Ezekiel 4

Study the Inner Meaning

English: World English Bible         

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1 You also, son of man, take a tile, and lay it before yourself, and portray on it a city, even Jerusalem:

2 and lay siege against it, and build forts against it, and cast up a mound against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around.

3 Take for yourself an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between you and the city: and set your face toward it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

4 Moreover lie on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel on it; [according to] the number of the days that you shall lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity.

5 For I have appointed the years of their iniquity to be to you a number of days, even three hundred ninety days: so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

6 Again, when you have accomplished these, you shall lie on your right side, and shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days, each day for a year, have I appointed it to you.

7 You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm uncovered; and you shall prophesy against it.

8 Behold, I lay bands on you, and you shall not turn you from one side to the other, until you have accomplished the days of your siege.

9 Take for yourself also wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it; [according to] the number of the days that you shall lie on your side, even three hundred ninety days, you shall eat of it.

10 Your food which you shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time you shall eat it.

11 You shall drink water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time you shall drink.

12 You shall eat it as barley cakes, and you shall bake it in their sight with dung that comes out of man.

13 Yahweh said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations where I will drive them.

14 Then I said, Ah Lord Yahweh! behold, my soul has not been polluted; for from my youth up even until now have I not eaten of that which dies of itself, or is torn of animals; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.

15 Then he said to me, Behold, I have given you cow's dung for man's dung, and you shall prepare your bread thereon.

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

17 that they may want bread and water, and be dismayed one with another, and pine away in 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 Christian Religion 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 Christian Religion 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:


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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
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...

mound
'Mound' signifies truths not appearing because they are falsified.

camps
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...

plant
'A shrub' signifies the knowledges of truth.

Pan
'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
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...

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...

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.

millet
'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,...

Spelt
'Spelt' or 'fitches' signifies a certain type of good or knowledge.

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
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...

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,...

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...

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...

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....

unclean
'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

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...

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...

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...

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
In Jeremiah 48:17, 'the strong staff' signifies power from good, 'and beautiful rod,' power from truth.

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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