436. Verse 9. And they had breastplates, as breastplates of iron, signifies arguments from fallacies, by which they fight and prevail, which appeared to them so powerful that they could not be refuted. By "breastplates" are signified defenses, because they protect the breast; here, defenses of falsities, which are effected by arguments from fallacies, by which a false principle is defended. For from a false principle nothing but falsities can flow. If truths are advanced, they are only viewed outwardly or superficially, thus also sensually, and are consequently falsified, and, with such persons, become fallacies. The reason why "breastplates" have this signification, is because "wars," in the Word, signify spiritual wars, and thence the "arms of war" signify the various things relating to such wars; as in Jeremiah:
Harness the horses and mount, ye horsemen, and stand ye in helmets; polish the lances, and put on the cuirass (Jer. 46:4).
For he put on justice as a cuirass, and an helmet of salvation upon His head (Isa. 59:17).
Under His wings shalt thou trust, His truth shall be thy shield and buckler (Ps. 91:4; besides other places; as in Ezek. 23:24; 38:4; 39:9; Nahum 2:3; Ps. 5:12; 35:2-3).
"Their breastplates were as of iron," signifies that their arguments seemed to them so strong that they could not be refuted; for "iron" from its hardness, signifies what is strong.