Spiritual Meaning of

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 Skirt, Hem

That the skirts of the robe denote the extremes where is what is natural, is evident from the passages of the Word where skirts are mentioned, as in Isaiah:--

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His skirts filled the temple (Isa. 6:1);

by the throne upon which the Lord was sitting is signified heaven, and specifically the spiritual heaven (AC 5313, 8625); by skirts here are signified Divine truths in the ultimates or extremes, such as are the truths of the Word in the sense of the letter; which are said to fill the temple when they fill the church. The like is signified by the skirts filling the temple as by the smoke and cloud filling the tabernacle, and also the temple, as repeatedly mentioned in the Word. That by smoke is there signified Divine truth in ultimates, such as is the sense of the letter of the Word, (AC 8916, 8918); as also by a cloud, (AC 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343).

[3] That a woman laboring with an issue of blood was made whole when she touched the skirt of the Lord's garment (Matt. 9:20, 22); and in general that as many as touched the skirt of His garment were made whole (Matt. 14:36; Mark. 6:56), signified that health went forth from the Divine extremes or ultimates; for that there are strength and power in the ultimates of good and truth which are from the Divine may be seen above (AC 9836); and also that answers are given there (AC 9905). In Matthew:--

Jesus said of the Scribes and Pharisees that they do all their works to be seen of men, that they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the skirts of their robes (Matt. 23:5);

it is here very evident that the skirts of the robe denote the external things which stand forth to view, and that enlarging them denotes to do works outwardly, so that they may appear, or be seen.

[4] In Jeremiah:--

Jerusalem hath sinned a sin, her uncleanness was in her skirts (Lam. 1:8, 9);

uncleanness in the skirts denotes in the deeds and words, thus in the extremes; for the extremes or outermost things derive their essence from the Interior ones; and therefore when the interiors are unclean, the extremes also are unclean, although the uncleannesses may not appear before men; for the reason that men look at the outward form, and therefore do not see the Interiors. Nevertheless these uncleannesses that are in the interiors appear before the angels, and in the other life are also uncovered with everyone, because external things are there taken away; consequently it becomes manifest what has been the quality of the works in their essence.

[5] In Nahum:--

I will uncover thy skirts upon thy faces, and I will show the nations thy nakedness (Nahum 3:5)

to uncover the skirts upon the faces denotes to remove external things so that internal ones may appear; for in various ways the external things of the natural man hide the internal things, which are hypocrisies, deceits, lies, hatreds, revenges, adulteries, and other like things; and therefore when the external things are taken away, the internal ones appear in their uncleanness and filthiness.

[6] In Jeremiah:--

If thou say in thine heart, Wherefore have these things covered me up? For the multitude of thine iniquity have thy skirts been unveiled, thy heels have suffered violence. I will lay bare thy skirts upon thy faces, that thy disgraces may be seen, even thine adulteries (Jer. 13:22, 26, 27);

speaking of the abominations of Jerusalem; to unveil the skirts, and lay them bare denotes to take away the external things which cover, so that the interiors may be seen; for a man learns to counterfeit what is good, honorable, and sincere, for the sake of reputation, honor, and gain, when yet he has evils and falsities of various kinds hidden within. As by skirts are signified external things, therefore mention is also made of heels, because the heels denote the lowest things of the natural (AC 259, 4938, 4940-4951). From all this it can now be seen that by the skirts of the robe are signified goods and truths In the ultimates or extremes, which are in the natural world.

from AC 9917

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