Isaiah 34

1 COME near, O ye nations, to hear; and hearken, O ye peoples! let the earth hear, and the fulness thereof; the world, and all its productions.

VERSE 1. Here ” nations” signify those who are in the Good of love, and “peoples” those who are in the Goods of charity and the Truths of faith thence derived; and therefore it is said of the nations that “they should come near,” and of the peoples that “they should hearken.” To “come near” signifies to be conjoined by love, and to “hearken” is to obey and to be instructed. Hence also it is said-“Let the earth hear, and the fulness thereof;” the “earth” signifying the church as to Good, and the “fulness” thereof signifying Truths. A. E. 331.

2 For the anger of Jehovah is upon all the nations, and His wrath upon all the host thereof: He hath utterly destroyed them; He hath given them up to slaughter.

Verse 2. By “nations” are here signified evils, and by “host” falses from evil; the total destruction thereof by their being “utterly destroyed [or delivered to the curse], and given up to slaughter.” A. E. 573. See also A. C. 3614.
Verses 2, 3. The anger of Jehovah, &c.-These things are said concerning the Last Judgment. By “the anger of Jehovah upon all the nations, and His wrath upon all the host thereof,” is signified the destruction and damnation of all who are in evils and falses thence derived, purposely and from the heart; “nations” are those evils, and the “host” or “army “all falses thence derived. That such should be accursed and perish, is signified by “He hath utterly destroyed them, and hath given them up to slaughter. “The damnation of those who would perish by falses, is signified by “their slain shall be cast out;” “slain,” in the Word, being predicated of those who perish by falses, and to be “cast out” is to be damned. The damnation of those who would perish by evils, is signified by “the stench of their carcases shall ascend;” “carcases,” in the Word, being predicated of those who perish by evils, and their “stench” signifying damnation. ” The mountains shall melt down with their blood,” signifies the evils of the loves of self and of the world, and “blood” the falses connected therewith.
4.E. 405.

3 And their slain shall be cast out; and from their carcases their stench shall ascend; and the mountains shall melt down with their blood.

Verse 3. From their carcases their stench shall ascend.-Spheres of love and of faith are perceived in heaven as grateful odours; hence it was that aromatics and incense and odours in ointments were made representative in the Jewish church. But spheres of what is evil and false are perceived as stenches of various kinds. A cadaverous stench, as from putrid carcases, is perceived from the hell of robbers and murderers, and an excrementitious stench from the hell of adulterers; thus everything evil has its own stench, and everything good has its own fragrance. A. C. 925, 4631.

4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved; and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as the falling [fruit] from the fig-tree.

Verse 4. In this passage the sun, moon, and stars are called a “host” or “army,” because by the “sun” is signified the Good of love; by the “moon,” Truth from Good; and by the “stars,” the knowledges of Truth and of Good. consequently they signify Goods and Truths in all their aggregate, which are called an “army” because they resist evils and falses, and perpetually conquer them as enemies. A. E. 573.
These, words are said concerning the day of the Last Judgrnent which was to come, and which also did come; for the Last Judgment predicted by the prophets of the Old Testament, was executed by the Lord when He was in the world; and because then similar things were done to those described in the Last Judgment prodicted in the Apocalypse, which at this day has been performed by the Lord, therefore similar things are here said, as that “the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll,” &c., as Apoc, vi. 14. A. E. 403.

5 For My sword shall be drunken in heaven: behold, on Edom it shall descend; and on the people of My curse, to judgment.

Verse 5. [To denote the interior falsities in the minds of those who are represented by ” Edom” in a bad sense; for “heaven” is predicated of the interiors, and the “sword” is said to be “drunken in heaven” when the doctrine of the false, or when false doctrine is so imbued and impregnated with false principles as to be entirely false. As to the meaning of ” drunkenness,” see Chap. xxviii. 1, Exposition.]
On Edom it shall descend.-By “Edom” is signified the good of the natural principle to which are adjoined the doctrinals of Truth, but, in the opposite sense, by “Edom” [as in this passage] is signified the evil of self-love when false principles [or false doctrines] are adjoined to it. Many names, in the Word, have also an opposite sense, as has been often shewn above, by reason that what is Good and True in the church in process of time degenerates into what is evil and false by various adulterations. A.C. 3322. See also further respecting “Edom,” Chap. lxiii. 1, 2, 3, 5, Exposition.
[” Edom,” therefore, in a bad sense, denotes all those in the church who, although they bear the Christian name, yet do not, on account of the, prevalence of selfish and worldly love in their minds, concern themselves about the truths of the Word and the spiritual things of the church. They thus remain merely natural; and when, at death, they come into the world of spirits, the judgment described in this chapter is executed upon them. Everyone should earnestly watch and pray against such a state. As to “Edom,” see also above, Chap. xi. 14, Exposition.]

6 The sword of Jehovah is filled with blood; it is made fat with fatness: with the blood of lambs, and of goats; with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for Jehovah hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

Verse 6. Here by “lambs,” “rams,” and” goats” are signiiled three degrees of the Good of innocence, spoken of above; but the subject here treated of is concerning the destruction of them by the falses of evil; for “sword” signifies the false destroying Truth and Good, and “the blood with which it shall be filled” signifies destruction. Inasmuch as by “lamb” is signified innocence, which, viewed in itself, is love to the Lord, therefore by “Lamb,” in the supreme sense, is signified the Lord as to the Divine Human; for the Lord, as to that principle, was Innocence itself. This appears in the following passage:-” He was oppressed and affiicted, yet He opened not His mouth; as a lamb He is led to the slaughter.” (Isa. liii. 7.) A. E. 314.

7 And the unicorns shall fall down with them; and the bullocks, together with the bulls: and their land shall be drunken with blood, and their dust shall be made fat with fatness.

Verse 7. By “unicorns,” in a bad sense, are meant the falsities of the sensual man S. S. 18.
[These words, as said of “Edom” in a bad sense, involve the destruction of all the semblances of good, denoted by “bullocks,” &c., adopted by the natural man during his life in the world, which were confirmed by reasonings from fallacies, and from the literal sense of the Word not understood by means of genuine doctrine. These external semblances of good, which have merely selfish considerations for their origin, are, at the time of Judgment, destroyed by the falsities and by the falsifications of Truth in which they have lived, and which are signified by “the sword being filled” and by “the land being drunken with blood.”]

8 For it is the day of vengeance to Jehovah; the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

Verse 8. By “the day of vengeance to Jehovah” and by “the year of recompences” is signified the Last Judgment and the damnation of those who, by falses and evils, have desolated all the Truths of the church, thus “for the controversy of Zion.” A. E. 850.
Verses 8-10. “The day of vengeance to Jehovah, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion,” signifies the advent of the Lord, and the Last Jugment then accomplished by Him. “The torrents being turned into pitch, and the dust into brimstone,” signifies the hell into which they are cast who are in the falses of evil, and in the evils of the false. The evil of infernal love and its punishment, is signified by “the pitch burning night and day, and not being quenched;” and the dire false from that evil is signified by “the smoke ascending for ever.” A. E. 578.

9 And the torrents thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone; and the land thereof shall become burning pitch:
10 By night and by day it shall not be quenched; for ever shall her smoke ascend: from generation to generation she shall lie waste; for ever and ever one shall pass through her;

Verses 9, 10. The land thereof shall become burning pitch;-from generation to generation she shall lie waste, &c.-By “burning pitch” is signified all evil originating in the love of self, by which the church altogether perishes and is devastated; wherefore it is said-” The earth [or land] shall be turned into burning pitch; from generation to generation she shall lie waste.” Who does not see that such things are not said of the earth itself? A. E. 304.

11 But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess her; and the owl and the raven shall dwell there: and He shall stretch over her the line of emptiness, and the plummet of devastation.
12 As to her nobles, none shall be there whom they can call [to] the kingdom; and all her princes shall be nothing.

Verses 11, 12. The “cormorant,” the “bittern,” the “owl,” and the “raven” signify various kinds of, falsity, which exist when the divine Truths of the Word are accounted as nothing. The desolation and devastation of Truth is denoted by “the line of emptiness and the plummets of devastation;” and the falsities which, with such persons, are as primary truths, are signified by “princes.” A. C. 5043.
Verses 11, 13, 14, 15. These words describe not only the fallen church, but the quality of the unregenerate man. That every man ought to be regenerated is not only declared in the Word, but is obvious also to reason, since he is born with a propensity to evils of every kind derived from his parents, and these have their abode in his natural man, who of himself is diametrically opposed to the spiritual man; and yet he is born to be an inhabitant of heaven, to which place he cannot be admitted unless he be rendered spiritual, which call only be effected by regeneration. Hence it necessarily follows that the natural man, with his lusts, ought to be conquered, subdued, and inverted, for otherwise he cannot stir a step towards heaven, but must needs cast himself deeper and deeper into hell. How plain must this appear to everyone who believes that he is born with a propensity to evils of every kind, and who acknowledges that there are such principles as good and evil, and that the one is contrary to the other: also that there is a life after death, a hell, and a heaven; and that hell is formed by evil, and heaven by good. ‘The natural man, considered in himself, as to his nature, differs not at all from the nature of beasts, nay, with regard to his will, to all intents and purposes he is a wild beast; he differs, indeed, from beasts with respect to his understanding, for this is capable of elevation above the lusts of the will, and not only of seeing, but also of regulating them; hence it is that a man is capable of thought from understanding, and of speech fron thought, which beasts are not. What is the quality of man by birth, and what it would be unless he were regenerated, may be seen in savage beasts of all kinds;-he would be a tiger, a panther, a leopard, a wild boar, a scorpion; a tarantula; a viper, a crocodile, &c.; so that unless he were transformed into a sheep by regeneration, what would he be but a devil amongst devils in hell? And supposing the innate ferocity of men under no restraint from the laws of civil government, would they not assault and murder one another, or at least despoil one another of their possessions, even to their very clothes? Are there any of the human species who are not by birth satyrs and priapi, or four-footed reptiles? And who among them, unless he be regenerated, becomes after all anything better than an ape. That external morality, which man assumes for the purpose of concealing his internals, can make him nothing more. T. C. R. 574.

13 And in her palaces shall spring up thorns; the thistle and the bramble in her fortresses: and she shall become a habitation of dragons, a court for the daughters of the owl.

Verse 13. Treating concerning “Edam,” and concerning the “Gentiles,” by whom are understood those who are in falses and evils. The falses and evils in which they are, are signified by “thorns,” the “thistle,” and the “bramble;” the dogmas defending them are signified by “palaces” and by ” fortresses;” the devastation of all Good and Truth is signified by being “a habitation of dragons” and “a court for the daughters of the owl;” “owls” denoting those ‘who for Truth see falses, and their “daughters” the concupiscences of falsifying Truths. A. E. 714.

14 And monsters [Zijim] and wild beasts [Ijim] shall meet together; and the satyr shall call to his fellow: there also the screech-owl shall repose, and shall find for herself a place of rest.
15 There shall the arrow-snake nestle, and lay; and she shall hatch, and gather [her young] under her shadow: there also shall the vultures be gathered together, each one with her mate.

Verse 14. Monsters [ZijimJ and wild beasts [Ijim], &c.-See above, Chap. xiii. 21, 22, Exposition and note.

16 Search ye out from the Book of Jehovah, and read: not one of these shall fail; not a female shall lack her mate: for His mouth, it hath commanded; and His spirit, it hath gathered them.

Verse 16. Search ye out from the Book of Jehovah, &c.-[These words involve the command to “search the Scriptures,” &c., as in John v. 39, and denote that the truths of prophecy, or of the Word, will be certainly fulfilled, and that the fallen state of the church and of the individual unregenerate mind, signified by “Edom,” in a bad sense, will experience what is here depicted.]
The necessity of searching the Scriptures may appear from considering the conjunction of the truths of the church with its scientifics, and the manner in which it is effected; for a principle is not to be drawn from scientifics, so that the truths of faith may by them be entered into, since the scientifics appertaining to man are derived from things sensual, thus from the world, whence result innumerable fallacies; but a principle is to be derived from the truths of faith, viz., by this method;-first, the doctrinals of the church are to be learned; and afterwards exploration is to be made from the Word whether they be true, since they are not true because the rulers of the church have pronounced them so, and their followers confirm them to be so, for thus the doctrinals of all churches and of all religions would be pronounced true merely on the authority of the soil in which they are propagated, and of their birth-place; thus not only the doctrinals of the Papists, and also of the Quakers, would be true, but also of the Jews, and likewise of the Mahometans, because their leaders have pronounced them so, and their followers confirm the same. From which considerations it is evident that the Word ought to be searched, and examination. to be made from the Word whether the above doctrinals be true; when this is done from the affection of truth, then man is enlightened by the Lord, so as to apperceive, without knowing whence, what is true, and he is confined therein according to the good in which he is principled. Afterwards, when he is confirmed, and thus in an affirmative principle from the Word that they are the truths of faith, it is then allowable for him to confirm them by all the scientifics he possesses, of whatsoever name and nature, for then, inasmuch as a principle of affirmation reigns universally, he accepts the scientifics which are in agreement, and rejects those which, by reason of the fallacies they contain, disagree. A. C. 6047.
They who read the Word, and on such occasion look to the Lord, by acknowledging that all Truth and all Good are from Him, and not in the least from themselves, are illustrated, and see Truth and perceive Good from the Word. This illustration is from the light of heaven. A. C. 9405.

17 And He hath cast the lot for them; and His hand hath divided it unto them by the line: they shall possess it for ever; from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.

Verse 17. [These words are quoted in A. C. 6343, but only to shew the frequent employment of the expressions in the Word to indicate the marriage union of the Good and the True, which is everywhere in the Word, and in which its great sanctity consists. This verse, however, is considered by expositors in general to relate to the desolate state of Edom at the fulfilment of this prophecy, when “the land of Edam would be inhabited for ever by the birds and beasts” mentioned in the previous verses. (See note, p. 359.) But, judging from the internal sense affixed to the margin, it would appear that this verse does not describe the land of Edom as “marked out by the line” for the habitation of wild beasts and for consequent desolation, but for the remnant of those signified by “Edam,” who, at the time of judgment, can be delivered from destruction and reclaimed. We know that, at the time of judgment” there are always such “remnants,” and such as “escape.” (See Chap. xi. 11-14, Exposition.) These” remnants,” in the world of spirits, are eventually; after instruction, raised up into heaven, which is “the land they shall possess for ever;” and of those in the church on earth who correspond to these “remnants,” the Lord can make a New Church.]

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