Spiritual Meaning of

Bible Meanings Back to Words index Back to Number words index

The signification of twenty: As all the numbers that are mentioned in the Word signify actual things, and states (AC 2252), so also does twenty; and what it signifies can be seen from its derivation, namely, from twice ten. Ten in the Word, as also tenths, signify remains, by which is meant everything good and true that the Lord insinuates into man from infancy even to the end of his life, and which are treated of in the following verse. Twice ten, or double tenths, that is, twenty, signify the same, but in a higher degree, namely, good.

[2] Goods of three kinds are signified by remains, namely, the goods of infancy, the goods of ignorance, and the goods of intelligence. The goods of infancy are those which are insinuated into man from his very birth up to the age in which he is beginning to be instructed and to know something. The goods of ignorance are what are insinuated when he is being instructed and is beginning to know something. The goods of intelligence are what are insinuated when he is able to reflect upon what is good and what is true. The good of infancy exists from the man's infancy up to the tenth year of his age; the good of ignorance, from this age up to his twentieth year. From this year the man begins to become rational, and to have the faculty of reflecting upon good and truth, and to procure for himself the good of intelligence.

[3] The good of ignorance is that which is signified by twenty, because those who are in the good of ignorance do not come into any temptation for no one is tempted before he is able to reflect, and in his own way to perceive the nature of good and truth. Those who have received goods by means of temptations have been treated of in the two immediately preceding verses; those who have not been in temptations, and yet have good, are now treated of in this verse.

[4] As those who have this good, which is called the good of ignorance, are signified by twenty, all those who went forth from Egypt were reckoned from a son of twenty years and upward; or as it is expressed, every one going forth into the army, by whom are meant those who were no longer in the good of ignorance, concerning whom we read in (Numbers 1:20, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 38, 40, 42, 45; 26:4); and also that all those who were more than twenty years old died in the wilderness (Numbers 32:10, 11), because evil could be imputed to them, and they represented those who yield in temptations; as well as that the valuing made of a male, from a son of five years to a son of twenty years was twenty shekels (Lev. 27:5); and another valuing from a son of twenty years old to one of sixty was fifty shekels (Leviticus 27:3).

from AC 2280

That twenty signifies also what is not holy, is because twenty denotes remains, as before said. The holy in those who have no remains of good and truth in their interior man, but instead of them evil and falsity, is not holy, but is either filthy or profane, according to the kind of evil and falsity. That twenty denotes also what is not holy, is evident in Zechariah:--

I saw and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll the length thereof is twenty ells, and the breadth thereof ten ells. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth (Zech. 5:1-3).

In Haggai:--

When one came to the wine-press to draw out fifty out of the wine-press, there were twenty. I smote you with blasting, and with mildew, all the work of your hands (Haggai 2:16, 17).

[3] In Ezekiel:--

Thy food which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time even in time shalt thou eat it. And thou shalt eat it as a barley cake, and thou shalt make it in their eyes with dung that cometh out of man. For thus, Jehovah said, shall the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean among the nations (Ezek. 4:10, 12, 13).

In these passages twenty denotes that which is unholy, unclean, and profane. That all who were more than twenty years old should die in the wilderness (Num. 14:29; 32:11), represented also what is holy in respect to those who were under that number of years, and what is unholy in respect to those who were over it. All numbers in the Word signify things, (AC 482, 487, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 4264, 4495, 4670); and remains are good and truth stored up by the Lord in the interior man, (AC 468, 530, 560, 561, 576, 660, 798, 1050, 1738, 1906, 2284).

from AC 4759

Back to Words index, Back to Number words index

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