By New Christian Bible Study Staff
'Mizraim' signifies the same thing as Egypt.
(References: Arcana Coelestia 1165)
323. With sword, with famine, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. This symbolically means, by doctrinal falsities, by evil practices, by self-love, and by lusts.
To be shown that a sword symbolizes truths fighting against evils and falsities and destroying them, and in an opposite sense, falsity fighting against goods and truths and destroying them, see nos. 52, 108, 117 above. Accordingly, because the subject is the destruction of all good in the church, a sword here symbolizes doctrinal falsities.
That a famine symbolizes evil practices - this we will confirm below.
Death symbolizes a person's self-love because death symbolizes the extinction of spiritual life, and thus natural life divorced from any spiritual life, as shown in no. 321 above, and this life is the life of a person's self-love; for this life causes a person to love nothing but himself and the world, and so to love also evils of every kind, evils which, because of that life's love, are delightful to him.
That beasts of the earth symbolize lusts arising from the love will be seen in no. 567 below.
Here we will say something about the symbolic meaning of famine. A famine symbolizes the privation and rejection of concepts of truth and goodness, springing from evil practices. It symbolizes as well an ignorance of concepts of truth and goodness, owing to an absence of these in the church. And it symbolizes also a desire to know and understand them.
(References: Revelation 6:8)
 I. That a famine symbolizes the privation and rejection of concepts of truth and goodness, springing from evil practices, and thus symbolizes evil practices, can be seen from the following passages:
They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, so that their corpses become food for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth. (Jeremiah 16:4)
These two things shall befall you...: devastation and ruin, and famine and sword... (Isaiah 51:19)
Behold, I am visiting punishment upon them. The young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine. (Jeremiah 11:22)
...deliver up her children to famine, and cause them to flow down upon the hands of the sword..., that their men may be put to death... (Jeremiah 18:21)
...I will send on them the sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them like rough figs that cannot be eaten, they are so bad. And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence. (Jeremiah 29:17-18)
I will send upon them the sword, famine, and pestilence, till they are consumed from the land... (Jeremiah 24:10)
...I proclaim liberty to you..., to the sword, to pestilence, and famine! And I will deliver you for turmoil to all nations. (Jeremiah 34:17)
...because you have defiled My sanctuary..., a third of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine...; and a third shall fall by the sword... When I send against them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for destruction... (Ezekiel 5:11-12, 16-17)
The sword is outside, and the pestilence and famine within. (Ezekiel 7:15)
...for all the evil abominations... they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. (Ezekiel 6:11-12)
...I will send My four evil judgments on Jerusalem - the sword, famine and wild beast, and pestilence - to cut off man and beast from it. (Ezekiel 14:13, 15, 21)
And so, too, elsewhere, as in Jeremiah 14:12-13, 15-16; 42:13-14, 16-18, 22; 44:12-13, 27, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11. Sword, famine, pestilence and beasts in these places have similar symbolic meanings to those of the sword, famine, death, and beasts of the earth in the present verse. For the Word has a spiritual meaning in it in every single constituent, in which a sword means the destruction of spiritual life by falsities, in which famine means the destruction of spiritual life by evils, in which a beast of the earth means the destruction of spiritual life by the lusts accompanying falsity and evil, and in which pestilence and death means a complete destruction and thus damnation.
 II. That famine, or hunger, symbolizes an ignorance of concepts of truth and goodness, owing to an absence of these in the church, is clear as well from various passages in the Word, as in Isaiah 5:13; 8:19-22, Lamentations 2:19; 5:8-10, Amos 8:11-14, Job 5:17, 20, and elsewhere.
III. That famine or hunger symbolizes a desire to know and understand the church's truths and goods is apparent from the following: Isaiah 8:21; 32:6; 49:10; 58:6-7; Matthew 5:6; 25:35, 37, 44; Luke 1:53; John 6:35; and elsewhere.