Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 33:4-6
AC 10534. Verses 4-6. And the people heard this evil word, and they mourned; and they put not any man his ornament upon him. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Say unto the sons of Israel, Ye are a stiff-necked people; I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and will consume thee; therefore now bring down thine ornament from upon thee, and I shall know what I will do to thee. And the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornament by Mount Horeb. "And the people heard this evil word, and they mourned," signifies their grief at not being pre-eminent to others; "and they put not any man his ornament upon him," signifies the quality of their external, that it was devoid of what is Divine; "and Jehovah said unto Moses," signifies instruction; "Say unto the sons of Israel, Ye are a stiff-necked people," signifies that that nation would not receive influx from the Divine; "I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and will consume thee," signifies that they would perish if what is Divine were to flow in with them; "therefore now bring down thine ornament from upon thee," signifies the quality of their external, that it was devoid of what is Divine; "and I shall know what I will do to thee," signifies that in this way something may come forth with them; "and the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornament," signifies the deprivation of Divine truth in the external things with them; "by Mount Horeb," signifies in the external things of worship, of the church, and of the Word.
AC 10535. And the people heard this evil word, and they mourned. That this signifies their grief at not being pre-eminent to others, is evident from the signification of "hearing this evil word and mourning." That it denotes grief at not being pre-eminent to others, is plain from what has been already shown concerning that nation, namely, that they were insistent that a church should be instituted among them, but merely in order that they might be pre-eminent to all the nations in the whole world; for they were in the love of self more than other nations, and they could not be raised to eminence above them in any other way than by Jehovah being with them, thus also the church, for where Jehovah is, that is, the Lord, there is the church. That this was their end is evident from many passages in the Word, as also from these words in this chapter:--Moses said, And wherein shall it ever be known that I have found grace in Thine eyes, I and Thy people? Is it not in Thy going with us? so that we be rendered pre-eminent, I and Thy people, above all the people that are upon the faces of the earth (verse 16). That it was not by choice, but by permission, that a church was instituted among them, and yet that in the nation itself there was not a church, but only the representative of a church, (n. 10396).
AC 10536. And they put not any man his ornament upon him. That this signifies the quality of their external, that it was devoid of what is Divine, is evident from the signification of "ornament," as being what is Divine in external things. Thus, "not to put his ornament upon him" denotes to be devoid of what is Divine in external things. The reason why this is signified by "ornament" is that ornament bears relation to garments, and by "garments" in general are signified Divine truths. That this is the signification of "garments" in general, originates in the representatives in the other life, where all, both angels and spirits, appear clothed in garments, and each one according to his truths. They who are in genuine Divine truths appear clothed in white shining garments, and others in other garments. Spirits do not know whence their garments come, but are clothed with them without knowing this. Moreover their garments vary according to the changes of their state in respect to truths. In a word, it is their understanding which is presented to view and represented by their garments, for each person‘s understanding is formed by means of truths, and becomes such as are the truths from which it is formed. With the angels of heaven their understanding is in their internal, and consequently they have white shining garments. The shining is from Divine good, and the whiteness is from the light of heaven, which is Divine truth But the garments of those who are in external things without what is internal are dusky and tattered, like those of beggars in the streets and of robbers in the woods. From this it can be seen what is signified by "ornaments," namely, the holy truths of the church, and consequently "not putting on their ornament" denotes to be devoid of the holy truths of the church; and in application to the Israelitish nation, which was in external things without what is internal, it denotes the quality of the external without truths from the Divine. That "garments" denote truths, (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 5319, 5954, 6378, 6914, 6917, 6918, 9093, 9158, 9212, 9216, 9814, 9827, 9952); as also what is signified by the "garments of Aaron and of his sons," (n. 9814, 10068). That in the Word, "ornament" signifies the holy truths of the church, will be seen in the following article (n. 10540).
AC 10537. And Jehovah said unto Moses. That this signifies instruction, is evident from the signification of "saying," when by Jehovah, as being instruction (n. 10280), here instruction that Divine truth was not with the nation itself, which is signified by their "bringing down their ornament from upon them".
AC 10538. Say unto the sons of Israel, Ye are a stiff-necked people. That this signifies that that nation would not receive influx from the Divine, is evident from what was shown above (n. 10429), where like words occur.
AC 10539. I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and will consume thee. That this signifies that they would perish if what is Divine were to flow in with them, is evident from what was shown above (n. 10531, 10533), where also like words occur.
AC 10540. Therefore now bring down thine ornament from upon thee. That this signifies the quality of their external, that it was devoid of what is Divine, is evident from the signification of "ornament," when the subject treated of is the church, as being holy truth, that is, what is Divine in the externals (n. 10536); and from the signification of "bringing it down from upon them," as being to strip it off, thus to be devoid of it. That what is Divine in the externals, that is, holy truth, is signified by "ornament," is evident from the following passages. In Ezekiel:--
I clothed thee with broidered work, and I shod thee with badger, and I girded thee with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk; and I adorned thee with ornament, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain upon thy throat. And I put a nose-jewel upon thy nose, and earrings in thine ears, and a crown of comeliness upon thine head. Thus wast thou adorned with gold and silver; and thy garments were of fine linen, silk and broidered work; whence thou hast become exceeding beautiful and thou wast prospered unto a kingdom; wherefore thy name went forth among the nations concerning thy beauty; for this was perfect in Mine ornament, which I had put upon thee (Ezek. 16:10-14).
 This is said of Jerusalem, by which is signified the church which was set up by the Lord after the flood, and which was succeeded by the Israelitish and Jewish Church. The quality of this latter church is also described in the same chapter. But the quality of that Ancient Church is described in the above passage, and its holy truths by the ornaments there mentioned. Everyone can see that such things as are of the church are signified by the several particulars, and that something special is signified by each thing. Otherwise to what purpose would be such a description of Jerusalem?
 But what of the church each particular signifies can be seen from the internal sense only, for this sense teaches what thing in the spiritual world corresponds to each particular; from which it can be seen that "broidered work" denotes memory-truth (n. 9688); "fine linen," intellectual truth which is from the Divine (n. 5319, 9469, 9596, 9744); "bracelets," truths in respect to power (n. 3103, 3105); "a chain," truth from good in respect to influx, and the consequent conjunction of things interior and exterior (n. 5320); "a nose-jewel," truth in respect to perception; and "earrings," truths in respect to obedience (n. 4551, 10402); "a crown of comeliness," spiritual good, which is the good of truth, a "crown" denoting good (n. 9930), and "comeliness," what is spiritual (n. 9815); "gold and silver," good and truth in general (n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9874); "fine flour, honey, and oil" denote truths and goods external and internal; "fine flour," truth from good (n. 9995); "honey," external good (n. 10530), and "oil," internal good (n. 886, 4582, 4638, 9474, 9780, 10254, 10261); "beauty" denotes the form of truth from good (n. 3080, 3821, 4985, 5199). That "Jerusalem," of which these things are said, denotes the church, (n. 402, 2117, 3654). From this it is evident what is meant by "ornament," namely, holy truth in the whole complex.
 Like things are signified by the "ornaments of the daughters of Zion," which are enumerated in Isaiah:--
In that day the Lord will take away the ornament of the anklets, and of the little nets, and of the little moons, and of the ointment-boxes, and of the little chains, and of the gold-plates; and the tiaras, and the legbands, and the bindings, and the soul-houses, and the enchantments, and the rings, and the nose-ornaments, the changes of garments, and the mantles, and the veils, and the hairpins, the mirrors, and the muslins, and the headdresses, and the cambrics. And it shall come to pass that instead of spice there shall be rottenness; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of braided work baldness; and instead of a gown a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy strength in the war (Isa. 3:18-25).
Those who do not think beyond the sense of the letter know no otherwise than that all those things with which the daughters of Zion are said to have been adorned, are to be understood according to the letter; and that the men of that kingdom would perish on account of their adornment and their consequent haughtiness and pride; for it is said that "their men shall fall by the sword, and their strength in the war." But those who raise their minds somewhat above the letter are able to know that such things are not meant.
 From various passages in the Word these know that by "the daughters of Zion" are not meant the daughters of Zion, but such things as belong to the church; as also by "the daughters of Jerusalem," "the daughters of Israel," "the daughters of Judah," and many others. That by these are signified the church and the things that belong to the church, (n. 6729, 9055). As therefore the church, and the things that belong to the church, are signified by "the daughters of Zion," it follows that by their ornaments as here enumerated are signified the truths and goods of the church, and that each ornament signifies some specific truth and good; for in the Word nothing is said without a meaning, not even one syllable.
 And as that church was to be bereft of its truths and goods, which are signified by these ornaments, thee fore it is said that "instead of spice there shall be rottenness, instead of a girdle a rent, instead of braided work baldness, instead of a gown a girding of sackcloth, and a burning instead of beauty;" and also that "the men shall fall by the sword, and their strength in the war;" for by "spice" is signified Divine truth in respect to its perceptivity (n. 10199, 10291); by "rottenness," the privation of it; by "a girdle," the bond holding together truths and goods in their connection (n. 9341, 9828, 9837); "a rent instead thereof" denotes their dissolution and dispersion; by "braided work" is signified memory-truth (n. 2831); by "baldness," the deprivation of the intelligence of truth and of the wisdom of good (n. 9960); by "a burning," their consumption through the evils of the love of self (n. 1297, 2446, 7852, 9055, 9141); by "beauty," the form of truth from good in the church, thus its perfection (n. 3080, 3821, 4985, 5199); and by "a sword whereby men shall fall," falsity destroying truth and good (n. 2799, 4499, 6353, 7102, 8294); by no "strength in the war" is signified not any resistance against evil and falsity; for "war" denotes spiritual combat and temptation (n. 1659, 1664, 2686, 8273, 8295, 10455). From all this it is now evident that by "ornament" in general is signified the Divine truth of the church.
 The like is signified by "ornament" in the following passage:--
Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in double dyed with pleasant things, who put an ornament of gold upon your garment (2 Sam. 1:24);
these words occur in the lamentation of David over Saul, which he wrote to teach the sons of Judah the bow (2 Sam. 1:18), where by "bow" is signified the doctrine of truth fighting against the falsities of evil (n. 2686, 2709, 6422); consequently by the "daughters of Israel" are signified the affections of truth that belong to the church (n. 2362, 3963, 6729, 6775, 6788, 8994); to be "clothed with double-dyed with pleasant things," denotes with the interior truths of the church which are from good (n. 4922, 9468); to "put an ornament of gold upon the garment" denotes to make truths beautiful from good. That "gold" denotes good, see at the places cited in (n. 9874); and that "garment" denotes truth in general, (n. 10536). That the lamentation of David over Saul treats of the doctrine of truth fighting against the falsity of evil, which doctrine is signified by a "bow," was because by a king, or by the royalty which belonged to Saul, is signified Divine truth in respect to protection and to judgment (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148).
 The like is signified by "ornament" elsewhere:--
Give unto Jehovah the glory belonging to His name; bow down before Jehovah in the ornament of holiness (Ps. 29:2);
"in the ornament of holiness" denotes in the genuine truths of the church. In like manner in Isaiah:--
Thy sons shall make haste. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see all gathered together. As I live, said Jehovah, thou shalt be clothed with all as with an ornament, and be girded round with them as a bride (Isa. 49:17, 18);
also speaking of Zion, by which is signified the celestial church; by the "sons who shall make haste" are signified the truths of that church. That "sons" signify truths, (n. 489, 491, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257, 9807). From this it is that it is said that she shall "be clothed with them as an ornament, and shall be girded round with them as a bride," which can be said of the truths of the church, but not of the sons of Zion.
 As almost all things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise have those which belong to ornament, by which are signified truths falsified, as in these passages:--
When thou art laid waste, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with double-dyed, though thou deckest thee with an ornament of gold, though thou forcest open thine eyes with antimony, in vain shalt thou make thyself beautiful (Jer. 4:30).
I will visit upon her the days of the baals, to which she burned incense, and put on her earring and her ornament, and went after her lovers, and forgot Me (Hos. 2:13).
AC 10541. And I shall know what I will do to thee. That this signifies that in this way something may come forth with them, is evident from the series of things in the internal sense, for that nation could be in a holy external and at the same time not in a holy internal. And as in this way the external of the church could be with that nation, though not the internal, therefore by "I shall know what I will do," is signified that in this way something may come forth with them.
AC 10542. And the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornament. That this signifies the deprivation of Divine truth in the external things with them, is evident from the signification of "stripping one’s self," as being to be bereft and deprived; and from the signification of "ornament," as being holy truth, or what is Divine (n. 10536, 10540).
AC 10543. By Mount Horeb. That this signifies in the external things of worship, of the church, and of the Word, is evident from the signification of "Mount Horeb," as being Divine truth in the external things, for Horeb was a mountainous region around Mount Sinai; and by "Mount Sinai" is signified Divine truth. Consequently "Horeb," being a mountainous region round about it, signifies Divine truth in external things; for that which is in the midst and which is high above the things that lie round about, signifies what is internal; and consequently by that which is round about and beneath is signified what is external. That "Mount Sinai" signifies Divine truth, (n. 8805, 9420); that "the midst" denotes what is internal, (n. 1074, 2940, 2973, 5897, 6084, 6103, 9164); in like manner what is high, (n. 2148, 4210, 4599, 9489, 9773, 10181); and that "roundabout" denotes what is external, (n. 2973); in like manner "beneath.") As the people were in external things, and not in what is internal, therefore when the Law was promulgated from Mount Sinai, they stood in Horeb beneath the mountain, and the mountain was hedged about to prevent its being touched by the people (Exod. 19:12, 13, 21-24; 20:18; Deut. 4:10-12). It is said "the external of worship, of the church, and of the Word," because the external of one is the external of the other, for worship belongs to the church, and the truths and goods of the church and of its worship are from the Word; and therefore those who are in the externals of worship and of the church are in the externals of the Word. EXODUS 33:4-6 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
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