The Bible

 

Psalms 23 : The 23rd Psalm

        

Study the Inner Meaning

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 273


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 57, 650, 3384, 3696, 4715, 4876, 5120, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 50, 383, 485, 672


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 71, 220, 375, 482, 662, 727, 960

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 15:27

Psalms 27:4, 31:4, 34:10, 11, 92:11, 106:8, 109:21

Proverbs 4:11

Isaiah 40:11, 43:2

Jeremiah 31:25

Ezekiel 34:14

John 10:11, 14

Revelation 7:17

Word/Phrase Explanations

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

shepherd
The Writings tell us that shepherds represent those who lead and teach others, using knowledge and true ideas to help people reach the goodness of...

want
'Want of spiritual nourishment,' denotes a lack of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.

restoreth
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

soul
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

leadeth
The meaning of "leading" people in the Bible is pretty straightforward, though obviously it is about leading people in spiritual things, not natural ones. When...

paths
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

walk
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

Shadow of death
'The shadow of death' has respect to the states of people in hell, who are in the falsities of evil.

fear
Fear of the unknown and fear of change are both common ideas, and together cover a broad spectrum of the fears we tend to have...

evil
'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

comfort
When the Bible talks about someone being comforted or consoled, it generally means that they are being offered ideas that will help bring them to...

table
Food and drink in the Bible represent the desire to be loving and the understanding of how to be loving, gifts that flow from the...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

oil
Oil – typically olive oil – was an extremely important product in Biblical times, for food preparation, medicinal ointment and for burning in lamps. As...

mercy
In regular language, "mercy" means being caring and compassionate toward those who are in poor states. That's a position we are all in relative to...

follow
The basic meaning of "follow" in the Bible is pretty obvious if we consider what it means to "follow the Lord." That obviously doesn't mean...

days
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

life
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

dwell
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

house of the
'The house of the prison' denotes the vastation of falsity, and also falsity itself.

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


Can You Dwell in the House of the Lord?

The Bible talks about dwelling in “the house of the Lord.” But what does that really mean?


How to Get a Home in Heaven - Swedenborg & Life

What are the houses like in heaven? And how do we get one? We explore the spiritual living conditions of the afterlife and how we can work on our heaven house right now.

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.


 A Shepherd and His Sheep
Use oil pastels or wax crayons to make a picture of shepherd, then use a sponge (cut into the shape of a lamb) to make little lambs around him.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Blessings: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Blessings: Unto Us a Child Is Born
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Experiencing the Twenty-third Psalm
Explore the meaning of each phrase in Psalm 23, then help children experience it using their five senses.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Following the Lord Our Shepherd
Use magnets to picture members of a family following the Lord as the shepherd.
Project | Ages up to 10

 Lord Is My Shepherd Diorama
Make a simple diorama to help remember the Lord's unceasing care.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Memory Verse: God Meant It for Good
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Out of the Forest
A story showing how the Lord leads as described in the 23rd Psalm.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: The Lord Is My Shepherd
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Rainbow Method of Learning the 23rd Psalm
Use the colors of the rainbow to help you learn the sequence of this psalm. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Ribbon Bookmark to Embroider
Embroider a satin ribbon with the words: "The Lord is my Shepherd" and pictures of a shepherd's staff and a little lamb.
Project | Ages over 7

 Shepherd and His Sheep Diorama
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Talking with Your Child About the Twenty-Third Psalm
Article | Ages over 18

 The Good Shepherd
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 7

 The Good Shepherd
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is My Shepherd
The Lord with His flock all around Him.
Coloring Page | All Ages

 The Lord Is My Shepherd
Print and display this lovely poster of the Twenty-third Psalm with an illustrative color border.
Picture | Ages over 7

 The Lord Is My Shepherd
"The teaching that the Lord is our Shepherd is a powerful and comforting one. The relationship between the sheep and their shepherd involves a sense of trust and security.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is Our Shepherd
Color picture of the Lord our Shepherd.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord’s Rod and Staff
This family talk explains what the Lord's rod and staff are in our lives, and how He uses them to comfort us. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Shepherd Rescuing His Sheep
Project | Ages 11 - 17

 The Stream of Providence Game
This game is about the Lord leading us toward His heavenly sheepfold. 
Activity | Ages 11 - 14

 The Twenty-third Psalm
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Twenty-third Psalm Book
Illustrate the literal meaning of the psalm or its application to life. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Twenty-third Psalm Calligraphy with Illustrations
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Twenty Third Psalm
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Two Roads
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Understanding the Twenty-third Psalm
An outline showing parts of the Psalm 23 with suggestions for explaining them to children.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

Commentary

 

The 23rd Psalm      

By Mr. Brian P. David

The Lord as Shepherd, by Nana Schnarr

The 23rd Psalm is one of the best-known and most-loved literary works in the world, and it may well be the best poem ever written. It is also a fine example of the power of figurative language: We read deep things into the vision of ourselves as sheep, led to green pastures and good water by a kind shepherd. It’s empowering to feel the confidence to go fearlessly into the valley of the shadow of death, and to feel the love and caring of a table prepared by the Lord and a cup so full it overflows.

What people don’t know, however, is that this language actually has precise internal meanings, and that when we see them there is an even deeper beauty in the poem. That’s because what it actually describes is the path to heaven, and the fierce desire the Lord has to lead us there.

The first step is to let the Lord be our shepherd – to accept His teaching and His leadership. The green pastures and the still waters represent the things He will teach us for the journey. Then He begins working inside is, setting our spiritual lives in order, so that we desire to do what’s good and to love one another. That’s represented by restoring our souls and leading us in the paths of righteousness.

But we will still face challenges. We still live external lives, out in the world, and we are subject to desires that arise in those externals, in our bodily lives. That’s the valley of the shadow of death. But the rod and staff represent truth from the Lord on both external and internal levels, ideas that can defend us against those desires.

And if we keep following, the Lord will prepare a table for us – a place inside us that he can fill with love (the anointing oil) and wisdom (the overflowing cup). Thus transformed, we can enter heaven, with love for others (“goodness”) and love from the Lord (“mercy”) and can love and be loved to eternity.

One of many beautiful things about this is the fact that it is the Lord who really does all the work. In the whole text, the only action taken by the sheep is walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Other than that, they follow the Lord, trust the Lord, accept the blessings of the Lord. And that is really true! In external states (in the valley) we might seem to be doing the work ourselves, but internally, spiritually, we simply need to give ourselves to the Lord and let Him bless us.

The underlying idea here is that the Lord created us so that He could love us, in loving us wants us to be happy, knows that our greatest happiness will come from being conjoined to Him in heaven, and Himself wants nothing more than to be conjoined to us. So everything He does, in every moment of every day for every person on the face of the planet, is centered on the goal of getting that person to heaven. He wants each and every one of us in heaven more than we are capable of imagining. We just need to cooperate.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 375 [34], 727 [2]; The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 273)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #9954

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9954. 'And you shall anoint them' means a representative sign of the Lord in respect of the good of love. This is clear from the meaning of 'anointing' as consecrating to serve as a representative sign, dealt with in 9474. The reason why to serve as a representative sign of the Lord in respect of the good of love is meant, or what amounts to the same thing, to serve as a representative sign of the good of love that comes from the Lord, is that 'oil', which was used to carry out anointing, means the good of love, 886, 4582, 4638, 9780. It is of interest to know what is implied in all this, since anointing has remained in practice from ancient times down to the present day (monarchs are anointed), and anointing is held to be holy today in just the same way as it was in former times. It was among the ancients - in whose times every act of worship involved the use of representative signs, that is to say, of such things as served to represent realities of a more internal nature, which are those of faith and love derived from the Lord and offered back to Him, thus which are Divine - that the practice of anointing came in; it came in because 'the oil' that was used to carry out the anointing was a sign of the good of love. For the ancients knew that the good of love was the essential reality which gives life to everything constituting the Church and worship. That good is the Essential Being (Esse) of life; for the Divine flows in by way of the good of love with a person and composes his life - heavenly life when truths are received within good. From this it is evident what anointing represented, and that because of its representation objects which had been anointed were called holy and also held to be holy. Such objects served the Church to represent Divine and heavenly realities, and in the highest sense the Lord Himself, who is Good itself, thus to represent the good of love which comes from Him, and also the truth of faith, to the extent that this has life from the good of love. This now explains why in ancient times they anointed stones set up as pillars, and also weapons of war, such as shields; later on the altar and all its vessels, as well as the tent of meeting and everything in it; and in addition those who were to serve in the priestly office, and their garments, also prophets, and at length kings, who were therefore called Jehovah's Anointed. It also became a common practice to anoint oneself and others to bear witness to gladness of mind and goodwill.

[2] 1. They anointed stones set up as pillars

This is clear in the Book of Genesis,

In the morning Jacob rose up early, and took the stone which he had placed as his headrest, and placed it as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. Genesis 28:18.

The reason why stones were anointed in this manner was that truths were meant by 'stones', and truths devoid of good do not have the life of heaven, that is, life from the Divine, within them. When therefore stones had been anointed with oil they represented truths oiled with good, and in the highest sense Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good, and so represented the Lord Himself, who was consequently called The Stone of Israel, 6426.

Truths are meant by 'stones', see 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798, 6426, 8941, 9476.

They are in like manner meant by 'pillars', 3727, 4580, 9388, 9389.

'Anointing pillars' means causing truths to be oiled with good, thus to be the truths of good, and so to exist as good, 3728, 4090, 4582.

The fact that stones set up as pillars were held to be holy is clear in the same chapter of Genesis, where it says,

Jacob called the name of that place Bethel, and said, If I come back in peace to my father's house, this stone which I have placed as a pillar will be God's house. Genesis 28:19, 21-22.

Bethel is [a name meaning] God's house, and God's house is the Church, also heaven, and in the highest sense it is the Lord Himself, 3720.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9388-9389, Genesis 28:19-22)


[3] 2. They anointed weapons of war, such as shields

This is clear in Isaiah,

Rise up, O princes, anoint the shield. Isaiah 21:5.

And in the second Book of Samuel,

The shield of heroes was defiled, the shield of Saul was not anointed with oil. 2 Samuel 1:21.

The reason why weapons of war were anointed was that they were a sign of truths engaged in conflict against falsities, truths oiled with good being what prevail over them, but not truths devoid of good. When weapons of war had been anointed therefore they represented truths emanating from good that comes from the Lord, thus truths which the Lord Himself, when present with people, employs to fight on their behalf against falsities arising from evil, that is, against the hells. Regarding 'weapons of war', that they mean truths engaged in conflict against falsities, see 1788, 2686. For in the Word 'war' means spiritual conflict, 1664, 2686, 8273, 8295, and 'enemies' the hells, in general evils and falsities, 2851, 8289, 9314.

(References: Isaiah 11:5)


[4] 3. They anointed the altar and all its vessels, also the tent of meeting and everything in it

This is clear in Moses,

Jehovah said to Moses, You shall anoint the altar and sanctify it. Exodus 29:36.

In the same author,

You shall make the holy anointing oil, 1 with which you shall anoint the tent of meeting, and the ark of the Testimony, and the table and all its vessels, and the lampstand and all its vessels, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering and all its vessels, and the laver and its base. Thus you shall sanctify them, that they may be most holy. Everyone who touches them will make himself holy. Exodus 30:25-29.

In the same author,

You shall take the oil of anointing, and anoint the dwelling-place and all that is in it, and sanctify it and all its vessels, that it may be holy. You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its vessels, and make the altar holy, that the altar may be most holy; and you shall anoint the laver and its base, and sanctify it. Exodus 40:9-11.

In the same author,

Moses anointed the dwelling-place and everything that was in it. After this he sprinkled some of the oil over the altar and all its vessels, and the laver and its shaft, to sanctify them. Leviticus 8:10-12; Numbers 7:1.

[5] The reason why the altar had to be anointed, also the dwelling-place and everything there, was that they might represent the Divine and holy things of heaven and of the Church, consequently the holy things of worship. They could not have represented these things unless they had been consecrated to do so by something such as served to represent the good of love. For the Divine comes in through the good of love, and through this good is present in heaven and in the Church, and therefore also in worship. Without that good the Divine cannot come in or be present, only what composes the human self, and with that self hell, and with hell evil and falsity; for the human self is nothing else. From this it is evident why anointing was effected by the use of oil; for 'oil' in the representative sense is the good of love, see 886, 4582, 4638, 9780; the altar was the chief representative of the Lord, and consequently of worship springing from the good of love, 2777, 2811, 4489, 4541, 8935, 8940, 9388, 9389, 9714; and the dwelling-place with the ark in it was the chief representative of heaven in which the Lord was present, 9457, 9481, 9485, 9594, 9596, 9632, 9784. As regards the human self or proprium, that it consists of nothing but evil and falsity, thus nothing but hell, 210, 215, 694, 874-876, 987, 1047, 3812 (end), 5660, 8480, 8941, 8944; and in the measure that what composes the human self is removed, the Lord can be present, 1023, 1044, 4007 (end).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9388-9389)


[6] 4. They anointed those who were to serve in the priestly office, and their garments

This is clear in Moses,

Take the oil of anointing, and you shall pour it over Aaron's head, and you shall anoint him. Exodus 29:7; 30:30.

In the same author,

Clothe Aaron with the holy garments, 2 and you shall anoint him and make him holy, that he may serve Me in the priestly office. And you shall anoint his sons, as you anointed the father; and it shall be, that their anointing may make them an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. 3 Exodus 40:13-15.

In the same author,

Moses poured some of the oil over Aaron's head, and anointed him, to make him holy. Then he took some of the oil of anointing and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it over Aaron, over his garments, over his sons, and over the garments of his sons with him, and sanctified Aaron, his garments, his sons also, and the garments of his sons with him. Leviticus 8:12, 30.

[7] The reason why Aaron had to be anointed, and his sons had to be anointed, also their actual garments, was that they might represent the Lord in respect of Divine Good, and in respect of Divine Truth emanating from that Good, Aaron representing the Lord in respect of that Divine Good and his sons in respect of the emanating Divine Truth, and in general that the priesthood might represent the Lord in respect of all the work of salvation. They had to be anointed in their garments, Exodus 29:29, because Aaron's garments represented the Lord's spiritual kingdom lying adjacent to His celestial kingdom. The celestial kingdom is where the good of love to the Lord derived from the Lord reigns, so that the flow of the Divine into the spiritual kingdom is accomplished by way of the good of love. This was why being consecrated to serve as a representative sign was accomplished by the use of oil, which in the spiritual sense is the good of love.

Aaron represented the Lord in respect of Divine Good, see 9806.

His sons represented the Lord in respect of Divine Truth emanating from Divine Good, 9807.

The priestly office in general represented the Lord in respect of all the work of salvation, 9809.

Aaron's garments represented the Lord's spiritual kingdom lying adjacent to His celestial kingdom, 9814.

His sons' garments represented the things that emanate from there, 9946, 9950.

The good of love to the Lord reigns in the celestial kingdom, see the places referred to in 9277.

[8] Since being consecrated to serve as a representative sign was accomplished by means of anointing, and since Aaron and his sons represented the Lord and what comes from Him, the holy things of the children of Israel - that is, the gifts which they presented to Jehovah, called 'heave offerings' - were given to Aaron and his sons; and they are spoken of as 'the anointing' and also as 'for the anointing', 4 meaning the representation or for the representation of the Lord, and what comes from Him, as is clear from the following in Moses,

The breast of the wave offering, and the flank of the heave offering I have received from the children of Israel, from the sacrifices of peace offerings; I have given them to Aaron and his sons. This is the anointing of Aaron and the anointing of his sons from the fire offerings to Jehovah, which I decreed to give them, on the day they were anointed, 5 from among the children of Israel. Leviticus 7:34-36.

And elsewhere in the same author,

Jehovah spoke to Aaron, Behold, I have given you charge of My heave offerings, even all the holy things of the children of Israel; I have given them to you for the anointing, and to your sons, as a statute forever. Every offering of theirs, even every minchah of theirs, even every sacrifice of sin offering and guilt offering, every wave offering of the children of Israel, all the best 6 of pure oil, and all the best 6 of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they will give to Jehovah I have given to you. Also every devoted thing in Israel, everything opening the womb, thus every heave offering of holy things [shall be yours]. You shall not have an inheritance in their land, nor shall any portion be yours in their midst. I am your portion and your inheritance in the midst of the children of Israel. Numbers 18:8-20.

From these quotations it is evident that 'the anointing' means the representation, for it was through being anointed that they were consecrated to serve as a representative sign, a sign which meant that everything in heaven and the Church is made holy through the good of love which comes from the Lord, and that the good of love is the Lord as He is present with them. This explains why it says that Jehovah is his 7 'portion and inheritance'.

[9] 5. They also anointed prophets

This is clear in the first Book of Kings,

Jehovah said to Elijah, Anoint Hazael as king over the Syrians, and anoint Jehu as king over Israel, and anoint Elisha as prophet in place of you. 1 Kings 19:15-16.

And in Isaiah,

The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, therefore Jehovah has anointed Me to bring good tidings to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the broken in heart, to preach liberty to the captives. Isaiah 61:1.

The reason why prophets were anointed was that prophets represented the Lord in respect of teachings that present Divine Truth, thus in respect of the Word since this consists of teachings that present Divine Truth. Regarding prophets, that they represented the Word, see 3652, 7269, Elijah and Elisha in particular, 2762, 5247 (end), 9372. And - as the Lord Himself teaches in Luke 4:18-21 - the Lord in respect of His Divine Human is the One who is being represented, and so is the One who 'He whom Jehovah has anointed' is used to mean.

[10] 6. Afterwards they anointed kings, and these were called Jehovah's Anointed

This is clear from a large number of places in the Word, such as 1 Samuel 10:1; 15:1, 17; 16:3, 6, 12; 24:6, 10; 26:9, 11, 16, 23; 2 Samuel 1:16; 2:4, 7; 5:3; 19:21; 1 Kings 1:34, 45; 19:15-16; 2 Kings 9:3; 11:12; 23:30; Lamentations 4:20; Habakkuk 3:13; Psalms 2:2, 6; 20:6; 28:8; 45:7; 84:9; 89:20, 38, 51; 132:17; and elsewhere. The reason why they anointed kings was in order that they might represent the Lord in respect of judgement based on Divine Truth. Consequently truths that are God's are meant in the Word by 'kings', see 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148.

(References: 1 Kings 1:34-35; 1 Samuel 26:25)


[11] Kings were called Jehovah's Anointed, and therefore it was utterly forbidden to do them harm, because 'Jehovah's Anointed' is used to mean the Lord's Divine Human, though in the sense of the letter the title is applied to a king who had been anointed with oil. While He was in the world the Lord was Divine Truth itself as to His Humanity, and Divine Good itself as to that Essential Being (Esse) constituting the life within Him, the equivalent of which in people is called the soul from the father; for He was conceived from Jehovah. In the Word Jehovah is the Divine Good of Divine Love, and that Good is the Essential Being (Esse) of every human life. Consequently the Lord alone was 'Jehovah's Anointed' in all that He was and in all that He did (ipsa essentia et ipso actu); for Divine Good was within Him, and Divine Truth emanating from that Good was within His Humanity while He was in the world, see the places referred to in 9194, 9315(end). Earthly kings were not Jehovah's Anointed, but served to represent the Lord, who alone was Jehovah's Anointed; and this was why, because they had been anointed, it was utterly forbidden to do harm to earthly kings. But the anointing of earthly kings was accomplished by the use of oil, whereas the anointing of the Lord in respect of His Divine Human was accomplished by means of the actual Divine Good of Divine Love which oil represented. This is why He was called Messiah and Christ, Messiah meaning the Anointed in Hebrew, and Christ meaning the like in Greek, John 1:41; 4:25.

[12] From all this it becomes clear that where the term 'Jehovah's Anointed' is used in the Word the Lord is meant, as in Isaiah,

The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, therefore Jehovah has anointed Me to bring good tidings to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the broken in heart, to preach liberty to the captives. Isaiah 61:1.

The truth that the Lord in respect of His Divine Human is the One whom Jehovah had anointed is clear in Luke, where the Lord declares it explicitly in the following words,

The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Jesus, and He unrolled the book, and found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me. He has sent Me to bring good tidings to the poor, to heal the crushed at heart, 8 to preach good tidings of forgiveness to the bound, and of sight to the blind, to release the wounded with forgiveness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. After this He rolled up the book, gave it to the minister, and sat down. The eyes however of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. He began to say to them, Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:17-21.

[13] In Daniel,

Know therefore and perceive that from the going forth of the Word to restore and to build Jerusalem until the Messiah, the Prince, there will be seven weeks. Daniel 9:25.

'Building Jerusalem' means establishing the Church, 'Jerusalem' being the Church, 3654. 'The Messiah, the Prince', or the Anointed One, is the Lord in respect of the Divine Human. In the same prophet,

Seventy weeks have been decreed to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. Daniel 9:24.

'Sealing up vision and prophet' means drawing to a close those things that have been declared in the Word regarding the Lord and fulfilling them. 'Anointing the Holy of Holies' refers to the Lord's Divine Human in which the Divine Good of Divine Love, or Jehovah, was present.

[14] 'Jehovah's Anointed' is again used to mean the Lord in the following places: In David,

The kings of the earth have set themselves, and the masters of the earth have taken counsel together, against Jehovah and against His Anointed. I have anointed My king over Zion, the mountain of My holiness. Psalms 2:2, 6.

'The kings of the earth' are falsities, and 'the masters' evils, that come from the hells, against which the Lord fought while He was in the world, and which He overcame and subdued. 'Jehovah's Anointed' is the Lord in respect of His Divine Human, for from this Human He fought them. 'Zion, the mountain of holiness' over which, it says, the Anointed will be king, is the celestial kingdom, which is governed by the good of love. This kingdom is the inmost part of heaven and the inmost of the Church.

[15] In the same author,

I have found My servant David; with the oil of holiness I have anointed him. Psalms 89:20.

By 'David' here the Lord is meant, as also elsewhere, see 1888. 'The oil of holiness' with which Jehovah anointed Him is the Divine Good of Divine Love, 886, 4582, 4638. The fact that the Lord is the One who is meant in this verse by 'David' is evident from other verses before and after it, for among much else they say,

You spoke in a vision regarding Your Holy One, I will set His hand in the sea, and His right hand in the rivers. He will cry to Me, You are My Father. I will also make Him the Firstborn, supreme over the kings of the earth. I will establish His seed forever, and His throne as the days of the heavens. Psalms 89:19, 25-29.

(References: Psalms 89:25-27, 89:29)


[16] The like occurs elsewhere in the same author,

In Zion I will make the horn of David to spring forth, I will make ready a lamp for My Anointed; His enemies I will clothe with shame, and upon Himself His crown will flourish. Psalms 132:17-18.

Here also the Lord is meant by 'David', as is evident from previous verses in the Psalm which say,

Behold, we heard of Him in Ephrathah, we found Him in the fields of the wood. We will enter His dwelling-places, we will bow down at His footstool. Your priests will be clothed with righteousness, and Your holy ones will shout for joy. For Your servant David's sake do not turn away the face of Your Anointed. Psalms 132:6-10.

From these verses it becomes clear that the Lord in respect of His Divine Human is meant by 'David, Jehovah's Anointed'.

(References: Psalms 132:6-9, 132:6-7, 132:9-10)


[17] In Jeremiah,

They pursued us over the mountains, they lay in wait for us in the wilderness. The Breath 8 of our nostrils, Jehovah's Anointed, was caught in their pits, of whom we had said, In His shadow we shall live among the nations. Lamentations 4:19-20.

Here also 'Jehovah's Anointed' is used to mean the Lord, for the subject is the assault made on Divine Truth by falsities and evils, meant by their pursuing over the mountains and lying in wait in the wilderness. 'The Breath of nostrils' is real heavenly life which comes from the Lord, 9818.

[18] From all this it may now be recognized why it was utterly forbidden to do harm to Jehovah's Anointed, as is again evident from the Word, for example in the first Book of Samuel,

David said, Jehovah forbid me that I should do this thing to my master, Jehovah's Anointed, and raise 10 my hand against him, since he is Jehovah's Anointed. 1 Samuel 24:6, 10.

And in another place,

David said to Abishai, Do not destroy him, for who can raise 11 a hand against Jehovah's Anointed and be innocent? 1 Samuel 26:9.

In the second Book of Samuel,

David said to him who said he had killed Saul, Your blood is on your own head, because you have said, I have killed Jehovah's Anointed. 2 Samuel 1:16.

And in another place,

Abishai said, Shall not Shimei be killed on account of this, that he cursed Jehovah's Anointed? 2 Samuel 19:21.

Shimei was therefore put to death by Solomon's command, see 1 Kings 2:36-end.

(References: 1 Kings 2:36-46)


[19] 7. It became a common practice to anoint oneself and others, to bear witness to gladness of mind and goodwill

This is clear in the following places: In Daniel,

I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I did not eat pleasant bread, and flesh and wine did not come to my mouth, and I did not anoint myself at all, until the three whole weeks were completed. Daniel 10:2-3.

In Matthew,

When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to people to be fasting, but to your Father in secret. Matthew 6:17-18.

'Fasting' means being in mourning. In Amos,

... who drink from bowls of wine, and anoint themselves with the best of oils, but feel no grief over the ruin of Joseph. Amos 6:6.

In Ezekiel,

I washed you with water, and washed away the blood from upon you, 12 and anointed you with oil. Ezekiel 16:9.

This refers to Jerusalem, by which the Church is meant. In Micah,

You will tread olives but not anoint yourself with oil. Micah 6:15.

In Moses,

You will have olive trees within all your borders, but you will not anoint yourself with oil, because your olive will be shaken off. Deuteronomy 28:40.

In Isaiah,

To give them beauty 13 for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. Isaiah 61:3.

In David,

Your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions. Psalms 45:7.

In the same author,

You spread a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You make my head fat with oil. Psalms 23:5.

In the same author,

You will exalt my horn like that of a unicorn; I will grow old with green oil. 14 Psalms 92:10.

In the same author,

Wine gladdens the human heart, to cheer the face with oil. Psalms 104:15.

In Mark,

The disciples went out and anointed many sick people with oil, and healed them. Mark 6:13.

In Luke,

Jesus said to Simon, I entered your house, and you did not anoint My head with oil; but this woman has anointed My feet with ointment. Luke 7:44, 46.

(References: Mark 6:12-13)


[20] From all this it is evident that it became the practice to anoint themselves and others with oil. They did so not with 'the holy oil' with which priests, kings, the altar, and the tabernacle were anointed, but with ordinary oil because this oil was a sign of the gladness and bliss that belong to the good of love. 'The holy oil' however was a sign of Divine Good, about which it says, It shall not be poured on human flesh, and as to the composition of it, you shall not make any other like it; it shall be holy to you. The man who prepares any other like it, or who puts any of it on a foreigner, shall be cut off from his people. Exodus 30:32-33, 38.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, the oil of anointing of holiness

2. literally, garments of holiness

3. literally, that for them their anointing may be for the priesthood of an age, into their generations

4. The Hebrew word behind the Latin rendered the anointing in the two quotations that follow is said to have two meanings - 1) Ointment or holy oil, and 2) Consecrated portion.

5. literally, on the day He (or he) anointed them

6. literally, fat

7. i.e. Aaron's

8. or the contrite in heart

9. literally, Spirit

10. literally, send

11. literally, will have sent

12. literally, your bloods

13. literally, a turban or some other attractive headdress

14. i.e. first-press oil

-----

(References: Daniel 9:24-25; Exodus 28:41, 30:25-30; Genesis 28:18-19; Psalms 89:19-20, Psalms 132:6-9)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10010, 10011, 10019, 10066, 10075, 10093, 10100, 10118, 10125, 10129, 10248, 10249, 10252, 10254, 10263, 10264, 10267, 10268, 10287, 10349, 10360, 10545

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 62


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 31, 62, 70, 146, 277, 316

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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