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Ezequiel 5:1

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1 E tu, ó filho do homem, toma uma espada afiada; como navalha de barbeiro a usarás, e a farás passar pela tua cabeça e pela tua barba. Então tomarás uma balança e repartirás os cabelos.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 128

Other references to this verse:

Arcanos Celestes 2788, 2799, 3301, 9806

Apocalipse Revelado 47

Doutrina Do Senhor 15, 28

Doutrina de Escritura Santa 16, 35

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 66, 577, 908

De Verbo (The Word) 10, 25

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

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From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Explained #577

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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577. And the heads of the horses as the heads of lions, signifies knowledge (scientia) and thought therefrom destructive of truth. This is evident from the signification of "the heads of horses," as being knowledge [scientia] and thought therefrom (of which presently); and from the signification of "the heads of lions," as being the consequent destruction of truth. "The heads of lions" signify here the destruction of truth, because a "lion" in the highest sense signifies Divine truth in respect to power, and in the contrary sense falsity destroying truth, consequently the destruction of truth, and "the head of a lion" signifies the powers of the mind through which it destroys, which are reasonings from falsities. (That a "lion" signifies Divine truth in respect to power, and in the contrary sense falsity destroying truth, may be seen above, n. 278.) The "heads of horses" signify knowledge [scientia] and thought therefrom, because "head" signifies intelligence, and "the horse" the understanding; and as the sensual man and here his reasoning from falsities are treated of, and the sensual man who reasons from falsities has no intelligence, but only knowledge [scientia] and thought therefrom, therefore these are here signified by "the heads of the horses." (That those who are in falsities have no intelligence, but instead of intelligence only knowledge, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 33.)

(References: Revelation 9:17; The Apocalypse Explained 278)

[2] The "head" signifies intelligence, because the understanding and the will of man have their seat in the interiors of his head; consequently in the front part of the head, which is the face, are the senses of sight, hearing, smell, and taste, into which the understanding and the will flow from the interior and vivify them, and also cause them to enjoy their sensations; this is why the "head" signifies in the Word intelligence. But as those only who receive influx from heaven are intelligent, for all intelligence and wisdom flow in out of heaven from the Lord, it follows that they who are in the falsities of evil have no intelligence; for in them the higher and spiritual mind is closed, and only the lower mind, which is called the natural mind, is opened; and when the higher mind is closed the lower receives nothing of truth and good, consequently no intelligence from heaven, but only from the world. Such, therefore, in place of intelligence have mere knowledge [scientia] and thought from it, and from this proceeds reasoning, and by means of it the confirmation of falsity and evil against truth and good.

[3] That the "head" signifies in the Word intelligence and wisdom, and in the contrary sense knowledge [scientia] and fatuous thought therefrom, can be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Ezekiel:

I put a jewel upon thy nose, and ear-rings in thine ears, and a crown of adorning upon thy head (Ezekiel 16:12).

This is said of Jerusalem, which signifies the church, here such as it was in the beginning; "a jewel upon the nose" signifies the perception of truth from good; "the ear-rings in the ears" signify hearkening and obedience, and "a crown upon the head" signifies wisdom; for intelligence, which is from Divine truth, becomes wisdom from the good of love, and this is signified by "a crown of gold."

[4] In Revelation:

A woman encompassed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars (Revelation 12:1).

The "head" upon which was a crown of twelve stars, signifies intelligence, as will be seen in the explanation hereafter.

That the Jews placed a crown of thorns upon the Lord's head, and that they smote His head (Matthew 27:29, 30; Mark 15:17, 19; John 19:2);

signifies that they treated with such contumely Divine truth itself and Divine wisdom; for they falsified the Word, which is Divine truth and in which is Divine wisdom, and adulterated it by their traditions and by applying it to themselves; thus they desired a king who would exalt them over all in the whole earth. And as the Lord's kingdom was not earthly but heavenly, they perverted everything that was said respecting Him in the Word, and mocked at what was foretold of Him. This is what was represented by "their placing a crown of thorns upon His head, and smiting His head."

(References: Matthew 27:29-30)

[5] Where the statue of Nebuchadnezzar seen in a dream is described, it is said in Daniel:

Its head was of pure gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron, its feet part of iron and part of clay (Daniel 2:32, 33).

That statue represented the successive states of the church; "the head of gold" represented and signified the Most Ancient Church, which was in celestial wisdom, and thus in intelligence above the churches that followed; this wisdom and its intelligence are meant by the "head of gold." That the other parts of that statue signified the states of subsequent churches may be seen above (176, 411).

In David:

Thou hast brought us into the net; thou hast laid oppressions 1 upon our loins. Thou hast caused man to ride over our head (Psalms 66:11, 12).

"To cause man to ride over our head" signifies that there is no intelligence (see above, n. 355, where this is more fully explained).

(References: Daniel 2:32-33; Psalms 66:11-12; The Apocalypse Explained 176, The Apocalypse Explained 355, 411)

[6] In Moses:

These blessings shall come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the head of the Nazirite of his brethren (Genesis 49:28; Deuteronomy 33:13-16).

That "blessings shall come upon the head of Joseph" signifies that all the things that had just been mentioned, that are blessings of heaven, should take place in the interiors of his mind, which are the lives of the understanding and will, for these are the interiors of the mind. That they shall come upon "the crown of the head of the Nazirite of his brethren" signifies that they should also take place in the exteriors of his natural mind, for the "Naziriteship" signifies the exteriors of the natural mind, since it means the hairs, or the hair of the head. (But these words may be seen further explained above, n. 448; and in (Arcana Coelestia 6437, 6435) the Arcana Coelestia 6437, 6438.) In the same:

Take you wise men and intelligent, and I will put them as your heads (Deuteronomy 1:13).

It is said "as your heads" because wisdom and intelligence, in which they should excel all others, are meant; therefore it is said, "Take you wise men and intelligent."

(References: Deuteronomy 33:13, 33:16; Genesis 49:26; The Apocalypse Explained 448)

[7] In Isaiah:

Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes, the prophets; and your heads, the seers, hath He covered (Isaiah 29:10).

"Prophets" signify those who teach truths and are intelligent, and in an abstract sense, the doctrine of truth and intelligence; therefore it is said, "Jehovah hath closed your eyes, the prophets, and your heads, the seers," where the prophets are called "eyes," and the seers "heads," because "eyes" signify the understanding of truth in respect to doctrine, and "seers" like as "heads" signify intelligence.

[8] In the same:

Jehovah will cut off from Israel 2 head and tail, branch and rush. The old man and the honorable will make the head, and the prophet, the teacher of lies the tail (Isaiah 9:14, 15).

In the same:

Neither shall there be for Egypt any work which will make the head or tail, branch or rush (19 Isaiah 19:15).

"He will cut off from Israel head and tail," and "neither shall there be for Egypt head or tail," signify that all the intelligence and knowledge [scientia] of truth they have shall perish (as may be seen above, n. 559, where these passages are more fully explained). In the same:

In that day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired in the crossings of the river, by the King of Assyria, the head and the hairs of the feet; and shall also consume the beard (Isaiah 7:20).

That this signifies that reasonings from falsities will deprive the men of the church of all wisdom and spiritual intelligence, may be seen above n. 569, where this is explained in particular; it is said "in the crossings of the river," because "the river Euphrates" signifies the reasonings from falsities, therefore here attack by these upon the truths of the church which are destroyed by reasoning from falsities.

(References: Isaiah 9:14-15; The Apocalypse Explained 559, 569)

[9] In Ezekiel:

Son of man, take thee a sharp sword, a barber's razor, and cause it to pass over 3 the head and over the beard; a third part thou shalt burn with fire, a third part thou shalt smite with the sword, and a third part thou shalt disperse in the wind (Ezekiel 5:1, 2).

Here also "to cause a razor to pass over the head" signifies to deprive of all intelligence of truth; for the reason that intelligence perishes when there are no ultimates of intelligence, which are signified by "the hairs of the head, which should be shaved with a razor by causing it to pass over the head;" for when ultimates are taken away it is as when the base is taken away from a column, or the foundation from a house. This is why it was unlawful in the Jewish Church, which was a representative church, to shave the hairs of the head and induce baldness, in like manner the beard; so also those who are without intelligence appear bald in the spiritual world.

(References: Ezekiel 5:1-2; Isaiah 5:1-2)

[10] From all this the signification of "a bald head" and "baldness" in the following passages can be seen. In Isaiah:

On all their heads is baldness, every beard is cut off (Isaiah 15:2);

in other words, there is no intelligence. In Ezekiel:

Shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all heads (7 Ezekiel 7:18).

In the same:

Every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled (2 Ezekiel 29:18).

These words have a similar meaning. So Aaron and his sons were forbidden to shave their heads and the corner of the beard, of which it is said in Moses:

That Aaron and his sons shall not shave their heads nor rend their clothes, lest they die, and lest Jehovah be angry in consequence with the whole congregation (Leviticus 10:6).

And in the same:

That the sons of Aaron should not make baldness upon their head, nor shave the corner of the beard (Leviticus 21:5).

The "beard" signifies the ultimate of the rational man, and "not shaving the beard" signifies not to be deprived of the rational, by taking away its ultimate; for, as was said above, when the ultimate is taken away the interior also perishes. What is meant by:

When a woman taken captive from the enemy is desired for a wife she must shave her head and pare her nails (Deuteronomy 21:11, 12);

may be seen explained above n. 555.

(References: Deuteronomy 21:11-12; The Apocalypse Explained 555)

[11] Because shame was represented by the hands upon the head, it is said in Jeremiah:

Thou shalt be ashamed of Egypt also, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. From her also thou shalt go forth with thy hands upon thy head (Jeremiah 2:36, 37).

And in the same:

They were ashamed and put to confusion and covered their heads (Jeremiah 14:3 , 14:3-4).

Because this was a representative of shame:

Tamar, after she had been ravished by her brother Amnon, put her hand on her head, and went weeping 4 and crying (2 Samuel 13:19).

To "put the hand upon the head" signified that no intelligence remained. Also grief for sin in having acted insanely and foolishly was represented by sprinkling dust upon the head, and by bowing the head down even to the earth; and by this cursing also was signified. As in Ezekiel:

They shall cast up dust upon thy head, they shall roll thee in ashes (Ezekiel 27:30).

In Lamentations:

The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the earth, they keep silence; they have cast up dust upon their head; they have girded themselves with sackcloth; the virgins of Jerusalem have made their head to hang down to the ground (Lamentations 2:10).

(References: Deuteronomy 21:11-12; Jeremiah 2:36-37, 14:3-4)

[12] But in the contrary sense the "head" signifies the craftiness that those have who are in the love of ruling. This is meant by the "head" in Moses:

The seed of the woman shall trample upon the head of the serpent, and the serpent shall hurt the heel (Genesis 3:15).

In David:

The Lord at thy right hand hath stricken through kings in the day of His anger; He hath judged among the nations; He hath filled with dead bodies; He hath stricken through the head over many a land; He shall drink out of the brook in the way; therefore shall He exalt the head (Psalms 110:5-7).

(This passage may be seen explained above, n. 518.) In the same:

God shall strike through the head of His enemies, the hairy scalp of such as go on in guilt (Psalms 68:21).

That the craftiness by which they purpose and contrive evil against others returns upon themselves is signified by:

Bringing their way upon their own head (Ezekiel 9:10; 11:21; 16:43; 17:19; 22:31; Joel 3:4, 7).

What is signified in Revelation by:

The seven heads upon which were seven diadems (Revelation 12:3; 13:1, 3; 17:3, 7, (Revelation 17:7)9);

will be seen hereafter. Moreover, the "head," as what is highest and primary in man, has also many other meanings; as the peak of a mountain, the top of anything, what is primary, the beginning of a way, of a street, of a month, and the like.


1. Latin has "oppressions," the Hebrew "oppression," as found in AE 355.

2. Latin has "Abraham," the passage quoted just before has "Israel," as in AE 559, 624.

3. Latin has "through," the passage, as cited before, has "over," with the Hebrew.

4. Latin has "weeping," the Hebrew "going."


(References: Ezekiel 5:1-2; Genesis 49:26; Revelation 9:17, Revelation 17:9; The Apocalypse Explained 518)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 565, 581, 608, 709, 715, 775

   Swedenborg Research Tools

Related New Christian Commentary

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