Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6917

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6917. 'Vessels of silver' means factual knowledge of what is true, 'and vessels of gold' means factual knowledge of what is good. This is clear from the meaning of 'vessels' as known facts, dealt with in 3068, 3079 (known facts are called 'vessels' because they are general and can contain within them countless truths and manifold forms of good); from the meaning of 'silver' as truth, and of 'gold' as good, dealt with in 1551, 1552, 2954, 5658, 'the silver of Egypt' being factual knowledge that held truth in it and was appropriate, see 6112. As regards the vessels of silver and the vessels of gold in the hands of the Egyptians - that they mean factual knowledge of what is true and factual knowledge of what is good, even though here and in what has gone before, as well as in what follows, false factual knowledge is meant by 'the Egyptians - it should be recognized that in themselves known facts are neither true nor false. Rather, they become true in the hands of those who are guided by truths, and false in the hands of those who are steeped in falsities. What use they are put to and then made to serve is what determines which of these they become. The facts a person knows are like the wealth and riches he possesses. Wealth and riches in the hands of those governed by evil are ruinous because they put them to evil kinds of use, whereas wealth and riches in the hands of those governed by good are advantageous because they put them to good kinds of use. Therefore if wealth and riches in the hands of evil people are handed over to those who are good they become good. So too with factual knowledge.

[2] Among the Egyptians, for example, there remained a large number of the representatives that belonged to the Ancient Church, as is clear from their hieroglyphics. But because they applied them to magical practices and therefore made them serve an evil use, these things were for them not true factual knowledge but false. Yet in the Ancient Church the same knowledge had held what was true since people had put it to its correct use - to Divine worship. Take sacrifices on altars as another example. Among the Hebrew nation, and subsequently among the Jewish and Israelite nation, they were ritual acts that were true because they were put to use in the worship of Jehovah. But among the nations in the land of Canaan they were false ritual acts because they were put to use in the worship of their idols. This was why the command was also given to destroy those nations' altars wherever they were. The same holds true with a very large number of other things. For this reason many known facts can be learned from those who are steeped in evils and falsities, and put to good kinds of use, thus becoming good. Similar things were also meant by plundering the nations in the land of Canaan - by the wealth, large cattle, small cattle, houses, and vineyards which the children of Israel plundered there. The same thing is still further evident from the gold and silver plundered from the nations. This too was devoted to a sacred use, as is clear from the second Book of Samuel,

There were in his hand vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of bronze. King David consecrated these also to Jehovah, along with the silver and gold that he had consecrated from all the nations which he had subdued - from the Syrians, [and] from Moab, and from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines, and from Amalek, and from the plunder of Hadad Ezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah. 2 Sam 8:10-12.

And in Isaiah,

At length the merchandise of Tyre and her harlot's wages will be holy to Jehovah, they will not be hoarded or held back; but her merchandise will be for those that dwell before Jehovah to eat to their satiety and for one covering himself with what is ancient. Isa 23:18.

And also the objects which the women of the children of Israel asked of the Egyptians, thereby plundering them, were later on put to use in the making of the Ark, and to many other sacred objects in their worship.

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