Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 32:1-6
AC 10395. Verses 1-6. And the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain; and the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Rise, make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that made us come up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what hath become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Tear off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your women, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people tore off the golden earrings that were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them from their hand, and formed it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which made thee come up out of the land of Egypt. And Aaron saw, and built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, Tomorrow is a feast to jehovah. And they rose up in the morning on the morrow, and offered burnt-offerings, and brought-peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. "And the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain," signifies the Israelitish nation when it did not notice in the Word anything from heaven; "and the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron," signifies that they turned themselves to the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, separate from what is internal; "and said unto him," signifies exhortation; "Rise, make us gods which shall go before us," signifies falsities of doctrine and of worship, thus things idolatrous; "for as for this Moses, the man that made us come up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what hath become of him," signifies that it is altogether unknown what other Divine truth there is in the Word, which raises man from what is external into what is internal; "and Aaron said unto them," signifies the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, without what is internal; "Tear off the golden earrings that are in the ears of your women, of your sons, and of your daughters," signifies the drawing out from the sense of the letter of the Word of such things as favor external loves and the principles thence derived; "and bring them unto me," signifies a bringing together into a one; "and all the people tore off the golden earrings that were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron," signifies the effect; "and he received them from their hand," signifies things that favor what is their own; "and formed it with a graving tool," signifies from their own intelligence; "and made it a molten calf," signifies according to the delight of the loves of that nation; "and they said, These are thy gods, O Israel," signifies which is to be worshiped above all things; "which made thee come up out of the land of Egypt," signifies which had led them; "and Aaron saw," signifies approval; "and he built an altar before it," signifies worship; "and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to jehovah," signifies that this is a very essential of the church which is to be celebrated, and a very divine which is to be perpetually adored; "and they rose up in the morning on the morrow," signifies incitement by their loves; "and offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings," signifies the worship of their loves, thus of the delights of these loves, and of the falsities thence derived; "and the people sat down to eat and to drink," signifies the appropriation of these things; "and rose up to play," signifies the consequent festivity of their interiors, and consent.
AC 10396. And the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain. That this signifies the Israelitish nation when they did not notice in the Word anything from heaven, is evident from the signification of "seeing," when said of the understanding of the Word, as being notice (n. 2150, 3764, 3863, 4567, 4723, 5400); from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (n. 9372); from the signification of "delaying to come down," when said of the noticing of Divine truth from the Word, as being not to flow in, for the Divine truth which flows in with man is said to come down from heaven; and from the signification of "Mount Sinai," as being heaven in respect to Divine truth (n. 9420). By "the people" is here meant the Israelitish nation in the proper sense, because in this chapter the quality of that nation is described in respect to the noticing of Divine truth from the Word, and in respect to the noticing of the interior things which were represented in what had been commanded the sons of Israel by Jehovah through Moses from Mount Sinai, as related in chapters 25 to 31 inclusive. From all this it is evident that by the words, "the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain," is signified the Israelitish nation when they did not notice in the Word anything from heaven, thus not anything which was represented in the things commanded from Mount Sinai, which are interior things.
 The case herein is this. In the preceding chapters there have been treated of the statutes, the judgments, and the laws which were commanded by Jehovah to the sons of Israel, with whom a church was to be instituted. Each and all of these were external things which represented internal, as has been shown in the explications of these chapters. But the Israelitish nation was of such a nature that they did not at all desire to know anything about the internal things which were represented; but only about the external things in which was the representation. The reason why they were of such a nature was that they were altogether in bodily and earthly loves, and with those who are in these loves the interiors, which otherwise would be open into heaven, are closed. For man has an internal and an external; his internal is for heaven, and his external is for the world. When the external reigns, then worldly, bodily, and earthly things reign; and when the internal reigns, then heavenly things reign. But man has been so created that the external in him may be subordinated to the internal, thus the world to heaven; for as before said, the external is for the world and the internal for heaven. When therefore the external reigns, the internal is closed, for the reason that the man then turns himself from heaven and from the Lord to the world and to himself, and his heart is where he turns himself, consequently his love, and with his love the whole of his life, because the life of man is his love.
 These things have been said in order that it may be known how the case is with those who are in bodily and earthly loves; namely, that the interiors with them are closed; and those with whom the interiors have been closed do not acknowledge anything internal, saying that only those things exist which they see with their eyes and touch with their hands, and that all other things which they do not see with their eyes and touch with their hands, have no existence. Consequently they have no faith in the existence of heaven, of the life after death, or that the interior things which the church teaches are anything. Such was the Israelitish nation, and that it was such is described in this chapter.
 He who does not know that interior things make the church with man, and not exterior things without interior, cannot know otherwise than that this nation was chosen and also loved by Jehovah above all other nations. But the real fact is very different. That nation was received because it was urgent to be received, yet not in order that any church might be with them, but only the representative of a church, to the end that the Word might be written which should have in such things an ultimate form. The reason why that people is called in the Word the people of Jehovah, the chosen and beloved nation, is that by "Judah" in the Word is meant the celestial church; by "Israel," the spiritual church; and by all the sons of Jacob, something of the church; likewise by "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," the Lord Himself; as also by "Moses," "Aaron," and "David." But as that nation is the subject treated of in this whole chapter (that a church could not be instituted with it, but only the representative of a church); therefore before proceeding further, see what has been already said and shown concerning that nation; namely, That there was no church among them, but only the representative of a church (n. 4281, 4288, 4311, 4500, 4899, 4912, 6304, 7048, 9320): Thus that they were not chosen; but received, because they insisted (n. 4290, 4293, 7051, 7439): That they were wholly in externals without anything internal (n. 4293, 4311, 4320, 4459, 4834, 4844, 4847, 4865, 4868, 4874, 4903, 4913, 9373, 9380, 9381): That their worship was merely external (n. 3147, 3479, 8871): That they did not wish to know the internal things of worship and of the Word (n. 3479, 4429, 4433, 4680): That on this account it was not granted them to know these things (n. 301-303, 2520, 3769): That if they had known them, they would have profaned them (n. 3398, 3489, 4289): that nevertheless by means of the externals of worship with them, which were representative of things interior, there was communication with heaven; and in what manner (n. 4311, 4444, 6304, 8588, 8788, 8806) That when the, were in worship their interiors which were unclean were closed (n. 3480, 9962): That this could be done with that nation, and that on this account they have been preserved even to this day (n. 3479, 4281, 6588, 9377): That they worshiped Jehovah merely in respect to the name (n. 3732, 4299, 6877): That at heart they were idolaters (n. 4208, 4281, 4820, 5998, 6877, 7401, 8301, 8882): In general, that it was the worst nation (n. 4314, 4316, 4317, 4444, 4503, 4750, 4751, 4815, 4820, 4832, 5057, 7248, 8819, 9320).
AC 10397. And the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron. That this signifies that they turned themselves to the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, separate from what is internal, is evident from the signification of "gathering themselves together," as being to turn themselves; and from the representation of Aaron, as here being the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, separate from the internal. This is here represented by Aaron, because during the absence of Moses, he was the head of that nation, and by Moses, who was absent, is represented the Word, from which the church and worship are derived in both the internal and the external sense (n. 9372). That such is the representation of Aaron is plain also from each and all things related of Aaron in what follows; namely, that it was he who made the calf and proclaimed a feast and made the people lax, all of which coincides with the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, separate from the internal. He who separates the internal of the Word, of the church, and of worship from the external, separates from it the holy Divine. For the internal of these is their spirit; but the external is the body of this spirit, and the body without the spirit is dead; and accordingly to worship what is dead is to worship an idol, in this case to worship the golden calf and to proclaim a feast to it, and so to make the people lax. From all this it can be seen what is signified by "Aaron" in this chapter. What the internal of the Word, of the church, and of worship is, and what their external, has been shown in what goes before.
AC 10398. And they said unto him. That this signifies exhortation, is evident from the signification of "saying," when said of something of a religious nature to which the people were inclining, as being exhortation. That "saying" also denotes exhortation, (n. 5012, 7090, 7215, 8178). The religious inclination of this people was to worship what is external without what is internal.
AC 10399. Rise, make us gods which shall go before us. That this signifies falsities of doctrine and of worship, thus things idolatrous, is evident from the signification of "gods," as being truths (n. 4295, 4402, 7010, 7268, 7873, 8301), and in the opposite sense falsities (n. 4402, 4544, 7873), consequently "to make gods" denotes to make falsities of doctrine, or doctrine from falsities; and from the signification of "which shall go before us," as being which they may follow, thus according to which they may institute worship. That "to make gods which shall go before us" denotes idolatrous things, is evident. Moreover it is idolatrous to worship external things separate from internal ones (n. 4825, 9424). Concerning this kind of idolatry a few words shall here be said. The externals of the church that was to be instituted with the Israelitish nation were all those things which were commanded Moses by the Lord on Mount Sinai, which were the Tent of meeting with the ark therein, the propitiatory over it, the table upon which were the breads of faces, the lampstand, the altar of incense, likewise the altar of burnt offering, the garments of Aaron and of his sons, especially the ephod upon which was the breast plate, besides also the oil of anointing, the incense, the blood of the burnt-offering and of the sacrifice, the wine for a drink-offering, the fire upon the altar, besides many other things. The Israelitish and Jewish nation worshiped all these things as holy, without the holy which they represented, and thought nothing whatever about the Lord, about heaven, about love, about faith, about regeneration, thus about those things which were signified. As their worship was of such a nature, it was a worship of wood, of bread, of wine, of blood, of oil, of fire, of garments, but not of the Lord in these. That relatively to these things such worship is not Divine worship, but idolatrous, is manifest.
AC 10400. For as for this Moses, the man that made us come up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what hath become of him. That this signifies that it is altogether unknown what other Divine truth there is in the Word, which raises man from what is external into what is internal, and makes the church, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word, thus as being Divine truth (n. 9372); consequently doubt and denial that there is any other Divine truth than that which stands forth in the sense of the letter, is signified by the words, "as for this man Moses, we know not what hath become of him." It is said "this man," because by "man" in the Word is signified truth (n. 3134, 3309, 3459, 7716, 9007). And from the signification of "bringing the sons of Israel up out of the land of Egypt," as being elevation out of the natural or external man to the internal or spiritual man, in order that he may become the church; for by "the land of Egypt" is signified the natural or the external of the church; by "making to come up" is signified elevation; and by "the sons of Israel" is signified the church. That "the land of Egypt" denotes the natural or external of the church, (n. 9391); also that "making to come up" denotes to raise from the external to the internal, (n. 3084, 4539, 4969, 5406, 5817, 6007); thus from the natural man to the spiritual; and that "the sons of Israel" denote the church, (n. 9340).
 From all this it is evident that by the words, "as for this Moses, the man that made us to come up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what hath become of him," is signified that it is altogether unknown what other Divine truth there is in the Word, which raises man from what is external into what is internal, and makes the church, than that which stands forth in the sense of the letter. So likewise do all those think and speak who are in external things without internal; and all those are in external things without internal who are in the loves of self and of the world. For with such the internal man is closed, and only the external man is open; and that which the external man without the internal sees when he reads the Word, he sees in thick darkness, because in spiritual things natural light, without light from heaven, is mere thick darkness, and light from heaven enters through the internal man into the external and enlightens it. From this it is that so many heresies have arisen, and that the Word is called by some the Book of Heresies, and that it is wholly down that there is anything internal in the Word; and those who think that there is such an internal still do not know wherein it lies. That it is such who are meant by the dragon which drew with its tail the third part of the stars from heaven and cast them to the earth (Rev. 12), will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be shown elsewhere.
 Let such observe as will, whether at the present day anyone knows otherwise than that the Divine itself of the Word is the sense of its letter. But let them consider also whether anyone can know the Divine truths of the Word in this sense except by means of doctrine therefrom, and that if he has not doctrine for a lamp he is carried away into errors, whithersoever the obscurity of his understanding and the delight of his will lead and draw him. The doctrine which must be for a lamp is what the internal sense teaches, thus it is the internal sense itself, which in some measure lies open to everyone (even if he does not know what the internal sense is) who is in what is external from what is internal, that is, whose internal man is open. For heaven (which is in the internal sense of the Word) flows in with such a man when he reads the Word, enlightens him, and gives him perception, and thus teaches him. Nay, if you will believe it, with man the internal man is of itself in the internal sense of the Word, because it is a heaven in the least form, and consequently when it is open it is with the angels in heaven, and is therefore also in like perception with them. This can also be seen from the fact that the interior intellectual ideas of man are not such as are his natural ideas, to which nevertheless they correspond.
 But of the nature of these ideas man is not aware so long as he lives in the body; but he comes into them spontaneously when he comes into the other life, because they are implanted in him, and by means of them he is forthwith in fellowship with the angels. From this it is evident that the man whose internal is open, is in the internal sense of the Word, although he is not aware of it. From this he has enlightenment when he reads the Word, but according to the light that he can have by means of the knowledges which he has. But who these are, (n. 9025, 9382, 9409, 9410, 9424, 9430, 10105, 10324).
AC 10401. And Aaron said unto them. That this signifies the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, without what is internal, is evident from the representation of Aaron here, as being the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship without the internal (n. 10397). That with the Israelitish and Jewish nation there was not a church, but only the representative of a church, thus an external without an internal, is very evident from Aaron, who although of such a character was nevertheless made the high priest, to whom were committed the most holy things of the church, and who therefore was accounted holy above all others. For it is said of Aaron that he made a golden calf, built an altar before it, proclaimed a feast to jehovah before it; that he thus brought this sin upon the people, and that he made them lax (verses 2, 4, 5, 21, 25, 35). And in another place it is said that Jehovah was moved with anger against Aaron exceedingly, to destroy him, and that Moses prayed for him (Deut. 9:20). These things imply that Aaron was like the people, who at heart were idolaters (n. 4208, 4281, 4820, 5998, 6877, 7401, 8301, 8882). But as with this nation there was merely the external of the church without the internal, and yet there was thereby communication with heaven, the character of the man was a matter of indifference, provided that when he was in externals he acted according to the statutes and revered them. That representatives did not regard the person, but the thing that was represented, (n. 665, 1097, 3670, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4444, 8588).
AC 10402. Tear off the golden earrings that are in the ears of your women, of your sons, and of your daughters. That this signifies the drawing out from the sense of the letter of the Word of such things as favor external loves and the principles thence derived, is evident from the signification of "tearing off," as being to draw out, here from the sense of the letter of the Word, because this is the subject treated of, from the signification of "the golden earrings that were in their ears," as being representative tokens of obedience and of the noticing of the delights of external loves; for by the "ears" is signified obedience and noticing; by "gold," the good of love, here the delight of external loves, wherefore golden earrings are representative tokens of these loves. That by the "ears" is signified obedience and noticing, (n. 2542, 4652-4660, 8990, 9397, 10061); and that by "gold" is signified the good of love, (n. 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9510, 9874, 9881). Therefore when it is predicated of external loves, which are the loves of self and of the world, by "gold" is signified the delight of these loves, thus evil (n. 8932); and that from this "earrings" are representative tokens of obedience and of noticing, see (n. 4551). From the signification of "women," as being the goods of the church (n. 3160, 4823, 6014, 7022, 8337), consequently in the opposite sense its evils (n. 409); from the signification of "sons," as being truths, and in the opposite sense falsities (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257, 6583, 6584, 9807); and from the signification of "daughters," as being the affections of truth and good, and therefore in the opposite sense the affections of falsity and evil (n. 2362, 3963, 6729). From this it is evident that by, "tear off the golden earrings that are in the ears of your women, of your sons, and of your daughters," is signified the drawing out from the literal sense of the Word of such things as are noticed to obey or favor the delights of external loves and the principles thence derived.
 That earrings are tokens of obedience and of noticing is evident in Hosea
Strive with your mother, for she is not My wife, that she may put away her whoredoms from her faces, lest perchance I strip her naked, and make her as a wilderness, and have no pity on her sons. For she had, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my waters, my wool and my lax. For she had not known that I gave her the grain, and the new wine, and the oil, and multiplied unto her the silver; and the gold they made into a baal. And I will lay waste her vine and her fig-tree; and I will visit upon her the days of the baals to which she burned incense, and put on her earring and her adornment, and went after her lovers, and forgot Me (Hosea 2:1-13);
"to burn incense, and to put on an earring to the baals," denotes to worship the baal gods and to obey them.
 The things that precede in this chapter have also been adduced to the end that it may thereby be known what is the nature of the external sense of the Word without the internal, and what it is together with the internal, thus in what manner those perceive the Word who are in externals without an internal, and in what manner those perceive it who are in externals from an internal. Those who are in externals separate from what is internal cannot apprehend these words otherwise than according to the letter, which is, that they should strive with the mother of the sons of Israel, that she was no longer loved by Jehovah as a wife, and that if she put not away her whoredoms from her she would be stripped naked and be made as a wilderness, and Jehovah would have no pity on her sons, because she said that she would go after her lovers who give her bread and water, wool and flax, and that she knew not that Jehovah gave her grain, wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver, that they made gold into a baal; and that on this account her vine was laid waste and her fig-tree, and that it will be visited upon her because she burned incense to the baals, and put on her earring and adornment, and went after her lovers or adulterers, forgetting Jehovah.
 This is the sense of the letter, and so is the Word understood by those who are in externals without what is internal, for so it is understood by the Jews at this day, and also by some Christians. But that this is not the sense of the Word can be seen by all those who are in some enlightenment. When these persons, by the "mother" of whom all those things are said, do not understand a mother, but the church, such as it was with that nation, they then comprehend that something of the church is signified by all the particulars which are said of her. For these are such as follow in order from the first thing said, or from the first subject; as by "whoredoms," by "lovers," by "sons," and by "bread," "water," "wool," "flax," "grain," "new wine," "oil," "silver," "gold," and by "vine and fig-tree," and likewise by "incense" and by "earring."
 What each of these things signifies cannot be known from any other source than the internal sense, in which by "mother" and "wife" is signified the church; by "making her naked, and as a wilderness," is signified to be without the goods of love and the truths of faith. The truths of faith and the goods of love, of which she shall be bereaved, are signified by "sons," by "bread and water," by "wool and flax," by "grain," "new wine," "oil," "silver," "gold," and finally by "vine and fig-tree." The worship itself from obedience to falsities and evils, which succeed in the place of truths and goods, is signified by "burning incense and putting on her earring and adornment for the baals." That "mother" denotes the church, (n. 289, 2691, 2717, 4257, 5581); also a "wife," (n. 252, 253, 409, 749, 770, 7022); that "to be made naked" denotes to be deprived of the goods of love and the truths of faith, (n. 9960); that a "wilderness" denotes a state devoid of the truth and good of the church, (n. 2708, 3900, 4736, 7055); that "whoredoms" denote falsifications of truth, (n. 2466, 2729, 4865, 8904), consequently "lovers" denote those who falsify; that "sons" denote truths and in the opposite sense falsities, (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257, 6583, 6584, 9807); that "bread and water" denote the good of love and the truth of faith, (n. 9323); that "wool" denotes good in the external man, (n. 9470); "flax" truth therein, (n. 7601, 9959); "grain" the good from which is truth, (n. 5295, 5410, 5959); "new wine" the truth thence derived, (n. 3580); and "oil" celestial good, (n. 9780, 10261); that "silver" denotes truth, and "gold" good in general, (n. 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9881); that a "vine" denotes the internal spiritual church, (n. 1069, 6376, 9277); and a "fig-tree" the external good of this church, (n. 217, 4231, 5113); that "to burn incense" denotes worship, (n. 10177, 10298); and that an "earring" is a representative token of obedience, (n. 4551); consequently "to put it on" denotes to obey.
 When these things are understood instead of the literal statements, or together with them, it is then apparent what is the nature of the Word when it is spiritually perceived, thus what its nature is in respect to its spirit. In this sense all who read the Word are kept by the Lord, but it is not received by any except those with whom the interiors have been opened; and as it is received in knowledges, therefore it is received according to their understanding, in the degree and in the manner that this can be enlightened by means of the knowledges they have. Besides this, they are affected in a general way with the holy influence that comes from the Word.
AC 10403. And bring them unto me. That this signifies a bringing together into a one, is evident from the signification of "bringing to Aaron," as being to bring into a one from the sense of the letter of the Word such things as favor external loves and the principles thence derived. That this is signified by "bringing to Aaron the golden earrings that were in the ears of their women, of their sons, and of their daughters," is evident from what was shown just above (n. 10402).
AC 10404. And all the people tore off the golden earrings that were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. That this signifies the effect, is evident without explication.
AC 10405. And he received them from their hand. That this signifies things that favor what is their own, is evident from the signification of "receiving from the hand" of anyone, as being to receive such things as are his, thus which belong to, or that favor, what is one‘s own; for by the "hand" is signified the power or ability of man, and consequently whatever is his (n. 10019, 10082, 10041)
AC 10406. And formed it with a graving tool. That this signifies from their own intelligence, is evident from the signification of "forming with a graving tool," when said concerning an idol, as being to prepare false doctrine from one’s own intelligence, which is effected by the application of the sense of the letter of the Word in favor of the loves of self and of the world; for when these loves reign, the man is not in any enlightenment from heaven, but takes all things from his own intelligence, and confirms them from the sense of the letter of the Word, which he falsifies by a wrong application and a perverted interpretation, and afterward favors such things because they are from himself.
 In the Word throughout mention is made of "graven images" and "molten images." They who apprehend the Word merely according to the letter suppose that idols only are meant by these images. Nevertheless idols are not meant, but false doctrinal things of the church, such as are formed by man himself under the guidance of some love of his. The forming of these falsities to cohere, and to appear as if they were truths, is signified by a "graven image." The joining of them together to favor external loves, so that evils may appear as goods, is signified by a "molten image." As both are meant by the "golden calf," therefore it is here said that Aaron "formed it with a graving tool," by which is meant the forming of falsities so as to appear as if they were truths; and by its being said that he "made the gold a molten calf." And afterward that he "cast it into the fire, and it came forth a calf" (verse 24), means the joining together to favor external loves so that evils may appear as goods. Such moreover is the case with all doctrine that is made from man, and not from the Lord; and it is made from man when he has as his end his own glory or his own profit; but it is from the Lord when the good of the neighbor and the good of the Lord‘s kingdom are regarded as the end.
 Such things are signified by "graven images" and "molten images" in the following passages. In Isaiah:--
Ye shall judge unclean the covering of the graven images of thy silver, and the clothing of the molten image of thy gold (Isa. 30:22);
"the covering of the graven images of silver" denotes the appearing of falsities as if they were truths; "the clothing of the molten image of gold" denotes the appearing of evils as if they were goods; for "covering" and "clothing" denote outward appearances which are put on, or with which things are invested. "Silver" denotes truth, and therefore graven images are said to be "of silver;" and "gold" denotes good (n. 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9874, 9881).
The artificer casteth a graven image, and the metal-caster spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He seeketh unto him a wise artificer to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved (Isa. 40:19, 20);
there is here described the forming of falsities so as to cohere and to appear as if they were truths; a" graven image" denotes this falsity; an "artificer" denotes a man who forms it from his own intelligence; "the metal-caster spreadeth it over with gold" denotes when he causes it to appear as good; "he casteth silver chains" denotes by means of coherence; "that shall not be moved" denotes which on this account cannot be weakened and destroyed.
They that form a graven image are vanity, and their most desirable things do not profit. Who hath formed a god, and cast a molten image that profiteth not? All his fellows shall be ashamed; and the workmen themselves. He fashioneth the iron with the tongs, he both worketh in the coals and formeth it with sharp hammers, so he worketh it with his strong arm; he fashioneth wood; he stretcheth out a line; he marketh it out with a rule; he maketh it into its corners; and he marketh it out with the compasses; and maketh it into the form of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house (Isa. 44:9-13);
here also is described in what manner false doctrinal things are formed so that they may cohere, and appear as truths and as goods. By every detail is here described how this is effected, when done from man’s own intelligence under the guidance of pleasure, of cupidity, and of love. That this is so can be seen by those who know that all things in the Word have an internal sense, by which they are spiritually understood. Otherwise to what purpose would be such a description of the forming of a graven image? That it may appear as truth and as good is signified by "making it in the form of a man (vir) according to the beauty of a man (homo);" for in the internal sense "a man (vir)" denotes truth, and "a man (homo)," the good of this truth.
 In Jeremiah:--
Every man is become a fool from knowledge; every metal-caster is put to shame by his graven image; for his molten image is a lie, and there is no breath in them (Jer. 10:14; 51:17);
that a "graven image" here denotes that which is from man‘s own intelligence; and a "molten image" that which is according to the love, is very manifest; for it is said that "every man is become a fool by knowledge, and every metal-caster is put to shame by his graven image," and that "his molten image is a lie;" "knowledge" here denotes man’s own intelligence, and "a lie," the falsity of evil; because there is not what is Divine in them, it is said that "there is no breath in them."
O sword against her horses, and against her chariots, against her treasures, that they may be plundered; a drought is upon her water that they may dry up; for a land of graven images is this (Jer. 50:37, 38);
that "a land of graven images" denotes the church where falsities reign, is also plainly evident from every detail there understood in its spiritual sense; without which sense, what would be "a sword against horses, against chariots, against treasures," and "a drought upon waters," but sounding words without any spirit in them? whereas from every detail understood in its internal sense it is plain that the destruction of the church as to truths is here described, and thus that falsities would reign therein, which are "a land of graven images." For a "sword" denotes falsity fighting with and destroying truths; "horses" denote an understanding which is enlightened; "chariots" denote doctrinal things; "treasures," the knowledges of truth and good;" waters upon which is a drought," denote truths, that they are no more; and "land" denotes the church. That a "sword" denotes truth fighting against falsity; and in the opposite sense falsity fighting against true and destroying them, (n. 2799, 6353, 7102, 8294); that "horses" denote an understanding which is enlightened, (n. 2760-2762, 3217, 6534); that "chariots" denote doctrinal things, (n. 5321, 8146, 8148, 8215); "treasures," the knowledges of truth and of good, (n. 10227); "waters," truths, (n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8137, 8138, 8568, 9323, 10238); and "land" or "earth," the church, (n. 9325). From this it is evident what is meant by " a drought upon the waters that they may dry up," and what by "a land of graven images."
 In Habakkuk:--
What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it, and the molten image and the teacher of a lie, that the maker of his invention trusteth thereupon? (Habakkuk 2:18);
from these words it is also evident that by a "graven image" and a "molten image" are not meant a graven and a molten image; but falsity which is invented, and evil which falsity defends; for it is said "the maker of his invention," and "the teacher of a lie."
 Like things are signified by a "graven image" and a "molten image" in the following passages:--
Babylon is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath cast forth unto the ground (Isa. 21:9).
They shall all be greatly ashamed that trust in a graven image, that say unto a molten image, Ye are our gods (Isa. 42:17).
I have declared it to thee, and I made thee hear it, lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done this; my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them (Isa. 48:5).
They called themselves, and they went from their faces; they sacrificed to the baals, and burned incense to graven images (Hos. 11:2).
All the graven images of Samaria shall be ground to pieces, and all her harlot hires shall be burned with fire, and all her Idols will I make a waste (Micah 1:7).
 Inasmuch as falsities and evils of doctrine, which are signified by "graven and molten images," are fabricated by man‘s own intelligence under the guidance of his love, therefore also in the Word they are called "the work of man’s hands," "the work of the hands of the artificer," and "the work of the hands of the workman;" as in the following passages:--
They sin more and more, they make them a molten image of their silver, idols in their own intelligence, all of them the work of the artificers Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto Jehovah, the work of the hands of the artificer (Deut. 27:15).
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man‘s hands (Ps. 115:4; 135:15).
They have burned incense unto other gods, and have bowed themselves to the works of their own hands (Jer. 1:16).
One cutteth wood out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers (Jer. 10:3, 4).
 "the work of the hands" denotes that which is from man’s own, thus that which is from his own understanding and his own will; and those things are from his own, of both understanding and will, which are of the love of self; this is the origin of all the falsities in the church. As all falsities are from what is man‘s own, and by "the work of the hands" is signified that which is from this, it was therefore forbidden to move an iron, an axe, or a graving tool, upon the stones of which the altar was built, and also the temple, as is evident in these passages:--
If thou wilt make Me an altar of stones, thou shall not build it of hewn stones; for if thou move thy tool upon it, thou shalt profane it (Exod. 20:25).
If thou shalt build to Jehovah an altar of stones, thou shalt not move an iron upon them (Deut. 27:5).
The house was built of entire stone, as it was brought; for there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any instrument of iron, heard in the house, while it was being built (1 Kings 6:7).
These things have been adduced in order that it may be known what is meant by Aaron’s "forming the gold with a graving tool, and making it a molten calf."
AC 10407. And made it a molten calf. That this signifies according to the delight of the loves of that nation, is evident from the signification of "a calf," as being external or natural good; and from the signification of "molten," as being worship performed in favor of external loves (n. 10406). And as the Israelitish nation is the subject treated of in this chapter, and that nation was in externals without an internal, thus in external loves, therefore it is said, "according to the delight of the loves of that nation;" for by a "calf" as an idol is signified this delight.
 The ancients, who were in representative worship, knew what was signified by the various kinds of animals; for each animal has its signification, and according to this they appear in heaven, consequently according to this they are mentioned in the Word, and also according to this they were employed in burnt-offerings and sacrifices. By a "calf" is signified the good of innocence and of charity in the external or natural man (n. 9391, 9990, 10132); but when there is no good of innocence and of charity, as is the case with those who are in externals without what is internal, then by a "calf" is signified natural and sensuous delight, which is the delight of pleasures, of cupidities, and of the loves of self and of the world. It is this delight in which are those who are in externals without an internal, and which they worship, for a man worships that which he loves above all things. They do indeed say that they worship the God of the universe, but they say this with the mouth and not with the heart. Such persons are meant by those who worship a molten calf.
 The Egyptians were such above all others, and they, being in the science of correspondences and of representations above all other nations, consequently made for themselves various idols, as is evident from the Egyptian idols which remain to this day. But their chief idol was a calf, whereby they wished to signify their external good in worship. When however the science of correspondence and of representations, wherein they were versed above others, was turned among them into magic, then a calf put on the opposite signification, which is the delight of external loves; and when a calf was placed in their temples and worshiped as a god, it signified such a delight in worship.
 As the Israelitish nation brought with it from Egypt this idolatrous thing, therefore as applied to that nation, when a calf was worshiped by them as a god, it signified the delight of the loves of that nation in worship. Of what quality their loves were can be seen from what was shown in the places cited above (n. 10396); for they were then, as they are at this day, in the love of self and in the love of the world above all others. It is known that at this day they are in a love most earthly, for they love silver and gold not for the sake of any use, but for the sake of the silver and gold itself, which love is of all loves the most earthly, for it is sordid avarice. The love of self is not conspicuous with them so as to appear; but lies hidden within their hearts, as is usual with all who are sordidly avaricious. It is also known that they have no love of the neighbor; and in so far as there is no love of the neighbor with anyone, so far the love of self is in him. From this it can now be seen what is signified by the molten calf made by Aaron for that nation.
 The like is signified by a "calf" in the following passages:--
Egypt is a very fair calf; destruction cometh out of the north, and her hired men in the midst of her are like fatted calves of the stall (Jer. 46:20, 21).
They made a calf in Horeb, and bowed themselves unto the molten image, and they changed their glory into the likeness of an ox that eateth herbage (Ps. 106:19, 20).
They sin more and more, and make them a molten image from their silver, idols in their own intelligence, all of them the work of the artificers; speaking to them; they sacrifice a man, they kiss the calves (Hos. 13:2).
The unicorns shall come down with them, and the calves with the strong ones; and their land shall be drunken with blood, and their dust shall be made fat with fatness (Isa. 34:7).
The fenced city is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken, there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and shall consume the branches thereof, and the harvest thereof shall wither (Isa. 27:10, 11).
Rebuke the wild beast of the reed, the congregation of the strong ones, among the calves of the peoples, trampling on the pieces of silver; he hath scattered the peoples (Ps. 68:30).
I will give the men that have transgressed My covenant, who have not established the words of the covenant which they struck before Me, of the calf which they cut in twain that they might pass between the parts thereof; the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the royal ministers, and the priests, and all the people of the land, that pass between the parts of the calf; and I will give them into the hand of their enemies, that their carcass may be food to the fowl of the heavens and to the beast of the earth (Jer. 34:18-20).
They have made a king, but not by Me; they have made princes, and I knew it not; their silver and their gold have they made idols, that it may be cut off. Thy calf hath deserted, O Samaria. For from Israel is even this; the workman made it, and it is no god; for the calf of Samaria shall come to pieces (Hos. 8:4-6).
All these passages may be seen unfolded above (n. 9391).
AC 10408. And they said, These are thy gods, O Israel. That this signifies which is to be worshiped above all things, is evident from the signification of "gods," as being those things which are worshiped. In the genuine sense by "strange gods" are signified falsities, here both falsities and evils, because by a "graven image," which is meant by Aaron forming the gold with a graving tool, is signified falsity, and by a "molten image" is signified the evil of this falsity. That "strange gods" denote falsities and the consequent evils in worship, (n. 4402, 4544, 7873, 8867, 8941).
AC 10409. Who made thee to come up out of the land of Egypt. That this signifies which had led them, is evident from the signification of "making to come up out of the land of Egypt," when said of those who are in external things without what is internal, as being to lead one‘s self; for by "the land of Egypt," when such are treated of, is signified servitude; and by "making to come up" is signified to lead one’s self by it. For by these words is here signified the opposite to that which is signified by them when they are said of those who are in what is internal and at the same time in external things. When said of the latter, by these words is signified to be led by the Lord, thus to be raised out of the natural man to the spiritual, or out of the world into heaven, consequently out of servitude into freedom; but when they are said of those who are in external things without what is internal, the words signify to be led by self, which is not to be raised to heaven, but to cast one‘s self down to hell, consequently from freedom into servitude. That it is servitude to be led by self, and freedom to be led by the Lord, (n. 2892, 9096, 9586, 9589-9591).
 But as the latter believe that the Divine works nothing with man, and that man leads himself, and also that this is freedom, a few words shall here be said about this. All those are of this opinion, and also in this persuasion, who love themselves and the world above all things, for that which men love above all things they worship as a god. At the present day there are very many such persons in the Christian world; but of what quality they are it has been given me to know chiefly from such in the other life. For after his life in the world, when a man becomes a spirit, he is then exactly like himself, such as he had been when he lived in the body, in respect to the affections of his love, and in respect to his thoughts and persuasions. They said that they had confirmed themselves in this belief from the fact that a man does not arrive at dignities and wealth by any Divine aid and providence, but by his own intelligence and prudence, and sometimes by fortune, and even then from such causes as they see to proceed from men, saying that common experience testifies this, because the evil, the cunning, and the impious are often raised to dignities and become rich in preference to the good, which would not be the case if the Divine ruled.
 But it was given me to say to them that confirmation from such things is reasoning from man’s own intelligence and from his own love, and this reasoning is from mere fallacies, and is reasoning about causes in thick darkness. For they believe that to be exalted to dignities and to gain wealth above others is the very good which the Divine gives to man, and thus that the Divine blessing (as they call these things) consists in these alone; when yet such things are rather a curse to those who love themselves and the world above all things, for in so far as they are exalted to honors and gain wealth by their own effort and their own skill, so far are they uplifted in the love of self and of the world, so that at last they place their whole hearts in these things, and regard them as the only goods, thus as the only satisfactions and happinesses of man; although these things come to an end together with the life of man in the world; whereas the goods, the satisfactions, and the happiness that are given and provided for man by the Divine are eternal and have no end; and consequently these are true blessings. What is temporary bears no ratio to what is eternal; as what is finite in time bears no ratio to the infinite of time. What endures to eternity, this is; but what has an end, this relatively is not. That which is, the Divine provides; but not that which is not, except in so far as it conduces to that which is; for Jehovah, which is the Divine Itself, is, and that which is from Him also is. From this it is evident what is the quality of that which is given and provided for man by the Divine, and what is the quality of that which a man himself procures for himself.
 Moreover every man is led by the Divine by means of his understanding; if he were not led thereby, no man could be saved; and from this it is that the Divine leaves this with man in its freedom, and does not check it. From this cause it comes to pass that the machinations and cunning devices of the evil (which are from their understanding) succeed; but the favorable results thus obtained come to an end together with their life in the world, and become unfavorable; whereas those things which are provided by the Divine for the good have no end, and become favorable and happy to eternity.
 I have spoken in this way with those who had been such in the world, who replied that they had then thought nothing about what is good, favorable, and happy to eternity, and that when they were in their loves they had utterly denied the life of man after death; and that in so far as they had attained to honors and to riches, so far they had believed that there are no other goods; nor in deed any heaven, or Divine; consequently that they had not known what it is to be led by the Divine.
 They who in the world have confirmed themselves in these ideas in doctrine and in life, remain such in the other life also. Their interiors are closed, so that they have no communication with heaven, and their exteriors alone are open, by which they then have communication solely with the hells. Such of them as by machinations, arts, and cunning devices have attained to honors or to riches, there become magicians. They appear beneath the buttocks, sitting at a table with a cap pressed down to the eyebrows, and thus as it were earnestly meditating they gather together such things as are serviceable for magic art, supposing that they can lead themselves by means of them. Their speech falls between the teeth with a kind of hissing, and afterward when they are being vastated they are cast into a pit with a broad bottom where there is thick darkness. The light of their understanding is there obscured even to foolishness. I have seen some cast in there who in the world had been accounted very superior in intellect.
AC 10410. And Aaron saw. That this signifies approval, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being approval. That "seeing" here denotes approval is evident from what now follows, namely, that Aaron built an altar and proclaimed a feast before it. For by Aaron is represented the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, separate from the internal (n. 10397); and this approves all that which is done from man‘s own intelligence, and from his own love, which things are signified by the molten calf formed by Aaron from gold with a graving tool, of which in what precedes.
AC 10411. And he built an altar before it. That this signifies worship, is evident from the signification of "an altar," as being the chief representative of Divine worship (n. 4541, 8935, 8940, 9714, 10242, 10245), but here of diabolical worship, because those who are in external things without what is internal communicate with the hells, and not with the heavens. For the internal of man is his heaven, and his external is his world. Moreover his internal has been formed according to the image of heaven, thus for the reception of such things as are there; and his external according to the image of the world, thus for the reception of such things as are there, (n. 9279, 10156). Therefore when the internal is closed, heaven also is closed, and then the external is no longer directed from heaven, but from hell; and therefore their worship is not Divine, but is diabolical. They do indeed make mention of the Divine, and they also worship it, but in the external form and not in the internal, which is to do so from the mouth and not from the heart; and those who act differently do not worship the Divine for the sake of the Divine, but for the sake of self and the world. Where the heart is, there is the worship. From this it is evident that by "building an altar before the golden calf," is signified the worship of the devil.
AC 10412. And Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to jehovah. That this signifies that this is a very essential of the church, which is to be celebrated, and a very divine which is to be perpetually adored, is evident from the signification of a "feast," as being the worship of the church in respect to celebration, for a celebration was made on the feast days; thus by "proclaiming a feast" is signified some very essential thing of the church which is to be celebrated. That it denotes a very divine that is to be adored, is signified by that feast being called "a feast to jehovah." And from the signification of "to-morrow," as being what is eternal and perpetual (n. 3998, 7140, 9939).
 Moreover those who are in external things without what is internal desire to be worshiped as a god, and to have what is their own adored as Divine, in so far as they dare, on account of the common people. From this it may be concluded that in their heart they deny the Divine, and that they themselves are continually aspiring to loftier things, and in so far as obstacles are not presented, to the loftiest things, thus at last to the throne of God; as is very plain from those who in the Word are meant by "Babel," who take away from the Lord all power in heaven and on earth, and arrogate it to themselves, opening and shutting heaven at their pleasure. That they are of such a character is evident in Isaiah:--
Utter this parable concerning the king of Babel. Hell below has been moved on thine account; how hast thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer! thou hast been cut off to the earth, thou hast been weakened beneath the nations; and thou saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars, and I will sit on the mount of assembly, I will ascend above the heights of the cloud, I will become like the Most High. Howbeit thou hast been let down to hell (Isa. 14:4, 9, 12-15).
 That the king of Babel did indeed command that he should be worshiped as a god, is evident in Daniel vi. By "Babel" are meant those who are holy in externals but profane in internals, thus those who use the holy things of the church as means that they themselves may be worshiped as gods, which also all those do who by the holy things of the church as means are desirous of rising to dignities above others, and to wealth above others, as their ends. With such persons the case is similar in the other life. There also at heart they deny the Divine, and by wicked arts labor to make themselves gods. They set themselves aloft upon mountains, and proclaim some one from amid them as a god, and also adore him. But when they are in this profane worship, the mountain opens into a chasm, and they are swallowed up, and are thus cast down into hell. That it is so has been granted me to see several times.
AC 10413. And they rose up in the morning on the morrow. That this signifies incitement by their loves, is evident from the signification of "rising up in the morning," as being incitement by their loves; for by "the morning" is signified a state of love, and by" rising up" is signified elevation thereto. That "morning" denotes a state of love, (n. 5962, 8426, 8812, 10114, 10134); and that "to rise up" denotes elevation, (n. 2401, 2785, 2912, 2927, 3171, 4103). But when "rising up in the morning" is said of those who are in external things without what is internal, thus of the evil, then by "rising up" is not signified elevation, but incitement; and by "morning" is not signified a state of heavenly love, but a state of infernal love. For when the evil are in this state they are then in their morning, because they are then in the delight of their life, because in their loves. The difference between elevation to a state of the loves in the case of the good, and the same in the case of the evil, is this: that the good then ascend, and that the evil descend. For the loves of the good are heavenly loves which elevate them, and increase according to the ascent to heaven; but the loves of the evil are infernal loves, which weigh them down, and increase according to the descent to hell From this it is evident that" rising up in the morning" has a contrary signification when it is said of the evil, from what it has when it is said of the good. Moreover in the other life the states of spirits and of angels vary in respect to love and faith, as the times of the day and of the year vary in respect to heat and light. When it is morning with those who are in the heavens, they are then in a state of heavenly loves, and consequently are in their joy; but in the morning of the hells they are in a state of infernal loves, and consequently are in their torment; for everyone then wishes to be greatest and to possess all that belongs to others, from which come intestine hatreds, ferocities, and cruelties, which are the things signified by the fires of hell.
AC 10414. And offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings. That this signifies the worship of their loves, thus of the delights of these loves, and of the falsities thence derived, is evident from the signification of "burnt-offerings" and "sacrifices," as being all worship in general (n. 6905, 8936, 10042); and that "burnt-offerings" denote worship from the good of love, and "sacrifices" worship from the truths of faith, see (n. 8680, 10053); thus in the opposite sense by "burnt-offerings" is signified worship from their own loves, which worship is from the delights of these, which are evil; and by "sacrifices" is signified worship from the falsities thence derived. It is said "the worship of the loves," because that is worshiped which is loved, and love worships.
AC 10415. And the people sat down to eat and to drink. That this signifies the appropriation of these things, is evident from the signification of "eating and drinking," as being appropriation; "eating," the appropriation of evil; and "drinking," the appropriation of falsity. That "eating" denotes the appropriation of good, (n. 3168, 3513, 3596, 3832, 9412), consequently that in the opposite sense it denotes the appropriation of evil, (n. 4745); and that "drinking" denotes the appropriation of truth, and consequently in the opposite sense the appropriation of falsity, (n. 3069, 3168, 3832, 8562, 9412).
AC 10416. And rose up to play. That this signifies the consequent festivity of their interiors, and consent, is evident from the signification of "playing," as being the festivity of the interiors; for play comes from this, because it is an activity of the body which comes forth as an effect from gladness of mind; and all festivity and gladness are from the delights of the loves in which the man is. That consent also is signified, is because all interior festivity has consent in it; for if anything dissents and is contradictory, the festivity perishes. Interior festivity is in man’s freedom; and all freedom is from love that is not opposed.
 As in the Word internal things are described by external, so likewise the joys and gladnesses which are in the interiors of man are described by plays and dances, as in the following passages:--
The city shall be builded upon its own heap, then shall confession go forth from them, and the voice of them that play (Jer. 30:18, 19).
Anew will I build thee, that thou mayest be built, O virgin of Israel; anew shalt thou deck thy timbrels, and shalt go forth into the dance of them that play. Their soul shall be as a watered garden, and they she not sorrow any more at all; and the virgin shall rejoice in the dance, and the young and the old together, for I will turn their mourning into joy (Jer. 31:4, 12, 13).
The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls, playing (Zech. 8:5).
Praise ye the name of Jehovah with the timbrel and dance (Ps. 149:2, 3; 150:4).
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing (Ps. 30:11).
The joy of our heart hath ceased; our dance is turned into mourning (Lam. 5:15).
 As "plays" and "dances" signified the joys and gladnesses of the interiors which are from love, therefore after the Egyptians were sunk in the sea Suph, Miriam with the women went forth with timbrels into dances (Exod. 15:20); and therefore also David, when the ark was brought out of the house of Obededom, into the city of David, leaped and danced before Jehovah (2 Sam. 6:12, 16).
 That interior things are set forth and described in the Word by exterior ones, is evident from these words in David:--
Thou madest the sea, great and wide in spaces, there go the ships; Leviathan whom Thou hast formed to play therein (Ps. 104:25, 26);
he who does not know that there is a spiritual sense in every detail of the Word, knows no otherwise than that by the "sea" and by "ships" are here meant the sea and ships, by "Leviathan," the whales which are therein, and by "playing," their races and associations together. Yet the Word, which is Divine in respect to every jot, does not consist of such things; but when instead of these there are understood the spiritual things which are signified, then it becomes Divine. In the internal sense the "sea" denotes a gathering together of memory-truths, thus what is external with man and in the church; "ships" denote knowledges and doctrinal things from the Word; "Led than" denotes memory-knowledge in general; and "playing" denotes the delight from these things. That the "sea" denotes a gathering together of memory-truths, (n. 28, 2850, 8184, 9340); that "ships" denote knowledges and doctrinal things from the Word, (n. 1977, 6385); and that "Leviathan" denotes memory knowledge in general, (n. 7293). Thus "to play" denotes the delight and festivity from these things, which results when memory-knowledges confirm spiritual things, and are in agreement with them.EXODUS 32:1-6 - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|