Spiritual Meaning of

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That honey denotes delight is because it is sweet, and everything sweet in the natural world corresponds to what is delightful and pleasant in the spiritual world. The reason why it is called its delight, that is, the delight of truth from good in the exterior natural, is that every truth and especially every truth of good has its own delight; but a delight from the affection of these, and from the derivative use.

[2] That honey is delight is evident also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah:--

A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel (God with us). Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good (Isa 7:14, 15);

speaking of the Lord; butter denotes the celestial; honey, +hat which is from the celestial.

[3] In the same:--

It shall come to pass for the multitude of milk that they shall yield, he shall eat butter; and butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land (Isa. 7:22);

speaking of the Lord's kingdom; milk denotes spiritual good; butter, celestial good; and honey, that which is from them, thus what is happy, pleasant, and delightful.

[4] In Ezekiel:--

Thus wast thou adorned with gold and silver; and thy garments were of fine linen and silk and broidered work. Thou didst eat fine flour and honey and oil; so thou becamest beautiful very exceedingly, and thou didst prosper even unto a kingdom. With fine flour and oil and honey I fed thee; but thou didst set it before them for an odor of rest (Ezek. 16:13, 19);

speaking of Jerusalem, by which is meant the spiritual church, the quality of which is described as it was With the ancients, and as it afterward became. Her being adorned with gold and silver denotes with celestial and spiritual good and truth; her garments of fine linen, silk, and broidered work denotes truths in the rational and in each natural; fine flour denotes the spiritual; honey, its pleasantness; and "oil,' its good. That such things as belong to heaven are signified by these particulars can be seen by anyone.

[5] In the same:--

Judah and the land of Israel were thy traders, in wheat of Minnith, and pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm (Ezek. 27:17);

speaking of Tyre, by which is signified the spiritual church such as it was in the beginning and such as it afterward became, but in respect to the knowledges of good and truth (AC 1201). Honey here also denotes the pleasantness and delight from the affections of knowing and learning celestial and spiritual goods and truths.

[6] In Moses:--

Thou makest him ride on the high places of the earth, and he eats the produce of the fields. He maketh him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flint of the rock (Deut. 32:13);

here also treating of the Ancient spiritual Church; to suck honey out of the rock denotes delight from truths of memory-knowledge.

[7] In David:--

I feed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock I sate them (Ps. 81:16);

to sate with honey out of the rock denotes to fill with delight from the truths of faith.

[8] In Deuteronomy:--

Jehovah bringeth me unto a good land, a land of rivers of water, of fountains and of deeps that go out from the valley, and from the mountain; a land of wheat and barley, and of vine and of fig and of pomegranate; a land of oil olive and of honey (Deut. 8:7, 8);

speaking of the land of Canaan; in the internal sense, of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens. A land of oil olive and of honey denotes spiritual good and its pleasantness.

[9] Hence also the land of Canaan was called A land flowing with milk and honey (Num. 13:27; 14:8; Deut. 26:9, 15; 27:3; Jer. 11:5; 32:22; Ezek. 20:6). In the internal sense of these passages by the land of Canaan is meant, as before said, the Lord's kingdom; flowing with milk denotes an abundance of celestial spiritual things; and with honey, an abundance of derivative happiness and delights.

[10] In David:--

The judgments of Jehovah are truth, righteous are they together; more to be desired are they than gold and much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs (Ps. 19:9, 10);

the judgments of Jehovah denote truth Divine; sweeter than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs denotes delights from good and pleasantnesses from truth. Again:--

Sweet are Thy words to my palate, sweeter than honey to my mouth (Ps. 119:103);

where the meaning is similar.

[11] The manna that Jacob's posterity had for bread in the wilderness is thus described in Moses:--

The manna was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like a cake kneaded with honey (Exod. 16:31);

as the manna signified the truth Divine that descends through heaven from the Lord, it consequently signified the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human, as He Himself teaches in (John 6:51, 58); for it is the Lord's Divine Human from which all truth Divine comes, yea, of which all truth Divine treats; and this being so, the manna is described in respect to delight and pleasantness by the taste, that it was like a cake kneaded with honey. The taste denotes the delight of good and the pleasantness of truth, (AC 3502),

[12] As John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, which is the Divine truth on earth, in like manner as Elijah (AC 2762, 5247), he was therefore the Elijah who was to come before the Lord (Mal. 4:5; Matt. 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:17); wherefore his clothing and food were significative, of which we read in Matthew:--

John had his clothing of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loin; and his meat was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6).

The clothing of camel's hair signified that the Word, such as is its literal sense as to truth (which sense is a clothing for the internal sense), is natural; for what is natural is signified by hair, and also by camels; and the meat being of locusts and wild honey signified the Word such as is its literal sense as to good; the delight of this is signified by wild honey.

[13] The delight of truth Divine in respect to the external sense is also described by honey in Ezekiel:--

He said unto me, Son of man, feed thy belly and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. And when I ate it, it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness (Ezek. 3:3).

And in John:--

The angel said unto me, Take the little book and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. So I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; but when I had eaten it my belly was made bitter. Then he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings (Rev. 10:9-11).

The roll in Ezekiel, and the little book in John, denote truth Divine. That in the external form this appears delightful, is signified by the flavor being sweet as honey; for truth Divine, like the Word, is delightful in the external form or in the literal sense because this admits of being unfolded by interpretations in everyone's favor. But not so the internal sense, which is therefore signified by the bitter taste; for this sense discloses man's interiors. The reason why the external sense is delightful, is as before said that the things in it can be unfolded favorably; for they are only general truths, and general truths are susceptible of this before they are qualified by particulars, and these by singulars. It is delightful also because it is natural, and what is spiritual conceals itself within. Moreover it must be delightful in order that man may receive it, that is, be introduced into it, and not be deterred at the very threshold.

[14] The honeycomb and broiled fish that the Lord ate with the disciples after His resurrection, also signified the external sense of the Word (the fish as to its truth and the honeycomb as to its pleasantness), in regard to which we read in Luke:--

Jesus said, Have ye here anything to eat? They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb, and He took them and did eat before them (Luke 24:41-43).

And because these things are signified, the Lord therefore said to them:--

These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me (Luke 24:44).

It appears as if such things were not signified, because their having a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb seems as if fortuitous; nevertheless it was of providence, and not only this, but also all other, even the least, of the things that occur in the Word. As such things were signified, therefore the Lord said of the Word that in it were written the things concerning Himself. Yet the things written of the Lord in the literal sense of the Old Testament are few; but those in its internal sense are all so written, for from this is the holiness of the Word. This is what is meant by His saying that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Him.

[15] From all this it may now be seen that by honey is signified the delight that is from good and truth, or from the affection of them, and that there is specifically signified external delight, thus the delight of the exterior natural. As this delight is of such a nature as to be from the world through the things of the senses, and thereby contains within it many things from the love of the world, the use of honey in the meat-offerings was therefore forbidden, as in Leviticus:--

No meat-offering which ye shall bring unto Jehovah shall be made with leaven; for there shall be no leaven, nor any honey, from what ye burn with fire to Jehovah (Lev. 2:11);

where honey denotes such external delight, which, because it contains in it what partakes of the love of the world, was also like leaven, and was on this account forbidden. What leaven or leavened means, see (AC 2342),

from AC 5620

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info