4779. 'And put sackcloth on his loins' means mourning for lost good. This is clear from the meaning of 'putting sackcloth over the loins' as an act representative of mourning for lost good. For 'the loins' means conjugial love and from this all celestial and spiritual love, 3021, 3294, 4277, 4280, 4575. This meaning of 'the loins' is derived from correspondence, for as all the organs, members, and viscera of the human body correspond to the Grand Man, as shown at the ends of chapters, so the loins correspond to those who are within the Grand Man, which is heaven, and in whom genuine conjugial love has existed. And because conjugial love is the fundamental of all kinds of love 'the loins' therefore means in general all celestial and spiritual love. From this arose the custom of putting sackcloth over their loins when they mourned over lost good; for all good belongs to love.
 The fact that people put sackcloth over their loins to testify to this mourning becomes clear from the historical and the prophetical parts of the Word, as in Amos,
I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; so will I cause sackcloth to come up over all loins, and baldness over every head, and I will make it as the mourning for an only-begotten sore, and its end as a bitter day. Amos 8:10.
'Causing sackcloth to come up over all loins' stands for mourning over lost forms of good, 'all loins' standing for all forms of the good of love. In Jonah,
The men of Nineveh believed in God, and therefore they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloths, from the greatest even to the least of them. And when word reached the king of Nineveh he rose up from his throne, and laid aside his royal robe from upon him, and covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he proclaimed that man and beast were to be covered with sackcloths. Jonah 3:5-8.
Clearly this was a sign representative of mourning over evil on account of which Nineveh was to perish, and so mourning over lost good.
Jonah 3:5-6, Jonah 3:8)
 In Ezekiel,
They will let forth a cry over you with their voice and will cry out bitterly; and they will cause dust to come up over their heads, and will roll themselves in ashes, and will make themselves bald over you, and will gird themselves with sackcloths. Ezekiel 27:30-31.
This refers to Tyre, each action mentioned here being representative of mourning for falsities and evils and so for lost truths and goods. 'Letting forth a cry and crying out bitterly' stands for lamentation over falsity or lost truth, 2240; 'causing dust to come up over the head' stands for having been condemned on account of evil, 278; 'rolling themselves in ashes' for having been condemned on account of falsities; 'making themselves bald' for mourning because the natural man has no truth, 3301 (end); 'girding themselves with sackcloths' for mourning because the natural man has no good. Similarly in Jeremiah,
O daughter of My people, gird yourself with sackcloth. and roll yourself in ashes; make mourning as for an only-begotten son, very bitter wailing; for suddenly he who lays waste will come upon you. Jeremiah 6:26.
And elsewhere in the same prophet,
The elders of the daughter of Zion will sit on the ground, they will become silent; they will cause dust to come up over their head, they will gird themselves with sackcloths; the virgins of Jerusalem will cause their heads to come down to the ground. Lamentations 2:10.
Here similar representative actions are described which, as above, were appropriate for the types of good and truth which had become lost.
 In Isaiah,
A prophecy concerning Moab. He will go up to Bayith, and to Dibon into the high places to weep; over Nebo and over Medeba Moab will howl. On all heads there is baldness; every beard is shaved off; in its streets they have girded themselves untie sackcloth; on its roots and in its streets everyone will wail, descending into weeping. Isaiah 15:2-3.
'Moab' stands for those who adulterate all good, 2468. The mourning over that adulteration meant by 'Moab' is described by the kinds of things that correspond to that type of evil. Virtually the same description therefore occurs in Jeremiah,
Every head is bald, and every beard shaved off; upon all hands are cuts, and over the loins is sackcloth; on all the roofs of Moab and in its streets there is mourning everywhere. Jeremiah 48:37-38.
 When king Hezekiah heard the blasphemous utterances of the Rabshakeh against Jerusalem 'he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth', Isaiah 37:1; 2 Kings 19:1. The reason for mourning was that his utterances were directed against Jehovah, the king, and Jerusalem. Their being utterances made in opposition to truth is meant by the king rending his clothes, 4763, and utterances made in opposition to good by his covering himself with sackcloth; for when in the Word truth is dealt with, so also is good. This is so because of the heavenly marriage, which is a marriage of good to truth and of truth to good in every single part; as also in David,
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed 1
my sackcloth and girded me with gladness. Psalms 30:11.
Here 'dancing' has reference to truths, and 'gladness' to goods, as they also do in other parts of the Word. 'Loosing sackcloth' accordingly means releasing from mourning over lost good.
 In 2 Samuel,
David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird sackcloth round you, and wail before Abner. 2 Samuel 3:31.
Because an outrageous act had been committed against that which was true and good David therefore commanded them to rend their clothes and gird sackcloths round them. Something similar occurred in the case of Ahab, for when he heard Elijah's words that he was to be cut off because he had acted contrary to what was fair and right - meaning in the spiritual sense contrary to what is true and good - 'he tore his clothes apart, and put sackcloth over his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went about slowly, 1 Kings 21:27.
 The use of 'sackcloth' to refer to lost good is also clear in John,
When he opened the sixth seal, behold, a great earthquake took place, and the sun became black as sackcloth, and the full moon became like blood. Revelation 6:12.
'An earthquake' stands for an alteration in the state of the Church as regards good and truth, 3355. 'The sun' stands for the good of love, 1529, 1530, 2441, 2495, 4060, 4300, 4696, and therefore 'sackcloth' here has reference to lost good. 'The moon' stands for the truth of faith, 1529, 1530, 2120, 2495, 4060, and 'blood' has reference to this because 'blood' means truth that has been falsified and rendered profane, 4735.
Arcana Coelestia 1529-1530)
 Because 'being clothed in sackcloth and rolling oneself in ashes' represented mourning over evils and falsities, it also represented both humility and repentance. For humility begins first with the acknowledgement that in oneself one is nothing but a source of evil and falsity. Repentance begins with the same acknowledgement and does not become a reality except through humility, and humility does not become a reality except through heartfelt confession that in oneself one is such a source of evil and falsity. For 'putting on sackcloth' was an expression of humility, see 1 Kings 21:27-29, also of repentance, Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13. But the fact that this was no more than some representative, and so merely an external activity of the body and not an internal activity of the heart, is evident in Isaiah,
Is he to bow his head like a rush and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, and a day of that which is pleasing to Jehovah? Is not this the fast that I choose, to loose 2
the bonds of wickedness, to break bread for the hungry? Isaiah 58:5-7.
1. literally, opened
2. literally, to open
Genesis 37:34; Isaiah 15:1-3; Jonah 3:5-6, Jonah 3:8)