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UHoseya 14:7

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7 Baya kubuya abahlala emthunzini wakhe, baphile njengengqolowa, batyatyambe njengomdiliya, isikhumbuzo sawo sibe njengewayini yaseLebhanon.

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Exploring the Meaning of Hosea 14      

By Helen Kennedy

At the outset of this chapter, Hosea says:

O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
Take words with you, And return to the Lord. (Hosea 14:1)

Plainly, the Lord exhorts us to return to Him when our wrongdoing has made us turn away.

"Take words with you," is an interesting phrase. It means that we should listen to our conscience - the voice within us that urges us to repent.

The next line,“Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously” shows very clearly what the Lord will do if the people ask Him.

Next, we have this: "For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips". We need to pay attention to detail, not only what we do but also how we speak.

“We will not ride on horses”, in verse (3), shows us to stop thinking we can escape by running away, using intelligent rationales to justify wrong acts.

“Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods,’” shows us to stop thinking that the things we do in the world and from ourselves are the only path to follow. Instead believe the truth that God is the only source of salvation.

“For in You the fatherless finds mercy” is saying that the Lord leaves no one without protection, and abandons no one.

“I will heal their backsliding,” in verse (4) means that God has the ability to keep people from returning to their old ways. “I will love them freely,” shows that He gives His love freely and without reservation.

“For My anger has turned away,” means the sinners’ perception of the Lord will clear and people will see He was never angry, only loving.

“I will be like the dew to Israel,” in verse (5) signifies that His instruction will be gentle like dew on the grass in the morning.

“Grow like the lily,” means the errant one will change, and will grow in purity like the lily;

“Lengthen his roots. . .” like roots growing in the ground the Lord work is in the dark and unseen.

“Branches shall spread” in verse (6) means good and truth will spread into the open and be seen, like the branches on a tree.

“Beauty shall be like an olive tree,” the beauty of the olive tree is in its bearing fruit.

“Fragrance like Lebanon,” like an aroma rising up, the ones who reform will be grateful;

“Those who dwell under his shadow shall return” in verse (7) means those in the dark of false thinking about salvation will be brought into full sunlight.

“They shall be revived like grain and grow like the vine,” explains that where good can flourish like grain in the sunlit field or be abundant like grapes on the vine.

“Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon“ means that this new life emanates a good scent, like the aroma of a good wine. In spiritual terms it means the person can now think through or understand why it is so important to live with good and truth joined together (Apocalypse Explained 730:15).

“What have I to do anymore with idols?” in verse (8) explains that as people are renewed they will no longer depend on their own idols of false thinking and reasoning.

“I have heard and observed Him” because they have heard the Lord speaking in His Word.

“I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in me” means that like trees that bear fruit, they will have perceptions that lead them to the life the Lord wants for them.

“Who is wise? Let him understand these things,” in verse 9 means those who accept the Lord will have wisdom to see the good paths they are to follow.

“Who is prudent? Let him know them,” explains that those being renewed will use the new thinking the Lord is giving them.

“For the ways of the Lord are right,” means they will understand that only the Lord knows the way to heaven.

“The righteous walk in them,” explains that those who are prudent will follow the Lord’s leading.

“But transgressors stumble in them,” signifies that wrongdoers will find the way to heaven difficult, and will stumble and fall away.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 197


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 1069, 3580, 5113, 6377

Apocalypse Revealed 278, 316


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 376

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Bible Study Videos:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Psalms 52:10

INgoma yazo iiNgoma 4:11

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Arcana Coelestia #1069

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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1069. That 'he planted a vineyard' means a Church resulting from this, 'vineyard' being the spiritual Church, is clear from the meaning of 'a vineyard'. In the Word Churches are frequently described as 'gardens' and also as 'the trees of a garden', and are actually named such as well. They are so described from the fruits which the trees bear, which mean the things belonging to love or charity. Hence the saying that a man is known by his fruit. Comparisons of Churches to gardens, trees, and fruits have their origins in the representations in heaven, where also gardens of indescribable beauty are sometimes manifested in accordance with the spheres of faith. This also why the celestial Church was described as a paradisal garden containing trees of every kind. 'The trees of the garden' meant the perceptions of that Church, and 'the fruit' of every kind the goods that stem from love. The Ancient Church however, being spiritual, is described as 'a vineyard' on account of its fruit, namely grapes, which represent and mean charitable works. This is quite clear from many places in the Word, as in Isaiah,

[2] I will sing for My beloved a song of My beloved concerning his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill, 1 and He enclosed it, and surrounded it with stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it and also hewed out a winepress in it. And He looked for it to yield grapes, and it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitant of Jerusalem and man of Judah, judge, I pray you, between Me and My vineyard. The vineyard of Jehovah Zebaoth is the house of Israel. Isaiah 5:1-3, 7.

Here 'a vineyard' means the Ancient, and so the spiritual, Church, which is referred to explicitly as 'the house of Israel', for 'Israel' in the Word means the spiritual Church, whereas 'Judah' means the celestial Church. In Jeremiah,

Again I will build you, and you will be built, O virgin of Israel! Again you will adorn yourself with your timbrels and will go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. Again you will plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria. Jeremiah 31:4-5.

Here 'vineyard' stands for the spiritual Church, the subject being Israel, which, as stated, means the spiritual Church.

(References: John 1:1-10)


[3] In Ezekiel,

When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples, they will dwell securely upon the land, and they will build houses and plant vineyards. Ezekiel 28:15, 16.

Here 'vineyard' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel. 'Planting vineyards' stands for being furnished with truths and goods of faith. In Amos,

I smote you with blight and mildew; your very many gardens, and your vineyards, and your fig trees and your olive groves the locust will devour. Thus will I do to you, O Israel. Amos 4:9, 12.

'Gardens' stands for the things of the Church; 'vineyards' stands for the spiritual things of the Church, 'fig trees' for the natural things, 'olive groves' for the celestial things - and so for the things of the spiritual Church, which is Israel. In the same prophet,

I will bring again the captivity; of My people Israel, and they will build the ruined cities and inhabit them. And they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they will make gardens and eat their fruit. Amos 9:14.

'Planting vineyards' stands for the planting of the spiritual Church, and so 'a vineyard' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel.

(References: Ezekiel 28:25-26)


[4] As 'a vineyard' means the spiritual Church so also does 'the vine', for the vine is part of the vineyard. They are as Church and member of the Church, and therefore have the same meaning. In Jeremiah,

Is Israel a slave? Is he a home-born [servant]? Why has he become a prey? I had planted you, a wholly choice vine, a seed of truth. How have you turned from Me into the degraded branches of a strange vine? Jeremiah 2:14, 21.

'Vine' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel. In Ezekiel,

Take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel Your mother was like a vine in your likeness, planted beside the waters, fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. Ezekiel 19:1, 10.

'Vine' stands for the Ancient spiritual Church, meant by 'mother', and so for Israel; hence also the expression 'in your likeness'. In Hosea,

Israel is an empty vine, it bears fruit like itself. Hosea 10:1.

'Vine' stands for the spiritual Church, or Israel, in this case a desolated Church. In the same prophet,

Return, O Israel, to Jehovah your God. I will be as the dew to Israel. Those dwelling under His shadow will return, they will give life to the grain, and they will blossom out as the vine, the memory of it will be as the wine of Lebanon. Hosea 14:1, 5, 7.

Here 'vine' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel. In Moses,

Until Shiloh comes . . . binding his colt to the vine, and the foal of his she-ass to a choice vine. Genesis 49:10-11.

This is a prophecy concerning the Lord. 'Vine' and 'choice vine' stand for spiritual Churches.

[5] The Lord's parables about workers in vineyards similarly meant spiritual Churches, Matthew 20:1-16; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-18; Matthew 21:33-44.

Since 'the vine' means the spiritual Church, and the chief thing of the spiritual Church is charity within which the Lord is present, by means of which He joins Himself to man, and by means of which He alone works everything good, the Lord therefore compares Himself to the vine, and describes the member of the Church, that is, describes the spiritual Church, in the following way in John,

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, but every one that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you cannot do anything. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:1-5, 12.

From this it is clear what the spiritual Church is.

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Footnotes:

1. literally, on a horn of a son of oil

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(References: Genesis 9:20; John 1:1-10; Luke 20:9-16; Matthew 21:33-41)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 1727, 2702, 2781, 2834, 3941, 5113, 6375, 6376, 8904, 9052, 9277, 9320, 9325, 10261, 10402


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 109, 175, 281

Other New Christian Commentary
Resources for parents and teachers

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 The Parable of the Vine
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Arcana Coelestia #9325

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9325. 'None will suffer miscarriage or be barren in [your] land' means that forms of good and truths will develop in their proper order, in continuous progression. This is clear from the meaning of 'none will suffer miscarriage or be barren' as the process of regeneration in its proper order, and therefore the development of forms of good and of truths in their proper order, in continuous progression, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'in the land' as in the Church. In the Word 'the land' or 'the earth' means the Church, see 566, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2571, 2928, 3355, 3368, 3379, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732; and the reason why 'the land' means the Church is that it implies the land of Canaan, where the Church existed, indeed where it had existed since most ancient times, 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517, 5136, 6306, 6516, 8317. In the spiritual world furthermore, when a land is spoken of no one envisages a land but what the people and their religion in a land are like. Consequently when 'the land' is mentioned in the Word and it implies the land of Canaan, the Church is envisaged. All this goes to show what a new heaven and a new earth is used to mean in the prophetical parts of the Word, namely the internal Church and the external Church, 1850, 3355, 4535; for there are internal people and there are external people.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067, 2117-2118, Arcana Coelestia 4516-4517)


[2] The reason why 'none will suffer miscarriage or be barren in the land' means that forms of good and truths will develop in their proper order, in continuous progression, is that all things connected with childbirth are used in the internal sense of the Word to mean such things as are connected with spiritual birth, thus such as are connected with regeneration, 2584, 3860, 3868, 3905, 3915. The things connected with spiritual birth or regeneration are the truths of faith and forms of the good of charity; for through these a person is conceived and born anew. It is evident from a large number of places in the Word that such things are meant by 'births', and plainly so from the Lord's words to Nicodemus,

Jesus said to him, Truly, truly I say to you, Unless a person is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said, How can a person be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered, Truly, truly I say to you, Unless a person has been born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, but that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. Nicodemus said, How can these things happen? Jesus answered, Are you a teacher in Israel, and do not know these things? John 3:3-6, 9-10.

'Being born through water and the Spirit' means being born again through the truths of faith and the good of love, see the places referred to in 9274.

[3] The origin of this meaning of 'births' in the Word lies in the correspondence of marriages on earth with the heavenly marriage, which is the marriage of goodness and truth. Regarding this correspondence, see 2727-2759. But scarcely anyone at the present day knows, and perhaps scarcely anyone is willing to recognize that truly conjugial love comes down from that marriage; for earthly and bodily things are before people's eyes, and those things have a dampening and smothering effect when they think about such correspondence. Furthermore, since that is the source of truly conjugial love, 'births' and 'generations' in the internal sense of the Word mean things connected with new birth and generation effected by the Lord. So it is also that father, mother, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandsons, and many more who are the product of marriages, mean forms of good and truths, and derivations from them, dealt with many times in explanatory sections.

[4] From all this it now becomes clear that 'none will suffer miscarriage or be barren in the land' means that forms of good and truths will develop in their proper order, in continuous progression. The fact that 'one suffering miscarriage' and 'one who is barren' mean instances of miscarriage and barrenness in a spiritual sense, that is, the perversions of goodness and truth, and also the destruction and total rejections of them, is evident from the following places: In Hosea,

Ephraim, when I saw it reaching as far as Tyre, was planted in a beautiful [place]; and Ephraim must lead out its sons to the killer. Give them, O Jehovah, a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. On account of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house. Hosea 9:13-15.

Unless people know what it is that 'Ephraim', 'Tyre', 'the killer', 'sons', 'a miscarrying womb', and 'dry breasts' mean in the internal sense, they cannot have any knowledge at all of what those prophetic statements imply. 'Ephraim' is the Church's power of understanding, which is an understanding enlightened in regard to the truths and forms of the good of faith obtained from the Word, see 3969, 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267; 'Tyre' is the cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 1201; and from this it is evident what 'Ephraim, when I saw it reaching as far as Tyre, was planted in a beautiful place' means. 'A killer' is one who deprives another of spiritual life, that is, the life provided by truth and good, 3607, 6767, 8902; 'sons' are the truths of faith, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257; and from this it is evident what 'Ephraim must lead out its sons to the killer' means. 'Breasts' are affections for goodness and truth, 6432, so that 'dry breasts' are the absence of affections, and desires to pervert instead; and from this it is evident what 'a miscarrying womb' means, namely a perversion of goodness and truth. Things connected with spiritual life are clearly meant by all these words, for it says, 'On account of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house', 'out of Jehovah's house' meaning out of the Church and out of heaven, 2233, 2234, 3720, 5640.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234)


[5] In Malachi,

I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that he does not ruin for you the fruit of the land, nor will the vine in the field miscarry for you. All the nations will declare you blessed, and you will be a land of delight. Malachi 3:11-12.

The prophecy that the vine in the field would not miscarry means that the truths and forms of the good of faith among those who are within the Church will develop in their proper order; for 'the vine' is the spiritual Church's truth and good, 1069, 6375, 6376, 9277, and 'the field' is the Church, 2971, 3766, 7502, 9139, 9295. 'A land of delight' is a Church pleasing to the Lord; for everyone within the Church who has been regenerated through truth and good is an embodiment of the Church. From this it is evident what it is that 'you will be a land of delight' means, 'a land' being the Church, see above.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6375-6376)


[6] In Moses,

If you hear My judgements, to keep and do them, you will be blessed above every people; none will be unfruitful or barren among you, or among [your] beasts. Jehovah will take away all sickness from you, and all the evil diseases of Egypt. Deuteronomy 7:12, 14-15.

'None will be unfruitful or barren' stands for not being devoid of the life provided by truth and good; thus it is a promise that spiritually they will have life. Since 'barrenness' had such a meaning, women in the ancient Churches did not think of themselves as being alive if they were barren. This was so with Rachel, who spoke of herself to Jacob - see 3908 - in the following words,

Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob [any children]; and she said to Jacob, Give me sons; if you do not, I am dead. Genesis 30:1.

(References: Deuteronomy 7:15)


[7] 'The barren' also means those who are without good because they do not possess truths, yet have a desire for truths in order that they may be governed by good, as with upright nations outside the Church. An example of this meaning occurs in Isaiah,

Sing, O barren one that did not bear; resound with singing and cry out with joy, O one that has not been in travail, for the sons of her that is desolate will be more than the sons of her that was married. Isaiah 54:1.

In David,

Jehovah lifts one who is crushed out of the dust, He raises the needy one from the dunghill, to set him with the princes of His people. He causes the barren one of the house to dwell as a joyful mother of children. Psalms 113:7-9.

[8] In Hannah's prophetic utterance after she had given birth to Samuel,

The full have been hired out [for bread], and the hungry have ceased [to be hungry], till she who was barren has borne seven, while the one who has many children has become feeble. 1 Samuel 2:5.

In these places 'the barren' is used to mean gentile nations who are being summoned to the Church, and to whom the Church is transferred when the old Church has come to an end, that is, when those who formerly belonged to the Church no longer possess faith because they do not have any charity. This old Church is meant by 'the one who has many children has become feeble' and by 'her that was married', while the new one among gentile nations is meant by 'her that is barren and desolate who will have many more sons' and by 'the barren one of the house [who dwells as] a joyful mother of children'. 'Bearing seven' means being regenerated completely, for 'seven' in this prophetic utterance does not mean seven but to completion, 9228. From all this it is evident what the following words spoken by the Lord serve to mean,

The days will come in which they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the breasts which have not nursed! Luke 23:29.

This refers to the close of the age, which is the final period of the Church.

[9] In the second Book of Kings,

The men of Jericho said to Elisha, Behold, the city's situation is good, but the water is bad and the land barren. Then Elisha told them to put salt in a new dish and to throw the salt from it into the source of the water. And the water was healed, and no more death or barrenness came from it. 2 Kings 2:19-21.

No one can know what this description holds within it except from the internal sense; for all the miracles described in the Word hold within them the kinds of things that happen within the Lord's kingdom, that is, within the Church, 7337, 7465, 8364, 9086. A person needs to know therefore what 'Elisha' represented, what 'the city of Jericho' meant, what 'bad water and barren land' meant, what 'a new dish and salt in it' meant, and also what 'the source of the water' into which they were to throw the salt meant. 'Elisha' represented the Lord in respect of the Word, see 2762. 'Water' means the truths of faith, 28, 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 6346, 7307, 8137, 8138, 8568, and therefore 'bad water' means truths devoid of good, while 'barren land' means the Church's good which as a consequence is not alive. 'A new dish' or new vessel means factual knowledge and cognitions of goodness and truth, 3068, 3079, 3316, 3318. 'Salt' means truth's desire for good, 9207. 'The source of the water' means the human natural which receives the cognitions or knowledge of truth and good and is improved by truth's desire for good.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 8137-8138)


[10] From all this it is evident what that miracle held within it, namely the improvement of the Church and its life by the Lord's Word and by truth's desire for good from there. The improvement is brought about when the human natural receives truths from the Word as a result of such a desire. The reason why the miracle took place at the city of Jericho was that this city was located not far from the Jordan, and 'the Jordan' means that with a member of the Church which first receives truths, which is the natural, 1585, 4255. The human natural is the first to receive truths from the Lord which are present in the Word, but it is regenerated last; and when it has been regenerated the whole person has been regenerated. This was meant by the Lord's words to Peter when He washed the disciples' feet,

Jesus said, He who has been washed has no need except to wash his feet, and the whole person is clean. John 13:10.

'The feet' are those things that belong to the human natural, and in general are the natural, see 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952, 5327, 5328. The natural or external man must be in agreement with the spiritual or internal man if a person is to be regenerated. Thus a person has not been regenerated until the natural has been, see 2850, 3167, 3286, 3321, 3470, 3493, 3508, 3509, 3518, 3573, 3576, 3579, 3620, 3623, 3671, 3882, 3969, 4353, 4588, 4612, 4618, 5168, 5326, 5373, 5651, 6299, 6454, 7442, 7443, 8742-8747, 9043, 9046, 9061.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3508-3509, Arcana Coelestia 5327-5328, Arcana Coelestia 7442-7443; Exodus 23:26)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9326, 9334, 9345, 9348, 9433, 9595, 9643, 9674, 10033, 10038, 10042, 10044, 10061, 10137, 10208, 10217, 10238, 10248, 10287, 10300, 10373, 10406, 10439, 10446, 10507, 10526, 10530, 10545, 10559, 10570, 10634, 10640, 10676

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 5, 186


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 29, 175, 242, 381, 388, 475, 946


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


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