Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of shoulder is all power. Hand in the Word signifies power, as shown before; arm signifies still greater power; and shoulder signifies all power, as is evident from the following passages in the Word in Ezekiel:--

Ye thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased sheep with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad (Ezekiel 34:21).

With side and with shoulder, means with all the soul and all the might, and pushing with their horns, means with all the strength.

[2] Again:--

That all the inhabitants of Egypt may know that I am Jehovah, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel; in their taking hold of thee in the hand thou shalt be broken, and shalt rend for them every shoulder (Ezekiel 29:6, 7).

This is said of those who desire to explore spiritual truths by means of memory-knowledges (scientifica). The staff of reed denotes such power taking in the hand means trusting therein; rending every shoulder means being deprived of all power so as to know nothing.

[3] In Zephaniah:--

That they may all call upon the name of Jehovah, to serve Him with one shoulder (Zephaniah 3:9)

meaning with one soul, thus with one might. In Zechariah:--

But they refused to hearken, and turned a stubborn shoulder (Zechariah 7:11)

meaning that they resisted with all their might. In Isaiah:--

They hire a goldsmith, who maketh gold and silver into a god they adore, yea, they bow down they bear it upon the shoulder, they carry it (Isaiah 46:6, 7);

meaning that they adore their idol with all their might, which is bearing it on the shoulder.

[4] Again:--

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

This is said of the Lord, and of His power and might; and therefore it is said, upon His shoulder. Again:--

The key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; and He shall open, and none shall shut; and He shall shut and none shall open (Isaiah 22:22).

This likewise is said of the Lord, and to lay upon His shoulder the key of the house of David, means His power and authority.

from AC 1086


That shoulders signify all force and power in resisting, in breaking, and in acting, is evident in these passages:--

Ye push with side and with shoulder, and thrust all the feeble sheep with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad (Ezek. 34:21).

Egypt is a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they took hold of thee by the hand, thou didst break, and didst pierce throw all their shoulder (Ezek. 29:6, 7);

to pierce through all the shoulder denotes to deprive of all power to comprehend truths; Egypt denotes the perverted memory-knowledge which deprives.

[5] In Zechariah:--

They refused to hearken, and turned a stubborn shoulder (Zech. 7:11);

to turn a stubborn shoulder denotes to resist. In David:--

They thought a wicked device, they did not prevail, for thou shalt offer to them the shoulder (Ps. 21:11, 12);

to offer to them the shoulder also denotes to resist; thus it denotes power. That the shoulder denotes power, is plain from the representatives in the other life, where they who resist seem to oppose the shoulder.

[6] That to put upon the shoulders and carry denotes to preserve in a state of good and truth forever with all exertion and power, is evident in Isaiah:--

The nations shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and they shall carry thy daughters upon the shoulder (Isa. 49:22);

the subject here treated of is the New Church; by the sons are signified truths, and by the daughters, goods; to carry upon the shoulder denotes to preserve them. The preservation of good in its state was also represented by the sons of Israel, when they went forth out of Egypt, carrying the dough on the shoulder (Exod. 12:34); and by the sons of Kohath carrying the works of what is holy upon the shoulder (Numbers 7:9). From this it is that the Lord, who spoke by correspondences, said of the lost sheep when it was found, that be laid it on his shoulder rejoicing (Luke 15:5); the sheep that was lost and was found denotes the good with the man who repents.

[7] As this was signified by carrying on the shoulder, therefore also it is said of the gold and silver which they love and preserve, that they carry them on their shoulder (Isa. 46:7). That to carry denotes also to hold together in its state, (AC 9500). From all this it is evident what was signified by the names of the sons of Israel engraved on two onyx stones being placed upon the shoulderpieces of the ephod, and by its being said that Aaron should boar or carry them upon his two shoulders for a remembrance (verse 12). That carrying upon the shoulder, when said of subjection, signifies servitude, (Gen. 49:15; Ps. 81:6; Isa. 9:4; 10:27; Matt. 23:4; Zeph. 3:9); but that when said of command, it signifies supreme power, (Isa. 9:6; 22:22).

from AC 9826

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info