GOLD >> Good >> Good of Love >> Knowledge of Celestial Things
/ Opposite Sense >> Goods from Self >> Evils
SILVER >> Truth >> Truth of Wisdom >> Knowledge of Spiritual Things
/ Opposite Sense >> Truths from Self >> Falsities
Metals are in the same general class with rocks; they all are minerals and have in common the qualities of hardness and endurance. But metals have one quality unlike rocks, which adds greatly to their usefulness. What quality do I mean? Their ability to be molded and wrought into various forms.
Do you remember what the spiritual rocks are? The fixed facts, settled and sure, on which all our industries and all our habits of life and thought are based. (Chapter 33) Are there among these facts some which possess the peculiar quality of the metals, that while they are firm and sure, still they take various forms according to the circumstances? How about this fact: If you break the laws of order you will suffer for it? It is a sure fact; but how many different forms it takes according to the circumstances! As many forms as there are kinds of transgression and unhappy consequences. But the principle or the law-for so we usually call a fact of this sort – is the same, whatever the special form. These are the spiritual metals: principles or laws which are hard and sure like other facts, but take form according to the circumstances to which they are applied. The variety of circumstances is due to the changing relations of human life; and so we find that the spiritual metals are especially those principles which serve to guide men’s lives – principles fixed and sure, but applicable to changing human states. (AC 425, 643, 1551; AE 176; AR 775, 913)
You can imagine a household or a community which is kept in order by the application everywhere of the principle suggested above. The people fear to do wrong because of the punishment it brings. Can you think of other principles which might rule, nobler perhaps than this? Here is one: It is for the good of all, that we should be obedient. This law also may take as many forms as there are opportunities for obedience and benefits resulting from them.
May we be guided by a still better principle? May we enter intelligently into the ways of the Lord’s order as we see them revealed in His works and in His Word, and do right not because we are compelled to by outward force, nor yet for the sake of the natural benefits which follow obedience, but because we see that the Lord’s order is wise and brings the genuine happiness of serving one another? We may state this principle briefly: Living intelligently in the ways of order brings a pure and happy spiritual life.
Is there still another principle of life more precious even than the last? May a little child do right from a motive higher than the fear of punishment; higher than the desire to get on comfortably; higher even than the pleasure of being useful to others? May he do right because he loves his father and mother and feels that his doing right makes them happy and brings him nearer to their love? And may not the same principle lead us to serve our Heavenly Father? Keep the Lord’s commandments for His sake, and the Lord’s love will be in all your life. It is vain to look for a deeper or purer motive.
Do you know the two most precious metals, to which these heavenly principles correspond? Silver and gold. These noble metals are very enduring, not liable to the rust which destroys baser metals. So the heavenly principles are free from corroding selfishness which so easily injures less heavenly motives. Gold and silver too while so enduring are soft and yielding, for these heavenly principles are gladly and easily applied as each opportunity arises to serve the neighbor or the Lord, and do not need, like the less heavenly motives, to be cast into hard, arbitrary rules. Gold and silver also are not used like baser metals to make tools and machinery to cut and pound and compel things to our service, but they are chiefly used for coins with which to reward faithful labor, and for ornaments. So these heavenly principles do not sternly compel us, but win us by their beauty and preciousness.
Now to distinguish between the two metals, silver and gold. In many respects they are nearly alike, but gold is more rare and precious than silver; and gold has the warm; fiery color of sunshine, while the cool whiteness of silver is rather like the moon. Can we doubt that gold corresponds to that most holy law: Do good for the Lord’s sake, and you will feel His love of good? and silver to that law only second in holiness: Live intelligently in the ways of the Lord’s wisdom, and you will know the delight of serving one another? One law has the preciousness and warm glow of gold; the other the more intellectual beauty of silver. (AC 5658, 9832; AE 242; AR 211)
You have heard of the Golden Age. It is described in the Bible by the beautiful parable of the garden of Eden. Do you know why that age was called golden? Was it from the abundance of natural gold? or because spiritual gold was the ruling principle of those innocent people? because, like good children, they loved the Lord and in doing right for His sake felt the goodness of it from Him? This was the quality of those celestial people, and on that account their age was rightly called golden. (AC 5658; AE 70; HH 115; CL 75) And what is meant in the description of Eden, where we read of the first branch of the watering stream “That is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good “? (Gen. ii. 11, 12) Does it not say that the wisdom of those people sprang from their love of the Lord and their knowledge of the goodness of His ways? (AC 110-113, 658, 9881)
There was also a Silver Age, which came after the age of gold. It was a time when men were wise in learning the Lord’s ways of order from nature and from the Ancient Word, and found in them the happiness of serving one another. Was it from abundance of natural silver or for some deeper reason that this was called the Silver Age? (AC 5658; AE 70; HH 115; CL 76) There are many proofs in the Proverbs and in job, that the wise ancients knew that gold and silver correspond to precious heavenly principles. We have already quoted “Where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? . . . It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of Pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Whence then cometh wisdom, and where is the place of understanding? ” (Job xxviii 12-20; AE 717; AC 9865, 9881) “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! ” (Prov. xvi. 16, viii. 10, iii. I4)
Now please suggest passages from the Bible where gold and silver are named; but let us reserve passages which mention also copper and iron for our next lesson.
“The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold.” (Ps. xix. 9, 10) “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” (Ps. cxix. 72; AE 619) The Lord’s words are compared to gold and silver because they teach everywhere the two heavenly principles of love to the Lord and intelligent service of one another, which are gold and silver. These are the substance of the Two Great Commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets. They are the substance of the “Golden Rule,” which also is the law and the prophets. (Matt. vii. 12, xxii. 40; AC 9832, 9881)
We read in the prophets that the Lord refines men as gold and silver. “I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isa. xlviii. I0) “I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined and try them as gold is tried.” (Zech. xiii. 9; Mal. iii. 3) Does it not show the Lord’s purpose that through temptation and trial the two heavenly principles of love to the Lord and intelligent service of one another may become pure in our hearts? (AE 242, 532; AC 8159) “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” (Rev. iii. 18) The Lord invites us to learn the goodness of doing good for His sake. (AE 242; AR 211; AC 10227) “Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.” (Ps. xxi. 3; AE 272; AC 6524, 9930)
In the tabernacle gold was used as covering for the sacred furniture and the walls, while the bases in which the planks of the walls rested were of silver. (Exod. xxv., xxvi) Does this tell us something of the qualities which make human hearts dwelling-places of the Lord? Knowledge of His goodness is the gold next about His presence, and understanding of His truth is the silver basis on which this rests. (AC 9484, 9506, 9643, 9667, 2576; AE 242 end) Why is gold the first-named gift presented by the wise men to the infant Lord? (Matt. ii. 11) It represents the loving acknowledgment of the Lord’s goodness, the gift He most desires. (AC 9293, 10252; AR 277; AE 242, 491)
What state of life is represented by the reign of Solomon when there was such abundance of gold? “All king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of gold; none were of silver; it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings x. 21) This pictures a celestial state in which love for the Lord, not intelligence, is the ruling motive.
What can be the meaning of the Lord’s charge in sending out the apostles: “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses “? (Matt. x. 9) That they must not trust their own sense of what is good, nor their own intelligence, but must be poor in spirit and let Him teach them what is good and true. (AE 242; AC 4677, 9942) We learned that the sun and moon sometimes represented self-love and self-intelligence, especially when they became objects of idolatrous worship. So also the gold and silver, especially when made into idols, may represent our acceptance of evil as the supreme good, and falsity as truth. (Isa. xl. 19; Rev. ix. 20; AE 587; AR 459; AC 8932)
We remember that there was a Golden Age when love for the Lord showed men what was good, and a Silver Age when their delight was to learn and live in His ways of charity. What is the meaning of these words of lament? “How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed!” (Lam. iv. 1) And again, “Thy silver is become dross.” (Isa. i. 22) They express sadness that loving service of the Lord is no longer found, nor delight in learning and living in His ways of mutual service. (AR 913; AE 242, 887) Consider also the parable of the lost piece of silver; what is the particular spiritual treasure whose loss and recovery it describes? (Luke xv. 8-10; AE 675) And will the golden principle ever again prevail? Will men ever again be guided and rewarded in their daily life by the blessedness of doing good for the Lord’s sake? It is promised. The holy city, seen by John descending out of heaven from God, “was pure gold, like unto clear glass. . . The street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” (Rev. xxi. 18, 21; AR 912, 917; AE 1321, 1326)
Author: WILLIAM WORCESTER 1897
Nothing is more common in the Word than for the good of wisdom or of love to be signified and represented by “gold.” All the gold in the ark, in the temple, in the golden table, in the candlestick, in the vessels, and upon the garments of Aaron, signified and represented the good of wisdom or of love. So also in the Prophets, as in Ezekiel:
In thy wisdom and in thine intelligence thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver in thy treasures (Ezek. 18:4),
where it is plainly said that from wisdom and intelligence are “gold and silver” or the good and the true, for ” silver here signifies truth, as it does also in the ark and in the temple. In Isaiah:
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come, they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall show forth the praises of Jehovah (Isa. 60:6).
The wise men from the east, who came to Jesus when He was born, fell down and worshiped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:1, 11).
Here also “gold” signifies good; “frankincense and myrrh” things that are grateful because from love and faith, and which are therefore called “the praises of Jehovah.” Wherefore it is said in David:
He shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba; prayer also shall be made for him continually, and every day shall He bless him (Ps. 72:15). [AC113]
In silver. That this signifies truths, is evident from the signification of “silver,” as being truth. The most ancient people compared the goods and truths in man to metals; the inmost or the celestial goods, which are of love to the Lord, to gold; the truths which are from these, to silver; but the lower or natural goods, to copper; and the lower truths, to iron; nor did they simply compare them, but they likewise called them so. Hence periods of time were also likened to the same metals, and were called the golden, the silver, the copper, and the iron ages; for the ages followed one another in this order. The golden age was the time of the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial man; the silver age was the time of the Ancient Church, which was a spiritual man; the copper age was the time of the succeeding church; and to this succeeded the iron age. Similar things are also signified by the statue seen by Nebuchadnezzar in a dream, whose “head was of good gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron” (Dan. 2:32-33). That this was to be the series, or that the periods of the church succeeded one another in this order, is evident from the same Prophet, and in the same chapter.
 That in the internal sense of the Word, “silver,” wherever named, signifies truth, and in the opposite sense falsity, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron; I will also make thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness (Isa. 60:17);
where it is evident what each metal means. The Lord’s coming, and His celestial kingdom and church, are there treated of; “gold for brass,” is celestial good instead of natural good; “silver for iron,” is spiritual truth instead of natural truth; “brass for wood,” is natural good instead of corporeal good; “iron for stones,” is natural truth instead of sensuous truth. In the same:
Ho, everyone that thirsteth, go ye to the waters; and he that hath no silver; go ye, buy and eat (Isa. 55:1);
“he that hath no silver,” is he who is in ignorance of truth, and yet in the good of charity, like many within the church, and the nations outside the church.
 In the same:
The isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish in the beginning, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of Jehovah thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 60:9).
Here a new church, or that of the Gentiles, is treated of specifically, and the Lord’s kingdom universally; “the ships from Tarshish” denote knowledges; “silver,” truths; and “gold,” goods; for these are the things which they shall “bring to the name of Jehovah.” In Ezekiel:
Thou didst take the vessels of thine adorning of My gold and of My silver, which I had given thee, and madest for thee images of a male (Ezek. 16:17).
Here “gold” denotes the knowledges of celestial things; “silver,” those of spiritual things. In the same:
Thou wast adorned with gold and silver, and thy raiment was fine linen and silk, and broidered work (Ezek. 16:13).
This is said of Jerusalem, by which the Lord’s church is signified, and the adornment of which is thus described. Again:
Behold, thou art wise, there is no secret that they have hidden from thee; in thy wisdom and in thine intelligence thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures (Ezek. 28:3-4).
This is said of Tyre, and it is plain that here “gold” is the wealth of wisdom, and “silver” the wealth of intelligence.
 In Joel:
Ye have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My goodly desirable things (Joel 3:5).
This is said concerning Tyre, Zidon, and Philistia; by which are signified knowledges, which are “the gold and the silver” that they have carried into their temples. In Haggai:
The choice of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory; the silver is Mine and the gold is Mine; the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former (Hag. 2:7-9);
where the Lord’s church is treated of, concerning which “gold” and “silver” are predicated. In Malachi:
He shall sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and shall purify the sons of Levi (Mal. 3:3);
where the Lord’s coming is treated of. In David:
The discourses of Jehovah are pure discourses, silver smelted in a crucible of earth, smelted seven times (Ps. 12:6);
the “silver purified seven times,” denotes Divine truth. In respect to the command given to the sons of Israel, when they were to go out of Egypt:
Every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that is a guest in her house, vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and garments; and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters, and shall spoil the Egyptians (Exod. 3:22; 11:2-3; 12:35-36);
everyone can see that the sons of Israel would by no means have been told thus to steal, and to spoil the Egyptians, unless some arcana were thus to be represented; but what the arcana are may be seen from the signification of “silver,” of “gold,” and of “garments,” and of “Egypt;” and it may also be seen that much the same was there represented as is here represented by Abram, who was rich in silver and gold from Egypt.
 As “silver” signifies truth, so in the opposite sense it signifies falsity; for they who are in falsity think that falsity is truth; as is also evident in the Prophets. In Moses:
Thou shalt not covet the silver and the gold of the nations, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to Jehovah thy God; detesting thou shalt detest it (Deut. 7:25-26);
“the gold of the nations” denotes evils, and their “silver” falsities. Again:
Ye shall not make with Me gods of silver, and gods of gold shall ye not make unto you (Exod. 20:23);
by which in the internal sense nothing else is signified than falsities and cupidities; “gods of silver” are falsities; and “gods of gold” are cupidities. In Isaiah:
In that day shall they cast away every man his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin (Isa. 31:7);
“idols of silver and idols of gold,” denote similar things as before; “your own hands have made them,” means that they are from man’s Own. In Jeremiah:
They are become brutish and foolish; a teaching of vanities is that stock; silver beaten out is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the artificer and of the hands of the founder; blue and crimson are their clothing, it is all the work of the wise (Jer. 10:8-9);
denoting the like things, as is very evident. [AC1551]
Goods from God, and goods from self, may be compared to gold. Gold that is gold from the inmost, called pure gold, is good gold. Gold alloyed with silver is also gold, but is good according to the amount of the alloy. Less good still is gold that is alloyed with copper. But a gold made by art, and resembling gold only from its color, is not good at all, for there is no substance of gold in it. There is also what is gilded, such as gilded silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, and also gilded wood and gilded stone, which on the surface may appear like gold; but not being such, they are valued either according to the workmanship, the value of the gilded material, or that of the gold which can be scraped off. In goodness these differ from real gold as a garment differs from a man. Moreover rotten wood, dross, or even ordure, may be overlaid with gold; and such is the gold to which pharisaic good may be likened. [DLIFE 10]
LIFE 11. From science a man knows whether gold is good in substance, is alloyed and falsified, or is merely overlaid; but he does not know from science whether the good he does is good in itself. This only does he know: that good from God is good, and that good from man is not good. Therefore, as it concerns his salvation for him to know whether the good he does is from God, or is not from God, this must be revealed. but before this is done something shall be said about goods. [DLIFE 11]
The reason why “gold” signifies the good of love is because metals, as well as each and every thing which appears in the natural world, corresponds; gold to the good of love, silver to the truths of wisdom, copper or brass to the good of charity, and iron to the truths of faith. Thence it is that these metals exist also in the spiritual world, by reason that all things that appear there are correspondences, for they correspond to the affections and thence to the thoughts of the angels, which in themselves are spiritual. That “gold” from correspondence signifies the good of love, may appear from the following passages:
I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich (Rev. 3:18).
How is the gold become dim, and the best refined gold changed; the stones of holiness are poured out at the head of all the streets; the sons of Zion were esteemed equal to pure gold (Lam. 4:1-2).
He shall save the souls of the poor, and shall give them of the gold of Sheba (Ps. 72:13, 15).
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron; and I will make thine officers peace, and thine exacters justice (Isa. 60:17).
Behold, thou art wise, no secret lies hid from thee; in thy wisdom and in thy intelligence thou hast gotten thee gold and silver in thy treasuries; thou hast been in Eden, every precious stone was thy covering, and gold (Ezek. 28:3-4, 13).
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, all they from Sheba shall come, they shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall announce the praises of Jehovah (Isa. 60:6, 9; Matt. 2:11).
I will fill this house with glory. The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine; the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former (Hag. 2:8-9).
Kings’ daughters were among thy precious ones; upon thy right hand did stand the queen in the best gold of Ophir, her clothing was of woven gold (Ps. 45:9, 13; Ezek. 16:13).
Thou hast taken the vessels of thy ornament of My gold and of My silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of a male (Ezek. 16:17).
Ye have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My desirable goods (Joel 3:5).
 Because “gold” signifies the good of love, therefore when:
Belshazzaar with his magnates drank wine out of the vessels of gold brought from the temple of Jerusalem, and at the same time praised the gods of gold, silver, brass, and iron, there was a writing on the wall, and that night he was slain (Dan. 5:2 seq.).
Besides many other places. Since “gold” signifies the good of love, therefore:
The ark in which was the Law, was overlaid with gold within and without (Exod. 25:11).
And therefore the mercy-seat and the cherubim over the ark were of pure gold (Exod. 25:17-18).
The altar of incense was of pure gold (Exod. 30:3).
So also the lampstand with the lamps (Exod. 25:31, 38).
And the table upon which was the showbread was overlaid with gold (Exod. 25:23-24).
 Because “gold” signifies the good of love, “silver” the truth of wisdom, “brass” the good of natural love which love, is called charity, and “iron” the truth of faith, therefore the ancients called the successive periods, from the most ancient down to the last, the golden, silver, brazen, and iron ages. Similar things are signified by the statue seen by Nebuchadnezzar in a dream:
Whose head was good gold, the breast and arms silver, the belly and thighs brass, the legs iron, and the feet part of iron and part of clay (Dan. 2:32-33).
By these things the successive states of the church in this world are signified, from the most ancient times even to this day. The state of the church of this day is described thus:
Thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of man, but they shall not cohere the one with the other, as iron is not mixed with clay (Dan. 2:43).
By “iron” is signified the truth of faith, as was said; but when there is no truth of faith, but faith without truth, then “the iron is mixed with miry clay,” which do not cohere. By “the seed of man,” with which they would mingle themselves, the truth of the Word is signified. This is the state of the church at this day. What it is to be hereafter is described there in a few words (Dan. 2:45, but more fully, Dan. 7:13-18, 27). [AR913]
Ye shall not make with Me gods of silver and gods of gold. That this signifies that they should wholly abstain from such things as in the external form appear as true and good, but in the internal form are false and evil, is evident from the signification of “making gods,” as being to worship, for he who makes unto himself gods does it for the sake of worship; from the signification of “silver,” as being truth, consequently in the opposite sense, falsity; and from the signification of “gold,” as being good, and consequently in the opposite sense, evil (see n. 113, 1551, 1552, 2954, 5658, 6914, 6917, 7999). That those things are meant which appear true and good in the external form, but in the internal are false and evil, is because it is said, “Ye shall not make them with Me,” that is, with Jehovah God; for Divine truth itself and Divine good itself are in internals and are likewise in externals; but in externals Divine truth and good are in representative types; for external things in a type have reference to and represent internal things. External things are false and evil whenever, being separate from internal things, they are accounted holy or are worshiped; and yet they still appear as true and good, because they represent what is true and good. These things are signified by “making with Jehovah God gods of silver and gods of gold.”
 This commandment follows immediately after the ten commandments, for the reason that the Israelitish and Jewish people was such that it accounted holy, and worshiped altogether as Divine, external things separated from internal (n. 3479, 3769, 4281, 4293, 4307, 4314, 4316, 4433, 4680, 4825, 4832, 4844, 4847, 4865, 4903, 6304, 6832, 8814, 8819). That it may be further known what and of what quality are those things which in the external form appear as true and good, but in the internal are false and evil, let us take as an example all the rites of the Jewish Church; as the sacrifices, incenses, washings, and many others. In the external form these were true and good, not of themselves, but because in a type they had reference to or represented internal truths and goods, which are of love and faith in the Lord. When such things were accounted holy in the external form, and especially when they were worshiped, as by the Jews and Israelites when becoming idolaters they applied them to the worship of strange gods, they then retained nothing of the truths and goods which in a type they had reference to or represented, except the appearance, because in the internal form they were falsities and evils.
 The case was similar with all the other things which with that people were types representative of heavenly and Divine things. For as soon as the external things which represented internal things were applied to the worship of other gods, they became idols which they worshiped, or gods of silver and of gold which they made with Jehovah God; for then in external form they appeared as true and good, but in the internal they were false and evil.
 In general “gods of silver and of gold” denote all the falsities and derivative evils of worship, which are rendered like truth and good by wrong applications and interpretations of the Word, and at the same time by reasonings from self-intelligence. Such things are signified by “the gods of silver and of gold” in the following passages. In Isaiah:
In that day a man shall cast forth his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made for themselves to bow down to, to the moles and to the bats; to enter into the clefts of the rocks, and into the clefts of the crags (Isa. 2:20, 21).
“Moles and bats” denote those who are in darkness, that is, in falsities and in the derivative evils.
 Again in Isaiah:
In that day they shall cast away every man his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your hands have made for you, a sin (Isa. 31:7).
“Which the hands have made” denotes those things which are from self-intelligence. Again:
The craftsman casteth a graven image, and the caster overlayeth it with gold, and casteth silver chains (Isa. 40:19).
“Graven images” denote those things which are from one’s own (see n. 8869); “to overlay with gold” denotes to make them appear good in the external form; “casting silver chains,” denotes to make them cohere together as if connected with truths. (That “gold” denotes good, and “silver” truth, may be seen in the passages cited above.)
 In like manner in Jeremiah:
The statutes of the nations are vanity: surely he cutteth out wood from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman. He decketh it with gold and with silver; they fasten them with nails and with hammers, that it sway not to and fro (Jer. 10:3, 4).
The Ephraimites sin more and more, and make them a molten image of silver, idols in their intelligence, all the work of the craftsmen (Hos. 13:2).
“Ephraim” denotes the intellectual of the church (n. 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267); “a molten image of silver” denotes falsity appearing as truth, wherefore it is said “in their intelligence”; “all the work of the craftsmen” denotes that all was through reasonings from their own.
 In Habakkuk:
Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, This shall teach. Behold this is fixed with gold and silver, but there is no breath in the midst of it (Hab. 2:19).
“Wood” denotes evil; “stone” falsity; “fixed with gold and silver” denotes the appearance of good and truth by means of applications. In Daniel:
Belshazzar said while he well tasted the wine, that they should bring the vessels of gold and of silver which his father Nebuchadnezzar had brought out of the temple that was in Jerusalem; that the king and his great ones, his wives and his concubines, might drink therefrom. And they drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, of stone (Dan. 5:2-4, 23).
“The vessels of gold and of silver, which were from the temple of Jerusalem,” represented the goods and truths of the church and kingdom of the Lord; “to drink wine out of them” signified to profane by means of evils and falsities, which are “the gods of gold and of silver.”
 In David:
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of a man’s hands. They have a mouth, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not (Ps. 115:4, 5; 135:15-16).
“The silver and gold which are idols” denote falsities and evils; “the work of a man’s hands” denote that they are from self-intelligence. In Moses:
The graven images of the gods of the nations shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not covet the silver and the gold that is on them, to take it unto thee, for that is an abomination to Jehovah thy God; therefore thou shalt not bring an abomination into thy house, that there become what is accursed, like unto it, thou shalt utterly abhor it (Deut. 7:25-26).
“The silver and gold upon graven images” denote the falsities and evils which are worshiped as truths and goods by reason of the appearance that is induced on them. [AC8932]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)