10406. 'And fashioned it with a chisel' means a product of their own intelligence. This is clear from the meaning of 'fashioning with a chisel', when an idol is the subject, as producing false teachings by the use of one's own intelligence, which happens when the literal sense of the Word is used in support of self-love and love of the world. When these rule a person he does not have any enlightenment from heaven. Instead his own intelligence is what he draws on for all the ideas he acquires; and these he substantiates by means of the literal sense of the Word, which he falsifies by using it in a wrong way and interpreting it in a perverted manner. And after this he favours those ideas because he is the author of them.
 Various places throughout the Word contain references to graven images and molded images. People who take the Word entirely literally suppose that no more than idols should be understood by them in those places. Not idols however should be understood but false matters of doctrine upheld by the Church, such as are fashioned by a person himself when guided by some love of his own. Falsities when fashioned in such a way that they may hang together and look like truths are meant by 'a graven image'; and falsities when fused together in support of external kinds of love in such a way that evils look like forms of good are meant by 'a molded image'. And since 'the golden calf' is used to mean both types of falsities it says here that Aaron fashioned it with a chisel, by which the fashioning of falsities to look like truths should be understood; then immediately after it says that he made the gold into a calf of molded [metal], and in verse 24 that he threw it into the fire and the calf came out, by which the fusing together of falsities in support of external kinds of love in order that evils may look like forms of good should be understood. This is also what every matter of doctrine is like that is forged by a person and not by the Lord. Matters of doctrine are forged by the person when that person has his own glory and gain as the end in view; but they are forged by the Lord when the good of the neighbour and the good of the Lord's kingdom are regarded as the end in view.
 These kinds of things are meant by 'graven images' and 'molded images' in the following places: In Isaiah,
You will judge unclean the covering of the graven images of your silver, and the clothing of the molded image of your gold. Isaiah 30:22.
'The covering of the graven images of silver' means the appearance presented by falsities, as though they were truths, and 'the clothing of the molded image of gold' means the appearance presented by evils, as though they were forms of good; for 'the covering' and 'the clothing' mean the outward appearances with which they are endued or coated over. 'Silver' means truth, and 'gold' good, and this is why 'the graven images' are said to be 'of silver' and 'the molded image' to be 'of gold'. For the meaning of 'silver' as truth and of 'gold' as good, see 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9874, 9881.
Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552)
 In the same prophet,
The craftsman casts a graven image, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts silver chains for it. He seeks for himself a skilled 1
craftsman to make ready a graven image which is immovable. Isaiah 40:19-20.
This describes a fashioning of falsities so that they may hang together and look as though they were truths. 'A graven image' means such falsity, 'the craftsman' means the person who fashions it by the use of self-intelligence, 'a goldsmith overlays it with gold' means when he makes it to look like what is good, 'casts silver chains for it' means by making it all hang together, 'which is immovable' means which cannot therefore be weakened and destroyed.
 In the same prophet,
Makers of the graven image, [all are] vanity; and their most desirable things are profitless. Who has fashioned a god, and cast a molded image, that it may not profit him? All his companions will be ashamed, and the workmen themselves. He fashions the iron with tongs, and works it with the coals, and forms it with sharp hammers; so he makes it with his strong arm 2
. He fashions wood, stretches out a cord, and marks it off with a ruler. He makes it into its angles, and marks it out with a ring, and makes it into the form of a man (vir), according to the beauty of a human being, to dwell in the house. Isaiah 44:9-14.
This too describes how false teachings are fashioned so that they may hang together and look like truths and forms of good. Every detail here serves to describe how this is brought about by a person using self-intelligence under the guidance of his own wishes, desire, and love. The truth of this may be seen by those who know that all things in the Word have an inner meaning by means of which they must be understood in a spiritual way. Why else should such a description of fashioning a graven image be given? To the end that it may look like truth and good is the meaning when it says that 'he makes it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of a human being'; for in the internal sense 'a man' means truth and 'a human being' the good of that truth.
 In Jeremiah,
Every person has been made stupid by knowledge; every metal-caster has been filled with shame by his graven image, for his molded image is a lie; and there is no spirit in those things. Jeremiah 10:14; 51:17.
Here 'graven image' means that which is the product of self-intelligence, and 'molded image' that which accords with the person's love. This meaning is plainly evident, for it says that a person has been made stupid by knowledge, and every metal-caster has been filled with shame by his graven image, and that his molded image is a lie, 'knowledge' here being self-intelligence, and 'a lie' the falsity of evil; and since those objects have nothing of God within them it says that there is no spirit in those things.
 In the same prophet,
O sword against its horses and against its chariots, against its treasures, in order that they may be looted! A drought on its waters, in order that they may dry up! For it is the land of graven images. Jeremiah 50:37-38.
'The land of graven images' means a Church in which falsities reign. This too is perfectly clear from the details of these verses when understood in the spiritual sense. Without that sense what would a sword against horses, against chariots, against treasures, and a drought on waters be but words or sounds that have no spirit within them? But from those details when understood in the internal sense it is evident that these verses describe the destruction of the Church's truths and so the subsequent reign of falsities there, meant by 'the land of graven images'. For 'sword' means falsity engaged in conflict with and destroying truths, 'horses' an enlightened power of understanding, 'chariots' matters of doctrine, 'treasures' cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 'waters on which there is a drought' the non-existence of truths any longer, and 'the land' the Church.
'Sword' means truth engaged in conflict against falsity, and in the contrary sense falsity engaged in conflict against truths and destroying them, see 2799, 6353, 7102, 8294.
'Horses' means an enlightened power of understanding, 2760-2762, 3217, 6534.
'Chariots' means matters of doctrine, 5321, 8146, 8148, 8215.
'Treasures' means cognitions of truth and good, 10227.
'Waters' means truths, 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8137, 8138, 8568, 9323, 10238.
'The land' means the Church, see in the places referred to in 9325.
From all this it is evident what 'a drought on the waters, that they may dry up' and what 'the land of graven images' mean.
Arcana Coelestia 8137-8138)
 In Habakkuk,
What profit is a graven image since its image-maker has graven it, and a molded image and a teacher of lies, since the image-maker trusts in the thing he himself has made? Habakkuk 2:18.
From these words too it is evident that 'a graven image' and 'a molded image' are not used to mean a graven image and a molded image but falsity that is being made up and the evil to which the falsity lends support; for it speaks of 'the image-maker' and 'a teacher of lies'.
 'Graven image' and 'molded image' have similar meanings in the following places: In Isaiah,
Babel has fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he has broken 3
to the earth. Isaiah 21:9.
In the same prophet,
They will be greatly ashamed, those trusting in a graven image, saying to a molded image, You are our gods. Isaiah 42:17.
In the same prophet,
I told you, and caused you to hear, lest you should say, My idol has done this; my graven image and my molded image has commanded these things. Isaiah 48:5.
They have called themselves, and gone from their presence 4
. They sacrificed to the baals, and burned incense to graven images. Hosea 11:2.
All the graven images of Samaria will be pounded to pieces, and all her pay as a prostitute will be burned with fire; and all her idols I will make a waste. Micah 1:7.
 Since falsities and evils upheld by religious teaching, which are meant by 'graven images and molded images', are forged by a person's self-intelligence under the guidance of his love, the Word also calls them 'the work of human hands', 'the work of the hands of a craftsman', and 'the work of the hands of a workman', as in the following places: In Hosea,
Now they sin more and more, they make for themselves a molded image from their silver, idols by their own intelligence, completely the work of craftsmen. Hosea 13:2.
Cursed is the man who makes a graven or a molded image, an abomination to Jehovah, the work of the hands of the craftsman. Deuteronomy 27:15.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. Psalms 115:4; 135:15.
They burned incense to other gods, and bowed down to the works of their own hands. Jeremiah 1:16.
In the same prophet,
The children of Israel provoked Me to anger through the work of their hands. Jeremiah 32:30; 44:8.
And in the same prophet,
One cuts out wood from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman using an axe. They decorate it with silver and gold; they make it firm with pegs and hammers. Jeremiah 10:3-4.
 'The work of the hands' means that which is a product of the human proprium or self, thus that which is a product of a person's own understanding and a product of his own will; and those things are a product of the self - of both that understanding and that will - that exist as a result of self-love. And this is the origin of all falsities in the Church. Because all falsities are the product of the human self, and 'the work of the hands' means that which originates there, it was forbidden to move an iron tool, axe, or chisel over the stones 5
from which an altar and also the temple were built, as is evident in Moses,
If you make for Me an altar of stones, you shall not build it with hewn ones; for if you move your chisel over it you will profane it. Exodus 20:25.
Also in another place,
If you build an altar of stones to Jehovah you shall not move an iron tool over them. Deuteronomy 27:5.
And in the first Book of Kings,
The house was built of whole stone, as it had been brought [there]; for not a hammer or axe, [nor] any tool of iron, was heard in the house while it was being built. 1 Kings 6:7.
These places have been introduced to enable people to know what they should understand by Aaron's fashioning the gold with a chisel and making a calf of molded [metal] out of it.
1. literally, wise
2. literally, the arm of his strength
3. The Latin means hurled but the Hebrew means broken, which Swedenborg has in another place where he quotes this verse.
4. literally, from their faces
5. i.e. it was forbidden to hew the stones