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Arcana Coelestia #1085

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1085. 'They put it on a shoulder' means that they did so with all the power they had, that is to say, they placed a good interpretation on it and excused it. This is clear from the meaning of 'shoulder' as all power. In the Word 'hand' means power, as shown already. 'Arm' means greater power still, while 'shoulder' means all power, as becomes clear also from the following places in the Word: In Ezekiel,

You push with side and with shoulder, and butt with your horns all the weak sheep till you have scattered them abroad. Ezekiel 34:21.

'With side and with shoulder' here stands for all their soul and all their power; and 'butting with horns' stands for all their strength.

[2] In the same prophet,

That all the inhabitants of Egypt may know that I am Jehovah, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they grasp you with the hand you will be broken, and will tear for them every shoulder. Ezekiel 29:6-7.

This refers to people who wish to probe into spiritual truths by means of facts. 'A staff of reed' stands for power of this kind, 'taking with the hand' stands for trusting in it, 'tearing every shoulder' for being deprived of all power so that they may know nothing. In Zephaniah,

That all of them may call on the name of Jehovah to serve Him with one shoulder. Zeph, 3:9.

'One shoulder' stands for doing so with one soul. and so with one power.

[3] In Zechariah,

They refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder. Zechariah 7:11.

This stands for their resisting with all the power they had. In Isaiah,

They hire a smith who makes gold and silver into God. They worship, they even bow down to it. They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it. Isaiah 46:6-7.

'Shoulder' stands for their worshipping the idol with all the power they have, which is 'bearing on the shoulder'.

[4] In the same prophet,

To us a Boy is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.

This refers to the Lord, and at this point to the power He has and exercises - hence the phrase 'upon His shoulder'. In the same prophet,

I will place the key of the house of David on His shoulder, and He will open and none will shut; and He will shut and none will open.

This similarly refers to the Lord, placing on the shoulder the key of the house of David' standing for the power He has and exercises.

(References: Genesis 9:23; Isaiah 22:22)

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

The Bible


Genesis 9



1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.

6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,

9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.

11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.

19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.

24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.

29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.


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