9209. If thou shalt lend silver to My people, the needy with thee. That this signifies the instruction of those who are in ignorance of truth, and yet long to learn, is evident from the signification of "silver," as being truth (see n. 1551, 2048, 2954, 5658, 6112, 6914, 6917, 7999, 8932); from the signification of "lending," as being to communicate the goods of heaven from the affection of charity (n. 9174), thus to instruct; from the signification of "people," as being those who are in truths, here those in ignorance of truth, because it is said "needy people" (that those are called a "people" who are in truths, see n. 1259, 1260, 2928, 3295, 3581, 7207); and from the signification of "needy," as being those who are in ignorance of truth and yet long to learn, for these are in spiritual need, and are to be instructed.
 In the Word it is frequently said that benefits are to be conferred on the poor and needy. Those who are in external truths, and who are not yet initiated into internal truths, believe that benefits are to be conferred on all who need any kind of help, and especially on beggars, who call themselves poorer than others. They who do this from obedience, because it has been so commanded, do well; for by this outward thing they are initiated into the internal of charity and mercy. The internal of charity and mercy consists in clearly discerning who and of what character are those upon whom benefits are to be conferred, and in what manner to each one. They who are at last initiated into the internal of charity and mercy know that this very internal consists in willing well and in doing well to the internal man, thus with such things as conduce to spiritual life; and that the external consists in doing well to the external man, thus with such things as conduce to the bodily life, but yet with such prudence, that while the external man is benefited the internal man may also be benefited at the same time. For he who does well to the external man and ill to the internal man, does not practice charity; and therefore when the one is done, the other must also be looked to.
 It is the external of charity which is described in the external or literal sense of the Word by the injunction that benefits are to be conferred on the poor and needy; but it is the internal of charity which is described in the internal or spiritual sense of the Word; for in this sense is meant the internal man who is in poverty and need, and who is to be benefited. In this sense by "the poor and needy" are meant those who are in lack and ignorance of good and truth, and yet long for good and truth. The Word also teaches in the letter how these are to be aided, especially the Word which the Lord Himself taught when He was in the world; for the Lord then disclosed such things as belong to the internal man, as is plain in the Evangelists throughout. But still He spoke in such a manner that every word had an internal sense for the angels, and at the same time for the man of the internal church. For the internal sense contains such things as the genuine doctrine of the church teaches.
 Take for example what the Lord said to the disciples sent by John the Baptist to inquire whether He was the Lord who should come; to whom He replied:
Go ye and tell John what things ye have seen and heard: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, to the poor the gospel is preached (Luke 7:20-22);
these words were spoken for the external man, and at the same time for the internal man; for the external man that such miracles were wrought; for the internal, that the church is being set up among such as in the spiritual sense are blind, lame, leprous, deaf, and poor, thus among the Gentiles who are in ignorance of good and truth, and yet long for them. For those are called "blind" who are in ignorance of truth (n. 6990); "lame," those who are in good, but on account of their ignorance of truth, not in genuine good (n. 4302); "leprous," those who are unclean and yet long to be made clean; "deaf," those who are not in the faith of truth, because not in the perception of it; and "poor," those who have not the Word, and thus know nothing of the Lord, and yet long to be instructed. Consequently it is said that "to these the gospel shall be preached."
 That by "the poor and needy" in the internal sense are meant those outside the church who are in ignorance of truth, because they have not the Word, and yet long to be instructed, and who by means of that which they know are nevertheless in a little good; and also those within the church who from various causes are ignorant of truth, but nevertheless by virtue of some good long for it, is evident from passages where "the poor and needy" are mentioned in the Word, as in David:
I am needy and poor; make haste unto me, O God; my help and my deliverer, O Jehovah (Ps. 70:5);
these words were spoken by David, who was not poor and needy, from which it is evident that spiritual poverty and need are meant. In like manner elsewhere:
I am needy and poor; O Lord, remember me, my help and my deliverer (Ps. 40:17).
God shall judge His people in righteousness, and His needy in judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the hills in righteousness. He shall judge the needy of the people. He shall save the sons of the poor, and shall break in pieces the oppressor (Ps. 72:2-4);
"the needy" here denote those who are in spiritual need, and thus in the hunger, that is, in the longing to be willing to be instructed in truths.
 In the same:
All my bones shall say, O Jehovah, who is like unto Thee, who deliverest the needy from him that is stronger than he; yea, the needy and the poor from them that plunder him? (Ps. 35:10);
the "bones" denote memory-truths (n. 8005); "the needy," those who are in but little truth; and "the poor" those who are in but little good, and are infested by evils and falsities. From these infestations the needy are also called in the original tongue "the afflicted," for "to be afflicted" denotes to be infested by falsities (n. 9196). Again in the following passages:
The wicked lieth in wait in the tent to catch the needy; he doth catch the needy, and draweth him into his net (Ps. 10:9).
Is not this the fast, to break bread to the hungry, and to bring into the house the needy that are cast out? (Isa. 58:6-7).
Jehovah hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His needy ones (Isa. 49:13).
I will leave in the midst of thee a people needy and feeble, who hope in the name of Jehovah (Zeph. 3:12).
In these passages "the needy" denote those who are in ignorance of truth and long to be instructed.