Nahum Table of Contents

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Minor Prophets: Major Messages

Chapter Two of Nahum

Nahum 1:15 and Nahum 2:1-3

"Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, Who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; He is utterly cut off.

"He who scatters has come up before your face. Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily. For the Lord will restore the excellence of Jacob like in the excellence of Israel, for the emptiers have emptied them out and ruined their vine branches. The shields of his mighty men are made red, the valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots come with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the spears are brandished."

Passages From the Writings

Please note that P&P treats Nahum 1:15 as the first verse of Chapter 2 because the verse and chapter were arranged this way in the "English Bible" used for that edition. We will follow this format since the summary statement in P&P includes Nahum 1:15 in its teachings about the Lord’s advent and His protection of the church.


  • "Concerning the Lord’s advent, and concerning a new church from Him, and the protection of that church by Him, vers. 1-4…"

AC 7093 [5]

  • "That there was to be gladness in the feasts, and thus that ‘to hold a feast’ is to worship from a glad mind, is plain…in Nahum i. 15."

Doctrine of Sacred Scriptures 51 [8]

  • "He who reads the Word without doctrine does not see the consistency of what is said in the Prophets about the Jewish nation and Jerusalem – that the church with that nation, and its seat in that city, will remain to eternity; as in the following passages…In these passages the Lord’s advent is treated of, and that this [establishment of the Jews] will come to pass." Nahum 1:15 is cited among many other passages.

AR 336

  • "That by ‘mountains’ and ‘hills’ are signified heaven and the church, where there exists love to the Lord and love to the neighbor, and thus where the Lord is, is evident from the following passages…" Nahum 1:15 is cited.

AR 350

  • "…that by ‘the tribe of Judah’ is signified celestial love, which is love to the Lord; but because they were such as to the Word, and as to the Lord, therefore by ‘the tribe of Judah’ is also signified the opposite love, which is the love of self, properly the love of dominion from the love of self, which love is called diabolical love. That by ‘Judah’ and his tribe is signified the celestial kingdom and its love, which is love to the Lord, is evident from these passages…" Nahum 1:15 is cited.

AR 478

  • "In the Word of the Old Testament, which is called prophetic in the spiritual sense, and also where this sense shines forth…the Lord alone is treated of…His advent in the fullness of time…when there is no longer any good of charity and truth of faith in the church (this) state is called the consummation, devastation, desolation, and decision…which constitute the Last Judgment executed by Him; and afterwards of the creation of a new heaven, and the establishment of a new church…That ‘to declare good tidings’ (evangelize) signifies the Lord’s coming, and His kingdom…is manifest from these passages…" Nahum 1:15 is cited.

AE 405 [8]

  • "In Nahum:- it is said ‘behold upon the mountains the feet of him that publisheth peace,’ … to ‘publish peace, signifies to preach the Lord’s coming, for ‘peace’ in the highest sense signifies the Lord, and in the internal sense every good and truth that is from the Lord…and ‘O Zion, that proclaimest good tidings,’ means the church that is in the good of love to the Lord…the church that is thence in truths of doctrine from the Word."

AE 433 [11]

  • "In Nahum:- …His coming is meant by ‘Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that proclaimeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!’ ‘to celebrate feasts’ and to ‘render vows’ signify to rejoice in His coming and then to worship Him; ‘Belial shall never more pass through Judah, he is utterly cut off,’ signifies that evil shall be no more with them because they are in the Lord. This could not be said of the Jewish nation, but may be said of those who are in love to the Lord; which makes clear that such are meant by ‘Judah’."

AE 612

  • AE 612 quotes Nahum 1:15 in conjunction with Isaiah 52: 7-8 but gives no significations. The topic covered though is "proclaiming the good news.

Scripture Confirmations, pp. 48 and 62

  • The literal sense of Nahum 1:15 occurs twice in Scripture Confirmations on pages 48 & 62.

AC 3021 [8]

  • "Concerning what was seen by Nebuchadnezzar we read in Daniel: ‘The head of the statue was good gold; its breast and its arms were silver; its belly and thighs were brass; the feet were part iron and part clay…’ …From all these things it may be seen what is signified by the ‘thighs’ and the ‘loins,’ namely, in the chief place conjugial love, and from this all genuine love, as is evident from the passages quoted, and likewise from others…" Nahum 2:1 is cited among other references.

AC 3300 [5]

  • "In Nahum…’The shield of the mighty men (of Belial) is made red, the valiant men are made crimson, in the fire of torches are the chariots in the day (ii.3)…‘red’ in like manner …signifies the evil which is of the love of self; and this because the cupidities of the love of self are compared to fire and are called ‘fire’…and in like manner they are compared to blood and are called ‘blood’…"

AR 436

  • "By ‘breastplates’ are signified defenses, because they protect the breast; here, defenses of falsities, which are effected by arguments from fallacies, by which a false principle is defended. For from a false principle nothing but falsities can flow. If truths are advanced, they are only viewed outwardly or superficially, thus sensually, and are consequently falsified, and with such persons, become fallacies…‘breastplates…of iron,’ signifies that their arguments seemed to them so strong that they could not be refuted; for ‘iron’ from hardness, signifies what is strong." Nahum 2:3 is cited among several other references.

AR 305

  • "…the reason why ‘red’ (rufus) is predicated of good destroyed, is, because by red (rufus) an infernal red is meant, which is from infernal fire, which is the love of evil; the red which is an infernal red is hideous and abominable, there being nothing alive therein…" Nahum 2:3-4 is cited as an example of red signifying the evil of love.

AE 364 [7]

  • "As ‘red’ signifies the quality of a thing in relation to good, so in a contrary sense it signifies the quality of a thing in relation to evil, which is the opposite to good, consequently good destroyed. In this sense ‘red’ is mentioned in the following passages…" Nahum 2:3-4 is cited.

AC 7093 [5]

  • "That there was to be gladness in the feasts, and thus that ‘to hold a feast’ is to worship from a glad mind, is plain …in Nahum i. 15."

Doctrine of Sacred Scriptures 51 [8]

  • "He who reads the Word without doctrine does not see the consistency of what is said in the Prophets about the Jewish nation and Jerusalem – that the church with that nation, and its seat in that city, will remain to eternity; as in the following passages; … In these passages the Lord’s advent is treated of, and that this [establishment of the Jews] will come to pass." Nahum 1:15 is cited among many other passages.

Derived Doctrine

"Upon the mountains the feet…"

  • The feet of the Lord, in the above quotes, were not covered directly. We need the assistance of derived doctrine. We are taught that the feet represent the lowest part of the natural mind, the corporeal life of the senses. (AC 5328) But this is not the case with the feet of the Lord. His feet represent the Divine power in ultimates brought down to the human race in His Divine Human. (AC 3761) In one reference, the Lord’s right foot was seen on the sea and the left was seen on the land. AE 600 teaches that this signifies His watchful care of the external and internal church. One last reference might help us see the signification of the Lord’s feet. In AR 468, we are taught that the Lord’s Divine Natural, the lowest of divine order, as to love, wants to sustain all things and publish good tidings.

"The wicked one shall no more pass through you…"

  • We are not told who the wicked one is. We can surmise that hell, the devil, and Satan would fit that designation. But doing so might allow us to "scapegoat" these representations. Instead, let’s look at the qualities of wickedness:
    • Wickedness has no will (love) for good. (AC 584)
    • Wickedness wants to extend knowledges for external uses only. (AC 1600)
    • Wickedness infests a person with malice and malignity. (AC 7590)
    • Wickedness involves a recession from good to evil. (AE 710 [17])

"Shall not pass…"

  • To pass signifies to flow in. Evil, the wicked one, shall not pass through. See AC 3992 for a fuller explanation of the positive and negative representations of passing. In essence, this is a Divine promise to end the wicked one’s walking through our lives.

"…utterly cut off…"

  • The word "utterly" carries with it the meaning of totally, completely, entirely. Again, this is a promise that the wicked one will be vanquished.

"He who scatters has come up before your face…"

  • Who is the one who scatters and comes up before our face? It would appear that the best way to answer this is to first look at the meaning of "face." Here are some of the representations of our faces:
    • The face corresponds to the mind. (AC 4791 and 4805)
    • The face corresponds to affections. (AE 280)
    • The face when predicated of the Lord signifies mercy, peace, and good. (AC 222, 223 and 2434)
    • The face represents spiritual and celestial things existing interiorly within us. (AC 5571)
  • "Scattering" has some very interesting representations:
    • To vanish (and not to be received or acknowledged). (AC 1309)
    • To spread falsities from evil. (AE 67)
    • To scatter falsities from infernal enjoyment mingled with truths. (AC 10464)
    • The dissemination of falsities by those who are not in truths. (TCR 137)

"Man the fort…"

  • The word "man" means defend, protect, guard, shield, preserve or shelter. What things must we protect? Let’s look for clues in the meaning of "fort":
    • A fortress signifies the defense that divine good gives by divine truth. (AE 316 [10])
    • A fortress signifies defense against falsities and evils from the literal sense of the Word. (AE 727 [4])
    • Forts are confirmations from the Word. (AE 388)

"Watch the road…"

  • Let’s look at the meaning of "watch" or "watchfulness":
    • Watchfulness signifies the study of life according to the precepts of faith. (AC 4638 [10])
    • Watch (wake up) signifies to know truths and to live by them. "But he who is not in truths, but only in worship, is like one who sleeps and dreams…" (AR 158)
  • What representations are there in the word "road"? Since the word "road" is not specifically used in the Writings, we must find some help by using the words "highway" or "pathway":
    • A highway signifies the affection for truth that leads to a life of good will. See AE 219.
    • A highway signifies disposing into order. (AC 842)
    • A path signifies precepts of life. (AE 734)

"Strengthen your flanks…"

  • The flank means the side wing of an army. It also means to "pass around." A flank also means the location between the ribs and the hip. It is noteworthy to recall where the Lord was wounded while on the cross. They pierced or stabbed His side. That act signified an attempt to completely extinguish all the truth and good of the Word. (DLW 16 [6])
  • We might pay heed to the possible meaning that we should learn and know (strengthen) our understanding of the spiritual sense of the Word to avoid being "blind sided" with the misuse of the literal sense of the Word. If Hell sought to do this with the Lord, why not with us too?


"Fortify your power mightily…"

  • The word "fortify" means to uphold, sustain, barricade, get evidence, facts, premises, data, corroboration, ratification, confirmation. How are we to fortify ourselves? Mightily and with power. One can hear a Divine call to doctrinal study that has some life and vitality to it.

"…the Lord will restore the excellence of Jacob like the excellence of Israel…"

  • Please note the following things: the Divine Natural of the Lord and the Internal Natural, or the Celestial Spiritual of the Natural. Jacob’s restoration to excellence represents understanding what is meant by the Lord’s Divine Natural coming through to the church. This understanding is followed by the restoration and excellence of the church from this knowledge of the deeper Internal Natural of the Divine Human. For help with the Jacob representation, go to AC 4603, 4641 and 4569. For help with Israel’s representation, go to AC 4570 and AE 768 [15].

"Emptiers have emptied them out…"

  • Does this mean "emptiers" have emptied out Jacob and Israel? If so, who are the "emptiers"? It would appear that anything that contributes to the separation of good and truth is an emptier. (AC 3095) We also know that when truth is not present, good cannot be present. (AC 4744) AE 697 [3] reminds us that a church is laid to waste when its doctrinal truths are desolated as to faith.

"…ruined their vine branches."

  • To lay waste a vineyard means the loss of the good and truth of the church through various lusts. (AC 9139) A restored vineyard signifies restitution from the unimpaired truths of the church. (AC 9142) Branches signify the power of truth from good. A branch is like the arms of a man. (AC 9555 and 9558)


  • Please note in AC 3300 [5] where the Writings quote Nahum 2:3, the quote says, "The shield of the mighty men (of Belial)…" The NKJV and the RSV do not use this term in the text. However, footnotes mention that the word "wicked" was later transliterated from the word "Belial."
  • In Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, we read this explanation of the word "Belial": "This should not be regarded as a proper name. It is generally associated with the words ‘man,’ ‘son,’ ‘daughter,’ or ‘children.’ Hence ‘son’ or ‘man’ of Belial simply means ‘a worthless person.’"

"…the chariots come with flaming torches…"

  • Chariots (used in the negative sense) represent doctrine of evil and falsity, and outward knowledges confirming them. (AC 5321 [10]) In the positive sense, chariots signify doctrines that teach the way of salvation. (AE 355 [4])
  • Torches signify, in the negative sense, the consuming of desire and separation of those who are in the church from the Lord. AC 1861 [2].

"And the spears are brandished."

  • Spears in a positive sense represent truths that have been adapted to spiritual warfare. (AR 299) Spears signify truths of use in spiritual warfare, which with regeneration become preparatory to the reception of truths from good. (AC 1664 [3] and 5895)
  • Brandishing means to shake or wave, usually menacingly. Does this definition change the meaning or application of "spear" and bring it into a negative spiritual meaning or act?

Read and Review

Read Nahum 1:15 and Nahum 2:1-3.

Read the selection from P&P.

Putting It All Together

1. As always, let’s begin our overall summary with a look at P&P. This portion of our study is concerned with the Lord’s advent. It is about the new church that is to come from Him. It is about the protection of that church by Him.

2. We are given a view of the things that will be overcome. We see the nature of their resistance. For instance, how powerful an illustration is given regarding those who had breastplates of iron. They were so proud of their false principles. They thought they were invincible. Their love was turned from a life-giving red to a dead, hideous, and abominable color. "Lifeless" and "useless" are words that come to mind. Our text gives us a picture of them "strutting" proudly, feeling immune to Divine accountability. They shall be "utterly cut off." Belial, "the worthless person," will end in a scattered and useless array, their chariots flashing with flames.

But in spite of all the negative things that opposed the Lord, listen to the stirring words of restoration promised in Nahum and Isaiah 52:7: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation…"

3. How about these challenges that are given to the new church? "Man the fort." "Watch the road." "Strengthen your flanks." "Fortify your power mightily." Such words are so necessary for a church to grow and remain vibrant. If we don’t do these things, we will be blind sided. The enemy will get up in our face and endeavor to shake our mind, our affections, and our practical usage of the Word in life situations.

4. The Lord makes a statement here that has powerful ramifications. Evil, the wicked one, the scatterer, will not endure. His Divine Human will come and be among all the people of His New Church. This is a theme of joy. It is a message of good news. It is a theme we need to keep before the church as we labor in the vineyard and let the Lord protect the branches or extension of the church.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

  1. To digest the passages and derived doctrine gathered in this section will require a slow reading and reflection on the facts. Isn’t it wonderful that we have so much to draw from out of the Writings? Would you have imagined there was this much to be found regarding the book of Nahum? How much more than we expect might we find in the Writings about other works in the Word?

  2. Which of the Lord’s rallying cries do you respond to most? Do you favor one or all? What about the series of commands that must be present in their order? Do you think they were given in this order for a purpose? What might it be?

  3. Are there any portions of this text that you feel were left out? If so, could you work out your own research notes for them? How would you go about getting or using resources if you lack them at home? Do you know where to borrow or buy them?

  4. The brandishing of spears…Does that remind you of any situations where you have seen truth misused? Are half-truths ever used to intimidate an opponent? Can doctrinal quotes be used as weapons instead of pointing the way to salvation? Have you ever misused a doctrinal "spear"?

  5. Can you identify anything in the daily news or your work experience that seems equivalent to the chariots and flaming torches we discussed earlier? Our next unit continues with the correspondences of chariots raging in the streets. If you elected to not follow this question this time, it will come about again. Isn’t it interesting how the Word brings issues back for us to consider again and again? Why would the Lord do that?

Nahum 2: 4-7

"The chariots rage in the streets, they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, they run like lightning. He remembers his nobles; they stumble in their walk; they make haste to her walls, and the defense is prepared. The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved. It is decreed: She shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up; and her maidservants shall lead her as with the voice of doves, beating their breasts."

Passages From the Writings


  • "…that at the day of judgment those who have destroyed the church will perish, and will be cast into hell with a violent commotion, vers. 4-7."

AC 2336 [6]

  • "In Nahum… (ii.4) the ‘chariots’ denote the doctrine of truth, which is said to ‘rave in the streets,’ when falsity is in the place of truth."

AR 501

  • "‘By streets,’ in the Word, almost the same is signified as by ‘ways,’ because streets are ways in a city; but still by ‘streets’ are signified the truths or falsities of doctrine, because ‘a city’ signifies doctrine…and by ‘ways’ are signified the truths or falsities of the church…That ‘streets’ signify truths or falsities…see the following passages…" Nahum 2:4 is cited.

AE 652 [5]

  • "In Nahum (ii. 4)… ‘chariots’ signify the doctrinals of truth, and ‘streets’ and ‘open places’ what is in accord with each one’s affection and perception, as above, it is said ‘the chariots raged in the streets, they ran to and fro in the open places,’ ‘to rage’ signifying to call falsities truths, and ‘to run to and fro’ signifying to wander off."

Derived Doctrine

"Jostle one another in the broad roads…"

  • The word "jostle" means to push, bump, elbow, or collide with. In AC 9081, we read that to push in the good sense means to destroy falsity by the power of truth, or it can signify the opposite sense of destroying truths with falsity.
  • Look just above at the quote from AE 652 [5]. Note that instead of using the words ‘broad road,’ the Writings use "open places." The RSV says they rushed "to and fro through the square." Once again, we need to let the internal sense lead the way as we choose which word to use. Once we understand the spiritual meaning, each translated word can be examined to see which helps to communicate the larger truth.

"…they seem like torches and run like lightning…"

  • We discussed torches in the previous verses, but let’s review the meaning again. In the negative sense, a torch represents the "burning of cupidities," the desires of selfhood out of control. What is sad is that they pictured themselves as fast as lightning. They perceived themselves alive and vital. We would probably call these people "fast movers" today. AR 396 shares with us this description of lightning. It is likened to a person who lives by faith alone with no influx; they reason and have ready-made answers that favor or give justification to their arguments.

"He remembers his nobles…"

  • We must begin this derived doctrinal search with a question. Who is the "he"? Is it the Lord? Is the "he" representative of something within the Nineveh Church? Is the "he" representative of the understanding within the church? If the text had used "she," we would have had our attention called to the affectional things of the church.
  • Ultimately, everything represents the Lord, but in this case, I think we should focus on the "he" as being descriptive of the church and the understanding it had formed. Remember, the previous verse portrayed the understanding of the church and its chariots jostling one another as they darted to and fro destroying truths with falsities. They perceived themselves as bright, articulate, and ever so quick with their ability to use the rational mind. So in this verse, it would appear that the Lord was giving them, and us, a view of what "he" was really like. AE 574 says that a "noble" signifies false principals. According to AC 5430 and 8885, to remember signifies foresight as to what was to occur, or as to what is perpetual in the thought. Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the description of how "he" and his nobles acted in their moment of Divine remembrance and His assessment of Nineveh’s spiritual motives.

"They [the nobles or officers] stumble in their walk…"

  • In Isaiah 8:15, we read, "Many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken." AC 9163 explains the meaning of this passage and gives us this insight: "…‘to stumble’ denotes to be induced to commit evil, and thus to fall from truths into falsities; ‘to fall and be broken’ denotes to be dispersed…"
  • Please note the words "the nobles or officers" in brackets in above. The RSV uses "officers" instead of "nobles." So let’s look at the correspondence of "officer." Officers represent "those who infest, instill evils and falsities and compel servitude." (AC 7111)
  • Consider next, the positive meaning of walking:
    • Walking represents living according to the doctrines or truth of faith. (AC 519)
    • Walking represents meditating on doctrine. (AR 137)
    • Walking represents to live by the enlightenment of the Lord. (AR 75)
    • AE 687 explains the internal sense of Psalm 1 and the words WALK, STAND and SIT.
  • The nobles stumbled in their walk. Therefore, we see from these quotes the possibility that they were not living according to doctrine or meditating on doctrine. Therefore, the Lord could not enlighten them. They walked in the way of the ungodly and the path of sinners.

"They make haste to her walls…"

  • Notice the use of the word "her." Can we assume that the church and its affections are about to be examined and exposed by the Lord? Let’s refrain from answering this question until we look at some quotes from the Writings. In AC 5284, we find this regarding "haste": "In the internal sense, ‘to hasten’ or ‘haste’ does not mean quickly, but certainly, and also fully, thus in every event; for haste implies time, and in the spiritual world there is no time, but instead of time state; thus haste in time has reference there to such a condition of state…that there are many things acting together toward the result, and thus insuring a certain and full event."
  • Walls, we are taught in AR 898, signify "the Word in the sense of the letter from which is the doctrine of the New Church…by its ‘wall’ (nothing else is meant) but the Word in the sense of the letter, from which the doctrine is; for that sense protects the spiritual sense, which lies hidden within, as the wall does a city and its inhabitants...the sense of the letter is the basis, the containant, and the support of its spiritual sense…"

"The defense is prepared…"

  • Can’t we see plainly what is being taught here? The nobles or officers, stumbling in their walk, were shown by the Lord that they are not living according to His Word. Their meditation focused on self-worship and not spiritual worship. They "jostled" one another with false arguments. In an attempt to prove the worth of their "doctrines," they turned, or returned, to the walls of the literal sense to find support for their suppositions. They believed the "walls" would vindicate or justify their position. "The defense is prepared…" But will the closing summation of their defense hold up when the true state, the full events, are presented by the Lord?

"The gates of the rivers are opened…"

  • Gates have the following representations:
    • The passage of knowledges into the rational mind. (AC 2943)
    • The gates of a city signify doctrine which serves as an entrance into the church. (AC 2943)
    • Gates signify introductory knowledges of what is good and true from the literal sense. (AR 899, 901, 904)
    • There are with every person two gates. One leads to hell and one leads to heaven. (AC 2851)
    • And lastly, we need to recall the two gates of Baptism and Holy Supper.
  • Rivers signify truths that are in abundance to serve the rational, consequently the understanding, for the purpose of doctrine and life. (AR 683) Rivers, or floods, signify temptations. (AR 409) Rivers signify trials, difficulties, and falsity. (AR 790)
  • To "open" signifies to communicate and to conjoin. (AE 537)

"…and the palace is dissolved…"

  • The NKJV uses the word "dissolved," and the RSV uses the word "dismay." A thesaurus offers these synonyms for the word dissolve: destroy, liquefy, break up, end, melt, vanish, evaporate, fade, and disintegrate. Whereas dismay carries these synonyms: consternation, terror, or discouragement. Which word is more suited for the internal sense? I checked the word "melt" in the concordance. Here are three passages to consider:
    • Melt signifies "that those who had formerly been of the church vanished because they adulterated goods and falsified truths." (AC 8317)
    • Melt "signifies that their capacity for receiving heavenly good vanished with their increasing strong desire for external satisfactions." (AC 8487)
    • Melting "signifies that their ability to receive the goods and truths of heaven and the church was in vain." (AE 721 [24])
  • A "palace," in the positive sense, represents something quite beautiful, dignified, and regal. In the opposite sense, a palace is ugly, self-serving, and a hovel. Let’s look first at the positive. A "palace signifies the understanding in which truths are in a beautiful form… from (the) affection for truth." (AE 724) "Palace signifies the whole church as to its truths from good." (AE 410)
  • Using the derived doctrinal quotes, can we come to any conclusions regarding the meaning of their palaces dissolving or melting? Their understanding was in complete disarray. Their understanding was dismal. They were "melting" or "vanishing" as a church. When the gates of the rivers opened, their prepared defense could not stand nor support their life of religion. Their "palace" was exposed as a façade. Its pretentiousness dissolved or melted away.

"It is decreed: she shall be led away captive…"

  • A decree is an order (edict) from a king or powerful ruler. The announcement must be heard and carried out by all who are subject to the king or governor. The uses of the Lord decreed that He would come and face every disorder of the hells. It was decreed that He would reorder the heavens and the hells. There is a quote in AC 10248 worth considering regarding a decree or ordinance, which means or "signifies an eternal law of order."
  • The words "she shall be led away captive" carry sadness in them. If "she" had listened to the decree of the Lord, the affections ("she") would have been led and illuminated by truths. (AE 386 [27]) "She" would have been led "to confirm goods and truths of faith…" (AC 8098) Ignoring the Lord leads her to captivity. Captivity signifies a mind in darkness about what is good and true. (AC 7950) Captivity signifies evils that possess. (AE 175 [12]) Lastly, those who capture others and bar them from truth and good will themselves become captive to falsities. (AE 811 [27])

"She shall be brought up…"

  • In our language, when someone is stopped in their tracks, we say they were "brought up short." The implication is that they were exposed, stopped in their tracks, and prevented from doing anything else that would hurt or interfere with the freedom of others. It appears that this meaning comes close to what is being taught here.

"And her maidservants shall lead her as with the voice of doves…"

  • Let’s look at the various meanings of maidservants. Maidservants signify in general the pleasures of external knowledges, which serve the internal man. (AC 1486) A slave girl signifies the affection of knowledges in the external man serving intellectual truth. (AC 1895)

"With the voice…"

  • What a fascinating series of possibilities we get with this correspondence. Voice signifies dictate, the doctrine of faith, and also the conscience. (AC 219) Voice signifies violence inflicted upon charity. A voice may signify anything that accuses. (AC 374) Voice is applied to any incident of noise, tumult, or disturbance, and also to anything especially happy and signifies announcement of the Lord’s Advent. (AC 220 and 375)

"…the voice of doves…"

  • Doves signify the truths and goods of faith with one who is to be regenerated. (AC 870) Doves signify that whatever good a person does of themselves returns to them, because it relates to their selfhood. (AC 876) Doves represent affections for ideas, and for thinking from ideas; doves represent affections for the heavenly ideas that agree with innocent love to the Lord and conjugial love. (AE 282 and AC 10132)

"They beat their breasts."

  • To beat signifies injuries inflicted by falsities. (AC 7146) To beat signifies disposal of truths in their order and series. (AC 10303 [2]) Beating signifies grief due to the loss of good and truth. (AC 6432 [6]) Striking signifies alienated knowledge seeking to destroy the truth of the church. (AC 6758)
  • Note: When we look for the meaning of breasts, we need to also consider the words "bosom" and "paps." "Paps and breasts signify love, and in the eminent sense the divine love." (AR 46) The bosom or breast signifies spiritual love, which is love in act. (AE 821)

Putting It All Together

1. Where do we begin with our summation? The Word calls our attention to the following series of correspondences:

  • Chariots are seen raging in the broad streets.
  • Chariots are pushing, shoving, jostling one another. Intimidation reigns among them.
  • Flashing torches are seen and people running as fast as lightning.
  • The nobles stumble in their walk.
  • With a sense of urgency and need for protection, they run to the walls and prepare their defense.
  • Rivers open up and overflow and dissolve their palaces.
  • A decree is heard that she, the church, will be carried away captive.
  • She will be brought up and held accountable for her errors.
  • Maidservants (external knowledges) try to lead her on but to no avail.
  • With futility and hopelessness, they beat their breasts because the pain of reality exposes the falsity or emptiness of their life.

2. With this series of correspondences, the Word shares with us a picture of what happens to a church, or individual, when they allow themselves to be carried away with pride in external knowledge. They fall in love with their own voice. They put their ideas ahead of the Lord’s Word. Instead of sharing the good news of the Lord, they force their own priorities on others. In the end, they do violence to truth. A self-serving church tries to point to truths (walls) of the Word that seem to justify their position, but the Lord quickly exposes the fallacy of their thinking and ways. The palaces melt, dissolve, crumble as the Lord’s truth exposes what "IS" from what "is not." Those things that had ministered as maidservants, with voices that sounded like doves, can no longer help them.

3. The closing line of the text sums up the results of a life separated from the Lord. They will beat their chest to illustrate the emptiness and frustration of self-love. If they had served the Lord, they could have beaten their breasts to signify a love of divine things and a love of the Lord in act. Instead, they beat their breast to illustrate the empty hollowness of self-love.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1. Chariots raging in the streets represent the turning of truth into falsity. Do any current events fit into this passage? As you reflect on this, think of doctrine as the chariots raging.

2. Pushing, shoving, and jostling sounds like the work of bullies. The Writings often illustrate the sensual person as such a bully. Sensual people like to tell spiritual people that they have hang-ups. They make a false observation that spiritual people are sickly and preoccupied with sin and evil, whereas they see themselves as alive, flexible, and ever so adaptable. They like to intimidate and ridicule the spiritual person. Have you experienced the bullying tactics of hell?

3. The text tells us about those who go to the wall to defend themselves. The wall in this case is the literal sense. Have you ever experienced someone using the literal sense as a defense to excuse some evil? Why is this dangerous?

4. The beating of one’s breast expresses a positive and negative meaning. Can you give examples from life of each type of "beating"?

5. What kind of feelings did you have while reading this section? Is the theme repetitive? Were you wondering what this has to do with your life? Were you able to put the message in the context of today’s issues? If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions, try again. Make sure you don’t pass on to the next section without some effort to make this one personal.

Nahum 2:8-11

"Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, now they flee away. ‘Halt! Halt!’ they cry; but no one turns back. Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, or wealth of every desirable prize. She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; much pain is in every side, and all their faces are drained of color. Where is the dwelling of the lion’s, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub, and no one made them afraid."

Passages From the Writings


  • "…that all things of the church will be taken away from them, vers. 8-11…"

AR 241

  • "That a lion signifies truth in its power…may be evident from the power of the lion above every animal of the earth; as also from the lions in the spiritual world, that they are representative images of the power of the Divine truth; and also from the Word, where they signify the Divine truth in its power.… It is hence that Jehovah or the Lord is compared to a lion, and is also called a lion; as in the following passages…" Nahum 2:11 is cited as one of the many examples in the Word.

AE 278 [4]

  • "In Nahum 2:11…’lions’ signify those who are in power through Divine truth; ‘their abode’ signifies where there are such in the church; their ‘feeding place’ signifies the knowledges of truth and good; their ‘walking and none making them afraid’ signifies their state of security from evils and falsities."

Derived Doctrine

"Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water…"

  • The "Nineveh of old" is an interesting and important place to being our derived doctrine section. In Doctrine of Sacred Scriptures 102, we have this quote: "The ancients with whom the [Ancient Word] is still in use in heaven were in part from the land of Canaan and from the kingdoms on its borders; as from Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Chaldea, Assyria, Egypt, and from Zidon, Tyre, and Nineveh; the inhabitants of all of these kingdoms were in representative worship and hence in the knowledge of correspondences." (emphasis added)

"…like a pool of water…"

  • As we might expect, there is a positive and negative meaning for the phrase "pool of water." AC 7324 illustrates this for us. In the spiritual sense of the Word, a pool signifies "intelligence from the knowledge of good and truth." Pools of water in the opposite sense signify evils from falsities. It appears reasonable to assume that we will be shown that the root or cause of Nineveh’s destruction resulted from their loss of the "pool of water." We need to feel a degree of sadness for what is about to happen to Nineveh. They had the representative wonders of the Ancient Word and gradually but purposely falsified the correspondences or holy truths of the Ancient Word. Why would they choose to do such a foolish thing? What would cause them to turn their back to the Lord’s Word?

"Now they flee away…"

  • The RSV has this verse translated as follows: "Nineveh is like a pool whose waters run away." Our mind would do well to focus on the meaning of the water running away. The Ninevites were not running away to find relief from unpleasant circumstances, nor were they trying to elude the pursuit of an enemy. They were fleeing so they could escape, or be "away" from, the Lord’s presence. They lost the water of truth they had drunk many years earlier from the Ancient Word.

"Halt! Halt! They cry; but no one turns back."

  • Please note the two "halts." In the positive sense, two represents conjunction. Again in the positive sense, two represents the conjunction of the will and understanding. In another sense, the conjunction desired by the Lord is that of our external life reflecting our internal life. Nineveh, representing a church unraveling and in a state of disjunction, was losing sight of the truth. The water, or pool of water, was running off. They were "losing it." So the voice of the Lord cried out "Halt! Halt!" to get their attention. The will and the understanding must pay attention and return to their uses if spiritual things are to survive.
  • "But no one turns back." They had ears to hear, but they did not hear. The desire of their heart wanted to be free from the inner voice of the Lord, so they refused to heed the call for repentance. They chose to not turn back.

"Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold!"

  • The RSV translation offers this wording: "Plunder the silver, plunder the gold!" We need to ask who is to take or plunder the silver and gold? Why is the order given to take the silver first and the gold lastly? It appears that the Lord is the one taking the silver and gold, but in reality, falsity is the plunderer. The Lord never wishes to take or withhold what is good for us. The Word reminds us that it is our "Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) Hell wants to plunder or spoil that offer.
  • As to our second question, silver represents truth and gold represents love. TCR 67 teaches us that: "love and wisdom without use are only fleeting things…separate from use the two (love and wisdom) are like birds flying over a great ocean, that at length, wearied with flying, fall down and are drowned." So it is when love has no truth to conjoin itself to and when there is no use to serve, they lose their conjugial union and the plundering of silver and gold is sure to take place.

"There is no end of treasure, or wealth of every desirable prize."

  • AC 10406 and AE 840 teach us that treasure signifies the knowledges of truth and good. So in effect, the Lord reminded them what they gave up when they turned their back on the Ancient Word. They had within their reach every precious teaching, every desirable prize their soul could have wanted. Wealth, in the spiritual sense, "consists in matters of knowledge," and wealth consists in "what is known." (AC 4508)

"She is empty, desolate, and waste!"

  • "She" represents the will and the church.
  • "Empty" signifies where there is nothing true, because there is nothing of good with it. See AC 4744.
  • "Desolate" signifies being without visible truth. See AC 6141.
  • "Waste" signifies evils and falsities spoiling or destroying the good and truth of the church. See AE 374 [5].

"The heart melts, and the knees shake…"

  • The heart signifies the affection of a person’s will. See AE 622 [5].
  • "Melting" signifies the diminishing of one’s capacity to receive heavenly good as a strong desire grows to find external satisfaction. See AC 8487.
  • Shaking or trembling is predicated of a church when falsities are believed and are called truths. See AE 400 [7].
  • "Knees" in a positive sense represent the conjunction of the truth of faith with the good of love. In the negative sense, they represent the disunion, the disturbance of the mind of the church because of its evils. See AE 677 [7].

"Much pain is in every side, and all their faces are drained of color."

  • "Sore," or pain, signifies the extreme desolation one feels from the lack of spiritual things. See AC 5576. It also represents people feeling that the Lord’s power seems extreme against them when He exposes their states of self-love and the evils and falsities they imbued. See AC 4993.
  • "Pain in (on) every side" seems to be a necessary part of this section of correspondences. The Lord is everywhere. His judgment on the falsity of a church is complete. He sees every side and facet of the desolation.
  • The face represents the spiritual and celestial things existing within a person. The Lord sees spiritual faces and not what is shown to others externally. See AC 5571.
  • All faces are drained; all faces grow pale! Paleness signifies the absence and deprivation of spiritual life. See AR 320. AE 381 [3 and 4] is an excellent reference on the meaning of turning pale.

"Where is the dwelling of the lions…" "…the feeding place of the young lions…" "…where the lions walked…" "…the lioness and lion’s cub…" "…and no one made them afraid?"

[Note: First, review the portions of this verse explained in the Passages From the Writings. Next, let’s look at some of the correspondences not explained so we can allow the Lord to infill and enlarge our understanding through the use of derived doctrine.]

  • "Dwelling" represents the presence of love, the presence of the internal things of worship and to live spiritually. (AC 1102 and AC 1293) The dwelling of lions in the positive sense represents living the life of good and truth with power. (AC 6367 and 6369)
  • "Feeding place" represents sustaining or providing for the increase of the church. See AR 547.
  • To walk with the Lion (the Lord) is to teach and live according to the doctrine of faith. AC 519 has much more to share about walking.
  • A cub or whelp signifies the beginning of the reception of truth in the form of affirmation and acknowledgment. (AC 3923 [3]) A whelp signifies innocence with power. (AC 6367)
  • No one made them afraid? The church or individual who walks with the Lord, the church or individual who lives the life of good and truth with power — do they have anyone to fear? Being in the stream of Providence gives a security that is wonderful and comforting.

Is this what is being said here? I suspect that we need to look at the opposite meaning of the above. The church of Nineveh imagined their power and success was due to their physical might. After all, they had the strongest army and the shrewdest leaders in the world. They were the nation others feared most. No one made them afraid. Not even the Lord?

The Word often uses "contrasts" to teach us truth. The contrasts in this section have been made clear. To Nineveh, the Lord is saying this is what could have been yours. Look at what you chose. For us, these contrasts can help us choose wisely while we dwell, feed, have cubs, and walk with the "Lion of heaven."

Putting It all Together

1. I feel as though our summary has been made easier for us through the efforts we just made "surfing" through our derived doctrine sources. The Nineveh of old, our remains, are full of spiritual potential. The innocence of our remains is wonderfully guarded and protected by the Lord. He alone knows where they are stored, and He adds to them throughout our life. We need to be vigilant and cooperate with the Lord in matters of our spiritual growth. It is prudent to check periodically to see if our efforts are to follow the Lord. Do we choose to dwell with Him? Will we feed on His truth? Will we walk the path that leads to heaven? Are the spiritual births (whelps) in our life in the form of affirmation and acknowledgment of the Lord’s truth and providence?

2. Nineveh chose to turn and lose the water of life. Nineveh chose to ignore the calls to halt. They allowed the silver and gold of their church to be plundered. With these choices, their faces lost the glow of happiness. Their faces were cast over with a look of pale death. Their capacity to receive heavenly benefits diminished, and they were empty of the infinite and eternal things the Lord wanted to share with them.

3. As often happens when the Lord works on the separation of evil and falsity, the "soreness" caused by the Lord’s light is used by hell to claim He is unfair. They launch one last effort to fix blame on the Lord and divert responsibility from themselves. "My pain and soreness," they claim, "is a result of the Lord’s severe, stern, and over-used Divine power." For those who want and seek the light of heaven, is there any pain? Is there any reason to fear the light? In the place of pain and pale faces, there is heartiness and newness that is healthy. When we invite the Lord in to sit and sup with us, He will come in. He will offer us a cup of His living water. Do we recall His words: "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1. Why do you think Nineveh chose to turn from the Ancient Word? Was it due to boredom? Did they take the Word for granted and place a lower value on it? Did the neglect come about slowly or rapidly?

2. This section has some very picturesque ways to describe the fall of Nineveh. Think of the pool of water leaving Nineveh, the words "Halt! Halt!," the people choosing not to turn back, the pale face. Which of these do you find easy to recall when thinking about or summarizing the quote from P&P "all things of the church will be taken away from them…"?

3. What are some contrasts the Lord shows us in this section between positive and negative things? We need to see the errors of Nineveh, but we also need to see the great message to the church that remains in the order of the Lord. Too many readers of the Word focus on the negative and fail to see or focus on the positive. Can you do both when you read? When you seek to apply what you read to life? How?

Nahum 2:12-14

"The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, killed for his lionesses, filled his caves with prey, and his dens with flesh. ‘Behold, I am against you,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.’"

Passages From the Writings


        • "…they will no longer destroy the church and its holy things, vers. 12-14."

AC 6367 [8]

        • "…in Nahum 2:11-13 …a ’lion’ denotes the power possessed by the evil of the love of self when it destroys and lays waste…."

AE 494

        • "…‘smoke’ in the contrary sense signifies falsity from evil…because the fire that makes such smoke signifies evil of love." Nahum 2:13 is cited.

AE 539 [7]

        • "In Nahum 2:13 [this verse]…treats of the devastation of the church; and ‘to burn a chariot in the smoke’ signifies to pervert all truths of doctrine into falsities, ‘smoke’ meaning falsity, and ‘chariot’ doctrine; and ‘the sword shall devour the young lions’ signifies that falsities will destroy the chief truths of the church, ‘young lions’ meaning the chief and protecting truths of the church, and ‘sword’ meaning falsity destroying truth."

Derived Doctrine

"The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs…"

  • Let’s consider this teaching in AC 5828 regarding the meaning of "being torn in pieces," as being to perish by evils and falsities. "That ‘to be torn in pieces’ has this signification, is because in the spiritual world there is no other tearing in pieces than that of good by evils and falsities."
  • Cubs in the positive sense represent the reception of truth, in the opposite sense they signify the successive profanation of truth through the allurements of falsities. See AC 6367.
    A lion’s representation can be both positive and negative. Its usage is determined by what it does in the text. This lion tears, it fills its cave with prey and flesh. We then need to turn to the representation of the lion that has the power of self-love when it destroys and lays to waste the affections of the church and individual.
  • A cave is a dark abode representing direful falsity from evil. See AE 655 [8].
  • A den represents a place where those who are in self-love seek and desire to profane the church and worship. (AE 325 [10]) Remember what the Lord said to those who defiled the temple: "It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’" (Matthew 21:13)
  • "Prey" signifies the vulnerability of truth without good. See AC 4844.
  • "Dens of flesh…" Flesh has many interesting representations. Here is but one. Flesh signifies man’s evil will, which is his proprium (own) from birth. See AE 1082 [7].

"Behold, I am against you, says the Lord of hosts…"

  • Those who seek to do violence against the Lord, imagining they are strong enough to win, will eventually face the Lord’s divine power, be brought under His yoke, and will enter (dive) into hell. See AC 8626. The announcement "I am against you" signals the turning and defeat of His adversaries.
  • "The Lord of hosts" signifies the Lord marshaling all good and truths (love, faith, knowledges, angels, the church in its complex) to join in on the fight against falsities and evils. See AE 453 [6].
  • Burning chariots in smoke and the sword devouring young lions are covered above in Passages From the Writings section.
  • "The voice of messengers shall be heard no more." Do we not see what this means all on its own? Evil’s loud boasting and twisted messages will come to an end. The Lord promises He will expose their empty and worthless system of falsity.

Putting It All Together

1. Just hearing the announcement from the Lord that "they will no longer destroy the church and its holy things" offers comfort to anyone who cares deeply for the church. As in a movie or play, there is a sense of joy when good wins out over evil. I can remember once being in a movie theatre where the audience clapped and cheered for the hero or heroine when they were rescued.

2. Hell has been doing its best to tear the things of the church into little pieces. Hiding in their caves or dens, the evil spirits were highlighting the church’s game of self-love. With propriums puffed up, the Ninevites felt so smug and powerful. Hell claps its hands when we make mistakes. When any of us show a flaw, they point to it as a failure for regeneration. Just hearing the Lord say, "I am against you…the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more," means so much. The chariots of hell will go up in smoke. Their sword of false doctrine will lose its cutting edge. It makes me want to cheer. There is good news in this prophecy. We need to seize its power and feel the protection of the Lord rushing in for the rescue.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1. Do you agree that this section of our study is a message of hope? Why or why not?

2. How well did the derived doctrine section help us learn some of the correspondences in this section? This question is asked often to show that using derived doctrine is not only fun but essential. We want each reader to gain confidence. No harm comes to the Word when we use derived doctrine to study and be helped by the Lord.

3. How strong do you think the voice of hell’s messengers is today? Are they stronger than in days of your youth? Were things better in the past, or they better now? What has or hasn’t changed?

4. Share with the group one question that occurred to you as you read this section.

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