Ezekiel 34

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1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,

2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and tell them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Shouldn't the shepherds feed the sheep?

3 You eat the fat, and you clothe yourself with the wool, you kill the fatlings; but you don't feed the sheep.

4 You haven't strengthened the diseased, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought back that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor you have ruled over them.

5 They were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the animals of the field, and were scattered.

6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my sheep were scattered on all the surface of the earth; and there was none who searched or sought.

7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh:

8 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, surely because my sheep became a prey, and my sheep became food to all the animals of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and didn't feed my sheep;

9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh:

10 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them.

11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.

12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

13 I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

14 I will feed them with good pasture; and on the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed on the mountains of Israel.

15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord Yahweh.

16 I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice.

17 As for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, the rams and the male goats.

18 Does it seem a small thing to you to have fed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture? and to have drunk of the clear waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet?

19 As for my sheep, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet.

20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh to them: Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.

21 Because you thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad;

22 therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

23 I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

24 I, Yahweh, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken it.

25 I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause evil animals to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell securely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.

26 I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing.

27 The tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those who made slaves of them.

28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, neither shall the animals of the earth devour them; but they shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid.

29 I will raise up to them a plantation for renown, and they shall be no more consumed with famine in the land, neither bear the shame of the nations any more.

30 They shall know that I, Yahweh, their God am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord Yahweh.

31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, says the Lord Yahweh.

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Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 157

Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 46, 93, 415, 666, 908, 1038, 1085, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 3, 49, 243, 270, 306, 336, 383, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 86

Doctrine of the Lord 4, 28, 43

Faith 68

True Christian Religion 171, 689, 844

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 67, 280, 316, 340, 365, 388, 405, ...

Spiritual Experiences 4573

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 22, 53

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White House at Night by Vincent van Gogh

A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests (think of the term "houses of worship.") In the Bible, a "house" is also a container, but for spiritual things rather than natural things. In various uses a "house" can represent part of the mind, the whole mind, a whole person or even a church, in each case a collective being containing many ideas.

The other nuance to the word "house" is that it is generally used in regards to our affections and desires rather than our thoughts and principles. This makes sense; we tend to engage our toughts and rationality when we are out in the world doing our work, but when we are inside our houses we are driven most by love for our families and the desire to be good to those we love. So "house" tends to represent the things we want, the things we care about - which are ultimately the things that define us anyway.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 710, 1488, 2048, 3128, 3142, 3720, 4982, 5023, 5311, 5353, 6690, 7353, 7448, 7929, 9150, 9154)

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Arcana Coelestia # 10042

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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10042. 'And you shall take one ram' means the good of innocence in the internal man. This is clear from the meaning of 'a ram' as the good of innocence and charity in the internal man, dealt with below. Since sacrifices and burnt offerings of rams and lambs are referred to in this chapter, the general meaning of the living creatures offered in sacrifices and burnt offerings must be stated. Those creatures were oxen, young bulls, and he-goats; rams, she-goats, and he-kids; and he-lambs, she-lambs, and she-kids of she-goats. Anyone who does not know what these creatures serve to mean cannot possibly know what is meant by a sacrifice or burnt offering of any of them in particular. It should be recognized that all living creatures on earth serve to mean things such as reside in the human being, which in general consist in affections present in his will and in thoughts present in his understanding, and so consist in forms of good and in truths; for forms of good belong to the will and truths to the understanding. And since those things consist in forms of good and in truths they also consist in love and faith; for all aspects of love are called forms of good, and all matters of faith are called truths.

[2] The reason why these different kinds of living creatures serve to mean such things lies in representatives in the next life, where creatures belonging to many genera and countless species appear. Such creatures there are wholly lifelike appearances corresponding to spirits' and angels' affections and thoughts. The truth of this is evident also from the visions of the prophets spoken of in places throughout the Word; for all the things that were seen by the prophets are such as appear in heaven before angels' eyes. This explains why mention in the Word is so often made of beasts or animals, each of which serves to mean something belonging to one of the categories of things residing in the human being. As to his outward self the human being is no more than an animal; but his inward self makes him different. By means of his inward self both this inward self and his outward self can be raised towards heaven and up to God, and can as a consequence receive faith and love. This is why animals were used in sacrifices and burnt offerings. The person who knows nothing of all this cannot possibly know the reason why it was commanded to offer young bulls, rams, or he-lambs on one occasion, oxen, she-goats, and she-lambs on another, and he-goats, he-kids, and she-kids of she-goats on yet another. What other reason could there be for these differences? For the meaning of animals or beasts in the Word as forms of good or evils present with a person, and also truths or falsities, see 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 776, 1823, 2179, 2180, 2781, 3218, 3519, 5198, 7523, 7872, 9090; and for their use in sacrifices on account of that meaning, 1823, 2180, 2805, 2807, 2830.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 142-143, 714-715, 2179-2180)

[3] So far however as sacrifices and burnt offerings of those creatures are concerned it should be recognized that,

1. Representative worship among the Jewish and Israelite nation consisted first and foremost in sacrifices and burnt offerings.

2. Sacrifices and burnt offerings in general served to mean the regeneration of a person by means of the truths of faith and forms of the good of love received from the Lord, and in the highest sense the glorification of the Lord's Human.

3. Everything belonging to worship - all the different things constituting it, thus worship in all its variety - was represented by the sacrifices and burnt offerings; and this is why it was decreed that different kinds of living creatures should be used.

[4] But to deal with these considerations in detail,

1. Representative worship among the Jewish and Israelite nation consisted first and foremost in sacrifices and burnt offerings

This is clear from the fact that they were used for every sin and all guilt, and also for every consecration and admission to office, besides being used daily, on every sabbath, at each new moon, and at every feast; and for this reason the altar was the holiest object of all. Every other act of worship among that nation grew out of an occasion for sacrifice, which explains why it says in Daniel, when the abolition of representative worship is the subject, that the sacrifice and the offering will cease, Daniel 9:27, and the continual [sacrifice] will be removed, Daniel 8:10-13; 11:31; 12:11. In particular 'the continual' means the sacrifice that was offered daily, and in general all worship. But see what has been shown already on these matters,

Sacrifices in general mean all representative worship, 923, 2165, 6905, 8680, 8936.

The altar was the chief representative of the Lord and consequently of worship, 2777, 2811, 8935, 8940, 9388, 9389, 9714, 9964.

The ancients before Eber knew nothing about sacrifices, 2180.

Sacrifices were established in Eber's time, existing from then on among the Hebrew nation, and consequently among the descendants of Jacob, and why they did so, 1128, 1343, 2180, 2818.

Sacrifices were not commanded, only permitted, 2180.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 2771, 9388-9389)

[5] 2. Sacrifices and burnt offerings in general served to mean the regeneration of a person by means of the truths of faith in the Lord and forms of the good of love to Him, both received from the Lord

This is clear from the fact that all aspects of worship have regard to purification from evils and falsities, the implantation of truth and good, and the joining together of these, thus to regeneration since by means of those three a person is regenerated. This explains why sacrifices and burnt offerings were offered for every sin and all guilt; and it says, when they were offered, that it was expiated and would be pardoned, Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 18; 6:7; 7:7; 10:17; 14:18-19; 15:30-31; 16:6, 24; 17:11. The pardoning of sins, expiation, propitiation, and redemption are nothing other than purification from evils and falsities, the implantation of goodness and truth, and the joining together of these, which is regeneration, 9076, 9452-9454, 9937, 9938. The whole process of regeneration is also described by the specific observances belonging to each sacrifice and burnt offering, and a clear view of that process emerges when the internal sense is used to unfold the representative elements of it, 10022.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 9937-9938; Leviticus 5:16)

[6] In the highest sense sacrifices and burnt offerings serve to mean the glorification of the Lord's Human

This is so because all the ritual observances belonging to worship that were established among the Israelite and Jewish nation had regard solely to the Lord; thus more than all else the sacrifices and burnt offerings - by which in general everything belonging to worship was represented, as shown above - had regard to Him. Furthermore the only source of human regeneration is the Lord, 9486, 9487, 9506, 9715, 9809, 10019. When therefore the Word deals with human regeneration the subject in the highest sense is the glorification of the Lord's Human; for the regeneration of a person is an image of the glorification of the Lord, 3138, 3212, 3296, 3490, 4402, 5688. Glorifying His Human implies making it Divine, whereas regenerating a person implies making him heavenly, in order that what is Divine and the Lord's may dwell in him.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 9486-9487)

[7] 3. Everything belonging to worship - all the different things constituting it, thus worship in all its variety - was represented by the sacrifices and burnt offerings; and this is why it was decreed that different kinds of living creatures should be used

This is clear from all the different situations for which sacrifices and burnt offerings were prescribed - for sins committed through error, and for sins not committed through error; for every trespass and uncleanness, whether on the part of a priest, the whole congregation, a leader, or any ordinary person 1 ; for cleansing from leprosy; for purification after childbirth; for consecration of the altar, the tent of meeting, and everything in it; for the cleansing of these when Aaron went once a year into the holy of holies; for the admission of Aaron and his sons to the priestly office; for the consecration of Nazirites; and in general at the three feasts, at each new moon, on the sabbaths, and morning and evening 2 every day; and in addition votive offerings and free-will offerings.

[8] Since sacrifices and burnt offerings were prescribed for so many different situations and they represented all the different things constituting worship, it was also decreed that different kinds of creatures should be used - young bulls, oxen, and he-goats; rams, she-goats, and he-kids; and he-lambs, she-lambs, and she-kids of she-goats. Sacrifices and burnt offerings of young bull, ox, and he-goat represented the purification and regeneration of the external or natural man; those of ram, she-goat, and he-kid represented the purification and regeneration of the internal or spiritual man; and those of he-lamb, she-lamb, and she-kid of the she-goats represented the purification and regeneration of the inmost or celestial man. For there are three degrees that follow in order in a person, namely celestial, spiritual, and natural, see 9992, 10005, 10017; and if a person is to be regenerated the things that are internal and those that are external must be regenerated, see the places referred to in 9325(end).

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 10117)

[9] But what is meant specifically by the sacrifice and burnt offering of a ram that are referred to in the present chapter is clear from places in the Word where sacrifices and burnt offerings of rams are described or where a ram is mentioned. From those places it is evident that 'a ram' means the good of innocence and charity in the internal man, and that a sacrifice and burnt offering of it mean purification and regeneration of the internal man, and so the implantation of the good of innocence and charity there. This meaning of 'a ram' is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,

All the flocks of Arabia will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; they will come up with acceptance on My altar. Isaiah 60:7.

This refers to the Lord, and to heaven and His Church. 'The flocks of Arabia' are all the forms of good belonging to the internal man, 'the rams of Nebaioth' are the forms of the good of innocence and charity there, 'flocks' being forms of good that belong to the internal man, see 8937, 9135, 'Arabia' a place where good exists, 3268, and 'Nebaioth' those there who are governed by that good, 3268, 3686, 3688.

[10] In Ezekiel,

Arabia and all the princes of Kedar, [these were] the merchants of your hand through [the trading of] small cattle, and rams, and he-goats. Ezekiel 27:21.

This refers to Tyre, by which is meant the Church where cognitions or knowledge of good and truth exist, 1201. 'The merchants' are those who possess them and pass them on, 2967, 4453; 'cattle' are forms of the good of love, 'rams' forms of the good of charity, and 'he-goats' forms of the good of faith. In the Word reference is made to 'flocks', 'small cattle' 3 , and 'members of the flock', for which the original language has distinct and separate terms. By 'flocks' internal things in general are meant, by 'members of the flock' the same things in particular, and by 'small cattle' inmost things in particular. But by 'herds' external things are meant. In Jeremiah,

I will cause them to come down like small cattle to the slaughter, like rams with he-goats. Jeremiah 51:40.

'Small cattle', 'rams', and 'he-goats' here have much the same meaning.

[11] In Ezekiel,

Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Behold, I am judging between members of the flock and members of the flock 4 , between rams, and between he-goats. Ezekiel 34:17.

'Between members of the flock and members of the flock' stands for between those with whom interior things of good and of evil are present. 'Between rams and between he-goats' stands for between those with whom charity and consequently faith are present and those with whom truths of faith without charity are present. 'Rams' here have the same meaning as 'sheep', rams being male sheep. For the meaning of 'sheep' as those with whom charity and consequently faith are present, see 4169, 4809; and for that of 'he-goats' as those with whom truths that are called the truths of faith are present but without charity, 4169(end), 4769. The ram and the he-goat in Daniel 8:1-end have the same meaning, as do the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:32-end.

(Odkazy: Daniel 8; Matthew 25:32-46)

[12] In Moses,

If a soul has sinned through error he shall bring his guilt offering to Jehovah, a ram without blemish out of the flock. Leviticus 5:15, 18; 6:6.

By sacrifices of rams is meant purification of the internal man and the implantation of the good of innocence there; for sin committed through error is sin owing to ignorance that has innocence within it, and the innocence of ignorance belongs to the internal man.

[13] In the same author,

At new moons they were to offer two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs, and afterwards a he-goat of the she-goats. The same thing was to be done every day during Passover, and also on the day of the firstfruits. Numbers 28:11, 15, 19, 22, 27,[Numbers28: 30.]

All this was done in order that the purification of the whole person - the external, the internal, and the inmost - might be represented. The purification of the external man was represented by the sacrifice and burnt offering of the young bulls, of the internal by those of the ram, and of the inmost by those of the lambs. And since purification was represented, so too was the implantation of the good of innocence; for a young bull is the good of innocence in the external man, a ram that good in the internal man, and a lamb that good in the inmost man, as has been stated above. The reason why the last of the creatures was a he-goat was that 'a he-goat' means the truth of faith in the external man, and the truth of faith there is last and lowest, 9959. Since the forms of good and the truths present with a person follow one another in this order, therefore also the gifts of the princes of Israel when the altar and the tent of meeting were anointed were a young bull, a ram, and a lamb for burnt offerings, and a he-goat of the she-goats for a sacrifice, Numbers 7:15-17, 21-23, 27-29, 33ff.

From all this it may now be recognized that 'a ram' means the good of innocence and charity in the internal man.


1. literally, any soul

2. literally, between the evenings

3. The expression small cattle describes animals belonging to a flock.

4. i.e. between good ones and bad ones


(Odkazy: Exodus 29:15)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10045, 10048, 10052, 10055, 10097, 10106, 10129, 10132, 10134, 10137, 10143, 10206, 10414

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 221

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 28, 141, 314, 329, 391

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.