Jeremiah 50

English: Webster's Bible         

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1 The word that the LORD spoke against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.

2 Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.

3 For out of the north there cometh a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell in it, they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.

4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping; they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.

5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces towards it, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.

6 My people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place.

7 All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.

8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth from the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he-goats before the flocks.

9 For lo, I will raise and cause to come against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain.

10 And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD.

11 Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of my heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;

12 Your mother shall be greatly confounded; she that bore you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.

13 Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.

14 Put yourselves in array against Babylon on every side: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.

15 Shout against her on every side; she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do to her.

16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.

17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

18 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.

19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.

20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the LORD, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.

22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.

23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!

24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD.

25 The LORD hath opened his armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.

26 Come against her from the utmost border, open her store-houses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.

27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe to them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.

28 The voice of them that flee and escape from the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.

29 Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, encamp against it on every side; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do to her: for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.

30 Therefore her young men shall fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD.

31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.

32 And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all around him.

33 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.

34 Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he will thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.

36 A sword is upon the liars; and they shall be sottish: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.

37 A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed.

38 A drouth is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.

39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the isles, shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.

40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.

41 Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the borders of the earth.

42 They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not show mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.

43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands became feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.

44 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan to the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?

45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them.

46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations.

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Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 1368

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 116

Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 289, 468, 583, 1186, 1326, 1813, 2025, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 52, 173, 241, 281, 298, 299, 336, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 120

The Lord 4, 34, 38, 39, 40, 53

Sacred Scripture 51, 79

Heaven and Hell 365

The Last Judgment 54

True Christian Religion 45, 83, 93, 158, 188, 294, 637, ...

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 131, 275, 278, 304, 328, 355, 357, ...

The White Horse - Appendix 1

Marriage 45, 83, 93

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 19, 51, 98

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Word/Phrase Explanations

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

Babylon was an ancient city built on the Euphrates river in what is now southern Iraq. It once was the capital of a great empire...

'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

Chaldea was a land lying along the Euphrates river near its mouth, south of Babylon, part of what is now southern Iraq. It was a...

Jeremiah, in the Book of Jeremiah 1:1 and what follows, represents the Lord. (Arcana Coelestia 2838 [2]). In Jeremiah 13:7, he signifies the state of...

The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

To "declare" something means to say it formally, publicly and with emphasis; you might say what you think, but you only declare things you're sure...

'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

Bel (Isa. 46:1) signifies the profanation of truth.

Idols of stone signify worship from falsities of doctrine. Idols of wood signify worship from evils of doctrine. Idols of silver signify worship from what...

'Images' denote things fashioned from man’s own intelligence.

'North' signifies people who are in obscurity regarding truth. North,' in Isaiah 14:31, signifies hell. The North,' as in Jeremiah 3:12, signifies people who are...

Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

As with many verbs, the meaning of "remove" in the Bible varies a good bit depending on context. It generally involves a separation of spiritual...

"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

Zion, in 1 Kings 8:1 and Revelation 14:1 signifies heaven and the church where the Lord alone is worshipped. (Apocalypse Revealed 612). Zion, in the...

“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

'Perpetual' in the literal sense, means to the end of one’s life, after death, and eternity.

To forget, in the internal sense, signifies nothing else but removal and apparent privation.

A flock, as in Genesis 26, denotes interior or rational good. A flock signifies those who are in spiritual good. A flock signifies natural interior...

The Writings tell us that shepherds represent those who lead and teach others, using knowledge and true ideas to help people reach the goodness of...

In Isaiah 40:12 'to weigh the mountains in a balance, and the hills in scales,' signifies that the celestial aspects of love and charity are...

'Hills' signify the good of charity.

The Writings tell us that the Lord's love is the sun of heaven, and it is natural for us to look above ourselves to the...

To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

Foes, or adversaries, denote the falsities of evil. Foes, or adversaries, when predicate of the Lord, signifies to avert falsities derived from evil.

As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

'Middle' denotes what is primary, principal, or inmost.

Go forth
To go forth, as in Genesis 19:14, signifies to recede from, or not to remain in [evil]. To go forth, as in Genesis 41:45, denotes...

In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

A congregation is a group of people with common loves, interests, and purposes. It often refers to a church group. In the Word it is...

The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

In the Word, arrows stand for truths which defend person from falsity. In Arcana Coelestia 2709, it says this when discussing Genesis 21:20: "And he...

Mighty,' as in Revelation 19:18, signify people who are educated about doctrine derived from the Word. By extension, 'mighty' signifies education or learning derived from...

Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

'Spoil of gold, and silver, and cattle' signifies falsified truths.

'What satisfies' is what nourishes the soul.

To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

In Biblical times, possessions passed from fathers to sons, a patriarchal system that would not be accepted in today's society – but one that is...

Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

In a general sense, being "born" in the Bible represents one spiritual state producing another, usually some form of love or affection producing or "giving...

To be ashamed (Gen 2:25) signifies to be in evil

'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

'Inhabit' refers to good.

Every one
The phrase “Every one,” where it occurs in Genesis 20:7, signifies every thing or all things.

In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

'Plagues' signify evils of love, and falsities of faith. 'The plagues of Egypt' signify the falsities and lust which cause the church to perish. In...

'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

A bow signifies falsity of doctrine destroying truth, and spear, the falsity of evil de­stroying good. (Jer. 6:23.)

'To shout from the top of the mountain,' as in Isaiah 42:11, signifies worship from the good of love.

Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

A foundation signifies truth on which heaven and the church, and its doctrines are founded.

'To be avenged seventy and seven fold' denotes damnation.

'To jubilate' or 'make a joyful noise' signifies worship from the delight of good.

Cut off
To be cut off, as in Genesis 41:36, signifies to perish.

'A harvest' symbolizes the state of the church with respect to Divine truth. The reason is that a harvest yields the grain used to make...

A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

Flight, as in Matthew 14:20, signifies removal from a state of the good of love and innocence. Flight, as in Mark 8:18, signifies the last...

In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

'A lion' signifies the good of celestial love and the truth from that good.

'The first and the last' signifies that the Lord is the only God.

When the divine power of good or omnipotence is being discussed in the Word, then says 'Jehovah Zebaoth,' or 'Jehovah of hosts,' and also 'Lord,'...

When the Bible talks about "feeding" it is generally referring to instruction in spiritual things – teaching people the true concepts that can lead them...

'Sharon, Bashan, and Carmel' signify the church regarding the knowledges of good and truth from the natural sense of the Word.

The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

'Mount Olivet' signifies the celestial church, or celestial good, which comes from love towards the Lord, and divine love.

Ephraim was the second son born to Joseph in Egypt and was, along with his older brother Manasseh, elevated by Jacob to the same status...

Mount Gilead, as in Genesis 31:21, 23, as a boundary, in a spiritual sense, signifies the first good, which is that of things pertaining to...

In Isaiah 59:6, 'webs' and 'garments' signify aspects of the understanding, or thought, 'Iniquity' and 'violence,' aspects of the will, or works.

In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

the inhabitants
'The inhabitants of Teman,' as in Jeremiah 49:20, signifies the evils and falsities opposed to the Lord’s celestial kingdom.

Behind, or after, (Gen. 16:13), signifies within or above, or an interior or superior principle.

To command is to give an order that something must be done, and is directed to an individual, or a group. It is an imperative,...

To “break” something creates an image that is much different from “attacking,” “destroying,” or “shattering.” It is less emotional, less violent in its intent; it...

"Catching" is used in a variety of ways in the Bible, both positive and negative. Thieves get caught; the Egyptians caught up with the Children...

To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

'Works,' as in Genesis 46:33, denote goods, because they are from the will, and anything from the will is either good or evil, but anything...

go down
To go up and to go down: in the Word, mention is made of going up and going down when speaking of going from one...

"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

'Slaughter' signifies perdition and damnation. 'Slaughter' and 'a storm of slaughter,' signifies evils which destroy the goods of the church. 'The day of great slaughter'...

The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

The end time of the church and each individual, is called 'the visitation,' and precedes judgment. 'Visitation' is nothing but an exploration of the quality...

In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

'A temple' represents heaven and the church. The sacred place where the ark was, represents the inmost, or third heaven, and the church among people...

'To repay' denotes making amends by truth.

Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

Swedenborg tell us that in terms of measurement, height relates to the desire for good and breadth relates to the knowledge of truth. Following that,...

War in the Word represents the combat of temptation when what is good is assaulted by what is evil or false. The evil that attacks...

To 'stumble' denotes being scandalized or offended, and falling, as a result, from truths into falsities.

Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

Jehovah is called 'the redeemer,' because He took on a human nature.

It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

At its heart, wisdom is love's imperative desire to take form. That's a tricky statement, but think of it this way: If you love someone,...

Mighty men
'Mighty men,' as in Lamentations 1:15, denotes people who are in the good of love.

'A horse' signifies knowledges or understanding of the Word. In an opposite sense it signifies the understanding of the Word falsified by reasonings, and likewise...

The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

In Jeremiah 20:4-5, 'wealth,' 'labor,' 'precious things,' and 'all the treasures of the kings of Judah' signify the knowledges of faith.

'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

'Withering and drying up,' as in Ezekiel 17:10, referring to the east wind, signifies when there is no good or truth.

Wild beasts of the desert
'Wild beasts of the desert,' 'doleful creatures,' 'owls,' 'satyrs,' 'wild beasts of the islands,' and 'dragons,' as in Isaiah 13:21-22, signify when the interior aspects...

Wild beasts
'Wild beasts' denote affections and lusts.

Inhabitants,' in Isaiah 26:9, signify the men of the church who are in good of doctrine, and thence in the good of life.

To “generate” something is to create it, and that idea underpins the meaning of a “generation” of people – it is a group that was...

'Sodom' signifies the evil of self-love, and 'Gomorrah,' the falsity derived from it.

The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

son of man
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

Often translated as “edge,” “border,” “boundary,” “outskirts,” “far places” and other ways, this term is used in the Bible for the farthest reaches of an...

'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

'To ride' signifies being elevated regarding the intellectual part of the mind. To ride upon a cherub,' as in Psalm 18:9, 10, denotes the Lord’s...

Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

To beget or to be begotten is very similar in meaning to birth: It represents one spiritual state leading to the next spiritual state. "Beget,"...

'To travail in birth' signifies conceiving and bringing forth the elements of spiritual life.

The land of Jordan,' as in Psalm 42:6, signifies what is lowly, consequently, what is distant from the celestial, as the external parts of a...

'To stay with,' as in Genesis 32:4, relates to the life of truth when accompanied by good, and in this instance, it means to take...

'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

'A voice crying,' and 'the voice of a cry,' are common expressions in the Word, and are applied whenever there is a noise or disturbance,...

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Apocalypse Explained # 587

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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587. And idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, signifies false doctrinals that are from self-intelligence, that favor the loves of the body and of the world, and principles derived therefrom. This is evident from the signification of "idols," as being the falsities of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, which are from self-intelligence. But what "idols of gold, of silver, of brass, of stone, and of wood," signify in particular can be seen from the signification of "gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood;" "gold" signifies spiritual good, "silver" spiritual truth, "brass" natural good, "stone" natural truth, and "wood" sensual good. All these goods and truths enter into genuine doctrine, because such doctrine is both from the spiritual and from the natural sense of the Word. When a false doctrinal is confirmed by the spiritual things of the Word it becomes an idol of gold and an idol of silver; but when it is confirmed by the natural things of the Word, such as belong to the sense of its letter, it becomes an idol of brass and stone; and when it is confirmed by the mere sense of the letter it becomes an idol of wood; for both the interior or spiritual and the exterior or natural senses of the Word can be applied to confirm falsities, as can be seen from innumerable heresies which are all confirmed thereby.

(Odkazy: Revelation 9:20)

[2] Falsities become confirmed when the genuine sense of the Word is not understood, and for the reason that self-loves and the principles derived therefrom are dominant, and when these are dominant man sees nothing from the light of heaven, but whatever he sees is from the light of the world separated from the light of heaven; and when the light of the world is separated from the light of heaven there is thick darkness in things spiritual. It is to be known that the sons of Israel took from Egypt and also from the nations round about the foul custom of worshiping idols; and as they were merely external men they also had that worship implanted in them from natural inclination, as can be seen from the idolatries of so many of the kings of Judah and Israel related in the Word, and also from Solomon himself who was the wisest of them; but still these idols which they made for themselves and worshiped, when they are mentioned in the Word, signify in the spiritual sense false doctrinals from self-intelligence, from which and according to which is worship.

[3] This signification of idols, too, has its cause from the spiritual world; there evil spirits who have framed for themselves falsities of doctrine are seen fashioning idols and marking them in various ways until they appear to be in a human form; they also make selections from various representatives and fit them together so as to cohere, and thus counterfeit that form in externals. It has been permitted me to witness the formation of such idols by leaders of the church, who have persuaded themselves that falsities are truths; and as they excelled in ingenuity they knew how to join the particulars together assiduously, and afterwards to clothe them. Such an idol I have seen made by the English, by which they represented that faith alone is the essential of salvation, and that it produces the goods of charity without any cooperation from man. Idols are formed in the spiritual world by those who are in falsities of doctrine that are from self-intelligence, because Divine truths, from which is the genuine doctrine of the church, induce upon angels the human form; for this reason also angels signify in the Word Divine truths; and for this reason falsities of doctrine that are confirmed from the Word are presented as idols in the human form; truths of the Word that are falsified and that are used as confirmations induce that form, but because the truths are falsified an idol is presented that has no life.

[4] That "idols, graven images, and molten images," signify the falsities of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, can be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:

The artificer casteth a graven image, and the refiner spreadeth it over with gold and casteth chains of silver. He that is too impoverished for an oblation chooseth wood that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a wise artificer to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved (Isaiah 40:19, 20).

This describes how doctrine is fused and welded together by means of falsities, thus by means of such things as are from self-intelligence, for these are all falsities. The "artificer," the "refiner," and the "wise artificer," whom he seeketh unto him, mean one who fashions and forms such a doctrine. "To spread it over with gold" signifies that it may appear in the external form as good; "to cast chains of silver" signifies that falsities may fit together and appear as truths; "to choose wood that doth not rot, and to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved," signifies that the doctrine may be acknowledged and not seem to be false.

(Odkazy: Isaiah 40:19-20)

[5] In Jeremiah:

Every man has become foolish by knowledge; every refiner is put to shame by the graven image; for his molten image is a lie, and there is no breath in them; they are vanity, and a work of errors; in the time of their visitation they shall perish (Jeremiah 10:14, 15; 51:17, 18).

Because a "graven image" signifies the falsity of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, therefore it is said, "every man has become foolish by knowledge, and every refiner is put to shame by the graven image;" the "knowledge by which man becomes foolish" signifies self-intelligence, wherefore falsity therefrom is signified by "the graven image;" such falsity is also meant by "the molten image is a lie, vanity, and a work of errors." That there is no spiritual life in falsities, or in the things that are from self-intelligence, is meant by "there is no breath in them;" for life is solely in Divine truths, that is, in truths that are from the Lord, as He teaches:

The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).

(Odkazy: Jeremiah 10:14-15, Jeremiah 51:17-18)

[6] In Jeremiah:

He hath cut wood out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. He doth deck it with silver and with gold; he doth fasten them with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are rigid like a palm-tree, but they speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. They are both brutish and foolish; the wood is a teaching of vanities. Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman and of the hands of the refiner; their garment is hyacinthine and purple; they are all the work of the wise. But Jehovah is the God of truth, He is the living God, and the King of an age (Jeremiah 10:3-5, 8-10).

That the "graven image" here means the falsity of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, fashioned and formed by the ingenious by means of self-intelligence, is evident from the particulars of this description when viewed in the spiritual sense. The self-intelligence by means of which it is cut out and formed is meant by "the work of the hands with the axe," and by "the work of the workman and of the hands of the refiner," and by "the work of the wise." That "the work of the hands of the workman and artificer" signifies what is from self-intelligence has been shown in the preceding article; the falsities that are from it are signified by "they are both brutish and foolish, the wood is a teaching of vanities;" that these have no life is signified by "they are rigid like a palm-tree, they speak not, they cannot go;" "to speak" and "to go" signify to live, and to live means to live spiritually. Confirmations from the Word are signified by "silver spread into plates brought from Tarshish," and by "gold from Uphaz," also by "hyacinthine and purple" which was their garment; "silver from Tarshish" signifies the truth of the Word, and "gold from Uphaz" the good of the Word, both falsified; "hyacinthine and purple" have a similar meaning. That every truth of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, is from Jehovah, that is, from the Lord, is meant by "Jehovah is the God of truth, the living God, the King of an age;" for the Lord is called "God" from Divine truth, and also "living," and "King."

(Odkazy: Jeremiah 10:3-10)

[7] In Isaiah:

They that form a graven image are all of them vanity, and their most desirable things do not profit; and they are witnesses to themselves that they see not, and know not. For all his fellows shall be ashamed, and the workmen themselves. He fashioneth iron with the tongs, and worketh it in the coal, and strengthens 1 it with sharp hammers, so he worketh it by the arm of his strength; yea, he is hungry until he hath no power, neither doth he drink water until he is exhausted. He fashioneth wood, he stretcheth out the line, and describeth it with a rule; he maketh it in its angles, and shapeth it by a circle, that he may make it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of man, to dwell in the house. To cut out for himself cedars, or he hath taken the box-tree or the oak; although it be for a man to burn, and he taketh of them to be warm, and also kindleth it to bake bread, yet he maketh a god and boweth himself down, he maketh of it a graven image and adoreth it. They know not nor discern, for they have forgotten so that their eyes do not see, and their hearts do not understand. And none taketh it into his heart, there is no knowledge or intelligence, neither doth he say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (Isaiah 44:9-20).

This whole description of a "graven image" means the formation of doctrine from self-intelligence, and the particulars of the description signify the particulars of such formation. Why otherwise should there be in the Divine Word so extended a description of the mere formation of a graven image? That there is nothing but what is false, because it is from self-intelligence, is meant by "They that form a graven image are all of them vanity, and their most desirable things do not profit;" also by "they have no knowledge nor intelligence, neither doth he say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" The self-intelligence out of which the falsity of doctrine is formed is described by "He fashioneth iron with the tongs, and worketh it in the coal by the arm of his power;" "to fashion iron with the tongs, and to work it in the coal," signifies to hammer out falsities that favor self-loves; to join falsities with falsities by means of fallacies that make them seem to be truths, is described by "he stretched out the line, and describeth it with a rule, he maketh it in its angles, he defineth it by a circle, that he may make it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of man, to dwell in the house;" "the form of a man" signifies an appearance of truth, and "the beauty of man," an appearance of intelligence therefrom, and "to dwell in the house" signifies an appearance of spiritual life therefrom. That from this there is no life of intelligence or of the perception of truth and good is signified by "They know not nor understand, their eyes do not see, and their hearts do not understand." It would be too lengthy to explain what each single thing signifies in particular in this description; it is only necessary that everyone shall be able to see that there is something signified more interior and wise than the mere formation of a graven image. Let it be known that in this description heavenly wisdom which is ineffable lies hidden, and that the angels are in this wisdom when these things are read by man, although the man thinks of nothing but a graven image and its formation; for there are here as many correspondences and as many arcana of wisdom therefrom as there are words.

[8] In Habakkuk:

What profiteth the graven image? For the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image and the instructor of a lie? For the former of its lie trustest in it, since he maketh dumb gods. Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the silent stone, Be watchful, it shall instruct! Behold, it is fixed with gold and silver, and there is no breath in the midst of it. But Jehovah is in the temple of His holiness (Habakkuk 2:18-20).

As a "graven image" means the falsity of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, in which there is nothing of spiritual life because it is from self-intelligence, it is said "What profiteth the graven image? For the maker thereof hath given it; the molten image and the instructor of a lie? in which the former of the lie trustest;" a "lie" signifying falsity, and "the instructor and former of a lie" signifying him who frames it; that there is no intelligence or life in it or from it is signified by "he maketh dumb gods, and there is no breath in the midst of it;" that every truth of doctrine, of the church, and of worship, is from the Lord alone is signified by "Jehovah is in the temple of His holiness;" "temple of holiness" meaning heaven, where and from which is Divine truth.

[9] In David:

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of the hands of man. They have a mouth but they speak not, eyes have they but they see not (Psalms 115:4, 5; 135:15, 16).

"Their idols are silver and gold" signifies external worship without internal, confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word not understood, and also by the fallacies of the senses; "the work of the hands of man" signifies what is from self-intelligence (that "the work of the hands" means what is from self-intelligence, see in the preceding article). "They have a mouth but they speak not, eyes have they but they see not," signifies that from these there is no thought nor any understanding of truth.

(Odkazy: Psalms 115:4-5, 135:15-16)

[10] From self-intelligence nothing but falsity comes, because man's self [proprium] is nothing but evil, for it favors his own love and his own intelligence; such, therefore, do not seek truths for the sake of truths, but only for the sake of reputation, renown, glory, and gain, and when these are dominant heaven cannot flow in with its light and open the sight and enlighten, consequently they see like owls, moles, and bats, in the dark, according to these words in Isaiah:

In that day a man shall cast away the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold, which they made for themselves to bow down to the moles and to the bats (Isaiah 2:18, 20).

In Jeremiah:

A drought is upon her waters and they have become dry; for this is a land of graven images, and they boast of horrible things. Therefore the tziim and the ijim shall dwell there, and the daughters of the owl shall dwell therein (Jeremiah 50:38, 39).

"A drought upon her waters" signifies that there is no truth; "the tziim and the ijim" signify infernal falsities and evils, and "the daughters of the owl" signify the affections of falsity. This is said of the land of Chaldea, and of Babylon, which signify the profanations of truth and good by falsities that favor evils, which such frame for themselves for the sake of dominion.

(Odkazy: Jeremiah 50:38-39)

[11] In Hosea:

They have made for themselves a molten image of their silver, idols in their intelligence, all of them the work of the artificers; those that sacrifice man kiss the calves (Hosea 13:2).

Because a "molten image" signifies a doctrinal from self-intelligence it is said, "They have made a molten image of their silver, idols in their intelligence, all of them the work of the artificers;" and because by means of it they destroy spiritual life and put on what is merely natural, it is said, "those that sacrifice man kiss the calves," "to sacrifice man" signifying to destroy spiritual life, and "to kiss the calves" signifying to become merely natural.

[12] In Isaiah:

Behold they are all an iniquity, their works are nothing; their molten images are wind and emptiness (4 Isaiah 41:29).

Evils of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, are signified by "they are all an iniquity, their works are nothing," and falsities by "their molten images are wind and emptiness;" "wind and emptiness" are predicated in the Word of falsities from self. In Jeremiah:

Why have they provoked Me to anger with their graven images and with the vanities of aliens? (Jeremiah 8:19).

"Vanities of aliens" also signify the falsities of religion, like as "graven images," therefore it is said, "with their graven images, with the vanities of aliens."

[13] In Ezekiel:

Every man of the house of Israel who shall make idols to ascend upon his heart, and shall put the stumbling block of iniquity before his faces, shall yet come to the prophet; shall I, Jehovah, answer him who cometh with a multitude of his idols? (Ezekiel 14:4).

Here, too, "idols" stand for the falsities of doctrine which are from self-intelligence; to accept these falsities and to acknowledge them is signified by "making idols to ascend upon his heart;" and to be affected by them and live according to them is signified by "putting the stumbling block of iniquity before his faces;" that to such the Lord cannot reveal the genuine truths of doctrine so long as they are in these falsities is signified by "if he shall come to the prophet, shall I, Jehovah, answer him who cometh with a multitude of his idols?" A "prophet" means one who teaches truths, and in the abstract sense the doctrine of genuine truth which is from the Lord; and "a multitude of idols" signifies falsities in abundance, for from one falsity assumed as a principle, falsities flow forth in abundance, together with falsities in a series from their connection; this is why they are called "idols," in the plural, and "a multitude of idols."

(Odkazy: Ezekiel 14:3-6)

[14] In the same:

I will sprinkle clean waters upon you that ye may be cleansed from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols will I cleanse you (Ezekiel 36:25).

Because "idols" signify falsities of doctrine it is said, "I will sprinkle clean waters upon you;" "clean waters" signifying genuine truths, and "to sprinkle them upon them" signifies to purify from falsities; these falsities are also called "uncleannesses," because they are falsities from evil, and falsities producing evil.

[15] In Micah:

I will make Samaria into a heap of the field, and I will make its stones to flow down into the valley, and I will open its foundations. Then all her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hire of her whoredom shall be burned up with fire, and all their idols will I lay waste; for she hath gathered them from the hire of a harlot, therefore to the hire of a harlot shall they return (Micah 1:6, 7).

"Samaria when it became idolatrous" represented the church devastated in respect to the truths of doctrine and the goods of life, or destroyed by the falsities of doctrine and by the evils of life; devastation in respect to all the truths of the church is signified by "it shall be made into a heap of the field, and its stones shall flow down into the valley, and its foundations shall be opened;" "the field" meaning the church; "the heap of the field" its devastation; "the stones" the truths of the church, and "foundations" the natural truths upon which the church is founded; the complete devastation of these is signified by "the stones shall flow down into the valley, and the foundations shall be opened;" the destruction of the church by the falsities of doctrine is signified by "her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and her idols laid waste;" "the hire of whoredom which shall be burned up with the fire," signifies the falsification of truth by applications to favor the loves of self and of the world.

(Odkazy: Micah 1:6-7)

[16] "Graven images," "molten images," and "idols," have a similar signification in the following passages. In Isaiah:

As My hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols and their graven images of Jerusalem and Samaria, shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? (Isaiah 10:10, 11).

Ye shall judge unclean the covering of the graven images of thy silver, and the plating of the molten images of thy gold; thou shalt disperse them as a menstruous thing; thou shalt call it dung (Isaiah 30:22).

In that day a man shall cast away the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold, which your hands have made for you a sin (Isaiah 31:7).

Lest thou say, Mine idol hath done these things, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them (Isaiah 48:5).

They shall be turned backward, they shall be ashamed with shame, that trust in a graven image, that say to a molten image, Ye are our gods (Isaiah 42:17).

A lion upon a watchtower said Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the earth (Isaiah 21:8, 9).

In Ezekiel:

Your altars shall be destroyed, and your sun images shall be broken; and I will make your slain to fall before your idols. And I will lay the carcasses of the sons of Israel before their idols (Ezekiel 6:4, 5).

In Micah:

In that day I will cut off thy graven images and thy statues out of the midst of thee; that thou mayest no longer worship the work of thy hands (Micah 5:10, 13).

In Moses:

And I will cast your bodies upon the bodies of your idols, and My soul shall abhor you (Leviticus 26:30).

The graven images of their gods shall ye burn up with fire; thou shalt not covet the silver or gold that is on them to take it unto thee, for it is an abomination to thy God (Deuteronomy 7:25).

Cursed be he who shall make a graven and a molten image, an abomination unto Jehovah, the work of the hands of the artificer, and shall put it in a secret place (Deuteronomy 27:15).

(Odkazy: Ezekiel 6:4-5; Isaiah 10:10-11, 21:8-9)

[17] "Idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood," have a similar signification as:

The gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, that king Belshazzar praised when he drank wine with his nobles and wives out of the vessels of gold and silver that were brought from the temple of Jerusalem; on account of which the handwriting appeared on the wall, and the king [Nebuchadnezzar] 2 was himself driven out from man, and became like a beast (Daniel 5:1, et seq.).

"The vessels of gold and silver of the temple of Jerusalem" signified the holy goods and truths of the church; "the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone, which the king of Babylon then praised," have a similar meaning as "idols" of the same, and these signify the evils and falsities of doctrine and of worship; "to praise" signifying to worship; "to drink out of the vessels of the temple of Jerusalem and at the same time to praise or worship those gods" signifies the profanation of good and truth by evils and falsities in worship; and because by profanation everything spiritual in man is destroyed, and man without the spiritual is not a man, so Nebuchadnezzar was driven away from man and became like a beast.

(Odkazy: Daniel 5, 5:2-5)

[18] Because an external without an internal must not be worshiped, but only an external from an internal, thus the internal in the external, it was forbidden to make any graven image in the likeness of anything living on the earth, in Moses:

Ye shall not make you a graven image, the shape of any similitude, the figure of male or female, the figure of any beast that is on the earth, the figure of any winged bird that flieth under heaven, the figure of anything that creepeth on the ground, the figure of any fish that is in the waters under the earth (Deuteronomy 4:16-18; 5:8).

This was prohibited because the Jewish nation, more than all other nations, was in externals without internals, and thus in the worship of all the external things that the nations called holy; and to worship external things other than those that represented heavenly things, which were the altar, the sacrifice upon it, the Tent of meeting, and the temple, was idolatrous. The Jewish worship of these, indeed, was also an idolatrous worship, but inasmuch as the church with them was a representative church their worship was accepted for the sake of the representation, although it did not affect them in respect to their soul, as can be seen from the various things shown respecting that nation in Arcana Coelestia (see what is collected in the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 248). And as the worship of an external anywhere else than where it was commanded, which was beside the tent in the desert and beside the temple and in the temple in Jerusalem, was the worship of the representative itself without any intuition of the thing represented, thus a worship of what is merely earthly apart from anything heavenly, therefore this was forbidden them, even to the extent that they should not make for themselves any graven images of such things; for the nature of that nation was such that as soon as they saw them made they worshiped them.

[19] That the idolatrous nations worshiped the images, not only of men but also of various beasts, birds, and creeping things, came from its having been handed down from the ancients that these objects signified things celestial and spiritual; as that "beasts" signified affections; "birds" the thoughts therefrom; and "creeping things" and "fishes" the same in the sensual-natural man. From this it came that when those who were in external worship without any internal heard that the holy things of heaven and the church were signified by these objects, they began to worship them; as the Egyptians, and from them the sons of Israel in the wilderness and afterwards in Samaria, worshiped calves, because "calves" with the ancients signified the good affections of the natural man.


1. Latin has "strengthens," the Hebrew "formeth," as also found in AE 386; AC 8941, 9424.

2. Latin has "the king," i.e., Belshazzar, the Chaldee has "Nebuchadnezzar.


(Odkazy: Daniel 5:2-5; Ezekiel 14:3-6; Revelation 9:20)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 583, 695, 724, 780, 827, 1186

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.