755. That by "the six hundredth year, the second month, and seventeenth day" is signified the second state of temptation, follows from what has hitherto been said; for from the sixth verse to this eleventh verse the first state of temptation is treated of, which was temptation as to things of his understanding. And that now the second state is treated of, namely, as to things of the will, is the reason why his age is told again. It was said before that he was "a son of six hundred years" and here that the flood came "in the six-hundredth year of his life, in the second month, and in the seventeenth day." No one could suppose that by the years of Noah's age, of which the years, months, and days are specified, a state of temptation as to things of the will is meant. But as has been said, such was the manner of speech and of writing among the most ancient people; and especially were they delighted in being able to specify times and names, and thereby construct a narrative similar to actual history; and in this consisted their wisdom.
 Now it has been shown above, at verse 6, that the "six hundred years" signify nothing else than the first state of temptation, and so do the "six hundred years" here; but in order that the second state of temptation might be signified, "months" and "days" are added; and indeed two months or "in the second month" which signifies combat itself, as is evident from the signification of the number "two" in the second verse of this chapter, where it is shown that it signifies the same as "six" that is, labor and combat, and also dispersion. But the number "seventeen" signifies both the beginning of temptation and the end of temptation, because it is composed of the numbers seven and ten. When this number signifies the beginning of temptation, it involves the days up to seven, or a week of seven days; and that this signifies the beginning of temptation has been shown above, at the fourth verse of this chapter. But when it signifies the end of temptation (as at verse 4 of chapter 8), then "seven" is a holy number; to which "ten" (which signifies remains) is adjoined, for without remains man cannot be regenerated.
 That the number "seventeen" signifies the beginning of temptation, is evident in Jeremiah, when that prophet was commanded to buy a field from Hanamel his uncle's son, which was in Anathoth; and he weighed him the money, seventeen shekels of silver (Jer. 32:9). That this number also signifies the Babylonish captivity, which represents the temptation of the faithful and the devastation of the unfaithful, and so the beginning of temptation and at the same time the end of temptation, or liberation, is evident from what follows in the same chapter-the captivity in the thirty-sixth verse, and the liberation in the thirty-seventh and following verses. No such number would have appeared in the prophecy if it had not, like all the other words, involved a hidden meaning.
 That "seventeen" signifies the beginning of temptation, is also evident from the age of Joseph, who was a "son of seventeen years" when he was sent to his brothers and sold into Egypt (Gen. 37:2). His being sold into Egypt has a similar signification, as of the Lord's Divine mercy will be shown in the explication of that chapter. There the historical events are representative, which actually took place as described; but here significative historical incidents are composed, which did not take place as described in the sense of the letter. And yet the actual events involve arcana of heaven, in fact every word of them does so, exactly as do these made-up histories. It cannot but appear strange that this is so, because where any historical fact or statement is presented, the mind is held in the letter and cannot release itself from it, and so thinks that nothing else is signified and represented.
 But that there is an internal sense in which the life of the Word resides (and not in the letter, which without the internal sense is dead), must be evident to every intelligent man. Without the internal sense how does any historical statement in the Word differ from history as told by any profane writer? And then of what use would it be to know the age of Noah, and the month and day when the flood took place, if it did not involve a heavenly arcanum? And who cannot see that this saying: "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the cataracts of heaven were opened" is a prophetical one? Not to mention other like considerations.