Ezekiel 31

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1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third [month], on the first of the month, [that] the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, say unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude: Whom art thou like in thy greatness?

3 Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with fair branches and a shadowing shroud, and of a high stature: and his top was amidst the thick boughs.

4 The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high; its streams ran round about his plantation, and it sent out its rivulets unto all the trees of the field.

5 Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long, because of great waters, when he shot forth.

6 All the fowl of the heavens made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all the great nations.

7 Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: because his root was by great waters.

8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him; the cypresses were not like his boughs, and the plane-trees were not as his branches: no tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.

9 I had made him fair by the multitude of his branches; and all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.

10 Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because thou hast lifted up thyself in stature, ... and he hath set his top amidst the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height,

11 I have given him into the hand of the mighty one of the nations; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.

12 And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off and have left him; upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken in all the watercourses of the land; and all the peoples of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.

13 Upon his fallen [trunk] do all the fowl of the heavens dwell, and all the beasts of the field are upon his branches:

14 to the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves in their stature, nor set their top amidst the thick boughs, and that none of them that drink water stand up in his height by himself; for they are all given over unto death in the lower parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.

15 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In the day when he went down to Sheol, I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed; and I made Lebanon black for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.

16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to Sheol, with them that go down into the pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the lower parts of the earth.

17 They also went down into Sheol with him unto them that were slain with the sword, and [that were] his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the nations.

18 To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? Yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden, unto the lower parts of the earth; thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with them that are slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord Jehovah.

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Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Apocalypse Explained 654

Apocalypse Revealed 503

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 154

Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 46, 108, 119, 130, 756, 776, 908, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 90, 312, 409, 567, 757

Divine Love and Wisdom 325

The Lord 4, 28

Faith 54

True Christian Religion 82, 467, 635

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 110, 175, 372, 388, 518, 538, 650, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 3, 27, 41, 58

Marriage 82

Scriptural Confirmations 9, 74

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Word/Phrase Explanations

'Three' denotes fullness, and 'a third,' not full.

'A month' has respect to the state of truth in a person. 'A month' signifies a full state. Month,' as in Genesis 29, signifies the...

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son of man
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'Pharaoh' signifies scientific ideas, or the natural principle in general. 'Pharaoh' signifies false ideas infesting the truth of the church. Pharaoh,' in Genesis 40, represents...

'Mizraim' signifies the same thing as Egypt.

'Lebanon' signifies spiritual good. 'Lebanon' signifies the church regarding the perception of truth from the rational self.

A branch (Matt. 24:32) signifies affection, for affection springs and flourishes from good as a branch Springs from its trunk. A branch (Mal. 4:1) denotes...

'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

'Height' signifies the good and truth of the church in every degree.

'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

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Trees of the field
'The trees of the field,' as in Ezekiel 31:15, signify the knowledges of truth in the church.

In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

'Long' and thence to prolong, refer to good.

Fowl signify spiritual truth; a bird, natural truth; and a winged thing, sensual truth. Fowl signify intellectual things. Fowl signify thoughts, and all that creeps...

Heavens are celestial and spiritual things. Consequently, they are inmost things, both of the Lord's kingdom in heaven the and in the earth. This also...

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'The shadow is good' of the oak, poplar and elm means complacence.

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'Length' symbolizes goodness, here, the goodness of the church, for the same reason that 'breadth' symbolizes truth. This is because 'length means the sweep of...

'A root,' as in Malachi 4:1, signifies charity. The dried up root,' as in Hosea 9:16, 17, signifies charity which could not bear fruit.

'Libanus' signifies the spiritual church. The glory of Libanus,' as in Isaiah 9:13, signifies the celestial spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom and church.

A garden and paradise signify intellect and wisdom.

Garden of God
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'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

Beauty of his ornament (Ezek. 7:20) signifies the church and its doctrine.

According to the Writings, “Eden” by itself means love, in most cases the love that comes from the Lord and our love for the Lord,...

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...

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...

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

'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

Terrible of the nations
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The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

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"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

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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...

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

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'To stay with,' as in Genesis 32:4, relates to the life of truth when accompanied by good, and in this instance, it means to take...

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....

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...

go down
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In Job 9:30, 'waters of snow' denotes truths which are or appear genuine. 'Lye' denotes the good which purifies, and 'the ditch' denotes falsity.

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...

'Hell,' as mentioned in Jonah 2:3, signifies the earth below.

In a general sense, mourning in the Bible represents a state of grief over the lack of desires for good and true ideas about life....

The "high mountains being covered " (Gen. 7:19) signifies that all the good things of charity were extin­guished.

'To tremble,' as in Jeremiah 10:10, relates to the church when falsities are believed and called truths.

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...

'A multitude of slain' relates to people who perish from falsities, and 'a great number of carcasses,' of people who perish from evils, as in...

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...

Arms and feet (Daniel 10:6) signify the exterior things of the Word, which are its literal sense.

'The uncircumcised,' as in Ezekiel 31:18, signifies people lacking the good of charity.

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Apocalypse Explained # 372

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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372. And behold, a black horse, signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to truth. This is evident from the signification of "horse," as being the understanding (see above, n. 355; also from the signification of "black," as being what is not true; thus "a black horse" signifies the understanding destroyed in respect to truth. "Black" signifies what is not true, because "white" signifies what is true. That "white" is predicated of truth and signifies it, may be seen above n. 196. "White" is predicated of truth and signifies it, because white has its origin in the brightness of light, and "light" signifies truth; and "black" is predicated of what is not true and signifies it, because black has its origin in darkness, that is, from the privation of light; and because darkness exists from the privation of light it signifies the ignorance of truth. That "a black horse" here signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to truth, is evident from the signification of "the red horse" (treated of above), as being the understanding destroyed in respect to good. Moreover, in the church, in process of time, good first perishes and afterwards truth, and at length evil succeeds in place of good, and falsity in place of truth. This last state of the church is meant by "the pale horse" (of which presently).

(Odkazy: Revelation 6:5; The Apocalypse Explained 196, 355)

[2] That "black" signifies what is not true is evident also from other passages in the Word, where it is mentioned. As in Micah:

It shall be night unto you for vision; and darkness shall arise to you for divination; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall grow black over them (Micah 3:6).

The "prophets" here treated of signify those who are in the truths of doctrine, and in a sense abstracted from persons, the truths of doctrine; that those meant by "prophets" would see evils and would divine falsities is signified by "it shall be night unto you for vision, and darkness shall arise to you for divination;" that they would know neither good nor truth is signified by "the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall grow black over them;" "sun" signifying the good of love, and day" the truth of faith, and "to grow black" signifying not seen or known.

[3] In Ezekiel:

But when I shall have extinguished thee, I will cover the heavens, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine (Ezekiel 32:7).

This is said of Pharaoh king of Egypt, by whom is signified the knowing faculty applied to falsities, which is done when the natural man from things known enters into things spiritual instead of the reverse; because this is contrary to order, falsities are seized upon and confirmed as truths; that then nothing flows in from heaven is signified by "I will cover the heavens;" and that there are then no knowledges of truth is signified by "I will make the stars thereof dark," "stars" meaning knowledges of truth; that there is consequently no good of love nor truth of faith is signified by "I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine," "sun" signifying the good of love, and "moon" the truth of faith. (That this is the signification of "sun" and "moon," see Heaven and Hell 116-125.)

"Sun," "moon," and "stars," have a like signification in Joel:

The earth was moved before him; the heavens trembled; the sun and moon were blackened, and the stars withdrew their shining (Joel 2:10; 3:15).

Likewise in Revelation:

The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood (Revelation 6:12).

What these things signify in particular will be seen in what follows.

[4] In Ezekiel:

In the day when he shall go down into hell, and I will cover the abyss over him, and I will withhold the rivers thereof, that the great waters may be held back, and I will make Lebanon black for him, and all the trees of the field shall faint for him (Ezekiel 31:15).

This is said of "Assyria," which is here compared to a cedar. "Assyria" here signifies reasoning about the truths of the church from self-intelligence, and "cedar" the truth of the spiritual church; that by such reasoning all knowledges of truth, and with them all truths that savor of good and have their essence from good, would be destroyed is signified by all these words; the "abyss which is covered over him," and the "rivers that were withheld," mean the knowledges of truth and intelligence therefrom, the "abyss" or "sea" signifying the knowing and the cognizing faculties in general that are in the natural man, and "rivers" signifying the things that pertain to intelligence; the "great waters that shall be held back," signify the truths which savor of good and derive their essence from good, "waters" mean truths, and "great" in the Word is predicated of good.

That "Lebanon was made black over him, and the trees fainted for him," signifies that there will be no longer any truths of the church, and with its knowledges there will be no perception of truth; for "Lebanon," in like manner as "cedar," signifies the church in respect to truths, thus also the truths of the church; and "trees of the field" signify the church in respect to the knowledges of truth, thus also the knowledges of truth of the church, "trees" meaning the knowledges themselves, and "field" the church; from this it is clear that "to make Lebanon black" signifies that there are no longer any truths of the church.

[5] In Lamentations:

The Nazarites were whiter than snow, they were brighter than milk. Their form is more dark than blackness; they are not known in the streets (Lamentations 4:7-8).

No one can know what this signifies unless he knows what the Nazarites represented. "The Nazarites" represented the Lord in respect to the celestial Divine; and as all the statutes of the church at that time represented such things as belong to heaven and the church, thus to the Lord, for all things of heaven and the church are from the Lord, and as the Nazariteship was the chief representative of the Lord, these words signify that every representative of the Lord had perished. A genuine representative of the Lord is described by "the Nazarites were whiter than snow, and brighter than milk," which signifies a representative of Divine truth and Divine good in its perfection; for "white" is predicated of truth, in like manner "snow," and "brightness" of the good of truth, in like manner "milk." That every representative of Divine truth had perished is described by "their form is darker than blackness, they are not known in the streets," "form" signifying the quality of truth, "blackness" signifying its no longer appearing, "streets" signifying the truths of doctrine, and "not to be known in them" signifying not to be recognized by genuine truths. What is further signified by "Nazarites" will be told elsewhere.

[6] In Jeremiah:

The whole land shall be a waste; but I will not make a consummation. For this shall the land mourn, and the heavens above shall be blackened (Jeremiah 4:27-28).

"The whole land shall be a waste" signifies that good and truth in the church shall perish, "land" meaning the church; "yet I will not make a consummation" signifies that something of good and truth will still remain; "for this shall the land mourn" signifies the consequent feebleness of the church; "the heavens above shall be blackened" signifies that there will be no influx of good and truth from the Lord through heaven; for the heavens are said to be "blackened" when no affection or perception of truth flows in from the Lord through heaven. Since in the churches before the Lord's coming, which were representative churches, mourning represented spiritual grief of mind on account of the absence of truth and good, for they mourned when oppressed by an enemy, on the death of a father or mother, and for like things, and oppression by an enemy signified oppression by evils from hell, and father and mother signified the church in respect to good and in respect to truth, because with them these things were represented by mourning, they at such times went in black.

[7] As in David:

I say unto God my rock, why hast Thou forgotten me? Why shall I go in black because of the oppression of the enemy (Psalms 42:9; 43:2)?

In the same:

I bowed myself in black as bewailing a mother (Psalms 35:14).

In the same:

I was bent, I was bowed down exceedingly; I have gone in black all the day (Psalms 38:6).

In Malachi:

Ye have said, What profit is it that we walk in black before Jehovah? (Malachi 3:14).

In Jeremiah:

For the breach of the daughter of my people I am broken down; I am made black (Jeremiah 8:21);

"daughter of the people" signifying the church. In Jeremiah:

Judah hath mourned, and her gates have been made to languish, they are made black even to the earth; and the cry of Jerusalem hath gone up; for their nobles sent their little ones for water, they came to the pits and found no waters, their vessels return empty (Jeremiah 14:2-3).

That "to be made black" signifies spiritual grief of mind because of the absence of truth in the church is evident from the particulars here in the internal sense; for "Judah" signifies the church in respect to the affection of good; and "Jerusalem" the church in respect to the doctrine of truth; "gates" signify admission to the church. That there were no longer any truths is described by "the nobles sent their little ones for water, they came to the pits and found no waters, their vessels return empty," "waters" signifying truths, and "pits" the things that contain, which are the doctrinals from the Word and the Word itself, and in these truths are no longer seen. From this it can be seen that "black" [nigrum] and "black" [atrum] in the Word signify the absence of truth; and "darkness," "clouds," "obscurity," and many things from which blackness arises have a like signification. As in Joel:

A day of darkness and of thick darkness, a day of cloud and of obscurity (Joel 2:2);

and in other passages.

(Odkazy: Revelation 6:5)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 368, 374, 381, 400, 401, 558, 573, 575, 625, 657, 1155

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.




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'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 spirit, that it was 'sent,' that is, it goes forth from the divine of the Lord, as in John 15:26. 16:5, 7. So the prophets were called 'the sent,' because the words which they spoke went forth from the holy of the spirit of the Lord. As all divine truth goes forth from divine good, it is properly related to divine truth. So it is clear what it means to go forth, which is that a person or thing which goes forth, is 'of him' who it comes from.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 2397; John 15:7, 15:26, 16:5, 17:8)