HORNETS >> Imputation of Evil by Means of Accusations, Insinuations and Disgrace
It has been said that the power to sting spiritually is the power to bring home some accusations or insinuations of evil or disgrace to our lives. Bees sting in their way; but the imputation of worse evils to those exposed to the attack is represented by the stings of wasps and hornets.
When the children of Israel were approaching the land of Canaan, the Lord promised, as one of the means by which their safety would be secured, that He would send “the hornet” before them to drive out the nations which were there, signifying that their own false thoughts from evil loves would return to plague and condemn them. ( Arcana Coelestia #9331)
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1875
And I will send the hornet before thee. That this signifies the dread felt by those who are in the falsities of evil, is evident from the signification of "hornets," as being stinging and deadly falsities, and hence such as excite dread. "Terror" is predicated of those who are in evils; and "dread" of those who are in falsities (as regards the terror of the former, see above, n. 9327). That "hornets" signify the dread felt by those who are in falsities, is because they are winged, and furnished with stings, with which they inflict poisoned wounds. For both the larger and the smaller animals signify such things as are of the affections, that is, which bear relation to the will; or else they signify such things as are of the thoughts, that is, which bear relation to the understanding. For all things whatsoever in man bear relation either to his will or to his understanding; and those things which bear no relation either to the one or to the other are not in the man, thus are not of the man. Those animals which walk, and also those which creep, signify the affections in both senses; thus goods or evils, for these are of the affections. But those animals which fly, and also winged insects, signify such things as are of the thoughts in both senses; thus truths or falsities, for these are of the thoughts. That "animals" signify goods, or evils, see n. 9280; that "creeping things" signify the same in the external sensuous, n. 746, 909, 994; that "flying things" signify truths or falsities, n. 40, 745, 776, 778, 866, 988, 3219, 5149, 7441; consequently winged insects signify the like things, but in man's extremes.
 But the falsities now treated of are of many kinds; there are falsities which do not injure, there are falsities which injure slightly, there are those which injure grievously, and there are also those which kill. Their kind is known from the evils they spring from; for every falsity that injures, or kills, springs from evil; because falsity from evil is evil appearing in a form. Moreover, in the other life, when such falsities are represented in a visible form, they appear as a swarm of insects and of unclean flying things, the appearance of which is terrible, according to the kind of evil from which they spring. From all this it is evident why "hornets" signify the dread felt by those who are in the falsities of evil. In like manner in Deuteronomy:
Jehovah thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and those hidden before thee, perish (Deut. 7:20).
 In the Word throughout mention is made of insects of various kinds, and they everywhere signify falsities or evils in the extremes (that is, in man's external sensuous), which are evils and falsities arising from the fallacies of the senses, and from various pleasures and appetites in the body, which seduce by their allurements and their appearances, and cause the rational to assent, and thus to be immersed in falsities from evil. (That falsities of this kind are signified by the "noisome flies" of Egypt, see n. 7441; likewise by the "locusts" there, n. 7643; and that by the "frogs" of Egypt are signified reasonings from falsities, n. 7351, 7352, 7384; by the "lice" there, evils of the same kind, n. 7419; and that by "worms" are signified falsities which consume and torment, n. 8481).
 Such evils and falsities are also signified by insects of various kinds in the following passages. In Isaiah:
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. And they shall all come and rest in the river of desolations and in the clefts of the rocks, and in all shrubs (Isa. 7:18, 19);
the subject here treated of is the coming of the Lord, and the state of the church at that time. "The fly in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt" denotes falsity in the extremes, that is, in man's external sensuous (n. 7441); "the bee in the land of Assyria" denotes the falsity which perverts the reasonings of the mind, for "Assyria" denotes reasoning (n. 1186); "the river of desolations" denotes falsity reigning everywhere; "the clefts of the rock" denote the truths of faith in obscurity, because removed from the light of heaven (see n. 8581); the "shrubs" denote nascent truths of a similar kind (n. 2682).
I have smitten you with blasting and mildew; your many gardens, and your vineyards, and your fig-trees, and your olive-trees, hath the caterpillar devoured (Amos 4:9).
That which the caterpillar hath left shall the locust eat; and that which the locust hath left shall the cankerworm eat; and that which the cankerworm hath left shall the bruchus eat. Awake, ye drunkards; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the must which is cut off from your mouth (Joel 1:4-5).
The floors are full of clean grain, the presses overflow with must and oil. And I will compensate to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the bruchus, and the caterpillar, My great army which I have sent among you (Joel 2:24, 25).
That falsities and evils in the extremes-that is, in the external sensuous of the man of the church-are signified by the kinds of insects here mentioned, is evident from these various expressions, for the subject treated of is the perversion of the truth and good of the church. (What is signified by the "locust" and the "bruchus," see n. 7643; and that by "gardens," "vineyards," "fig-trees," "olive-trees," "wine," and "must," which are destroyed by such insects, are signified the goods and truths of the church in general, has often been shown in these explications.)
 In David:
He made frogs to creep forth in their land, in the chambers of their kings. He said that there should come filthy swarms, lice in all their border (Ps. 105:30, 31);
speaking of Egypt (what is meant by the "frogs" there, see n. 7351, 7352, 7384; and what by the "lice," n. 7419). In Moses:
Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but thou shalt not drink the wine, nor gather, for the worm shall eat it (Deut. 28:39);
"the worm" denotes all such falsity and evil in general.
 In Isaiah:
Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings; for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the blatta shall eat them like wool (Isa. 51:7, 8);
"the moth" denotes the falsities in man's extremes; and "the blatta," the evils therein; for "the garment which the moth shall eat" signifies the lower or more external truths which belong to the sensuous of man (see n. 2576, 5248, 6377, 6918, 9158, 9212), and "the wool which the blatta shall eat" signifies the lower or more external goods which belong to the sensuous of man, as is evident from many passages, and also from the signification of "a sheep," from which wool comes, as being the good of charity (see n. 4169). (What, and of what quality, are the extremes of the natural man, which are called his sensuous things, see n. 4009, 5077, 5081, 5089, 5094, 5125, 5128, 5580, 5767, 5774, 6183, 6201, 6310-6318, 6564, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949, 7442, 7645, 7693, 9212, 9216.) [AC 9331]
Author: Emanuel Swedenborg