(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 1748

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1748. That from a thread even to the thong [or latchet] of a shoe. That this signifies all natural and corporeal things that were unclean, is evident from the signification of "the thong of a shoe." In the Word the sole of the foot and the heel signify the ultimate natural (as before shown, n. 259). A shoe is that which covers the sole of the foot and the heel; a "shoe" therefore signifies what is natural still further, thus the corporeal itself. The signification of a "shoe" is according to the subject. When predicated of goods it is taken in a good sense; and when of evil, in a bad sense; as here in treating of the substance of the king of Sodom, by whom evil and falsity are signified, the "thong of a shoe" signifies unclean natural and corporeal things. By the "thread of a shoe" falsity is signified, and by the "thong of a shoe" evil, and this the most worthless of all, because the word is a diminutive.
[2] That such things are signified by a "shoe," is evident also from other passages in the Word; as when Jehovah appeared to Moses out of the midst of the bush, and said to Moses:
Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground (Exod. 3:5).
The prince of the army of Jehovah said in like manner to Joshua:
Put off thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holiness (Josh. 5:15).
Here everyone can see that the shoe would take away nothing from the holiness, provided the man were holy in himself; but that it was said for the reason that the shoe represented the ultimate natural and corporeal which was to be put off.
[3] That it is the unclean natural and corporeal, is also plain in David:
Moab is my washpot, upon Edom will I cast My shoe (Ps. 60:8).
The command to the disciples involves what is similar:

Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, as ye go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet (Matt. 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5);
where the "dust of the feet" has a signification like that of a "shoe," namely, uncleanness from evil and falsity, because the sole of the foot is the ultimate natural. They were commanded to do this because they were at that time in representatives, and thought that heavenly arcana were stored up in these alone, and not in naked truths.
[4] Because a "shoe" signified the ultimate natural, the putting off of the shoe, or the shoe-loosing, signified that one should be divested of the ultimate things of nature; as in the case of him who was not willing to fulfill the duty of brother-in-law, spoken of in Moses:
If the man is not willing to fulfill the duties of a husband's brother, then his brother's wife shall come unto him in the eyes of the elders, and draw his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, So shall it be done to the man that doth not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe taken off (Deut. 25:5-10);
meaning that which is devoid of all natural charity.
[5] That a "shoe" signifies the ultimate natural, in a good sense also, is likewise evident from the Word; as in Moses, concerning Asher:
Blessed be Asher above the sons; let him be acceptable unto his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil; iron and brass shall thy shoe be (Deut. 33:24, 25);
where the "shoe" denotes the ultimate natural; a "shoe of iron" natural truth, a "shoe of brass" natural good, as is evident from the signification of iron and brass (see n. 425, 426). And because a "shoe" signified the ultimate natural and corporeal, it became a symbol of what is least and most worthless; for the ultimate natural and corporeal is the most worthless of all things in man. This was meant by John the Baptist, when he said,
There cometh One that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose (Luke 3:16; Mark 1:7; John 1:27).


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