406. And the third part of the ships perished, signifies that all the knowledges of good and truth from the Word serving for use of life were destroyed with them. "The third part" signifies all, as above (n. 400, 404, 405); "ships" signify the knowledges of good and truth from the Word serving for the use of life. That these are signified by "ships" is because ships cross the sea, and bring back the necessaries which are for the natural man for every use; and the knowledges of good and truth are the necessaries which are for the spiritual man for every use of it; for from them is the doctrine of the church, and according to this is life. "Ships" signify these knowledges, because they are containers; and in many places in the Word the container is taken for the thing contained, as a cup for wine, a platter for food, the tabernacle and the temple for the holy things in them, the ark for the law, the altars for worship, and so on.
 "Ships" signify the knowledges of good and truth in the following passages:
Zebulon shall dwell at the shore of the seas, and he is for a port of the ships (Gen. 49:13).
By "Zebulon" is meant the conjunction of good and truth.
O Tyre, the builders have perfected thy beauty; of firs from Senir have they made all thy boards; they have taken the cedar of Lebanon to make a mast; they have made thine oars of the oaks of Bashan; thine oar-bench have they made of ivory, the daughter of steps from the isles of Kittim; the inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were thy rowers; thy wise men were thy ship-masters; all the ships of the sea and their sailors were in thee to trade; the ships of Tarshish were thy troops in thy tradings; whence thou wast exceedingly filled and honored in the heart of the seas (Ezek. 27:4-9, 25).
This is concerning Tyre, because the church as to the knowledges of truth and good is signified by "Tyre" in the Word, as may be evident from the particulars concerning it in this chapter and in the eighteenth following, when understood in the spiritual sense. And as the knowledges of the truth and good of the church are signified by "Tyre," a ship is therefore described as to the particulars of it, and by each one is signified some quality of those knowledges that conduces to intelligence. What has the Word in common with the ships of Tyre and its commerce?
 The devastation of that church is afterwards described thus:
At the voice of the cry of thy shipmasters the suburbs shall quake, and all that hold an oar shall descend from thy ships, all mariners and shipmasters of the sea shall cry out bitterly upon thee (Ezek. 27:28-30; also Isa. 23:14-15).
The devastation of Babylon as to all the knowledges of truth is similarly described in what follows in Revelation:
In one hour are so great riches devastated; every pilot and everyone employed upon ships, and the sailors, shall cry out, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, in which all who have ships in the sea were made rich (Rev. 18:17, 19).
 See the explanation below. The knowledges of truth and good are also signified by "ships" in the following passages:
My days were swift, they fled away, they saw not good, they passed by with the ships of desire (Job 9:25-26).
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do work in many waters, these see the works of Jehovah, and His wonders in the deep (Ps. 107:23-24).
The isles shall trust in Me, and the ships of Tarshish in the beginning, to bring thy children from afar (Isa. 60:9).
The kings gathered themselves together, terror seized them; thou shalt break the ships of Tarshish by the east wind (Ps. 48:4-7).
Howl, ye ships of Tarshish (Isa. 23:1, 14; besides other places, as Num. 24:24; Judges 5:17; Ps. 104:26; Isa. 33:21).