Spiritual Meaning of

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That being empty denotes where there is nothing true because nothing good, is evident from other passages in the Word, as in Jeremiah:--

Their great ones have sent their little ones for waters they came unto the pits, and found no waters; they returned with their vessels empty they were affected with shame and ignominy, and covered their head (Jer. 14:3);

where empty vessels denote truths in which there is no truth from good. Again:--

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath troubled me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up (Jer. 51:34);

where an empty vessel denotes where there is no truth; and Babylon, those who vastate, that is, deprive others of truths (AC 1327). Again:--

I beheld the earth, and lo it was void and empty; and the heavens, and they had no light (Jer. 4:23).

In Isaiah:--

The cormorant and the bittern shall possess it and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein and they shall stretch over it the line of a void, and the plummet of emptiness (Isa. 34:11).


The city of emptiness shall be broken; every house shall be shut up, that no one may come in. There is a cry in the streets upon the one, the joy of the land shall be exiled, what is left in the city shall be a waste (Isa. 24:10-12);

here emptiness is expressed by another word in the original tongue, which however involves a similar meaning. That emptiness is where there is no truth because no good, is evident in the internal sense from the particulars mentioned, as from the signification of a city, of a house, of a cry, of wine, and of streets. In Ezekiel:--

Hath said the Lord Jehovih, Woe to the city of bloods I will also make the hearth great, setting the pot empty upon the coals that it may be hot, and the brass thereof may be heated, and that the uncleanness thereof may melt therein, the scum thereof be consumed (Ezek. 24:9, 11);

it is evident here what being empty signifies; an empty pot is that in which there is uncleanness and scum, that is, evil and falsity.

[3] So in Matthew:--

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, but findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and prepared for him. Then goeth he, and joineth to himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there (Matthew 12:43-45);

the unclean spirit denotes uncleanness of life in man, and also the unclean spirits with him, for unclean spirits dwell in the uncleanness of man's life; dry places, or where there is no water, denote where there are no truths; the empty house denotes the interiors of man again filled with uncleanness, that is, with falsities from evil. In Luke:

God hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away (Luke 1:53);

the rich denote those who know many things; for riches in the spiritual sense are memory-knowledges, doctrinal things, and the knowledges of good and truth. They are called the empty rich who know these things, and do not do them; for truths to them are not truths, because without good (AC 4736).

from AC 4744

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