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Arcana Coelestia #2159

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2159. That 'servant' means the Lord's human before it was made Divine becomes clear from many places in the Prophets. The reason, which has been given frequently already, is this: The Lord's human, before He cast it off and made it Divine, was nothing else than a servant. His human came from the mother and was for that reason imperfect. From her it possessed a hereditary element which He overcame and utterly cast aside by means of the conflicts brought about by temptations. He did so even to the point when nothing was left of the imperfect and hereditary element received from the mother, indeed until at length nothing whatever from the mother remained. He cast off that which came from the mother so completely that He was no longer her son, as He also Himself declares in Mark,

They said to Jesus, Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside, asking for You. And He answered them. saying, Who is My mother, or My brothers? And looking around on those who were sitting around Him He said, Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother, and My sister, and My mother. Mark 3:32-35; Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 8:20-21.

(References: Matthew 12:46-49)


[2] Once He had cast off this human He put on the Divine Human, by virtue of which He called Himself the Son of Man, as may be seen many times in the New Testament Word, and also the Son of God. By 'the Son of Man' He meant truth itself and by 'the Son of God' good itself which belonged to His Human Essence once this had been made Divine. The former state was that of the Lord's humiliation but the latter that of His glorification, which has been dealt with already in 1999.

[3] In the former state, namely the state of humiliation, when He still had the imperfect human with Him, He worshipped Jehovah as one other than Himself, and was indeed like a servant, for the imperfect human is by comparison nothing else. In the Word also therefore that human is referred to as 'a servant', as in Isaiah,

I will protect this city to save it for My own sake and for the sake of David My servant. Isaiah 37:35.

This refers to the Assyrians in whose camp an angel slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand. 'David' stands for the Lord who, because He is yet to come, is, as regards the human, called 'a servant'. That 'David' in the Word stands for the Lord, see 1888.

[4] In the same prophet,

Behold, My servant on whom I will lean, My chosen [in whom] My soul is well pleased. I have put My spirit upon him; he will bring forth judgement to the nations. Isaiah 42:1.

This is a plain reference to the Lord, of whom, when He was in the human, the expressions 'servant' and 'chosen one' are used. In the same prophet,

Who is blind but My servant, and deaf as My angel 1 whom I will send? Who is blind as the perfect one, and blind as the servant or Jehovah? Isaiah 42:19.

This too is a reference to the Lord, of whom in a similar way, when He was in the human, the expressions 'servant' and 'angel' are used.

[5] In the same prophet,

You are My witnesses, said Jehovah, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Isaiah 43:10.

In the same prophet,

[Then] said Jehovah who formed me from the womb, to be a servant to Him, to bring back Jacob to Him, and that Israel might be gathered to Him - He said, It is a light thing that you should be a servant to Me to raise up the tribes of Jacob. I have given you as a light of the nations, to be My salvation right to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:5-6.

This too is a plain reference to the Lord and to His human before it was made 'a light of the nations' and 'a salvation to the ends of the earth'. In the same prophet,

Who among you fears Jehovah, hearkens to the voice of His servant who walks in darkness and has no brightness? Let him trust in the name of Jehovah and lean on his God. Isaiah 50:10.

'Servant' again stands for the Lord's human. His teaching of the way of truth, while He was in that Human, is meant by 'the voice of Jehovah's servant'.

[6] In the same prophet,

Jehovah goes before you, and the God of Israel gathers you up. Behold, My servant will deal wisely; he will be raised up and exalted and lifted up very high. Isaiah 52:12-13.

'Servant' is clearly used in reference to the Lord when He was in the human, because it is said of Him that He will be raised up, exalted, and lifted up. In the same prophet,

He had no form and no honour. We saw him, but there was no beauty in him. He was despised, a man of sorrows, acquainted with sickness. Jehovah was willing to bruise him and make him imperfect. If he makes his soul guilt he will see his seed he will prolong his days, and the will of Jehovah will prosper by his hand. He will see [the fruit of] the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge will the righteous one My servant make many righteous; and He has borne their iniquities. Isaiah 53:2-3, 10-11.

Here reference is openly made, as in the whole of this chapter, to the Lord's state of humiliation. The fact that in that state He was in the imperfect human is also declared, namely in the statements that He was 'a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief', 'was made imperfect', and experienced 'the travail of his soul', besides many other statements, in which state He is referred to as 'a servant'.

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Footnotes:

1. or messenger

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(References: Genesis 18:3)

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Arcana Coelestia 2265, 2320, 2658, 3025, 3036, 3318, 3703, 3704, 4563, 4809, 5045, 6984, 8281, 8649, 9309, 9315, 9528

Heaven and Hell 86

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 201, 300, 302, 310


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 32, 242


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Isaiah 37:36

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36 Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

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Explanation of Isaiah 37      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 37

(Note: Rev. Smithson's translation of the Isaiah text is appended below the explanation)

1. AND it came to pass, that when the king Hezekiah heard it, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of Jehovah.

2. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah, the son of Amoz, the prophet.

VERSES 1, 2. This was done because by the "king of Assyria" is here signified the rational principle perverted, or the rational principle which perverts the Truths and Goods of the church, and destroys them by falsities; all "the words of Tartan [Rabshakeh], the captain of the king of Assyria, involving such things: and because the church was seen to be in imminent danger of desolation and devastation, therefore, to testify mourning and grief on account thereof, "they rent their clothes, and covered themselves with sackcloth." From this and from other passages, (see 2 Samuel 3:31; Daniel 9:3; Jonah 3:5, 6, 8) it is evident that grief was represented in the Jewish and Israelitish church by "the putting on of sackcloth"; and this because grief of mind and sorrow of heart, which are interior things, were at that time represented by external things, which, on account of their correspondence with spiritual things, were thus significative. That a representative of grief by "the putting on of sackcloth", signified specifically grief on account of the desolation of Truth and of the devastation of Good in the church, and, in particular, repentance and then grief of heart on account of evils might be proved from many passages. Apocalypse Explained 637. See above, Chapter 3:18-25; 15:3; 22:12, the Exposition.

3. And they said unto him, Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, and of rebuke, and of contumely: for the sons are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.

4. Perhaps Jehovah your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom his lord the king of Assyria has sent to blaspheme the living God, and will reprove the words which Jehovah your God has heard: and do you offer up prayer for the remnant which is found.

5. And the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

Verse 3. That Truths from the Word may be heard and known, and yet reformation not be effected thereby, is signified by the "sons are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth", to "bring forth" signifies to make Truths fruitful by doing them, whence comes reformation. That this was a grief of heart and of mind, and disgraceful to the church, is signified by "a day of distress, and of rebuke, and of contumely." Apocalypse Explained 721.

6. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall you say to your lord, Thus says Jehovah, Be not afraid because of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.

Verses 6, 7, 37, 38. Because the rational mind is that which both acknowledges and denies the Divine [Being], and when it denies, it seizes upon everything false in the place of Truth, and thus perishes; wherefore this representative existed, namely, that "the king of Assyria, because he blasphemed Jehovah, was slain with the sword by his own sons, in the house of Nisroch his god", as we read in Isaiah 37:37, 38. Apocalypse Explained 131.

Verses 6, 17, 23, 24. Thus says Jehovah, Be not afraid because of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me, etc.

- From these words it is evident that "blasphemy" is predicated of false speaking against God, for by the "king of Assyria", who then was Sennacherib, is signified the rational principle, but perverted, which speaks against Divine Truth, and treats it opprobriously, and perverts it by falsities, which also is to falsify it, The falsities which he spake against Divine Truth are signified by the things mentioned in verses 10, 11, 12, 13, 24, 25; all of which were not only blasphemies against God, but also falsifications of Divine Truth. Apocalypse Explained 778.

The "blasphemies" which they spake were against God, and against the king and Jerusalem, thus against Divine Truth, as is more clearly evident from the internal sense; hence, from grief, they "tore their garments." Arcana Coelestia 4763.

To "blaspheme" and "blasphemy" signifies to deny the Divinity of the Lord, as the Socinians do, and to deny the Word; for they who deny the Divinity of the Lord cannot enter into heaven, for the Divine of the Lord is the all in all of heaven; and he who denies the Word, denies all things of religion. Apocalypse Revealed 571.

7. Behold, I will infuse a spirit into him; and he shall hear a report, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

8. And Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah: for he heard that he had departed from Lachish.

Verse 7. The term "spirit" has various significations in the Word. Since the life of man varies according to his state, therefore by the term "spirit" is also signified the peculiar affection of his life. As:

1) a life of wisdom; as "Bezaleel was filled with the spirit of wisdom"; etc. (Exodus 31:3; see also Deuteronomy 34:9; Dan. 5:12)

2) the excitement of life; as "Jehovah has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes." (Jeremiah 51:11) "Behold, I will infuse [or give] a spirit into the king of Assyria, and he shall hear a report", etc. (Isaiah 37:7)

The term "spirit" also signifies

3) liberty of life. (Ezekiel 1:20)

4) Life in fear, pain, and. anger. (Ezekiel 21:7; Psalm 143:4, 7; Daniel 7:15; Genesis 41:8)

5) a life of various evil affections; as "the spirit of whoredoms has caused them to err." (Hosea 4:12; 5:4) "The spirit of jealousy", etc. (Numbers 4:14)

6) infernal life; as "I will cause the unclean spririt to pass out of the land." (Zechariah 13:2)

7) The term "spirit" further signifies the infernal spirits themselves, by whom mankind are troubled, as in Matthew 8:16, and in many other passages. Doctrine of the Lord 48.

9. And he heard concerning Tirhakah, king of Cush, saying, He is come forth to make war with you. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,

10. Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah, king of Judah, saying, Let not your God, in whom you confide, deceive you, saying, That Jerusalem shall not: be given up into the hand of the king of Assyria.

11. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly; and shalt you be delivered?

Verse 9. King of Ethiopia, or Cush. - See above, Chapter 18:1, 2, the Exposition.

To make war with you. - As to the "wars" mentioned in the Word, see Chapter 7:1, the Exposition.

12. Have the gods of the nations delivered those which my fathers have destroyed? Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph; and the sons of Eden which were in Telassar?

13. Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Henah, and of Ivah?

Verses 12, 13. See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 36:19.

14. And Hezekiah received the letters from the hand of the messengers, and read them; and he went up to the house of Jehovah: and Hezekiah spread them before the face of Jehovah.

15. And Hezekiah prayed to Jehovah, saying,

Verses 14, 15 And Hezekiah spread the letters before the face of Jehovah, and prayed, etc. - [To "spread the letters full of blasphemy before Jehovah in the temple", was an act which, by correspondence, signifies the acknowledgement and confession, before the Lord, of the evils to which the church is exposed; and it also shows, on the part of the church, full confidence in Him as the only Protector and Saviour against the evils which would destroy it. It may here be observed that this act of "showing the blasphemous letters to Jehovah is the direct opposite to that of "showing to the messengers from Babylon all the precious things, silver, gold, spices, etc. in his dominion"; (see Chapter 39:2) which act signified the exposure of all the Truths, Goods, and Sanctities of the Word and of the church to the influence of Babylon, which is that of adulteration and profanation. (See Chapters 13 and 14, the Exposition.) For which act of Hezekiah the prophet Isaiah was sent to declare that "everything of the church would be taken captive to Babylon", that is, would be adulterated and profaned.]

And Hezekiah prayed, etc.

- As to the true nature of "prayer" see Chapter 1:11-19; 18:7, the Exposition.

16. O Jehovah of Hosts, You God of Israel, who art seated on the Cherubim! You art the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth! You have made the heavens and the earth!

17. Incline, O Jehovah, Thine ear, and hear; open, O Jehovah, Thine eyes, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to blaspheme the living God.

18. In truth, O Jehovah, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their lands;

Verse 16. The Lord is "seated or dwells on the Cherubim " as to the state of Providence, lest any one should be let in to the holy things of love and of faith except he is prepared by the Lord. That the Cherubim were upon the curtains of the Tabernacle, upon the Veil, upon the walls, of the temple, and upon the doors there, was to signify the Lord's guardian care, lest the Holy Divine should be approached but by the good of love. There were also Cherubim on the Ark, to signify that the Lord Himself cannot be approached but by that good. On this account also it was that the Cherubim were made of solid gold, and in the Temple at Jerusalem of olive-wood, or wood of oil; for by "gold" and by "oil" is signified the good of love. Arcana Coelestia 3384. See also 9509.

19. And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were not gods, but the work of the hands of man, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them.

20. And now, O Jehovah, our God, save us from his hand; that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone art Jehovah!

21. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus says Jehovah the God of Israel, Whereas you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib, king of Assyria:

Verse 19. By "the gods of the kings of Assyria" are here signified reasonings from falsities and evils, which agree with the proprium of man, wherefore they are also called "the work of the hands of man, wood and stone", or idols of wood and of stone, which signify the evils and falsities of religion and of doctrine originating in the proprium, Apocalypse Explained 686.

22. This is the word which Jehovah has spoken concerning him: The virgin, daughter of Zion, despises you, she laughs at you; the daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head at you.

23. Whom have you blasphemed and reviled; and against whom, have you exalted your voice? and have lifted up thine eyes on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel.

Verse 22. There are two affections which constitute the church, - one, or the affection of Good, constitutes the celestial church, and is called in the Word "the virgin, the daughter of Zion, and the other, or the affection of Truth, constitutes the spiritual church, and is called in the Word "the daughter of Jerusalem." Arcana Coelestia 2362. See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 16:2.

24. By the hand of your servants have you blasphemed the Lord, and have said, By the multitude of my chariots will I ascend the height of the mountains, the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir-trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his fruitful field.

Verse 24: By these words, in the internal sense, is described the haughtiness of those who, by ratiocinations from falsities, are desirous to destroy the Goods and Truths of the church. The "king of Assyria" is the rational Principle perverted; "the multitude of his chariots" signifies ratiocinations from falsities of doctrine. To ascend the height of the mountains, the sides of Lebanon", and to "cut down the tall cedars and the choice fir-trees thereof", signifies the endeavour to destroy the Goods and Truths of the church, as well internal as external; the mountains denote the Goods of the church, the "sides of Lebanon" where the Goods are conjoined with Truths; "Lebanon" denoting the spiritual church, the "cedars" the Internal Truths thereof, which are from Good, and the "fir-trees" the external Truths thereof, also from Good. Such is the signification of these words in the spiritual sense in which they are understood in heaven. Apocalypse Explained 405. See also 654.

25. I have digged, and I have drunk waters; and I have dried up with the sole of my steps all the streams of Egypt.

Verse 25. The "king of Assyria", or the rational principle perverted, destroying all the knowledges and apperceptions of Truth, is signified by "drying up with the sole of his steps all the streams of Egypt." The reason why the "streams of Egypt" signify the knowledges and apperceptions of Truth is, because "Egypt" is the natural man as to scientifics, knowledges, and apperceptions which belong to the natural man, as intelligence does to the spiritual man. Apocalypse Explained 518. See Chapter 19, the Exposition.

26. Hast you not heard, from of old, that I have done it? and, from the days of antiquity, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that you should be to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps.

Verse 26. These words refer to the antediluvian time denoted by "of old" and "the days of antiquity." Arcana Coelestia 274.

To "lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps", as said of the king of Assyria, is to destroy, by false reasonings, the truths and doctrinals of the church and of the Word. See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 23:13.

27. Therefore were their inhabitants of small strength; they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb; the grass of the house-top; and as the corn blasted before it is grown up.

28. But your sitting down, and your going out, and your coming in, and your rage against Me I have known:

Verse 27. "Inhabitants of small strength [or, literally, short in hand]", signifies of no power. Arcana Coelestia 878.

As the grass of the field, - as the corn blasted, etc. - See Chapter 15:6, Exposition.

Verse 28. It was a common form of speech among the ancients to say that they knew the "entering in" and the "going. out" of a person, to indicate that they knew all, the state of his life; and as this form of speech derived its origin from correspondences in the other life, wherefore, in the Word, similar things are said and. signified thereby, as in Samuel:

"Achish called David, and said unto him, You have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the camp has been good in my eyes; for I have not found evil in you." (1 Samuel 29:6) "His going out and his entering in being good in his eyes", signifies that all the state of his life had been well pleasing to him.

Again,

"You know Abner, that he came to persuade you, and to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you doest. (2 Samuel 3:25)

To know his "going out" and his "coming in" is to know all the thoughts and acts of his life; wherefore it is said, "that he might know all that you doest."

Again,

"Your sitting down, your going out, your coming in, and your rage against Me I have known"; (Isaiah 37:28),

speaking of Sennacherib the king of Assyria. To know his "going out" and his " coming in", is to know all things of his counsel. Arcana Coelestia 9927.

29. Because your rage against Me, and your insolence, is come up into Mine ears, therefore will I put My hook into your nose, and My bridle into your lips; and I will turn you back by the way in which you earnest.

Verse 29. These things are said concerning the "king of Assyria", by whom is signified ratiocination from falsities; for, in the good sense, by "Assyria" is signified the rational principle.

Because that king then besieged Jerusalem, and blasphemed God, it was said to him that "a hook should be put into his nose", whereby is signified that stupidity and foolishness should possess him; for the "nose" signifies perception, and the "hook" the extracting thereof, properly, immersion into the corporeal sensual principle, which, when separated from the rational, is stupid.

It is likewise said that "a bridle should be put into his lips", whereby is signified "insanity as to the understanding of Truth; for the "lips" signify thought from the understanding, and the "bridle" the retraction thereof.

To "turn him back by the way in which he came", signifies into the falsities by which he was about to perish; wherefore his "army", by which those falsities were signified, perished by a great slaughter. Apocalypse Explained 923.

30. And this shall be a sign unto you: Eat this year that which springs up of itself; and the second year, that which grows up of its own accord: and in the third year, sow you, and reap; and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.

Verse 30. This was said to Hezekiah the king, when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, made war against him, and spake proudly of himself, and contumeliously of God and of Israel, wherefore also one hundred and eighty-five thousand were smitten in the camp, and himself was slain by his sons.

The reason why this was done, was, because by "Assyria" is signified the rational [principle], and the same by the "king of Assyria", and by "Judea" the celestial [principle] of the church, and the spiritual [principle] by the "king" thereof; but, in this case, by the "king of Assyria" is signified the rational [principle] perverted, which, by false reasonings, destroys all the celestial and spiritual things of the church, which are the Goods and Truths thereof; and inasmuch as by "Judea" and by the "king" thereof is signified the celestial and spiritual principle of the church, which should be from the Lord when He came into the world, therefore such things are said, by which is described the regeneration of those who should be of that church.

Wherefore by "the sign, that they should eat in the first year that which springs up of itself [or spontaneously]", is signified celestial Good which shall be implanted in them from the Lord; by "that which grows up of its own accord in the second year", is signified the Truth of that Good which shall thence be derived; by "sowing, reaping, planting vineyards, and eating the fruit thereof", are signified all the Goods and Truths which thence flow forth; by "sowing and reaping" is signified the implantation of Good and the reception thereof; by "planting vineyards", the implantation of Truth and the reception thereof; and by "eating the fruits of them", the fruition of Goods, and satisfaction thence derived, appertaining to the regenerate man.

These things are called a "sign", because they are testifications concerning the celestial church with those who are understood in the spiritual sense by "Judah", whose regeneration is effected from the Lord by the implantation of celestial Good, afterwards by the implantation of spiritual Good, which, in its essence, is the Truth of celestial Good; and lastly, by multiplication and fructification in the natural man. Apocalypse Explained 700.

31. And again shall the escaped, the remnant of the house of Judah, strike root downwards, and bear fruit upwards.

32. For from Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant; and the escaped from Mount Zion: the zeal of Jehovah of Hosts shall do this.

33. Therefore thus says Jehovah concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not enter into this city; nor shall he shoot an arrow into it; nor shall he come before it with a shield; nor shall he cast up a mound against it.

34. By the way in which he came, by the same shall he return; and into this city shall he not come, says Jehovah.

Verses 31, 32. Again shall the escaped, the remnant of the house of Judah, strike root downwards, and bear fruit upwards, etc. - As to the meaning of the "remnant" and the "escaped", see Chapter 1:9; 4:2, 3, the Exposition.

[The "remnant of the house of Judah" is said to "strike root downwards", to denote that truths from a celestial origin will then be implanted in the natural man; and to "bear fruits upwards", that goods of life will be of a celestial and spiritual origin, or from the "internal man.]

35. And I will defend this city to save it, for Mine own sake, and for the sake of David My servant.

Verse 35. These words are said of the Assyrians, in whose camp one hundred and eighty-five thousand were slain. "David" stands for the Lord, who was to come, and who, as to His Humanity, is called a "Servant." That " David", in the Word, signifies the Lord, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 1880.

Whilst the Lord was in a state of humiliation, when He had with Him the infirm Human, He worshipped Jehovah as another separate from Himself, and indeed as a Servant, for the Human is respectively nothing else; wherefore, in the Word, a "servant" is predicated of that Human, as in Isaiah 37:35; 42:1, 19. Arcana Coelestia 2159.

36. And the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

Verse 36. A "camp" and an "encampment" signify, in a good sense, heaven. The reason is, because an " army" signifies Truths and Goods, which are arranged by the Lord according to heavenly order. Hence arrangement according to order is the encampinq of an army, and the heavenly order itself, which is heaven, is the "camp." This "camp", or this order, is such that it cannot possibly be broken into by hell, although hell is in a continual endeavour to break into it. Hence it is that "the camp of God", in Genesis 32:2, signifies heaven, This essential order is what was represented by the "encampments" of the sons of Israel in the wilderness, thus heaven itself was represented. The dwelling together therein, according to the tribes, was called a "camp"; the "tabernacle" which was in the midst, and about which they encamped, represented the Lord Himself. As many expressions in the Word have an opposite sense, so also has a "camp", and according to such sense it signifies evils and falsities, consequently hell, as in David:

"Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear." [Psalm 27:3)

Neither is anything else but hell meant by "the camp of Assyria, in which the angel of Jehovah smote a hundred and eighty and five thousand; (Isaiah 37:36)

In like manner also by "the camp of the Egyptians." (Exodus 14:20, 28) Arcana Coelestia 4236.

[The destruction of the Assyrian army was effected by the opening of a hell, and by a powerful influx thence proceeding, which corresponded to the evil and the false signified by the opposition of "the Assyrian army", and its determination to destroy "Jerusalem", which represented heaven and the church. A similar thing is described in the Revelation 20:9:

"Gog and Magog went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and, fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them." 'But this happened in the world of spirits, whereas the destruction of the Assyrian army took place in the natural world, on account of the representatives which then prevailed In the representative or typical church of the Jews. In the one case it is said that "an angel from Jehovah effected the destruction of the Assyrian army", and in the other that a fire from God out of heaven devoured the enemies of the camp of the saints and the beloved city." But that the destruction was effected either by "the angel of Jehovah" or by " fire from God out of heaven" is an appearance; the real truth is, that they were destroyed by their own evils and falsities, (Apocalypse Revealed 863) which, at the period of Judgment, are brought out, and which then overwhelm the wicked with perdition. The Lord never comes to destroy, but to save, and when the good are separated from the wicked, the latter are left to their own evil states and sink down into their respective hells.]

37. Then Sennacherib, king of Assyria, decamped, and departed, and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

38. And it came to pass, that as he was bowing himself down in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, smote him with the sword; and they escaped, into the land of Ararat: and Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.

Verses 37, 38. That "Nineveh" signifies what is false, or false doctrines arising from the fallacies of the senses, and from the obscurity of the understanding not illustrated, and from ignorance, is evident from Jonah, who was sent to Nineveh, which city was pardoned because they were of such a quality. In Isaiah things both historical and prophetical are mentioned, which involve and represent such arcana in like manner as all other historical things mentioned in the Word. In Isaiah we read respecting the king of Assyria, that "he dwelt at Nineveh, and that when he was bowing himself down in the house of Nisroch his god, he was slain by his sons with the sword." (Isaiah 37:37, 38)

Although these things are historical, they are nevertheless prophetical, involving and representing similar arcana. By "Nineveh" here is signified external worship in which are falsities, and as this worship was idolatrous, "he was slain by his sons with the sword." His "sons" are falsities, and the "sword" is the punishment of the false. Arcana Coelestia 1188.

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Isaiah Chapter 37

1. AND it came to pass, that when the king Hezekiah heard it, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of Jehovah.

2. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah, the son of Amoz, the prophet.

3. And they said unto him, Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, and of rebuke, and of contumely: for the sons are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.

4. Perhaps Jehovah your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom his lord the king of Assyria has sent to blaspheme the living God, and will reprove the words which Jehovah your God has heard: and do you offer up prayer for the remnant which is found.

5. And the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

6. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall you say to your lord, Thus says Jehovah, Be not afraid because of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.

7. Behold, I will infuse a spirit into him; and he shall hear a report, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

8. And Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah: for he heard that he had departed from Lachish.

9. And he heard concerning Tirhakah, king of Cush, saying, He is come forth to make war with you. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,

10. Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah, king of Judah, saying, Let not your God, in whom you confide, deceive you, saying, That Jerusalem shall not: be given up into the hand of the king of Assyria.

11. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly; and shalt you be delivered?

12. Have the gods of the nations delivered those which my fathers have destroyed? Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph; and the sons of Eden which were in Telassar?

13. Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Henah, and of Ivah?

14. And Hezekiah received the letters from the hand of the messengers, and read them; and he went up to the house of Jehovah: and Hezekiah spread them before the face of Jehovah.

15. And Hezekiah prayed to Jehovah, saying,

16. O Jehovah of Hosts, You God of Israel, who art seated on the Cherubim! You art the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth! You have made the heavens and the earth!

17. Incline, O Jehovah, Thine ear, and hear; open, O Jehovah, Thine eyes, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to blaspheme the living God.

18. In truth, O Jehovah, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their lands;

19. And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were not gods, but the work of the hands of man, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them.

20. And now, O Jehovah, our God, save us from his hand; that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone art Jehovah!

21. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus says Jehovah the God of Israel, Whereas you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib, king of Assyria:

22. This is the word which Jehovah has spoken concerning him: The virgin, daughter of Zion, despises you, she laughs at you; the daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head at you.

23. Whom have you blasphemed and reviled; and against whom, have you exalted your voice? and have lifted up thine eyes on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel.

24. By the hand of your servants have you blasphemed, the Lord, and have said, By the multitude of my chariots will I ascend the height of the mountains, the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir-trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his fruitful field.

25. I have digged, and I have drunk waters; and I have dried up with the sole of my steps all the streams of Egypt.

26. Hast you not heard, from of old, that I have done it? and, from the days of antiquity, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that you should be to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps.

27. Therefore were their inhabitants of small strength; they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb; the grass of the house-top; and as the corn blasted before it is grown up.

28. But your sitting down, and your going out, and your coming in, and your rage against Me I have known:

29. Because your rage against Me, and your insolence, is come up into Mine ears, therefore will I put My hook into your nose, and My bridle into your lips; and I will turn you back by the way in which you earnest.

30. And this shall be a sign unto you: Eat this year that which springs up of itself; and the second year, that which grows up of its own accord: and in the third year, sow you, and reap; and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.

31. And again shall the escaped, the remnant of the house of Judah, strike root downwards, and bear fruit upwards.

32. For from Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant; and the escaped from Mount Zion: the zeal of Jehovah of Hosts shall do this.

33. Therefore thus says Jehovah concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not enter into this city; nor shall he shoot an arrow into it; nor shall he come before it with a shield; nor shall he cast up a mound against it.

34. By the way in which he came, by the same shall he return; and into this city shall he not come, says Jehovah.

35. And I will defend this city to save it, for Mine own sake, and for the sake of David My servant.

36. And the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

37. Then Sennacherib, king of Assyria, decamped, and departed, and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

38. And it came to pass, that as he was bowing himself down in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, smote him with the sword; and they escaped, into the land of Ararat: and Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 37


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 4236

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  PDF Resources  (see all)


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Job 34:20

Isaiah 10:17, 25, 29:5, 30:31, 31:8

Nahum 1:12

Bible Word Meanings

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smote
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camp
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hundred
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fourscore
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five
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thousand
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early
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morning
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dead
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

Resources for parents and teachers

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 All Power Is by Means of the Word
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Destruction of Sennacherib
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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