BEES >> Love of Usefulness >> Rationalizations of the Natural Man
Not for the green grass and foliage do the bees care, but for the fragrant flowers, into which they dive, like diviners of hidden treasure, for the honey and pollen. Neither do spiritual bees care for a knowledge of the world with its theories and principles so long as they are only theories and principles; but as soon as they blossom with the promise of usefulness, the bees hurry to them, sure of finding in them their favorite sweetness.
The locusts care only to know—it makes not much difference what. The bees ask, “What is it for? What is the use of it?” And in a knowledge of the usefulness they find honey.
That honey is enjoyment, is because it is sweet; and every sweetness in the natural world corresponds to enjoyment and pleasantness in the spiritual. . . . Every truth, and especially truths from good, have their enjoyment, but enjoyment from the affection of them, and thence the use.
But bees have not only a love for the sweetness of usefulness, but also a stinging contempt for what is useless or mischievous. They sting all intruders upon their busy lives; even the drones of their own race they carry out from the hive, and sting to death.
Many human insects have the power to annoy us with impertinent suggestions or remarks, of which we shall say more presently; but they have no power to sting unless there are appearances of evil or disgrace in our lives from which they can draw stinging inferences. The stings of the bees are charges of uselessness or intrusion. Honey is frequently mentioned in the Bible; but bees rarely.
It is related of Samson, that after he had rent the young lion, and returned to take a wife from the nation of the Philistines, “he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion; and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion” (Judges 14:8, 9). By this was signified the dissipation of the faith separate from charity, which the Philistines represented; it was on this account that the Philistines were called “the uncircumcised,” by which name is signified that they were without spiritual love and charity, and only in natural love, which is the love of self and the world; such faith inasmuch as it destroys the good of charity, was represented by the young lion which assaulted Samson with intent to tear him in pieces; but Samson, because he was a Nazarite, and by his Nazariteship represented the Lord as to His ultimate natural, rent the lion in pieces, and afterwards found in his carcass a swarm of bees and honey, by which was signified that after that faith is dissipated the good of charity succeeds in its place. (Apocalypse Explained #619)
This is the common signification of honey in the Scriptures. Therefore it is said that “the judgments of Jehovah are sweeter than honey, and the dropping of the honeycombs” (Psalm 119:102, 103).
The land of Canaan is called “a land flowing with milk and honey,” because it represents“heaven, where is the good of charity and truth of faith, and thence pleasantness and enjoyment”(Arcana Coelestia #6857).
Yet, because spiritual bees judge wholly from appearances, and may mistake the appearance of industry and the promise of use for genuine usefulness, honey also represents what appears like the pleasure of use, but may be merely selfish elation. In this sense of selfish delight, it was forbidden that any honey should be used in the sacrifices to the Lord. ( Leviticus 2:11; Apocalypse Explained #619.)
As the stings of bees in a good sense signify the imputation of idleness and opposition to pleasant work, by which the love of such pleasantness defends itself, in the perverse sense they signify such charges against those who object to merely selfish pleasure. Bees are therefore mentioned once as means by which genuine goodness is destroyed, and selfish pleasure substituted. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria” (Isaiah7:18, 19). ( Apocalypse Explained #543; Arcana Coelestia #9331)
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1875