Isaiah 3

1 For, behold, the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, removeth from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff; the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of waters;

2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the diviner, and the old man;

Verse 1. To “remove the stay and the staff” denotes the power and strength of life from Truth and Good; the “stay of bread” denotes power from Good, the “stay of waters,” power from Truth. “Staff,” in the original tongue, is an expression implying to lean upon and be supported, which in the spiritual world is effected by Truth and Good. A. C. 9028.
Verses 1, 2. The whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of waters; the mighty man, and the man of war, &c.-To “remove the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of waters, “signifies all the good of love and truth of faith, from which spiritual life exists; “bread ” denotes the good of love, and “water” the truth of faith; and a “staff” and a ” stay” denote powers, and thence all things appertaining to spiritual life. To “remove the mighty man and the man of war,” signifies all resistance against evils and falses; to “remove the judge and the prophet,” signifies all the good and truth of doctrine; and to “remove the diviner and the old man,” means all intelligence and wisdom. A. E. 433.

3 The commander of fifty, and the honourable, and the counsellor, and the wise in magic, and the intelligent in incantation.

4 And I will make boys their rulers, and infants shall govern them.

5 And the people shall be oppressed, one man by another, and a man by his neighbour: the boy- shall raise himself up against the aged, and the despised against the honoured.

Verse 3. Incantations were in use among the ancients, and were performed three ways: First, By keeping another’s hearing and thereby his mind continually attending to what they were saying and talking of, by not relaxing their speech or allowing any intermission, and at the same time by aspiring and inspiring thought joined with affection by the breath into the sound of the voice, by which means the hearer could not think anything from himself; in this manner the lovers of falsehood violently infused their falses. Secondly, They infused a persuasion, which was done by detaining the mind from everything of a contrary nature, and directing the attention solely to the idea of what was said by themselves, hence the spiritual sphere of the enchanter’s mind dispelled the spiritual sphere of the other’s mind, and stifled it; this was the kind of spiritual fascination which the magi formerly made use of, and it was called tying up or shackling the understanding. This sort of incantation or enchantment appertained only to the spirit or thought, but the former was also for the lips or speech. Thirdly, The hearer kept his mind so fixed in his opinion, that he almost shut his ears against hearing anything from the speaker-which was done by holding his breath, and sometimes by a tacit mussitation, and so by a continued negation of his adversary’s sentiment. This kind of incantation was practised by those who heard others; but the two former by those who spake to others. These three kinds of incantation were practised by the ancients, and are still in use among infernal spirlts; but among men in the world, there remains only the third kind among those who have confirmed in themselves false principles of religion from the pride of their own intelligence, for these, when they hear things contrary thereto, do not admit them into their thought any nearer than just into contact, and then from the interior bosom of their mind they send forth, as it were, fire which consumes them of which the other does not know anything but by conjecture from the face and sound of the voice in the reply, provided the enchanter does not restrain by dissimulation that fire, that is, the anger of his pride. This incantation is at this day the cause that truths are not accepted, and with many that they are not understood. That in ancient times many magic arts prevailed, and among these incantations, is evident from Moses. (Deut. xviii, 9-11.) A persuasion of what is false, and the consequent destruction of the Truth is signified in the following passages:-” By the incantation of Babylon all nations were seduced.” (Apoc. xviii. 23. See also Isa. xlvii. 10-12; 2 Kings ix. 22.) On the other hand, “incantation” [is used in a good sense], and signifies the rejection of what is false by means of Truths, which was also effected by tacit thought and mussitation, out of zeal for Truth in opposition to what is false, as is plain from Psalm lviii. 4,5; Jer. viii, 17; Isa. xxvi. 16. (See Hebrew text.) A.R. 462.

6 Then a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father [saying], Thou hast raiment; be thou a prince over us, and let this [our] ruin be under thy hand.

7 In that day shall he lift up [his voice], saying, ~ will not be a binder up [of wounds] ; for in my house is neither bread nor raiment : make me not a prince of the people.

Verses 6. 7. Then a man shall take hold of his brother, &c.-The subject here treated of, in the internal sense, is concerning the perverted state of the church, when Truth is no longer acknowledged to be truth, nor is it known what Good is. “A man’s taking hold of his brother in the house of his father,” denotes the acknowledging of everything whatsoever to be good; “raiment denotes truth; “prince,” the primary prlnciple of doctrlne thence derived. “In my house is neither bread nor raiment, means that there was neither Good nor Truth. A. C. 3703.
Verses 6, 7, 17-24. The “garment” which the prince had, denotes the truth appertaining to doctrine; the various “clothing and ornaments of the daughters of Zion,” which are here enumerated are all kinds and species of Good and Truth, whereof they were to be deprived, A.C. 2576.

8 For Jerusalem stumbleth, and Judah falleth; because their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, to rebel against the eyes of His glory.

9 The obstinacy of their countenance doth witness, against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for to themselves have they rewarded evil.

Verse 8. Because their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, to rebel against the eyes of His glory.-Signifies that all their doctrine and their life is altogether against Divine Truth; “tongue” denoting doctrine; “doings,” the life; and “the eyes of the glory of Jehovah,” the Divine Truth; to “rebel,” is to be against it. A. E. 433.
Verses 8, 9. Because their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, &c. the obstinacy of their countenances, &c.-By Their tongue and their doings which are against Jehovah,” are signified thought and affection : by the “tongue,” thought, because the tongue speaks what the man thinks; and by the “doings,” affection, because a man does what is of his affection. These are “against Jehovah and rebel against the eyes of His glory,” when they are against the Divine Good and against the Divine Truth; for by “Jehovah,” in the Word, is understood the Lord as to Divine Good proceeding from His Divine Love, and by His “glory” is understood the Divine Truth; to be against this is signified by “rebelling against the eyes of His glory.”The”obstinacy of their countenances which witnesseth against them,” signifies the refusal and non-admission of divine Truth and divine Good into their thoughts and affections, which are their interiors, and are signified by “countenances” or faces. A. E. 412.

10 Say ye to the just, that good [shall be their portion]; for the fruit of their doings shall they eat.
Verse 10. -By “the just, or righteous, eating the fruit of their doings,” is signified the celestial Good which man receives by a life according to divine Truth from the Lord, and, as it were, acquires to himself by his own labour and study. A. E. 617.

11 Woe to the wicked! evil [shall be his portion]; for the reward of his hands shall be given him,

Verse 11. -Inasmuch as few know what is properly understood by “reward,” it shall here be briefly explained. By “reward,” when predicated of the good, is properly understood
that delight, satisfaction, and blessedness which is contained in the love or affection of Good and Truth, for that love or that affection has in itself all the joy of heart which is called heavenly joy, and also heaven. The reason is, because the Lord is in that love, or in that affection, and with the Lord is also heaven. This joy, therefore, or this delight, satisfaction, and blessedness is what is properly understood by the reward which they shall receive who do good and speak truth from the love and affection of Good and Truth, thus from the Lord, and by no means from themselves; and whereas they act and speak from the Lord and not from themselves, therefore the reward is not of merit but of grace. From these considerations it may appear that he who knows what heavenly joy is, may know also what reward is; what heavenly joy is, in its essence, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 395-414; this, therefore, is signified by the “reward” which is given to those who are in truths from good. But the “reward” of those who are in falses from evil, is joy or delight, satisfaction, and blessedness in the world, but hell after their departure out of the world. A. E. 695.

12 As for My people, children are their oppressors, and – women lord it over them: My people! thy leaders cause thee to err, and abolish the way of thy paths.

Verse 12. By “oppressors or exactors, infants, and women,” are signified those who violate, are ignorant of, and, pervert truths; by “oppressors or exactors,” those who violate truths; by “infants,” they who are ignorant of them ; and by “women,” the cupidities which pervert them. The ” leaders who cause to err,” signify those who teach; to “abolish the way of the paths,” signifies’ not to know the leading truth. A. E. 555.

13 Jehovah shall set up Himself to plead; He standeth to judge the peoples.

Verse 13. Jehovah standeth to judge the peoples.-It is also said concerning the Lord Himself, that He “stood to judge,” because it is said of the Divine Proceeding from the Lord, which is called Divine Truth, inasmuch as judgment is from it: thus in Isaiah,- “Jehovah hath set Himself up to plead, and standeth to judge.” A. E. 639.

14 Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders of His people, and with the princes thereof: for ye have burnt up the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses.

Verse 14. By “the elders of the people and the princes,” are signified the same as by the twelve disciples, namely all of the church who are in the truths and goods thereof, and, in the abstract sense, the truths and goods of the church in every complex. A.E. 851.
For, ye have burnt up the vineyard.-“Vineyard” manifestly denotes the church as to the good and truth of faith; for the “elders,” with whom Jehovah will come into judgment, denote the goods of the church, and “princes” denote the truths thereof. A. C. 9130.
The reason why to “desolate” denotes to deprive by lusts, and thereby to consume, is because by the term, which in the original tongue is expressed “to desolate,” is properly signified to set on fire and burn up, hence also to devour and consume; and this being the derivation of, that expression, by “desolating” is here signified the consumption which is effected by lusts; since the lusts appertaining to man are fires which consume; for there appertains to man the fire of life, and the light of faith; the fire of life is his love, and the light of life is his faith. The love of good, that is, love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour, constitute the fire of life appertaining to a good man and to an angel of heaven, and the love of truth and the faith, of truth constitute the light of life appertaining to thern: but the love of evil, that is, the love of self and the love of the world, constitute the fire of life appertaining to an evil man and to a spirit of hell; and. the love of the false, and the faith of the false, constitute the lumen of life appertaining to them; but the love of evil is called, in the Word, the “burning of fire,” because it burns and consumes those things which are of the love of good and truth. That consumption by lusts is signified by that expression in the original tongue, is evident from the following passage :-” Jehovah will come into judgment with the elders of his people, and the princes thereof; ye have consumed [set fire to] the vineyard.” A. C. 9141.

15 What mean ye, that ye tread down My people, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord Jehovih of Hosts.

Verse 15. What mean ye, that ye tread down My people, and grind the faces of the poor?-To “grind the faces of the poor,” signifies to destroy the affections of knowing truth with those who are in ignorance thereof, and yet desire to be instructed; to “grind” signifying to-destroy, and “faces,” the affections of knowing truths, and “the ‘poor,” those who are in ignorance of truth, and desire to be instructed, for these are they who are spiritually poor. A. E. 412.
Saith the Lord JEHOVIH of Hosts.-In the Word frequent mention is made of the Lord JEHOVIH, yea, wheresoever Jehovah the Lord is spoken of, He is called not Lord JEHOVAH but Lord JEHOVIH; and He is especially so called where the subject treated of is concerning temptations; as in Isaiah,-“Behold, the Lord JEHOVIH will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His recompense is with Him, and His work before Him, He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather His lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that give suck;” (xl. 10, 11.) where the Lord JEHOVIH “coming with strong hand” denotes victory in temptation-combats, and “His arm ruling for Him “means that it is derived from His own power: What the “recompense” is, which was spoken of in the preceding verse, is here declared, viz., that it is the salvation of the whole human race, which is what is meant by “His feeding His flock as a shepherd; gathering the lambs with His arm, carrying them in His bosom, and gently leading those that give suck;” all which are operations of inmost or Divine Love. A. C. 1793. See also A. E. 601, 850.

16 Moreover saith Jehovah, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with the neck stretched forth and with ogling eyes, and mincing as they walk, and tinkling with
their feet:

Verses 16-22. The “daughters of Zion: who are haughty, or extol themselves,” denote the affections of evil within the church; the “rings. and the ornaments of the nose,” which shall be taken away denote Good and its badges; the “dress-vestments, or changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles,” denote Truth and its badges. A. C. 3013.

17 The Lord will make bald the crown of the daughters of Zion; and Jehovah will lay bare their nakedness,

Verse 17. -The ” daughters of Zion” signify the celestial church, and the things belonging to that church, but in this case perverted; by the “crown of the head which shall be made bald” is signified intelligence, of which it shall be deprived; and the “buttock which shall be made naked” signifies the love of evil and of the false. A. E. 240

18 In that day the Lord will remove the ornament of their ancle -bands, and of their networks, and of their moon -like crescents ;

19 And the ear -rings, and the bracelets, and the thin veils; The turbans, the stepping-chains, and the head- bands, and the scent- boxes, and the amulets;

20 The finger-rings, and the ornaments of the nose ;

21 The dress -vestments, and the tunics, and the shawls, and the purses;

22 The minors, and the fine linen [shifts], and the hoods, and the large veils.

23 And instead of perfume there shall be putridity; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of braided-work [of hair], baldness; and instead of a robe, a wrapper of sackcloth; and a brand [mark] instead of beauty.

24 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy strength in the war.

Verses 18-25. They who do not think beyond the sense of the letter, know no other than that all those things, with which the daughters of Zion are said to be adorned, are to be understood according to the letter; and that on account of their ornament, and the loftiness and pride thence derived, the men of that kingdom would perish, for it is said that “thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy strength in “war;” but that such things are not meant, may be known to those who elevate the mind in some degree above the letter; these know, from various passages in the Word, that by “the daughters of Zion” are not meant the daughters of Zion, but such things as are of the church; as also by “the daughters of Jerusalem,” “the daughters of Judah,” and several others. When therefore the church, and those things which are of the church, are signified by “the daughters of Zion,” it follows that, by their” ornaments,” recounted in the above passage, are signified the truths and goods of the church, and that each ornament denotes some specific truth and good; for in the Word nothing is said without a meaning, not even one expression; and whereas that church was to be deprived of its truths and goods, which are signified by those ornaments; therefore it is said, that “instead of a perfume, shall be putridity; instead of a girdle, a rent; instead of braided-work [of hair], baldness; instead of a robe, a wrapper or girding of sackcloth; a brand or burning, instead of beauty;” and also that “thy men should fall by the sword, and thy-strength in war:” for by “perfume” is signified Divine Truth, as to its perceptive principles; by “putridity” [or a stench], its privation; by a “girdle” is signified the bond containing truths and goods in their connection; a “rent” instead of it, denotes their dissolution and dissipation; by “braided-work [of hair],” scientific truth; by “baldness,” the deprivation of the intelligence of truth and of the wisdom of good; by “burning,” their consumption by the evils of self-love; by “beauty,” the form of truth derived from good in the church, thus its perfection; and by a “sword,” whereby men shall fall, , the false principle destroying truth and good; by “no strength in war” is signified not any resistance against evil and the false, for “war” denotes spiritual combat and temptation. From these consideratlons, it is now evident that by “ornaments” in general, is signified the Divine Truth of the church. A. C. 10,540 See also A.E. 637.
Verse 24. ” Perfume” [or sweet smell], denotes interior truth; “putridity” [or stench], the privation thereof. A. C. 10,199.

25 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit on the ground.

Verse 26. By “gates” are signified knowledges of what is true and good out of the Word, because by them man is introduced [as through gates] into the church. A.R.899.
“Lamentation and mourning” [here predicated of the gates of Jerusalem], signify grief on account of the devastation of the church as to Truths and as to Good. A. E. 555.
To be “desolate and naked,” signifies to be destitute of all Truth and Good. A. E. 1081.

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