4844. 'Remain a widow in your father's house' means the alienation of this Church from the Jewish Church. This becomes clear from the fact that Judah's wish was that by doing this she would go away and not return to him any more. He did, it is true, say that she should remain there until Shelah his son was grown up; nevertheless he had it in mind not to give her to Shelah his son, for he said to himself, 'In case he also dies, like his brothers'. He gave further proof of his intentions by his actions, as is evident from verse 14 - 'Tamar saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife'. From all this it is evident that the words used here mean that he alienated her from himself. That is, the meaning in the internal sense is that he alienated the Church representative of spiritual and celestial things - the Church represented by 'Tamar', 4811, 4831 - from the Jewish Church represented by 'Judah'. The two could not be in agreement with each other because Judaism was not a representative Church, only a representative of the Church, 4307, 4500; for it acknowledged what was external but not that which was internal.
 'A widow' also means the truth of the Church without its good; for in the representative sense 'a wife' means truth and 'a husband' good, 4823, 4843, and therefore 'a wife without a husband' means the truth of the Church without its good. This being so, when it is said in reference to Tamar that she should remain in the house of her father, the meaning is that the truth of the Church would be alienated, and also that it would not find acceptance in his house, even as the Jewish nation could not accept it because not good but evil was present among that nation.
 A widow is referred to many times in the Word; but anyone unacquainted with the internal sense inevitably thinks that 'a widow' means a widow. In the internal sense 'a widow' means the truth of the Church without good, that is, people who have truth that is without good but who nevertheless have a desire for good, who consequently love to be led by good; for 'e husband' means good which ought to take the lead. In the Ancient Church people like these were meant in the good sense by 'the widowed', whether they were women or men. For the Ancient Church distinguished the neighbour to whom charity was to be performed into many separate classes. Some were called the poor, some the wretched and afflicted, some the bound and in prison, some the blind and the lame, and others strangers, orphans, and widows. It performed different charitable works, whichever were appropriate to the character each class possessed. The teachings of that Church showed them what those works were, for that Church had no other teachings than these. Therefore whenever those living in those times either taught or wrote, they did so in conformity with these teachings, so that when they spoke of 'widows' they meant none but the kind of persons among whom truth existed without good but who nevertheless had a desire to be led to good.
 From this it is also evident that the teachings of the Ancient Church were ones that had to do with charity and the neighbour, and that all its religious knowledge and factual knowledge existed to enable people to know what was meant spiritually by external things. For the Church was representative of spiritual and celestial things, and therefore it was these spiritual and celestial things, represented and meant by that Church, that people came to know about through the Church's teachings and through its factual knowledge. But those teachings and factual knowledge have become at the present day completely wiped out, so completely indeed that there is no knowledge of their having existed. For their place has been taken by teachings to do with faith which, if widowed and separated from those to do with charity, have virtually nothing to teach. For teachings to do with charity show what good is, but those to do with faith show what truth is. Teaching what truth is without what good is amounts to walking like someone blind, it being good that is the teacher and leader, truth the one that is taught and led. Between the two kinds of teaching there is a vast difference, as great as that between light and darkness. If the darkness is not lightened by means of the light, that is, if truth is not lightened by good, or faith by charity, it is nothing but darkness. For this reason no one knows intuitively, nor consequently by perception, whether truth is the truth; he knows it only from what he was taught and what he absorbed in childhood and substantiated in adult years. This also explains why Churches are so much at variance with one another, one giving the name truth to that which another calls falsity, and are never in agreement.
 The meaning in the good sense of 'widows' as people who have truth existing without good but who nevertheless have a desire to be led by good may be seen from places in the Word where widows are mentioned, as in David,
Jehovah who executes judgement for the oppressed, who gives bread to the starving, Jehovah who sets the bound free; Jehovah who opens the blind [eyes]; Jehovah who lifts up the bowed down; Jehovah who loves the righteous; Jehovah who guards sojourners, upholds the orphan and the widow. Psalms 146:7-9.
This refers, in the internal sense, to those whom the Lord furnishes with truths and leads to good. But some of them are called the oppressed, some the starving, while others are called the bound, the blind, the bowed down, sojourners, orphans and widows, each name appropriate to the character of the ones to whom it is applied. No one however can know what each particular nature is except from the internal sense; but the teachings of the Ancient Church showed what any particular nature was. Here, as in many other places, sojourner, orphan, and widow are referred to jointly because 'a sojourner' means those who wish to be furnished with the truths of faith, 1463, 4444, 'an orphan' those with whom good exists without truth but who have a desire to be led to good by means of truth, and 'a widow' those with whom truth exists without good and who have a desire to be led to truth by means of good. These three are referred to jointly here and elsewhere in the Word because in the internal sense they form a single group, for all three together mean those who wish to be taught and to be led to good and truth.
 In the same author,
A father of the orphans, and a judge of the widows, is God in the habitation of His holiness. Psalms 68:5.
'The orphans' stands for those with whom, like young children, the good that goes with innocence is present but no truth as yet. The Lord is said to be 'a father' of these because He leads them like a father; He leads them by means of truth into good, that is to say, into the good constituting life or wisdom. 'The widows' stands for those who as adults know the truth but are not as yet doing good. The Lord is said to be 'a judge' of these because He leads them; He leads them by means of good into truth, that is to say, into the truth constituting intelligence. For by 'a judge' a leader is meant. Good without truth, meant by 'an orphan', is made into good filled with wisdom by means of teaching about truth; and truth without good, meant by 'a widow', is made into truth filled with intelligence by means of a life of good.
 In Isaiah,
Woe to those decreeing decrees of iniquity, to turn aside the poor from judgement and to carry off into judgement the wretched of My people, so that widows may be their spoil and so that they may make orphans their prey. Isaiah 10:1-2.
Here 'the poor', 'the wretched', 'widows', and 'orphans' do not mean those who are literally so but those who are spiritually such. Now because in the Jewish Church, as in the Ancient, everything was representative, so also was doing good to orphans and widows, for doing good to these represented in heaven charity towards those who are orphans and widows in the spiritual sense.
 In Jeremiah,
Do judgement and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor; and do not defraud the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow, and do not use force, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3.
Here also 'the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow' means those who are spiritually such. In the spiritual world or heaven they do not know who a sojourner, orphan, or widow is, for the condition of such persons there is not the same as what it had been in the world. When therefore these words are read by man, angels perceive the spiritual or internal meaning they possess.
 Similarly in Ezekiel,
Behold, the princes of Israel, each according to his power, 1
have in you been intent on shedding blood; in you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have dealt with the sojourner by means of oppression; in you they have defrauded the orphan and the widow. Ezekiel 22:6-7.
Also in Malachi,
I will draw near to you to judgement, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against those who swear falsely, and against oppressors of the hireling in his wages, of the widow and the orphan, and [against] those who turn aside the sojourner, and do not fear Me. Malachi 3:5.
Similarly in Moses,
You shall not press down a sojourner or oppress him. You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you do indeed afflict him, and if he indeed cries out to Me, I will surely hear his cry, and My anger will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, so that your wives become widows, and your children orphans. Exodus 22:21-24.
 This, like every other commandment, judgement, and statute in the Jewish Church, was representative. Also, members of that Church were tied down to things of an external nature so that they would observe that command, and by means of their observance of it they represented the inner spirit of charity, even though they themselves had no charity, that is, they did not act from any inner affection. An inner spirit flowed from an affection to furnish with truths those who were without knowledge, and to lead those people to good by means of truths. If they had done this, members of the Jewish Church would have been doing good, in a spiritual sense, to the sojourner, orphan, and widow. But so that what was external might be kept going for the sake of what it represented, the curses declared on Mount Ebal included 'turning aside the judgement of the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow', Deuteronomy 27:19. 'Turning aside the judgement of these' stands for doing the reverse, that is, leading through teaching and life to falsity and evil. Also, because taking goods and truths away from others, and then making them one's own so as to enhance one's own position and gain, was included among curses, the Lord therefore said,
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees! for you devour widows' houses, and for a presence you make long prayers; on account of this you will receive greater condemnation. 2
Matthew 23:14; Luke 20:47.
'Devouring widows' houses' stands for taking truths away from those who have a desire for them, and teaching them falsities.
 To leave for the sojourner, orphan, and widow that which remained in fields, olivegroves, and vineyards, Deuteronomy 24:19-22, was likewise representative. So too was the command that when they had finished paying the tithes of their produce in the third year, the people should give to the sojourner, orphan, and widow, so that they ate within their gates and were satisfied, Deuteronomy 26:12-13. It being the Lord alone who teaches a person and leads him to good and truth, it is said in Jeremiah,
Leave your orphans, I will keep them alive; and the widows will trust in Me. Jeremiah 49:10-11.
And in Moses,
Jehovah executes judgement for the orphan and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him bread and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:18.
'Bread' stands for the good of love, 2165, 2177, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217, 4735, and 'clothing' for the truth of faith, 4545, 4763.
Deuteronomy 26:12; Jeremiah 49:11)
 It is recorded in 1 Kings 17:1-17 that Elijah was sent, when there was a famine because there was no rain in the land, to a widow in Zarephath. He asked her for a little cake, which she had to make for him first and give it to him; after that she was to make one for herself and her son. When she did so her jar of meal was not used up and her cruse of oil did not run dry. All this was representative, like everything else recorded about Elijah, and in general throughout the Word. 'A famine in the land because there was no rain' represented truth laid waste within the Church, 1460, 3364; 'a widow in Zarephath' those outside the Church who have a desire for truth; 'a cake which she had to make for him first' the good of love to the Lord, 2177, whom, from the very little she had, she was to love above herself and her son. 'The jar of meal' means truth derived from good, 2177, and 'the cruse of oil' charity and love, 886, 3728, 4582. 'Elijah' represents the Word, by means of which such things are effected, 2762.
1 Kings 17:1-13, 17:1-16, 17:9-16)
 The same is also meant, in the internal sense, by the Lord's words in Luke,
No prophet is accepted in his own country. In truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, while there was a great famine over the whole land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them, except to a woman - a widow - in Zarephath of Sidon. Luke 4:24-26.
That is, he was sent to those outside the Church who had a desire for truth. But 'widows' within the Church that had been laid waste, to whom Elijah was not sent, are those with whom no truth exists because no good does so; for where there is no good neither is there any truth. However much among those people truth seems to outward appearance like truth it is nothing more so to speak than a shell without any nut in it.
 Those among whom this kind of truth exists, also those among whom falsity exists, are meant by 'widows' in the contrary sense, as in Isaiah,
Jehovah will cut off from Israel head and tail, the branch and the bulrush in one day. The old and the honourable in face is the head, and the prophet, the teacher of a lie, the tail. Therefore the Lord will not rejoice over its young men, and He will not have compassion on its orphans and its widows. Isaiah 9:14-15, 17.
I will winnow them with a winnowing-fork in the gates of the land; I will bereave, I will destroy My people; they have not turned from their ways. Their widows are increased to Me more than the sand of the seas. I will bring to them, against the mother of the young men, one who lays waste at midday. She who bore seven languishes; she has breathed her last. Her sun is going down while it is still day. Jeremiah 15:7-9.
In the same prophet,
Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, our houses to foreigners. We have become orphans with no father; our mothers are widows. Lamentations 5:2-3.
Isaiah 9:14, 9:16-17)
 Because 'widows' meant those with whom no truth existed because no good did so, it was therefore shameful for Churches to be called widows, even those Churches governed by falsities springing from evil, as in John,
In her heart she said, A queen I sit, and I am no widow, and shall not see mourning. On account of this in one day will her plagues come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned with fire. Revelation 18:7-8.
This refers to Babel. A similar reference to Babel occurs in Isaiah,
Hear this, you lover of pleasures, sitting securely, saying in her heart, I am, and there is no one else like me; a widow I shall not sit, nor shall I know loss of children. But these two things will come to you in a moment in one day - loss of children and widowhood. Isaiah 47:8-9.
 From these quotations one may now see what is meant by 'a widow' in the internal sense of the Word. One may see that since 'a widow' represented and consequently meant the truth of the Church without its good - for 'a wife' meant truth and 'a husband' good - priests in the Ancient Churches, in which every single thing was representative, were therefore forbidden to marry any widow who was not a priest's widow, as the following in Moses declares,
The high priest shall take a wife in her virginity; a widow or a woman that has been put away or one defiled or a prostitute, these he shall not take, but a virgin of his own people shall he take as his wife. Leviticus 21:13-15.
And in the references to a new temple and a new priesthood in Ezekiel,
Priests the Levites shall not take as wives for themselves a widow or a woman that has been put away, but virgins from the seed of the house of Israel; but a widow who is the widow of a priest may they take. Ezekiel 44:22.
For 'the virgins' whom they were to marry represented and consequently meant the affection for truth, and 'the widow of a priest' the affection for truth from good, since 'e priest' in the representative sense is the good of the Church. For this reason also any widow [who was the daughter] of a priest and who had no children was allowed to eat some of the offerings or holy things, Leviticus 22:12-13.
 Those who belonged to the Ancient Church knew this meaning of 'a widow' from the teachings of the Church, for among them these teachings had to do with love and charity, which included countless matters which at the present day have become completely wiped out. From them they knew which particular kind of charitable act they were required to perform - that is, which service they ought to render towards the neighbour - for those who were called 'widows', for those who were called 'orphans', for those who were called 'sojourners', and so on. From their religious knowledge of truth and from factual knowledge they had a discernment and a knowledge of what the ritual observances of their Church represented and meant. The learned among them knew what it was that things on earth and in this world represented, for they recognized that the whole natural creation was a theatre representative of the heavenly kingdom, 2758, 2989, 2999, 3483. Such knowledge raised their minds up to heavenly things, and the teachings of their Church led the way to life. But after the Church turned aside from charity to faith, more so after it separated faith from charity, and made faith without charity and the works of charity the bringer of salvation, their minds could no longer be raised up by means of religious knowledge to heavenly things, nor be led by any means of the teachings of the Church to life. Indeed the decline has been so great that in the end scarcely anyone believes in a life after death, and scarcely anyone knows anything about heaven. Also, there is no belief at all in the existence of a spiritual sense of the Word which is not visible in the letter. In this way people's minds have become closed.
1. literally, arm
2. literally, more abundant judgement