503. We will now say what Egypt symbolizes in the Word: Egypt symbolizes the natural self joined to the spiritual self, and its affection for truth then and consequent knowledge and intelligence. And in an opposite sense it symbolizes the natural self divorced from the spiritual self, and its conceit in its own intelligence then and consequent irrationality in spiritual matters.
Egypt symbolizes the natural self joined to the spiritual self, and its affection for truth then and consequent knowledge and intelligence, in the following passages:
In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt... swearing an oath to Jehovah of Hosts... In that day there will be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt... Then Jehovah will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day... (Isaiah 19:18-21)
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, so that the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria - a blessing in the midst of the land, whom Jehovah of Hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is My people Egypt, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance." (Isaiah 19:23-25)
Egypt there is the natural component, Assyria the rational one, and Israel the spiritual one. These three form a person of the church.
That is why the king of Egypt is called "the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings," and Egypt is called "the cornerstone of (the) tribes." (Isaiah 19:11, 13) And regarding Solomon we are told that his wisdom excelled the wisdom of the Egyptians (1 Kings 4:30). We are also told that he "took Pharaoh's daughter as a wife, and brought her into the city of David" (1 Kings 3:1), and that he "built a house for Pharaoh's daughter next to the porch" (1 Kings 7:8).
Psalms 105:23; Revelation 11:8)
 For this reason Joseph was carried down into Egypt and there became the ruler of the whole land (Genesis 41).
Since Egypt symbolized the natural self in respect to its affection for truth and consequent knowledge and intelligence, therefore Joseph, the husband of Mary, having been warned by an angel, went with the infant Lord into Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15), in fulfillment of the prophecy,
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. (Hosea 11:1)
You caused a vine to come out of Egypt; You... planted it... and caused it to send forth its roots... (Psalms 80:8-9)
For a person is born natural, becomes rational, and later spiritual. Thus is a vine from Egypt planted and caused to take root.
For the sake of this representation, moreover, Abraham sojourned in Egypt (Genesis 12:10ff.). And Jacob was commanded to go with his sons into Egypt, and they also abode there (Genesis 46ff.).
So, too, the land of Canaan, which symbolizes the church, is described to extend "even to the river of Egypt" (Genesis 15:18, 1 Kings 4:21, Micah 7:12). And Egypt is compared to the Garden of Eden, the garden of God (Ezekiel 31:2, 8, Genesis 13:10).
The knowledge of the natural self is also called "the precious things of Egypt" (Daniel 11:43), and "fine embroidered linen from Egypt" (Ezekiel 27:7).
And so on elsewhere where Egypt is spoken of affirmatively, as in Isaiah 27:12-13.
2 Kings 19:23-24; Ezekiel 29:13-16, Ezekiel 31:1-9, 31; Genesis 41:37-57, 41:41, Genesis 46:3; Hosea 9:1, Hosea 11:11; Isaiah 19:23-24; Psalms 68:31-32; Zechariah 10:10-11, 14:16-18)
 On the other hand, in an opposite sense Egypt symbolizes the natural self divorced from the spiritual self, and its conceit in its own intelligence then and consequent irrationality in spiritual matters, in the following places:
Because...(Pharaoh's) heart was lifted up in its height, and it set its top among the thick boughs..., aliens... will cut him off and cast him down... In the day when he went down to hell..., I covered the deep over him...(and) you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised... (Ezekiel 31:10-18)
...the foundations (of Egypt) shall be overthrown... ...the pride of her power shall come down... ...and shall be laid waste... her cities... in the midst of the desolate cities... I will set fire to Egypt..., and I will disperse Egypt among the nations, and scatter them throughout the lands. (Ezekiel 30:1ff.)
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help..., and do not look to the Holy One of Israel... For the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. (Isaiah 31:1, 3)
Egypt rises up like a flood... He says, "I will go up, I will cover the earth, (and) I will destroy... Come up, O horses, and rage, O chariots! ...The sword shall devour (you), and be... made drunk with blood...; there is no healing for you. (Jeremiah 46:2, 8-11)
How do you say to Pharaoh, "I am the son of the wise, and the son of ancient kings?" Where are your wise men now? ...let them know... The princes of Zoan have become fools...; they have led Egypt astray..., the cornerstone of (the) tribes... Neither will there be any work for Egypt, which may form the head or the tail... (Isaiah 19:1-17)
...prophesy against... Egypt..., O great whale who lie in the midst of your rivers. Because he said, "My river, and I have made myself," (therefore) I will put hooks in your jaws, and cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales... And I will leave you in the wilderness... Therefore... the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste. (Ezekiel 29:1-12)
And so on elsewhere, as in Isaiah 30:1, 2, 7; 2 Kings 18:21.
1 Kings 14:25-26; Deuteronomy 17:16; Ezekiel 16:26, 16:28-29, 23:2-33, Ezekiel 30, Ezekiel 31:10, 31:18; Hosea 7:11, 7:13, 7:16, Hosea 9:1, 9:3, 9:6, 11:5, Hosea 12:1; Jeremiah 2:17-18, 2:17, 2:28, 2:36, 42:13-18, Jeremiah 46:7-11; Joel 3:19; Lamentations 5:2, 5:4, 5:6, 5:8)
 Since the Egyptians became of such a character, therefore they were rendered desolate as regards all the goods and truths of the church. Their desolations are described by the miracles done there, which were plagues, and these symbolized the many lusts of the natural self divorced from the spiritual self, a natural self which acts only in accordance with its own intelligence and its conceit. The plagues symbolic of its lusts were these:
That the water in the river turned to blood so that the fish died and the river stank. (Exodus 7)
That the streams and ponds brought forth frogs upon the land of Egypt. That the dust of the ground turned into lice. That a swarm of noxious flying insects was sent. (Exodus 8)
[That a pestilence occurred so that the livestock of Egypt died.] That sores were caused to break out with pustules on man and beast. That a downpour of hail mixed with fire rained down. (Exodus 9)
That locusts were sent. That darkness occurred through all the land of Egypt. (Exodus 10).
That all the firstborn in the land of Egypt died. (Exodus 11,12)
And finally, that the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea (Exodus 14), which symbolizes hell.
To find what all these things symbolize specifically, see Arcana Coelestia (The Secrets of Heaven), published in London, where they are explained.
It is apparent from this what is symbolically meant by the plagues and diseases of Egypt in Deuteronomy 7:15; 28:60; what is symbolically meant by drowning in the river of Egypt in Amos 8:8; 9:5; and why it is that Egypt is called a land of bondage in Micah 6:4, the land of Ham in Psalms 106:22, and an iron furnace in Deuteronomy 4:20, 1 Kings 8:51.
 The reason Egypt symbolizes both intelligence and irrationality in spiritual matters was that the Ancient Church, which extended through many kingdoms in Asia, existed also in Egypt, and at that time the Egyptians, more than any others, cultivated a study of the correspondences between spiritual and natural things, as is apparent from the hieroglyphs there. But when that study among them was turned into magic and became idolatrous, then their intelligence in spiritual matters became irrational. Egypt symbolizes this, therefore, in an opposite sense.
It can be seen from this what the great city means, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt.
Genesis 41:41; Jeremiah 46:7-11; Revelation 11:8)