Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 22:1-3
AC 9124. Verses 1-3 . If a thief be caught while digging through, and be smitten, and he die, bloods shall not be shed for him. If the sun have risen upon him, bloods shall be shed for him; repaying he shall repay; if he have nothing, he shall be sold for his theft. If finding the theft be found in his hand, from an ox even to an ass, even to one of the small cattle, living, he shall repay double. "If a thief be caught while digging through," signifies if it is not apparent that good or truth is being taken away; "and be smitten, and he die," signifies if then it is so injured as to be extinguished; "bloods shall not be shed for him," signifies that he is not guilty of the violence that is done; "if the sun have risen upon him," signifies if he shall see it clearly from within; "bloods shall be shed for him," signifies that he is guilty; "repaying he shall repay," signifies the amendment and restoration of the truth and good that have been taken away; "if be have nothing," signifies if nothing remains; "he shall be sold for his theft," signifies alienation; "if finding the theft be found in his hand," signifies if there be anything remaining of truth and good by which restoration can be made; "from an ox even to an ass," signifies whether from exterior good or truth; "even to one of the small cattle," signifies or from interior truth and good; "living," signifies in which there is spiritual life; "he shall repay double," signifies restoration to the full.
AC 9125. If a thief be caught while digging through. That this signifies if it is not apparent that good of truth is being taken away, is evident from the signification of "digging through," as being the perpetration of evil in secret, and when it is said of a thief, as being the taking away of good or truth by falsity from evil so that it is not apparent; and from the signification of "a thief," as being one who takes away good and truth (n. 5135, 8906, 9018, 9020), and in the abstract sense, the truth or good that is taken away. It is said "in the abstract sense," because the angels, who are in the internal sense of the Word, think abstractedly from persons (n. 5225, 5287, 5434, 8343, 8985, 9007). Moreover in this sense the Word has real things as objects, without determination to persons and places.
 That "digging through" denotes the perpetration of evil in secret, and when said of a thief, the taking away of good or truth by falsity from evil so that it is not apparent, is evident from the fact that a distinction is here made between the theft effected by digging through, and that which is committed when the sun is risen. That "digging through" has this signification is also evident from the passages in the Word where it is mentioned, as in Jeremiah:--
Also in thy skirts is found the blood of poor innocent souls. I have not found them in digging through, but they are upon them all (Jer. 2:34);
speaking of filthy loves and the evils from them; "I have not found them in digging through" denotes not by a search in secret; and therefore it is said "they are upon them all," that is, they appear everywhere. And in Ezekiel:--
He brought me in to the door of the court, where I saw, and behold a hole in the wall. He said unto me, Come, dig through the wall; I therefore digged through the wall, when behold a door (Ezek. 8:7, 8);
speaking of the abominations of the house of Israel which they wrought in secret; "to dig through the wall" denotes to enter in secretly, and to see what they are doing. In Amos:--
Though they dig through into hell, thence shall My hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I cast them down (Amos 9:2);
"to dig through into hell" denotes to hide themselves there, thus in falsities from evil; for "hell" denotes falsity from evil, because this reigns there. The falsities there are called "darkness," within which they hide themselves from the light of heaven; for they flee from the light of heaven, which is Divine truth from the Lord. In Job:--
The eye of the adulterer watcheth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me; and he putteth a covering on his face. In the dark he diggeth through houses, which they mark for themselves in the daytime; they acknowledge not the light; even so morning is to them the shadow of death; for they acknowledge the terrors of the shadow of death (Job 24:15-17);
here "digging through houses" plainly means secretly plundering the goods of another; for it is said that "in the dark he diggeth through houses;" that "he watcheth for the twilight that no eye may see him;" that "he putteth a covering on his face;" that "he acknowledges not the light;" also that "the morning is to them the shadow of death."
 That "digging through a house" denotes secretly taking away another’s good, originates from the representatives in the other life. There, when the angels are conversing about falsity destroying good in secret, this is represented below, where angelic conversations are presented to the sight, by digging through a wall; and on the other hand, when the angels are conversing about truth coming to good, and conjoining itself with it, this is represented by an open door through which there is entrance. It is from this that the Lord, who because He spoke from the Divine, spoke according to the representatives that exist in heaven, and according to correspondences, says:--
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same Is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door Is the shepherd of the sheep (John 10:1, 2).
This know, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would surely have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be digged through (Luke 12:39).
Here also a "thief" denotes one who through falsities destroys the goods of faith; "to dig through a house" denotes to do this secretly, because it is done when the master of the house is not watching. From this also it is that "to come as a thief" denotes to come clandestinely, because not through the door, but by some other way, as in John:--
Unless thou watchest, I will come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know in what hour I will come upon thee (Rev. 3:3).
Behold I come as a thief; blessed is he that watcheth (Rev. 16:15).
"To come as a thief" denotes to come clandestinely and unexpectedly. The reason why this is so said by the Lord is that it is meant that the door with man is closed through the falsity of evil.
AC 9126. And be smitten, and he die. That this signifies if then it is so injured as to be extinguished, is evident from the signification of "being smitten," when said of truth and good, as being to be injured or harmed (n. 9034, 9058); and from the signification of "dying," as being to be extinguished. Truth and good are here meant, because by a "thief," or by "theft," is signified that which has been taken away, thus good and truth, as also in what follows: "if finding the theft be found in his hand, from an ox, even to an ass, even to one of the flock" (verse 3); an "ox," an "ass," and "one of the flock," signify goods and truths exterior and interior; and they are called "theft," because found in the hand of the thief; in like manner "silver" and "vessels" (verse 6), which also denote truths interior and exterior. The like is signified by "thief" as by "theft," because in the sense abstracted from person, "the thief" denotes the theft; that is, the truth and good that have been taken away (n. 9125).
AC 9127. Bloods shall not be shed for him. That this signifies that he is not guilty of the violence that is done, is evident from the signification of "blood," as being in the supreme sense the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord‘s Divine good, and in the internal sense thence derived, the truth of good (n. 4735, 6378, 6978, 7317, 7326, 7846, 7850, 7877). Wherefore by "shedding blood" is signified doing violence to truth Divine, or to the truth of good, and also to good itself. For he who does violence to truth does violence likewise to good, because truth has been so conjoined with good that the one belongs to the other; and therefore if violence is done to the one, it is done to the other also. From this it is plain that by "bloods not being shed for him" is signified that he is not guilty of violence done to truth and good.
 He who knows nothing of the internal sense of the Word, knows no otherwise than that by "bloods" in the Word are signified bloods; and that by "shedding blood" is merely signified killing a man. But the internal sense does not treat of the life of man’s body, but of the life of his soul, that is, of his spiritual life, which he is to live forever. This life is described in the Word in the sense of the letter by such things as belong to the life of the body; namely, by the flesh and blood. And because the spiritual life of man exists and subsists through the good which is of charity and the truth which is of faith, therefore in the internal sense of the Word the good which is of charity is meant by "flesh," and the truth which is of faith is meant by "blood." And in a still more interior sense, the good which is of love to the Lord is meant by "flesh," and the good of love toward the neighbor is meant by "blood." But in the supreme sense, which treats of the Lord alone, "flesh" denotes the Divine good of the Lord, thus the Lord Himself as to Divine good; and "blood" denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, thus the Lord as to Divine truth. These things are understood in heaven by "flesh and blood" when a man is reading the Word; in like manner when he attends the Holy Supper; but in this the bread is the flesh, and the wine is the blood, because by "bread" the same is signified as by "flesh," and by "wine" the same as by "blood."
 But this is not apprehended by those who are sensuous, as is the case with most men in the world at this day; and therefore let them remain in their own faith, provided they believe that in the Holy Supper, and in the Word, there is something holy, because from the Divine. Granting that they do not know wherein this holiness consists, nevertheless let those who are endowed with any interior perception (that is, who are able to think above the things of sense), consider whether blood is meant by "blood," and flesh by "flesh," in the following passages:
Son of man, thus said the Lord Jehovih; Say to every bird of the heaven, to every wild animal of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves from every side upon My sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth; and ye shall drink blood even to drunkenness, of My sacrifice which I will sacrifice for you. Ye shall be sated at My table with the horse and the chariot, and with the strong one, and with every man of war. Thus will I set My glory among the nations (Ezek. 39:17-21).
I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God, that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of the strong ones, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all; free and bond, small and great (Rev. 19:17, 18).
It is very clear that in these passages by "flesh" is not meant flesh, and by "blood" is not meant blood.
 In like manner then with the "flesh and blood" of the Lord, in the following passage in John:--
The bread that I will give is My flesh. Verily, verily, I say unto you Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall not have life in you. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. This is the bread that came down from heaven (John 6:51-58).
That the Lord‘s "flesh" denotes the Divine good of His Divine love; and that His "blood" denotes the Divine truth proceeding from His Divine good; can be seen from the fact that these are what nourish the spiritual life of a man. From this also it is said, "My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed;" and also, "this is the bread that came down from heaven." And as man is conjoined with the Lord through love and faith, it is also said, "he that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him." But as before said those alone apprehend this saying who can think above the sensuous things of the body; especially those who are in faith and in love to the Lord, for these are raised by the Lord from the life of the sensuous things of the body toward the life of their spirit; thus from the light of the world into the light of heaven, in which light those material things which are in the thought from the body disappear.
 He therefore who knows that "blood" denotes truth Divine from the Lord, is also able to know that by "shedding blood" in the Word is not signified killing, or depriving a man of the life of the body; but killing or depriving him of the life of the soul, that is, destroying his spiritual life, which is from faith in and love to the Lord. That "blood," when understood as being shed unlawfully, denotes truth Divine destroyed by means of falsities from evil, is clear from the following passages:--
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have washed away the bloods of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of cleansing (Isa. 4:4).
Your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity (Isa. 59:3, 7).
Also in thy skirts is found the blood of poor innocent souls (Jer. 2:34).
Because of the sins of the prophets, the iniquities of the priests, that shed the blood of the righteous in the midst of Jerusalem, they have wandered blind in the streets, they are defiled with blood; the things which they cannot (defile), they touch with their garments (Lam. 4:13, 14).
I passed by thee, and saw thee trodden down in thy bloods, and I said, In thy bloods live; I washed thee with waters, and I washed away thy bloods from upon thee, and I anointed thee with oil (Ezek. 16:6, 9).
Thou, son of man, wilt thou plead with the city of bloods? make known to her all her abominations. And thou shalt say, Thou art become guilty through thy blood which thou hast shed, and art defiled through thine idols which thou hast made. Behold, the princes of Israel, everyone according to his arm, have been in thee, and have shed blood. Slanderous men have been in thee to shed blood; and in thee they have eaten upon the mountains (Ezek. 22:2, 4, 6, 9).
I will set wonders in the heaven and in the earth, blood, and fire, and a pillar of smoke. The sun shall be turned into thick darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day come (Joel 2:30, 31).
The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as blood (Rev. 6:12).
The second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; and the third part of the sea became blood (Rev. 8:8).
The second angel poured out his vial into the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man, whence every living soul died in the sea. The third angel poured out his vial into the rivers, and into the fountains of waters, and they became blood (Rev. 16:3, 4).
 In these passages by "blood" is not meant the blood of man’s bodily life that is shed; but the blood of his spiritual life, which is truth Divine, to which violence has been done through falsity from evil. The like is meant by "blood" in Matthew:--
Upon you shall come the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zachariah, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar (Matt. 23:35);
by which is signified that the truths of the Word have had violence done to them by the Jews, from the earliest time even to the present, insomuch that they would not acknowledge anything of internal and heavenly truth. Therefore neither did they acknowledge the Lord. Their "shedding His blood" signified the complete rejection of truth Divine, for the Lord was Divine truth itself, which is "the Word made flesh" (John 1:1, 14). The complex rejection of truth Divine which was from the Lord, and which was the Lord, is meant by these Words in Matthew:--
Pilate washed his hands before the people, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just man; see ye to it. And all the people answered, His, blood be on us, and on our children (Matt. 27:24, 26).
Therefore this subject is thus described in John:--
One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and straightway there came out blood and water. He that saw bare witness, and his witness is true; and he knoweth that he saith true things, that ye may believe (John 19:34, 36);
that water also came out was because by "water" is signified external truth Divine, such as is the Word in the letter. That "water" denotes truth, (n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8568).
 From all this also it is evident what is signified by being purified "by the blood of the Lord," namely, that it is through the reception of the truth of faith from Him (n. 7918, 9088). So also it is plain what is signified by these words in John:--
They overcame the dragon by the blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of His testimony (Rev. 12:11);
"by the blood of the Lamb" denotes through the Divine truth which is from the Lord, which is also "the Word of His testimony." "The blood of the Lamb" denotes innocent blood, for "a lamb" denotes innocence (n. 3519, 3994, 7840). The truth Divine that proceeds from the Lord in heaven has innocence inmostly within it, for it affects no others than those who are in innocence (n. 2526, 2780, 3111, 3183, 3494, 3994, 4797, 6013, 6107, 6765, 7836, 7840, 7877, 7902).
AC 9128. If the sun have risen upon him. That this signifies if he shall see it clearly from within, namely, the theft which is being committed, is evident from the signification of "the sun rising," as being to be seen in the light, thus clearly; here, that good and truth are taken away, which is signified by "theft" (n. 9125). That "if the sun have risen" has this signification, is because by "the thief being caught while digging through", is signified the taking away of good and truth in secret, thus when it is not seen (n. 9125). It is said "seen from within," because such a thing is seen by the internal man.
 As this is an important matter, something shall be said about sight from within. A man sees in himself whether what he thinks and wills, and consequently what he says and does, is good or evil, and consequently whether it is true or false. This is quite impossible unless he sees from within. Seeing from within is seeing from the sight of the internal man in the external. The case is the same as with the sight of the eye: the eye cannot see the things which are within it, but only those which are outside of it. From this then it is that a man sees the good and the evil that are in himself. Nevertheless one man sees this better than another, and some do not see it at all. They who see it, are they who have received from the Lord the life of faith and charity, for this life is the internal life, or the life of the internal man. Such persons, being from faith in truth, and from charity in good, can see the evils and falsities in themselves; for evil can be seen from good, and falsity from truth; but not contrariwise. The reason is that good and truth are in heaven, and in its light; whereas evil and falsity are in hell, and in its darkness. From this it is evident that those who are in evil and thence in falsity cannot see the good and truth, nor even the evil and falsity, which are in themselves, consequently neither can they see from within.
 But be it known that to see from within is to see from the Lord; for it is the same with sight as with everything that exists, in that nothing exists from itself, but from that which is prior to or higher than itself, thus finally from the First and Highest. The First and Highest is the Lord. He who apprehends this can also apprehend that everything of life with man is from the Lord; and that as charity and faith constitute the veriest life of man, everything of charity, and everything of faith, are from the Lord. He who excels others in the gift of thought and perception, can from this also apprehend that the Lord sees each and all things - even the most minute - that are with man. But evil and falsity do not come forth from what is higher than themselves; but from what is lower. Consequently they do not come forth from the Lord, but from the world; for the Lord is above, and the world is beneath. Wherefore with those who are in evil and thence in falsity, the internal man is closed above and open beneath. From this it is that they see all things upside down; the world as everything, and heaven as nothing. It is also for this reason that before the angels they appear upside down; with the feet upward, and the head downward. Such are all in hell.
AC 9129. Bloods shall be shed for him. That this signifies that he is guilty, is evident from the signification of "blood," as being violence done to good and truth, thus to be guilty of such violence (n. 9127).
AC 9130. Repaying he shall repay. That this signifies the amendment and restoration of the truth and good that have been taken away, is evident from the signification of "repaying," as being amendment and restoration (n. 9087, 9097).
AC 9131. If he have nothing. That this signifies if nothing remains, namely, of the good and truth that have been taken away, is evident from the signification of "his (that is, the thief‘s) having nothing," as being that nothing remains of the truth and good that have been taken away. That the "theft" denotes the good and truth taken away, (n. 9125); also that the same is signified by "a thief" as by "theft," (n. 9125, 9126).
AC 9132. He shall be sold for his thee. That this signifies alienation, is evident from the signification of "to be sold," as being alienation (n. 4752, 4758, 5886), here of the good and truth taken away, of which nothing remains (n. 9131); and from the signification of "for the theft," as being amendment and restoration by other good or truth in place of that taken away, which is signified by "repaying" (n. 9130); for the thief was sold that the theft might be repaid. With what is contained in this verse the case is this. He who sees that the good or truth with him is being taken away by falsity derived from evil, is guilty of the violence done to them, for it is done with his knowledge. For that which is done with the man’s knowledge, proceeds from the will, and at the same time from the understanding, thus from the whole man, because man is man from these two, and what is done from these two is done from the falsity which is from evil - from falsity, because from the understanding; and from evil, because from the will. It is from this that the man is guilty. That which comes from a man‘s understanding, and at the same time from his will, is made his own (n. 9009, 9069, 9071); and that a man becomes guilty if when he sees the evil of his will he does not repress it by means of his understanding, see (n. 9075).
AC 9133. If finding the theft be found in his hand. That this signifies if there be anything remaining of truth and good by which restoration can be made, is evident from the signification of "finding there be found," when said of the good or truth that has been taken away, which is signified by the "theft," as being to remain; from the signification of "in his hand," as being in his power; that "the hand" denotes power, (n. 878, 3387, 4931-4937, 5327, 5328, 5544, 6947, 7011, 7188, 7189, 7518, 7673, 8050, 8153, 8281); that "in his hand" also denotes that which appertains to him, will be seen below); and from the signification of "theft," as being the good or the truth that has been taken away (n. 9125). From this it is plain that by "if finding the theft be found in his hand" is signified if there be anything remaining of good and truth. That it also means whereby restoration can be made, is because this verse treats of the restoration of the good and truth that have been taken away. The case herein is this. So long as a general affection of good remains, there always remains something by means of which any particular good that has been taken away may be restored, for particular goods and truths depend upon a general good (n. 920, 1040, 1316, 4269, 4325, 4329, 4345, 4383, 5208, 6115, 7131). That "in his hand" denotes whatever appertains to him, is because by "the hand" is signified power, and whatever is in anyone’s power appertains to him. Consequently by "the hand," especially by "the right hand," is signified the man himself. From all this it can be seen what is signified by "sitting at the right hand of the Father," when this is said of the Lord, as being to be everything with the Father, thus to be the Father Himself; which is the same as to be in the Father and the Father in Him; and as all things that are His being the Father‘s, and all that are the Father’s being His; as the Lord teaches in (John 14:8-11; 17:10, 11.
AC 9134. From an ox even to an ass. That this signifies from exterior good or truth, is evident from the signification of "an ox," as being the good of the natural (n. 2180, 2566, 2781, 2830, 5913, 8937); and from the signification of "an ass," as being the truth of the natural (n. 2781, 5492, 5741). The good of the natural is exterior good, and the truth of the natural is exterior truth.
AC 9135. Even to one of the small cattle. That this signifies if from interior truth and good, is evident from the signification of "one of the small cattle," as being spiritual truth and good, thus interior truth and good (n. 6016, 6045, 6049). In the Word "flocks" are sometimes mentioned, and sometimes "small cattle;" and in the internal sense by "flocks" are signified interior goods and the truths thence derived; and by "small cattle" are signified interior truths and the goods thence derived. But the difference between these cannot be known unless it is known how the case is with the two states of man, the former and the latter, during regeneration. The former state is when he is being led by means of the truths of faith to the good of charity. The latter state is when he is in the good of charity and from this is in the truths of faith. By the former state, man is introduced into the church, in order that he may become a church; and when he has become a church, he is then in the latter state. The goods and the truths with him in the latter state are signified by "Socks;" but the truths and the goods with him in the former state are signified by "small cattle." It is from this that truths are here mentioned in the first place, and good in the second. In regard to these two states with the man who is being regenerated, or what is the same, who is becoming a church, (n. 7923, 7992, 8505, 8506, 8510, 8512, 8516, 8643, 8648, 8658, 8685, 8690, 8701, 8772, 8995, 9088, 9089).
 Those goods and truths are called "exterior" which are in the external or natural man; and those are called "interior" which are in the internal or spiritual man. That the latter are interior, and the former exterior, is because the internal man is wise from heaven, but the external man from the world; for heaven is within man, and the world is without him. It is said "from an ox even to an ass, even to one of the small cattle," in order that every exterior good and truth may be signified, and also every interior truth and good. Moreover in accordance with the Divine order in heaven, in the external man good proceeds toward truth; and in the internal man from truth toward good.
AC 9136. Living. That this signifies in which there is spiritual life, is evident from the signification of "life," as being spiritual life, which is the life of faith and charity (n. 5407, 5890); consequently "the living" denote those in whom there is spiritual life.
AC 9137. He shall repay double. That this signifies restoration to the full, is evident from the signification of "double," as being to the full (n. 9103); and from the signification of "repaying," as being restoration (n. 9087). EXODUS 22:1-3 - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
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