9125. If a thief be caught while digging through. That this signifies if it is not apparent that good or truth is being taken away, is evident from the signification of "digging through," as being the perpetration of evil in secret, and when it is said of a thief, as being the taking away of good or truth by falsity from evil so that it is not apparent (of which in what follows); and from the signification of "a thief," as being one who takes away good and truth (see n. 5135, 8906, 9018, 9020), and in the abstract sense, the truth or good that is taken away. It is said "in the abstract sense," because the angels, who are in the internal sense of the Word, think abstractedly from persons (n. 5225, 5287, 5434, 8343, 8985, 9007). Moreover, in this sense the Word has real things as objects, without determination to persons and places.
 That "digging through" denotes the perpetration of evil in secret, and when said of a thief, the taking away of good or truth by falsity from evil so that it is not apparent, is evident from the fact that a distinction is here made between the theft effected by digging through, and that which is committed when the sun is risen (of which in the following verse). That "digging through" has this signification is also evident from the passages in the Word where it is mentioned, as in Jeremiah:
Also in thy skirts is found the blood of poor innocent souls. I have not found them in digging through, but they are upon them all (Jer. 2:34);
speaking of filthy loves and the evils from them; "I have not found them in digging through" denotes not by a search in secret; and therefore it is said "they are upon them all," that is, they appear everywhere. And in Ezekiel:
He brought me in to the door of the court, where I saw, and behold a hole in the wall. He said unto me, Come, dig through the wall; I therefore digged through the wall, when behold a door (Ezek. 8:7-8);
speaking of the abominations of the house of Israel which they wrought in secret; "to dig through the wall" denotes to enter in secretly, and to see what they are doing. In Amos:
Though they dig through into hell, thence shall My hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I cast them down (Amos 9:2);
"to dig through into hell" denotes to hide themselves there, thus in falsities from evil; for "hell" denotes falsity from evil, because this reigns there. The falsities there are called "darkness," within which they hide themselves from the light of heaven; for they flee from the light of heaven, which is Divine truth from the Lord. In Job:
The eye of the adulterer watcheth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me; and he putteth a covering on his face. In the dark he diggeth through houses, which they mark for themselves in the daytime; they acknowledge not the light; even so morning is to them the shadow of death; for they acknowledge the terrors of the shadow of death (Job. 24:15-17);
here "digging through houses" plainly means secretly plundering the goods of another; for it is said that "in the dark he diggeth through houses;" that "he watcheth for the twilight that no eye may see him;" that "he putteth a covering on his face;" that "he acknowledges not the light;" also that "the morning is to them the shadow of death."
 That "digging through a house" denotes secretly taking away another's good, originates from the representatives in the other life. There, when the angels are conversing about falsity destroying good in secret, this is represented below, where angelic conversations are presented to the sight, by digging through a wall; and on the other hand, when the angels are conversing about truth coming to good, and conjoining itself with it, this is represented by an open door through which there is entrance. It is from this that the Lord, who because He spoke from the Divine, spoke according to the representatives that exist in heaven, and according to correspondences, says:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep (John 10:1-2).
This know, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would surely have watched, and would not have suffered His house to be digged through (Luke 12:39).
Here also a "thief" denotes one who through falsities destroys the goods of faith; "to dig through a house" denotes to do this secretly, because it is done when the master of the house is not watching. From this also it is that "to come as a thief" denotes to come clandestinely, because not through the door, but by some other way, as in John:
Unless thou watchest, I will come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know in what hour I will come upon thee (Rev. 3:3).
Behold I come as a thief; blessed is he that watcheth (Rev. 16:15).
"To come as a thief" denotes to come clandestinely and unexpectedly. The reason why this is so said by the Lord is that it is meant that the door with man is closed through the falsity of evil.