Spiritual Meaning of
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The signification of a snare, when said of evils, is allurement and deception. That evils allure and deceive, is because all evils spring from the loves of self and of the world (AC 9335), and the loves of self and of the world are born with man, and from this he feels the delight of his life from the moment of his birth; nay, from this he has life. Wherefore these loves, like the unseen currents of a river, continually draw the thought and the will of man away from the Lord to self, and away from heaven to the world, thus away from the truths and goods of faith to falsities and evils. Reasonings from the fallacies of the senses are then of especial force, and also the literal sense of the Word wrongly explained and applied.
 These two sources of error, and also those previously mentioned, are what are meant in the spiritual sense of the Word by snares, nooses, pits, nets, ropes, gins, and also by frauds and deceits; as in these passages:--
Dread, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth; whence it shall come to pass that he who Seeth from the voice of the dread shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare; for the floodgates from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth have been shaken (Isa. 24:17, 18).
Fear, the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab. He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare (Jer. 48:43, 44).
Dread and fear denote a disturbance and commotion of the mind when it hesitates between evils and goods, consequently between falsities and truths; the pit denotes falsity brought in through reasonings from the fallacies of the senses to favor the delights of the loves of self and of the world; the snare denotes the allurement and deception of evil thence derived.
 In Isaiah:--
They shall go, and stumble backward, and be broken, and ensnared, and taken (Isa. 28:13);
to stumble backward denotes to turn themselves away from good and truth; to be broken denotes to dissipate truths and goods; to be ensnared denotes to be allured by the evils of the loves of self and of the world; to be taken denotes to be carried away by them.
 In Ezekiel:--
The mother of the princes of Israel is a lioness; one of her whelps learned to seize the prey, he devoured men; the nations heard of him; he was taken in their pit; and they brought him with hooks into the land of Egypt. Afterward he ravished widows, and laid waste cities; the land was desolate, and the fullness thereof, by the voice of his roaring. Therefore the nations lay in wait for him round about from the provinces; and they spread their net over him; he was caught in their pit. They put him in a cage with hooks, and brought him unto the king of Babel in nets, that his voice should no more be heard on the mountains of Israel (Ezek. 19:1-4, 7-9);
the successive profanation of truth through the allurements of falsities from evils is here described; the mother of the princes of Israel denotes the church where are primary truths. That mother denotes the church, (AC 298, 2691, 2717, 4257, 5581, 8897); and that the princes of Israel denote primary truths, (AC 1482, 2089, 5044); a lioness denotes falsity from evil perverting the truths of the church; a lion's whelp denotes evil in its power (AC 6367); to seize the prey and devour men denotes to destroy truths and goods, for man denotes the good of the church (AC 4287, 7424, 7523); nations denote evils (AC 1259, 1260, 1849, 2588, 4444, 6306); the pit in which he was caught by the nations denotes the falsity of evil (AC 4728, 4744, 5038, 9086); the land of Egypt into which he was brought with hooks denotes the memory-knowledge through which is falsity (AC 9340); to ravish widows denotes to pervert the goods which long for truth. That to ravish denotes to pervert, (AC 2466, 2729, 4865, 8904); and that widows denote goods that long for truth, (AC 9198, 9200); to lay waste cities denotes to destroy the doctrinal things of the truth of the church (AC 402, 2268, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4478, 4492, 4493); to desolate the land and the fullness thereof denotes to destroy all things of the church (AC 9325); the voice of roaring of the lion denotes falsity; to spread the net over him denotes to allure by the delights of earthly loves and by reasonings from them; to bring to the king of Babel denotes the profanation of truth (AC 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326).
 That such things do not come to pass when a man does not love himself and the world above all things, is thus described in Amos:--
Will a lion roar in the forest if he hath no prey? Will a bird fall upon a snare of the earth if there is no noose for him? Shall a snare spring up from the earth if taking it hath taken nothing? (Amos 3:4, 6).
 That in the spiritual sense a snare denotes allurement and deception through the delights of the loves of self and of the world, thus the allurement and deception of evils, and this through reasonings from the fallacies of the senses which favor these delights, is plain to everyone; for ensnarings and entrappings are from no other source. Neither do the diabolical crew assail anything in a man except these his loves, which they delight in every possible way until he is caught, and when he has been caught the man reasons from falsities against truths, and from evils against goods. Nor is he then content with this, but also takes delight in ensnaring and alluring others to falsities and evils. The reason why he also takes delight in this, is that he is then one of the diabolical crew.
 As snare, noose, and net, signify such things, they also signify the destruction of the spiritual life, and thus perdition; for the delights of these loves are what destroy and lead into perdition, because, as before said, all evils spring from these loves. For from the love of self springs contempt for others in comparison with self, next derision and abuse, afterward enmity if they do not favor, and finally the delight of hatred, the delight of revenge, thus the delight of violence, nay, of cruelty. In the other life this love climbs so high, that unless the Lord favors those who have it, and gives them dominion over others, they not only despise Him, but also deride the Word which treats of Him, and finally they act against Him from hatred and revenge; and in so far as they cannot do anything against Him, they practice such things with violence and cruelty against all who profess Him. From this it is plain whence it comes that there is such a diabolical crew, namely, from the love of self. And therefore as a snare signifies the delight of the love of self and of the world, it also signifies the destruction of spiritual life, and perdition; for everything of faith and love to the Lord, and everything of love toward the neighbor, are destroyed by the delight of the love of self and of the world wherever it has dominion (AC 9335).
 That these loves are the origins of all evils, and that hell is from them and in them, and that these loves are the fires there, is at this day unknown in the world; when yet it might be known from the fact that these loves are opposite to love toward the neighbor and love to God, and that they are opposite to humility of heart, and that from them alone arise all contempt, all hatred, all revenge, and all violence and cruelty, as anyone may know who reflects.
 That a snare therefore signifies the destruction of spiritual life, and perdition, is plain from the following passages. In David:--
Upon the wicked, Jehovah shall rain snares, fire and sulphur (Ps. 11:6);
where fire and sulphur denote the evils of the love of self and of the world. That fire has this signification, (AC 1297, 1861, 5071, 5215, 6314, 6832, 7324, 7575, 9144); and also sulphur, (AC 2446). Hence it is plain what is meant by snares. In Luke:
Lest that day come upon you suddenly; for as a snare shall it come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:34, 35);
where the subject treated of is the last time of the church, when there is no faith because no charity, for the loves of self and of the world will then reign, and from these loves comes perdition, which is the snare. Again:
Among My people are found the wicked; they watch, as fowlers stretch nets; they set a trap that they may catch men (Jer. 5:26).
They that seek after my soul stretch snares; and they that seek mine evil speak perditions, and meditate deceits all the day long (Ps. 38:12).
Guard me from the hands of the noose they have laid for me, and from the snares of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall together into their own nets, while I pass over (Ps 141:9, 10)
He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a snare and for a noose to the inhabitant of Jerusalem. Many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be spared, and be taken (Isa. 8:14, 15);
the Lord is here treated of. A stone of stumbling and a rock of offence denote the giving of offence; a snare, and a noose denote perdition, namely, that of those who attack and endeavor to destroy the truths and goods of faith in the Lord through falsities which favor the loves of self and of the world; for all the proud are not only offended, but are also ensnared by the fact that the Divine has appeared in a human form, and this not in royal majesty, but in a despised shape. From all this it is now evident that by it will be a snare, is signified the allurement and deception of evils, and the consequent perdition; as also elsewhere in Moses:--
Make not a covenant with the inhabitant of the land upon which thou shalt come, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee (Exod. 34:12).
Thou shalt not serve their gods; for this will be a snare to thee (Deut. 12:16).
Take heed to thyself that thou be not ensnared after the nations, and that perchance thou seek their gods (Deut. 12:30);
the nations denote evils, and the falsities thence derived.
from AC 9348
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|