Arcana Coelestia #7571

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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7571. And upon every herb of the field in the land of Egypt. That this signifies every truth of the church in the natural mind, is evident from the signification of “herb,” as being truth (of which in what follows); from the signification of “field,” as being the church (of which above, n. 7557); and from the signification of “the land of Egypt,” as being the natural mind (of which also above, n. 7569). That “herb” signifies truth is because the “land” signifies the church, also a “field;” and hence all the produce from it signifies either the truth that is of faith, or the good that is of charity, for these are of the church. By the “herb of the field” is meant all in general that comes from the field, as is plain from the Lord’s parable in Matthew:

The kingdom of the heavens is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field, but when the herb sprouted forth and bore fruit, then appeared the tares (Matthew 13:24, 26); where “the herb” stands for the produce of the field. That by “the herb” is here signified the truth of the church, and by “tares” falsity is evident; it is indeed a comparison, but all the comparisons in the Word are from significatives (n. 3579).

In David:

Who causeth grass to sprout forth for the beast, and herb for the ministry of man; to bring forth bread out of the earth (Psalms 104:14); where also “herb” stands for the produce of the field, and by it in the internal sense is here signified truth.

(References: Matthew 13:28)


[2] In the same:

In pastures of herb He will make me lie down, unto the waters of rests He will lead me, He will create anew my soul (Psalms 23:2-3);

“pastures of herb” denote the spiritual nourishment which is of the soul, and therefore it is said “He will create anew my soul.”

In Isaiah:

The waters of Nimrim shall be desolations, because the grass is dried up, the herb is consumed, there is no green thing (Isaiah 15:6).

I will make waste mountains and hills, and I will dry up all their herb, and I will make the rivers islands, and I will lead the blind in a way that they have not known (Isaiah 42:15).

How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein the beasts and the bird shall be consumed (Jeremiah 12:4).

The hind calved in the field, but forsook it, because there was no herb, and the wild asses stood on the hills, they snuffed the wind like whales because there was no herb (Jeremiah 14:5-6).

Be not afraid, ye beasts of my fields, for the habitations of the wilderness are become grassy, for the tree will bear her fruit, the fig tree and the vine will yield its strength (Joel 2:22).

When the locusts had completed the devouring of the herb of the land, I said, O Lord Jehovih, forgive, I beseech Thee; how shall Jacob stand when he is little? (Amos. 7:2.)

Ask ye of Jehovah the latter rain in season; Jehovah will make clouds, and will give them a shower of rain, to a man herb in the field (Zech. 10:1).

The fifth angel sounded, and it was said that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree (Revelation 9:1, 4).

(References: Isaiah 37:27, 42:15-16)


[3] Everyone can see that in these passages grass and herb are not meant, but instead of them such things as are of the church; that by the “herb of the land” and the “herb of the field” is meant the truth which is of faith is plain. Without such a spiritual sense no one would ever know why it should be said, in John, when the fifth angel sounded, that “they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing”; nor would anyone know what is meant in Jeremiah, “The hind calved in the field, but forsook it, because there was no herb, and the wild asses snuffed the wind like whales because there was no herb”; nor what is meant in many other passages. From this it is evident how little the Word is understood, and how earthly an idea would be had of very many things contained therein, unless it were known what they signify; at least that there is what is holy in every detail.

(References: Exodus 9:22; Isaiah 42:15-16)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 7583, 7647, 7676, 7689, 8902, 9141, 9230, 9262, 9372, 9391, 9936, 10137


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 503

Other New Christian Commentary

Herb 1


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


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