PSALMS 87      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  meaning  -  Psalms  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


A Psalm, or song, for the sons of Korah.

  1. His foundation is upon the mountains of holiness!
  2. jehovah loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
  3. Glorious things are spoken in you, O city of god! Selah.
  4. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon amongst them that know me; behold Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia! this man shall be born there.
  5. And of Zion it shall be said, This man and that man shall be born in her; and the Highest himself shall establish her.
  6. jehovah shall reckon, when he writes up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
  7. Both the singers and the dancers shall say, All my springs are in you.

The Internal Sense

Celebration of the lord by the New Church, which will be collected from all parts, verses 1 to 7.


Verse 2. jehovah loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. They who abide merely in the sense of the letter of the Word believe, that by Jacob is meant all that people which was derived from Jacob, and therefore they apply to that people all those things which were spoken both historically and prophetically concerning Jacob; but the Word is divine, principally in this respect, that all and singular the things contained therein do not respect one nation or one people, but the universal human race. Hence also it is evident, that by Jacob in the Word is not meant Jacob, nor by Israel, Israel; but no one can know what is specifically understood by the one and by the other, unless by virtue of that sense which lies concealed under the letter, and contains in it the arcana of heaven. That by Jacob, therefore, is signified in the internal sense, the doctrine of natural truth, or, what is the same thing, those who are principled in that doctrine, of whatever nation they be; and that in a supreme sense the lord is understood, may be manifest from the passages where mention is made of Jacob. AE 208.

Inasmuch as by doors and gates are signified introduction, and specifically are signified introducing truths, which are truths grounded in good from the lord, hence it is evident what are signified by gates in this passage. AE 208.

Verse 3. Behold Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia. That by the Philistines are signified the interior truths of faith, is manifest from David, "Glorious things are spoken in you, O city of god! I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon among them that know me, also Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia," where the city of god is the doctrine of the truth of faith derived from the Word; Tyre denotes the knowledges of truth and good, in like manner Ethiopia; hence it is evident that Philistia denotes the science of the truths of faith. AC 9340.

Verse 5. And of Zion it shall be said, this man and that man shall be born in her. To be born, signifies to be regenerated, for he who does not receive spiritual life, that is, who is not born again, or begotten anew by the lord cannot come into heaven, which the lord teaches in John, "Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of god, John 3:3.

Man is not born of his parents into spiritual life, but into natural life. Spiritual life consists in loving god above all things, and in loving his neighbour as himself, and this according to the precepts of faith, which the lord taught in the Word: but natural life consists in loving ourselves and the world more than our neighbour, yea, more than god himself.

Every man is born of his parents into the evils of the love of self and of the world: for every evil, which by habit has contracted as it were a nature, is derived into the offspring; thus it descends successively from parents, from grandfathers, and from great grandfathers in a long series backwards; whence the derivation of evil at length becomes so great, that the whole of man's proper life is nothing else but evil. This continual derivation of evil is not broken and altered, except by the life of faith and charity from the lord.

Man continually inclines to, and lapses into, what he derives from his hereditary principle: hence he confirms with himself that evil, and also superadds more of himself. These evils are altogether contrary to spiritual life, and destroy it; wherefore unless a man receives a new life, which is spiritual life, from the lord, thus unless he is conceived anew, is born anew, is educated anew, that is, is created anew, he is damned, for he wills nothing else, and thence thinks nothing else, but what is of self and the world, in like manner as they do who are in hell.

No man can be regenerated unless he knows such things as belong to the new life, that is, to the spiritual life; and the things which belong to the new life, which is the spiritual life, are truths which are to be believed and goods which are to be done, the former are of faith, the latter of charity. These things no one can know from himself, for man apprehends only those things which are obvious to the senses, from which he procures to himself a light (lumen) which is called natural light, by virtue whereof he sees nothing else than what relates to the world and to self, but not the things which relate to heaven and to god. These he must learn from revelation: as, that the lord, who is god from eternity, came into the world to save the human race; that he has all power in heaven and in earth; that the all of faith and the all of charity, thus all truth and good, is from him; that there is a heaven, and that there is a hell; and that man is to live to eternity, in heaven, if he have done well, in hell, if he have done evilly.

These and several other things belong to faith, and ought to be known by the man who is to be regenerated; for he who knows them, may think them, afterwards will them, and lastly do them, and so have new life: whilst he who does not know that the lord is the Saviour of the human race, cannot have faith in him, love him, and thus do good for the sake of him. He who does not know that all good is from him, cannot think that his own salvation is from him, still less can he will it to be so, thus he cannot live from him: he who does not know that there is a hell and that there is a heaven, nor that there is eternal life, cannot even think about the life of heaven, nor apply himself to receive it; and so in other cases.

Every one has an internal man and an external man; the internal is what is called the spiritual man, and the external is what is called the natural man: and each is to be regenerated that the man may be regenerated. With the man who is not regenerated, the external or natural man rules, and the internal serves; but with the man who is regenerated, the internal or spiritual man rules, and the external serves: whence it is manifest that the order of life is inverted with man from his birth, namely, that that principle serves which ought to rule, and that that principle rules which ought to serve. In order that man may be saved this order must be inverted; and this inversion can by no means exist, but by regeneration from the lord.

What it is for the internal man to rule and the external to serve, and vice versa, may be illustrated thus: if a man places all his good in voluptuousness, in gain, and in pride, and has delight in hatred and revenge, and inwardly in himself seeks for reasons which confirm such evils, then the external man rules and the internal serves: but when a man perceives good and delight in thinking and willing well, sincerely, and justly, and in outwardly speaking and doing in like manner, then the internal man rules and the external serves.

The internal man is first regenerated by the lord, and afterwards the external, and the latter by means of the former: for the internal man is regenerated by thinking those things which are of faith and charity, but the external by a life according to them. This is understood by the words of the lord, "Unless a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of god," John 3:5. Water, in the spiritual sense, is the truth of faith, and the spirit is a life according to it.

The man who is regenerated is, as to his internal man, in heaven, and is an angel there with the angels, amongst whom he also comes after death; he is then able to live the life of heaven, to love the lord, to love his neighbour, to understand truth, to relish good, and to perceive the blessedness thence derived. H. D. 173182.

Verse 7. All my springs are in you. By a spring, or fountain, is meant the Word; and by springs, or fountains, are meant divine truths from the Word. AE 483.

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