Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 23:4-9
AC 9254. Verses 4-9. When thou shalt meet thine enemy‘s ox, or his ass, going astray, bringing back thou shall bring it back to him. When thou shalt see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to remove it for him, removing thou shalt remove it with him. Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy needy in his cause. Keep thee far from the word of a lie; and the innocent and the righteous slay thou not; for I will not justify the wicked. And thou shalt not take a present, because a present blindeth those who have their eyes open, and perverteth the words of the righteous. And a sojourner shalt thou not oppress; for ye know the soul of a sojourner, seeing that ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt. "When thou shalt meet thine enemy’s ox, or his ass, going astray," signifies good not genuine and truth not genuine, with those who are outside the church; "bringing back thou shalt bring it back to him," signifies instruction and amendment; "when thou shalt see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden," signifies falsity not agreeing with the good of the church, by reason of which they are about to perish; "and wouldest forbear to remove it for him," signifies no reception of truth; "removing thou shalt remove it with him," signifies nevertheless encouragement, and effort toward amendment; "thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy needy in his cause," signifies no destruction of the scanty truth with those who are in ignorance; "keep thee far from the word of a lie," signifies an aversion for the falsity of evil; "and the innocent and the righteous slay thou not," signifies an aversion for destroying interior and exterior good; "for I will not justify the wicked," signifies that such malignity is contrary to the Divine righteousness; "and thou shalt not take a present," signifies an aversion for any self-advantage whatever; "because a present blindeth those who have their eyes open," signifies that matters of self-advantage cause truths not to appear; "and perverteth the words of the righteous," signifies so that (matters of self-advantage) appear like truths of good; "and a sojourner shalt thou not oppress, signifies that those who long to be instructed in the truths of the church must not be infested with evils of life; "for ye know the soul of a sojourner," signifies their longing and their life; "seeing that ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt," signifies that they were protected from falsities and evils when infested by the infernals.
AC 9255. When thou shalt meet thine enemy‘s ox, or his ass, going astray. That hereby is signified good not genuine, and truth not genuine, with those who are outside the church, is evident from the signification of "an enemy," as being those who are outside the church; from the signification of "an ox," as being the good of the external man; and from the signification of " an ass," as being the truth of the external man (n. 2781, 9134); but good and truth not genuine, such as are with those who are outside the church, who are signified by "an enemy." That those who are outside the church are meant by "an enemy" is because they are at variance in respect to the good and truth of faith; for they have not the Word, and therefore they do not know anything about the Lord, nor about Christian faith and charity, which are from the Lord alone. Hence it is that neither their truth of faith, nor their good of charity, is genuine. Therefore in the other life also they do not live together with those who are of the church, but separate from them; for in the other life all are associated together in accordance with their good and the truth thence derived; for these are what make spiritual life and conjunction.
 Nevertheless those who are in heaven do not regard as enemies those who are outside the church, but they instruct them, and lead them to Christian good, which moreover is received by those who while in the world have lived together, from their religion, in subordination, in obedience, and in some kind of mutual charity. But in the sense of the letter they are called "enemies" from their spiritual variance, which, as before said, is a variance in respect to the truth of faith and the good of charity. Concerning the state of the nations outside the church, and their lot in the other life, (n. 2589-2604, 2861, 2863, 4190, 4197). That the same are to be regarded as friends, and are to be instructed and amended, is meant in the internal sense by "bringing back thou shalt bring it back to him," of which in what follows.
 It only remains to say that in the Word by beasts of various kinds are signified affections and inclinations such as man has in common with beasts; and in the spiritual sense the affections of good and truth internal and external (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 776, 2179, 2180, 2781, 3218, 3519, 5198, 9090); and that for this reason beasts were employed in the sacrifices in accordance with their signification (n. 1823, 2180, 2805, 2807, 2830, 3519). From this it is that by this moral law concerning the bringing back of the stray oxen and asses of an enemy, are signified in the spiritual sense such things as are of the church, thus such things as are of mutual love or charity toward those who are at variance with the truths of the church.
AC 9256. Bringing back thou shalt bring it back to him. That this signifies instruction and amendment, is evident from the signification of "bringing back," when said of those outside the church who are in good and truth not genuine, as being to instruct and amend; for in this way they are brought back. That benefits ought to be imparted to those who are outside the church, is also meant by the Lord’s words in Matthew:--
Ye have heard that it was said, thou shalt love thy neighbor; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and benefit those who hate you. For if ye love those who love you, what reward have ye? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more? (Matt. 5:43-47);
here also by "enemies" and by "those who hate" are meant in the spiritual sense those who are at variance in respect to the goods and truths of faith, and in general those who are outside the church; because the Jewish nation considered these as enemies, whom they were permitted to utterly destroy, and to kill with impunity. That these are meant in the spiritual sense by "enemies," is plain, because it is said, "if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more?" for all were called "brethren" who were born of Jacob, thus who were within the church.
 As further regards those who are outside the church, and are called "Gentiles," they are indeed in falsities of doctrine, but from ignorance, because they have not the Word; and get when they are instructed they are in a clearer and consequently more inward perception about the heavenly life with man than are Christians. The reason is that they have not confirmed themselves against the truths of faith, as have very many Christians; and therefore their internal man is not closed, but, as with little children, is readily opened and receptive of truth. For those who have confirmed themselves against the truths and goods of faith, as do all who live an evil life, close in themselves the internal man above, and open it beneath. The result is that their internal man looks only at those things which are beneath, that is, into the external or natural man, and through this at the things in the world, and at those around their body and upon the earth; and when this is the case, they look downward, which is to look toward hell.
 With such persons the internal man cannot be opened toward heaven unless the things which deny truth, or affirm falsity, which have closed it, are dispersed; which must be done in this world. This cannot be effected except by a complete inversion of the life; thus the course of many years. For falsities arrange themselves in series, establishing a continuous connection among one another; and they form the natural mind itself, and its mode of viewing those things which are of the church and of heaven. From this it is that all things which are of faith and charity, that is, of the doctrine of the church, or of the Word, and in general all heavenly and Divine things, are thick darkness with such persons; and that on the other hand worldly and earthly things are light to them. From this it is plain that to destroy the falsities with such persons is to destroy their very life; and that if they are to have any new life, the falsities must be uprooted gradually, and truths and goods be implanted in their place, which will in like manner form a continuous connection with one another, and be arranged in series. This is meant by the "complete inversion of the life," which is possible only in the course of many years. Therefore he who believes that a man can be made new in a moment, is very much mistaken.
 But those who have not confirmed themselves against the goods and truths of faith--as is the case with those who are outside the church, and yet have lived in some kind of faith and charity according to their religion--have not been able to close the internal man in themselves by negations of truth, and by confirmations of falsity against the truth of faith from the Word; and therefore the internal of these persons is opened upward (that is, into heaven and toward the Lord), if not in this world, yet in the other life; and then all the earthly and worldly things they have brought with them from their life in the world, are at the same time uplifted so as together to look upward; whereby they are in a state to receive the truths of faith and the goods of charity from the Lord, and to become imbued with intelligence and wisdom, and thus to be endowed with eternal happiness. Such is the lot of all who have lived in good in accordance with their religion; and therefore the Lord‘s church is spread throughout the whole world. But the Lord’s church itself on earth is like the Grand Man in the heavens, whose heart and lungs are where the Word is, and the rest of whose members and viscera, which live from the heart and the lungs, are where the Word is not.
 From all this also it can be seen why a new church is always set up among the Gentiles who are outside the church (n. 2986, 4747), which as before said takes place when the old church has closed heaven against itself. For this reason the church was transferred from the Jewish people to the Gentiles, and the present church is also now being transferred to the Gentiles.
 That the church is transferred to the Gentiles who acknowledge the Lord, is evident from many passages in the Word, as from these which follow. In Isaiah:--
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, Thou hast made great their joy (Isa. 9:2, 3).
It shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, which standeth for an ensign of the peoples, shall the Gentiles seek; and His rest shall be glory (Isa. 11:10).
I Jehovah have called Thee in righteousness, and I will take hold of Thy hand, for I will keep Thee, and will give Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (Isa. 42:6, 7).
Behold I have given Him for a witness to the peoples, a prince and lawgiver to the Gentiles. Behold thou shalt call a nation that thou hast not known, and a nation that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of Jehovah thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 55:4, 5).
The Gentiles shall walk to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, they all gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons come from afar, and thy daughters are carried by nurses at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall be amazed and be enlarged; because the multitude of the sea is converted unto thee, the armies of the Gentiles shall come (Isa. 60:3-5).
And in the prophecy of Simeon concerning the Lord when a child:--
Mine eyes have seen the salvation of God, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light for the revelation of the Gentiles (Luke 2:30-32).
 In all these passages the subject treated of is the Lord, in that the Gentiles shall come unto Him; and they come unto Him when they acknowledge Him as their God. And wonderful to say, the Gentiles worship the one only God under a human form; and therefore when they hear about the Lord, they receive and acknowledge Him; nor can a new church be set up with others. That the church is set up again with such, is further evident from the Lord‘s words in Matthew:--
Have ye not read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation that doeth the fruits (Matt. 21:42, 43);
"the stone" denotes the Lord (n. 6426); "the builders" denote those who are of the church. That these would be last, and the Gentiles first, is thus said in Luke:--
They shall come from the east, and west, and from the north, and south, and shall recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last (Luke. 13:29, 30).
AC 9257. When thou shalt see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden. That this signifies falsity not agreeing with the good of the church, by reason of which they are about to perish, is evident from the signification of "an ass," as being memory-truth, and therefore in the opposite sense, memory-falsity (n. 2781, 5492, 5741, 8078); from the signification of "him that hateth thee," when said of falsity, as being what is contrary to the good of the church, thus what does not agree with it; for in the spiritual sense "hatred" denotes the aversion and variance that exist between truths and falsities, and also between goods and evils (n. 3605, 4681, 4684); and from the signification of "lying under a burden," as being to perish. From this it is evident that by "the ass of him that hateth thee" is signified falsity not agreeing with the good of the church, by reason of which they are about to perish.
AC 9258. And wouldest forbear to remove it for him. That this signifies no reception of truth, is evident from the signification of "to forbear from removing," as being not to instruct and amend, here not to be capable of receiving instruction, thus not to receive truth, because it is said of the falsity which does not agree with the good of the church, and this falsity is of this nature. That in the spiritual sense "to remove" denotes this, is evident from the fact that words apply themselves to the subject; thus in the sense of the letter "to remove" applies to the burden under which the ass is lying; and in the internal sense to the falsity which does not agree with the good of the church; and therefore in this sense there is signified no removal from falsity by means of amendment, thus also no reception of truth whereby there may be amendment or removal. There are falsities which agree with the good of the church, and there are falsities which do not agree with it. The falsities which agree are those in which good lies hidden, and which, therefore, by means of good, can be bent toward truths. But the falsities which do not agree with the good of the church are those in which evil lies hidden, and which therefore cannot be bent toward truths.
 The good which lies hidden within genuine truths, or within truths not genuine, which just above were called falsities, and the evil which lies hidden in falsities, and also in truths, are like the prolific germ in the seed of fruit. When the fruit is being formed, all its fibers look toward the prolific germ of the seed, and by means of the permeating sap they nourish it and form it; but when it has been formed, the fibers retire, and convey the sap away from the seed, thus causing the pulp of the fruit to shrivel and decay, and afterward serve the prolific germ as soil. The case is the same with the seed itself, when its prolific germ begins to put itself forth anew In the earth. The prolific germ in plants corresponds to the good in man. The seed itself corresponds to internal things, and the pulp of the fruit encompassing the seed corresponds to external things. When the internal of man is being formed anew, or is being regenerated, the memory-knowledges and truths of the external man are like the fibers of fruit, through which the sap is carried over to the internal; and afterward, when the man has been regenerated, the memory-knowledges and truths of the external man are also separated, and serve as soil. The case is the same with the internal of man, to which the seed corresponds. In this case the good which has been formed in this manner produces a new man, just as the prolific germ in the seed produces a new tree, or a new plant. Thus all things are made new, and afterward multiply and bear fruit to eternity; consequently the new man becomes like a garden and a paradise, to which he is also compared in the Word.
 This is meant by the Lord’s words in Matthew:--
The kingdom of the heavens‘ like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which is less than all seeds; but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and make their nests in its branches (Matt. 13:31, 32).
From all this it can be seen how the case is with truths, both genuine and not genuine, that have good within them, namely, that after good has been formed, it produces such truths as agree with the good; and even if these are not genuine truths, they are nevertheless accepted as genuine, because they savor of good, for from this they derive their essence and life. For good prolificates and brings itself forth by means of truths, and in this bringing of itself forth it is in the continual endeavor to produce a new good, in which there shall be a like prolific germ; just as the prolific germ of a seed acts in the case of a plant or tree, when it pushes itself forth from the earth for the sake of new fruits, and new seeds. But the varieties are endless, and are according to the goods that are formed by a life of charity in accordance with the precepts of faith.
 From the opposite it can be seen how the case is with falsities in which is evil, namely, that they are like trees which bear evil fruits, and which are to be rooted up and cast into the fire, according to the Lord’s words in these passages:--
Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:17-20; 12:33).
Jesus said, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither; and they gather him, and cast him into the fire, and he is burned (John 15:4-6).
From this it is evident that all good which shall bear any fruit is from the Lord, and that unless it is from Him it is not good.
AC 9259. Removing thou shall remove it with him. That this signifies encouragement, and effort toward amendment, is evident from the signification of "removing," when said of the falsity which does not agree with the good of the church, as being amendment (n. 9258), and here effort toward amendment, and encouragement, because such falsity is amended with difficulty. The falsities which do not agree with the good of the church are all those which are opposed to the Lord, to the good of love to Him, and to the good of charity toward the neighbor.-- That such things as have just been unfolded lie hidden within these two laws, or judgments, is evident from this additional consideration, that the things contained in the letter seldom happen, namely, meeting an enemy‘s ox or ass going astray, and seeing the ass of one who hates us lying under a burden. Consequently these ordinances are not of sufficient importance to have been included among the laws and judgments that were promulgated from Mount Sinai. But the things they contain within them cause them to rank among the chief judgments; for they contain the injunction that the Gentiles too must be loved and be instructed in the truths of faith, and be amended in respect to the life. But these internal contents of the laws in question could not be set forth before the Israelitish and Jewish people, because these were in external things without internal; and because they had received from their fathers that they should hate, and therefore regard as enemies, all who were not of their brethren, that is, who were not born of Jacob. Concerning the Jews and their character, (n. 4307, 4314, 4316, 4317, 4429, 4433, 4444, 4825, 4903, 6304, 8588, 8788, 8806, 8871).
AC 9260. Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy needy in his cause. That this signifies no destruction of the scanty truth with those who are in ignorance, is evident from the signification of "wresting," as being to pervert, and so to destroy; from the signification of "judgment," as being that which is right and true (n. 2235, 2335, 5068, 6397, 7206, 8685, 8695, 8972); from the signification of "the needy," as being one who is in scanty truth from ignorance, and yet longs to be instructed (n. 9209); and from the signification of "a cause," as being contention (n. 5963, 9024). In the present case "in his cause" denotes in his dispute concerning the scanty truth for which he is contending.
AC 9261. Keep thee far from the word of a lie. That this signifies an aversion for the falsity of evil, is evident from the signification of "a lie," as being falsity from evil (n. 8908, 9248). The reason why there is signified falsity from evil is that this falsity must be kept far away, because it derives its essence from evil; and evil and good are opposites; for evil is from hell, and good is from heaven, and there it is from the Lord. But falsity not derived from evil, which is the falsity of ignorance, is not of such a nature (n. 1679, 2863, 4551, 4552, 4729, 4736, 6359, 7272, 7574, 8149, 8311, 8318, 9258). And from the signification of "keeping far away," as being to feel aversion for. That "removal far away" denotes aversion, originates from the removals of this kind which appear in the spiritual world, in that they are according to dissimilarities, differences, and aversions, in respect to the things of spiritual life. For those who appear there in one place are in a like state of the affections and of the derivative thoughts; but as soon as they are at variance, they are separated and go far away from one another; and this according to the degree of their variance. This comes to pass because in the spiritual world both spaces and times are states, and therefore distances are differences of states. Nevertheless before the external sight, states appear there as spaces, and their differences as distances. That spaces and distances, and also times, are states, (n. 1273-1277, 1376-1382, 2625, 3356, 3387, 3404, 3638-3641, 4321, 4882, 7381, 9104); but that nevertheless there are appearances of spaces and distances, which originate from changes of state in the interiors, (n. 5605). From this it is now evident that in the internal sense "removal far away" denotes aversion.
AC 9262. And the innocent and the righteous slay thou not. That this signifies an aversion for destroying interior and exterior good, is evident from the signification of "the innocent," as being one who is in interior good, thus in the abstract sense, interior good; from the signification of "the righteous," as being one in exterior good, and in the abstract sense, exterior good, for "righteous" is predicated of the good of love toward the neighbor, and "innocent" of the good of love to the Lord. The good of love toward the neighbor is exterior good, and the good of love to the Lord is interior good. And from the signification of "slaying," as being to destroy. That "righteous" denotes the good of love toward the neighbor, will also be seen below. But that "innocent" denotes the good of love to the Lord, is because those are in innocence who love the Lord. For innocence is to acknowledge in the heart that of ourselves we desire nothing but evil, and perceive nothing but falsity, and also that all the good which is of love, and all the truth which is of faith, are from the Lord alone. None can at heart acknowledge these things except those who are conjoined with the Lord by love. Such are they who are in the inmost heaven, which from this is called the "heaven of innocence." Wherefore the good they have is interior good; for it is the Divine good of love that proceeds from the Lord which is received by those who are in the heaven of innocence. Hence also they appear naked, and likewise as little children, from which it is that innocence is represented by nakedness, and also by infancy. That it is represented by nakedness, (n. 165, 213, 214, 8375); and by infancy, (n. 430, 1616, 2280, 2305, 2306, 3183, 3494, 4563, 4797, 5608).
 From what has just been said about innocence it can be seen that the Lord’s Divine cannot be received except in innocence, from which it follows that good is not good, unless innocence is within it (n. 2526, 2780, 3994, 6765, 7840, 7887), that is, the acknowledgment that from one‘s own proceeds nothing but what is evil and false, and that from the Lord is everything that is good and true. To believe the former, and to believe and also to will the latter, is innocence. Therefore innocence is good Divine itself from the Lord with man. Consequently "the innocent" signifies one who is in interior good, and in the abstract sense, interior good.
 As Divine good which is from the Lord is signified by "the innocent," or by "innocence," it was a most heinous crime to shed innocent blood; and when it was committed, the whole land was under condemnation until it was expiated, as can be seen from the procedure of inquiry and purgation that took place if anyone was found stabbed in the land; of which it is thus written in Moses:--When one who has been stabbed is found in the land, lying in the field, and it is not known who hath smitten him; then the elders of the city shall come forth unto the cities which are round about him that is stabbed; and it shall be, that the city which is nearest unto him that is stabbed, the elders of that city shall take a female calf of an ox by which labor hath not been done, and which hath not drawn in the yoke; and the elders of that city shall bring down the calf unto a barren valley, which is neither cultivated nor sown, and shall cut off the calf’s neck there in the valley; and the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near; and all the elders of that city, standing near him that is stabbed, shall wash their hands over the calf whose neck was cut off in the valley; and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, and our eyes have not seen it; expiate Thy people Israel whom Thou hast redeemed, O Jehovah, and put not innocent blood in the midst of Thy people Israel. So shall the blood be expiated for them. And thou shalt put away the innocent blood from the midst of thee, if thou shalt do that which is right in the eyes of Jehovah (Deut. 21:1-9); everyone can see that this procedure of inquiry and of purgation in respect to innocent blood shed in the land, involves arcana of heaven, which cannot possibly be known unless it is known what is signified by "one stabbed in the field," by "a female calf of an ox by which labor hath not been done and which hath not drawn in the yoke," by "a barren valley which is neither cultivated nor sown," by "cutting off the calf‘s neck there in the valley," by "washing the hands over the calf," and by all the other particulars. That these things should have been commanded unless they signified secret things, would by no means be consistent with a Word that has been dictated by the Divine, and inspired in respect to every word and jot; for without some deeper meaning such a procedure would have been a ceremonial of no sanctity, and scarcely of any account.
 Nevertheless it is evident from the internal sense what arcana are hidden within it. Thus if it is known that by "one stabbed in the land lying in the field" is signified truth and good extinguished in a church where there is good that by "the city which is nearest unto him that is stabbed" is signified the truth of doctrine of the church whose good has been extinguished; that by "a female calf of an ox by which work hath not been done and which hath not drawn in the yoke" is signified the good of the external or natural man, that has not as yet, through subjection to cupidities, drawn to itself any falsities of faith and evils of love; that by "a barren valley which is neither cultivated nor sown" is signified the natural mind which through ignorance is not improved with the truths and goods of faith; that by "cutting off the calf’s neck there in the valley" is signified expiation on account of the absence of guilt, because it was the result of ignorance; and that by "washing the hands" is signified purification from this heinous crime;--then from the knowledge of all these things it is evident that by the "shedding of innocent blood" is signified the extinction with the man of the church of the Divine truth and good which are from the Lord, and thus of the Lord Himself.
 Be it known that by this whole procedure there was represented in heaven a crime of this nature done without guilt, because done from ignorance in which there is innocence, consequently as not evil. Every detail of this procedure, even the smallest, represented some essential thing in this matter; and what it represented is evident from the internal sense. That "one who has been stabbed" denotes truth and good extinguished, (n. 4503); that "the land" denotes the church, (n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732); that "a field" denotes the church as to good, thus the good of the church, (n. 2971, 3310, 3766, 4982, 7502, 7571, 9139); that "a city" denotes the doctrine of truth, thus the truth of the doctrine of the church, (n. 402, 2268, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493); that "an ox" denotes the good of the external or natural man, (n. 2180, 2566, 2781, 9134); consequently that "a calf" denotes infantile good, (n. 1824, 1825).
 That it "hath not done labor, and hath not drawn in the yoke" denotes that this good has not yet, through ignorance, been enslaved to falsities and evils, is evident, for "laboring and drawing in a yoke" denotes to serve. That "a valley" denotes the lower mind, which is called the natural mind, see (n. 3417, 4715); that "barren" denotes a mind devoid of truths and goods, (n. 3908); thus that "a valley which is neither cultivated nor sown" denotes the natural mind not as yet improved with truths and goods, thus which is as yet in ignorance; that the "seed" with which it is sown denotes the truth of faith, (n. 1025, 1447, 1610, 1940, 2848, 3038, 3373, 3671, 6158). That "cutting off the neck" denotes expiation, is because by the slaying of various beasts, as well as by sacrifices, were signified expiations. That "washing the hand" denotes purification from falsities and evils, see (n. 3147); here therefore it denotes purification from that heinous crime; for "to shed blood" signifies in general to do violence to good and truth (n. 9127); thus to "shed innocent blood" signifies to extinguish in a man what is Divine from the Lord, thus the Lord Himself in him; for the truth and good in a man are the Lord Himself, because they are from Him.
 The like is signified by "the shedding of innocent blood" in (Deut. 19:10; 27:25; Isa. 59:3, 7; Jer. 2:34; 7:6; 19:4; 22:3, 17; Joel 3:19; Ps. 94:21). In the proximate sense "the innocent" signifies one who is without guilt and without evil, which in olden times was attested by the washing of the hands (Ps. 26:6; 73:13; Matt. 27:24; John 18:38; 19:4). The reason of this was that the good which is from the Lord with man is devoid of guilt and of evil. This good, as has been shown, is in the internal sense the good of innocence. But the good in the external man, that is, exterior good which is devoid of guilt and of evil, is called "the righteous," as also in David:--
The throne of perditions shall not have fellowship with Thee; who gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood (Ps. 94:20, 21).
AC 9263. Mention is often made in the Word of "the righteous," of "righteousness," and of "to be made righteous;" but what is specifically signified by these expressions is not yet known. The reason why it is not known is that hitherto it has been unknown that every expression in the Word signifies such things as belong to the internal church and to heaven, thus to the internal man (for the internal of the church, and heaven, are in the internal man), and also that these interior things in the Word differ from the exterior things which are of the letter, as spiritual things differ from natural, or as heavenly things differ from earthly, the difference of which is so great that to the natural man there scarcely appears any likeness, although there is full agreement. As this has been unknown, it could not be known what is signified in the Word, in its spiritual and celestial senses, by "the righteous," by "righteousness," and by "to be made righteous." It is believed by the heads of the church that he is righteous, and has been made righteous, who is acquainted with the truths of faith from the doctrine of the church and from the Word, and consequently is in the trust and confidence that he is saved through the Lord‘s righteousness, and that the Lord has acquired righteousness by fulfilling all things of the Law, and that He acquired merit because He endured the cross, and thereby made atonement for and redeemed man. Through this faith alone a man is believed to be made righteous; and it is believed further that such are they who are called in the Word "the righteous."
 Yet it is not these who are called "righteous" in the Word; but those who from the Lord are in the good of charity toward the neighbor; for the Lord alone is righteous, because He alone is righteousness. Therefore a man is righteous, and has been made righteous, in so far as he receives good from the Lord, that is, in so far, and according to the way, in which he has in him what belongs to the Lord. The Lord was made righteousness through His having by His own power made His Human Divine. This Divine, with the man who receives it, is the Lord’s righteousness with him, and is the very good of charity toward the neighbor; for the Lord is in the good of love, and through it in the truth of faith, because the Lord is Divine love itself.
 The good of charity toward the neighbor is exterior good, which is signified by "the righteous;" and the good of love to the Lord is interior good, which is signified by "the innocent," as shown in the foregoing section. That the good of love toward the neighbor from the Lord is "the righteous" in the proper sense, can be seen from the passages in the Word where mention is made of "the righteous," of "righteousness," and of "to be made righteous;" as in Matthew:--
Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, When saw we Thee a hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? When saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? But the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto you, Insomuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me. And the righteous shall go into eternal life (Matt. 25:37-40, 46);
 those are here called "the righteous" who have performed the goods of charity toward the neighbor, which are here recounted. And that the goods of charity are the Lord with them is said openly: "insomuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me" (n. 4807-4810, 4954-4959, 5063-5071). These are also called "the sheep," for by "sheep" are signified those who from the Lord are in the good of charity (n. 4169); whereas by "the goats" which are on the left hand, and are condemned, are signified those who are in faith separate from charity (n. 4169, 4769). The same are signified by "the righteous" in another passage in Matthew:--
The angels shall go forth, and shall sever the evil from the midst of the righteous (Matt. 13:49);
and in Luke:--
Thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14).
 From this it is evident what is signified by, The righteous shall shine forth as the sun in heaven (Matt. 13:43); namely, that they are in the good of love from the Lord; for the Lord is the sun in the other life, and that which is from the Lord as the sun there is the good of love (n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4321, 4696, 5097, 7078, 7083, 7171, 7173, 7270, 8487, 8812). Hence the Lord is called "the Sun of Righteousness" (Mal. 4:2). In Daniel:--
The intelligent shall shine as the brightness of the expanse, and thee that make many righteous as the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3);
"the intelligent" denote those who are in the truth and good of faith; and "they that make many righteous" denote those who lead to the good of charity through the truth and the good of faith; "to shine forth as the stars" denotes to be in the intelligence of truth and the wisdom of good, consequently in eternal happiness; for the "stars" denote the knowledges of truth and good, from which are intelligence and wisdom (n. 2495, 2849, 4697).
 "The righteous" is thus described in David:--
Jehovah upholdeth the righteous; the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. Every day the righteous sheweth mercy, and lendeth. The righteous shall possess the land. The mouth of the righteous meditateth wisdom, and his tongue speaketh judgment; the law of his God is in his heart (Ps. 37:17, 21, 26, 29-31);
these things are goods of charity, which belong to "the righteous." The church knows that these goods of charity are from the Lord, insomuch that they are the Lord‘s in the man. "The righteous" is also described in (Ezekiel 18:5-9, 21; 33:15-20).
 From all this it can be seen what is signified by "the righteous," and by "righteousness," in the following passages of Matthew:--
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matt. 5:6).
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man‘s reward (Matt. 10:41).
Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the things which ye see, but have not seen them (Matt. 13:17).
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and garnish the tombs of the righteous; upon you shall come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel (Matt. 23:29, 35);
"the prophets" denote those who teach the truths and goods of faith, and in the abstract sense, the doctrines of faith (n. 2534, 7269); and "the righteous" denote those who live a life of charity, and in the abstract sense the good of charity. That Abel, who is called "righteous," represented the good of charity, (n. 342, 374).
 In Isaiah:--
The righteous hath perished, and no man layeth it to heart; and men of holiness are gathered, none understanding; for because of evil the righteous is gathered (Isa. 57:1).
Thy people shall be all righteous; they shall possess the land eternally (Isa. 60:21).
Drip down, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds flow down with righteousness; let the earth open, that they may bring forth the fruit of salvation, and let righteousness spring up together. I, Jehovah, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right (Isa. 45:8, 19);
"righteousness" denotes that which is from the good of love; and "things that are right," that which is from the truths of faith. Again:--
Thus said Jehovah: Keep ye judgment, and do righteousness; for My salvation is near, and My righteousness, that it may be revealed (Isa. 56:1);
by "judgment" is signified the truth which is of faith; and by "righteousness," the good which is of charity; wherefore it is said, "and do righteousness." That "righteousness" denotes the good of charity from the Lord, is meant by "My righteousness is near that it may be revealed."
 In many other passages also mention is made of "judgment and righteousness;" and by "judgment" is signified truth, and by "righteousness" good; as in Jeremiah:--
Thus said Jehovah, Do ye judgment and righteousness; and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor. Woe unto him that buildeth his house not in righteousness, and his upper chambers not in judgment. Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and righteousness? then it was well with him (Jer. 22:3, 13, 15);
"judgment" denotes those things which are of truth; and "righteousness" those things which are of good. In Ezekiel:--
If the wicked turn from his sin, and do judgment and righteousness, none of his sins that he hath sinned shall be remembered against him; he hath done judgment and righteousness; living he shall live. When the wicked turneth from his wickedness, and doeth judgment and righteousness, for these he shall live (Ezek. 33:14, 16, 19; Isa. 56:1; 9:7; 16:5; 26:7, 9; 33:5, 15; 58:2; Jer. 9:24; 23:5; 33:15; Hosea 2:19, 20; Amos 5:24; 6:12; Ps. 36:5, 6; 119:164, 172).
It is said "judgment and righteousness," because in the Word whenever truth is treated of, good also is treated of, because of the heavenly marriage, which is the marriage of good and truth, in every detail of it (n. 683, 793, 801, 2173, 2516, 2712, 4137, 5138, 5502, 6343, 7945, 8339). As "righteousness" belongs to good, and "judgment" to truth, in other passages it is said "righteousness and truth," as in (Zech. 8:8; Ps. 15:2; 36:5, 6; 85:10, 11.
AC 9264. For I will not justify the wicked. That this signifies that such malignity is contrary to the Divine righteousness, is evident from the signification of "justifying," as being to declare guiltless and to absolve; but here not to absolve, because it is said, "I will not justify;" that "to justify" means also to declare guiltless and to absolve, is evident from the judicial meaning of this expression; as also in the following:--
By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matt. 12:37).
Ye are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men; but God knoweth your hearts (Luke 16:15).
And from the signification of "the wicked," as being malignity (n. 9249). Malignity, of which it is here said that it is contrary to the Divine righteousness, consists in destroying the interior and exterior good which is signified by "slaying the innocent and the righteous" (n. 9262, 9263); and this good is destroyed when the Divine truth and good which are from the Lord are denied, in which case this is extinguished in the man, and consequently so is the Lord Himself, from whom proceed all good which is good and all truth which is truth. When this takes place, the man no longer has any spiritual life, thus no salvation. This same truth and good are extinguished when the Lord’s Divinity is denied, and also when the Word is denied, for this is Divine truth from the Lord and about the Lord. To deny this, when it has previously been acknowledged and received with faith, and thus to extinguish it, is the sin against the Holy Spirit, which is not forgiven (Matt. 12:31). For the Holy Spirit is the Divine truth and good, because it is the holy proceeding from the Lord (n. 9229). This same is also signified by the "shedding of innocent blood," spoken of just above. That this malignity is not forgiven, because it is contrary to the Divine righteousness, is signified by the words, "I will not justify the wicked."
AC 9265. And thou shalt not take a present. That this signifies an aversion for any self-advantage whatever, is evident from the signification of "a present," as being everything worldly that is loved, whether it be wealth, dignity, reputation, or anything else which flatters the natural man, which things, speaking generally, are called "self-advantage," and in the internal sense are meant by "a present" which "blinds" and "perverts;" and from the signification of "not to take," as being to be held in aversion, for unless this is the case they are still looked for and taken. But they are held in aversion when what is heavenly and Divine is loved more than what is worldly and earthly; for so far as the one is loved, so far the other is hated, according to the Lord‘s words in Luke:--
No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Luke 16:13);
"to hate" denotes to hold in aversion, for aversion is of hatred, and hatred is opposite to love; wherefore it is said "or he will love the other." From all this it is evident that by "thou shalt not take a present" is signified an aversion for any self-advantage whatever.
AC 9266. Because a present blindeth those who have their eyes open. That this signifies that matters of self-advantage cause truths not to appear, is evident from the signification of "a present," as being any kind of self-advantage (n. 9265); from the signification of "blinding" when said with respect to truths, as being to cause them not to appear; and from the signification of "those who have their eyes open," that is, who see, as being those who know truths and discern what is true; for "to see" signifies to know, understand, and acknowledge truths, and also to have faith (n. 897, 2150, 2325, 2807, 3764, 3863, 3869, 4403-4421, 5114, 5286, 5400, 6805, 8688, 9128). Wherefore "those who have their eyes open" are called "the wise" in another passage: "a present blindeth the eyes of the wise" (Deut. 16:19).
AC 9267. And perverteth the words of the righteous. That this signifies so that (these matters of self-advantage) appear like truths of good, is evident from the signification of "perverting the words of the righteous," as being that they appear like truths of good; for "words" denote the things themselves, thus truths, and "the righteous" denote those who are in good (n. 9263). That "words" denote truths, is because in the original tongue "a word" signifies that which is something, and which really exists; consequently it also signifies truth, for everything which really exists from being bears relation to truth. From this also it is that Divine truth is called "the Word."
AC 9268. And a sojourner shalt thou not oppress. That this signifies that those who long to be instructed in the truths of the church must not be infested with evils of life, is evident from the signification of "a sojourner," as being one who longs to be instructed in the truths of the church (n. 8007, 8013, 9196); and from the signification of "oppressing," as being to infest with evils of life (n. 9196).
AC 9269. For ye know the soul of a sojourner. That this signifies their longing and their life, is evident from the signification of "the soul," when said of those who long to be instructed in the truths of faith, who are signified by "sojourners," as being longing and life. For "the soul" denotes life from faith (n. 9050); and longing is the very activity of life, because it is from the affection of good; and the truth of faith lives from the affection of good.
AC 9270. Seeing that 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 shown above (n. 9197), where the same words occur. EXODUS 23:4-9 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
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