Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 22:20-23
AC 9195. Verses 20-23. And a sojourner thou shalt not afflict, and shalt not oppress; for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Any widow and orphan ye shall not afflict. If afflicting thou shalt afflict him, so that crying he shall cry unto Me, hearing I will hear his cry; and Mine anger shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your women shall become widows, and your sons orphans. "And a sojourner thou shalt not afflict, and shalt not oppress," signifies that those who wish to be instructed in the truths and goods of faith are not to be infested with falsities of doctrine and evils of life; "for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt," signifies that they were protected from falsities and evils when infested by the infernals; "any widow," signifies those who are in good without truth, and yet long for truth; "and orphan," signifies those who are in truth, and not yet in good, and nevertheless long for good; "ye shall not afflict," signifies that they are not to be defrauded; "if afflicting thou shalt afflict him," signifies if they are defrauded; "so that crying he shall cry unto Me," signifies supplication to the Lord for aid; "hearing I will hear his cry," signifies that they are to be aided; "and Mine anger shall wax hot," signifies the state of those who do this; "and I will kill you with the sword," signifies that they would deprive themselves of good and truth through falsities; "and your women shall become widows," signifies that the goods with them will perish; "and your sons orphans," signifies that then at the same time truths will perish.
AC 9196. And a sojourner thou shalt not afflict, and shalt not oppress. That this signifies that those who wish to be instructed in the truths and goods of faith are not to be infested with falsities of faith and evils of life, is evident from the signification of "a sojourner," as being one who wishes to be instructed in those things which are of the church, thus in the truths and goods of faith, and who receives these and lives according to them (n. 1463, 8007, 8013); that "a sojourner" has this signification, is because "to sojourn" signifies to be instructed, and also to live (n. 2025, 3672, 6095); and from the signification of "not to afflict," when said of those who wish to be instructed in the truths and goods of faith, as being that they are not to be infested with falsities of faith; and from the signification of "oppressing," when said of the same, as being that they are not to be infested with evils of life; for they who infest such with falsities afflict them; and they who infest such with evils oppress them.
AC 9197. For ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt. That this signifies that they were protected from falsities and evils when infested by the infernals, is evident from what was said concerning the affliction and oppression of the sons of Israel in Egypt, and of their protection and final bringing forth from thence, in Exodus 7 to 14, where it was shown that the afflictions and oppressions of the sons of Israel in Egypt signified the infestations by the infernals, of the faithful who were of the spiritual church, before the Lord’s coming; and that the protection and bringing forth of the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt signified the protection and liberation of those who were of the spiritual church by the Lord, when He was in the world, and when He rose again. But it would be too tedious to repeat now the explication of these particulars. See what has been shown in the above mentioned chapters of Exodus, especially in (n. 6854, 6914, 7035, 7091, 7474, 7828, 7932, 8018, 8054, 8099, 8159, 8321)
AC 9198. Any widow. That this signifies those who are in good without truth, and yet long for truth, is evident from the signification of "a widow," as being good without truth, and yet longing for it. That "a widow" has this signification is because by "a man" is signified truth, and by his "woman" is signified good; and therefore when the woman of a man becomes a widow, she signifies good without truth. But in a still more interior sense "a widow" signifies truth without good. The reason is that in this sense "a husband" signifies good, and his "wife" truth (n. 3236, 4510, 4823). In this sense the Lord is called "Husband" and "Bridegroom," from the Divine good; and His kingdom and church is called "Wife" and "Bride" from the reception of the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord (n. 9182). But as in the passage under consideration the Lord‘s celestial church is not treated of, but His spiritual church, by "a widow" is signified one who is in good and not in truth, and yet longs for truth. The case is similar with "an orphan." In the inmost or celestial, sense "an orphan" signifies those who are in good and long for truth. See the passages quoted and explained in regard to the signification of "widow" and "orphan" in the celestial sense, in (n. 4844); to which may be added what the Lord says in Luke concerning the widow in Sarepta:--
Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. Of a truth I say unto you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine over all the land; yet unto none of them was Elias sent, save to Sarepta of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow (Luke 4:24-26).
 As all things the Lord spake, He spake from the Divine, therefore His words have an internal sense, and in this sense the subject here treated of is the Lord Himself and His kingdom and church. What therefore the Lord meant in this sense by the words He spake of the widow in Sarepta of Sidon, is plain when they are unfolded. That "no prophet is accepted in his own country" signifies that the Lord, and the Divine truth which is from Him, are less received and loved in heart within the church, than outside of it. He spake to the Jews, with whom the church then was; and it is known that the Lord was less received by them than by the nations outside the church. The case is similar at this day in the church which from Him is called the Christian Church. In this the Lord is indeed received in doctrine; but only by a few with acknowledgment of heart; and by still fewer from the affection of love. It is otherwise with the converted Gentiles outside the church. These worship and adore Him as their one only God, and they say with the mouth, and think at heart, that they acknowledge Him as God, because He has appeared in a human form (n. 5256). The reverse is the case within the church, where because He was born a man He is with difficulty acknowledged from the heart as God. These make His Human like their own human, although they know that His Father was Jehovah, and not a man. From all this it is evident what is meant in the internal sense by "no prophet being accepted in his own country." A "prophet" in this sense denotes the Lord as to Divine truth, thus in respect to the doctrine of the church. That "a prophet" denotes one who teaches, and in the abstract sense doctrine, and when predicated of the Lord, the Divine truth of the Word, (n. 9188).
 That "there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elias" signifies in the internal sense the state of acknowledgment of truth Divine from the Word at that time in the church. For as before said,"widows" denote those who are in good without truth; "Elias" denotes the Lord as to the Word; "the days of Elias" denote the states of reception of truth Divine from the Word at that time; and "Israel" denotes the church. That "Elias" represented the Lord as to the Word, (n. 2135a, 2762, 5247, 8029); that "days" denote states, (n. 893, 2788, 3462, 3785, 4850, 6110, 8426); and that "Israel" denotes the church, (n. 4286, 6426, 6637, 8805).
 "When the heaven was shut up three years and six months" signifies the full vastation of the internal church; for "heaven" denotes the internal of the church; and "three years and six months" denotes to the full. That "heaven" denotes the internal of the church, (n. 1733, 1850, 3355, 4535); and this is said to be "shut up" when it is vastated, that is, when it is no more. That "three years and six months" denotes to the full, is evident from the signification of "a thousand two hundred and sixty days" in (Rev. 11:3; 12:6), (which days make three years and six months), as being to the full, that is, even unto the end; in like manner from the signification of "three days and a half" in (Rev. 11:9-11); and also from the signification of "a time and times and half a time" in (Rev. 12:14; Dan. 12:7), as being to the full, or, even to the end.
 "When there was a great famine over all the land" signifies the vastation of the external church also; for "a famine" denotes the lack and desolation of truth and good (n. 3364, 5277, 5279, 5281, 5300, 5360, 5376, 5415, 5576, 6110, 7102); and "the land" denotes the external church (n. 1262, 1413, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732). "Yet unto none of them was Elias sent" signifies the Lord as to the Word--and thus the Word of the Lord--not sent to others, because He would not have been received elsewhere; for "Elias," as before said, denotes the Lord as to the Word.
 " Save to Sarepta of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow," signifies only unto those who are in good and long for truth. It is said "Sarepta of Sidon" because "Sidon" signifies the knowledges of good and truth (n. 1201). That "a woman a widow" denotes one who is in good, and longs for truth, is evident from what has just been said, and especially from what is related of her in the first book of the Kings, where are these words:--"Elijah came to Sarepta of Sidon to a widow woman, that she might sustain him; and he said to her, Fetch me a little water that I may drink, and bring me a morsel of bread in thine hand; and she said that she had only a little meal in the barrel, and a little oil in the cruse, sufficient only for a cake for herself and her son." And Elijah said:--
Make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it out to me, and afterward make for thee and for thy son. She did so; and the barrel of meal was not consumed; and the cruse of oil did not fail (1 Kings 17:9-16).
 Obedience, and the longing of good for truth, are described by her giving water to the prophet at his bidding, and afterward by her first making a cake for him out of her own little supply, and then for herself and her son; and that thereby she was enriched with the good of truth is signified by "the barrel of meal not being consumed, and the cruse of oil failing not;" for in the internal sense "water" denotes truth (n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8568); "meal," truth from good (n. 2177); "oil," the good of love (n. 886, 4582, 4638); and "a cake" made of these, truth conjoined with its good (n. 7978). From all this it is clear that "a widow" denotes one who is in good and longs for truth. Good and its longing for truth is described by the charity toward the prophet, which was greater than toward herself and her son. "The prophet," as before shown, denotes the doctrine of truth.
 From all this it is evident what is the nature of the Word, namely, that it conceals within itself the secret things of heaven, which are not apparent in the letter; when yet in every word which the Lord Himself spake when He was in the world, and which He had before spoken through the prophets, there are things heavenly and wholly Divine, and raised above the sense of the letter; and this not only in each word, but also in each syllable of the words, nay, in every point of each syllable. But who believes that this is so? Nevertheless it is a certain fact, of which I have received full and unquestionable proof, concerning which of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere.
AC 9199. And an orphan. That this signifies those who are in truth and not yet in good, and nevertheless long for good, is evident from the signification of "an orphan," as being those who are in truth and long for good. The reason why these are signified by "orphans," is that sons bereaved of father and mother, thus they who are deprived of interior good and truth, are "orphans;" for by "father" in the Word is signified interior good, and by "mother" truth conjoined with this good (n. 5581); and by "sons" are signified the truths thence derived. That "sons" denote truths, (n. 489, 491, 553, 1147, 2813, 3373, 6583). That sons are here meant by "orphans," and not daughters, is plain from the following verse, where it is said, "and your sons shall be orphans." That "orphan sons" denote those who long for good, is "because the Lord is then in the place of a father to them; as in David:--
A father of the orphans, and a judge of the widows, is God in the habitation of His holiness (Ps. 68:5).
 That "orphans" denote those who have been instructed in the truths of faith of the church from the Word, and thereby are afterward led to good, is plain also from the Lord‘s words in John:--
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you to eternity, the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, for it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he abideth with you, and is among you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come unto you. These things have I spoken unto you while abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, he shall teach you all things (John 14:16-18, 25, 26).
 That those are "orphans" who are in truths and long for food, can be seen here from every detail; for by "the Paraclete" is meant the Divine truth, which the Lord was while in the world, and which proceeded from the Lord after He had glorified His Human and had gone out of the world. Therefore He says that "He will send the Paraclete," and that "He Himself will come." "Sending the Paraclete" denotes enlightening and instructing in the truths of faith; and "coming to them" denotes leading into good. Therefore He says, "I will not leave you orphans." It has been stated that by "the Paraclete" is meant the Divine truth which the Lord was while in the world, and which proceeded from Him after He had glorified His Human and had gone out of the world. That this is so, the Lord several times plainly taught. But those who distinguish the Divine into Persons, and not into Essences united in one, do not apprehend this; for the Word is explained and apprehended by a man according to the ideas previously received by him. So also where the Lord says that "He is in the Father and the Father in Him; that the Father and He are one; and that all things that are His are the Father’s and all things of the Father are His" (John 10:30; 14:1-11, 20; 16:15; 17:10).
 But to proceed with the further explanation of the things stated above. That by "the Paraclete" is meant the Divine truth, is plain from the very words of the Lord, for he is called "the Spirit of truth," and it is also said, "the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, shall teach you all things." That the Lord was the Divine truth while in the world, is plain also from the words of the Lord in the above passage, for He says that "He will send another Paraclete (that is, in His place), even the Spirit of truth;" and of Himself He says that they "know Him, because He abideth with them, and is among them." And also:--
I tell you the truth, if I go not away, the Paraclete will not come unto you; but if I go away, I will send him unto you (John 16:7).
And in another passage:--
This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed in Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39).
And again He says that "He is the way, and the truth" (John 14:6);
and also that "He is the Word, and that God is the Word, and that the Word became flesh" (John 1:1-3, 14); where "the Word" denotes the Divine truth. That the Lord while in the world was the Divine truth, (n. 3195, 4687, 4727, 6716, 6864, 7499, 8127, 8724).
 And that the Divine truth proceeds from the Lord since He glorified His Human, and went away out of the world, is plain also from the Lord‘s words, "When I go away, I will send the Spirit of truth unto you". "To send" denotes to go forth and to proceed, (n. 2397, 4710); and also,
"When he is come, he shall teach you all the truth; for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak. He shall glorify Me; for he shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you" (John 16:13, 14).
That when the Lord went away out of the world He became the Divine good even as to the Human, may be seen above (n. 3704, 3712, 3737, 3969, 4577, 5704, 6864, 7014, 7499, 8241, 8724, 8760, 9167); and that then, from the Divine good, which He Himself is, proceeds the Divine truth, even as from the sun proceeds the light of the universe (n. 3636, 3643, 3969, 5704, 7083, 8127). To these references may be added those cited above (n. 9194).
AC 9200. Ye shall not afflict. That this signifies that they are not to be defrauded, is evident from the signification of "afflicting," when said of those who wish to be instructed in truth, and to be led to good, as being to defraud; here, not to defraud, because it is said "Ye shall not afflict." The "sojourner," the " orphan," and the "widow" are often mentioned together in the Word, as in the following passages:--
Jehovah, who preserveth the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow (Ps. 146:9).
Defraud ye not the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow (Jer. 22:3).
In thee they have dealt with the sojourner by oppressions; in thee have they defrauded the orphan and the widow (Ezek. 22:7).
Wrest not the judgment of the sojourner, of the orphan, and the widow (Deut. 24:17; 27:19).
What is left in the fields, the oliveyards and the vineyards, shall be for the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow (Deut. 24:19-22; 26:12, 13).
Jehovah executeth the judgment of the orphan, of the widow, and loveth the sojourner (Deut. 10:18).
In like manner in the passage before us, "a sojourner thou shalt not afflict, and shalt not oppress; any widow and orphan ye shall not afflict." When these three are thus mentioned together, they fall with the angels into one sense; namely, that with those who are in the church, good and truth are to be conjoined according to order; thus reciprocally, truth with good, and good with truth; for by "a sojourner" are meant those who wish to be instructed in such things as are of the church; by "widows," the conjunction of good with truth; and by "orphans," the conjunction of truth with good; which conjunction is reciprocal. The case is similar with all other passages in the Word: when explained as to the internal sense they seem scattered; but with the angels they are combined inn one sense; nay, into one idea.
AC 9201. If afflicting thou shalt afflict him. That this signifies if they are defrauded, is evident from the signification of "to afflict," as being to defraud (n. 9200).
AC 9202. So that crying he shall cry unto Me. That this signifies supplication to the Lord for aid, is evident without explication. Intense supplication is expressed in the Word by "a cry," because the supplication of those who supplicate from the heart, even if silent, is heard in heaven as a cry. Such is the case when men merely think, and still more when they groan, from a sincere heart. This was represented in the representative church by a cry; and hence the cry became a ceremonial observance among the Jews. The case is similar with those who teach; they are heard in heaven as crying aloud. In heaven, not only the thoughts, but especially the affections which are of good and truth, speak. That they speak, and if ardent cry out, has been given me to know from experience, concerning which, of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere. But affections of evil and falsity are not at all heard in heaven, even though the man who supplicates from them should cry out, and at the same time press his palms tightly together, and raise them together with his eyes to heaven. These latter affections are heard in hell, and if they are ardent, they are heard there also as cries.
AC 9203. Hearing I will hear their cry. That this signifies that they are to be aided, is evident without explication.
AC 9204. And Mine anger shall wax hot. That this signifies the state of those who do this, is evident from the signification of "anger," when attributed to Jehovah, that is, to the Lord, as being clemency and mercy (n. 6997, 8875). But the reason why these words denote the state of those who do this, that is, who afflict and oppress the stranger, the widow, and the orphan, is that the "anger" is in them, and then appears as if it were in the Lord. That anger is attributed to the Lord, when yet it is in the man, (n. 6997, 8284, 8483, 8875); and that in general the evil which is attributed to the Lord in the word is in those who are in evil, (n. 1861, 2447, 6071, 6832, 6991, 7533, 7632, 743, 7679, 7710, 7926, 8197, 8227, 8228, 8282).
AC 9205. And I will kill you with the sword. That this signifies that they would deprive themselves of good and truth through falsities, is evident from the signification of "killing," when said of such as defraud those who are in good and truth, and who are signified by "widows, orphans, and sojourners," as being to deprive them of such things (that "to kill" denotes to deprive of spiritual life, (n. 3607, 6768, 8902); and from the signification of a "sword," as being truth fighting and destroying falsity; and in the opposite sense, as being falsity fighting and destroying truth (n. 2799, 4499, 6353, 7102, 8294). Here therefore "to kill with the sword" denotes to deprive of goods and truths by means of falsities.
AC 9206. And you women shall become widows. That this signifies that the goods with them will perish, is evident from the signification of "women," as being goods (n. 6014, 8337); that "women" denote goods is because by the marriage of a man and a woman is represented the conjunction of truth and good (that by "a man" is signified truth, and by "a woman" good, (n. 4510, 4823); and from the signification of "widows," as being those who are in good and not in truths, but who nevertheless long for truths (n. 9198); but here those who do not long for truths, because the evil are spoken of who afflict widows, consequently those are meant with whom goods are perishing.
 The case herein is this. Those who are in good, and do not long for truth, are not in good. The reason is that good becomes good by means of truths, for good receives its quality from truths (n. 9154). It is good conjoined with truth that is meant by "spiritual good;" and therefore when truth perishes with a man, good also perishes; and conversely, when good perishes, truth also perishes; for the conjunction is drawn asunder and dispersed (n. 3804, 4149, 4301, 4302, 5835, 6917, 7835, 8349, 8356). Thus good is known from the fact that it longs for truth and is affected with truth for the sake of a good use, thus for the sake of life. Regarded in itself the very longing, that is, the very affection of truth for the sake of life, is the affection of conjunction. This is like the longing of food or bread for water or wine, for the sake of conjunction; for when they are conjoined they nourish. It is also like light and heat, in that light conjoined with heat produces all things on the earth, and causes them to grow; but if the conjunction is severed, that which has been produced and has grown, perishes.
 As it is with good, so it is with all delight, pleasantness, sweetness, consent, and harmony. These things are not such from themselves, but from the things which are in them, the conjunction causing them to be such, and they being such according to the conjunction. But what things therein hear relation to good, and what to truth, may be known to the intelligent if they consider. For all things whatsoever that are in the world and that are in heaven, thus that are in the universe, bear relation to good and truth; and everything produced by these bears relation to both together, and thus to their conjunction. For this reason the ancients likened all things to marriage (n. 54, 55, 1432, 5194, 7022); and in each particular of the Word there is the marriage of good and truth (n. 683, 793, 801, 2516, 2712, 4138, 5138, 5502, 6343, 7945, 8339).
AC 9207. And your sons shall be orphans. That this signifies that then at the same time truths will perish, is evident from the signification of "orphans," as being those who are in truth and not yet in good, and nevertheless long for good (n. 9199), here those who are in truth but do not long for good, thus those with whom truths are perishing; for it is said of the evil, whose sons shall become orphans. That truths perish with those who do not long for good, is plain from what was said just above (n. 9206) about the conjunction of good and truth. With regard to this conjunction it is to be said further, that truths which are conjoined with good always have within them a longing to do what is good, and at the same time, to thereby conjoin themselves more closely with good; or, what is the same, those who are in truths always long to do what is good, and thus to conjoin good with their truths; and therefore those who believe themselves to be in truths and do not long to do what is good, are not in truths; that is, they are not in the faith of these truths, howsoever they may suppose themselves to be so.
 This is described by the Lord by "salt," where He says in Matthew:--
Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men (Matt. 5:13);
these words the Lord says to the disciples and to the people. By "the salt of the earth" is meant the truth of the church which longs for good; by "the salt that hath lost its savor" is meant truth without any longing for good; that such truth is profitable for nothing is described by "the salt that hath lost its savor being thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot." To long for good is to long to do what is good, and in this way to be conjoined with good.
 So in Mark:--
Everyone shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good; but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and cherish peace one with another (Mark 9:49, 50);
"to be salted with fire" denotes the longing of good for truth; and "to be salted with salt" denotes the longing of truth for good; "salt that has lost its saltness" denotes truth without any longing for good; "to have salt in ones self" denotes to have this longing.
 So in Luke:--
Everyone of you that renounceth not all that he hath, cannot be My disciple. Salt is good; but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is fit neither for the land, nor for the dunghill: they cast it out (Luke 14:33-35);
here in like manner "salt" denotes truth longing for good; and "salt that has lost its savor," truth which is without any longing for good; "it is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill" denotes that it does not conduce to any use, either good or evil. Those who are in such truth are those who are called "lukewarm," as is plain from the words which precede: that "no one can be a disciple of the Lord who does not renounce all that he has," that is, who does not love the Lord above all things; for those who love the Lord, and likewise themselves, in an equal degree, are those who are called "lukewarm," and who are not fit for either a good use or an evil use.
 In Moses:--
Every offering of thy meat-offering shall be salted with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to cease upon thy meat-offering; upon every offering thou shalt offer salt (Lev. 2:13);
that "in every offering there should be salt" signified that the longing of truth for good, and of good for truth, should be in all worship. Consequently this "salt" is called "the salt of the covenant of God," for "a covenant" denotes conjunction (n. 665, 666, 1023, 1038, 1864, 1996, 2003, 2021, 2037, 6804, 8767, 8778), and "salt" the longing for conjunction.
 When the one longs to be reciprocally conjoined with the other, that is, good with truth and truth with good, they then mutually regard each other; but when truth sunders itself from good, then each turns away from the other, and looks backward, or behind itself. This is signified by Lot‘s wife becoming a pillar of salt, as in Luke:--
Whosoever shall be upon the house, and his vessels in the house, let him not go down to take them away; and whosoever is in the field, let him likewise not turn back to the things behind him. Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:31, 32).
That this is "to look behind" one‘s self, or "backward," (n. 3652, 5895, 5897, 7857, 7923, 8505, 8506, 8510, 8516).
 That "salt" signifies the longing of truth, is because salt renders the earth fertile, and makes food palatable, and because there is in salt something both fiery and at the same time conjunctive; as there is in truth an ardent longing for good and at the same time for conjunction. A "pillar of salt" denotes disjunction from truth; for in the opposite sense " salt" signifies the destruction and vastation of truth (Zeph. 2:9; Ezek. 47:11; Jer. 17:6; Ps. 107:33, 34; Deut. 29:23; Judges 9:45; 2 Kings 2:19-22). These things have been adduced in order that it may be known what is meant by the longing of truth for good, and the longing of good for truth, which are signified by "an orphan," and "a widow."EXODUS 22:20-23 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|