Isaiah 52

1 AWAKE, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of thy beauty, O Jerusalem, thou city of holiness! for no more shall enter into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

VERSE 1. “Zion,” in the Word, signifies the celestial kingdom of the Lord, thus also the celestial church; and “Jerusalem,” the spiritual kingdom and the spiritual church. What is the celestial kingdom, and what the spiritual kingdom, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 20-28. “The garments of beauty which Jerusalem should put on,” are divine Truths; “the uncircumcised and the unclean who shall not come into her,” are they who are in evils and falses. A. E 195.
No more shall enter into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. “Circumcision,” or the cutting off of the foreskin, signified nothing else but the removing and wiping away of those things which obstructed and defiled heavenly love, which are the evils originating in lusts, particularly in the lusts of self-love and the falsities thence derived. The reason of this signification is, because the genitals of both sexes represent heavenly love. There are three kinds of love which constitute the celestial things of the Lord’s kingdom, viz., conjugial love, love towards infants, and the love of society, or mutual love. Of all these, conjugial love is the principal; for it has for its end the greatest use, viz., the propagation of the human race, and thereby of the Lord’s kingdom, of which the human race is a seminary. Love towards infants follows next in order of preference, being derived from conjugial love. Afterwards succeeds the love of society, or mutual love. Watsoever covers, obstructs, and defiles these loves, is signified by the foreskin, the cutting off of which, or “circumcision,” was therefore made representative; for, in proportion as the evils originating in lusts and the falsities thence derived are removed, man is purified and heavenly love is enabled to appear. Hence it is plain that “circumcision,” in the internal sense, signifies purity. That “circumcision” is only a sign of a covenant or of conjunction, may evidently appear from this consideration, that the circumcision of the foreskin is a thing of no consequence at all, without the circumcision of the heart,” and that the “circumcision of the heart,” which is purification from those defiling loves, is what is signified. This appears manifest from the following passages of the Word:-“Jehovah God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love Jehovah God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (Deut. xxx, 6.) From which words it is evident that to “circumcise the heart” signifies to be purified from defiling loves, so that Jehovah God, or the Lord, rnay be loved with all the heart and with all the soul. So in Jeremiah: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns; circumcise yourselves to Jehovah, and take away the foreskin of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (iv. 3, 4.) To “circumcise themselves to Jehovah,” and to “take away the foreskin of the heart,” is nothing else but to remove such things as obstruct heavenly love; hence also it appears that “circumcision of the heart” is the interior thing which is signified by “circumcision of the foreskin.” A. C. 2039.
Verses 1, 2. Put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of beauty, O Jerusalem, thou city of holiness! &c.-Where by “Zion” is understood the church which is in the Good of love to the Lord. The Truth from that Good is signified by “the strength which Zion shall put on;” and the Truths of doctrine appertaining to that church are understood by “the garments of beauty which Jerusalem shall put on;” by “the uncircumcised and the unclean who shall not come in any more,” are signified the evils of earthly loves, and their falses. By “shaking herself from the dust, arising, and sitting,” when predicated of Jerusalem, is understood liberation from infernal falses, and elevation to the Truths of heaven; by “loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion,” is signified deliverance. from detention or from being withheld from Truths by falses, which hinder the reception of influx out of heaven; the “daughter of Zion” denotes those who are in the affection of Truth from the Good of love from the Lord. In the following verses of this chapter it is said of the sons of Israel that “they went down to sojourn in Egypt,” and that “the Assyrian had oppressed them,” whereby is signified that they ‘were secluded from Truths by reasonings from the scientifics of the natural man. A. E. 811.

2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise; sit, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion!

Verse 2. Treating of the establishment of the New Church by the Lord, which, together with its doctrine, is here signified by “Jerusalem,” and by the “daughter of Zion.” To reject falses and evils, and to be in Truths and Goods, is signified by “shaking herself from’ the dust, arising, and sitting;” likewise by “loosing herself from the bands of her neck,”-the “bands of the neck” denoting falses, which hinder ‘Truths from entering. That to “sit” is an expression significative of essence and endurance in the state of a thing and of the life, may appear from those passages in the Word where mention is made of “standing before Jehovah,” of “standing before Him ,” and of “walking before Him.” That to “sit before Jehovah” denotes esse, or to be with Him, thus also to will and to act from Him; and that to “stand before Him” denotes to look to, or regard and understand what He wills; and that to “walk before Him” denotes to live according to His precepts, thus from Him. Whereas to “sit” involves such things; therefore by the same expression, in the Hebrew tongue, is signified to abide and to dwell. A. E. 687.

3 For thus saith Jehovah, For nought have ye sold yourselves; and not with silver shall ye be redeemed.
4 For thus saith the Lord Jehovih, My people went down at the first to Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them for nought.

Verses 3, 4. Treating of the desolation of Truth by scientifics, and by the reasonings of the natural man therefrom; for by “My people went down to Egypt, to sojourn there,” is signified the instruction of the natural man by scientifics and by knowledges of Truth,-“Egypt” signifying scientifics and also knowledges, but such as are from the literal sense of the Word, and to “sojourn” signifies to be instructed. By “the Assyrian oppressing them without cause [or by nothing],” is understood the falsification of those things by the reasonings of the natural man; the “Assyrian” signifying reasonings, and to “oppress by nothing” falsification; for falses are nothing, because there is nothing of Truth in them, which is the case when the natural man, separate from the spiritual, draws conclusions. Hence it is that it is premised-“Ye are sold, or have sold yourselves for nought [gratis]; ye shall not be redeemed by silver;” to be “sold gratis” signifying of themselves, or of the proprium, to alienate themselves and addict themselves to falses; and “not to be redeemed by silver” signifying that they cannot be vindicated from the falses of evil by Truth,-“silver” here denotes Truth, find to be “redeemed” signifies to be vindicated from the falses of evil, and to be reformed. A. E. 328.

5 And now, what have I here, saith Jehovah, [seeing] that My people is taken away for nought? and they that rule over them make them to howl, saith Jehovah; and continually every day is My name blasphemed.

Verse 5. Every day is My name blasphemed.-What is meant by “blaspheming the Lord’s name,” see above, Chap. xxxvii. 6, 7, 37, 38, Exposition.

6 Therefore shall My people know My name; in that day shall they know that I am He that doth speak: behold, it is I.

Verse 6. As to the meaning of “name,” and of being “called by a name,” see Chap. iv. 1; xxvi. 8, Exposition.

7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation! that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Verse 7. In this passage the Lord is treated of, and by the “peace” here mentioned is signified the Lord Himself and thence heaven to those who are conjoined to Him. To “publish good tidings,” signifies to preach those things; and as that conjunction is effected by love, therefore mention is made of “mountains,” and also of “Zion,”-“mountains” signifying the Good of love to the Lord, and “Zion” the church which is principled in that Good. The Lord is also uuderstood by “Thy God reigneth!” Inasrnuch, thou, as the conjunction of Truth and Good from conjunction with the Lord is signified by “peace,” therefore it is said that “He publisheth peace, bringeth good tidings of Good, and publisheth salvation;” to “bring good tidings of Good” signifies conjunction with Him by Truths, and by a life according to them, for hereby comes salvation. A. E. 365.
That bringeth good tidings of good, that publislieth salvation!-For what is said respecting “salvation” or ” eternal life, ” when mentioned in the Word, see Chap, xlvi. 13, Exposition.

8 The voice of thy watchmen; they shall lift up their voice; they shall sing together: for eye to eye shall they see, when Jehovah returneth to Zion.

Verse 8. “Watchmen” signify those who examine the Scriptures concerning the coming of the Lord; their “voice” is the Word, which is the Divine Truth. A. C. 9926.

9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem! for Jehovah hath comforted His people; He hath redeemed Jerusalem!

Verse 9. As to “joy and gladness,” see Chap. li. 11; what it is to be deprived of these, see Chap. xvi. 10; and as to “singing,” see Chap. xliv. 23, Exposition.

10 Jehovah hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Verse 10. What the “arm of Jehovah” is His Divine Omnipotence in His Divine Human, see Chap. xxxiii, 2; xl. 10, 12; li. 4, 5, 9, 10, Exposition.
All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.-What is meant by “the ends of the earth,” see Chap. xli. 5, 18; xliii. 5, 6, Exposition.

11 Depart. ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence; touch no unclean thing: go ye out from the midst of her; be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of Jehovah!

Verse 11. Touch no unclean thing, &c.-By the “unclean things” which the people of Israel were commanded not to touch, (see Numb. xix. 11, 13, 16, 21, 22; also Lev. xi. 31-36.) are signified various kinds of evils, and hence of falses, which are from the hells; and by “touching them” was meant communication, translation, and reception. Everything “unclean” denoted some evil in particular; for it is evils which render a man unclean, because they infect his soul. From evil spirits and genii exude the evils of their hearts, and according to the persuasions of evil they infect those present; it is this contagion which is signified by “the touch of unclean things.” A. C. 10,130.
Be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of Jehovah.-The “vessels of gold and silver” from the temple at Jerusalem signified the Goods and Truths of the church; the “vessels of brass,” the Truths of natural Good, or subservient scientifics, Thus “vessels,” in general, signify knowledges, and intellectual things recipient of Truths and Goods from the Lord. A. E. 220, 355, 537.
[As all who are instructed in the knowledges of Truth and Goodness “bear these vessels,” therefore the cornmaud–“Be ye clean, that bear
the vessels of the Lord,” is of vital importance to every member of the church. In the most extended sense, everything created is a vessel receptive of life from the Lord; thus our bodies, as well as our minds, are vessels receptive of His life. To be “clean” as to our bodily life, is to keep in subjection all disorderly appetites, so that “whether we eat, or whether we drink, we may do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor.x. 31.]

12 For not in haste shall ye go forth; and not by flight sball ye proceed: for Jehovah will go before you; and the God of Israel will gather up your rear.

Verse 12. The God of Israel will gather up your rear.-To “gather up the rear,” is to go behind the army to protect them in the rear; thus “the angel and the pillar of the cloud went behind the people of Israel, to protect them against the Egyptians,” (Exod. xiv. 19, 20.) by which was signified protection lest the false of evil should flow into the will-principle; for, in the internal sense, the falses of evil were in this case signified by the “Egyptians.” The reason why it denotes lest they should flow into the will-principle is, because in the Grand Man, or in the spiritual world, the things of the will are presented from the back or behind, and the things of the understanding from the face or before. As to what concerns influx into the will-principle and into the intellectual-principle of man, it is to be noted that the utmost caution is used by the Lord to prevent the infernals from flowing in into the will-principle of man, for if they were to flow in into his will-principle after he is regenerated, or made a church, it would be all over with him, for his will-principle is nothing but evil. Hence it is that the man of the spiritual church is regenerated by the Lord as to the intellectual part, and that in this part a new will-principle is formed, which is altogether separated from the will-principle which man has hereditarily; on which subject, see n. 863, 875. From these considerations it may now be manifest whence it is that by “going behind them” [or by “gathering up the rear “] is signified protection lest the false of evil should flow in into the will-principle. A. C. 8184.

13 Behold, My Servant shall act prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

14 In like manner as many were astonished at Thee; so disfigured was His countenance, more than that of any man, and His form more than that of the sons of men:

Verse 13. Treating of the Lord, whose Divine Human is called a “Servant,” for the same reason that was mentioned above. (See Chap. xlii. 19, Exposition.) The glorification of His Human is understood by “He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.” A. E. 409.

15 Thus shall He sprinkle many nations; before Him shall kings shut their mouth: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Verse 15. These words treat of the Lord’s advent. “Nations” stand for those who are affected with Goods, and “kings” for those who are affected with Truths. A. E. 2015.

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