Spiritual Meaning of
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The signification of rending the garments is mourning, namely, on account of truth having been destroyed, or because there was no faith. We often read in the Word, especially the historic, of persons rending their garments; but the origin of this is not known at the present day, and it is also unknown that it was representative of grief on account of truth being lost. This act became representative from the fact that garments signified truths, as before shown (AC 4545). Further on in this chapter it is also said that when Jacob recognized his son's tunic he rent his garments (verse 34), and by this is signified mourning for truth destroyed. So in other places in the Word, as when Rabshakeh, who was sent by Sennacherib the king of Assyria, spoke insults against Jerusalem; whereupon Eliakim who was over the King's household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the recorder, rent their garments and told these things to King Hezekiah; and when the king heard it he also rent his garments, and covered himself with sackcloth (Isa. 36:22; 37:1; 2 Kings 18:37; 19:1). The insults which Rabshakeh spoke were against God, the King, and Jerusalem, thus against Divine truth, as is still plainer from the internal sense of the passage; hence the garments were rent because of mourning.
 When Jehudi had read before the king the roll of the book which Jeremiah wrote, it is said that the king cast it into the fire, and that the king and his servants, who heard all those words, did not rend their garments (Jer. 36:23, 24); their not rending their garments denoted that they did not mourn when Divine truth was not received. The rending of their garments by Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, when the spies brought an evil report of the land of Canaan, and their speaking against them (Num. 14:6), involves a similar meaning; for the land of Canaan signifies the Lord's kingdom, to speak against which is to speak falsity against Divine truth. When the ark of God was taken by the Philistines, and the two sons of Eli were slain, that there ran a man out of the army to Shiloh with his garments rent and dust upon his head (1 Sam. 4:11, 12), signified mourning over lost Divine truth and Divine good; for, as the ark represented the Lord's kingdom, and in the supreme sense the Lord Himself, and hence the holy of the church, the rent garments signified mourning over lost Divine truth; and dust upon the head, over lost Divine good.
 We read of Samuel and Saul:--
As Samuel turned about to go away, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his tunic, and it was torn off. And Samuel said unto him, Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from upon thee this day, and hath given it to thy companion. I will not return with thee, for thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah, and Jehovah hath rejected thee from being king over Israel (1 Sam. 15:26-28);
Saul's tearing off the skirt of Samuel's tunic represented what Samuel said - that the kingdom should be rent from him, and that he should no longer be king of Israel; for kingdom in the internal sense signifies Divine truth (AC 1672, 2547, 4691), as also do a king and royalty (AC 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581), and specifically the Kingdom and king of Israel, because by Israel was represented the Lord's royalty. So what is related of Jeroboam and the prophet Ahijah:--
When Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, and the prophet Ahijah found him in the way, when he had clad himself with a new garment, and they two were alone in the field, Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was upon him, and rent it in twelve pieces; and he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith Jehovah the God of Israel, Behold I rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee (1 Kings 11:29-31).
 The same is true of their rending their garments when Saul was slain in battle, as related in the second book of Samuel:--
After Saul had been slain in battle, on the third day a man came from the camp whose garments were rent; and when David heard of the death of Saul, David took hold of his garments and rent them; as did all his servants that were with him (2 Sam. 1:1, 2, 11);
by this also was represented mourning on account of Divine truth lost and thrown away by those who were in faith separate; for as before said Divine truth was signified by royalty, and they who were in faith separate were represented by the Philistines, by whom Saul was slain (AC 1197, 1198, 3412, 3413); as also is evident from David's lament over him in the same chapter (2 Samuel 1:17-27).
 When Absalom had smitten his brother Amnon, and the tidings came to David that Absalom had smitten all the king's sons, David rent his garments and lay on the earth, and all his servants stood by with their garments rent (2 Sam. 13:28, 30, 31); this also was done for the sake of representing that truths from the Divine were destroyed, these being signified in the internal sense by the king's sons. So when David fled before Absalom he was met by Hushai the Archite with his tunic rent (2 Sam. 15:32); for in the Word by a king, especially by David, is represented Divine truth. In like manner also when Elijah spoke to Ahab king of Israel the words of Jehovah, that he should be extirpated on account of the evil which he had done, Ahab rent his garments and put sackcloth upon his flesh (1 Kings 21:27).
 That the rending or tearing of garments represented mourning on account of lost truth, is further evident from the following passages:--
Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah; and Shaphan read it before king Josiah. And when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his garments (2 Kings 22:11);
manifestly on account of the Word (that is, Divine truth) having been so long lost, and obliterated in hearts and life. When the Lord confessed that He was the Christ the Son of God, that the high priest rent his garments, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy (Matt. 26:63-65; Mark 14:63, 64), signified that he had no other belief than that the Lord spoke against the Word, and thus against Divine truth.
 When Elijah went up in a whirlwind, and Elisha saw it, he took hold of his own garments, and rent them in two pieces; and he took up the tunic of Elijah that fell from upon him, and smote the waters, and they were parted hither and thither, and Elisha went over (2 Kings 2:11-14); that Elisha then rent his garments in two pieces was on account of mourning that the Word (that is, Divine truth) was lost; for by Elijah is represented the Lord as to the Word, that is, Divine truth (AC 2762). The tunic falling from Elijah, and being taken up by Elisha, represented that Elisha continued the representation. That a tunic is Divine truth may be seen above (AC 4677), wherefore also the garment which was rent in such mourning was the tunic, as is evident from some of the passages above cited. As a garment signified the truth of the church, and in the supreme sense Divine truth, it was therefore a disgrace to go with rent garments, except in such mourning - as is evident from what was done to the servants of David by Hanun the king of the sons of Ammon, in that he shaved off half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks; for which reason they were not admitted to David (2 Sam. 10:4, 5).
from AC 4763
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