Isaiah 50

1 THUS saith Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or who is he among My creditors to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye been sold; and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

VERSE 1. That the church is called a “mother,” appears from the following passages:-“Jehovah said, Contend with your mother; she is not My wife , and I am not her Husband,” &c. (Hosea ii. 2, 5.) Again :-” Thou art thy mother’s daughter, that loatheth her Husband.” (Ezek. xvi. 40.) Again: “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away?” &c. (Isa. l. 1.) Again:-” Thy mother was as a vine planted near waters, bearing fruit;” [Ezek. xix. 10.) speaking of the Jewish church. Again:-” Jesus stretching out His hand to the disciples, said, My mother and My brethren are they who hear the Word of God, and do it;” (Matt. xii. 48, 49; Mark iii. 33-35; Luke viii. 21.) by the Lord’s “disciples” is meant the church. Again:-There was standing by the cross of Jesus His mother; and Jesus seeing the mother and the disciple standing by whom He loved, saith to His mother, Woman, behold thy son! and He saith to the disciple, Behold thy mother! Wherefore from that hour the disciple took her into his own.” (John xix. 25-;27.) By these words is implied that the Lord did not acknowledge Mary as a mother, but the church, wherefore He calls her “woman,” and the “mother” of the disciple. The reason why the Lord called her the “mother.” of this disciple, or of John, was, because “John” represented the church as to the Goods of charity, which Goods are the church in real effect; therefore it is said that “he took her into his own.” That “Peter” represented Truth and Faith, “James” Charity, and “John” the works of Charity, may be seen in the Apocalupse Revealed, n. 5, 5, 790, 708, 879; and that the “twelve disciples” together represented the church as to all its [principles], may be seen, n. 233, 790, 903, 915. C. L. 119.
That the Jewish nation had not any conjugial principle, whether understood in a spiritual or in a natural sense, is very manifest from this consideration, that they were permitted to marry several wives; for where there is a conjugial principle, understood in a spiritual sense, that is, where the Good and the Truth of the church are, consequently where the church is, this is in no wise perrnitted; for a genuine conjugial principle is in no case given except with those with whom the church or kingdom of the Lord is, and with these only between two, n. 1907, 2740. Marriage between two who are in genuine conjugial love, corresponds to the heavenly marriage, that is, to the conjunction of Good and Truth, the “husband” corresponding to Good, and the “wife” to the Truth of that Good; also, when they are in genuine conjugial love, they are in that marriage. Therefore, where the church is, there it is never permitted to marry more wives than one; but whereas there was no church amongst tho posterity of Jacob, but only the representative or type of a church, or the external of the church without its internal, n. 4307, 4500, therefore with that posterity it was permitted. And, moreover, the marriage of one husband with several wives would present in heaven the idea, or image, as if one Good might be conjoined with several Truths which are not in accord. with each other, and thus that Good was none; for Good becomes none in consequence of Truths not agreeing together, since Good derives its quality from Truths, and their agreement with each other. It would also present an image as if the church was not one, but several, and, these distinct among themselves, according to the Truths of faith, or according to doctrinals, when yet it is one where Good is its essential, and this essential is qualified, and, as it were, modified by Truths. The church is an image of heaven, for it is the Lord’s kingdom on earth; heaven is distinguished into many general societies, and into lesser ones subordinate to the general ones, but still they are one by virtue of Good, the Truths of faith being there according to Good congruously; for they regard Good, and are derived from it. If heaven was distinct according to the Truths of faith, and not according to Good, there would be no heaven, since there would be nothing of unanimity, for one principle of life, or one soul, could not be in its inhabitants from the Lord; this is only given in the principle of Good” that is, in love to the Lord; and in love towards the neighbour; for love conjoins all, and when the love of what is Good and True is in each, then there is a common principle which is from the Lord, thus the Lord, who conjoins all. The love of what is Good and True is what is called “love towards the neiqhbour,” for the “neighbour” is one who is principled in Good and the Truth thence derived, and; in the abstract sense, Good itself and its Truth. From these considerations it may be manifest why rnarriage within the church must be between one husband and one wife; and why it was permitted to the posterity of Jacob to marry several wives; and that the reason of this was, because there was no church among them, and consequently the representative of a church could not be instituted by marriaqes, because they were in principles contrary to conjugial love. A. C. 4837.
The bill of divorcement.-“But the Jews said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away; and Jesus answering, said unto them, For the hardness of your heart, he wrote you this precept.” (Matt. xix. 7, 8.) It appears from this passage, and especially from the divine command to Moses, to “hew him out two tables like unto the former,” (Exod. xxxiv, 1.) that the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, was accommodated to the Jewish nation, and would therefore have been different if that nation had been of a different quality. For the sake of that nation, therefore, it was permitted to marry several wives, which was a thing altogether unknown in ancient times; and also to put away their wives for various causes; hence laws were enacted concerning such marriages and divorces which otherwise would not have entered the external of the Word. Therefore this external is called by the Lord [the external] of Moses, and is said to be granted on account of “the hardness of their heart.” A. C. 10,603.
Behold, for your iniquities have ye been sold; and for your transgressions is your mother put away.-“Mother” is the church; to “sell” is to alienate. That to “sell,” in the internal sense, is [when mentioned in a bad sense] to alienate those things which are of faith and charity, consequently those things which make the man of the internal church, is evident from this circumstance, that in the spiritual world there is no buying and selling such as there is upon earth; but it is the appropriation of what is Good and True which is understood by “buying,” and the alienation [or removal] of them by “selling.” By “selling” is also signified the communication of the knowledges of what is Good and True, because by ” merchandising ” is signified the procuring and the communication of those knowledges, but then it is said, “selling, but not by silver.” A. C. 5886. See also A. E. 840.
As to “merchandising,” when mentioned in the Word, see above Chap. xxiii, 18, Exposition.
Your iniquities;–your transgressions.-In the Word evils are sometimes called “sins,” sometimes “iniquities,” and sometimes “transgressions;” but what is understood in particular by the one and by the other is only evident from the internal sense. “Transgressions” are evils against the Truths of faith; “iniquities,” against the Goods of faith; and “sins” are evils against the Goods of charity and love;-the two former proceed from a perverse understanding, but the latter from a depraved will. The “mother” is the church, which is said to be “put away” when she recedes from faith. A. C. 9156.

2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? and when I called, none answered? Is My hand so greatly shortened, that it cannot redeem? and is there no power in Me to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea; I make the rivers a desert; so that their fish putrefy, because there is no water; and they die for thirst.

Verse 2. See above, Chap. xli, 28, Exposition.
None answered.-That “not to answer” signifies not to receive and not to reciprocate, A. C. 2941. See also Chap. xxxvi. 21, Exposition.
Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea, &c.-To “dry up the sea” signifies a plenary defect of the cornmon [or general] knowledges of Truth; to “make the rivers a desert,” signifies the deprivation of all Truth, and thence of intelligence; “their fish will putrefy,” denotes that the scieentifics of the natural man shall be without any spiritual life, which is when they are applied to confirm falses against the Truths of the church; “because there is no water,” signifies because there is not any Truth; and to “die of thirst,” means the extinction of Truth. That “rivers” signify such things as appertain to intelligence, may be seen in Chap. xxx. 25, 26; xxxiii. 20, 21; xli, 17, 18, Exposition; that “desert” signifies where there is no Good, because there is no Truth, see Chap. xxxv. 4-6; xliii. 19, 20, Exposition; that “fish” signifies the scientific [principle] which is of the natural man, see Chap. xix. 8, Exposition; that “water” denotes Truth, has been frequently shewn above. To “die of thirst” signifies the deprivation of spiritual life from defect of Truth. A. E. 270.
By “rebuke” is signified the desolation of all Truth; by the “sea” is denoted where Truth is in its ultimates; by “water” is meant Truth from a spiritual origin; by “dying of thirst” is signified desolation for the want of that Truth; by the “fishes of the sea becoming putrid” are understood those who are in the ultimates of Truth in whom there is not any life from a spiritual origin. A. E. 342.
By the “rebuke of Jehovah” is understood the destruction of the church, which is when there is not any knowledge of Truth and of Good, or when there is not any living knowledge, because no perception; by “drying up the sea” is signified to deprive the natural man of true scientifics, and hence of natural life derived from spiritual; by “making the rivers a desert” is meant to deprive the rational man in like manner, whence he has no longer any intelligence; by “their fish putrifying because there is no water, and they die for thirst,” signifies that there IS no longer any living scientific, because there is no Truth. “Fish” is the scientific; “water” is Truth’ to “putrefy” is to die as to the spiritual life. A. E. 513.

3 I clothe the heavens with blackness; and sackcloth I make their covering.

Verse 3. ” Blackness” is the false of evil. Infernals who are in falses from evil appear black in the light of heaven. A. E. 412.
[The heavens in the spiritual world, as seen by those who are in the falses of evil, appear black, or as covered with blackness.]
Sackcloth I make their covering.-In respect to “sackcloth” and its signification, see Chap. xv. 3, Exposition.

4 The Lord Jehovih hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I might know how to speak in season a word to the weary: He wakeneth, morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear, to hearken as the learned.
5 The Lord Jehovih hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious; neither did I turn away backward.
6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: my face I hid not from calumnies and spitting.
7 For the Lord Jehovih will help me; therefore I am not ashamed: therefore have I set my face as a flint; and I know that I shall not be confounded.
8 He that justifieth me is near: who will contend with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.
9 Behold, the Lord Jehovih will help me: who is he that shall condemn me? Lo! all of them shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall devour them,

Verse 4. [The tongue of the learned signifies those who are instructed in divine Truths.]
To speak in season a word to the weary.-To be “weary” denotes a state of temptation-combat. A. C. 3318. See also 3321.
He wakeneth, morning by morning, He wakeneth. mine ear &c.-Inasmuch as “morning” signifies the Lord, His coming, likewise His kingdom and church, as also the Good of love which is from Him hence it may appear what is understood by “morning” in the above passage. A. E. 179.
Verses 4, 5, 7, 9. The Lord Jehovih.-The Lord is called “Lord [Adonai] Jehovih” especially, when the help of His Omnipotence is sought for, and supplicated. A. C. 2921. See also A. C. 1793; and
above, Chap. iii. 15, note and Exposition.

10 Who is there among you that feareth Jehovah, that hearkeneth unto the voice of His Servant; that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and stay himself upon his God.

Verse 10. To “fear Jehovah” is to worship Him from love; to “hearken unto the voice of His Servant” is to worship Him from faith ;-when one is of the other then there is the celestial marriage. (A. C. 2826.) His “Servant” is the Divine Human. See above, Chap. xlii. 19, Exposition.
As to the “fear of Jehovah,” and as to “fear” as an element of worship, see Chap. xi. 3, Exposition.
Who is there among you that feareth Jehovah,-that walketh in darkness, and hath no light! &c.-From this passage it may appear that by walking, in a spiritual sense, is signified to live, and because it signifies to live, therefore, when predicated of the Lord, Life itself is understood; for the Lord is Life itself, and all others are recipients of life from Him, as may be seen above, n. 82, 84. A. E. 97.

11 Behold, all ye who kindle a fire; who encompass yourselves with sparks: walk ye in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which ye have kindled. This ye shall have at My hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

Verse 11. All ye who kindle a fire, &c.-In respect to “fire” in a bad sense, as signifying the evil of lusts and cupidities arising from the love of self and of the world, see Chap. ix. 17-19; xxxiii. 11, 12, 14, Exposition.

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