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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 #8588

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8588. And Meribah. That this signifies the quality of the complaining, is evident from the fact that in the original tongue “Meribah” means “contention,” or “quarreling,” and “quarreling” signifies complaining (see n. 8563, 8566); and because names signify the quality of the thing (n. 8587), therefore “Meribah” here signifies the quality of the complaining. As regards this temptation itself and its quality, be it known that in this passage are described those who in temptations almost yield, namely, those who complain against heaven and also against the Divine Itself, and at last almost disbelieve in the Divine Providence. These things are signified in the internal sense by what precedes, and also by what follows in this verse, namely, the quality of the state of the temptation, which is signified by “Massah,” and the quality of the complaining in the temptation, which is signified by “Meribah.” That this quality is here signified by “Meribah,” is plain in David:

Thou calledst upon Me in distress, and I rescued thee; I answered thee in the secret place, I proved thee at the waters of Meribah (Psalms 81:7).

[2] But in the internal historical sense, in which the subject treated of is the state of religion with the Israelitish nation, that nation is described in respect to its quality toward Jehovah, namely, that they were not willing by supplication to entreat Him for aid, but that they expostulated. The reason was, that at heart they did not acknowledge Jehovah as the supreme God, but only in the mouth, when they saw the miracles. That at heart they did not acknowledge Him is very evident from the Egyptian calf which they made for themselves and worshiped, saying that these were their gods; also from their frequent apostasy (of which see n. 8301). This is what is here described in the internal historical sense; but in the internal spiritual sense is described the quality of the temptation with those who before they are liberated are brought to the last of temptation.

[3] That the quality of the Israelitish nation and of its religiosity is described by contention with Moses at Massah and Meribah, is also evident in the following passages:

Harden not your heart, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted Me; they tempted Me, and saw My work; for forty years did I feel loathing at the generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and the same have not known My ways, to whom I sware in Mine anger that they should not come unto My rest (Psalms 95:8-11).

Ye shall not tempt Jehovah your God, as ye tempted Him in Massah (Deuteronomy 6:16; 9:22, 24).

Of Leviticus he said, Thy Thummim and thy Urim are with the Holy Man, whom thou didst tempt at Massah, with whom thou didst contend at the waters of Meribah (Deuteronomy 33:8).

“The Holy Man” here denotes the Lord, whom they tempted, and whom Moses and Aaron did not sanctify.

(References: Deuteronomy 4:16, Deuteronomy 33:8-9)


[4] In the internal historical sense, in which the subject treated of is the religiosity of the Israelitish nation, by Moses and Aaron is not represented truth Divine, but the religiosity of that nation whose leaders and heads they were (n. 7041). Because this religiosity was such as said above, it was intimated to them that they should not bring the people into the land of Canaan, as is written in the book of Numbers:

Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye have not believed in Me, and sanctified Me in the eyes of the sons of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them; these are the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with Jehovah (Numbers 20:12-13; 27:14).

Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall not come into the land which I have given to the sons of Israel, because ye rebelled against My mouth at the waters of Meribah (Numbers 20:24).

The same is said of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:50-51).

[5] That still representative Divine worship was instituted with that nation, was because representative worship could be instituted with any nation that had holy externals of worship, and worshiped almost idolatrously; for what is representative does not regard the person, but the thing (n. 1361), and it was the genius of that nation, beyond any other nation, to worship merely external things as holy and Divine, without any internal; as for instance to worship as deities their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and afterward Moses and David, and moreover to account holy and as Divine, and to worship, every stone and every piece of wood that had been inaugurated in their Divine worship; as the arks, the tables therein, the lamp, the altar, the garments of Aaron, the Urim and Thummim, and afterward the temple. Of the Lord’s Providence there was then given a communication of the angels of heaven with man by means of such things. For there must needs be somewhere a church, or the representative of a church, in order that there may be communication of heaven with the human race; and as that nation, beyond any other nation, could make Divine worship consist in external things, and thus act the representative of a church, therefore that nation was taken.

[6] At that time communication with the angels in heaven was effected by means of representatives in the following way. Their external worship was communicated to angelic spirits who are simple, and who do not reflect upon internal things, but still are interiorly good. Such are they who in the Grand Man correspond to the outer skin. These pay no attention whatever to the internal of man, but only to his external. If this appears holy, they think holily of the internal also. The more interior angels of heaven saw in those spirits the things that were represented, consequently the heavenly and Divine things that corresponded; for they could be present with these spirits, and see those things; but not with the men except by means of the spirits. For angels dwell with men in things interior; but where there are no such things, they dwell in the interior things of simple spirits; for the angels have no interest in other than spiritual and heavenly things, which are the interior things contained in representatives. From these few words it can be seen how there could be communication with heaven by means of such a people. But see what has been previously shown on this subject, namely: That with the Jews the holy of worship was miraculously elevated into heaven quite apart from them (n. 4307); that whatever their quality might be, the descendants of Jacob could represent what is holy, provided they closely observed the rituals commanded (n. 3147, 3479, 3480, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4289, 4293, 4307, 4444, 4500, 4680, 4825, 4844, 4847, 4899, 4912, 6304, 6306, 7048, 7051, 8301).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3479-3480, 4288-4289; Deuteronomy 4:16, Deuteronomy 33:8-9)

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Arcana Coelestia #4844

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4844. Remain a widow in thy father’s house. That this signifies alienation from itself, is evident from the fact that thereby he wanted her to go away and return no more to him. He indeed told her to remain there until Shelah his son was grown up; but still he thought that she would not be given to Shelah his son, for he said in himself, “Lest he also die, like his brethren.” This is proved also by his action in the matter, as appears from verse 14: “Tamar saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife.” From this it follows that by his words is signified that he alienated her away from himself; that is, in the internal sense, that the church representative of spiritual and celestial things, which is represented by Tamar (n. 4811, 4831), was alienated from the Jewish Church, which is represented by Judah. For they could not agree together, because Judaism was only a representative of a church, and not a representative church (n. 4307, 4500); because it acknowledged what is external, but not what is internal.

[2] A “widow” also signifies the truth of the church without its good, because a “wife” in the representative sense signifies truth, and a “husband” good (see n. 4823, 4843); wherefore a wife without a husband is the truth of the church without its good. And when it is said of her that she should “remain in her father’s house,” it signifies that the truth of the church would be alienated, and also that it would not be received in his house; neither could the Jewish nation receive it, because it was not in good, but in evil.

[3] A “widow” is often mentioned in the Word, and one unacquainted with the internal sense cannot but believe that by a “widow” is signified a widow. But a “widow” in the internal sense signifies the truth of the church without good, that is, those who are in truth without good and still desire to be in good, consequently who love to be led by good; and a “husband” is the good which should lead. In the Ancient Church such persons were understood in the good sense by widows, whether they were women or men. For the Ancient Church distinguished the neighbor toward whom they were to exercise charity into a number of classes, some of which they called poor, some miserable and afflicted, some bound and in prison, some blind and lame, and others strangers, orphans, and widows; and they dispensed works of charity to them according to their qualities. Their doctrinals taught them these things; and that church knew no other doctrinals. Wherefore they who lived at that time both taught and wrote according to their doctrinals, and consequently when they spoke of widows they had in mind no other than such as were in truth without good and yet desired to be led by good.

[4] From this it is also plain that the doctrinals of the Ancient Church taught those things which related to charity and the neighbor, and that their knowledges consisted in knowing what external things signified. For the church was representative of spiritual and celestial things, and therefore the spiritual and celestial things which were represented and signified were what they learned by means of doctrinals and knowledges. But these doctrinals and knowledges are at this day entirely obliterated, and indeed to such a degree that it is not known that they ever existed; for the doctrinals of faith succeeded in their place, which if widowed and separated from those of charity, teach almost nothing. For the doctrinals of charity teach what good is, but the doctrinals of faith what truth is, and to teach truth without good is to walk as one who is blind, because good is what teaches and leads, and truth is what is taught and led. There is as great a difference between these two doctrinals as between light and darkness; and unless the darkness be illumined by the light, that is, unless truth be illumined by good, or faith by charity, there is nothing but darkness. Hence it is that no one knows by looking at it, and consequently neither from perception, whether truth is truth, but only from doctrine imbibed in childhood and confirmed in adult age. Hence also it is that churches differ so widely that what one calls truth, another calls falsity, and they are never in agreement.

[5] That by “widows” in a good sense are signified those who are in truth without good, but still desire to be led by good, is evident from the passages in the Word in which “widows” are mentioned, as in David:

Jehovah, who executeth judgment for the oppressed, who giveth food to the hungry; Jehovah, who looseth the bound; Jehovah, who openeth [the eyes of] the blind; Jehovah, who raiseth up them that are bowed down; Jehovah, who loveth the just; Jehovah, who preserveth the sojourners; He upholdeth the orphan and the widow (Psalms 146:7-9);

here in the internal sense those are meant who are instructed in truths and led to good by the Lord; but some of these are called the “oppressed,” some the “hungry,” others the “bound,” the “blind,” those who are “bowed down,” the “sojourners,” the “orphan,” and the “widow,” and this according to their quality; but what this is, no one can know except from the internal sense. The doctrinals of the Ancient Church taught this. In this passage, as in several others, the sojourner, orphan, and widow are named jointly, because by the “sojourner” are signified those who wish to be instructed in the truths of faith (n. 1463, 4444), by the “orphan,” those who are in good without truth and desire to be led to good by means of truth, and by the “widow,” those who are in truth without good, and desire to be led to truth by means of good. These three are named jointly here and elsewhere in the Word for the reason that in the internal sense they constitute one class, inasmuch as by them, taken together, are signified those who wish to be instructed and to be led to good and truth.

[6] Again:

A father of the orphans, and a judge of the widows, is God in the habitation of His holiness (Psalms 68:5).

The “orphans” denote those who, like little children, are in the good of innocence, but not yet in truth, whose father is said to be the Lord, because He leads them as a father, and this through truth into good, that is, into the good of life or of wisdom. “Widows” denote those who as adults are in truth, but not yet in good, whose judge is said to be the Lord, because He leads them, and this through good into truth, that is, into the truth of intelligence; for by a “judge” is signified one who leads. Good without truth, which is the “orphan,” becomes the good of wisdom through the doctrine of truth; and truth without good, which is the “widow,” becomes the truth of intelligence through a life of good.

[7] In Isaiah:

Woe unto them that decree statutes of iniquity to turn aside the poor from judgment, and to take away into judgment the miserable of My people, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may plunder the orphans (Isaiah 10:1-2);

here by the “miserable,” the “poor,” the “widows,” and the “orphans,” are signified not those who are naturally, but those who are spiritually such; and because in the Jewish church, as in the Ancient, all things were representative, it was also representative to do good to the orphans and the widows; for thus charity toward those who in the spiritual sense were such was represented in heaven.

[8] In Jeremiah:

Do ye judgment and justice, and rescue the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; and defraud not the sojourner, the orphan, or the widow, neither do violence, neither shed innocent blood in this place (Jeremiah 22:3);

here also by the “sojourner, the orphan, and the widow” are signified those who are spiritually such; for in the spiritual world or heaven it is not known who the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow are, those who have been in this condition in the world not being so there; and therefore when these words are read by man, they are perceived by angels according to their spiritual or internal sense.

[9] Likewise in Ezekiel:

Behold, the princes of Israel, everyone according to his arm, have been in thee to shed blood. In thee have they set light by father and mother; in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the sojourner; in thee have they defrauded the orphan and the widow (Ezekiel 22:6-7).

Also in Malachi:

I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the orphan, and that turn aside the sojourner, and fear not Me (Malachi 3:5).

And in Moses:

A sojourner shalt thou not wrong, neither shalt thou oppress him. Ye shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If thou shalt afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My anger shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and your sons orphans (Exodus 22:21-24).

[10] This, like all the rest of the precepts, judgments, and statutes in the Jewish Church, was representative; and in that church they were kept so to do in externals, and by such things to represent the internal things of charity, although they had nothing of charity, nor did them from internal affection. The internal was from affection to instruct in truths and to lead by truths to good those who were in ignorance, and to lead by good to truths those who had knowledge; whereby they would have done good in the spiritual sense to the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow. Yet that the external might remain for the sake of representation, it was among the curses pronounced on Mount Ebal, to turn aside the judgment of the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow (Deuteronomy 27:19). To “turn aside their judgment” means to do what is contrary, that is, by instruction and life to lead to what is false and evil. And because depriving others of goods and truths, and appropriating them to self for the sake of self-honor and gain was among those curses, the Lord said:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees! For ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive more abundant judgment (Matthew 23:14; Luke 20:47);

“devouring widows’ houses” means taking away truths from those who desire them, and teaching falsities.

[11] In like manner it was representative that what was left in the fields, oliveyards, and vineyards, should be for the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow (Deuteronomy 24:19-22); and also that when they had made an end of tithing the tithes of their increase in the third year, they should give it to the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow, that they might eat within their gates, and be filled (Deuteronomy 26:12). Because it is the Lord alone who instructs, and leads to good and truth, it is said in Jeremiah:

Leave thy orphans, I will make them alive; and the widows shall confide upon Me (Jeremiah 49:11);

and in Moses:

Jehovah doth execute the judgment of the orphan and widow, and loveth the sojourner, in giving him bread and raiment (Deuteronomy 10:18);

“bread” denotes the good of love (n. 2165, 2177, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217, 4735); “raiment,” the truth of faith (n. 4545, 4763).

(References: Deuteronomy 26:12-13; Jeremiah 49:10-11)


[12] What is related of Elijah, that when there was a famine for want of rain in the land he was sent to Zarephath to a widow, and that he asked of her a little cake, which she was first to make and to give to him, and was afterwards to make for herself and her son, and that then the barrel of meal with her was not consumed, and the cruse of oil did not fail (1 Kings 17:1-16), was representative, like all the other things related of Elijah, and in general all that are in the Word. The famine that was in the land because there was no rain, represented the vastation of truth in the church (see n. 1460, 3364); the widow in Zarephath represented those outside of the church who desire truth; the cake which she was to make for him first, represented the good of love to the the Lord, (n. 2177), whom, out of the little she had, she was to love above herself and her son; the barrel of meal signifies truth from good (n. 2177), and the cruse of oil charity and love (n. 886, 3728, 4582); Elijah represents the Word, by means of which such things are done (see n. 2762).

(References: 1 Kings 17:1-13, 17:9-16)


[13] This is meant also, in the internal sense, by the Lord’s words in Luke:

No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine over all the land; but unto none of them was Elijah sent, except to Zarephath of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow (Luke 4:24-26).

That is, to those without the church who desire truth. But the widows within the vastated church, to whom Elijah was not sent, are they who are not in truth, because not in good, for wherever there is no good there is also no truth, however much truth may appear with them in outer form like truth, and yet be as a shell without a kernel.

[14] They who are in such truth, and also they who are in falsity, are signified by “widows” in the opposite sense-as in Isaiah:

Jehovah will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. The elder and the honored in faces is the head, and the prophet the teacher of a lie is the tail. Therefore the Lord will not be glad over their young men, neither will He have compassion on their orphans and widows (Isaiah 9:14-15, 9:16-17).

In Jeremiah:

I will fan them with a winnowing fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy My people; they have not turned from their ways. Their widows are increased to Me above the sand of the seas; I will bring to them, upon the mother a young man, a waster at noonday. She that hath borne seven languisheth; she hath breathed out her soul, her sun is gone down while it is yet day (Jeremiah 15:7-9).

Again:

Our inheritance is turned unto strangers, our houses unto aliens. We have become fatherless orphans, our mothers are as widows (Lam. 5:2-3).

(References: Isaiah 9:14, Isaiah 9:17)


[15] As by “widows” were signified those who are not in truth because not in good, it was reproachful for churches, even such as were in falsities from evil, to be called widows-as in Revelation:

She hath said in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and I shall not see mourning. Therefore in one day shall her plagues come, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be burned with fire (Revelation 18:7-8

speaking of Babylon. In like manner of the same in Isaiah:

Hear this, thou delicate one, that sitteth securely, that sayest in thy heart, I am, and there is none else like me; I shall not sit a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children. But these two evils shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood (Isaiah 47:8-9).

[16] From all this it is now evident what is meant by a “widow” in the internal sense of the Word; and as a widow represented and thence signified the truth of the church without its good-because a wife signifies truth and a husband good-therefore, in the ancient churches, where all things in general and particular were representative, it was forbidden the priests to marry a widow who was not the widow of a priest, as is written in Moses:

The high priest shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow, or one divorced, or a polluted woman, or a harlot, these shall he not take; but a virgin of his own people shall he take to wife (Leviticus 21:13-14);

and concerning the new temple and the new priesthood in Ezekiel:

The priests, the Levites, shall not take for their wives a widow, nor one divorced; but they shall take virgins of the seed of the house of Israel; yet a widow that is the widow of a priest they may take (Ezekiel 44:22).

For the virgins whom they were to marry represented and thence signified the affection of truth, and the widow of a priest the affection of truth from good; for a “priest” in the representative sense is the good of the church. For this reason it was also allowed the widows who were daughters of a priest, who were childless, to eat of the offerings or holy things (Leviticus 22:12-13).

(References: Leviticus 21:13-15)


[17] That this is the signification of a “widow,” was known from their doctrinals to those who were of the Ancient Church; for their doctrinals were doctrinals of love and charity, which contained innumerable things that at this day are wholly obliterated. From these doctrinals they knew what charity to exercise, or what duty they owed the neighbor, thus who were called widows, who orphans, who sojourners, and so on. Their knowledges of truth and memory-knowledges were to know what the rituals of their church represented and signified; and those who were learned among them knew what the things on the earth and in the world represented; for they knew that universal nature was a theater representative of the heavenly kingdom (n. 2758, 2989, 2999, 3483). Such things elevated their minds to heavenly things, and their doctrinals led to life. But after the church turned aside from charity to faith, and still more after it separated faith from charity, and made faith saving without charity and its works, men’s minds could no longer be elevated by knowledges to heavenly things, nor by doctrinals be led to life; and this to such a degree that at last scarcely anyone believes that there is any life after death, and scarcely anyone knows what the heavenly is. That there is any spiritual sense in the Word which does not appear in the letter, cannot be believed. In this way men’s minds have been closed.

(References: Deuteronomy 26:12-13; Genesis 38:11; Isaiah 9:17; Jeremiah 49:10-11; Leviticus 21:13-15)

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