5201. 'And they fed in the sedge' means instruction. This is clear from the meaning of 'feeding' as receiving instruction, dealt with below, and from the meaning of 'the sedge', or longer grass that grows near rivers, as facts known to the natural man. Since such factual knowledge is meant by 'grass or 'plant', as is plain from the Word, 'feeding in the sedge' therefore means receiving instruction in factual knowledge, and through this knowledge instruction regarding things that are true and good. For factual knowledge serves as a means. Indeed it is like a mirror in which an image of interior things reveals itself; and this image is like another mirror in which forms of the truth and the good of faith, and therefore things which belong to heaven and are called spiritual, reveal and represent themselves. But being an interior one, this image is seen by none but those who have faith that is rooted in charity. This is what is meant in the genuine sense by 'feeding in the sedge'.
 The meaning of 'feeding' as receiving instruction is evident from those places in the Word where one reads the expression, such as in Isaiah,
Then He will give rain for your seed with which you sow the land, and bread of the produce of the land; and there will be fatness and wealthiness. On that day, they will feed your cattle in a broad grassland. Isaiah 30:23.
'Cattle' stands for those in whom goodness and truth are present, 'feeding in a broad grassland' for receiving abundant instruction.
 In the same prophet,
I have given You as a covenant of the people - to restore the land; to share out the devastated inheritances; to say to the bound, Go out; to those who are in darkness, Reveal yourselves. They will feed along the ways, and on all slopes will their pasture be. Isaiah 49:8-9.
This refers to the Lord's Coming. 'Feeding along the ways' stands for receiving instruction in truths, 'the ways' being truths, 627, 2333. 'Pasture' stands for the actual instruction. In Jeremiah,
Woe to the shepherds destroying and scattering the flock of My pasture! Therefore said Jehovah God of Israel against the shepherds feeding My people..... Jeremiah 23:1-2.
'The shepherds' stands for those who give instruction, and 'the flock' for those who receive it, 347, 3795, so that 'feeding' means giving instruction.
Arcana Coelestia 343)
 It has become customary to refer to those who teach as 'pastors' or 'shepherds' and to those who learn as 'the flock'. For this reason the use of the expression 'feeding' has become commonly accepted when talking about preaching or about instruction given in doctrine or the Word. But when the expression is used in this way it is only a comparison and not, as when it occurs in the Word, one that holds any spiritual meaning within it. The reason 'feeding', when used in the Word, has a spiritual meaning is that when instruction and doctrine based on the Word are being talked about in heaven, that discussion is represented in a visual way in the world of spirits, where spiritual realities make their appearance within natural images. That representation consists of grasslands that are lush with grass, plants, and flowers, and where also there are flocks; and every variation of this scene occurs, as determined by the nature of the discussion that is taking place in heaven regarding instruction and doctrine.
 In the same prophet,
I will bring back Israel to his habitation so that he may feed on Carmel and Bashan; and on mount Ephraim and in Gilead his soul will be satisfied. Jeremiah 50:19.
'Feeding on Carmel and Bashan' stands for receiving instruction in forms of the good of faith and charity. In the same prophet,
There has gone out from the daughter of Zion all her majesty; her princes have become like deer, they have not found pasture. Lamentations 1:6. In Ezekiel
I will feed them in a good pasture, and their fold will be on the mountains of the loftiness of Israel; and they will lie down in a good fold, and on fat pasture they will feed upon the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel 34:14.
 In Hosea,
Now Jehovah will feed them like a sheep in a broad place. Hosea 4:16.
'Feeding in a broad place' stands for giving instruction in truths, for 'a broad place' means truth, see 1613, 3473, 3434, 4482.
You, Bethlehem Ephrath, from you will come forth for Me one who will be Ruler in Israel. He will stand and feed [His flock] in the strength of Jehovah. Micah 5:2, 4.
In the same prophet,
your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance which is dwelling alone. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. Micah 7:14.
The remnant of Israel will feed and rest, with none making them afraid. Zephaniah 3:17.
Arcana Coelestia 3433-3434; Zephaniah 3:13)
 In David,
Jehovah is my Shepherd; He will make me lie down in green pastures; 2
He will lead me away to still waters. Psalms 23:1-2.
In the same author,
He made us and not we ourselves, His people and the flock of His pasture; therefore we are His, His people and the flock of His pasture. 3
In the Book of Revelation,
The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will feed them and will guide them to living springs of water. Revelation 7:17.
I am the door. If anyone enters through Me he will be saved, and will go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:9.
In the same gospel,
Jesus said to Peter, Feed My lambs; a second time, Feed My sheep; and a third time, Feed My sheep. John 21:15-17.