Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 3:21-22
AC 6913. Verses 21, 22. And I will give this people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when ye go, ye shall not go empty; and every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters, and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. "And I will give this people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians," signifies the fear of those who are in falsities before those who are of the spiritual church, by reason of the plagues; "and it shall be that when ye go, ye shall not go empty," signifies life no longer in need in respect to the things of the natural mind; "but every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house," signifies that everyone‘s good shall be enriched with such things as are helpful; "vessels of silver," signifies memory-knowledges of truth; "and vessels of gold," signifies memory-knowledges of good; "and garments," signifies lower memory-knowledges corresponding thereto; "and ye shall put them upon your sons," signifies applying them to their truths; "and upon your daughters," signifies applying them to goods; "and ye shall spoil the Egyptians," signifies that such things are to be taken away from those who are in falsities and the derivative evils.
AC 6914. And I will give this people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. That this signifies the fear of those who are in falsities before those who are of the spiritual church, by reason of the plagues, is evident from the signification of "giving favor," as being fear by reason of plagues; from the representation of the sons of Israel, who are here "the people," as being those who are of the spiritual church (n. 6637); and from the representation of the Egyptians, as being those you are in falsities. That "to give favor in the eyes of the Egyptians" signifies fear by reason of plagues with those who are in falsities, is evident from the meaning of the things in the internal sense, for those who are in falsities are treated of, who are signified by the "Egyptians," in that truths and goods were to be taken away from them, and to be transferred to those who are of the spiritual church; and as those who are in falsities are treated of, by "favor" is not meant favor, for they who are in falsities and evils never have any favor for anyone; but if they benefit anyone, or do not injure him, it is from fear of plagues: this is the source of their favor, and this is the "favor" which is here meant in the internal sense. The internal sense sets forth things such as they are, not such as they are presented in the letter; and applies each to the subject. That this is so, is plain also from what follows concerning the Egyptians, in that they did not let the sons of Israel go from any favor, but from fear on account of further plagues (Exod. 11:1; 12:33).
 As the spoiling of the Egyptians is treated of in these two verses by the women of Israel asking from the Egyptian women silver, gold, and garments, and as it cannot possibly be known how this is, except from revelation about the things that take place in the other life, for the internal sense involves such things as take place among angels and spirits, therefore it shall be told. That before the Lord’s coming the lower part of heaven was occupied by evil genii and spirits, and that they were afterward expelled thence and that region given to those of the spiritual church, may be seen above (n. 6858). So long as the evil genii and spirits were there, they were under the continual view of the angels of the higher heaven, and by this they were restrained from doing evils openly. At this day also some who are more deceitful than others, because they deceive by a pretence of innocence and charity, are under the view of the celestials, and so long as this is the case they are withheld from their wicked arts. They are directly above the head, and the celestial angels, under whose view they are, are still higher. From this it has been given me to now what was the state of the evil genii and spirits who before the coming of the Lord occupied the lower region of heaven, namely, that at that time they were withheld by the angels of the higher heaven from doing evils openly.
 But in what manner they were withheld from doing evils openly, it has also been given me to know. They were kept in external bonds, namely, in fear of the loss of honor and reputation, and in fear of the deprivation of possessions in that region of heaven, and of being thrust down into hell; and then there were joined to them simple good spirits; as is the case with men in the world, who, though inwardly devils, are nevertheless kept by such external bonds in the pretence of what is honorable and just, and in well-doing; and in order that they may be so kept, there are joined to them spirits who are in simple good. This was the case with the evil who were in the lower region of heaven before the coming of the Lord; and then they also could be driven to speak truth and to do good by means of their own loves; no otherwise than evil priests, even the worst, who are devils inwardly, who can preach the doctrinal things of their own church with such ardor and pretended zeal as to move the hearts of their hearers to piety, and yet at the same time they are in the love of self and of the world. For thought about honor and gain is what universally reigns within them, and from this fire they are stirred up so to preach. It is the evil spirits with whom they are, and who are in similar love, and thence in similar thought, who lead them; and to these are joined simple good spirits. From all this it can be seen what the state of heaven was before the Lord‘s coming.
 But after His coming the states of heaven and of hell were quite changed, for then the evil genii and spirits who occupied the lower region of heaven were cast down, and in their stead they who were of the spiritual church were taken up thither. The evil who were cast down were then deprived of the external bonds which as before said were fears of the loss of honor and reputation, and of the losing of possessions in that region; and in this way they were left to their interiors, which were no other than diabolical and infernal, and so they were consigned to the hells. The taking away of external bonds is effected in the other life by the removal of the good spirits who had been joined to the evil ones. When these are removed, the infernals can no longer be in any pretence of what is good, just, and honorable, but are such as they had been inwardly in the world, that is, such as they had been in thought and will, which they had there concealed from others; and then they desire nothing else than to do evil. These simple good spirits who were taken away from them, were given or joined to those who were of the spiritual church, to whom that region of heaven was given for a possession; and it was from this that these latter were enriched with the truths and goods which were before in the possession of the evil genii and spirits; for enrichment in truths and goods in the other life is effected by the adjoining of spirits who are in truth and good, because through these is effected communication.
 This is what is signified by the sons of Israel not going empty from Egypt, and by a woman asking of her neighbor, and of her that sojourned in her house, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and thus spoiling the Egyptians. Everyone can see that unless such things had been represented, the Divine would never have commanded that the sons of Israel should use such guile against the Egyptians; for every such thing is very far from the Divine. But as the Israelitish people was altogether representative, it was permitted them by the Divine to do so, because it was so done with the evil in the other life. Be it known that very many things which were commanded by Jehovah or the Lord, in the internal sense do not signify that they were commanded, but that they were permitted.
AC 6915. And it shall be that when ye go, ye shall not go empty. That this signifies life no longer in need in respect to the things of the natural mind, is evident from the signification of "going," as being life (n. 3335, 4882, 5493, 5605, 6904); and from the signification of "not going empty," as being life no longer in need. That "emptiness" denotes where there is no truth may be seen above (n. 4744), thus it denotes where there is spiritual need. That it denotes need in respect to the things of the natural mind is plain from what precedes, namely, that they who are of the spiritual church, who are represented by the sons of Israel, were infested by those who were in false memory-knowledges, who are signified by the "Egyptians," consequently as to the things of the natural mind, for the things of this mind are called memory-knowledges. These also especially infest the spiritual, for their thought is within such knowledges, and but little above them (n. 6865).
AC 6916. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house. That this signifies that the good of everyone will be enriched with such things as are helpful, is evident from the signification of "woman," as being the affection of the good of charity (n. 6014); from the signification of" her neighbor," as being the affection of truth with those who are in memory-knowledges; and from the signification of "her that sojourneth in her house," as being the affection of good, which is also with them. As she was to ask of her neighbor and of her that sojourned in the house, there are signified the truths and goods which are nearest, thus which are helpful. How the case herein is, is plain from what was adduced just above (n. 6914): a "woman" was to ask because by "woman" is signified the good of charity, and this must be what is to be enriched; for in order that good may become good, there must be truths to qualify it. The reason is that when anyone lives according to truths, the truths themselves then become goods; and therefore such as is the quality of the truth, such becomes the good. This good afterward associates and adjoins to itself no other truths than such as are in accord with its own quality, consequently no other than such as are helpful, thus which are in the neighborhood and in the house.
AC 6917. Vessels of silver, and vessels of gold. That "vessels of silver" signify the memory-knowledges of truth, and "vessels of gold" the memory-knowledges of good, is evident from the signification of "vessels," as being memory-knowledges (n. 3068, 3079), memory-knowledges are called "vessels" because they are generals, and can contain within them innumerable truths and manifold goods; from the signification of "silver" as being truth, and of "gold" as being good (n. 1551, 1552, 2954, 5658). The "silver" of Egypt denotes true and suitable memory-knowledge, (n. 6112). As to the "vessels of silver and gold" with the Egyptians being the memory-knowledges of truth and the memory-knowledges of good, when yet by the "Egyptians" both here and in what precedes, and also in what follows, are signified false memory-knowledges, be it known that in themselves these knowledges are not truths, neither are they falsities, but that they become truths with those who are in truths, and falsities with those who are in falsities, this being the effect of their application and use. It is with man’s memory-knowledges as with his riches and wealth. Riches and wealth are hurtful to those who are in evil, because they apply them to evil uses; but they are useful to those who are in good, because they apply them to good uses. If therefore the riches and wealth which pertain to the evil are transferred to the good, they become good.
 The same is true of memory-knowledges. For example: with the Egyptians there remained many things from the representatives of the Ancient Church, as is manifest from their hieroglyphics, but as they applied those things to magic, and hence made an evil use of them, therefore to them they were not true memory-knowledges, but false memory-knowledges; yet the same in the Ancient Church were true memory-knowledges, because they applied them rightly to Divine worship. To take also as an example, altars and sacrifices: these with the Hebrew nation, and afterward with the Jewish and Israelitish nation, were true rituals, because they applied them to the worship of Jehovah; but with the nations in the land of Canaan they were false rituals, because they applied them to the worship of their idols, and therefore also it was commanded that the altars of these nations should everywhere be destroyed. It is the same with numberless other things. Therefore by those who are in evils and falsities many memory-knowledges can be acquired which are capable of being applied to good uses, and thus of becoming good.
 Such are also signified by the spoiling of the nations in the land of Canaan, and by the wealth, the herds, the cattle, the houses, the vineyards, which the sons of Israel there took for spoil. This is still plainer from the gold and silver taken from the nations for spoil being also applied to a holy use, as is evident from these passages:--
There were in his hand vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass: these also did King David sanctify unto Jehovah, with the silver and gold which he had sanctified of all the nations which he subdued; of the Syrians, of Moab, and of the sons of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah (2 Sam. 8:10-12).
And the merchandise of Tyre and her harlot hire shall be holiness to Jehovah; it shall not be stored up, nor kept back; but her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before Jehovah, to eat till they are sated, and for the ancient to cover himself (Isa. 23:18).
These things also which the women of the sons of Israel borrowed from the Egyptians, and thus took for spoil, were afterward applied to the use of constructing the ark and many other of the holy things of their worship.
AC 6918. And garments. That this signifies lower memory-knowledges corresponding thereto, is evident from the signification of "garments," as being lower memory-knowledges (n. 2576, 5248). "Garments" have this signification because they clothe interior things.
AC 6919. And ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters. That this signifies application to their truths and to their goods, is evident from the signification of "sons," as being truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 3373); from the signification of "daughters," as being goods (n. 489-491, 2362, 2363); and from the signification of "to put upon them," as being to apply, for that which is put upon anyone, is applied.
AC 6920. And ye shall spoil the Egyptians. That this signifies that such things were to be taken from those who were in falsities and the derivative evils, is evident from the signification of "spoiling" as being to take away; and from the signification of "the Egyptians," as being those who are in falsities. How the case herein is, is evident from what has been adduced above (n. 6914, 6917).