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The signification of bitter things, or bitternesses, is things undelightful, here those which belong to temptations. For the good of innocence, which is represented by the paschal lamb, cannot be appropriated to anyone except through temptations. By unleavened bread such good is signified, and because this is appropriated through temptations, the bread was ordered to be eaten upon bitter things; and moreover that bread was to them bread of affliction, like the manna (Deut. 8:15, 16; 16:3), because it was devoid of leaven, that is, of any falsity from evil, for man cannot endure pure truth and pure good. That things undelightful are signified by bitter things, is plain in Isaiah

Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20).

They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it (Isa. 24:9).

That the undelightful things of temptations are signified by bitter things is evident from these words in Exodus:--

At last they came unto Marah, but they could not drink of the waters, on account of their bitterness, because they were bitter. And the people murmured against Moses, who, when he cried unto Jehovah, Jehovah showed him wood which he cast into the waters, and the water' were made sweet. There He set for him a statute and a judgment, because there He tried him (Exod. 15:23-25),

And also in John:--

There fell from heaven a great star, burning as a torch. The name of the star is called Wormwood, and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (John 8:10, 11).

In these passages bitter waters denote the undelightful things of temptations; the men who died of the waters denote those who succumbed in temptations.

from AC 7854

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