Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 12:37-39
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AC 7971. Verses 37-39. And the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, besides babe. And a great mixed multitude also went up with them and flock, and herd, a very great acquisition. And they baked the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt into unleavened cakes, for it had not been leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt, and could not tarry, and moreover they had not prepared for themselves any provision for the journey. "And the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth," signifies the first state of departure and its quality; "about six hundred thousand on foot that were men," signifies all things of the truth and good of faith in one complex; "besides babe," signifies the good of innocence; "and a great mixed multitude also," signifies goods and truths which are not genuine; "went up with them," signifies which are adjoined; "and flock, and herd, a very great acquisition," signifies the good acquired by means of truth, interior and exterior, in great abundance; "and they baked the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt into unleavened cakes," signifies that from the truth of good there was again produced good in which was nothing of falsity; "for it had not been leavened," signifies because in the truth from good there was nothing of falsity; "because they were driven out of Egypt, and could not tarry," signifies because they were removed from those who were in falsity from evil; "and moreover they had not prepared for themselves any provision for the journey," signifies that they had with them no other sustenance from truth and good.

AC 7972. And the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. That this signifies the first state of departure and its quality, is evident from the signification of "journeying," as being the order and rules of life (n. 1293, 3335, 4882, 5493, 5605), consequently the journeyings of the sons of Israel as described in Exodus, denote states of life and their changes from first to last. Here therefore by the "journeying from Rameses to Succoth" is signified the first state and its quality; for the names of places, as also of persons, all signify real things and their quality (n. 768, 1224, 1264, 1876, 1888, 3422, 4298, 4310, 4442, 5095, 6516).

AC 7973. About six hundred thousand on foot that were men. That this signifies all things of the truth and good of faith in one complex, is evident from the signification of the number "six hundred thousand," as being all things of faith in one complex; for this number arises from six and also from twelve, and "twelve" signifies all things of faith and charity (n. 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913). It is for this reason that the sons of Jacob were twelve, and that their posterity were distinguished into twelve tribes, and also that twelve disciples were adopted by the Lord, namely, to represent all things of faith and charity. Concerning the tribes (n. 3858, 3862, 3913, 3926, 4060, 6335, 6337, 6640, 7836, 7891); concerning the disciples, (n. 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397).

[2] That here "six hundred thousand" has a similar signification, is because a number greater or less, or multiplied, or divided, involves the like as the simple numbers from which it is derived (n. 5291, 5335, 5708). This is very clear from the number "twelve," which has a like signification whether divided into six, or multiplied to seventy-two, or to one hundred and forty-four--that is, twelve times twelve,--or to twelve thousand, or to one hundred and forty-four thousand, as the "one hundred and forty-four thousand" spoken of in John:--

I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty and four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel, out of each tribe twelve thousand (Rev. 7:4, 5);

here by the "sons of Israel" are not meant the sons of Israel, nor by "tribes" tribes, nor by "number" number, but such things as are in the internal sense, namely, all things of faith and charity, and thus by each tribe specifically one genus or one class, according to what has been unfolded in regard to the contents of the twenty-ninth and thirtieth chapters of Genesis.

[3] In like manner in the same:--

Behold the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having the name of His Father written upon their foreheads. They sang a new song before the throne, and no one could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand bought from the earth. These are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were bought from men, the firstfruits to God and the Lamb (Rev. 14:1, 3, 4).

From this description it is clear that they who are in charity are meant by "the hundred and forty and four thousand," and it is also clear that this number merely designates state and quality.

[4] For this number designates the like as "twelve," because it arises from "twelve thousand" and "twelve" multiplied together; in like manner as the lesser number "one hundred and forty-four," which is twelve times twelve, in the same:--

He measured the wall of the holy Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, a hundred and forty and four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel (Rev. 21:2, 17);

that in the spiritual sense the "wall of the holy Jerusalem" does not mean a wall, but the truth of faith defending the things of the church, (n. 6419); for which reason also it is said that it was "a hundred and forty and four cubits." That such is the meaning is very clear, for it is said that this measure is "the measure of a man, that is, of an angel," and by "man" and by "angel" is signified everything of the truth and good of faith.

[5] And the same is evident from the twelve precious stones of which was the foundation of the wall, and from the twelve gates, each of which was a pearl (Rev. 21:19-21), for by "precious stones" are signified the truths of faith which are from the good of charity (n. 643, 3720, 6426), as likewise by a "gate" and also by a "pearl." From this then it is evident that a lesser and a greater number involve the like as the simple number from which they come. That all numbers mentioned in the Word signify real things, see (n. 482, 487, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 4495, 4670, 5265, 6175).

[6] From all this it can now be seen that the number "six hundred thousand men" going forth out of Egypt has also such a signification. That this number signifies such things scarcely anyone can believe, for the reason that it is a matter of history, and everything historical keeps the mind continually in the external sense, and withdraws it from the internal sense. Nevertheless this number has such a signification, for there is not even a syllable, nor yet one jot or one point in the Word, which is not in itself holy, because it infolds in itself what is holy. Everyone sees that there is nothing holy in the mere historical fact.

AC 7974. Besides babe. That this signifies the good of innocence, is evident from the signification of an "infant," as being the good of innocence (n. 430, 1616, 2126, 2305, 3183, 3494, 4797, 5608).

AC 7975. And a great mixed multitude also. That this signifies goods and truths which are not genuine, is evident from the signification of "a mixed multitude," as being goods and truths not genuine; for when by the sons of Israel are represented genuine goods and truths which are of the spiritual church (n. 7957), by "a mixed multitude" accompanying them are signified truths and goods not genuine. For with those who are of the spiritual church the case is this. They have genuine goods and truths, and they have goods and truths not genuine; for the man of the spiritual church has no perception of good and truth, but acknowledges and believes as good and truth that which the doctrinal things of his church teach. For this reason he is in very many truths not genuine, consequently also in like goods, for goods have their quality from truths. That the spiritual are in very many truths not genuine, see (n. 2708, 2715, 2718, 2831, 2849, 2935, 2937, 3240, 3241, 3246, 3833, 4402, 4788, 5113, 6289, 6500, 6639, 6865, 6945, 7233); and that consequently they have truths not pure (n. 6427). But still they are kept by the Lord in goods in the highest degree genuine, which is effected by means of an influx through the interiors (n. 6499), and then the truths and goods not genuine are separated thence and rejected to the sides. These are the things which are signified by "a very great mixed multitude."

[2] In like manner by this "multitude" are signified they who are of the church, but not within it, as is the case with the Gentiles who live together in obedience and mutual charity and have not genuine truths, because they have not the Word. These likewise, and also the truths themselves not genuine, are signified by the "great multitude" in John:--

I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty and four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of Israel; after these things I saw, and behold a great multitude, which no one could number, out of every nation, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palms in their hands (Rev. 7:4, 9).

AC 7976. Went up with them. That this signifies which was adjoined, is evident from the signification of "going up with them," when said of goods and truths, as being that they were adjoined; for truths and goods not genuine are indeed separated from the genuine goods and truths with the spiritual man, but are not taken away, remaining adjoined at the side whither they are rejected (n. 7975). The case is similar with the Lordís church among the Gentiles, who have not genuine truths; these also in heaven are adjoined to those who are in genuine truths and goods.

AC 7977. And flock, and herd, a very great acquisition. That this signifies the good acquired by means of truth, interior and exterior, in great abundance, is evident from the signification of "flock," as being interior good, and from the signification of "herd," as being exterior good (n. 2566, 5913, 6048, 7960). That it was acquired is signified by "acquisition," for with those who are of the spiritual church all good is acquired by means of truth, because without the truth which is of faith they do not know what spiritual truth is, nor what spiritual good is. They are indeed capable of knowing evil truth, also moral truth, and their goods, because they are concordant with things which are in the world, whence also they have a perception of these truths and goods. But spiritual truth and its good are not concordant with those things which are in the world, and in many cases are even quite at variance with them, and therefore those of the spiritual church have to be instructed about them. These things have been said to show that with those who are of the spiritual church all good must be acquired by means of truth. That "very great" denotes great abundance, is evident.

AC 7978. And they baked the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt into unleavened cakes. That this signifies that from the truth of good there was again produced good in which was nothing of falsity, is evident from the signification of "baking," when said of the truth of good which is signified by "dough," as being to produce; from the signification of "dough," as being the truth of good (n. 7966); and from the signification of "unleavened cakes," as being goods in which there is nothing of falsity. "Unleavened things" denote what is free from falsity, (n. 2342, 7906). This is the second state of truth from good, in which they were when liberated (n. 7966, 7972). "Cakes" denote goods because they are bread, and in the internal sense "bread" denotes the good of love (n. 276, 680, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217, 4735, 4976, 5915). But the bread of cakes is distinguished from common bread in the fact that by the bread of cakes is signified the good of love toward the neighbor, thus spiritual good, and by common bread is signified the good of love to the Lord, thus celestial good. This spiritual good was signified by the meat-offering which was offered and burned with the sacrifice on the altar, for the meat-offering was baked into cakes and into wafers, as can be seen in (Exod. 29:2, 3, 23, 24, 41; Lev. 2:2; 6:14, 15; Num. 6:15, 19; 15:18-21).

[2] The like was signified by the "twelve loaves of setting forth," which also were baked into cakes, concerning which in Moses:--

Thou shalt take fine flour, and bake it into twelve cakes; of two tenth parts shall one cake be. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six in a row, upon the clean table before Jehovah. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, and it shall be for the loaves as a memorial, a fire-offering to Jehovah (Lev. 24:5-7).

From all this it can be seen that the loaves signified what is holy, for otherwise such a thing would never have been commanded; and as they signified what is holy, they are also called "holiness of holinesses (Lev. 24:9). But by these loaves was signified the good of celestial love; and by their being baked into cakes were signified the goods of spiritual love. From all this, and from what has been adduced in the passages above quoted, it can be seen that the like is meant by the "bread" in the Holy Supper.

AC 7979. For it had not been leavened. That this signifies because in truth from good there was nothing of falsity, is evident from the signification of the "dough," of which it is said that it "had not been leavened," as being the truth of good (n. 7966) and from the signification of "not leavened," as being without falsity (n. 2342, 7906).

AC 7980. Because they were driven out of the land of Egypt, and could not tarry. That this signifies because they were removed from those who were in falsity from evil, is evident from the signification of "to be driven out," as being to be removed, for he who is driven out is removed (n. 7964); from the signification of "Egypt," as being those who are in falsity from evil; and from the signification of "could not tarry," as being necessity for removal.

AC 7981. And moreover they had not prepared for themselves any provision for the journey. That this signifies that they had with them no other sustenance from truth and good, namely, than that signified by the "dough not leavened". "Dough not leavened" denotes truth of good in which is nothing of falsity, (n. 7966). The signification of "provisions for the journey," is sustenance from truth and good (n. 5490, 5953).

EXODUS 12:37-39    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Exodus  -  Full Page

Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info