1 THE burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art gone up to the house-tops?
VERSE 1: The “valley of vision” denotes phantasies and reasonings whereby worship is falsified and at length profaned. In Hebrew, or in the original tongue, different terms are used to express a “valley,” which are significative in the spiritual sense of what is more or less profane in worship, as in Isaiah:-” For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity, from the Lord Jehovih of Hosts, in the valley of vision;” (xxii. 1, 5.) where the “valley of vision,” as said above, denotes phantasies and reasonings by which worship is falsified and at length profaned. So in Jeremiah :-“How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not walked after Baalim? see thy way in the valley;” (ii. 23.) where the “valley” denotes unclean worship, Again, in the same prophet:-“They have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom. Therefore, behold, the days come, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter.” (vii. 31, 32; xix, 6.) The “valley of Hinnom ” denotes hell, and also the profanation of Truth and Goodness. (See also Ezek.vi. 3; xxxix. 11, 15.) The term for “valley” in the above places is (gai). But when worship is not as yet become so profane, the term for a “valley” is (bikoh), as in Isaiah-“I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water;” (xli. 18.) speaking of those who are in ignorance, or who are not instructed in the knowledges of faith and charity, but who nevertheless are principled in charity. A. C. 1292.
Verses 1-6. The valley of vision, &c.-The external man and his phantasies are here treated of. The “valley of vision” is phantasy, for the external man [separate from the internal] is in such a valley; concerning whom, when they are said to “ascend upon the roofs or house-tops,” is signified the thought thence arising. Their houses had [flat] roofs, which represented lofty things [excelsa]. It is called “a city of tumults,” or a noisy city, for they are tumultuous, or make a noise like people insane, when the thoughts are not governed by heavenly influences. It is said to be ”joyous,” because such persons ‘have only a sensation of external or bodily pleasures. They are said to be “slain, or stabbed, but not by the sword,” when there is no truth, wherefore they are spiritually slain; “nor slain in battle,” because they have no [spiritual] temptation in which they can fall; for he who falls in temptation is said to be “slain in battle.” “Thy rulers have fled together;” “rulers” are truths which should rule. All truths have relation to faith, and by faith to the Lord, thus to His kingdom. “All these rulers-flee together,” because there is no truth in such minds. The angels of the Lord are said, to be “bound and flee away,” when they cannot operate in such minds; not that angels are bound or flee away, but the minds of of men are in such a state as to prevent their operation. “I will weep bitterly,” &c.; it is the Truth which here laments, and, in the inmost sense, the Lord is represented, who wept over Jerusalem; for “the daughter of My people” is the representative church which was with the Jews, but in a state of vastation. “A day of trouble,” &c.; the day of judgment is hereby indicated; “a day of treading down, that is, a day of devastation and of “perplexity;” because in the “valley of vision” they have no counsel, for the entire mind is absorbed by phantasy. “Breaking down the walls;” for the “city” is the intelIectual mind, and, in the internal sense, faith; the “wall” is then destroyed when the “city” is laid waste, for the “wall” is the truth of the literal sense of the Word, which is destroyed ,when faith does not exist. (A. E. 1307.) “Crying to the mountains,” is, that they may be heard by the Lord. “Elam beareth the quiver, with chariots, &c:,see above; Chap, xxi. 2, respecting ” Elam;” and in verse 5, what is meant by the “shield.” (Swedenborg’ s Notes on Isaiah, p. 54.)
2 O thou that wast full of commotions, the noisy city, the joyous city! thy slain were not slain by the sword, neither did they die in battle.
3 All thy rulers have fled together; by reason of the bow they are bound: all that were found in thee are bound together, they have fled far away.
4 Wherefore I said, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly: strive not to comfort me for the desolation of the daughter of my people;
5 For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity, from the Lord Jehovih of Hosts in the valley of vision: breaking down the wall, and crying to the mountain.
6 And Elam beareth the quiver; with chariots of men, and with horsemen; and Kir uncovereth the shield.
Verses 2, 3. The noisy city, the joyous city; thy slain were not slain by the sword, neither did they die in battle, &c.-Speaking of the fallacies from sensual things [the valley of visions, by which the truths of the church cannot be seen. Those who are in these fallacies, and thus in negative doubts, are said to be “stabbed, or slain, but not by the sword.” A. C. 4503. See also above, Chap. xiv. 9, Exposition.
7 And the choice of thy valleys shall be filled with chariots; and the horsemen have set themselves in array towards the gate.
Verses 7, 8. The choice of thy valleys shall be filled with chariots, and the horsemen have set themselves in array, &c.-In this passage also the destruction of the church is treated of; and by “gates are here signified introductory truths, which are destroyed. Those truths are called the “covering of Judah,” because by “Judah” is signified celestial love; as may be seen above, n. 119; and those truths cover and protect that love. A. E. 208.
8 And he shall uncover the covering of Judah: and thou [O Judah] shalt look in that day towards the arsenal of the house of the forest.
Verse 8. The arsenal of the house of the forest.-A “forest signifies the sensual man who is in mere fallacies and thence in falses; hence a “forest” [in a bad sense] signifies what is merely natural, also the external natural man as to all things there. A. E. 388, 403, 405.
9 And the breaches of the city of David, ye shall see that they are many; and ye shall collect the waters of the lower fish-pool.
Verse 9. “Breaches,” or ruptures, signify the. infraction and perversion of Truth by separating it from Good, as is evident from many passages in the Word, as in Isaiah. xxii. 9. “The breaches of the city of David signify falses of doctrIne. “The waters of the lower fish-pool which they gathered together, signify the traditions by which they made breaches or infractions upon the truths of the Word and thus perverted them. A. C. 4926. See also 9163.
Verses 9, 10. And the breaches of the city of David, ye shall see that they are many; and ye shall collect the waters of the lower pool. And the houses of Jerusalem ye shall number, that ye might break down the houses to fortify the wall.-Bu the “City of David” is understood the church as to truths of doctrine; and by the breaches thereof are signified falses breaking in. By “collecting the waters of the lower fish-pool,” is signified to collect many things from the literal sense of the Word, and from the natural man; the “fish-pools” in Jerusalem signified truths, such as are in the exterior and interior senses of the Word; the “waters of the higher fish-pool” such truths as are in the interior sense of the Word, and the “waters of the lower fish-pool” such as are in the exterior sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter; for “waters” denote truths, and the “fishpools” in Jerusalem signify the same as the “lakes” and the “seas” without Jerusalem, viz., the collection of them. By “numbering the houses of Jerusalem” is signified to falsify the goods of truth; for the “houses of Jerusalem” signify the goods of truth appertaining to the church, and to “number” here signifies to apprehend them from a sinister view and evil arrangement, which is to interpret falsely, or to falsify them. “That ye might break down the houses to fortify the wall,” signifies to destroy those goods, in order to build up a doctrine consisting of mere falses ; a “wall” denoting the truth of doctrine defending,-in the present case, falsified, because destitute of good. From these observations it may appear what is signified by numbering “days,” “steps,” and “hairs” in the following passages, as, in David:-“So teach us to number our days.” (Psalm xc. 1.) In Job:-“Are not our steps numbered! ” (xiv. 16.) and again-“Doth He not see my ways, and number all my steps?” (xxxi. 4.) In Luke :-“The hairs of your head are all numhered:” (xii. 7.)where, to “number,” signifies to know the quality from the least to the greatest, and according there to to arrange and dispose, that is, to provide. What is signified in particular by “days,” “steps,” and “hairs,” has been shewn elsewhere. A. E. 453.
10 And the houses of Jerusalem ye have numbered, that ye might break down the houses to fortify the wall.
Verse 10. Ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, &c.-[To “number the houses of Jerusalem” has a similar signification here to that involved in David’s “numbering the people of Israel and Judah.” (2 Sam. xxiv, 1, and following verses.) Not that the numberinq itself was a sin, but because the “numbering of the sons of Israel” by David signified the ordination and arrangement of all things of faith and of love from self, and not from the Lord. This great sin, which is to take all power out of the Lord’s hands, as the Babylonians do, and consequently to assume the authority of opening and shutting heaven, was represented by this act of David; hence the severe punishment which followed. See A. C. 10,218.]
11 And ye shall make a reservoir between the two walls to [receive] the waters of the old fish-pool: but ye have not looked to Him that hath made this; and Him that formed it of old ye regard not.
Verse 11. But ye have not looked to Him that hath made this; and Him that formed it of old ye regard not.-This is not to acknowledge, still less to have faith [in the Lord]. A. C. 897.
12 And the Lord Jehovih of Hosts shall call in that day to weeping, and to lamentation, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
13 And, behold, joy and gladness, slaying of oxen, and killing of sheep : eating of flesh, and drinking of wine: [saying] Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.
Verses 12, 13. The devastation of the church, and lamentation over it, is signified by being “called in that day to weeping, wailing, and putting on of sackcloth;” lamentation for the destruction of truth is signified by “weeping;” of good, by'” wailing ;” of all the affection of good and all the affection of truth, by “sackcloth.” By_”slaying oxen and killing sheep” is signified to extinguish natural good and spiritual good; by “eating flesh and drinking wine” is signified to appropriate what is evil and false; “flesh,” in this place, denoting evil, and “wine” the false of evil; and to “eat and drink” thereof signifies to appropriate them. A. E. 617.
14 And the [voice] of Jehovah of Hosts was revealed to mine ears: Surely, this your iniquity shall not be expiated till ye die, saith the Lord Jehovih of Hosts.
15 Thus saith the Lord Jehovih of Hosts, Go, enter in to this treasurer, unto Shebna, who is over the household [and, say unto him],
Verses 14, 15. Jehovih of Hosts.-See above, Chap. xiii. 15, Exposition; also note.
16 What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewn out here a sepulchre for thyself, O thou that hewest out thy sepulchre on high, that gravest in the rock a habitation for thyself?
Verse 16. Thou that newest out thy sepulchre on high, that gravest in the rock a habitation for thyself.-The subject treated of in this chapter is concerning “the valley of vision,” by which is signified the false of doctrine confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word. The love of the false is signified by “the sepulchre on high,” and the faith of the false by “dwelling in the rock;” their making such things for themselves is signified by “hewing out and graving them for themselves.” A.E. 411.
As to what is signified by a “rock,” in a good sense, see above, Chap. 1, Exposition.
17 Behold, Jehovah will cast thee out, O man, violently; and will surely cover thee [with shame].
18 He will whirl thee round and round, and. cast thee away, like a ball, into a wide country: there shalt thou die; and there shall the chariots of thy glory become the shame of thy Lord’s house.
19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy place pull thee down.
20 And in that day I will call My servant, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
Verses 17 20. Jehovah will cast thee out, O man, &c.-[These words are said of “Shebna the treasurer,” &c., who signifies the church in possession of the Word and the treasures of knowledge of what is Good and True, and likewise of every individual of the church who is in the same possession, but who applies these knowledges to the aggrandizement of himself, signified by “hewing out on high a sepulchre, and by graving a habitation in the rock for himself.” The punishment of such a life and state is signified by being, at the time of judgment, “violently cast out, and whirled round and round like a ball, by aviolent, tempest.” (See above, p. 196, as to “winds and storms” in the spiritual world.) In this case, “the chariots of glory;” which are the doctrinals in which such minds boast and glory, are turned eventually into shame and contempt. That to “hew’ out a sepulchre for himself” is the Love of the false and of self-aggrandizement may be seen above, Chap. xiv, 19, 20, Exposition. “Eliakim,” who was to succeed “Shebna,” signifies those who make a proper use of the treasures of knowledge from the Word, by ackowledging the Lord in His-Humanity as the nail or peg upon which everything in heaven and the church depends.]
21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and with thy girdle will I strengthen him: and thy government will I give into his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
22And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
Verses 21, 22. Thy government will I give into his hand; and he shal be a-father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, &c;-By “the house of the king,” over which he was to be, is signified the church which is in Truth grounded in Good from the Lord. By “opening and shutting, and by “binding and loosing,” is understood in general to save, as may be seen above, n. 86. A. E. 200.
Verse 22. And I will lay the Key of the house of David upon his shoulder;.&c.–By·.”David” is understood the Lord as to Divine Truth; by the “Key” is signified the Omnipotence of the Lord over heaven and by “opening that no one can shut, and shutting that no one can open,” is signified to lead forth out of hell, and introduce into heaven, consequently to save, in like manner as above, 11. 62, where it is explained. That by “David ” is meant the Lord as, to Divine Truth, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Lord, n. 43, 44. The same which is here signified by the “Key of David,” is also signified by the “Keys of Peter;” (Matt. xvi. 15-19.) which may be seen explained above, Chap. xvi. 1, Exposition; as also by these words to all the disciples–” Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed In heaven;” (Matt. xviii. 18.) for the “twelve disciples” represented all things appertaining to the church with respect to its goods and truths, and “Peter” represented it as to truth; and Truths and Goods save man, consequently the Lord alone, from whom they are derived. The same is also signified by the “Key of David” which was gIven to Eliakim, concerning which it is thus written :-“I will give the government into his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And I will lay the Key of the house of David upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” (Isaiah xxii. 21, 22) He was over the King’s house, and by the “King’s house is signified the church as to divine Truth. That in these passages a “Key” signifies power, is evident; and that this power belongs to the Lord alone. Hence it is evident what the quality of those is who are in the external sense of the Word separate from the internal, namely, that they can have no conjunction with heaven, thus no conjunction with the Lord; like those who explain the words of the Lord concerning the “keys” given to Peter, and to the disciples, according to the letter. By which explanation they arrogate to themselves the power of saving the human race, and make themselves the gods of heaven and earth; and tbis from the insane love of self and of the world. Whoever thinks from sound reason can see and understand that no man can absolve or remit a single sin, because sin is not remitted or absolved but by the formation of a new life, that is, by regeneration from the Lord. A. R. 174; also A. C. 9410.
23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a firm place; and he shall become a throne of glory to his father’s house.
Verses 23, 24. “Nails” and” pegs” denote the conjoining and securing; the reason is, because their use is to conjoin and secure, as may be seen from Isaiah xxii. 23, 24; liv. 2.
Again—“Look unto Zion: let thine eyes see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation; its nails shall not be removed for ever, and none of its ropes shall be plucked away; (Isa. xxxii. 20.) where “walls” and “ropes” in like manner denote things conjoining and securing. By a “nail,” upon which a thing is hanged, is signified affixion and adjunction as in Isaiah xxii. 23, 24; Ezek. xv. 3. A. C. 9777.
Verse 23. A throne of glory to his father’s house.-As by a kingdom is represented the divine Truth, wherefore the throne upon which kings were accustomed to sit, whilst they judged, was called “the throne of glory,” as in Isaiah xxii. 23; Jer. xiv, 21; xvii. 12; and in Matthew:-“The Son of Man will sit upon the throne of His glory.” (xix. 28.) “Glory,” in the supreme sense, is the Lord as to Divine Truth, thus it is the Divine Truth which proceeds from the Lord. But” glory,” in the representative sense, is the good of love towards the neighbour, or charity, which is the external good of the celestial kingdom, and the intenal of the spiritual kingdom of the Lord, for this good, in the genuIne sense, is the Divine Truth in heaven. The “glory of Jehovah” is so said in respect to the inmost heaven, and the “glory of the God of Israel” in respect to the middle spritual heaven. That the Divine Truth appears in the heavens in glory, is because Truth itself in the spiritual heaven appears before the eyes as a white cloud, which it has also been given me sometimes to see; but Good in that Truth appears there as a fiery principle from which a cloud variegated by fire presents wonderful aspects, which glory in the external sense; but “glory,” in the internal sense, is intelligence and wisdom, which are represented by those wonderful phenomena. A. C.5922.
24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue; every small vessel, from every vessel of basons, to every vessel [or instrument] of viols.
Verse 24., Every small vessel, from every vessel, &c.-:-The subjeect now treated of, in the internal and representative sense, is concerning the Lord’s Divlne Human, and that by It and from It are are Truths and Goods from first to last. Scientific truths from a celestial stock are “vessels of basons,” and scientific truths from a spiritual stock are “vessels of viols.” The reason why scientifics denote “vessels,” and in the Word are signified by “vessels” of every kind, as by goblets, cups, buckets, and the like, is, because every scientific is somewhat common [or general], which contains in it particulars and singulars agreeing with the common [or general] things; and such common [or general] things are arranged into series, and, as it were, into bundles; and those bundles and series are so arranged together as to resemble a celestial form, and this in order, in things the most singular to things the most common [or general]. An idea of such series may be formed from the muscular series and bundles in the human body; every bundle therein consists of several moving fibres, and every moving fibre of blood-vessels and nervous fibres; every muscular bundle also which by a general term is called a muscle, is encompassed with its coat by which it is distinguished from others,-in like manner the interior fascicles which are called moving fibres; nevertheless, all the muscles and. moving fibres in them which are in the body throughout, are so arranged as to concur in every action according to the pleasure of the will, and this in a manner incomprehensible. The case is similar with the scientifics of the memory, which also are exerted by the delight of man’s love which is of his will, but by means of the intellectual part; the excitation is oocasioned by that which is made the life of man which is that which is made of his will or love; for the interior man has his view continually in those things, and is delighted with them so far as they agree with his loves; and those which absolutely enter into the loves and become spontaneous, and, as it were, natural, vanish out of the external memory but remain inscribed on the internal memory, whence they are never blotted out: thus scientifics become of the life. From these considerations it is also evident that scientifics are as the vessels of the interior life of man; and that hence it is that scientifics are signified by “vessels” of various kinds. A. C. 9394.
25 In that day, saith Jehovah of Hosts, the nail [once] fastened in a firm place shall be removed; and it shall be: hewn down, and it shall fall; and the burden which was upon it shall be cut off: for Jehovah hath spoken it.
Verse 25. The nail fastened in a firm place shall be removed, &c. [As everything hanging upon a nail depends upon it for its security and protection, so everything in the church depends upon the Lord in His Divine Humanity. To deny the Lord, is to “remove the nail from its place,” when everything that is Good and True falls to the ground.]
Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]