1 Thus saith Jehovah, Keep ye judgment, and do justice; for My salvation is near to come, and My justice to be revealed.
VERSE 1. By “judgment” is signified the Truth which is of faith, and by “justice” the Good which is of charity, wherefore it is said, “to do justice.” That “justice” is the Good of charity from the Lord, is meant by “My justice is near to be revealed.” In other passages also mention is made of “judgment” and” justice;” and by “judgment” is denoted Truth, and by “justice” Good, as in Jeremiah:-“Thus saith Jehovah, Do ye justice and judgment, and deliver him that is spoiled from the hand of the oppressor. Woe unto him that buildeth his house in non-justice, and his chambers in non-judqment. Did not thy father eat and drink, and did judgment and justice, then he had good?” (xxii. 3, 13, 15.) where “judgment” denotes those things which are of Truth, and “justice” those things which are of Good. A. G. 9263.
2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that holdeth it fast; that keepeth the Sabbath from profaning it, and that keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
Verses 2-7. He who does not know what the ” Sabbath” represented, and hence what it signified, must needs be ignorant also why it was accounted the most holy of all things; but the reason why it was accounted most holy was, because, in the supreme sense, it represented the union of the Divine [principle] and of the Divine Human in the Lord; and, in the respective sense, the conjunction of the Divine Human of the Lord with the human race. Hence the “Sabbath” was most holy; and inasmuch as it represented those things, it also represented heaven as to the conjunction of Good and Truth, which conjunction is called the heavenly marriage; and whereas the conjunction of Good and Truth is effected from the Lord alone, and nothing of it from man, and whereas it is effected in a state of peace, therefore it was most severely forbidden that man on this occasion should do any work, insomuch that “the soul which did it was cut off;” on which subject it is thus written in Moses :-“Ye shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy unto you; he who profaneth it by dying shall die: because every one who doeth work in it, this soul shall be cut off from the midst of his people.” (Exod. xxxi. 14.) “Therefore he was stoned who only gathered sticks on that day.” (Numb. xv. 32-36.) Therefore also the commandment concerning the “Sabbath” is the third commandment in the Decalogue, immediately following the two concernIng the holy worship of Jehovah; (Exod. xx. 8; Deut. v. 12.) and on this account the “Sabbath” is called “an eternal covenant;” (Exod. xxxi. 10.) for by a “covenant” is understood conjunction, n. 665, 666. From these considerations it may now be manifest what is meant, in the internal sense, by those things which are said concerning the “Sabbath” in the following passages, as in Isaiah:-“Blessed is the man that keepeth the Sabbath. Thus saith Jehovah to the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,” &c. (lvi. 2-7.) From this passage it is evident that by those who” “sanctify the Sabbath” are meant those who are in conjunction with the Lord. That they shall be in heaven, is signified by “a place and a name, better than of sons and of daughters, being given them in the house of Jehovah; an everlasting name, which shall not be cut off;” and by their being “brought unto the mountain of holiness,” A. C. 8495. See also Chap, lviii. 13, Exposition.
3 And let not the son of the stranger, that cleaveth unto Jehovah, speak, saying, Jehovah hath utterly separated me from His people; neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 For thus saith Jehovah to the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose that in which I delight, and take hold of My covenant;
5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name, better than of sons and of daughters; an everlasting name will I give them, which shall not be cut off.
Verse 3.The “sons of the stranger” are all the nations who, because they were not in the Jewish church, thought that they could not become heirs [of the Lord’s kingdom], as was falsely supposed by many about the time of the first coming of God Messiah; a “eunuch” is one who has no offspnng, and on account of impotence thinks he cannot have any. The “eunuch” here is put for the “barren;” (see chap. liv. 1.) hence it is quite evident that in the internal or spiritual sense a “barren woman and her children” are not treated of, but those things which are in the truly spiritual sense. The “eunuch,” therefore, stands-for those who believe that they have no fruit of faith from themselves, because they have no faith; thus for those who acknowledge their impotence, that they can by no means have faith from themselves, thus who think themselves unworthy. This also is what is meant by a “dry tree,” namely, barrenness. Such “eunuchs” are here meant as continually keep the kingdom of God represented in themselves, that is, “who keep the Sabbaths, and who choose that in which the Lord delights, and keep His covenant,” &c. (Swedenborg’s Notes on Isaiah, p. 140.)
To “cleave unto Jehovah,” is to keep His precepts, which is the duty of spiritual love; for no one can keep the precepts of God from the heart, but he who is in the Good of charity to the neighbour. A. C. 3875.
Verses 3, 4. Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree; for thus saith Jehovah to the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, &c.-In Matt. xix, 12, the Lord, in His answer to the disciples respecting what He had said to the Pharisees concerning divorcement, speaks of “eunuchs,”saying-“There are eunuchs who were so born from the mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs of men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to comprehend it, let him comprehend it.”
The reason why the Lord afterwards spake concerning “eunuchs” was, because the disciples said-“If the case be so of a man with a wife, it is not expedient to marry;” and because marriages with the Jewish nation, which was “hard of heart,” in consequence of being in falses derived from evil, were not marriages, but adulteries, as understood in the spiritual sense; wherefore, also, that nation was called by the Lord “an adulterous nation;” on which account the Lord spake concerning “eunuchs,” by whom are meant those who are not willing to enter into marriage [such as it was understood by the Jews], that is, to be conjoined with the affection of evil, because thus the understanding of Truth and of Good would be perverted and dissipated; thus by “eunuchs” are meant [in the spiritual sense] both the married and unmarried with whom the understanding of Truth and of Good is conjoined with the affection of Truth and Good. The reason why they are called” eunuchs” is, because they have no lasciviousness, such as appertains to those who, from “hardness of heart,” in which the Jews were, married several wives, and divorced each of them upon every occasion. It is first to be noted, that the marriage of the understanding of Truth and of Good with the affection of Truth and of Good, is, in general, from a three-fold origin, and hence in a three-fold degree. In the supreme degree is the marriage of those who are called celestial; in an inferior degree, of those who are called spiritual; and in the lowest degree, of those who are natural; for there are so many degrees of the interiors of man. Hence there are three heavens, and they who are in the supreme heaven are called celestial; they who are in the inferior heaven are called spiritual; and they who are in the lowest are called natural. The marriage of the understanding of Truth and of Good with the affection of Truth and of Good, amongst the celestial, is meant by “eunuchs who have been born eunuchs from the mother’s womb,” by reason that they, during regeneration, receive Truths immediately into the life by the love of them; hence it is that they know Truths from the Truths themselves; their regeneration by the Lord, through love to Him, is signified by being made “eunuchs from the womb,” thus without the lasciviousness of adultery. But the marriage of the understanding of Truth and of Good with the affection of Truth and of Good, amongst the spiritual, is meant by “eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men,” for these are not regenerated in the womb, that is, by love, but by Truths first received in the memory, and next intellectually in the thought, and thus, lastly, in the life by a certain spiritual affection; these are said to be made “eunuchs of men,” because they are reformed by the understanding grounded in the memory; and “man” signifies that understanding, as also above, where mention is made of “man and wife.” But the marriage of the understanding of Truth and of Good with the affection of Truth and of Good, amongst the natural, is meant by “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs;” for the natural, by knowledges and sciences, procure to themselves natural light, and by Good of life, according to those sciences, they procure affection, and thence conscience; and because they know no other than that they themselves do this (for the natural man does not enjoy intelligence like the spiritual man, nor perception like the celestial man), hence it is that they are those “who make themselves eunuchs;” but it is so said from the appearance, and from the obscure faith appertaining to them. These, therefore, are the things that are meant by being made “eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God;” and whereas few comprehend these things, it is said by the Lord-” He who is able to comprehend, let him comprehend it.” A. E. 710.
Verse 5. To them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name, &c.-That the literal sense of the Word is signified by a “wall,” see A. E. 811, 1307, 1311; and what it is to be “called by a name,” see Chap. iv. 1; also Chap. xxvi. 8, Exposition.
6 And the sons of the stranger, who cleave unto Jehovah, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of Jehovah, and to become His servants: everyone that keepeth the Sabbath from profaning it, and that taketh hold of My covenant;
7 Them will I bring unto the mountain of My holiness, and I will make them rejoice in the house of My prayer: their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be well-pleasing on Mine altar; for My house shall be called the house of prayer for all peoples.
Verse 6. Because to “minister” is predicated of the Good of love, it is therefore said, “to minister unto Jehovah, and to love His name;” and, therefore, concerning the Lord Himself, that He was about to “minister.” From these considerations it may now appear that by “ministering” is meant all which is done from tho Good of love itself. A. E. 155.
Verses 6, 7. Every one that keepeth the Sabbath from profaning it, and that taketh hold of My covenant; them will I bring unto the mountain. of My holiness, and I will make them rejoice in the house of My prayer, &c.-By the “Sabbath” is signified the conjunction of the Lord with heaven and the church, thus with those who are therein; wherefore by “keeping the Sabbath” is understood to be in conjunction with the Lord; and by “observing His covenant” is meant conjunction by a life according to the precepts of the Lord, for a “covenant” denotes conjunction, and conjunction is effected by a life according to the precepts, whence the precepts of the Decalogue were called a covenant.” “Them will I bring unto the mountain of My holiness, signifies that they shall be gifted with the Good of love; the “mountain of holiness” denoting the heaven where the Good of love to the Lord prevails, and consequently also the Good of love accordIng to its quality in that heaven. “I will make them rejoice in the house of My prayer,” signifles that they shall be gifted with spiritual Truths; the “house of prayer,” or the temple, denoting the heaven where spiritual Truths are, and thus also such spiritual Truths as there prevail. “Their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be well-pleasing on Mine altar,” signifies acceptable worship from the Good of love by spiritual Truths; “burnt-offerings” denoting worship from the Good of love, and “sacrifices” worship from Truths derived from that Good; Truths from Good are what are called spiritual Truths; “upon the altar” signifies in heaven and in the church. A. E. 391.
8 Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, who gathereth together the outcasts. of Israel: Yet will I gather others unto him, beside those that are gathered.
9 All ye beasts of My fields, come to devour; all ye, beasts in the forest!
Verses 8, 9. By “the outcasts of Israel, whom the Lord gathereth together,” are signified all in the church who are in Truths from Good, and separated from those therein who are in falses from evil. The same are also understood by “the wild beasts of the fields of the Lord Jehovih;” for by “field” is signifled the church as to the implantation of the Truth of doctrine. But the Gentiles who are without the church are understood by “the wild beasts in the forest;” the “forest” denoting the natural and sensual man and the “wild beast” his science and obscure intelligence thence derived. That such things are signified by “the wild beast of the field” and by “the wild beast in the forest,” is evident, for it is said-“All ye beasts of My fields, come to devour; all ye beasts in the forest! “-to “eat” ‘[or to devour] denoting instruction and appropriation. inasmuch as most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise have “- beasts” and “Wild beasts,” in which sense the former signify evil affections, which are cupidities of adulterating and destroying the Goods of the church; and the latter the cupidities of falsifying and thus of destroying the Truths of the church. A. E. 650.
As by “,wild beast” [fera] is signified, in a bad sense, the false, and as the false is from a two-fold origin, namely, from what is evil, and from probity, therefore by “wild beast” in the Word are also signified the well-disposed nations which, although they are in the false, are yet in probity of life. In this sense the term is used in David:-“Every wild beast of the forest is Mine, and the beasts upon a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains; and the wild beast of My fields is with Me.” (Psalm l. 10, 11.) A. C. 9335.
“Animals,” when mentioned in the Word, signify man as to his affections; harmless and useful “beasts” signify man as to his good affections, and noxious and useless “beasts” signify him as to his evil affections; wherefore the men of the church, in general, are called “sheep,” a congregation of them is called a “flock” and he who teaches is called a “shepherd.” A. R.567.
10 His watchmen are blind, all of them; they have no knowledge: they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; going about, lying down, loving to slumber.
Verse 10. ” Dogs” signify those who, in the church, are vile [or unregenerate], likewise those who are out of the church, also those who babble much about the things of the church, and understand little; and, in the opposite sense, those who are altogether, out of the Faith of the church, and speak disrespectfully of those things which are of Faith. That “dogs” signify those who are out of the church, is manifest from Matthew:-“Jesus said to the woman, who was a Greek, a Syrophoenician, It is not good to take the bread of the sons, and cast it to the dogs. But she said, Certainly, Lord; yet the little dogs also eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s tables. Then Jesus answering, said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was healed from that very hour;” (xv. 26-28; and Mark vii. 27, 28.) where by “sons” are meant those who are within the church, and by “dogs” those who are without. The same is signified by “the dogs who licked the sores of Lazarus;” (Luke xvi, 21.) for by the “rich man,” in the internal sense, is there meant one who is within the church, and hence abounds with spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of Truth and of Good. “Dogs” denote also those who, within the church, are in the lowest place, who babble much about the things of the church, and understand little; and, in the opposite sense, who speak disrespectfully of the things of Faith, as in Isaiah:–“His watchmen are blind, all of them; they have no knowledge: they are all of them dumb dogs, they cannot bark; going about, lying down, loving to slumber.” (lvi. 10.) And in David:–” They make a noise like a dog; they go about in the city. Behold, they belch with their mouth; swords are in their lips,” &c. (Psalm lix. 6, 7, 14.) And in Matthew:-” Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine; lest peradventure they trample them with their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (vii.· 6.) Hence the vilest of all things which was to be cast away, was a “dead dog.” (1 Samuel xvii. 43; 2 Samuel ix. 8; xvi. 9.) A. C. 7784.
Verses 10, 11. The “blind watchmen” are those who from ratiocination are in falsity. (A. C. 2383.) Here the “blind” denote those who do not understand Truths, although they have the Word. That such are signified by the “blind,” is evident, for it is said-“They know not, and cannot understand,” A. E. 239.
11 They are dogs obstinate in soul, they know not to be satisfied; and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, each to his own lucre; from the lowest of them [to the highest].
12 [Saying] Come, I will fetch wine, and we will be drunk with strong drink; and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.
Verse 11. They all look to their own way, each to his own lucre.—“Lucre” signifies everything false from evil which perverts the judgment of the mind” and withdraws it from Truth and Good, as may be evident to everyone who reflects; in which sense “lucre” [or gain] is mentioned many times in the Word, as in Isa. xxxiii. 15; lvi. 11; lvii. 17; Jer. vi. 13; viii. 10. A. C. 8711.
Verses 11, 12. They are dogs obstinate in soul, they know not to be satisfied, &c.-These things are said of those who care about nothing but worldly and earthly things, whereby the internal spiritual man is shut up. As they have no perception of Good and no understanding of Truth, they are called “dogs obstinate in soul, which know not to be satisfied, or satiety,” that is, who cannot receive Good; to “know” having respect to ability, and “satiety” [or to be satisfied], which is predicated of “food,” whereby spiritual nourishment is signified, having respect to Good. By “they are shepherds that cannot understand,” is meant that they have no understanding of Truth; those being called “shepherds” who believe themselves able to instruct others, for to “feed” signifies to instruct; and inasmuch as such love things false and falsified, it is therefore added-” Come, I will fetch wine, and we will be drunk with strong drink.” A. E. 376.
As to “drunkenness,” see above, Chap. xxviii. 1, Exposition.
Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]