Spiritual Meaning of

Bible Meanings Back to Words index Back to Place words index

That relatively to the Lord, Egypt is the memory-knowledge of knowledges, but relatively to all other men is memory-knowledge (scientia) in general, is evident from its signification in the Word (AC 1164, 1165). For the Ancient Church was in Egypt as well as in many other places (AC 1238); and when this church was there, memory-knowledges (scientiae) flourished there more than anything else; hence by Egypt has been signified memory-knowledge. But after the people desired to enter by means of memory-knowledges into the mysteries of faith, and thus from their own power to investigate the truth of Divine arcana, Egypt became addicted to magic, and signified things of memory-knowledge which pervert, whence come falsities, and from these evils, as is evident in (Isaiah 19:11).

[2] That useful memory-knowledges are signified by Egypt, thus in the present passage the memory-knowledge of knowledges, which is able to serve as vessels for celestial and spiritual things, is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:--

They have seduced Egypt, the corner stone of the tribes (Isaiah 19:13),

where it is called the corner stone of the tribes, as it should serve for a support to the things that are of faith, which are signified by the tribes. Again:--

In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak with the lip of Canaan, and swear to Jehovah Zebaoth each shall be called the city of the sun. In that day there shall be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Jehovah at the border thereof. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto Jehovah Zebaoth in the land of Egypt; for they shall cry unto Jehovah because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour and a Prince, and He shall deliver them; and Jehovah shall become known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Jehovah in that day and they shall offer sacrifice and meat-offering, and shall vow a vow to Jehovah, and shall perform it. And Jehovah shall smite Egypt in smiting and in healing, and they shall return unto Jehovah, and He shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them (Isa. 19:18-22).

Here Egypt is spoken of in a good sense, denoting those who are in memory-knowledges (scientifica), that is, in natural truths, which are the vessels of spiritual truths.

[3] Again:--

In that day there shall be a path from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria shall come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve Assyria. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land, which Jehovah Zebaoth shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance (Isa. 19:23-25).

Here by Egypt is signified the memory-knowledge of natural truths; by Assyria, reason or rational things; by Israel, spiritual things; all of which succeed one another; and therefore it is said that in that day there shall be a path from Egypt to Assyria, and that Israel shall be the third with Egypt and with Assyria.

[4] In Ezekiel:--

Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was thine expansion, that it might be to thee for an ensign (Ezekiel 27:7);

concerning Tyre, by which is signified the possession of knowledges; fine linen with broidered work denotes the truths of memory-knowledges, that serve; for memory-knowledges being of the external man, ought to serve the internal man. Again:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, At the end of forty years will I gather Egypt from the peoples whither they have been scattered, and I will bring back the captivity of Egypt (Ezek. 29:13, 14);

denoting the same that is said in many places concerning Judah and Israel, in that they should be gathered from the peoples and brought back from captivity. In Zechariah:--

And it shall come to pass that whoso of the families of the earth goeth not up unto Jerusalem to worship the King Jehovah Zebaoth, upon them there shall be no rain and if the family of Egypt go not up and come not (Zechariah 14:17, 18);

also concerning Egypt in a good sense, and by which the like is meant.

[5] That memory-knowledge, or human wisdom, is signified by Egypt, is evident also in Daniel, where the memory-knowledges of celestial and spiritual things are called the hidden things of gold and silver, and also the desirable things of Egypt (Daniel 11:43). And it is said of Solomon that his wisdom was multiplied above the wisdom of all the sons of the east, and above all the wisdom of the Egyptians (1 Kings 4:30). The house built by Solomon for Pharaoh's daughter represented nothing else (1 Kings 7:8).

[6] That the Lord when an infant was brought into Egypt, signified the same that is here signified by Abram; and it took place for the additional reason that He might fulfill all the things that had been represented concerning Him. In the inmost sense the migration of Jacob add his sons into Egypt represented the first instruction of the Lord in knowledges from the Word, as is also manifest from the following passages. It is said of the Lord in Matthew:--

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee. And he arose and took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My son (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-21);

concerning which it is said in Hosea:--

When Israel was a child then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1);

from which it is evident that by the child Israel, is meant the Lord; and that His instruction when a child is meant by the words, I called My son out of Egypt.

[7] Again in Hosea:--

By a prophet the Lord made Israel to go up out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he kept (Hosea 12:13, 14);

where in like manner by Israel is meant the Lord; by a prophet is signified one who teaches, and thus the doctrine of knowledges. In David:--

Turn us again, O God Zebaoth, cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be saved. Thou didst bring a vine out of Egypt, Thou didst drive out the nations, and plantedst it (Ps. 80:7, 8);

where also the Lord is treated of, who is called a vine out of Egypt in regard to the knowledges in which He was being instructed.

from AC 1462

Back to Words index, Back to Place words index

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