise up your lovers against you, from whom your soul is alienated, and I will bring them against you on every side:

23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, [and] all the Assyrians with them; desirable young men, governors and rulers all of them, princes and men of renown, all of them riding on horses.

24 They shall come against you with weapons, chariots, and wagons, and with a company of peoples; they shall set themselves against you with buckler and shield and helmet all around; and I will commit the judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments.

25 I will set my jealousy against you, and they shall deal with you in fury; they shall take away your nose and your ears; and your residue shall fall by the sword: they shall take your sons and your daughters; and your residue shall be devoured by the fire.

26 They shall also strip you of your clothes, and take away your beautiful jewels.

27 Thus will I make your lewdness to cease from you, and your prostitution [brought] from the land of Egypt; so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them, nor remember Egypt any more.

28 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will deliver you into the hand of them whom you hate, into the hand of them from whom your soul is alienated;

29 and they shall deal with you in hatred, and shall take away all your labor, and shall leave you naked and bare; and the nakedness of your prostitution shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your prostitution.

30 These things shall be done to you, because you have played the prostitute after the nations, and because you are polluted with their idols.

31 You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore will I give her cup into your hand.

32 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: You will drink of your sister's cup, which is deep and large; you will be ridiculed and held in derision; it contains much.

33 You shall be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of your sister Samaria.

34 You shall even drink it and drain it out, and you shall gnaw the broken pieces of it, and shall tear your breasts; for I have spoken it, says the Lord Yahweh.

35 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have forgotten me, and cast me behind your back, therefore you also bear your lewdness and your prostitution.

36 Yahweh said moreover to me: Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? then declare to them their abominations.

37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands; and with their idols have they committed adultery; and they have also caused their sons, whom they bore to me, to pass through [the fire] to them to be devoured.

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 behold, thus have they done in the midst of my house.

40 Furthermore you have sent for men who come from far, to whom a messenger was sent, and behold, they came; for whom you did wash yourself, paint your eyes, and decorate yourself with ornaments,

41 and sit on a stately bed, with a table prepared before it, whereupon you set my incense and my oil.

42 The voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with men of the common sort were brought drunkards from the wilderness; and they put bracelets on the hands of them [twain], and beautiful crowns on their heads.

43 Then I said of her who was old in adulteries, Now will they play the prostitute with her, and she [with them].

44 They went in to her, as they go in to a prostitute: so went they in to Oholah and to Oholibah, the lewd women.

45 Righteous men, they shall judge them with the judgment of adulteresses, and with the judgment of women who shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.

46 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will bring up a company against them, and will give them to be tossed back and forth and robbed.

47 The company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up 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 They shall recompense your lewdness on you, and you shall bear the sins of your idols; and you shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh.

← 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

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...

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...

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...

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
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

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

egypt
'Mizraim' signifies the same thing as Egypt.

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...

samaria
'Samaria,' as in Amos 4:1. 6:1, signifies the spiritual church perverted.

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...

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...

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

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...

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

chaldeans
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...

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...

girdles
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...

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

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...

messengers
'A messenger' signifies communication.

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

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...

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...

Donkeys
Donkeys signify the things relating to the self-intelligence of the sensual man; and camels, the things of self-intelligence in the natural man (Isa 30:6, 7.)

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...

says
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...

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...

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.

company
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
'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...

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

hate
If you truly hate someone, that means you would kill them and destroy their reputation if you could do so without repercussion – not a...

naked
'Unclothed' signifies being deprived of the truths 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...

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...

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...

sister's
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...

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...

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...

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...

wash
It does not take a great leap of imagination to see that “washing” in the Bible represents purification. Washing dirt from the skin is symbolic...

sit
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

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...

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...

oil
Oil – typically olive oil – was an extremely important product in Biblical times, for food preparation, medicinal ointment and for burning in lamps. As...

voice
'Voice' signifies what is announced from the Word. 'Voice' often refers and is applied to things that cannot have a voice, as in Exodus 4,...

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...

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...

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...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...


Translate: