Isaiah 42

1 BEHOLD My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth: I will put My spirit upon Him; and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations.

VERSE 1. Treating of the Lord, who is understood by “the Elect of Jehovah;” and whereas by “the Spirit of Jehovah which was put upon Him” is signified the proceeding Divine, therefore by “the soul of Jehovah which was delighted in Him” is signified the Divine Truth; for in this Divine the Lord was as to His Humanity in the world. A. E. 750.
I will put [or give] My spirit upon Him.-The “Spirit of Jehovah upon Him [the Lord]” is the Divine Truth, consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence. The Divine Truth is also called “Judgment which He will bring forth to the nations.” A. C. 9818.
For the meaning of “Spirit” in its various senses, see Chap. xi. 2, Exposition.

2 He shall not cry, nor lift up His voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street:

Verse 2. [It does not appear that Swedenborg bas quoted this verse, but viewed in connection with the following, of which he has given full interpretation, it would seem to imply that the Lord in His Divine Human would teach the Truth from infinite Divine Love, thus most gently and softly, without compelling, or in any sense constraining, the freedom and rationality of the human mind, which, in all the operations of His Providence, are kept inviolate. D. P. 96.]

3 The bruised reed He shall not break; and the smoking flax He shall not quench: He shall bring forth judgment into truth.

Verse 3. Treating concerning the Lord. By His “not breaking the bruised reed” is signified that He will not hurt the divine Truth sensual with the simple and with children; by “not quenching the smoking flax” is signified that He will not destroy the divine Truth which begins to live from a little Good of love with the simple and with children; “flax” denoting Truth, and “smoking” its living from some little degree of love. Inasmuch as both, viz., the “reed” and the “flax,” are significative of Truth, therefore it is also said concerning the Lord, that He shall bring forth judgment into truth,” by which is understood that He will produce in them intelligence; “judgment” denoting intelligence. “Reed ” also signifies sensual or ultimate Truth, such as has place also with natural men, even the evil, as in the same Prophet :-“The parched ground shall become a pool; and there shall be grass instead of the reed and the rush.” (Isa. xxxv. 7.) A. E. 627.

4 He shall not extinguish, nor break it, until He hath established judgment in the earth: and the islands shall wait for His law.

Verse 4. These words also treat concerning the Lord, and the New Church to be established by Him. By the “islands” are understood those who are only in Truths from the natural man, and consequently who are as yet remote from true worship; hence by its being said “until He hath established judgment in the earth, and the islands shall wait for His law,” is signified until He has given intelligence to those who are of the church, and knowledges of Truth to those who are more remote from the church; to “establish judgment.” is to give intelligence, and to “wait for the law” is to give the knowledges of Truth; for the “earth” signifies those who are in the church, and, abstractedly, the church itself as to intelligence from spiritual Truths; and the “islands ” signify those who are remote from the church, and, abstractedly, the church as to the knowledges of Truth and Good, or the church as to the Truths of the natural man corresponding with spiritual Truths. A. E. 406. See also A. C. 1158; A. R. 84.

5 Thus saith the God, [even] Jehovah, who created the heavens, and stretched them out; who spread forth the earth, and the productions thereof; who giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon:

Verse 5. By “creating the heavens, and stretching them out,” and by “spreading forth the earth ,” is signified to reform; by the “heavens” are signified both the heavens and the internals of the church; the internals of the church also are the “heavens” with the men who are therein. The “earth” signifies the externals of the church, which are said to be “spread forth and extended” when there is a multiplication of Truths derived from Good. That reformation by Truths is hereby signified, is evident, for it is said-“Who giveth soul [or breath] to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon.” A. E. 294.
By “creating the heavens” and by” spreading forth the earth and its productions,” is signified to form the church, and to reform those who are therein; its “productions” are all things of the church. A. E. 304.
To “give breath [or soul, animam] to the people,” is to give the life of faith. A. C. 9818.

6 I Jehovah have called Thee in justice; and I will hold Thy hand, and will preserve Thee; and I will give Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations:
7 To open the blind eyes; to bring the bound out of prison; and from the prison-house those that dwell in darkness.
8 I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.
9 The former things, behold! they are come to pass; and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I cause you to hear them.

Verse 6. These words are said of the Lord, who is called “the Covenant of the people, and the Light of the nations,” because a “covenant” signifies conjunction, and “light” Divine Truth; by “peoples” are understood those who are in Truths, and by “nations” those who are in Goods, as may be seen, A.E. 175, 331. To “call Him in justice” signifies that He may do justice by separating the evil from the good, and by saving these and condemning those; to “hold by the hand” and to “preserve [or guard] Thee” signifies to sustain by Divine Omnipotence, which the hells cannot resist; and by Jehovah “doing this” is signified the Divine in the Lord. A. E. 701.
A “covenant,” when mentioned in the Word, has the following significations. I. The Lord Himself is called a “Covenant,” because conjunction [which is signified by a “covenant”] is from Him with Himself, by the Divine which proceeds from Him. II. The Divine Proceeding, which is the Divine Truth, thus the Word, is the covenant, because that conjoins. III. The precepts, judgments, and statutes given to the sons of Israel, were to them a covenant, because by them there was then conjunction with the Lord. IV. Moreover, whatsoever coujoins is called a covenant. All these significations of a “covenant” may be seen explained and confirmed in A. E. 701.

Verses 6-8. These words treat concerning the Lord, that He is Jehovah, and that from Him is all wisdom, and nothing from man. That the Lord is Jehovah, is evident, for it is said that “Jehovah called Him in Justice,” and also “I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another.” That from Him is all wisdom which is of the life, is signified by “opening the blind eyes,” and by ” bringing the bound out of prison, and from the prison-house those that dwell [or sit] in darkness;” that nothing of wisdom is from man, is signified by “nor My praise to graven images.” A. C. 8869
These things are said concerning the Lord, and concerning the establishment of a church from Him amongst the nations. That they who were before in ignorance should then understand Truths, is signified by the “blind eyes” which He shall open; and that they should be led out from ignorance and from falses, is denoted by “He shall bring the bound out of prison.” That the Divine Itself would assume the Human, is understood by these words:- “I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another.” A. E. 239.
To “open the blind eyes” is to instruct those who as yet are ignorant of Truths but who, nevertheless, desire them ; such persons are signified by the “nations.” A. E. 152.
Verses 6, 8. The “covenant of the people” and the “light of the nations” is the Lord with respect to the Human; and because this was from Jehovah, and made a One with Him, it is said-“I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not gIve to another;” that is, to no other than to Himself. To “give glory” is to glorify, or to unite to Himself. Doct. of Lord, 30.

10 Sing unto Jehovah a new song; His praise from the end of the earth: ye that go down upon the sea, and the fulness thereof; ye islands, and the inhabitants thereof.

Verses 10, 11. Treating concerning the advent of the Lord and concerning the establishment of the church with those who were out of the church, or with those who had not the Word, and to whom the Lord was not before known. To “sing a new song” signifies confession from joy of heart; and for “the end of the earth to sing His praise” signifies the confession of those who are remote from the church,-the “earth” denoting the church, and the “end of the earth” denoting where what appertains to the church terminates. By “the desert and the cities thereof, which shall lift up their voice,” are signified those with whom there is not Good, because there is not Truth, which nevertheless they desire; “the inhabitants of the rock” signify the Good of faith, and “the head of the mountains “the Good of love appertaining to them; to “sing” and to “shout” signify consequent confession from joy of the mind and the heart. A. E. 320.

Verses 10, 12. These words signify the worship of the Lord by those who are remote from the church, and, in an abstract sense, the worship of the natural man from Truths and Goods. To “sing a song” and to “praise” signifies worship from a glad mind: the “end of the earth” denotes those who are in the ultimates of the church, and, in an abstract sense, the ultimates of the church; “the sea, and the fulness thereof,” signify the natural man and all things which are therein; “the islands, and the inhabitants ithereof,” are the Truths and Goods of the natural man,-the “islands” the Truths thereof, and “inhabitants” the Goods thereof. By “let them give glory to Jehovah, and declare His praise in the islands,” is signified worship from internals and externals; to “give glory” denotes worship from internals, and to ” declare praise” worship from externals, for externals” declare,” and “islands” are the Truths of the natural man from which such worship is performed. A.. E. 406.
It should be known that by the “end” [or the extremity] of heaven is not understood the extremity of space, but the state of what is Good and True; for in heaven there is no space, but the appearance thereof according to the state of what is Good and True. A. C. 9666.

11 Let the desert lift up [its voice], and the cities thereof; the villages which Arabia doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing; let them shout from the head of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to Jehovah; and declare His praise in the islands.

Verse 11: By the “desert” is signified an obscure principle of Truth; by “the cities thereof” are understood doctrinals: and by the “villages,” natural knowledges and scientifics. By “Arabia” is signified the natural man, for “an Arabian in the desert” is the natural man; by the “inhabitants of the rock” are meant the Goods of faith, or those who are in the Goods of faith: and by “the head of the mountains” is signified the Good of love to the Lord. Hence it is manifest that confession and glad worship originating in the Good of love in such things as are mentioned, are here signified by every single thing in its order; for to “shout from the head of the mountains” denotes worship from the Good of love.A. E. 405.
These things are said concerning the church with those who are remote from the Truths of the church, because they are natural and sensual; their state of ignorance is understood by the “desert,” and their joy from the preaching and knowledge of the Truth is meant
by their ” lifting up their voice,” &c. A. C. 730.

13 Jehovah shall go forth like a Hero; like a Man of wars shall He stir up zeal: He shall cry, yea, He shall shout; He shall prevail against His enemies.

Verse 13. The Lord is called a “Man of war” chiefly from this circumstance, that whilst in the world, He alone, that is, from Himself fought against the hells, which then, for the most part, were opened, and which attacked and endeavoured to subdue all that came into the other life. The reason why the diabolic crew, that is, the hells, were then raging about in this manner [in the world of spirits] was, because the Divine passing through heaven, which before the coming of the Lord was the Divine Human, did not prevail against evils and falses, which had so immensely increased; wherefore it pleased the Divine to assume the Human and to make it Divine, and then, at the same time, by combats admitted into Himself, to cast down that diabolic crew into the hells, to shut them up therein, and to subject them to the heavens; and at the same time also to reduce the heavens into order. From these combats the Lord was first called a “Man of war;” and afterwards, because He had thus conquered the hells, and had been made “Justice,” He from His divine power protects men, and this continually, and. especially in the combats of temptations. A. C. 8273.
As to “wars,” when mentioned in the Word, see Chap. vii. 1, and especially below, Chap. lxiii. 1-5, Exposition.
Concerning “the zeal of Jehovah,” see Chap. ix. 7, Exposition.
In respect to “ternptations,” and their necessity in effecting man’s regeneration, see Chap. xliii. 2, Exposition.

14 I have long been silent; I have been still, and refrained Myself: now I will cry out like a woman in travail; I will destroy and swallow up at once.

Verse 14. [These words imply the Lord’s divine forbearance and long-suffering until the period of Judgment comes, when its effects are denoted by “I will destroy and swallow up at once;” and the pain which those will suffer on being deprived of the possession in their external man of those Goods and Truths which they had assumed for the purpose of selfish ends, as of honour and gain, is denoted by “the crying out as of a woman in travail.” As to this latter clause, see-Chap. xiii. 8, Exposition.]

15 I will lay waste the mountains and the hills, and dry up all their herbs: I will make the rivers islands; and I will dry up the pools.

Verse 15. By “laying waste or devastating the mountains and the hills” is signified to destroy all the Good of love to the Lord, and of love to the neighbour; by “drying up all the herbs ” is meant
thence to destroy all Truths,-“herb” denoting Truth springing from Good. By “making the rivers into islands, and drying up the pools,” is signified to annihilate all the understanding and perception of Truth; “rivers” signifying intelligence which is of Truth, “islands” where there is no intelligence, and “pools” the perception of Truth. The understanding of Truth is from the light of Truth, but the perception of Truth is from the heat or Love of Truth. A.E. 405.
Inasmuch as most things in the Word have an opposite sense, so “islands,” in that sense, signify the falses opposite to the Truths which are in the natural man. In this sense “islands” are mentioned in the above passage. A.E. 406.

16 And I will lead the blind in a way which they have not known; and through paths which they have not known will I make them go: I will make darkness light before them; and crooked things into straightness. These things will I do unto them, and will not forsake them,

Verse 16. In this passage “darkness” signifies the falses of ignorance, such as formerly existed, and at this day exists with the upright nations or Gentiles. These falses are altogether distinct from the falses of evil, for the latter contain in themselves evil, because they are from evil, whereas the former contain in themselves Good, for they have Good for an end; wherefore they who are principled in these falses can be instructed in Truths, and also when they are instructed they receive Truth in the heart, by reason that the Good, which is in their falses, loves the Truth, and also conjoins itself with the Truth, when it is heard. The case is otherwise with the falses of evil; these are averse from, and spit out, all Truth, and this for no other reason than because it is Truth, and thus does not agree with evil. “Darkness” also signifies in the Word mere ignorance arising from the deprivation or Truth, as in David. (Psalm xviii, 28; cxxxix. 11, 12.) “Darkness” also signifies natural lumen, for this, in respect to spiritual light, is as darkness; wherefore also the angels, when they look down into the natural lumen of man, such as is in the natural thought of rnen, regard it as darkness, and the things which are in it as in darkness. This lumen is signified by the “darkness” in Gen. i. 2-5; and inasmuch as the literal sense of the Word is natural, therefore this also in the Word is called a “cloud,” and also “darkness,” in respect to the internal sense, which is the light of heaven, and is called “glory.” A. E. 526.

17 They shall be turned backward, they shall be greatly ashamed who trust in the graven image, who say unto the molten image, Ye are our gods!

Verse 17. What is meant by “going backward,” see Chap. i. 4, Exposition. ln respect to “graven and molten images,” or “idols,” see Chap. ii. 20; xl. 18-20; xli. 7, Exposition.

18 Hear, O ye deaf! and look, ye blind, that ye may see!

Verse 18. The “deaf” are those who do not perceive what is True, and who hence do not obey it; thus, abstractedly, “deafness” signifies the non-perception of Truth, and hence non-obedience. Thus to be “deaf” signifies these things, is because the “hearing” corresponds both to perception and to obedience, to perception, because those things which are heard are inwardly perceived; and to obedience, because hence it is known what should be done. That this is the correspondence of “hearing” and also of the “ear,” may be seen, n. 3809, 4052-4660; hence it is evident what is signified by the “deaf.” In the Word, by the “deaf” are also understood the Gentiles, who do not know the Truths of faith, because they have not the Word, and therefore cannot live according to them; when, however, they are instructed, they receive these Truths, and live according to them. These are understood in Isaiah:-“Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened; and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” (xxxv. 5.) Again-“Hear, O ye deaf! and look, ye blind, that ye may see!” (xlii. 18.) “In
that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book,” &c. (xxix. 18.) Again–” Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears,” &c. (xliii. 8, 9.) Here by the “deaf” are understood those who, by the coming of the Lord, could come into a state of receiving the Truths of Faith, that is, of perceiving them and of obeying them. The same are understood by the “deaf” whom the Lord cured. (Mark vii. 31-37; ix. 25.) Because the “deaf” in a good sense] signify such persons, it was forbidden those, with whom the representative church was established, to “curse the deaf,” and to “cast a stumbling-block before the blind.’ (Lev. xix. 14.) A. C. 6989.

19 Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel whom I have sent? who is blind as He who is perfect, and blind as the Servant of Jehovah ?

20 Seeing many things, but Thou observest not; opening the ears, He heareth not.

Verses 19, 20. These words are spoken of the Lord, who is treated of in the whole of this chapter, and is here called a “Servant” as to His Divine Human, because He served His Father by “doing His will,” as He frequently declared, whereby is understood that He reduced to order all things in the spiritual world, and, at the same time, taught mankind the way to heaven. It is therefore the Divine Human which is understood by “My Servant, whom I uphold; and Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth;” and it is called “Servant” from Divine Truth, whereby those things were effected, and “Elect” from Divine Good. That He had Divine Truth whereby He effected all things, is understood by “I will put My spirit upon Him, and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations; the “spirit of Jehovah” is the Divine Truth, and to “bring forth judgment to the nations” is to instruct. The reason of His being called “blind” and” deaf” is, because the Lord is as if He did not see and perceive the sins of men, for He leads men gently, “bending and not breaking,” and so withdrawing them from evils and leading them to Good; wherefore neither does He chastise nor punish, as if He saw and perceived. This is what is understood by “Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel?” “Blind” and “Servant” being mentioned with relation to Divine Truth, and “deaf” and “Angel” with relation to Divine Good; for “blind” has relation to the understanding, aud thence to perception, and “deaf” has relation to perception, and thence to the will. By these words, therefore, is understood that the Lord appears not to see, although the Divine Truth is His from which He understands all things, and that He appears not to will according to what He perceives, although the Divine Good is His from which all things are possible to Him. A. E. 409.

21 But Jehovah was well pleased on account of His justice; He hath magnified the law, and made it honourable.

Verse 21. He hath magnified the law, and made it honourable [or rather illustrious.-[It does not appear that Swedenborg has quoted this verse, but it implies, we apprehend, that the Lord, by the glorification of His Humanity, has filled the “Law,” that is, the Word, with a greater abundance of His divine “spirit and life.” See John x. 10; also Isa. xxx. 25, 26, Exposition.]

22 But this is a people spoiled and plundered; all their young men are taken in the snare, and are hidden in the prison-houses: they are become a prey, and there was none to deliver; a spoil, and no one said, Restore.
23 Who is there among you that will give ear to this; that will hearken, and attend to it, for the aftertime?

Verse 22. All their young men are hidden in the prison-houses, &c. “Young men,” in the internal sense, are the Truths of faith, which are said to be “hidden” and to “become a prey,” when they are no longer acknowledged. A. C. 5037.
As to “young men,” both in a good and in a bad sense, see above, Chap. xxxi. 8, Exposition.

24 Who hath given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the plunderers? Is it not Jehovah; He against whom we have sinned; in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law’ they would not obey?
25 Therefore poured He out upon them the burning of His angel, and the violence of war: and it kindled a flame round about Him, yet He did not regard it; and it burned Him, yet He did not lay it to heart.

Verse 24. That to “walk” signifies to live, and, when predicated of the Lord, Life itself, is from appearanees in the spiritual world, where all walk according to their life, the evil in no other ways than such as lead to hell, but the good in no other ways than in such as lead to heaven; wherefore all spirits are known there from the ways wherein they walk. There actually appear also ways, but to the evil no other than ways to hell, and to the good no other than ways to heaven, by which means everyone is brought to his own society. From this circumstance it is, that to “walk” signifies to live. Concerning these “ways” and “walking” therein, in the spiritual world, see what is said in the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 195, 479; and in the small work on the Last Judgment, n. 48. A. E. 97.

Verses 2,1, 25. “The heat [or burning] of His anger” signifies repugnance against the false of evil. “Jacob” here [meaning those “who have sinned against Jehovah”] stands for those who are in evil, and “Israel” for those who are in the false of evil. “Wrath” [or burning, excandescentia] and “anger” [ira] are often mentioned in the Word, but in the internal sense they do not signify wrath and anger, but that which is repugnant; and this because whatsoever is repugnant to any affection produces wrath or anger, so that in the internal sense these things are only repugnancies; it is called “wrath” because it is repugnant to Truth, and “anger” because it is repugnant to Good. But, in the opposite sense, “wrath” is that which is repugnant to the false and its affection, that is, to the principles of the false; and “anger” that which is repugnant to evil and its cupidity, that is, to the love of self and of the world, and in this sense “wrath” is properly wrath, and “anger” is properly anger; but, when they are predicated of Good und Truth, “wrath” and “anger” are then properly zeal, which, because in the external form it appears similar to “wrath” and “anger” in a bad sense, it is hence, in the literal sense, also so called. A. C. 3614.
In respect to “anger,” when ascribed to Jehovah, see above, Chap. i. 24; ix. 12, 17, 21, Exposition.
That “fire” is anger from the affection of evil, is because anger is thence derived: for when that which a man loves is impugned, a fiery principle bursts forth, and as it were burns. Hence it is that anger is described in the Word by “fire,” and it is said to burn, as in Isa. xlii. 25; Psalm xviii 8. A. C. 9143.

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