1 CRY aloud, spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and declare unto My people their transgressions; and to the house of Jacob their sins.
VERSE 1. Divine Truth itself in heaven is signified by “voices” and “lightnings,” but celestial or angelic Truth adjoined to the Divine, which is beneath or around, is signified by the “voice of a trumpet,” as in Zechariah:-“Jehovah shall appear over them, and His weapon shall go forth as liqlitning; and the Lord Jehovih shall sound with a trumpet, and shall advance in the storms of the south.” (ix.14.) And in David:-“God ascendeth with noise; Jehovah with the voice of a trumpet;” (Psalm xlvii. 5.) where “noise” denotes the Truth of spiritual Good, and the “voice of a trumpet” the Truth of celestial Good. A. C. 8815. See also Chap. xxvii. 13, Exposition.
Declare unto My people their transgressions, &c.-As to the difference in meaning between “transgressions,” “iniquities,” and ” sins,” see Chap. i. 28, Exposition.
2 Yet they seek Me daily, and the knowledge of My ways they desire, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God, that they might inquire of Me the judgments of justice; they delight in approaching to God.
Verse 2. That they might inquire of Me the judgments of justice, &c. –The “judgments of justice” denote divine Truths from Divine Good. A.E. 946. See also A.C. 612; T.C.R. 51; H. H. 216.
3 [Saying] Wherefore have we fasted, and Thou seest not? have we afflicted our soul, and Thou dost not regard? Behold, in the day of your fasting, ye find your pleasure; and all your demands ye exact.
Verse 3. By “fasting” is signified to mourn by reason of a defect of Truth and of Good. A.E.1189.
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and contention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: do not fast as in this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
Verse 4. To “smite with the fist of wickedness,” signifies to smite with full power by falses from evil. 13y the” fist” is signified, full power from Truth in general. It is called general [or common] Truth, because it is generally received, and is everywhere of avail or power; hence to “smite with the fist” is with full force and power, in the spiritual sense, by Truths which are from Good; and, in the opposite sense, by falses which are from evil,-in which sense it is understood in the above passage in Isaiah. A. C. 9025.
5 Is this, then, the fast which I choose? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it that he should bow down his head like a bulrush, and lie down in sackcloth and ashes? Wilt thou call this a fast, a day well-pleasing to Jehovah?
6 Is not this the fast which I choose, to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the bruised go free, and that ye break off every yoke?
Verse 5. Wilt thou call this a fast, a day well-pleasing to Jehovah?–That by “good pleasure,” or what is “well-pleasing” to Jehovah, when predicated concerning men, is signified to live according to His precepts, -which is to love God and our neighbour, is evident, for it is said that His “good pleasure,” or what is “well-pleasing ” to Him, is “to break bread to the hungry, and to cover the naked.” By “breaking bread to the hungry,” is signified from a principle of love to do Good to our neighbour, who is in the desire of Good; and by “covering the naked,” is signified to instruct in Truths him who desires to be instructed. A. E. 295.
Verses 5-7. Whereas to “put on sackcloth”· and to “roll in ashes” represented mourning over evils and falses, it also represented humiliation, and likewise repentance; for the first principle of humiliation on man’s part is to acknowledge that, of himself, he is nothing but what is evil and false; and, in like manner, of repentance, which is not effected but by humiliation, and this by confession of the heart that, of himself, he is such. That to “put on sackcloth” was a representation of humiliation, see 1 Kings xxi. 27-29; that it was a representative of repentance, see Matthew xi. 21; Luke x. 13; out that it was nothing else but a representative, thus only an external thing appertaining to the body, and not an internal thing appertaining to the heart, is evident from Isaiah:–“Is it that he should bow down his head like a bulrush, and lie down in sackcloth and ashes? Wilt thou call this a fast, a day well-pleasing to Jehovah? Is not this the fast which I choose?-to loose tbe bonds of wickedness, to break bread to the hungry?” &c. A. C. 4779.
7 Is it not to break thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the afflicted outcasts into thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Verse 7. By “breaking bread to the hungry,” is signified from charity to communicate and instruct those who are in ignorance, and, at the same time, in the desire of knowing Truths. To “bring the afflicted outcasts into the house;” signifies to amend and restore those who are in falses, and thence in grief; “afllicted outcasts” denoting those who are in grief from falses, for they who are in falses stand without, whereas they who are in Truths are of the house, because the “house” is the intellectual mind, into which Truths only are admitted; for it is opened by Truths originating in Good. On account of which signification it is also added-“When thou seest the naked, tbat thou cover him;” to be “naked” denoting to be without Truths, and to “cover the naked” is to instruct; for “garments,” in the Word, signify Truths clothing, as may be seen above, n. 295. A. E. 386.
Those who press the literal sense of these words [as the only sense], believe that if they only break their bread to the hungry, and bring into their house the afflicted and wandering outcasts, and cover the naked, they shall, on that account, come into “the glory of Jehovah, or into heaven; whereas those deeds are only external, and can be done by the impious that they may merit heaven; but by the “hungry,” the “afflicted,” and the “naked,” are signified those who are spiritually such, thus the different states of misery in which the man is who is the neighbour towards whom charity should be practised. A. C. 3419.
8 Then shall thy light break forth like the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy justice shall go before thee; the glory of Jehovah shall gather up thy rear.
9 Then shalt thou call, and Jehovah shall answer; thou shalt cry out, and He shall say, Behold Me! If thou remove from the midst of thee the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and the speaking of iniquity;
Verse 8. The glory of Jehovah shall gather up thy rear.-What is meant by these words, see above, Chap. lii. 12, Exposition.
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day;
Verse 10. To “draw [or press] out the soul to the hungry,” and to “satisfy the afflicted soul,” signifies to teach him who desires to know what is Good and True; by the “hungry is signified one who desires Good, and by the “afflicted” he who desires Truth; and by “drawing out the soul” is signified to teach those things, thus to draw them forth from the understanding, from doctrine, and from faith; for by “soul,” in this passage, is denoted the life of the understanding. That those who are in ignorance, but still in the desire of receiving Truth, will receive the understanding of Truth and of Good, is signified by “then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day;” “obscurity” and “darknness” denoting the ignorance of Truth and of Good, and ” light” and “noon-day” are the understanding of them. A. E. 750.
In these words is described the exercise of charity towards the neighbour; in this case, towards those who are in ignorance, and, at the same time, In the desire of knowing Truths, and in grief on account of the falses which occupy the mind; and that with those who are in that charity, falses shall be shaken off, and Truths give light and shine. Charity towards those who are in ignorance, and, at the same time, in the desire of knowing Truths, is understood by “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry;” the “hungry” denoting those who desire; “soul” denoting the intelligence of Truth instructing. That it is thus to instruct those who are in grief on account of the falses which occupy the mind, is signified by “If thou satisfy the afflicted soul.” That with those who are in such charity, ignorance shall be dissipated, and Truths shine and give light, is understood by “thy light shall rise in obscurity, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day;” “obscurity” signifies the ignorance of the spiritual mind, and “darkness” the ignorance of the nutural mind; “light” signifies Truth in the light, in like manner “noon-day.” In such illustration are they who from charity or spiritual affection instruct those who are in falses from ignorance; for that charity is the receptacle of the influx of light or Truth from the Lord. A. E. 386.
11 And Jehovah shall lead thee continually, and shall satisfy thy soul in parched places; and He shall strengthen thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters deceive not.
Verse 11. He shall strengthen [or quicken] thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, &c.-By “bone” and “flesh” is signified the proprium of man,-by “bone” his intellectual proprium, and by “flesh ” his will proprium, thus by “bone” his proprium as to Truth, for this is of his intellectual principle, and by “flesh” his proprium as to Good, for this is of his will, as may be seen in A. C. 148, 149. As to what concerns the proprium in general, it is two-fold, the one infernal, the other celestial; man receives infernal proprium from hell, and celestial proprium from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord; for all evil, and every false principle thence derived, flows in from hell, and all Good, and Truth thence derived, flows in from the Lord. That this is the case, is known to man from the doctrine of faith, but scarcely one in ten thousand believes it; hence it is that man appropriates to himself, or makes his own, the evil which flows in from hell, and that the Good which flows in from the Lord, does not affect him, consequently is not imputed to him. The reason why man does not believe that evil flows in from hell, and Good from the Lord, is, because he is in self-love, which love is attended with this principle of unbelief, insomuch that it is exceedingly indignant when it hears it asserted that everything is the effect of influx; hence, then, it is, that all man’s proprium. is nothing but evil, see n. 210, 215. But the ground why man believes that evil is from hell, and Good from the Lord, is, because he is not in self-love, but in love towards his neighbour and towards the Lord, for this love is ever attended with this principle of belief; hence it is that man receives from the Lord a heavenly proprium, concerning which, see n. 155, 164. This proprium, in each sense, is signified by “bone” and “flesh;” and this is the ground and reason why by “bones,” in the Word, is signified Truth, and, in an opposite sense, the false principle; and by “flesh” is signified Good, and, in an opposite sense, evil. That such is the signification of “bones,” may appear from the following passages:-“Jehovah shall lead thee continually, and shall satisfy thy soul in parched places; and He shall strengthen [or quicken] thy bones: and thou. shalt be like a watered garden;” (Isa. lviii. 11.) where “strengthening [or quickening] the bones” denotes to vivify the intellectual proprium; that is, to illustrate it with intelligence; whence it is said that “thou may be as a watered garden;” that “garden” denotes intelligence, may be seen, n. 100, 108, 1588. Again, in the same Prophet:-“Then ye shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall bud forth like the herb;” (lxvi. 14.) where, by “bones budding forth like the herb,” the same is signified as above. A. C. 3812.
12 And they that spring from thee shall build up the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of paths to dwell in.
Verse 12. These words treat of the church in which charity and life are the essential. To “repair the breach,” is to amend falses which have crept in by the separation of what is Good from what is True, for everything false comes from this separation: to “restore paths to dwell in,” signifies Truths which are of Good, for “paths” or “ways” are Truths, and to “dwell” is predicated of Good. A. C. 4926.
13 If thou turn thy foot away from the Sabbath, from doing thine own pleasure on the day of My holiness; and shalt call the Sabbath a Delight to the Holy [One] of Jehovah, honourable; and shalt honour it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
Verse 13. To “turn away the foot from the Sabbath,” denotes such things as are of the natural man; to “do his own pleasure [or will],” is to do those things which favour the lusts and evils of the loves of self and of the world; to “do his own ways, is to favour the falses of evils; to “find his own pleasure,” is to live according to the delights of those loves; and to “speak his own words,” denotes to think such things. Hence it is evident that by “profaning the Sabbath” is signified to be led of themselves and of their own loves, and not of the Lord, who, in the supreme sense, is the “Sabbath.” Similar things are signified by “works” on the Sabbath day, as by “cutting wood,” and “kindling a fire,” and “preparing food” at that time, “gathering in the harvest,” and by several other things which were forbidden to be done on the Sabbath day; by which also like things are understood,-by “cutting wood,” the operating of good from themselves; by “kindling a fire,” the doing of it from their own loves; and by “preparing food,” teaching themselves from their own proper intelligence. That such things are involved in the above prohibitions, no one can know but from the internal sense. It is further to be noted, that to be led of self and to be led of the Lord are two opposites; for he who is led by himself is led by his own loves, thus by hell, because the proper loves of man are from that source; but he who is led by the Lord is led by the loves of heaven which are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour; he who is led by those loves is withdrawn from his own proper loves, and he who is led by his own proper loves is withdrawn from the loves of heaven, for they in no wise agree together; for the life of man is either in heaven or in hell, nor is it permitted to be at the same time in one and in the other. This is meant by the Lord’s words in Matthew:-” Noone can serve two lords; for he will either hate the one and love the other, or he will adhere to the one and despise the other.” (vi. 24.) From these considerations it is evident what is signified by “doing work on the Sabbath day.” When man is thus led by the Lord, and conjoined to Him, then the church and heaven are in him, which is signified by his being made to “ride upon the high places of the earth,” and by his being” fed with the heritage of Jacob.” A. C. 10,362; also 10,360.
In the natural sense, which is that of the letter, the divine commandment to “remember the Sabbath day, and to keep it holy,” signifies that six days are for man and his labours, and the seventh for the Lord and for man’s rest in dependence on Him; for the word “Sabbath,” in the original tongue, signifies rest. The “Sabbath” among the children of Israel was the sanctity of sanctities, because it represented the Lord; the “six days” being significative of His labours and combats with the hells, and the “seventh” of His victory over them, and of the rest which He thereby attained; and because that “day” represented the close and period of the whole work of redemption accomplished by the Lord, it was esteemed holiness itself. But when the Lord came into the world, and, in consequence, made all representations of Himself to cease, that day was then made a day for instruction in divine subjects, and thus also a day of rest from labours, and of meditation on matters that concern salvation and eternal life; and also a day for the exercise of love towards our neighbour. That it was made a day for instruction in divine subjects, is evident from this circumstance, that the Lord, on that day, “taught in the temple and in the synagogues;” (Mark vi. 2; Luke iv. 16, 31, 32; xiii. 10.) and that He said to the man who was healed–“Take up thy bed, and walk;” and to the Pharisees, that ” it was lawful for His disciples on the Sabbath day to gather the ears of corn, and to eat;” [Matt, xii. 1-9; Mark ii. 23, to the end; Luke vi. 1-6; John, v. 9-19.) which particulars signify, in the spiritual sense, to be instructed in doctrinals. That that day was also made a day for the exercise of love towards our neighbour, is evident from what the Lord both “did and taught on the Sabbath day.” (Matt. xii. 10-13; Mark iii. 1-5; Luke vi. 6-12; xiii. 10-17; xiv. 1-6; John v. 9-19; vii. 22, 23; ix, 14-16.) From these and the foregoing passages it appears why the Lord said that ” He is Lord also of the Sabbath;” (Matt. xii. 8; Mark ii. 28; Luke vi. 5.) and from His making this declaration, it follows that the “Sabbath day” was representative of Him. T. C. R. 301.
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in Jehovah; and I will cause thee to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob- thy father: for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.
Verse 14. By “causing to ride upon the high places of the earth,” is signified to give the understanding of superior or interior Truths concerning the things of the church and of heaven; and by “feeding with the heritage of Jacob,” is signified to gift with all things of heaven and the church; for by the “heritage of Jacob” is understood the land of Canaan, and by that “land” is meant the church, and, in a superior sense, heaven. A.E.617.
That a “horse” signifies the understanding, and to “ride.” means to be intelligent, see Chap. xxxi. 1, Exposition.
Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]