5376. 'For the famine became great in all the earth' means that, apart from there, desolation existed everywhere in the natural. This is clear from the meaning of 'famine' as a desolation, dealt with previously; and from the meaning of 'the earth' as the natural, also dealt with previously. The idea that everywhere apart from there is meant, that is to say, apart from within the known facts where the celestial of the spiritual was, follows from what has gone immediately before. What the desolation of the natural, or the deprivation of truth there, is like has been stated already; yet as this is dealt with further still in what follows, let the nature of it be mentioned once again. From earliest childhood the person born within the Church learns from the Word and from the teachings of the Church what the truth of faith is and what the good of charity is. But when he grows up he begins either to confirm for himself or else to refuse to accept the truths of faith he has learned; for now he looks at them for himself and in so doing either makes those truths his own or else casts them aside. For no truth can be made over to another person as his own unless he looks at it and accepts it for himself, that is, unless he knows for himself that it is true and does not rely simply on someone else. The truths therefore which he absorbed in childhood cannot enter any more deeply into his life than the outer gate, where they can either be let inside or else cast away outside.
 With those who are being regenerated, that is, those who, as the Lord foresees, will allow themselves to be regenerated, those truths are multiplied exceedingly; for these people have an affection for knowing truths. But as they draw nearer to the point when their regeneration is actually carried out they are seemingly deprived of those truths. For those truths are withdrawn to a more interior position, and when this happens the person seems to experience desolation. Nevertheless those truths are returned in consecutive stages to the natural, where they are joined to good while the person is being regenerated. With those who are not being regenerated however, that is, those who, as the Lord foresees, will not allow themselves to be regenerated, truths are indeed usually multiplied, since these people possess an affection for knowing such truths for the sake of their own reputation, position, and gain. But as they advance in years and come to look at those truths for themselves, they either do not believe them, refuse to accept them, or else turn them into falsities. Thus in their case truths are not withdrawn to a more interior position but are cast away outside, though they remain in the memory to serve worldly ends, devoid of all life. In the Word this state is called desolation or vastation, though it differs from the state described first, in that the desolation belonging to that first state is only apparent, whereas the desolation belonging to the second state is total. For in the state described first the person is not deprived of truths, whereas in this latter state he is deprived of them altogether. The desolation belonging to the state described first is the subject in the internal sense of the present chapter and is again the subject in the next one; and that desolation is meant by a famine lasting for seven years.
 This kind of desolation is referred to many times elsewhere in the Word, as in Isaiah,
Stir, stir, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of Jehovah the cup of His anger. Two things have come upon you; who condoles with you? Vastation and ruination, famine and sword, who is there that I may comfort you? Your sons fainted, they lay at the head of every street. Therefore listen, do this, O afflicted one, and drunk though not from wine. Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trepidation, the dregs of the cup of My wrath; you shall no longer drink it. But I will put it in the hand of those who oppress you. Isaiah 51:17-end.
This is a description of the state of desolation experienced by a member of the Church who is becoming a Church, that is, who is being regenerated. That desolation is called 'vastation, ruination, famine, and sword', also 'the cup of Jehovah's anger and wrath', and 'the cup of trepidation'. The truths that a person is deprived of at such times are 'the sons who faint and lie at the head of every street'. For 'sons' are truths, see 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 'street' the place where the truths are, 2336; consequently 'lying at the head of every street' means that truths appear to exist in a dispersed condition. One can see that the desolation is only an apparent one and that regeneration is effected by means of it, as it also is by means of temptations; for it says that [Jerusalem] will no longer drink the cup but that [Jehovah] will put it in the hand of those who oppress her.
 In Ezekiel,
Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Because they devastated you and swallowed you up from all around, so that you are an inheritance for the rest of the nations, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovih. Thus said the Lord Jehovih to the mountains and hills, the streams and valleys, and the desolate wastes, and the deserted cities, which became plunder and a derision to the rest of the nations all around: I have spoken in My zeal and in My wrath, because you have endured the shame of the nations. Surely the nations that are around you will bear their own shame. But you, O mountains of Israel, will shoot forth 1
your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel. For behold, I am with you, and will turn to you, so that you are tilled and sown. Also I will multiply man (homo) upon you, the entire house of Israel; and the cities will be inhabited, and the waste places will be built. I will resettle you 2
to be as you were in former times and I will do more good than in your early days. Ezekiel 36:3-11.
This too refers to the desolation that comes just before regeneration. That desolation is meant by 'the desolate wastes and the deserted cities, which became plunder and a derision', while such regeneration is meant by 'shooting forth a branch and yielding fruit', 'turning to them, so that they are tilled and sown', 'so that man is multiplied, cities inhabited, and waste places built', and 'resettling them to be as they were in former times, and doing more good to them than in their early days'.
 What desolation is like is evident from those experiencing it in the next life. Those who experience desolation there are harried by evil spirits and genii; for these pour in evil desires and false ideas which are so strong that those people are almost submerged in them. As a consequence truths are not visible; but then as the time of desolation comes to an end those truths are lit up by light received from heaven, and the evil spirits and genii are driven away, each to his own hell, where they undergo punishments. Those punishments are what is meant by 'cities which became plunder and a derision to the rest of the nations all around' and by 'the nations that are around will bear their own shame'. Such punishments are also meant by 'the cup will be put in the hand of those who oppress you', in the passage quoted above from Isaiah, as well as in another place in the same prophet, where it says that 'the one who lays waste will be laid waste', Isaiah 33:1. And in Jeremiah,
I will visit those who lay waste, and I will consign them to everlasting desolations. Jeremiah 25:12.
Your destroyers will hasten your sons, and those who lay you waste will go away from you. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Because of your waste places and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, you will be too restricted for the inhabitants; those who swallow you up will have gone far away. Isaiah 49:17-19.
 These verses too, indeed that whole chapter in Isaiah, refer to the desolation suffered by those who are being regenerated, and to the regeneration and fruitfulness that follow desolation, verse 26 referring at length to the punishment of those who have been the oppressors. In the same prophet,
Woe to you who lay waste, though you have not been laid waste; when you finish laying waste, you will be laid waste. Isaiah 33:1.
This refers to the punishment of those who lay waste, as above. In the same prophet,
Let My outcasts dwell together in you; O Moab, be a refuge to them in the presence of the one who lays waste. For the oppressor has ceased, vastation has come to an end. Isaiah 16:4.
In the same prophet,
The day of Jehovah is near; like vastation from Shaddai it will come. Isaiah 13:6.
'Vastation from Shaddai' stands for vastation in temptations. For in ancient times God, when involved in temptations, was called Shaddai, see 1992, 3667, 4572.
 In the same prophet,
At that time they will not thirst; in the waste places He will lead them; He will make water flow for them from the rock, and He will cleave the rock so that water flows out. Isaiah 48:11.
This has to do with the state that follows desolation. In the same prophet,
Jehovah will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places, so much so that He will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of Jehovah. Gladness and joy will be found in her, confession and the voice of song. Isaiah 51:3.
Here the meaning is similar, for as stated above, desolation occurs to the end that a person may be regenerated, that is, to the end that evils and falsities may first be separated from him and then truths may be joined to forms of good, and forms of good to truths. The regenerate person so far as good is concerned is the one who is being compared to Eden, and so far as truth is concerned to the garden of Jehovah. In David,
Jehovah caused me to come up out of the pit of devastation, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock. Psalms 40:2.
 The vastation and desolation suffered by a member of the Church, or by the Church residing with him, was represented by the captivity of the Jewish people in Babel, while the resurgence of the Church was represented by their return from that captivity, dealt with in various places in Jeremiah, especially in Chapter 32:37-end. Desolation is a captivity, for at that time a person is held so to speak in bonds, for which reason also 'the bound', 'those in prison', or 'those in the pit' mean those experiencing desolation, see 4728, 4744, 5037, 5038, 5085, 5096.
Arcana Coelestia 5037-5038; Jeremiah 32:37-44)
 Reference to a state of desolation and vastation among those who are not being regenerated is also made in various places in the Word. It is a state passed through by those who utterly deny truths or else turn them into falsities; it is the state which the Church passes through around the time of its end, when there is no faith and no charity any longer. In Isaiah,
I will cause you to know what I am about to do to My vineyard, by taking away its hedge, so that it is destroyed, 3
and by breaking down its wall, so that it is trodden down. I will after that make it a desolation; it will not be pruned or heed, so that bramble and shrub will come up there; indeed I will command the clouds to rain no rain on it. Isaiah 5:5-7.
In the same prophet,
Say to this people, Hearing, hear - but do not understand; and seeing, see - but do not comprehend. Make the heart of this people fat and their ears heavy, and plaster over their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and their heart understands, and they turn again and be healed. Then I said, How long, O Lord? And He said, Until cities will have been devastated, so that they are without inhabitant, and houses, so that there is no one in them, and the land is reduced to a lonely place; He will remove man. And the wilderness will be multiplied in the midst of the land. Scarcely any longer will there be a tenth part in it; it will be however an uprooting. Isaiah 6:9-end.
Isaiah 5:5-6, 6:9-13)
 In the same prophet,
A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the God of power. For the close has been determined, overflowing with righteousness; for the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth is bringing the whole earth to its close and to its determined end. Isaiah 10:21-23.
In the same prophet,
Jehovah is emptying the earth and making it void, and He will overturn the face of it. The earth will be utterly emptied. The inhabited earth will mourn, it will be turned upside down. The world will languish and will be turned upside down. A curse will devour the earth. The new wine will mourn, the vine will languish. What is left in the city will be a waste; the gate will be smashed to devastation. The earth has been utterly broken, the earth has been utterly split open, the earth has been made to quake violently; the earth staggers altogether like a drunken man. Isaiah 24:4-end.
In the same prophet,
The highways have been devastated, the wayfarer has ceased. The earth mourns, it languishes. Lebanon has become ashamed, it has withered away; Sharon has become like a wilderness. Isaiah 33:8-9.
In the same prophet,
I will desolate and at the same time swallow up; I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up every plant on them. Isaiah 42:14-15.
Isaiah 24:1, Isaiah 24, Isaiah 24:3-4, 24:6-7, Isaiah 24:12, 24:19-20)
 In Jeremiah,
I will utterly destroy all the nations round about, and make them into a desolation, and a derision and everlasting wastes. And I will cast away from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the mills, and the light of the lamp, so that the whole land will be a desolation and devastation. It will happen when seventy years have been fulfilled, that I will visit the king of Babei and this nation for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and I will make it everlasting desolations. Jeremiah 25:9-12 and following verses.
In the same prophet,
A desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse will Bozrah be; and all its cities will be everlasting wastes. Edom will be a desolation, all who pass by it will be astonished and will hiss at all its plagues. Jeremiah 49:13-18.
Thus said the Lord to the inhabitants of Jerusalem upon the land of Israel, They will eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their waters with astonishment, that her land may be devastated of the fullness that is in it, on account of the violence of all who dwell in it. The inhabited cities will be devastated, and the land desolated. Ezekiel 12:19-20.
 In the same prophet,
When I make you a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I shall cause the deep to come up against you, and many waters have covered you, I will cause you to go down with those going down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will cause you to dwell in the land of the lower ones, in the desolations 4
from eternity, with those going down to the pit. Ezekiel 26:18-21.
This refers to Tyre. In Joel,
A day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud and gloom. Fire devours before him, and behind him a flame burns; like the garden of Eden is the land before him, but behind him there is a desert waste. Joel 2:2-3.
The day of Jehovah is near. A day of wrath is that day, a day of anguish and repression, a day of vastation and devastation, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud and clouding over. By the fire of Jehovah's zeal the whole land will be devoured, for He 5
will bring to a close, indeed to a hasty one, all the inhabitants of the earth. Zephaniah 1:14-end.
When you see the abomination of desolation, foretold by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place, then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains. Matthew 14:15, 16; Mark 13:14; Daniel 9:27; 11:10-12.
From all these quotations it is clear that 'a desolation apparent deprivation of truth in the case of those who are being regenerated, but a total deprivation in the case of those who are not being regenerated means
1. literally, give
2. literally, I will cause you to inhabit
3. literally, depastured
4. Reading in desolationibus for in desolationem
5. The Latin means I, but the Hebrew means He, which Swedenborg has in another place where he quotes this verse.
Daniel 12:10-12; Ezekiel 26:19-21; Genesis 41:57; Isaiah 24:1, Isaiah 24:3-4, Isaiah 24:6-7, 24:12, Isaiah 24:19-20; Matthew 24:15-16; Zephaniah 1:14-18)