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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia #7571

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7571. And upon every herb of the field in the land of Egypt. That this signifies every truth of the church in the natural mind, is evident from the signification of “herb,” as being truth (of which in what follows); from the signification of “field,” as being the church (of which above, n. 7557); and from the signification of “the land of Egypt,” as being the natural mind (of which also above, n. 7569). That “herb” signifies truth is because the “land” signifies the church, also a “field;” and hence all the produce from it signifies either the truth that is of faith, or the good that is of charity, for these are of the church. By the “herb of the field” is meant all in general that comes from the field, as is plain from the Lord’s parable in Matthew:

The kingdom of the heavens is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field, but when the herb sprouted forth and bore fruit, then appeared the tares (Matthew 13:24, 26); where “the herb” stands for the produce of the field. That by “the herb” is here signified the truth of the church, and by “tares” falsity is evident; it is indeed a comparison, but all the comparisons in the Word are from significatives (n. 3579).

In David:

Who causeth grass to sprout forth for the beast, and herb for the ministry of man; to bring forth bread out of the earth (Psalms 104:14); where also “herb” stands for the produce of the field, and by it in the internal sense is here signified truth.

(References: Matthew 13:28)


[2] In the same:

In pastures of herb He will make me lie down, unto the waters of rests He will lead me, He will create anew my soul (Psalms 23:2-3);

“pastures of herb” denote the spiritual nourishment which is of the soul, and therefore it is said “He will create anew my soul.”

In Isaiah:

The waters of Nimrim shall be desolations, because the grass is dried up, the herb is consumed, there is no green thing (Isaiah 15:6).

I will make waste mountains and hills, and I will dry up all their herb, and I will make the rivers islands, and I will lead the blind in a way that they have not known (Isaiah 42:15).

How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein the beasts and the bird shall be consumed (Jeremiah 12:4).

The hind calved in the field, but forsook it, because there was no herb, and the wild asses stood on the hills, they snuffed the wind like whales because there was no herb (Jeremiah 14:5-6).

Be not afraid, ye beasts of my fields, for the habitations of the wilderness are become grassy, for the tree will bear her fruit, the fig tree and the vine will yield its strength (Joel 2:22).

When the locusts had completed the devouring of the herb of the land, I said, O Lord Jehovih, forgive, I beseech Thee; how shall Jacob stand when he is little? (Amos. 7:2.)

Ask ye of Jehovah the latter rain in season; Jehovah will make clouds, and will give them a shower of rain, to a man herb in the field (Zech. 10:1).

The fifth angel sounded, and it was said that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree (Revelation 9:1, 4).

(References: Isaiah 37:27, 42:15-16)


[3] Everyone can see that in these passages grass and herb are not meant, but instead of them such things as are of the church; that by the “herb of the land” and the “herb of the field” is meant the truth which is of faith is plain. Without such a spiritual sense no one would ever know why it should be said, in John, when the fifth angel sounded, that “they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing”; nor would anyone know what is meant in Jeremiah, “The hind calved in the field, but forsook it, because there was no herb, and the wild asses snuffed the wind like whales because there was no herb”; nor what is meant in many other passages. From this it is evident how little the Word is understood, and how earthly an idea would be had of very many things contained therein, unless it were known what they signify; at least that there is what is holy in every detail.

(References: Exodus 9:22; Isaiah 42:15-16)

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Isaiah 15:6

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6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.

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Explanation of Isaiah 15      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 15

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

1. THE burden of Moab. Surely in the night Ar is laid waste: Moab is cut off! surely in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and cut off!

Verse 1. The burden of Moab, etc. - [As "Babylon" signifies the church as was shown above, when its members are chiefly situated by the love of power and dominion, by employing the holy things of the Word and of the church for this purpose, and thus profaning them, as "Moab" signifies those members of the church who are in merely natural or external good, without a spiritual principle. Such members, or such Moabites, are always numerous in the church, and the Judgment upon them is of the greatest moment to all who desire to escape from their condemnation. In the following Exposition, Swedenborg clearly shows the nature of the Moabites in the church, and thus opens the various prophecies respecting Moab, which are otherwise, as is indeed confessed by nearly all commentators, most obscure.]

The nature and quality of that religious principle which is signified by "Moab" and the "sons of Ammon", may appear from their origin, which is described in Genesis 19, and also from several passages both in the historical and prophetical parts of the Word where they are named. They in general denote those who are principled in external worship, which appears in some respects holy, but not in internal worship, and they who eagerly embrace as Good and True whatever relates to external worship, but reject and despise what relates to internal worship. Such worship, and such a religious principle, takes especial root in those who are principled in natural good, but who despise others in comparison with themselves. Persons of this complexion are not unlike fruits, whose external form is not unpleasing to the sight, but which are inwardly musty or decayed; they are also not unlike marble vases, which contain things impure, and sometimes things filthy; or they are not unlike women, who as to the face, and body, and gestures, are not unhandsome, but who are inwardly diseased, and full of defilements: for there is a common or general good appertaining to such persons, which appears not altogether void of beauty, but the particulars which enter into the composition thereof, are filthy and abominable. This is not indeed the case in the beginning, but by successive degrees, inasmuch as they suffer themselves easily to be tainted with any principles whatsoever which are called good, and thereby with all sorts of false persuasions, which they conceive to be true in consequence of confirming them, and this because they despise the interior things of worship, and all because they are principled in self-love. Such persons have their existence and derivation from those who are in external worship only, and who are represented by "Lot" in this chapter, (Genesis 19) and this when the good of truth is desolated.

They are described in the Word, as well as to their nature and quality in the beginning, when their good is not as yet so much defiled, as afterwards when it is defiled, and when they reject the interior things of worship and of doctrine. Their nature and quality in the beginning, when their good is not, as yet, so much defiled, is thus described in Daniel:

"In the time of the end the king of the south shall strive with him; and the king of the north shall rush upon him, with chariot, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall come into the lands, and shall overflow, and pass over; and shall come into the land of honourableness, and many shall fall together: these shall be snatched out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the first-fruits of the sons of Ammon." (Daniel 11:40, 4.)

The "king of the south" denotes those who are principled in goodnesses and truths; the "king of the north", those who are principled In evils and falsities; "the king of the north, with chariot, - with horsemen, with ships, coming into the lands, overflowing and passing over"; denotes that evils and falsities, signified by "chariots, horsemen, and ships", would prevail; "Edom, Moab and the first-fruits of the sons of Ammon, to be snatched out of his hand", denote those who are principled in such good not as yet so much defiled with falsities, wherefore they are called "the first-fruits of the sons of Ammon."

So in Moses,

"We passed by the war of the wilderness; and Jehovah said unto Moses, Do not straiten Moab, nor mix yourself with them in war, because I will not give you inheritance of his land, for I have given Ar for an inheritance to the sons of Lot"; (Deuteronomy 2:8, 9),

and concerning the sons of Ammon,

"Jehovah spake to Moses, You art to pass Ar this day, the border of Moab;: and shalt come nigh over against the sons of Ammon: neither straiten them, nor mix yourself with them, because I will not give you inheritance of the land of the sons of Ammon, for I have given it for an inheritance to the sons of Lot." (Deuteronomy 2:18, 18)

"Ar" denotes good of such a quality; "Moab and the sons of Ammon" denote those who are principled in such good, but in the beginning, wherefore it is commanded that, "they should not be straitened."

Hence, it is that "Moab drove out the Emims and Rephaims, who were as the Enakims, and that the sons of Ammon drove out also the Rephaims, whom they called Zamzummims." (Deuteronomy 2:10, 11, 20, 21)

By the "Emims, Rephaims, Enakims, and Zamzummims", are signified those who were tainted with persuasions of evil and the falsities see n. 581, 1673; by "Moab and the "sons of Ammon" are here signified those who were not as yet so much tainted with such persuasions; but these also, when they became tainted, that is, when their good was defiled with falsities, were likewise driven out. (See Numbers 21:21-31; Ezekiel 25:8 - 15)

Their nature and quality, when their good is defiled, are thus described in Jeremiah:

"Thus says Jehovah to Moab: Woe upon Nebo! because it is vastated: Kiriathaim is ashamed, is taken; Misgab is ashamed and dismayed; the praise of Moab is no more. Give a wing to Moab, because in flying he shall flyaway; and his cities shall be a desolation, none shall dwell in them. Leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, you inhabitants of Moab; and be as a dove, she makes her nest in the passages of the mouth of the pit, I know, says Jehovah, his anger; and he is not firm; his false principles, they have not done what is right. Therefore I will howl over Moab, and will cry for all Moab. From the weeping of Jazer I will weep for you, you vine of Sibmah; your young shoots have passed the sea, they have reached even to the sea of Jazer: the waster has fallen on your summer fruits, and on your vintage. Therefore My heart is moved upon Moab, like pipes. Woe to you, Moab! the people of Chemosh perishes: for your sons are taken into captivity, and your daughters into captivity. And l will bring back the captivity of Moab in the latter days." (Jeremiah 48:1, 9, 28, 30, 31, 32, 36, 46, 47)

The subject treated of in this chapter throughout is concerning Moab, and by him concerning those who are principled in such good, how they suffer themselves to be tainted with false principles; wherefore it is said, "Give a wing to Moab, that he may flyaway", and that "his cities shall be for a desolation", but that "they should leave the cities, and should dwell in the rock, and as a dove should make their nest in the passages of the mouth of the pit", and several things, besides, whereby they are admonished to remain in their common goodnesses and truths; and if in such case they should be seduced by false principles arising from ignorance, they should be brought back from captivity in the latter days.

But of those who do not follow such admonition, it is said "I will howl over Moab, and I will cry to all Moab; and My heart is moved over Moab." The false principles wherewith they are tainted, are signified by Nebo, Kiriathaim, Misgab, Sibmah, Jazer, Chemosh, and several other names which occur in that chapter.

But what their nature and quality become, when their good is altogether defiled by false principles, is thus described in David:

"God spake in His holiness: Gilead is Mine, and Manasses is Mine; and Ephraim is the strength of My head; Judah is My lawgiver; Moab washpot"; (Psalm 60:7, 8),

and in like manner in Psalm 108:7-9; where "washpot" denotes good defiled with false principles."

So in Jeremiah,

"The praise of Moab is no more: in Heshbon they have devised evil upon him; go, let us cut him off from a nation. Moab has been at ease from his youth, and has rested in its dregs, neither was he emptied from vessel to vessel, and has not gone away into captivity; therefore his taste stood in him; and his scent was not changed. On all the house-tops of Moab shall be weeping altogether; because I have broken Moab as a vessel wherein is no pleasure." (Jeremiah 48:2, 50:38)

The false principles wherewith the good, which is Moab, is defiled, are here called "dregs", in which stands "taste and scent", if he is not, reformed, which reformation is here signified by being "emptied from vessel to vessel"; the good itself is called "a vessel "Therein is no pleasure", as in David it is called "washpot."

So in Isaiah,

"The hand of Jehovah rests in this mountain, and Moab shall be threshed under it, as straw is trodden down in the dunghill." (Isaiah 25:10) Arcana Coelestia 2468.

Surely in the night Ar is laid waste, etc. - "Night", in the Word, signifies what is false from evil, for those who are in the false from evil are in the darkness of night; hence it is that all who are in hell, are said to be "in the night." In hell there is indeed a kind of light or lumen, in which they see each other, but that light is as the lumen proceeding from a coal-fire, which is turned into darkness, and into thick darkness when heavenly light [lux] flows into it. Hence it is that they who are in hell are said to be "in the night", and are called "angels of night and of darkness", and, on the contrary, they who are in heaven are called "angels of light and of the day." That "night" denotes what is obscure and also what is false, may be manifest from many passages of the Word:

"Jesus said, Are there not twelve hours of the day? If anyone walk in the day, he stumbles not; but if he walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him." (John 11:9, 10)

"Twelve hours" denote all the states of Truth; to "walk in the day" denotes to live in the Truth; to "walk in the night", to live in the false. Arcana Coelestia 6000. See also below, Chapter 21:11, 12, the Exposition.

2. He goes up to Bajith and to Dibon, to the high places, to weep: over Nebo, and over Medeba, shall Moab howl: on all heads there is baldness; every beard is cut off.

Verses 2, 3. On all the heads of Moab there is baldness; every beard is cut off. In her streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth, etc. By "Moab" are signified those who are in natural good [that is, good in which there is nothing spiritual], and who adulterate the goods of the church; that they have no understanding of Truth, nor science or knowledge of Truth, is signified by "baldness on all the heads of Moab, and every beard cut off", likewise by "howling and mourning on the house-tops, and in the streets"; "incisions upon all hands", (as in (Jeremiah 48:37) signify things falsified; mourning on account thereof is signified by "girding on sackcloth", likewise by "howling and flowing down with weeping." Apocalypse Explained 637.

In this passage, and in others, by "cutting off the hair of the head, and of the beard", and inducing" baldness", is signified to deprive of all Good and Truth, inasmuch as he who is deprived of the ultimates, is also deprived of the things prior; for prior things exist and subsist in ultimates, as was said above. In the world of spirits also there appear those who are bald, and I was instructed that they are those who were abusers of the Word, and had applied the sense of the letter, which is Divine Truth in the ultimates, to wicked purposes and had thence become deprived of all Truth; they are also most malicious; many are from the Babylonish [Romish] people: but on the contrary the angels appear with becoming hair. Apocalypse Explained 66.

As to the "hair" and "beard", see above, Chapter 7:20, the Exposition.

From this we can see the reason why the boys who called the prophet "Bald-head" were cursed, (2 Kings 2:23-25) for thereby was represented the mockery and profanation of the Word, Apocalypse Explained 781.

3. In her streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on her house-tops, and in her streets, everyone shall howl; he shall flow down with weeping.

Verse 3. In her streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth, etc. - Speaking of the city "Ar", in the land of Moab, whereby is signified the doctrine of those who are in truths from the natural man; grief over the falsities of their doctrine, from the first to the last, is signified by "girding on sackcloth", and by "howling in the streets, and on the house-tops"; "house-tops" denoting things interior, and "streets" things exterior with them. Apocalypse Explained 652.

They shall gird themselves with sackcloth, etc. - To "put sackcloth on the loins" signifies lamentation on account of good destroyed, for this was a representative of good destroyed.

The "loins" signify conjugial love, and hence all celestial and spiritual love, n. 3021; and this from correspondence, for as all the organs, members, and viscera of the human body correspond to the Grand Man (as shown at the end of the chapters on Genesis), thus "loins" correspond to those in the Grand Man, or heaven, who have been in genuine conjugial love.

And because conjugial love is the fundamental of all loves, therefore by the "loins" in general is signified every kind of celestial and spiritual love; hence the ritual custom of "placing sackcloth on the loins" when they lamented over good destroyed, for all good is of love.

That they "put sackcloth on their loins" when they testified that lamentation, is evident from the historical as well as from the prophetical parts of the Word, as in Amos 8:10; Jonah 3:5, 8; 2 Kings 19:1; and in Isaiah 15:2, 3; in which passage "Moab" signifies those who adulterate goods, as may be seen in n. 2468; lamentation over the adulteration which is signified by "Moab", is described by such things as correspond to evil of that kind, wherefore similar things are said concerning Moab in Jeremiah 48:37. Arcana Coelestia 4779.

[This lamentation is further described by "howling", by "flowing down with weeping", and by "crying out aloud", etc. For when judgment is executed upon those in the church who, in this instance, are represented by Moab, as is the case after death in the world of spirits, their anguish of soul is signified by "howling, lamentation, and weeping", etc.

To adulterate the goods of the Word and of the church, is to assume in the external form a profession of religion and of what is good from the Word, as justice, sincerity, purity, humility, charity, etc., whilst in the heart or the internal nothing but selfish motives and evils prevail, and consequently nothing of love to the Lord and the neighbour exists. Verily, there are many Moabites in the church! (See above, Chapter 11:14, the Exposition.)

Thus hypocrisy, or the assumption of what is good in the external, whilst the internal, or "the inside of the cup and the platter is full of defilement", (Matthew 23:25) is the aggregate of adulterated good.]

4. And Heshbon and Elealeh shall, cry out aloud; unto Jahaz is their voice heard: wherefore the armed of Moab shall cry out; his soul shall be grievous unto him.

Verses 4, 5, 8. Heshbon and Elealah shall cry out aloud; unto Jahaz is their voice heard, etc. - From the signification of an "outcry" is the common expression of "crying un to God", when the mind is in a state of grief, as in Isaiah 19:20; 30:19; 65:19; Jeremiah 14:2; and elsewhere. Concerning the further significations of the word "outcry" [clamor], as predicated of various affections, such as of interior lamentation, of imploration, and supplication from anguish, of contesting, and indignation, of confession, etc., see what is said in the Arcana Coelestia 2240, 2821. Apocalypse Explained 393. See also above, respecting an "outcry", Chapter 5:7, the Exposition.

5. My heart cries out over Moab; her fugitives, [flee] to Zoar, [like a lowing] heifer of three years; yea, the ascent of Luhith with weeping shall they ascend yea, in the way of Horonaim they raise an outcry of destruction.

Verse 5. Her fugitives [flee] to Zoar, etc. - Zoar was a city not far from Sodom, whither Lot [the father of Moab] fled, when delivered by angels from the burning of Sodom. (See Genesis 19:20, 22, 30)

Zoar is also mentioned in Genesis 14:2; Deuteronomy 34:3; Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:34. The term "Zoar", in Hebrew, signifies little or small; and it denotes affection, either the affection of good, or, in the opposite sense, the afjection of evil. Those who are in the affection of Truth have little of Truth because little of Good, as compared with those who are in the affection of Good. (See Arcana Coelestia 2429) Arcana Coelestia 1589-2439.

[Hence the "fugitives to Zoar" would signify those of Moab who, at the time of Judgment, have some little affection of Truth, and who are consequently saved, as Lot was saved from the destruction of Sodom by fleeing to Zoar. These "fugitives" may be called the "remains of Moab.]

An heifer of three years. - That "three years" involve all things of the church as to times and states, is evident from the signification of the number "three" in the Word; for "three" signifies a full time [or state] of the church from its origin to its end, thus its entire state. The last time of the Church is therefore signified by the the "third day", the "third week", the "third month", the "third year", and the "third century" [or age], which are the same [in the spiritual sense].

As the states of the church are signified by the number "three", thus also are the states of everyone who is a church, yea, of everything which is of the church, as is evident from the signification of that number as explained from different passages of the Word, (See Arcana Coelestia 720, 901)

That "an heifer of three years" thus signifies the time or state of the church to its last or end, namely, when it is devastated or desolated, may be evident from Isaiah, "My heart cries out over Moab: her fugitives flee to Zoar, [like a lowing] heifer of three years", etc.; (Isaiah 15:5) and also in Jeremiah 48:33, 34.

No one could ever understand what these things mean, unless he knew what is signified by "Moab", by " oar", by "the ascent of Luhith", by "the outcry of Heshbon and Elealeh", by "Jahaz", 'by "Horonaim", by "the waters of Nimrim", and by "an heifer of three years." That all these things, and what is said of them, signify the ultimate devastation [of those in the church signified by Moab] is evident. Arcana Coelestia 1825.

6. For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolations: for the grass is dried up; the herb is consumed; there is no green [thing].

Verses 6, 9. The waters of Nimrim shall be desolations; yea, the waters of Dimon are full of blood, etc. - From this passage it appears what "blood" signifies in the opposite sense, for " blood", in the genuine sense, signifies the Divine Truth, and with the recipients thereof Truth from Good; hence, in an opposite sense, it signifies violence done to the Divine Truth, and with those who do it, the false from evil. This opposite signification may appear from this circumstance, that it is predicated of "the waters of the sea, of the rivers, and of the fountains", that they are turned into blood, for "waters" signify truths; wherefore by "blood" are here signified falsities which destroy truths. Apocalypse Explained 329.

Verse 6. The grass is dried up, the herb is consumed, there is no green [thing]. - That hereby is signified scientific truth appears from the signification of "grass" as denoting the scientific principle; and from the signification of "green" as denoting what is true and living from Truth; because, as green grass serves for food to animals, so scientific truth serves for spiritual nourishment to men; for what is produced in fields, in gardens, and in plains, and serves for nourishment either to man or beast, has a correspondence with such things as serve for the nourishment of the spirit and mind, which is called spiritual nourishment. By scientific truth is meant everything scientific by which spiritual truth is confirmed, and which has life from spiritual good. Apocalypse Explained 507.

By what is "green" is signified the sensitive principle of Truth, because by "herb", "glass" and the "foliage" of trees, are signified truths [of various kinds]; hence it is that by the "green" of these things is signified the sensitive principle of Truth, by which is meant the principle of perception. This sensitive principle of Truth is also signified in Isaiah 15:6-"The grass is dried up, there is no green thing, Arcana Coelestia 7691.

[When, therefore, it is said of Moab. - that the "grass is dried up, the herb is consumed, and that there is no green thing", the entire destitution of all know!edge and truth, as having a spiritual and living principle within it, is thereby represented.]

7. Wherefore the abundance which they have made, and what they have laid up, shall they carry over the brook of the willows.

8. For the outcry encompasses the border of Moab: to Eglaim reaches her howling; and to Beer-elim her howling.

Verse. 7. And what they have laid up, shall they carryover the brook of the willows. - The "willows of the brook" signify the lowest goods and truths of the natural man which appertain to the external sensual principles, This will appear from the following passage. Inasmuch as by "the feast of tabernacles" was signified the implantation of good by truths, therefore it was commanded that they should, on the occasion of that feast, "take the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and the willows of the brook; and that they should rejoice before the Lord seven days." (Leviticus 23:40)

By "the fruit of the goodly trees" is signified celestial good; by "the branches of palm-trees", spiritual good, or the Good of Truth; by "the branches of the thick trees", scientific Truth with its Good; and by "the willows of the brook", the lowest good and truths of the natural man which are of his external sensual principles. Thus by these four kinds of "trees" are signified all goods and truths from first principles to last with man. Apocalypse Explained 458.

[Hence when it is said of Moab that, at the period of judgment, they shall carry their abundance, or their riches, and what they have laid up, to the brook of the willows", is signified that the treasures of knowledge which they have "laid up" in their memory from the Word, willl be found to be only in the lowest sensual principles of their minds, denoted by "the brook of the willows." Similar things are denoted by the Jews, when in captivity, "hanging their harps on the willows", (Psalm 137:2) to signify that the affections of what is true and good, represented by the "harp", had become merely sensual.]

9. Yea, the waters of Dimon are full of blood: yet will I bring additional [evils] upon Dimon; -a lion upon the escaped of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.

Verse 9. The waters of Dimon are full of blood. - That "blood" in a good sense signifies what is holy, and in the opposite sense, as in this passage, what is profane, see above, Chapter 4:4, the Exposition.


---
Isaiah Chapter 15

1. THE burden of Moab. Surely in the night Ar is laid waste: Moab is cut off! surely in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and cut off!

2. He goes up to Bajith and to Dibon, to the high places, to weep: over Nebo, and over Medeba, shall Moab howl: on all heads there is baldness; every beard is cut off.

3. In her streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on her house-tops, and in her streets, everyone shall howl; he shall flow down with weeping.

4. And Heshbon and Elealeh shall, cry out aloud; unto Jahaz is their voice heard: wherefore the armed of Moab shall cry out; his soul shall be grievous unto him.

5. My heart cries out over Moab; her fugitives, [flee] to Zoar, [like a lowing] heifer of three years; yea, the ascent of Luhith with weeping shall they ascend; yea, in the way of Horonaim they raise an outcry of destruction.

6. For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolations: for the grass is dried up; the herb is consumed; there is no green [thing].

7. Wherefore the abundance which they have made, and what they have laid up, shall they carry over the brook of the willows.

8. For the outcry encompasses the border of Moab: to Eglaim reaches her howling; and to Beer-elim her howling.

9. Yea, the waters of Dimon are full of blood: yet will I bring additional [evils] upon Dimon; - a lion upon the escaped of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 15


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 996, 2240, 4735, 7571, 7691

Apocalypse Revealed 379, 885


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 329, 393

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Numbers 32:3

Jeremiah 48:34

Bible Word Meanings

withered
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...


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