Spiritual Meaning of

Bible Meanings Back to Words index Back to Animal words index

The signification of hoof, is truth from good; and the signification of not being left behind, as being not to be lacking, namely, for the worship of the Lord. In the proximate internal sense, by a hoof not being left behind is signified that nothing at all shall be lacking, because the hoof is common to all beasts; but in a more interior sense by hoof is signified truth in the ultimate degree, thus sensuous truth, which is the lowest; and in the opposite sense, falsity. That this is the signification of hoof is because by the foot is signified the natural, and by the sole of the foot the ultimate of the natural (AC 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952, 5327, 5328); and the like is signified by the hoof, for this is the sole of the foot of beasts. And as the ultimate of the natural is signified by hoof, as by the sole of the foot, that truth is also signified which is the ultimate truth of the natural, for when the natural is spoken of, its truth and good are meant, or in the opposite sense its falsity and evil; from these it is, and without these nothing can be predicated of it.

[2] That by the hoof, especially of horses, is signified truth in the ultimate degree, thus sensuous truth, and in the opposite sense falsity of the same degree, can be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:--

Whose arrows are sharp, and all his bows bent, the hoofs of his horses are accounted as the rock, his wheels as the whirlwind (Isa. 5:28);

speaking of a devastating people; by arrows are signified the doctrinal things of falsity from which combat is waged; and by bows, this doctrine (AC 2686, 2709); by horses, intellectual things here perverted (AC 2761, 2762, 3217, 5321, 6125, 6534). From this it is plain what is meant by the hoof of the horses, namely, falsity in the ultimate degree.

[3] In Jeremiah:--

For the voices of the beating of the hoofs of his strong ones, for the tumult of his chariot, the rumbling of his wheels (Jer. 47:3);

speaking of a people devastating the Philistines; the beating of the hoofs of the strong ones, namely, of the horses, denotes the open combat of falsity against truth; the chariot denotes the doctrine of falsity. Chariot denotes doctrine both of truth and of falsity, (AC 5321, 5945).

[4] In Ezekiel:--

By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee; by reason of the noise of the horsemen and of the wheel and of the chariot thy walls shall be shaken. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets (Ezek. 26:10, 11);

speaking of Nebuchadnezzar devastating Tyre; his horses denote intellectual things perverted, as above; a horseman denotes that which pertains to such an intellectual (AC 6534); the wheels of a chariot denote falsities of doctrine, a chariot being doctrine, as above; streets denote truths (AC 2336). From this it is evident that the hoofs of the horses denote falsities. Unless there were such a signification in these words, why should it be said, By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee; by reason of the noise of the horseman and of the wheel and of the chariot thy walls shall be shaken; with the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets? Without an interior sense, would these be more than sounding words? when yet every expression in the Word has weight, because it is from the Divine.

[5] In the same:--

They shall devastate the pride of Egypt, that the multitude thereof shall be destroyed; and I will destroy every beast thereof upon many waters, that the foot of man shall not trouble them any more, nor shall the hoof of beast trouble them; then will I send their waters into the deep, and make their streams flow as oil (Ezek. 32:12-14);

neither would these words be understood unless it were known what is meant by Egypt, by the foot of man, what by the hoof of beast, what by the waters upon which the beast shall be destroyed, and which the foot of man and the hoof of beast shall trouble, and which shall be sent into the deep; the waters and streams of Egypt denote truths of memory-knowledge; the hoof of beast denotes falsity in the ultimate of the natural, which disturbs the truth of memory-knowledge.

[6] In Micah:--

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass, that thou mayest break in pieces many peoples (Micah 4:13);

what these words mean no one can know without the internal sense, thus unless it is known what is meant by threshing, by the daughter of Zion, by the horn which shall become as iron, by the hoof which shall become as brass, with which many peoples shall be broken in pieces. The daughter of Zion denotes the celestial church (AC 2362); the horn denotes the power of truth from good (AC 2832); iron denotes natural truth which shall avail to destroy falsities (AC 425, 426); hoof denotes truth from good in the ultimate degree; brass denotes natural good which shall avail against evils (AC 425, 1551).

[7] In Zechariah:--

I will stir up a shepherd in the land, he shall not visit those who are to be cut off, her that is of tender age he shall not seek, and her that is broken he shall not heal, but he shall eat up the flesh of the fat one, and shall cleave asunder their hoofs (Zech. 11:16);

speaking of a foolish shepherd; to eat up the flesh of the fat one denotes to turn good into evil; to cleave asunder the hoofs denotes to turn truth into falsity.

[8] How much the ancients surpassed the moderns in intelligence can be seen from the fact that they knew to what things in heaven many things in the world correspond, and consequently what they signify; and this was known not only to those of the church, but also to those out of the church, as for instance to the inhabitants of Greece, the most ancient of whom described things by significatives which at this day are called fabulous, because wholly unknown. That the ancient Sophi were in the knowledge of such things is evident from the fact that they described the origin of intelligence and wisdom by a winged horse which they called Pegasus, who with his hoof broke open a fountain, at which were nine virgins, and this upon a hill; for they knew that by a horse was signified the intellectual, by his wings the spiritual, by hoofs truth of the ultimate degree, where is the origin of intelligence, by virgins the sciences, by a hill unanimity, and in the spiritual sense charity.

from AC 7729

Back to Words index, Back to Animal words index

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