Isaiah 15

1 THE burden of Moab. Surely in the night Ar is laid waste: Moab is cut off! surely in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and cut off!

Verse 1. The burden. of Moab, &c.-[As “Babylon” signifies the church as was shewn above, when its members are chielly situated by the love of power and dominion, by employing the holy things of the Word and of the church for this purpose, aud thus profaning them, as ” Moab” signifies those members of the church who are in merely natural or external good, without a spiritual principle. Such members, or such Moabites, are always numerous in the church, and the Judgment upon them is of the greatest moment to all who desire to escape from their condemnation. In the following Exposition, Swedenborg clearly shews the nature of the Moabites in the church, and thus opens the various prophecies respecting Moab, which are otherwise, as is indeed confessed by nearly all commentators, most obscure.]

The nature and quality of that religious principle which is signified by “Moab” and the “sons of Ammon,” may appear from their origin, which is described in Gen. xix., and also from several passages both in the historical and prophetical parts of the Word where they are named. They in general denote those who are principled in external worship, which appears in some respects holy, but not in internal “worship, and they who eagerly embrace as Good and True whatever relates to external worship, but reject and despise what relates to internal worship. Such worship, and such a religious principle, takes especial root in those who are principled in natural good, but who despise others in comparison with themselves. Persons of this complexion are not unlike fruits, whose external form is not unpleasing to the sight, but which are inwardly musty or decayed; they are also not unlike marble vases, which contain things impure, and sometimes things filthy; or they are not unlike women, who as to the face, and body, and gestures, are not unhandsome, but who are inwardly diseased, and full of defilements: for there is a common or general good appertaining to such persons, which appears not altogether void of beauty, but the particulars which enter into the composition thereof, are filthy and abominable, This is not indeed the case in the beginning, but by successive degrees, inasmuch as they suffer themselves easily to be tainted with any principles whatsoever which are called good, and thereby with all sorts of false persuasions, which they conceive to be true in consequence of confirming them, and this because they despise the interior things of worship, and all because they are principled in self-love. Such persons have their existence and derivation from those who are in external worship only, and who are represented by “Lot” in this chapter, (Gen. xix.) and this when the good of truth is desolated.
They are described in the Word, as well as to their nature and quality in the beginning, when their good is not as yet so much defiled, as afterwards when it is defiled, and when they reject the interior things of worship and of doctrine. Their nature and quality in the beginning, when their good is not, as yet, so much defiled, is thus described in Daniel :-“In the time of the end the king of the south shall strive with him; and the king of the north shall rush upon him, with chariot, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall come into the lands, and shall overflow, and pass over; and shall come into the land of honourableness, and many shall fall together: these shall be snatched out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the first-fruits of the sons of Ammon.” (xi. 40, 4].) The “king of the south” denotes those who are principled in goodnesses and truths; the “king of the north,” those who are principled In evils and falses; “the king of the north, with chariot,- with horsemen, with ships, coming into the lands, overflowing and passing over;” denotes that evils and falses, signified by “chariots, horsemen, and ships,” would prevail; “Edom, Moab and the first-fruits of the sons of Ammon, to be snatched out of his hand,” denote those who are principled in such good not as yet so much defiled with falses, wherefore they are called “the first-fruits of the sons of Ammon.” So in Moses-“We passed by the war of the wilderness; and Jehovah said unto Moses., Do not straiten Moab, nor mix thyself with them in war, because I will not give thee inheritance of his land, for I have gIven Ar for an inheritance to the sons of Lot;” (Deut. ii. 8, 9.) and concerning the sons of Ammon-“Jehovah spake to Moses, Thou art to pass Ar this day, the border of Moab;: and shalt come nigh over against the sons of Ammon: neither straiten them, nor mix thyself with them, because I will not give thee inheritance of the land of the sons of Ammon, for I have given it for an inheritance to the sons of Lot:” (Deut. ii. 18, 18.) “Ar” denotes good of such a quality; “Moab and the sons of Ammon.” denote those who are principled in such good, but in the beginning, wherefore it is commanded that, “they should not be straitened.” Hence, it is that “Moab drove out the Emims and Rephaims, who were as the Enakims, and that the sons of Ammon drove out also the Rephaims, whom they called Zamzummims.” (Deut. ii. 10, 11, 20, 21.) By the” Emims, Rephaims, Enakims, and Zamzummims,” are signified those who were tainted with persuasions of evil and the falses see n. 581, 1673; by “Moab and the sons of Ammon are here signified those who were not as yet so much tainted with such persuasions; but these also, when they became tainted, that is, when their good was defiled with falses, were likewise driven out. (See Numbers xxi. 21-31; Ezek. xxv. 8–15.)
Their nature and quality, when their good is defiled, are thus described in Jeremiah:-“Thus saith Jehovah to Moab: Woe upon Nebo! because it is vastated: Kiriathaim is ashamed, is taken; Misgab is ashamed and dismayed; the praise of Moab is no more. Give a wing to Moab, because in flying he shall flyaway; and his cities shall be a desolation, none shall dwell in them. Leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, ye inhabitants of Moab; and be as a dove, she maketh her nest in the passages of the mouth of the pit, I know, saith Jehovah, his anger; and he is not firm; his false principles, they have not done what is right. Therefore I will howl over Moab, and will cry for all Moab. From the weeping of Jazer I will weep for thee, thou vine of Sibmah; thy young shoots have passed the sea, they have reached even to the sea of Jazer: the waster hath fallen on thy summer fruits, and on thy vintage. Therefore My heart is moved upon Moab, like pipes. Woe to thee, Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken into captivity, and thy daughters into captivity. And l will bring back the captivity of Moab in the latter days.” (xlviii. 1, 9, 28, 30, 31, 32, 36, 46, 47.)
The subject treated of in this chapter throughout is concerning Moab, and by him concerning those who are principled in such good, how they suffer themselves to be tainted with false principles; wherefore it is said-“Give a wing to Moab, that he may flyaway,” and that “his cities shall be for a desolation,” but that “they should leave the cities, and should dwell in the rock, and as a dove should make their nest in the passages of the mouth of the pit,” and several things, besides, whereby they are admonished to remain in their common goodnesses and truths; and if in such case they should be seduced by false principles arising from ignorance, they should be brought back from captivity in the latter days. ” But of those who do not follow such admonition, it is said-” I will howl over Moab, and I will cry to all Moab; and My heart is moved over Moab.” The false principles wherewith they are tainted, are signified by Nebo, Kiriathaim, Misgab, Sibmah, Jazer, Chemosh, aud several other names which occur in that chapter.
But what their nature and quality become, when their good is altogether defiled by false principles, is thus described in David:-” God spake in His holiness: Gilead is Mine, and Manasses is Mine; and Ephraim is the strength of My head; Judah is My lawgiver; Moab washpot;” (Psalrn lx. 7, 8.) in like manner in Psalm cviii.7-9; where “washpot ” denotes good defiled with false principles. ” So in Jeremiah-“The praise of Moab is no more: in Heshbon they have devised evil upon him; go, let us cut him off from a nation. Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and hath rested in its dregs, neither was he emptied from vessel to vessel, and hath not gone away into captivity; therefore his taste stood in him; and his scent was not changed. On all the house-tops of Moab shall be weeping altogether; because I have broken Moab as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.” (xlviii. 2, l l, 38.) The false principles wherewith the good, which is Moab, is defiled, are here called “dregs,” in which stands “taste and scent,” if he is not, reformed, which reformation is here signified by being “emptied from vessel to vessel;” the good itself is called “a vessel “Therein is no pleasure,” as in David it is called “washpot.” So in Isaiah-” The hand of Jehovah resteth in this mountain, and Moab shall be threshed under it, as straw is trodden down in the dunghill.” (xxv. 10.) A. C. 2468.
Surely in the night Ar is laid waste, &c.-“Night,” in the Word, signifies what is false from evil, for those who are in the false from evil are in the darkness of night; hence it is that all who are in hell, are said to be “in the night.” In hell there is indeed a kind of light or lumen, in which they see each other, but that light is as the lumen proceeding from a coal-fire, which is turned into darkness, and into thick darkness when heavenly light [luxJ flows into it. Hence it is that they who are in hell are said to be “in the night,” aud are called “angels of night and of dai’kness,” and, on the contrary, they who are in heaven are called “angels of light and of the day.” That “night” denotes what is obscure and also what is false, may be manifest from many passages of the Word:-“Jesus said, Are there not twelve hours of the day? If anyone walk in the day, he stumbleth not; but if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” (John xi. 9, 10.) “Twelve hours” denote all the states of Truth; to “walk in the day” denotes to live in the Truth; to “walk in the night,” to live in the false. A.C.6000. See also below, Chap. xxi. 11, 12, Exposition.

2 He goeth up to Bajith and to Dibon, to the high places, to weep: over Nebo, and over Medeba, shall Moab howl : on all heads there is baldness; every beard is cut off.

Verses 2, 3. On all the heads of Moab there is baldness; every beard is cut off. In her streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth, &c. By “Moab” are signified those who are in natural good [that is, good in which there is nothing spiritual], and who adulterate the goods of the church; that they have no understanding of Truth, nor science or knowledge of Truth, is signified by “baldness on all the heads of Moab, and every beard cut off,” likewise by “howling and mourning on the house-tops, and in the streets;” “incisions upon all hands,” (as in Jeremiah xlviii. 37.) signify things falsified; mourning on account thereof is signified by “girding on sackcloth,” likewise by “howling
and flowing down with weeping.” A. E. 637.
In this passage, and in others, by “cutting off the hair of the head, and of the beard,” and inducing” baldness,” is signified to deprive of all Good and Truth, inasmuch as he who is deprived of the ultimates, is also deprived of the things prior; for prior things exist and subsist in ultimates, as was said above. In the world of spirits also there appear those who are bald, and I was instructed that they are those who were abusers of the Word, and had applied the sense of the letter, which is Divine Truth in the ultimates, to wicked purposes and had thence become deprived of all Truth; they are also most malicious; many are from the Babylonish [Romish] people: but on the contrary the angels appear with becoming hair. A. E. 66.
As to the “hair” and” beard,” see above, Chap. vii. 20, Exposition.
From this we can see the reason why the boys who called the prophet “Bald-head” were cursed, (2 Kings ii. 23-25.) for thereby was represented the mockery and profanation of the Word, A. E. 781.

3 In her streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on her house-tops, and in her streets, everyone shall howl; he shall flow down with weeping.

Verse 3. In her streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth, &c. –Speaking of the city “Ar,” in the land of Moab, whereby is signified the doctrine of those who are in truths from the natural man; grief over the falses of their doctrine, from the first to the last, is signified by “girding on sackcloth,” and by “howling in the streets, and on the house-tops;” “house-tops” denoting things interior, and “streets” things exterior with them. A. E. 652.
They shall gird themseloes with sackcloth, &c.-To “put sackcloth on the loins” signifies lamentation on account of good destroyed, for this was a representative of good destroyed. The “loins” signify conjugial love, and hence all celestial and spiritual love, n. 3021; and this from correspondence, for as all the organs, members, and viscera of the human body correspond to the Grand Man (as shewn at the end of the chapters on Genesis), thus “loins” correspond to those in the Grand Man, or heaven, who have been in genuine conjugial love. And because conjugial love is the fundamental of all loves, therefore by the “loins” in general is signified every kind of celestial and spiritual love; hence the ritual custom of “placing sackcloth on the loins” when they larnented over good destroyed, for all good is of love. That they “put sackcloth on their loins” when they testified that lamentation, is evident from the historical as well as from the prophetical parts of the Word, as in Amos viii. 10; Jonah iii. 5, 0, 8; 2 Kings xix. 1; and in Isaiah xv. 2, 3; in which passage “Moab” signifies those who adulterate goods, as may be seen in n. 2468; lamentation over the adulteration which is signified by “Moab,” is descnbed by such tlnngs as correspond to evil of that kind, wherefore similar things are said concerning Moab in Jer. xlviii. 37. A. C. 4779.
[This lamentation is further described by ” howling,” by ‘” flowing down with weeping,” and by “crying out aloud,” &c. For when judgment is executed upon those in the church who, in this instance, are represented by Moab, as is the case after death in the world of spirits, their anguish of soul is signified by “howling, lamentation, and weeping,” &c. To adulterate the goods of the Word and of the church, is to assume in the external form a profession of religion and of what is good from the Word, as justice, sincerity, purity, humility, charity, &c., whilst in the heart or the internal nothing but selfish motives and evils prevail, and consequently nothing of love to the Lord and the neighbour exists. Verily, there are many Moabites in the church! (See above, Chap. xi. 14, Exposition.) Thus hypocrisy, or the assumption of what is good in the external, whilst the internal, or “the inside of the cup and the platter is full of defilement,” (Matt. xxiii. 25.) is the aggregate of adulterated good.]

4 And Heshbon and Elealeh shall, cry out aloud; unto Jahaz is their voice heard: wherefore the armed of Moab shall cry out; his soul shall be grievous unto him.

Verses 4, 5, 8. Heshbon and Elealah shall cry out aloud; unto Jahaz is their voice heard, &c.-From the signification of an “outcry” is the common expression of “crying un to God,” when the mind is in a state of grief, as in Isaiah xix. 20; xxx. 19; lxv. 19; Jer. xiv. 2; and elsewhere. Concerning the further significations of the word “outcry” [clamor], as predicated of various affections, such as of interior lamentation, of imploration, and supplication from anguish, of contesting, and indignation, of confession, &c., see what is said in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 2240, 2821. A. E. 393. See also above, respecting an “outcry,” Chap. V. 7, Exposition.

5 My heart crieth out over Moab; her fugitives, [flee] to Zoar, [like a lowing] heifer of three years; yea, the ascent of Luhith with weeping shall they ascend yea, in the way of Horonaim they raise an outcry of destruction.

Verse 5. Her fugitives [flee] to Zoar, &c.-Zoar was a city not far from Sodom, whither Lot [the father of Moab] fled, when delivered by angels from the burning of Sodom. (See Gen. xix. 20, 22, 30.) Zoar is also mentioned in Gen. xiv. 2; Deut. xxxiv. 3; Isa. xv. 5 ; Jere xlviii. 34. The term ” Zoar,” in Hebrew, signifies little or small; and it denotes affection, either the affection of good, or, in the opposite sense, the afjection of evil. Those who are in the affection of Truth have little of Truth because little of Good, as compared with those who are in the affection of Good. (See A. C. 2429.) A. C. 1589-2439.
[Hence the “fugitives to Zoar ” would signify those of Moab who, at the time of Judgment, have some little affection of Truth, and who are consequently saved, as Lot was saved from the destruction of Sodom by fleeing to Zoar. These “fugitives” may be called the “remains of Moab.]
An heifer of three years.-That “three years” involve all things of the church as to times and states, is evident from the signification of the number “three” in the Word ; for “three” signifies a full time [or state] of the church from its origin to its end, thus its entire state. The last time of the Church is therefore signified by the the “third day,” the “third week,” the “third month,” the “third year,” and the “third century” [or age], which are the same [in the spiritual sense]. As the states of the church are signified by the number “three,” thus also are the states of everyone who is a church, yea, of everything which is of the church, as is evident from the signification of that number as explained from differerent passages of the Word, (See A. C. 720, 901.) That “an heifer of three years” thus signifies the time or state of the church to its last or end, namely, when it is devastated or desolated, may be evident from Isaiah-“My heart crieth out over Moab: her fugitives flee to Zoar, [like a lowing] heifer of three years,” &c. ; (xv. 5.) and also in Jer. xlviii. 33, 34. No one could ever understand what these things mean, unless he knew what is signified by “Moab,” by ” oar,” by “the ascent of Luhith,” by” the outcry of Heshbon and Elealeh,” by “Jahaz,” ‘by “Horonaim,” by “the waters of Nimrim,” and by “an heifer of three years.” That all these things, and what is said of them, signify the ultimate devastation [of those in the church signified by Moab] is evident. A. C. 1825.

6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolations: for the grass is dried up; the herb is consumed; there is no green [thing].

Verses 6, 9. The waters of Nimrim shall be desolations; yea, the waters of Dimon are full of blood, &c.-From this passage it appears what “blood” signifies in the opposite sense, for ” blood,” in the genuine sense, signifies the Divine Truth, and with the recipients
thereof Truth from Good; hence, in an opposite sense, it signifies violence done to the Divine Truth, and with those who do it, the false from evil. This opposite signification may appear from this circumstance, that it is predicated of “the waters of the sea, of the rivers, and of the fountains,” that they are turned into blood, for “waters” signify truths; wherefore by “blood” are here signified falses which destroy truths. A. E. 329.
Verse 6. The grass is dried up, the herb is consumed, there is no green [thing].-That hereby is signified scientific truth appears from the signification of “grass” as denoting the scientific principle; and from the signification of “green” as denoting what is true and
living from Truth; because, as green grass serves for food to animals, so scientific truth serves for spiritual nourishment to men; for what is produced in fields, in gardens, and in plains, and serves for nourishment either to man or beast, has a correspondence with such
things as serve for the nourishment of the spirit and mind, which is called spiritual nourishment. By scientific truth is meant everything scientific by which spiritual truth is confirmed, and which has life from spiritual good. A. E. 507.
By what is “green” is signified the sensitive principle of Truth, because by “herb,” “glass” and the “foliage” of trees, are signified truths [of various kinds]; hence it is that by the “green” of these things is signified the sensitive principle of Truth, by which is meant the principle of perception. This sensitive principle of Truth is also signified in Isaiah xv. 6-“The grass is dried up, there is no green thing, A. C. 7691.
[When, therefore, it is said of Moab.-that the “grass is dried up, the herb is consumed, and that there is no green thing,” the entire destitution of all know!edge and truth, as having a spiritual and living principle within it, is thereby represented.]

7 Wherefore the abundance which they have made, and what they have laid up, shall they carry over the brook of the willows.
8 For the outcry encompasseth the border of Moab: to Eglaim reacheth her howling; and to Beer-elim her howling.

Verse. 7. And what they have laid up, shall they carryover the brook of the willows.-The “willows of the brook” signify the lowest goods and truths of the natural man which appertain to the external sensual principles, This will appear from the following passage. Inasmuch as by “the feast of tabernacles” was signified the implantation of good by truths, therefore it was commanded that they should, on the occasion of that feast, “take the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and the willows of the brook; and that they should rejoice before the Lord seven days.” (Lev.. xxiii. 40.) By “the fruit of the goodly trees” is signified celestial good; by “the branches of palm-trees,” spiritual good, or the Good of Truth; by “the branches of the thick trees,” scientific Truth with its Good; and by “the willows of the brook,” the lowest good and truths of the natural man which are of his external sensual principles. Thus by these four kinds of “trees” are signified all goods and truths from first principles to last with man. A. E. 458.
[Hence when it is said of Moab that, at the period of judgment, they shall carry their abundance, or their riches, and what they have laid up, to the brook of the willows,” is signified that the treasures of knowledge which they have “laid up” in their memory from the Word, willl be found to be only in the lowest sensual principles of their minds, denoted by “the brook of the willows.” Similar things are denoted by the Jews, when in captivity, “hanging their harps on the willows,” (Psalm cxxxvii. 2.) to signify that the affections of what is true and good, represented by the “harp,” had become merely sensual.]

9 Yea, the waters of Dimon are full of blood: yet will I bring additional [evils] upon Dimon; -a lion upon the escaped of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.

Verse 9. The waters of Dimon are full of blood.-That “blood” in a good sense signifies what is holy, and in the opposite sense, as in this passage, what is profane, see above, Chap. iv. 4, Exposition.

Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]