453. Which no one could number, signifies that the Lord alone knows of what quality and how much of good and truth there is in them. This is evident from the signification of "number," as meaning what is the quality of a thing, so "to number" means to know the quality of a thing, here, the quality of the good and truth with those now treated of. It also signifies that the Lord alone knows this, as is meant by "which no one could number;" for no man and no angel knows the quality of good and truth with another in every series and connection, but only something of it that is apparent in externals; and yet every quality is of infinite extension, for it joins and associates itself with innumerable things that lie concealed within, and that abide without, and that spread out in every direction. All this no one sees but the Lord alone; therefore it is the Lord alone by whom all are arranged and disposed according to their quality, for He sees the quality of everyone, thus what his nature is and what will happen to him to eternity, since the Lord's sight which is called omniscience, foresight, and providence, is eternal. This is why no one except the Lord alone knows the quality of good and truth with anyone. It may seem strange that "to number" signifies to know the quality of good and truth, for one reading these words and remaining in the meaning of the letter can have no other thought than that it means simply that the multitude was too great to be numbered; yet in the spiritual sense "number" signifies quality, and thus "to number" signifies to know the quality, and to arrange and dispose according to it.
 Because of this signification of numbering a punishment was inflicted upon David for numbering the people, which is thus described in the second book of Samuel:
Again the anger of Jehovah glowed against Israel, and He incited David against them saying, Go, number Israel and Judah. And the king said to Joab, Go now to and fro through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. Joab dissuaded him, but the king's word prevailed. And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people; and David said, I have sinned exceedingly in that I have done; but now let, O Jehovah, I beseech thee, the iniquity of Thy servant pass away, for I have done very foolishly. So the prophet Gad was sent to David, announcing to him three punishments, and of these David chose the pestilence, of which seventy thousand died (2 Samuel 24:1-25 to the end).
Who does not know that there is no iniquity in numbering a people? Yet here the iniquity was so great that David, on account of it, was threatened with three punishments from which he was to choose one, and of the pestilence which he chose seventy thousand died. But there was a reason for this, namely, that "Israel and Judah" represented, and thence signified, the Lord's kingdom in the heavens and on the earth, and "to number" signified to know their quality, and to arrange and dispose accordingly, and that this belongs to the Lord alone; which shows that "to number" in the Word has this signification.
2 Samuel 24:1-15)
 "To number" has a like meaning in Moses:
When thou takest up the sum of the sons of Israel as to the numbering of them, then shall they give every man an expiation for his soul unto Jehovah in numbering them, that there be no plague among them in numbering them (Exodus 30:12).
Here, also, "to number" signifies to know their quality, or the quality of the church with them, and to arrange and dispose according to it; and because this belongs to the Lord alone, it is said, "everyone shall give an expiation for his soul unto Jehovah in numbering them, that there be no plague among them in numbering them." (For a further explanation of this see Arcana Coelestia 10216-10232.)
 In Daniel:
Because Belshazzar drank wine out of the vessels of gold and of silver from the temple at Jerusalem, a hand went forth and wrote on the wall, Numbered, thou art numbered, weighed, and divided. God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it (Daniel 5:2, 5, 25, 26).
"Numbered, numbered," signifies here to be seen and explored as to the quality of good and truth; and "hath numbered the kingdom" signifies hath arranged and disposed. (What the rest signifies see above, n. 373.)
Daniel 5:25-26; The Apocalypse Explained 373)
 In like manner in Isaiah:
By the relinquishment of my days I shall go to the gates of hell [of the grave]; I am numbered, the remainder of my years (Isaiah 38:10).
These are the words of Hezekiah the king when he was sick, and "to be numbered" signifies to be explored and concluded. "To number" and "to be numbered" have a different signification in the spiritual sense of the Word from that which they have in the letter or its natural sense, as is evident from the fact that with angels in heaven, numbers and measures have no place in their spiritual idea, that is, they do not think from numbering or measuring, but from the quality of a thing; but this thought of theirs falls into numbers and measures when it comes down therefrom into the natural sphere; and yet the Word is written equally for angels as for men, consequently angels, in numbers and numbering in the Word, perceive the quality of the thing treated of, while men understand numbers and numbering. This can still further be seen from this, that every number in the Word signifies somewhat of thing or state (of which see above, n. 203, 336, 429, 430).
The Apocalypse Explained 203, The Apocalypse Explained 336, The Apocalypse Explained 429-430)
 As numbering is mentioned in some passages of the Word, and it signifies to know the quality of a thing, and to arrange and to dispose according to it, I will also cite these passages in confirmation. In Isaiah:
A voice of a tumult of the kingdoms of nations gathered together; Jehovah of Hosts numbering the host for war (Isaiah 13:4).
The "kingdoms of nations gathered together" of which there was a tumult, do not mean nations gathered from kingdoms, for this passage is prophetical and not historical; but "kingdoms of nations gathered together" signifies the falsities of evils that have been made to cohere, and "their tumult" signifies their threats and eagerness to fight against truths; for "kingdoms" are predicated of truths, and in the contrary sense of falsities, while "nations" signify goods, and in the contrary sense evils (see above, n. 175, 331); and "tumult" is predicated of the eagerness for fighting, here against truths; "Jehovah of Hosts numbering the host" signifies the arrangement of truths from good by the Lord against the falsities from evil; the Lord is called in the Word "Jehovah of Hosts," from truths and goods fighting against falsities and evils, for "zebaoth" means hosts, and "hosts" signify the truths and goods of heaven and the church; and "to number" signifies to arrange these, and "war" signifies spiritual combat.
The Apocalypse Explained 175, The Apocalypse Explained 331)
 In the same:
Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these things, who hath led out their host in number, who calleth them all by name (Isaiah 40:26).
The "host of the heavens" means in the literal sense, the sun, moon, and stars, for these are called in the Word "the host of Jehovah," but in the spiritual sense "host" signifies all the goods and truths of heaven and the church in the complex, for the "sun" signifies the good of love, the "moon" the good of faith, and the "stars" signify the knowledges of good and truth; this makes clear the signification of "Lift up your eyes and see who hath created these things." "To create," when predicated of goods and truths, signifies to form them with man, and to regenerate him; "to lead out the host in number" signifies to arrange truths and goods according to the quality of those with whom they are; "who calleth them all by name" signifies who knows the quality of all and disposes accordingly, for "name" in the Word signifies the quality of a thing or state.
 So, too, in John:
The sheep hear His voice, and He calleth His own sheep by name and leadeth them out (John 10:3);
where the same expressions, "to lead out" and "to call by name" are used as above in Isaiah, and they have a similar signification. (That "name" signifies the quality of a thing or state, see above, n. 102, 135, 148) In David:
Jehovah counteth the number of the stars; He called them all by their names (Psalms 147:4).
"To count the number of the stars, and to call them all by their names," signifies to know all truths and goods, and to dispose them according to their quality in heaven and the church. For what other reason could it be said of Jehovah that "He numbers the stars, and calls them by their names"?
The Apocalypse Explained 102, 135, 148)
 In Jeremiah:
In the cities of the mountain, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the circuits of Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again by the hands of him that numbereth them (Jeremiah 33:13).
What "mountain," "lowland," "the south," "the land of Benjamin," "the circuits of Jerusalem," and "the cities of Judah," signify in the spiritual sense may be seen just above (n. 449, where they are explained). "The flocks shall pass by the hands of him that numbereth them" signifies that there will be interior goods and truths in the church according to their order and quality, for "flocks" signify interior goods and truths; "flocks" meaning lambs, sheep, she-goats, rams, and kids, and these signify interior goods and truths, which are spiritual goods and truths, while "herds," which consist of calves, bullocks, cows, and oxen, signify exterior goods and truths, which are natural truths and goods. (That this is so see Arcana Coelestia 1565, 2566, 5913, 6048, 8937, 10609)
The Apocalypse Explained 449)
 In David:
Mount Zion shall be glad, the daughters of Judah shall exult, because of Thy judgments. Encompass Zion and encircle her; number her towers, set your heart to the bulwarks, mark ye well her palaces; that ye may tell the generation following (Psalms 48:11-13).
"Mount Zion which shall be glad," signifies the celestial church, in which are those who are in love to the Lord; "the daughters of Judah who shall exult," signify the affections of good and truth which those have who are of that church; "because of Thy judgments" signifies because of Divine truths which they have from the Lord; "encompass Zion and encircle her" signifies to embrace the things belonging to that church from love; "to number her towers" signifies to give thought to the higher or interior truths of that church, "to number" meaning to see and give thought to their quality, and "towers" meaning the higher or interior truths; "set your heart to the bulwarks" signifies to love the exterior truths that defend that church against falsities; "mark ye well her palaces" signifies to perceive the goods of truth, for "houses" mean goods, and "palaces" the more noble goods of truth; "that ye may tell the generation following" signifies their permanence to eternity.
 In Isaiah:
He that walketh in righteousness and speaketh uprightness, thine eyes 1
shall see the king in his beauty; they shall behold the land of wide extent. Thy heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the weigher? where is he that counteth the towers? Thou wilt not see an obstinate people, a people of depths of lip (Isaiah 33:15, 17-19).
"To walk in righteousness and to speak uprightness" signifies to live in the good of love and charity, and to think and perceive truths; for "to walk" signifies to live, "righteousness" is predicated of good, and "uprightness" is truth; "thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty" signifies that they shall attain to wisdom, "king" signifying truth from good, and "beauty" its wisdom, for in wisdom Divine truth is in its beautiful form; "they shall behold the land of wide extent" signifies the extension of wisdom into heaven, "land" signifying the church, and also heaven, and "wide extent" extension there; "thy heart shall meditate terror; where is the scribe? where is the weigher? where is he that counteth the towers?" signifies remembrance of the state of the church, when there is no intelligence, no wisdom, and when interior truths are falsified; "terror" meaning that state, "scribe" intelligence, "weigher" wisdom, "towers" interior truths; to destroy the quality of these by falsifications is here signified by "numbering them;" "thou wilt not see an obstinate people" signifies not seeing those who are in the falsities of evil, or in an abstract sense those falsities themselves; "a people of depths of lip" signifies falsities of doctrine confirmed until they appear as truths, "lip" signifying the truths of doctrine, here falsity that will not be seen.
 "To number" signifies also evil arrangement, consequently destruction by falsifications, as is evident in the same:
Ye have seen the breaches of the house of David that they are many; and ye have brought together the waters of the lower pool. And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, that ye might tear down the houses to fortify the wall (Isaiah 22:9, 10).
"The house of David" means the church in respect to the truths of doctrine; and "its breaches" signify falsities breaking in; "to bring together the waters of the lower pool" signifies to collect many things from the sense of the letter of the Word and from the natural man; the "pools in Jerusalem" signified such truths as are in the exterior and interior senses of the Word; "the waters of the higher pool" such truths as are in the interior sense of the Word, and "the waters of the lower pool" such as are in the exterior sense of the Word, that is, the sense of the letter, for "waters" mean truths, and the "pools" in Jerusalem have a similar signification as the "lakes" and "seas" outside of Jerusalem, namely, a collection of truths; "to number the houses of Jerusalem" signifies to falsify the goods of truth, "the houses of Jerusalem" signifying the goods of truth of the church, and "to number" signifying wrong apprehension and evil arrangement, which is to interpret falsely or to falsify; "that ye might tear down the houses to fortify the wall" signifies to destroy these goods in order to build up a doctrine consisting of mere falsities, "wall" meaning the truth of doctrine defending, here truth falsified, because without good.
 These things make evident what is signified by "numbering days, steps, and hairs," as in the following passages. In David:
To number our days (Psalms 90:12).
Dost Thou not number 2
my steps? (Job 16:16).
Doth He not see my ways and number all my steps? (Job 31:4).
The hairs of your head are all numbered (Luke 12:7).
Here "to number" signifies to know the quality from least to greatest, and to arrange and dispose according to it, that is, to provide. What "days," "steps," and "hairs," signify has been told and shown elsewhere.
1. The photolithograph as "he," the Hebrew "thine eyes;" see AE 152, 304; AC 3863.
2. The photolithograph has "thou numberest."
2 Samuel 24:1-15; Acts of the Apostles 14:16; Isaiah 22:9-10; Job 14:16; Revelation 7:9)