337. And the kings of the earth and the great men, the rich men and the commanders, and the powerful, and every slave and every freeman. (6:15) This symbolizes those people who before the separation had possessed an understanding of truth and good, a knowledge of their concepts, and learning, acquired from others or on their own, and yet who lacked a life in accordance with them.
All these things are symbolized in turn by these classes of people, and this no one can know but one who knows what kings, great men, rich men, commanders, the powerful, and a slave and a freeman mean symbolically. In the spiritual sense kings symbolize people who possess truths; great men, people who possess good qualities; rich men, people who possess concepts of truth; commanders, people who possess concepts of goodness; the powerful, people who possess learning; slaves, people who acquire these things from others, thus as a matter of memory; and freemen, people who acquire these things on their own, thus with judgment.
It would take too long, however, to confirm from the Word that these are the symbolic meanings of all these designations. We have previously shown what kings symbolize, in no. 20; and what rich men symbolize, in no. 206. What great men symbolize is apparent in Jeremiah 5:5, Nahum 3:10, Jonah 3:7; for greatness is predicated of goodness (nos. 896, 898). And we will see below that the powerful and slaves and freemen are people who possess learning, acquired from others or on their own.
We say that they possess these things and yet lack a life in accordance with them, since evil people, even the worst of them, can have a knowledge and understanding of concepts of truth and goodness, and a great deal of learning as well. But because they lack a life in accordance with them, they do not really possess them. For whatever resides in the intellect alone, and is not present at the same in a person's life, does not exist in the person, being outside of him, as though in a forecourt. But whatever is present at the same time in a person's life exists in the person, being within him as though in the house. Consequently these people are preserved and the former rejected.