SWINE OF THE BIBLE
An unwise effort, as it seems to me, is made by some indiscriminate admirers of Nature, to lay all that is unclean in the habits of the hog to the interference of man. They say that in the wild state he is cleaner, and lives upon nuts and roots, and therefore is not repulsive. Still, the facts remain that, even wild, he does love to wallow in filth and mire, and that, as we know him, nothing that has a particle of nutriment in it is too filthy for him to eat. I will not dwell upon his disagreeable character, as in a general way it is sufficiently familiar to everybody. The domestic hog is a form of the greedy love of appropriating every good thing to oneself, and, secondarily, of defiling what cannot be appropriated. It is not a love of delicacies, and of refined self-indulgence; but of greedy, indiscriminate appropriation and possession, for no possible use. The love may apply itself to food, or to riches, or to knowledge, or anything else that is good; its essence is the same in all its different forms.
Swedenborg says that swine correspond to sordid avarice. And he explains that:
The lust of gain and avarice has in it that it not only wishes to possess the whole world, but also, for the sake of gain, to plunder everyone, yea, to kill, and it likewise would kill for a trifle, if the laws did not prevent it. And, moreover, in the gold and silver which such a man possesses, he regards himself as the greatest in power, however otherwise he may appear to do in external form. Hence it is evident that in avarice there is not only the love of the world, but also self-love, and, indeed, the most filthy self-love. For, with the sordidly avaricious, elation of mind, or pride, is not so conspicuous outwardly, for this sometimes does not care about wealth for the sake of show; neither is it that kind of self-love which usually is connected with pleasures; for they have little concern about the body and its food and clothing; but it is a love altogether earthly, having nothing for its end but money, in which it believes itself, not in act but in ability, above all. Hence it may be evident that in avarice there is a love of self the lowest and the vilest of all; wherefore in the other life the avaricious appear to themselves to be among swine; and they are, beyond all others, contrary to all good whatever.(Arcana Coelestia #4751)
The love of wealth for the sake of power has been a not uncommon form of avarice among the Jews, who have made its greedy, cruel, selfish nature well known to all readers. Another form of their avarice will be mentioned hereafter. For the reason that swine correspond to their national evil, to eat swine’s flesh was a form of transgression which their backsliding was very liable to take, and it is mentioned throughout the Bible as a not uncommon, though abominable, sin.
The filth in which swine love to wallow, and to trample good things, indicates their secondary correspondence with a lust of defiling goodness and truth. Therefore Swedenborg also says that swine correspond to “filthy loves such as are in the hells of adulterers” (Apocalypse Explained #1044).
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1875