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Ezekiel 16:19

Afrikaans 1953     

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19 En my brood wat Ek jou gegee het--fynmeel en olie en heuning waarmee Ek jou gespysig het--dit het jy voor hulle neergesit as 'n lieflike reuk; ja, so was dit, spreek die Here HERE.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 139

Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 5620, 8904

Apocalypse Revealed 350, 778, 880

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

The Lord 64

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 324, 619, 1045, 1153

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

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From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #5620

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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5620. 'A little resin and a little honey' means the truths of exterior natural good, and the delight that goes with these. This is clear from the meaning of 'resin' as the truth of good, which is truth derived from good, dealt with in 4748. The reason 'resin' has this meaning is that it belongs among unguent like substances and also among aromatic ones. Aromatic substances mean those kinds of entities that belong to truth derived from good, the more so when those substances also resemble unguents and consequently have oil among their ingredients; for 'oil' means good, 886, 3728, 4582. Since this resin was aromatic, see Genesis 37:25, the same word in the original language also means balm; it was also, it is clear, unguent-like or thick with oil. From this one may now see that 'resin' means the truth of good present in the natural, in this case in the exterior natural since 'resin' is mentioned first, then 'honey', meaning the delight there, is added. 'Honey' means delight because it is sweet and everything sweet in the natural world corresponds to some delight or pleasure in the spiritual world. The reason for the use of the expression 'the delight that goes with this' - that is to say, with truth derived from good present in the exterior natural - is that every truth, and more so every truth of good, possesses its own delight. But that delight springs from an affection for such truths and consequently for the use they serve.

[2] The fact that 'honey' means delight may be seen also from other places in the Word, as in Isaiah,

A virgin will conceive and bear a son, and will call His name Immanuel (God with us). Butter and honey will He eat that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. Isaiah 7:14-15.

This refers to the Lord. 'Butter' stands for what is celestial, 'honey' for what is derived from the celestial.

[3] In the same prophet,

It will be, because of the abundance of the milk which they give, that he will eat butter; both butter and honey will everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land. Isaiah 7:22.

This refers to the Lord's kingdom. 'Milk' stands for spiritual good, 'butter' for celestial good, and 'honey' for what is derived from these, namely happiness, pleasure, and delight.

[4] In Ezekiel,

Thus were you adorned with gold and silver, and your robes were fine linen, and silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, and honey, and oil; therefore you became extremely beautiful, and attained to a kingdom. With fine flour, oil, and honey I fed you; but you set this before them as a pacifying odour. Ezekiel 16:13, 19.

This refers to Jerusalem, by which the spiritual Church is meant; it describes what that Church was like among the Ancients, and what it came to be like after that. Its adornment with gold and silver is the furnishment of it with celestial and spiritual good and truth. Its robes of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth stand for truths present in the rational and in both parts of the natural. 'Fine flour' stands for what is spiritual, 'honey' for the pleasure accompanying this, and 'oil' for the good that goes with it. The fact that all these, each one, mean things of a heavenly nature may be recognized by anyone.

[5] In the same prophet,

Judah and the land of Israel were your traders in wheat of minnith and pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm. Ezekiel 27:17.

This refers to Tyre, by which is meant the spiritual Church, what it was like initially and what it came to be like subsequently so far as cognitions of good and truth were concerned, 1201. Also, 'honey' in this quotation stands for the pleasure and delight gained from affections for knowing and learning about celestial and spiritual forms of goodness and truth.

[6] In Moses,

He causes 1 him to ride over the heights of the land and He feeds [him] with the produce of the fields; he causes him to suck honey out of the crag, and oil out of the stony rock. Deuteronomy 32:13.

This too refers to the spiritual Ancient Church. 'Sucking honey from the crag' stands for the delight taken in factual knowledge that holds truths within it.

[7] In David,

I feed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock I satisfy them. Psalms 81:16.

'Satisfying with honey out of the rock' stands for the delight gained from the truths of faith.

[8] In Deuteronomy,

Jehovah is bringing you to a good land, a land of rivers of water, springs, and depths gushing out of valleys and mountains; a land of wheat and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey. Deuteronomy 8:7-8.

This refers to the land of Canaan, in the internal sense to the Lord's kingdom in heaven. 'A land of olive oil and honey' stands for spiritual good and the pleasure that goes with it.

[9] For the same reason the land of Canaan is called 'a land flowing with milk and honey', Numbers 13:27; 14:7-8; Deuteronomy 26:9, 15; 27:3; Jeremiah 11:5; 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6. In these places 'the land of Canaan' is used, as has been stated, to mean in the internal sense the Lord's kingdom. 'Flowing with milk' stands for an abundance of celestial-spiritual things, while 'honey' stands for an abundance of forms of happiness and delight received from these.

(References: Numbers 14:8)

[10] In David,

The judgements of Jehovah are truth; they are righteous altogether - more desirable than gold, and much fine gold; and sweeter than honey and what drops from honeycombs. Psalms 19:9-10.

'The judgements of Jehovah' stands for Divine truth, 'sweeter than honey and what drops from honeycombs' for the delights received from good and the pleasures received from truth. In the same author,

Sweet are Your words to my taste, 2 more than honey to my mouth. Psalms 119:103.

Here the meaning is similar.

[11] The manna which the descendants of Jacob received in the wilderness as their bread is described in Moses as follows,

The manna was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers made with honey. Exodus 16:31.

Because 'the manna' meant the Divine truth which came down from the Lord by way of heaven, it is the Lord's own Divine Human, as He Himself teaches in John 6:51, 58. For the Lord's Divine Human is the source from which every truth that is Divine springs; indeed it is what every truth that is Divine has reference to. This being so, the manna, the taste of which gave delight and pleasure, is described as being 'like wafers made with honey' - 'taste' being the delight which good provides and the pleasure that truth affords, see 3502.

[12] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, which is Divine Truth on the earth - in the same way as Elijah had represented Him, 2762, 5247(end), making him the Elijah who was to come ahead of the Lord, Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:17 - his clothing and food were therefore meaningful signs. They are described in Matthew as follows,

John had a garment of camel hair and a skin girdle around his waist; his food was locusts and wild honey. Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6.

'A garment of camel hair' was a sign of what the literal sense of the Word is like so far as truth there is concerned. That sense - the natural sense - serves as a garment for the internal sense; for 'hair' and also 'camels' mean what is natural. Food consisting of 'locusts and wild honey' was a sign of what the literal sense is like so far as good there is concerned, the delight belonging to that good being meant by 'wild honey'.

[13] In addition the delight afforded by Divine truth as this exists in the external sense is described by 'honey', in Ezekiel,

He said to me, Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your inward parts with this scroll that I am giving you. And when I ate it, it was in my mouth like honey as regards sweetness. Ezekiel 3:3.

And in John,

The angel said to me, Take the little book and eat it up; it will indeed make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey. I therefore took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it up, and it was in my mouth like sweet honey. But when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. Then he said to me, You must prophesy again over many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and many kings. Revelation 10:9-11.

'The scroll' in Ezekiel, and 'the little book' in John, stand for Divine truth. The delight this appears to possess in the outward form it takes is meant by the taste being sweet as honey; for Divine truth, like the Word, is full of delight in the outward form it takes, which is the literal sense, because this allows everyone to interpret and explain it in whatever way it suits him. But the internal sense does not allow him to do so, and this is meant by its bitter taste; for the internal sense discloses what man is like inwardly. The external sense is full of delight for the reason just stated, that a person can explain things there in whatever way it suits him. The truths contained in the external sense are all general ones and remain such until particular truths are added to qualify them, and specific ones to qualify these. The external sense is also full of delight because it is natural, concealing what is spiritual within itself. It needs to be full of delight too if a person is to accept it, that is, to be taken into it and not left standing on the threshold.

[14] The honeycomb and the broiled fish which after His resurrection the Lord ate in the presence of the disciples was also a sign of the external sense of the Word, 'the fish' meaning the truth associated with that sense and 'the honeycomb' the pleasure attached to it, described in Luke as follows,

Jesus said, Do you have any food at all here? They gave Him part of a broiled fish and some honeycomb, which He took and ate in their presence. Luke 24:41-43.

And because the fish and the honeycomb had that meaning the Lord therefore tells them,

These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning Me. Luke 24:44.

The appearance is that nothing of the sort is meant, for it seems to have been purely by chance that they had part of a broiled fish and a honeycomb. But in fact their possession of these was providential - as is not only this but every other smallest fact mentioned in the Word. Because matters such as have been described were indeed meant, the Lord therefore referred to the Word, declaring that the things written in it had reference to Himself. But the things which have been written in the Old Testament Word regarding the Lord are but few in the sense of the letter, whereas everything contained in the internal sense has to do with Him; and it is from this that the Word gets its holiness. Everything contained in the internal sense is what is meant in the statement that 'all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning Him'.

(References: Luke 24:41-44)

[15] From all this one may now see that 'honey' means the delight that is received from goodness and truth, that is, from the affection for these, and that specifically external delight and so that belonging to the exterior natural is meant. Because this delight is the kind that is gained from the world through the senses, and so contains within it much that springs from love of the world, people were forbidden to use honey in their minchahs. This is expressed in Leviticus as follows,

Every minchah which you bring to Jehovah shall be made without yeast; for no yeast nor any honey shall be used along with the fire-offering you burn to Jehovah. Leviticus 2:11.

'Honey' stands for the kind of external delight which, containing something of love of the world within it, was similar to yeast and therefore forbidden. What yeast or made with yeast implies, see 1342.


1. The Latin means You cause, but the Hebrew means He causes, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.

2. literally, palate


(References: Arcana Coelestia 2342, Genesis 43:12; Luke 24:41-44)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 6857, 7643, 8056, 8522, 9372, 9780, 10137, 10530

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 47, 121, 196

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 513

Other New Christian Commentary
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.

 The Walk to Emmaus
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

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