Psalm 11


1 In Jehovah do I take refuge:
How say ye to my soul,
Flee as a bird to your mountain;

1-5. The Lord arouses himself to fight for the good against the evil. P. P.

2 For, lo, the wicked bend the bow,
They make ready their arrow upon the string,
That they may shoot in darkness at the upright in

2 Here the bow and arrows plainly stand for doctrinals of falsity. A. 2686.

As most of the things in the Word also have an opposite sense, so likewise have javelins, darts, arrows, bows, and a shooter. They signify falsities, the doctrine of falsity, and those who are in falsity. A. 2709.

A bow signifies the doctrine of truth combating against falsities, and in the opposite sense, the doctrine of falsity combating against truth. Hence arrows and darts signify truths or falsities. Since war in the Word signifies spiritual war, the arms of war, therefore, as the sword, the spear, the shield, the buckler, the bow, the arrows signify things belonging to such war. R. 299.

The wicked bending the bow signifies their framing doctrine, their making ready their arrow upon the string signifies their applying to doctrine falsities which appear as truths. To shoot privily at the upright in heart signifies to deceive those who are in truths from good. Bow here means the doctrine of what is false, arrow stands for falsity itself. To shoot means to deceive, and to do so privily denotes appearances, for they reason from appearances in the world and from fallacies, applying also the literal sense of the Word. E. 357.

3 If the foundations be destroyed,
What can the righteous do ?

2, 3. In the Word the foundations of the earth are mentioned several times. By them are not meant the foundations of the earth, but the foundations of the church, for the earth signifies the church. The foundations of the church are none others than those which are from the Word, and are called doctrinals, for the Word itself is what founds the church. R. 902.

4 Jehovah is in his holy temple;
Jehovah, his throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

4 By eyes in the Word where men are treated of who receive the Divine things of the Lord, is signified faith and also the receiving of intellect, for the intellect is the internal eye, and faith is the truth which is seen and perceived. The light which illuminates the understanding is from heaven, but that which illuminates the sight of the body is in the world. The light of heaven is from the Lord as a sun there, and is in its essence the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine good of the Lord. A. 10569.

By the eye when speaking of the Lord is meant His Divine wisdom, also His omnipotence and providence. R. 48.

The eyes when predicated of the Lord stand for presence, and thence providence. E. 68.

5 Jehovah trieth the righteous;
But the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul

5 By the soul of Jehovah is signified the Divine truth, for by the violent in the Word is signified one who offers violence to Divine truth, which is being done by the falses of evil. Therefore this is signified by the impious and him that loveth violence. E. 750.

6 Upon the wicked he will rain snares;
Fire and brimstone and burning wind shall be the
portion of their cup.

6 Brimstone is the hell of the evils of the love of self, and fire the hell of the falsities therefrom. Brimstone and its fire signifies in the Word the love of self with its lusts and falsities, thus hell, for hell consists of such things. A. 2446.

It is manifest that Jehovah in no wise caused it to rain brimstone and fire, that is in no wise condemned to hell, but that they who were in evil and thence in falsity did this, because they separated themselves from good and so cast themselves upon the laws of order from truth alone. A. 2447.

A snare as it signifies the delight of the love of self and the world, signifies also the destruction of spiritual life and perdition, for the all of faith and love to the Lord, and the all of love towards the neighbour is destroyed by the delight of the love of self and the world where it has dominion. Fire and sulphur are the evils of the love of self and of the world. A. 9348.

As a nearer and stronger Divine influx through the heavens disperses the truths that are with the evil, therefore wind signifies the dispersion of the truth with them, and thence their conjunction with hell and their destruction. Wind signifies the influx of Divine truth. R. 343.

Fire signifies infernal love, and brimstone the lusts flowing forth from that love through the pride of one’s own intelligence. R. 452.

By vials, plates, cups, and goblets, and by bottles those things are signified which are contained in them. R. 672.

By storms, and tempests is signified the dispersion of falsities and evils, because they who are principled in the falsities of evil are cast down into hell by a stormy wind. E. 419.

These things are said from the appearances which take place in the spiritual world when the Divine good and truth descend out of heaven towards the inferior parts there, where the evil are, who are to be separated from the good and to be dispersed. Since the fire, which in its origin is Divine love, when it descends out of the heavens and is received by the evil becomes a consuming fire, therefore such fire in the Word is predicated of Jehovah. Infernal fire is from no other source than the change of the Divine love into evil loves, and into direful lusts of injuring and doing evil. E. 504.

By these words is signified that the impious are destroyed by their own evils originating in what is false, and by their own falsities originating in evil, which destroy in them all the truths of the church. Snares, fire, and brim stone mean the evils of falsity and the falsities of evil. By the horrible tempest which shall be the portion of the cup of the wicked is signified the total destruction of all truth with them. E. 578.

By snares, fire and brimstone are signified falses and evils seducing, and by a wind of storms is signified vehement assault of truth. These things are called the portion of a cup, because a cup as containing signifies them. By mixing and filling with mixture (Psalm lxxv. 9) is signified to falsify truth and profane it. E. 960.

7 For Jehovah is righteous; he loveth righteousness:
The upright shall behold his face.

6, 7. The evil will perish as a consequence of justice. P. P.

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)