Ezekiel 17

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1 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,

1-3 In what manner the Ancient Church was established by the Lord, and of what quality it became among the Jewish nation. The eagle is the understanding, and Lebanon the rational of the church. P. P.
1-8 This prophecy describes the establishing of a spiritual church by the Lord. The eagle there spoken of is faith, great in wings and long in pinions means the truths of faith of divers colors means what is of knowledge, growth thereof is described by the little twig of the cedar of Lebanon, by a land of traffic, the seed of the land, in a field of sowing, beside great waters. The church itself thence arising is the vine. A. 8764.
By the two eagles are here described the Jewish and Israelitish churches, both of them as to the knowledges of truth and intelligence thence. R. 244.
The establishment of the spiritual church by the Lord, and in the internal sense the process of its establishment, or the regeneration of the man of that church from beginning to end. By the first eagle is signified the intelligence of the natural man, and by the second that of the spiritual man. The first eagle is said to have great wings etc., that is abundances of sciences, and knowledges of truth and good from which is derived the intelligence of the natural man. It is therefore said that it had divers colors, which means what pertains to science and knowledge. By Lebanon is described doctrine of the church derived from the Word. By the other eagle is described spiritual intelligence. By roots is meant sciences, and by branches the knowledges of truth and good as applied to the tru ths of the spiritual or internal man. E. 281.

2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;

2 The Son of Man signifies the Lord in relation to the Word. L. 28.
2-8 There is infinity in every part of the Word. The Lord explains this by similitude. Each thing therein may be likened to a seed. T. 290.
2-9, 15 The eagle first named stands for the rational enlightenment by the Divine, the eagle in the second place for the rational which is man’s own, afterwards perverted by reasonings from sensual things and knowledges. A. 3901.
2, 3, 5-8 An eagle stands for the rational, the seed of the land for the truth of the church. Its becoming a luxuriant vine, and a goodly vine stands for its becoming a spiritual church. It is called a vine from the wine thence produced, which signifies spiritual good, or the good of charity from which comes the truth of faith, implanted in the intellect. A. 5113.

3 and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, full of feathers, which had divers colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the top of the cedar:

3 Speaking of the house of Israel, by which is signified the spiritual church. It is called an eagle from perception. A. 9688.
3, 4 In the internal sense is meant the beginning of a spiritual church and its growth, and afterwards its perversion and end. By an eagle great with wings is signified the interior truth of that church. Wings are exterior truths. Lebanon is that church. The cedar there is the truth of the spiritual church, the city of those who deal in spices is where doctrine of interior truth is. A. 10199.

4 he cropped off the topmost of the young twigs thereof, and carried it unto a land of traffic; he set it in a city of merchants.
5 He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful soil; he placed it beside many waters; he set it as a willow-tree.
6 And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs.

4, 6 They were brought into the Lord’s spiritual church and instructed. P. P.

6 The church and its faith are treated of, for doctrine is called a field from seed. A. 368.
6, 6 A vine and a vineyard signify the spiritual church. A. 2702.

7 There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend its roots toward him, and shot forth its branches toward him, from the beds of its plantation, that he might water it.
8 It was planted in a good soil by many waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.

7, 8 Others succeeded who had not the rational of the understanding, of whom the church was to consist, and to whom all Divine truths were given, because the Word was given them. P. P.

9 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it may wither; that all its fresh springing leaves may wither? and not by a strong arm or much people can it be raised from the roots thereof.
10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the beds where it grew.

9 This is said of the vine, or the church in a state of vastation, whose good, which is the fruit, and truth, which is the fresh-springing leaves, thus wither. A. 885.
9, 10 But they all utterly rejected all things of the church, so that they could not be but devastated of them. P. P.
10 The east wind stands for what is of lusts. A. 5215.
By the east wind is signified means of destruction. A. 7679.
A strong influx is signified by the east-wind. R. 343.
The east wind destroys all things where the evil are, their earths, their habitations, and their treasures. E. 419.

11 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,
12 Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and brought them to him to Babylon:
13 and he took of the seed royal, and made a covenant with him; he also brought him under an oath, and took away the mighty of the land;
14 that the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping his covenant it might stand.

11-13 They destroyed them by reasonings from the natural man. P. P.
14 excepting as yet a few. P. P.

15 But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? shall he break the covenant, and yet escape?
16 As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.

15 Horses from Egypt stand for knowledges from a perverted intellectual, which are consulted in matters of faith, while the Word, that is the Lord, is not believed at all, for in a perverted intellectual the negative reigns. A. 6125.
In the opposite sense horses signify the understanding of the Word and of truth falsified by reasonings, and also destroyed. R. 298.
A spiritual man should not become a natural man, and so lead himself, and trust in his proprium (horses of Egypt) and not in the Lord, thus to prevent the truths of the spiritual serving the natural, instead of the scientifics of the natural man serving the spiritual. E. 355.
15, 16 who however were natural external, without an internal. P. P.

17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company help him in the war, when they cast up mounds and build forts, to cut off many persons.
18 For he hath despised the oath by breaking the covenant; and behold, he had given his hand, and yet hath done all these things; he shall not escape.
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, I will even bring it upon his own head.

17 The army of Pharaoh stands for falsities. A. 3448.
17, 18 Therefore they have destroyed those things which were of the church. P. P.
19 That the craftiness by which they intend and contrive evil upon others returns upon themselves. E. 577.

20 And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will enter into judgment with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me.
21 And all his fugitives in all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward every wind: and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, have spoken it.
22 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I will also take of the lofty top of the cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I will plant it upon a high and lofty mountain:
23 in the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it; and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all birds of every wing; in the shade of the branches thereof shall they dwell.

20, 21 They will perish by means of reasonings from the natural man, and will therefore be dispersed. P. P.
22-24. The Lord will establish a new church of others in their place. p. P.
23 Birds signify rational and intellectual things. The Lord is to make a new covenant with them. A. 40.
This stands for the church of the Gentiles, which was spiritual. This is the goodly cedar. The bird of every wing stands for truths of every kind. A. 776.
Bird of every wing stand for truths of every kind. A. 5149.
The mountain of the height of Israel stands for the highest degree of good, and thence of truth with those who are of the spiritual church. A. 9489.
Birds signify the things of the understanding, and hence of thought and design: This manifest from the birds in the spiritual world. R. 757.
By a goodly cedar is signified the spiritual church, by all fowl of every wing things intellectual, which are derived from spiritual truths. E. 283.
By these words is described the establishment of a new church by the Lord. The establishment from its first rise is understood by the shoot of a lofty cedar. The cedar stands for a spiritual rational church, such as was the church with the ancients after the flood. The mountain of the height of Israel signifies spiritual good, which is the good of charity. By spreading out into a magnificient cedar is signified the full establishment of that church. Under it may dwell every bird of every wing means that there will be rational truth of every kind. To dwell in the shade of its branches means terminating in natural truths, for these cover and guard rational truths. E. 1100.

24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, Jehovah, have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish; I, Jehovah, have spoken and have done it.

24 See Chapter XVII., 5. A. 368.
Trees in general signify men as to their affections and their thoughts. R. 400.
By green or growing is signified living or alive. R. 401.
A tree signifies man. T. 468.
Trees are so often mentioned in the Word because they signify things which pertain to the mind of man. E. 109.
By green is meant what is living or alive. A vegetable subject while it lives is green, but when it no longer nourishes, or as it were dies, then the verdure perishes. E. 507.

Author: Emanuel Swedenborg (Compiled by Robert S. Fischer 1925)