Locust and Caterpillar

Spiritual Meaning of Locust, Caterpillar

In the Word, where the vastation of the evil is treated of, mention is sometimes made of the locust and of the caterpillar, and by the locust in the internal sense is there meant the falsity which vastates the extremes. For as before shown, the natural with man is interior and exterior; the falsity which is in the extremes of the natural, being meant by the locust, and the evil therein by the caterpillar. As by the locust is meant the falsity which is in the extremes of the natural, therefore it is said that the locust would be brought "into the border, and would cover the surface of the earth; and afterward (verse 14), the locust went up upon the land of Egypt, and rested in all the border of Egypt, and it covered the surface of the whole land. By the border and by the surface" are signified the extremes and ultimates in which the interiors rest, that is, terminate.

[5] The same is meant by the locust and the caterpillar in David:--

He sent among them swarms, which consumed them; and the frog, which destroyed them; and He gave their produce to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust (Ps. 78:45, 46).

He said that the locust should come, and the caterpillar, so that there was no number (Ps. 105:34).

These things are said of Egypt, and the caterpillar is mentioned, although there is no mention made of it in Moses, but only of the locust. The reason why the caterpillar also is mentioned, is that by it is signified evil; and by the locust falsity; each in the extremes of the natural. But when the locust alone is mentioned, it signifies both falsity and evil together, for the locust denotes falsity from evil.

[6] In Nahum:--

There shall the fire devour thee, the sword shall cut thee off, it shall devour thee like the caterpillar; multiply thyself like the caterpillar, multiply thyself like the locust. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of the heavens; the caterpillar hath spread himself, and hath flown away. Thy crowned ones are as the locust, thy commanders are as the locust of the locusts (Nahum 3:15-17);

the subject here treated of is the city of bloods, by which is signified the doctrine of falsity; and because falsity and evil are especially multiplied in the extremes of the natural, for therein are the fallacies of the senses that originate from the objects of the world, and of the earth, and also pleasures from various kinds of appetites, therefore the multiplication of evil and falsity is also described by the caterpillar and the locust, as also in (Judges 6:5; 7:12; Jeremiah 46:23). The sensuous, which is the lowest of the natural, is very full of fallacies and the derivative falsities, (AC 5084, 5089, 5094, 6310, 6311, 6313, 6318, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6948, 6949).

[7] In Joel:--

That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust devoured; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm devoured; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar devoured. Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, in that it is cut off. For a nation will come up upon My land, strong, and without number, and will reduce My vine into a waste, and My fig-tree into froth (Joel 1:4-7).

The threshing-floors are full of pure grain, and the vats overflow with new wine and oil; and I will compensate to you the years that the locust hath consumed, the cankerworm, the caterpillar, and the palmerworm (Joel 2:24, 25);

where the locust denotes falsity in the extremes vastating truths and goods. In Moses:--

Thou shalt bring out much seed into the field, but shalt gather little, because the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, but thou shalt neither drink the wine, nor gather; for the worm shall devour it (Deut. 28:38, 39);

where the locust denotes falsity from evil.

[8] In John:--

Out of the smoke of the opened abyss there went forth locusts on the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power; and it was said unto them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any tree, but only such men as had not the seal of God upon their foreheads; and it was given them that they should not kill them, but should torment them five months; and the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared for war; and upon their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as it were the faces of men; and they had hair as the hair of women; and their teeth were as the teeth of lions; and they had breastplates, as it were of lion; and the voice of their wings was as the voice of the chariots of many horses running to war; and they had tails like scorpions; and stings were in their tails, that they might hurt men five months. They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in the Greek he hath the name Apollyon (Rev. 9:3-11);

what is signified by all these things no one can see except from the internal sense. From the details clearly seen therein according to the internal sense, it is evident that by locusts are there signified reasonings from fallacies and the falsities thence derived, also confirmed by philosophical things. Thus also by the locusts are signified the falsities which are in the extremes with man, and which are more earthly and corporeal than all other falsities; and by which man may be easily deceived and seduced, for he apprehends what is obvious to the senses, and with difficulty what is opposed to the senses.

from AC 7643