(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 5223

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5223. And he sent and called all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof. That this signifies in consulting the interior as well as the exterior memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of "magicians," as being in a good sense interior memory-knowledges (of which hereafter); and from the signification of "wise men," as being exterior knowledges (of which also in what follows). The reason why the magicians and wise men of Egypt signified memory- knowledges, is that Egypt was one of the kingdoms in which the representative Ancient Church existed (n. 1238, 2385). But in Egypt attention was paid chiefly to the memory-knowledges of that church, which related to correspondences, representatives, and significatives; and by these knowledges were unfolded the things written in the books of the church, and that had place in their holy worship (n. 4749, 4964, 4966). Hence it came about that by "Egypt" were signified memory-knowledges in general (n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462), and also by "Pharaoh" its king. The chief among those who were skilled in and taught these knowledges were called "magi," or "magicians," and "wise men;" those who were skilled in mystical memory-knowledges were called "magicians," and those skilled in memory-knowledges not mystical were called "wise men;" consequently those who taught interior memory-knowledges were called "magicians," and those who taught exterior memory-knowledges were called "wise men." For this reason it is that these knowledges are signified in the Word by "magicians" and "wise men." But after they began to misuse the interior memory-knowledges of the church, and to turn them into magic, then by "Egypt" began to be signified the memory-knowledge which perverts, and likewise by the "magicians" of Egypt and her "wise men."
[2] The magicians of that time knew such things as belong to the spiritual world, which they learned from the correspondences and representatives of the church; and therefore many of them were in communication with spirits, and in this way learned deceptive arts, by which they performed magic miracles. But those called "wise men" did not care for such things, but solved difficult problems and taught the causes of natural things. In such things as these the wisdom of that time chiefly consisted, and skill in them was called "wisdom," as is evident from what is related of Solomon in the first book of Kings:
Solomon's wisdom was multiplied above the wisdom of all the sons of the East, and above all the wisdom of the Egyptians, insomuch that he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman and Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. He spoke three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five. Moreover he spoke of trees, from the cedars that are in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spoke also of beast and of fowl, and of creeping thing, and of fishes. Therefore there came of all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon from all kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom (1 Kings 4:30).
And what is related of the queen of Sheba in the same Book:
She came to try him with hard questions. And Solomon told her all her words, there was not a word hid from the king that he told her not (1 Kings 10:1, 3).
[3] From this it is plain what was called "wisdom" at that time, and who, not only in Egypt, but also elsewhere, as in Syria, Arabia, and Babylon, were called "wise;" but in the internal sense by the "wisdom of Egypt" nothing else is signified than the memory-knowledge of natural things; and by "magic" the memory-knowledge of spiritual things; thus by "wise men" are signified exterior memory-knowledges, by "magicians" interior memory-knowledges, and by "Egypt" memory-knowledge in general (see n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 4749, 4964, 4966). By "Egypt" and her "wise men" nothing else was meant in Isaiah:
The princes of Zoan are foolish, the counsel of the wise counselors of Pharaoh is become brutish; how is it said unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of the kings of antiquity? Where now are thy wise men? (Isa. 19:11-12).
[4] That those were called "magicians," or "magi," who were in the knowledge of spiritual things, and also in revelations thence, is plain from the Magi who came from the east to Jerusalem, asking where He was that was born King of the Jews, and saying that they had seen His star in the east, and were come to worship Him (Matt. 2:1, 2). The same is also evident from Daniel, who is called the "prince of the magicians" (Dan. 4:9); and again:
The queen said to king Belshazzar, There is a man in thy kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; therefore the king Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, made him prince of the magicians, diviners, Chaldeans, and soothsayers (Dan. 5:11).
Among them all was none found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; for when they stood before the king, in every word of wisdom of understanding concerning which the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and diviners that were in his realm (Dan. 1:19-20).
[5] That in the opposite sense by "magicians," such as those mentioned in Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18, 19; 9:11, are signified those who have perverted spiritual things and thereby have practiced magical arts, is known. For magic was nothing else than a perversion, and a perverted application, of such things as are of order in the spiritual world; from this came down magic. But such magic is at this day called natural, for the reason that anything above or beyond nature, is no longer recognized; and what is spiritual is denied, unless by it is understood an inner natural.


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