Ezekiel 14

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1 And there came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.

2 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,

3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?

4 Therefore speak to them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet, I Jehovah will answer him according to this, according to the multitude of his idols:

5 that I may take the house of Israel by their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Return ye, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, who separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet to inquire of me by him, I Jehovah will answer him by myself;

8 and I will set my face against that man, and will make him desolate, [so that he shall be] for a sign and for proverbs, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people: and ye shall know that I [am] Jehovah.

9 And if the prophet be enticed and shall speak a word, I Jehovah have enticed that prophet; and I will stretch out my hand against him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

10 And they shall bear their iniquity: the iniquity of the prophet shall be even as the iniquity of the inquirer;

11 that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither make themselves any more unclean with all their transgressions; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, saith the Lord Jehovah.

12 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,

13 Son of man, when a land sinneth against me by working unfaithfulness, and I stretch out my hand upon it, and break the staff of the bread thereof, and send famine upon it, and cut off man and beast from it;

14 though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, should be in it, they should deliver [but] their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord Jehovah.

15 If I cause evil beasts to pass through the land, and they bereave it, and it become a desolation, so that no one passeth through because of the beasts;

16 -- though these three men should be in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, they should deliver neither sons nor daughters: they only should be delivered, and the land should be a desolation.

17 Or [if] I bring the sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land, so that I cut off man and beast from it,

18 and these three men should be in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, they should deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only themselves should be delivered.

19 Or [if] I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast,

20 and Noah, Daniel, and Job should be in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, they should deliver neither son nor daughter: they should [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

21 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the evil beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!

22 But behold, there shall be left in it those that escape, who shall be brought out of [it], sons and daughters. Behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings; and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, as to all that I have brought upon it.

23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their way and their doings; and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord Jehovah.

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Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 137

Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 576, 2165, 2921, 4876, 5536, 7102, 7505, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 323, 459, 485, 543, 567, 883, 939

The Lord 28

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 386, 388, 412, 587, 650, 724, 727, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 58

Nine Questions 9

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Word/Phrase Explanations

Elders of Israel
The elders of Israel (Deut. 1:13, 15) represent celestial men.

Ancients of the people, and the princes thereof ('Isaiah 3:14'), have a similar signification with the twelve disciples.

'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...

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...

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...

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,' 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, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

'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...

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...

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...

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

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

Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

‘To grieve at heart’ is in reference to love, and ‘to repent,’ to wisdom, as in Genesis 6:6.

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...

man of the
'The man of the right hand,' as in Psalm 80:17, signifies the Lord with respect to the Word. He is called 'the man of the...

The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

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...

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...

“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...

The word "stranger" is used many times in the Bible, and it is sometimes paired with the word "sojourner". They are different concepts in the...

'A token,' as in Genesis 9:12, 13, 17, signifies causing it to be.

'Middle' denotes what is primary, principal, or inmost.

"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

In a general sense, men represent things of the intellect – facts, ideas, knowledge, everything from the deepest truths to the most pernicious falsities about...

stretch out
The hand in the Bible represents power, which is easy to understand, so to reach out or stretch out the hand means to exercise power,...

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

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...

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...

'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

'Transgressions' or 'trespasses' denote such evils as are done against the truths of faith.

The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

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

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...

'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...

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...

'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...

Cut off
To be cut off, as in Genesis 41:36, signifies to perish.

"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

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 men
'The three men' who appeared to Abraham, as in Genesis 18:2, signify the essential divine, the divine human, and the holy proceeding.

'Noah,' as in Genesis 5:29, signifies the ancient church, or the parent of the three churches after the flood.

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...

'Justice' signifies both good and truth.

'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

'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...

'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...

"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...

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...

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...

'Pestilence' denotes the vastation of good and truth.

Pour out
Pouring out the vials upon the earth, which contained the plagues,' in Revelation 16:1, signifies influx of the reformed into the church, or into people...

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

Bloods signify evil, in Ezek. 16:9.

The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

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...

The three words, sword, famine and pestilence, appear in a group in 26 different Bible verses. That's not an accident. Sword, famine and pestilence describe...

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

To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

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...

When the Bible talks about someone being comforted or consoled, it generally means that they are being offered ideas that will help bring them to...



Sons of the stranger      

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'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 Psalm 144:11-12.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 489; Psalms 144:11)

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Arcana Coelestia # 7102

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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7102. 'Lest perhaps He fall on us with pestilence and sword' means to avoid the damnation of evil and falsity. This is clear from the meaning of 'lest perhaps He fall on' as lest they run into - into damnation; from the meaning of 'pestilence' as the damnation of evil, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'sword' as the vastation of truth, and also the punishment of falsity, dealt with in 2799, and so also as damnation, since the punishment of falsity, when truth has been devasted, is damnation.

[2] The Word mentions four kinds of vastation and punishment - sword, famine, evil wild animal, and pestilence. 'Sword' means the vastation of truth and the punishment of falsity; 'famine' the vastation of good and the punishment of evil; 'evil wild animal' the punishment of evil that arises out of falsity; and 'pestilence' the punishment of evil that does not arise out of falsity but out of evil. And since punishment is meant, damnation is meant also, since damnation is the punishment suffered by those who persist in evil. Those four kinds of punishment are referred to as follows in Ezekiel,

. . . when I shall send My four severe 1 judgements - sword, and famine, and evil wild animal, and pestilence - onto Jerusalem, to cut off man and beast from it. Ezekiel 14:21.

In the same prophet,

I will send famine and evil wild animals upon you, and I will make you bereft. And pestilence and blood will pass through you; in particular I will bring the sword upon you. Ezekiel 5:17.

[3] The meaning of 'pestilence' as the punishment of evil and its damnation is evident from the following places: In Ezekiel,

Those in waste places will die by the sword, and the one who is in the open field 2 I will give to the wild animals to devour him, and those who are in fortifications and caverns will die from pestilence. Ezekiel 33:27.

'In waste places dying by the sword' stands for suffering the vastation of truth and consequently the damnation of falsity. 'The one who is in the open field being given to the wild animals to devour him' stands for the damnation of those ruled by evil arising out of falsity. 'Those who are in fortifications and caverns, dying from pestilence' stands for the damnation of evil which uses falsity to fortify itself.

[4] In the same prophet,

The sword is without, and pestilence and famine within; he that is in the field will die by the sword, but him that is in the city famine and pestilence will devour. Ezekiel 7:15.

'The sword' stands for the vastation of truth and the damnation of falsity; 'famine' and 'pestilence' stand for the vastation of good and the damnation of evil. The sword is said to be 'without' and famine and pestilence 'within' because the vastation of truth takes place externally but the vastation of good internally. When however a person leads a life that rests on falsity, damnation is meant by the words 'he that is in the field will die by the sword'; and when a person leads a life ruled by evil which he defends by the use of falsity, damnation is meant by the words 'him that is in the city famine and pestilence will devour'.

[5] In Leviticus,

I will bring upon you a sword executing the vengeance of the covenant; wherever you are gathered into your cities, I will send pestilence into the midst of you, and you will be delivered 3 into the hand of the enemy. When I have cut off your supply of bread 4 ... Leviticus 26:25-26.

Here in a similar way 'a sword' stands for the vastation of truth and the damnation of falsity, 'pestilence' for the damnation of evil. The vastation of good, meant by 'famine', is described when [the Lord] speaks of cutting off their supply of bread. 'Cities' into which they would be gathered has the same meaning as 'the city' just above - falsities that are used to defend evils. For the meaning of 'cities' as truths, and so in the contrary sense as falsities, see 402, 2268, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493)

[6] In Ezekiel,

Therefore because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your abominations, a third part of you will die from pestilence, and be annihilated [by famine] in your midst; then a third will fall by the sword around you; finally I will scatter a third to every wind, so that I will draw out a sword after them. Ezekiel 5:11-12.

'Famine' stands for the damnation of evil, 'sword' for the damnation of falsity. 'Scattering to every wind' and 'drawing out a sword after them' stand for getting rid of truths and seizing on falsities.

[7] In Jeremiah,

If they offer burnt offering or minchah, I am not accepting those things, but I will consume those people by sword, famine, and pestilence. Jeremiah 14:12.

In the same prophet,

I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they will die from a great pestilence. Afterwards I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and those in this city left from the pestilence, and from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. He who remains in this city will die by the sword, and by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans besieging you will live, and his soul will become spoil to him. Jeremiah 21:6-7, 9.

In the same prophet,

I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, till they are consumed from upon the earth. Jeremiah 24:10.

Here also 'sword' means the vastation of truth, 'famine' the vastation of good, and 'pestilence' damnation; and 'sword', 'famine', and 'pestilence' have the same meanings in the following places as well: Jeremiah 27:8; 29:17-18; 32:24, 36; 34:17; 38:2; 42:17, 22; 44:13; Ezekiel 12:16.

(Odkazy: Jeremiah 24:9-10)

[8] Since those three scourges follow in their own particular order [of severity], David was presented by the prophet Gad with the three. He had to choose between the coming of seven years of famine, fleeing three months before his enemies, or three days of pestilence in the land, 2 Samuel 24:13. ('Fleeing before his enemies' implies 'the sword'.) In Amos,

I have sent the pestilence upon you in the way of Egypt, I have killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. 5 Amos 4:10.

'The pestilence in the way of Egypt' stands for the vastation of good by means of falsities, which are 'the way of Egypt'. 'Killing young men with the sword, along with captured horses' stands for the vastation of truth, truths being meant by 'young men' and intellectual concepts by 'horses', 5 2761, 2762, 3217, 5321, 6534.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 2761-2762)

[9] In Ezekiel,

Pestilence and blood will pass through you. Ezekiel 5:17.

In the same prophet,

I will send upon her pestilence and blood in her streets. Ezekiel 28:27.

Here 'pestilence' stands for good that has been adulterated, and 'blood' for truth that has been falsified. For the meaning of 'blood' as falsified truth, see 4735, 6978.

(Odkazy: Ezekiel 28:23)

[10] In David,

You will not be afraid of the terror of the night, of the arrow that flies by day, of the pestilence that creeps in thick darkness, of death that lays waste at noonday. Psalms 91:5-6.

'The terror of the night' stands for falsity which lies concealed; 'the arrow that flies by day' for falsity which is out in the open; 'the pestilence that creeps in thick darkness' for evil which lies concealed; 'death which lays waste at noonday' for evil which is out in the open. The fact that 'pestilence' means evil and the damnation of evil is evident from the use of the word 'death', which is distinguished here from pestilence solely by its being said of death that it 'lays waste at noonday' but of pestilence that it 'creeps in thick darkness'. In the same author,

He opened a way for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, and He subjected their life to pestilence. Psalms 78:50.

This refers to the Egyptians, 'pestilence' standing for every kind of evil and its damnation.


1. literally, evil

2. literally, upon the face of the field

3. The Latin means I will deliver you but the Hebrew means you will be delivered.

4. literally, While I am about to break the staff of bread for you

5. literally, the captivity of your horses


(Odkazy: Exodus 5:3)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 7162, 7456, 8185, 8364, 8593, 8653, 8902, 9014, 9050, 9164, 9182, 9193, 9198, 9205, 9231, 9552, 9666, 10227, 10283, 10287, 10406, 10458, 10540

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 235, 240, 365

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