6914. 'And I will give this people favour in the eyes of the Egyptians means fear, on account of the plagues, which those steeped in falsities had of those belonging to the spiritual Church. This is clear from the meaning of 'giving favour' as fear on account of the plagues, dealt with below; from the representation of the children of Israel, to whom 'people' refers here, as those belonging to the spiritual Church, dealt with in 6637; and from the representation of 'the Egyptians' as those who are steeped in falsities, often dealt with already. The fact that 'giving favour in the eyes of the Egyptians' means fear on account of the plagues that is present in those steeped in falsities is clear when one understands the matters described in the internal sense; for the subject is those who are steeped in falsities, meant by 'the Egyptians' - with the truths and forms of good which are to be taken away from them and passed on to those who belong to the spiritual Church. And since the subject is those who are steeped in falsities, 'favour' does not mean favour, for people who are steeped in falsities and evils do not feel in any way at all disposed to show favour towards anyone. If they treat anyone well or do not treat him badly they do so through fear of 'plagues'; these are the reason for their show of favour. This favour is the kind meant here in the internal sense. The internal sense displays things as they really are, not as they are made to stand in the letter, and makes every detail relevant to the subject. The truth of this is also evident from what follows regarding the Egyptians, where it is evident that they did not let the children of Israel go out of any disposition to show them favour, only out of fear on account of further plagues, Exod 11:1; 12:33.
 These two verses, when they say that the women of Israel were to ask the Egyptian women for silver, gold, and clothes, refer to 'the plundering' of the Egyptians. And because what is meant by this cannot at all be known except from a revelation describing things that take place in the next life - for the internal sense contains the kinds of things that take place among angels and spirits - the matter must therefore be discussed. Before the Lord's Coming the lower parts of heaven had been occupied by evil genii and spirits; but afterwards they were driven out from there and that region was given to those who belonged to the spiritual Church, see above in 6858. As long as the evil genii and spirits were there they were under constant watch by angels belonging to a higher heaven and were thereby restrained from committing evil deeds openly. At the present day too some who are more devious than others because they mislead people by their pretence of innocence and charity are under watch by celestial ones, and so long as they are under it they are held back from their unspeakable tricks. They are directly overhead; but the celestial angels under whose watch they are kept are even higher. This has allowed me to know what the situation was like of the evil genii and spirits who occupied the lower region of heaven before the Lord's Coming; during that time they were held back by angels belonging to a higher heaven from committing evil deeds openly.
 But as for the way in which they were held back from committing evil deeds openly, this too [have been allowed to know. They were kept in check by external restraints, which were fear of the loss of position and reputation, and fear that they would be deprived of places they hold in that region of heaven and would be thrust down into hell; and at that time good yet simple spirits were attached to them. It was like what happens with people in the world. Even though inwardly they may be devils those external restraints force them to keep up a pretence of honourableness and righteousness and to do good. And to ensure that they go on behaving in these ways spirits who are governed by simple good are attached to them. The situation was similar with the evil who were in the lower region of heaven before the Lord's Coming. At that time too they could be driven by selfish kinds of love to speak what was true and do what was good. They were not unlike wicked priests, indeed even very wicked ones, who inwardly are devils, but who can proclaim the teachings of their Church with such passion and seeming zeal that they move the hearts of their hearers to godliness Yet all the while they are ruled by self-love and love of the world, for the thought of their own position and gain reigns in every part of them and is what fires them to proclaim those teachings in such a way. There are evil spirits present with them, ruled by the same kind of love and consequently thinking in the same kind of way, who lead them; but good yet simple spirits are attached to them. From all this one may recognize what the state of heaven was like before the Lord's Coming.
 But after the Lord's Coming the states of heaven and hell were completely altered; for then the evil genii and spirits who occupied the lower region of heaven were cast down and were replaced by those raised up there who belonged to the spiritual Church. At that time the evil who were cast down had the external restraints taken away from them, which, as stated above, were fear of the loss of position and gain and deprivation of places they hold in that region. They were thus left to their inner selves, which were entirely devilish and hellish, and so were banished to the hells. The removal of external restraints is effected in the next life by withdrawing the good spirits who have been attached to them; and when they have been withdrawn the evil can no more maintain any pretence of goodness, righteousness, or honourableness, but can only behave in accord with what they had been like inwardly in the world, that is, in accord with what they had really thought and desired, which they had concealed from others there, their only wish being to do what is evil. The good yet simple spirits who were withdrawn from those evil spirits were assigned or attached to those who belonged to the spiritual Church, to whom that region of heaven was given as a possession. This is why they were enriched with the truths and forms of good which the evil genii and spirits had had previously. Enrichment with truths and forms of good is effected in the next life by means of the attachment of spirits with whom truth and goodness are present; for communication is effected through them.
 These things are what are meant by the statement that the children of Israel would not go out of Egypt empty-handed, and that a woman should ask of her female neighbour, and of the female guest in her house, vessels of silver, vessels of gold, and clothes, and in so doing would plunder the Egyptians. Anyone can see that unless the kinds of things described above had been represented the Divine would never have commanded them to use that kind of guile against the Egyptians; for all behaviour like that is very far removed from the Divine. But since those people were completely representative they were allowed by the Divine, because such a thing would be done to the evil in the next life, to act in that kind of way. It should be recognized that very many things which were commanded by Jehovah or the Lord do not in the internal sense mean things that were commanded by Him but those that were permitted.