The Bible


Ezequiel 5:1

Almeida Atualizada         

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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


De Verbo (The Word) #10

De Verbo (Chadwick translation)      

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10. X. The ultimate sense of the Word, 1 which is the literal sense alone, corresponds to the beard and hair of the head of an angelic person.

It may seem surprising the first time it is said or we hear it said that the hair of the head and the beard correspond to the Word at its ultimate level. But this correspondence is due to the fact that everything in the Word corresponds to everything in heaven, and heaven corresponds to everything in a person. For heaven taken as a whole is like a single person in the Lord's sight; on this correspondence see Heaven and Hell [87-102, 307].

[2] I was allowed to perceive that everything in the Word corresponds to everything in heaven from the fact that each chapter in the books of the prophets corresponds to one particular community in heaven. For on reading through the prophetic parts of the word from Isaiah to Malachi, I was allowed to see that the communities of heaven were aroused one after the other, and they perceived the spiritual sense which corresponded to them. So from this and other proofs it was plain to me that the whole of heaven has, part by part, a correspondence to the Word. Now since there is such a correspondence of the Word to heaven, and heaven as a whole and in its parts corresponds to a person, this is why the ultimate level of the Word corresponds to the ultimate in a person. The ultimate level in the Word is the literal sense, and the ultimate level in a person is the hair of his head and his beard.

[3] This is why when people who have loved the Word even at its ultimate level after death become spirits, they are to be seen with a fair head of hair; and so are the angels. When these same people become angels, they also let their beards grow. On the other hand, all who have despised the literal sense of the Word, on becoming spirits after death, turn bald. This is also a sign that they are devoid of truths. So to avoid embarrassing others, they cover their heads with a head-dress.

[4] Since the hair and the beard mean the ultimate level of heaven, and so also the ultimate level of Divine Truth or the Word, the Ancient of Days is described as having the hair of his head like clean wool (Daniel 7:9). Likewise the Son of Man or the Lord as regards the Word (Revelation 1:14). For the same reason the strength of Samson lay in his hair, and he was weakened by having it cut off. The condition of a Nazarite also lay in his hair; for the Nazarite represented the Lord at His ultimate level, and so also heaven at its ultimate level. This was the reason why the forty-two children were torn in pieces by bears for calling Elisha bald (2 Kings 2:23-24).

[5] Elisha, like Elijah and the other prophets, represented the Lord as regards the Word; and the Word without its ultimate, that is, its literal sense, is no longer the Word. For the literal sense of the Word is like a bottle filled with fine wine; so if the bottle is broken, all the wine is lost. The literal sense of the Word is like the bones and skin of the human body; take them away and the whole person falls to pieces. That is why what holds the Word together and in fact gives it its power is its ultimate sense, the literal sense; for this sustains and holds together all the Divine truth it contains.

[6] Since baldness means the absence of truth, when the Jewish church, since it lacks the ultimate level, abandoned Jehovah and despised the Word, it was called bald, as in Jeremiah:

Every head is bald and every beard is shorn. Jeremiah 48:37.

In Isaiah:

Baldness on their heads, and a shorn beard. Isaiah 15:2.

In Ezekiel:

To shave his head and beard with a razor. Ezekiel 5:1.

Shame on all their faces, and baldness on all heads. Ezekiel 7:18.

Every head has been made bald. Ezekiel 29:18.

And in other places, such as Amos 8:10, Micah 1:16.

[7] But the sense of the Word known as the literal sense corresponds at its ultimate level to the hair of the head, but in other respects to various parts of the human body, as its head, chest, loins and feet. But where those correspondences occur in that sense, the Word is so to speak clothed, and so corresponds to the clothing of those parts. For in general clothes mean truths, and really correspond to them. But there are still many things in the literal sense of the Word which are bare and so to speak unclothed; and they correspond to a person's face and his hands, which are the parts left uncovered. Those parts of the Word serve for the teaching of the church, because they are in themselves spiritual-natural truths. From this it can be established that there is no obstacle to prevent a person being able to find and see bare truths there too.


1. Added in the margin: As the result of the correspondence between natural and spiritual things the ultimate sense of the Word is to be understood by the twelve precious stones composing the foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem'.


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From Swedenborg's Works

   Parallel Passages:

Apocalypse Revealed 47

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 49, 113

True Christian Religion 223, 272

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