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Lamentations 4

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1 How is the gold become dim! [how] is the most pure gold changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out at the head of every street.

2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

3 Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.

4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: The young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.

5 They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: They that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.

6 For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, That was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands were laid upon her.

7 Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire.

8 Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: Their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

9 They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

10 The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children; They were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 Jehovah hath accomplished his wrath, he hath poured out his fierce anger; And he hath kindled a fire in Zion, which hath devoured the foundations thereof.

12 The kings of the earth believed not, neither all the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.

13 [It is] because of the sins of her prophets, [and] the iniquities of her priests, That have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her.

14 They wander as blind men in the streets, they are polluted with blood, So that men cannot touch their garments.

15 Depart ye, they cried unto them, Unclean! depart, depart, touch not! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, They shall no more sojourn [here].

16 The anger of Jehovah hath scattered them; he will no more regard them: They respected not the persons of the priests, they favored not the elders.

17 Our eyes do yet fail [in looking] for our vain help: In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save.

18 They hunt our steps, so that we cannot go in our streets: Our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.

19 Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heavens: They chased us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.

20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits; Of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz: The cup shall pass through unto thee also; thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.

22 The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: He will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will uncover thy sins.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 122


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 96, 374, 382, 1073, 1234, 1460, 2336, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 47, 305, 312, 343, 379, 501, 502, ...

Sacred Scripture 87

True Christian Religion 252


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 79, 175, 183, 195, 196, 239, 240, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 58

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 59

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 19:24

Leviticus 13:45, 26:28, 33

Deuteronomy 28:51, 56

Judges 9:15

2 Kings 6:29, 18:27, 25:3, 8, 21

Job 1:1, 19:20, 30:30, 39:16

Psalms 106:27, 137:7

Song of Solomon 5:10, 15

Isaiah 13, 22:2, 24:2, 28:18, 30:16, 32:2, 40:2, 47:6, 51:20

Jeremiah 2:37, 6:13, 16:16, 17:27, 19:11, 21:13, 23:14, 37:13, 39:5, 49:7, 12, 50:20, 52:9

Lamentations 1:3, 11, 13, 2:1, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14, 20, 5:6, 10, 12

Ezekiel 4:16, 5:10, 7:2, 6, 15, 11:6, 12:13, 19:8, 22:25, 27, 23:45, 29:6, 16, 31:17, 35:15

Daniel 8:25

Hosea 8, 13:10

Obadiah 1:10, 16

Habakkuk 8

Zephaniah 17

Matthew 10:15

Word/Phrase Explanations

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

stones
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

sanctuary
'Sanctuary' signifies the truth of heaven and the church. 'Sanctuary,' as in Ezekiel 24:21, signifies the Word.

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

Sons of Zion
'Sons of Zion,' as in Joel 2:23, signify people in wisdom from divine truth.

sons
'Sons of the stranger' signify counterfeit truths, or falsities. 'Our sons' signify the doctrines of truth, and 'our daughters,' the doctrines of good, as in...

work
'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...

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

Potter
A potter,' as in Zechariah 11:12, 13, signifies reformation and regeneration.

Breast
The breast (Ezek. 16:7), signifies natural good.

give suck
'Queens as nursing mothers,' as in Isaiah 49:23, signify goods, or people who are in goods.

suck
To 'suckle' denotes taking in good, because 'a nurse,' or 'one who suckles' signifies implanting good. To 'suckle,' as in Genesis 21:7, signifies implanting the...

wilderness
'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...

tongue
'The tongue,' as an organ, signifies doctrine, but as speech, or language, it signifies religion. 'Tongue' signifies perception of truth with respect to speech, and...

bread
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

streets
The phrase 'in the streets and synagogues' in Matthew 6:2, 5, and Luke 8:26-27, refers to a representative rite amongst the Jews to teach in...

Dunghills
Dunghills as in Lamentations 4:5 signify the falsities of evil.

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

sin
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...

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

snow
'Snow' signifies truth in extremes, because it is water, which signifies the truths of faith. It also relates to truth because it is white. 'Snow,'...

milk
Water represents true ideas about day-to-day life, and other drinks and liquids in general represent different forms of truth. Milk is a drink that contains...

skin
'Skin' corresponds to truth or to falsity in the extremes. 'The skin,' as relates to the grand human, means the natural self. There are spirits...

bones
Bones are strong and supportive, providing a framework for our bodies and making motion and action possible. They are also the least "alive" part of...

withered
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

Slain
'A multitude of slain' relates to people who perish from falsities, and 'a great number of carcasses,' of people who perish from evils, as in...

sword
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...

want
'Want of spiritual nourishment,' denotes a lack of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

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

boiled
'To seethe' signifies destroying truths and goods by falsities.

own
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...

Jehovah
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...

wrath
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

Fierce anger
'Fierce anger,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies grievous aversion from good.

fire
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...

devoured
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...

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

the kings of
The kings of Media and Persia' represent people who are in faith separate from charity.

kings
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...

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

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

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

world
The term "world" has both general and more specific meanings in the Bible, including the relatively literal sense of the natural, physical world. In more...

enemy
An enemy in the Bible refers to people who are in the love of evil and the false thinking that springs from evil. On a...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

gates
In Lamentations 2:8-9, 'wall,' 'rampart,' 'gates,' and 'bars' signify doctrines.

jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

prophets
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...

Priests
Priests' represent the Lord regarding His divine good. When they do not acknowledge the Lord, they lose their signification of the Lord.

the blood of the
‘The blood of the grape’ signifies spiritual celestial good, which is the name given to the divine in heaven as it goes out from the...

blood
Bloods signify evil, in Ezek. 16:9.

just
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...

wander
'To wander,' as in Amos 4:8, signifies inquiry. 'To wander blind in the streets,' as in Lamentations 4:14, means not knowing good and truth.

touch
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

garments
'Vestments' signify truth, and in relation to the Lord, divine truth. 'Vesture' signifies truth clothing good, and when describing the Word, it signifies the Word...

unclean
'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

said
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...

elders
Ancients of the people, and the princes thereof ('Isaiah 3:14'), have a similar signification with the twelve disciples.

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

nation
'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...

save
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

Hunt
'To hunt' signifies in general 'persuading,' and in particular, 'to captivate and ensnare people's minds,' by flattering them in the pursuit of the things of...

go
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...

near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

days
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...

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

eagles
Eagle wings, referred to in Daniel 7:3, signify rational principles grounded in man's proprium.

Heavens
Heavens are celestial and spiritual things. Consequently, they are inmost things, both of the Lord's kingdom in heaven the and in the earth. This also...

us
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,...

mountains
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...

Breath
'Breath' is the life of the body corresponding to spiritual things, just like the motion of the heart is the life of the body corresponding...

nostrils
'A blast of the breath of the nostrils' signify the same thing as 'his anger and wrath.'

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

shadow
'The shadow is good' of the oak, poplar and elm means complacence.

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

edom
'Edom' or 'Idumea,' as in Isaiah 34:5, signifies those who are in evil and in falsities thence derived.

Uz
'Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash,' as in Genesis 10:23, signify several kinds of knowledges derived from the knowledges of good, and anything pertaining those knowledges....

pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

Punishment
Punishment' is the consummation of evil, because after punishment, reformation succeeds. This is why it says in Deuteronomy 25:3, 'that no more than forty stripes...

daughter of zion
'Virgin' and 'daughter of Zion' signify the church regarding the affection of good and truth.

visit
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...

uncover
To uncover' signifies adulterating the goods of the Word, and 'to grind meal' signifies falsifying its truths.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Revealed #672

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)      

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672. 15:7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls. This symbolizes the truths and goods by which evils and falsities in the church are exposed, drawn from the literal sense of the Word.

The four living creatures, being cherubim, symbolize the Word in its outmost expressions, and protections to keep its genuine truths and goods from being violated, as may be seen in no. 239 above. And because the interior truths and goods in the Word are protected by its literal meaning, therefore that meaning of the Word is symbolized by one of the four living creatures.

The seven bowls have the same symbolic meaning as the seven plagues, for the bowls are vessels, and vessels in the Word have the same symbolic meaning as their contents. So for example, a cup has the same symbolic meaning as the wine in it, and a dish the same symbolic meaning as the food. That cups, goblets, bowls, plates and saucers have the same symbolic meaning as their contents may be seen from the passages that follow after this.

We have already said what the seven angels symbolize above.

The angels were given the bowls because the subject is the influx of truth and goodness into the church in order to expose its evils and falsities, and naked goods and truths cannot flow in, as they are not accepted, but truths clothed can, such as are found in the literal sense of the Word. Moreover, the Lord also operates always from inmost elements through outmost ones, or in fullness. This is the reason the angels were given bowls, which symbolize containing truths and goods such as constitute the Word's literal sense, by which falsities and evils are exposed.

That the literal sense of the Word is a containing vessel may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture, 27-36nos. and 37-49.

(References: Teachings about the Sacred Scripture 27-36, 37-49)


[2] That bowls, saucers, cups and goblets, and also wineskins, have the same symbolic meaning as the things they contain can be seen from the following passages:

(Jehovah said,) "Take this... cup of wrath from My hand, and cause all the nations... to drink... ...when they refuse to take the cup..., then you shall say to them, '...You shall surely drink!'" (Jeremiah 25:15-16, 28)

Babylon was a golden cup in Jehovah's hand, that made all the earth drunk. (Jeremiah 51:7)

...I will put (your sister's) cup in your hand... You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of... devastation, the cup of your sister Samaria. (Ezekiel 23:31-34)

The cup of... Jehovah will come around to you, that there may be vomit on your glory. (Habakkuk 2:16)

...O daughter of Edom...; the cup shall also pass over to you; you shall be drunk and laid bare. (Lamentations 4:21)

Upon the wicked (Jehovah) will rain... stormy winds, the portion of their cup. (Psalms 11:6)

...in the hand of Jehovah there is a cup, and He has mixed it with wine; He has filled it with the mixed wine and poured it out; ...all the wicked of the earth shall drink... (Psalms 75:8)

(Those who worship the beast) shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed with pure wine in the cup of His indignation. (Revelation 14:10)

Awake...! Arise, O Jerusalem, who have drunk from the hand of Jehovah the cup of His wrath; You have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling... (Isaiah 51:17)

The woman... having in her hand a golden chalice full of abominations and the filthiness of her licentiousness. (Revelation 17:4)

...repay her double...; in the cup in which she has mixed, mix double for her. (Revelation 18:6)

...I am making Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the surrounding peoples... (Zechariah 12:2)

Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup..., that the outside of them may be clean also. (Matthew 23:25-26, cf. Luke 11:39)

Jesus... said (to the sons of Zebedee), ."..Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink....?" (Matthew 20:22-23)

...Jesus said to Peter, ."..Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (John 18:11)

(In Gethsemane Jesus said,) ."..if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44)

(Jesus) taking the cup, ...gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood, the blood of the new covenant...." (Matthew 26:27-28, Luke 22:17)

O Jehovah, You are... my cup, You uphold my lot. (Psalms 16:5)

You will prepare a table before me...; my cup shall overflow. (Psalms 23:5)

What shall I render to Jehovah...? I will take the cup of salvation... (Psalms 116:12-13)

...the cup of consolation to drink... (Jeremiah 16:7)

A bowl has the same symbolic meaning as a cup or chalice, and so also does a wineskin (Matthew 9:17; Luke 5:37-38; Jeremiah 13:12; 48:12; Habakkuk 2:15).

Bowls, censers and thuribles containing incense have the same symbolic meaning as incense. Vessels of every kind in general have the same symbolic meaning as the things they contain.

(References: Mark 10:38-39, 14:23-24; Matthew 23:26)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 24, 656, 718, 723, 728, 762, 794

True Christian Religion 776

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.


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