Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 14:2-25
AC 8207. Verses 23-25. And the Egyptians pursued, and came after them, all Pharaoh‘s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen, into the midst of the sea. And it was in the morning watch, and Jehovah looked forth to the camp of the Egyptians in the pillar of fire and of cloud, and troubled the camp of the Egyptians. And He took off the wheel of his chariots, and he drew it in heaviness; and the Egyptian said, I will flee before Israel, because Jehovah wageth war for them against the Egyptians. "And the Egyptians pursued," signifies an endeavor of falsity from evil to inflict violence; "and came after them," signifies the endeavor of the influx; "all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen, into the midst of the sea," signifies memory-knowledges from a perverted understanding, doctrinal things of falsity, and reasonings, that they filled hell; "and it was in the morning watch," signifies the state of thick darkness and destruction of those who are in falsity from evil, and the state of enlightenment and salvation of those who are in truth and good; "and Jehovah looked forth to the camp of the Egyptians," signifies the extension thence of Divine influx toward those who were endeavoring to inflict violence by means of falsities; "in the pillar of fire and of cloud," signifies the presence in this manner of Divine good and truth there; "and troubled the camp of the Egyptians," signifies that the consequent extensions of falsity and evil returned upon them; "and He took off the wheel of his chariots," signifies the power of inflicting falsities taken away; "and he drew it in heaviness," signifies resistance and importance; "and the Egyptian said," signifies the thought under these circumstances; "I will flee before Israel," signifies separation from those who are in the good of truth and the truth of good; "because Jehovah wageth war for them against the Egyptians," signifies that the Lord alone sustains the fight against falsities and evils.
AC 8208. And the Egyptians pursued. That this signifies the endeavor of falsity from evil to inflict violence, is evident from the signification of "pursuing," when done by the Egyptians, as being an endeavor to subjugate (n. 8136, 8152, 8154), thus to inflict violence; and from the representation of the Egyptians, as being those who are in falsities from evil (n. 8132, 8135, 8136, 8146, 8148), thus also the falsities from evil.
AC 8209. And came after them. That this signifies the endeavor of the influx, is evident from the signification of "to come after" anyone, when said of those who are in falsities from evil, as being an endeavor to inflict violence by means of an influx of falsity from evil (n. 8187). It denotes an endeavor, because infernal genii and spirits cannot inflict evil on the good, but nevertheless constantly endeavor to do so. There is a sphere exhaling from the hells which may be called a sphere of endeavors, and which is a sphere of doing evil. I have several times been allowed to perceive this sphere. The endeavor in it is constant, and as soon as any opportunity offers, the effect breaks forth from it. But this sphere is restrained by the sphere of the endeavors of heaven which is from the Lord, and is a sphere of imparting benefits, in which is all power, because it is from the Divine. Nevertheless equilibrium is maintained between these diametrically opposite endeavors, to the intent that man may be in freedom, and thus in choice, and that he can be reformed; for all reformation is in freedom, and without freedom there is no reformation. Spiritual endeavor is the same as will. During man‘s reformation he is kept in equilibrium (that is, in freedom) between willing good and willing evil; and in so far as he then accedes to willing what is good, so far he accedes to heaven and recedes from hell; and so far the new will which he then receives from the Lord prevails against his own will which he received by inheritance from his parents and afterward by actual life. When therefore a man has been so far reformed that he wills good and is affected with it, then good removes evil, because the Lord is present in good; for good is from the Lord, thus it is His, nay, it is Himself. From all this it can be seen how the case is with the endeavor of the influxes with man.
AC 8210. All Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen, into the midst of the sea. That this signifies memory-knowledges from a perverted understanding, doctrinal things of falsity, and reasonings, that they filled hell, is evident from the signification of the "horses of Pharaoh," as being memory-knowledges from a perverted understanding; from the signification of the "chariots of Pharaoh," as being doctrinal things of falsity; from the signification of the "horsemen of Pharaoh," as being reasonings therefrom (n. 8146, 8148); and from the signification of "into the midst of the sea," as being to fill hell.
 That these three things of Pharaoh‘s army, namely, horses, chariots, and horsemen, are here mentioned again, is because the last state of the devastation of those of the church who had been in faith separate from charity and in a life of evil is now at hand, which state is the state of being cast into hell; and to be cast into hell is to be crowded by falsities from evil. For when the evil have been devastated as to all truth and good and have been left to the evil of their life and to the falsity thence derived, then the hells with which they had communicated by the evils of their life are opened, and then all those evils which they have appropriated to themselves rush into them, and the falsities which pour forth from the evils then constitute a sphere around them, which sphere appears like a dense cloud, or like water. When this takes place, they are then in hell; for they are then shut off from all communication with heaven, and are also separated from other hells. This is called" casting into hell."
 This is the reason why now, when they entered into the midst of the sea, mention is made of "horses, chariots, and horsemen;" for as already said, the "sea Suph" signifies hell; and "horses, chariots, and horsemen" signify all the falsities and all things of falsity from evil, which are now let into them in order that in this manner they may be separated from the other hells by the whole nature of falsity from evil. These are the subjects specifically treated of in (verses 24 to 28).
AC 8211. And it was in the morning watch. That this signifies a state of thick darkness and of the destruction of those who are in falsity from evil, and a state of the enlightenment and salvation of those who are in truth from good, is evident from the signification of "the morning watch," as being a state of enlightenment and salvation, and in the opposite sense, a state of thick darkness and destruction. The reason why "the morning watch" has this signification, is that in the other life states of faith and love are like the times of the day in the world, namely, like morning, noon, evening, and night; and therefore these times also correspond to those states (n. 2788, 5672, 5962, 6110). Moreover states vary in much the same manner. The end and the beginning of these variations is "morning," and specifically, "daybreak," for then the night is ended, and the day begins. In the state to which morning corresponds, the good begin to be enlightened in respect to the things which are of faith, and to grow warm in respect to the things which are of charity and conversely, the evil then begin to be darkened by falsities, and to be chilled by evils; consequently to them morning is a state of thick darkness and destruction, while to the good it is a state of enlightenment and salvation.
 From these states in heaven arise the states of light and heat, and also the states of thick darkness and cold on earth, which states succeed each other every year and every day; for whatever exists in the natural world has its origin and cause from things which exist in the spiritual world, because universal nature is nothing else than a theater representative of the Lord’s kingdom (n. 3483, 4939, 5173, 5962); whence come the correspondences. The variations of light and shade and also of heat and cold on earth are indeed from the sun, that is, from the difference of its altitudes, every year and every day, in the several regions of the earth; but these causes, which are proximate, and in the natural world, were created according to the things in the spiritual world, as by their prior and efficient causes, which are the causes of the posterior causes that exist in the natural world. For nothing which is in order ever exists in the natural world that does not derive its cause and origin from the spiritual world, that is, through the spiritual world from the Divine.
 As, relatively to the good, " morning" signifies the beginning of enlightenment and salvation, and relatively to the evil, the beginning of thick darkness and destruction, therefore it is here said that in the morning watch Jehovah looked forth to the camp of the Egyptians and troubled it, and then that He took off the wheel of the chariots, and shook out the Egyptians into the midst of the sea; and on the other hand that He saved the sons of Israel. From all this it can now be seen what is signified in the spiritual sense by the following passages in the Word:--
In the day thou shalt make thy plant to grow, and in the morning thy seed to blossom (Isa. 17:11).
About the time of evening behold terror; before the morning he is not (Isa. 17:14).
O Jehovah be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of distress (Isa. 33:2).
Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, An evil, an only evil; behold it cometh. An end is come, the end is come. The morning is come upon thee, O inhabitant of the land; the day of tumult is near (Ezek. 7:5-7).
So did Bethel to you because of the wickedness of your wickedness; in the morning shall the king of Israel be utterly cut off (Hos. 10:15).
Make me hear Thy mercy under the morning; deliver me from mine enemies, O Jehovah (Ps. 143:8, 9).
Also that when the dawn arose the Lord saved Lot, and made it rain sulphur and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:15, 24).
 As "morning" signifies the state of enlightenment and salvation of the good, and the state of thick darkness and destruction of the evil, therefore also "morning" signifies the time of the Last Judgment, when they are to be saved who are in good, and they are to perish who are in evil; consequently it signifies the end of a former church, and the beginning of a new church, which things are signified in the Word by the Last Judgment (n. 900, 931, 1733, 1850, 2117-2133, 3353, 4027, 4535). This is signified by "morning" in these passages:--
He said unto me, Until evening, the morning, two thousand three hundred; and then shall the holy thing be justified (Dan. 8:14).
In the morning, in the morning, will Jehovah give judgment for the light, it will not be lacking; I will cut off nations, their corners shall be devastated (Zeph. 3:5, 6).
One crying unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night; if ye are seeking, seek ye, return, come (Isa. 21:11, 12).
In these passages "morning" denotes the Lord‘s coming and the enlightenment and salvation then, thus a new church; "night" denotes the state of man and of the church at that time, that they would be in mere falsities from evil.
 It is said "the morning watch," because the night was divided into watches, of which the last of the night and the first of the day was the morning watch. These watchmen used to be upon the walls, spying whether an enemy was coming, and by a cry announcing what they saw. By them, in the internal representative sense, is meant the Lord, and by their watch His continual presence and protection (n. 7989), as in David:--
Thy watchman will not slumber. Behold, the watchman of Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Jehovah is thy watchman; Jehovah is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, or the moon in the night. Jehovah shall guard thee from all evil; He shall guard thy soul (Ps. 121:3-7).
Moreover by "watchmen" are meant prophets and priests, consequently the Word, in these passages:--
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem; in all the day and all the night they shall not be silent, making mention of Jehovah (Isa. 62:6).
It is a day, the watchmen shall cry in Mount Ephraim, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion, unto Jehovah our God (Jer. 31:6).
AC 8212. And Jehovah looked forth to the camp of the Egyptians. That this signifies the extension thence of Divine influx toward those who were endeavoring to inflict violence by means of falsities, is evident from the signification of "looking forth," when predicated of Jehovah, as being the extension of His influx; for it is evident that the Lord’s looking forth to anyone denotes influx, because He then presents Himself as present, and gives a perception of good and truth to those who are in truth from good from Himself, which is done by means of influx. Hence it is that when the angels look at anyone they pour into him the affection that belongs to their life. And from the signification of "the camp of the Egyptians," as being falsities from evil (n. 8193, 8196); and because they who were in falsities from evil then pursued the sons of Israel, there is also signified the endeavor to inflict violence by means of falsities (n. 8208).
AC 8213. In the pillar of fire and cloud. That this signifies the presence of Divine good and truth there, is evident from the signification of "the pillar of fire and of cloud," as being the presence of the Lord (n. 8110), consequently of Divine good and truth; for where the Lord is, there are good and truth. As to what is specifically signified by "the pillar of fire and of cloud," (n. 8106-8108).
AC 8214. And troubled the camp of the Egyptians. That this signifies that the consequent extensions of falsity from evil returned upon them, is evident from the signification of "troubling the camp of the Egyptians," as being the return upon them of the falsities from evil which they were endeavoring to inflict on those who were in truth and good. These things are signified by these words because the presence of the Lord with the evil leads to this effect; for the evil who by means of injections of falsity and evil desire to inflict violence on the good, cast themselves into the penalty of retaliation, which is, that the falsities and evils which they endeavor to inflict, fall back on themselves. This punishment, which is called the punishment of retaliation, comes from the following law of order in heaven: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: this is the law and the prophets" (Matt. 7:12); and therefore they who do what is good from good, or from the heart, receive what is good from others and also on the other hand, they who do what is evil from evil, or from the heart, receive what is evil from others. Hence it is that every good has its reward attached to it, and every evil its punishment (n. 696, 967, 1857, 6559). From all this it is now evident that by "Jehovah troubled the camp of the Egyptians," is signified that the extensions of falsity from evil returned upon them, and caused the trouble. That this arises with the evil through the presence of the Lord, see (n. 7989).
AC 8215. And He took off the wheel of his chariots. That this signifies the power of inflicting falsities taken away, is evident from the signification of "to take off," as being to take away; from the signification of "a wheel," as being the power of advancing; and from the signification of "the chariots of Pharaoh," as being doctrinal things of falsity (n. 8146, 8148), thus falsities. What a "wheel" signifies in the genuine sense, can be seen from the signification of a "chariot." Chariots were of two kinds: there were chariots for conveying merchandise, and chariots for war. By chariots for conveying merchandise were signified doctrinal things of truth, and in the opposite sense doctrinal things of falsity; and by chariots for war were also signified doctrinal things in both senses, but fighting ones, thus the truths themselves, and the falsities themselves, prepared for war. From this it can be seen what is meant by "the wheel of a chariot," namely, the power of advancing, here of inflicting falsities and of fighting against truths. As this power belongs to man‘s intellectual part, by a "wheel" is also signified the intellectual part in respect to those things which are of doctrine.
 In the other life there frequently appear chariots laden with merchandise of various kinds, the chariots differ in form and size; and when they appear, there are signified by them truths in their complex, or doctrinal things, which are as it were receptacles of truth; and by the merchandise are signified knowledges of various use. These things appear when the angels discourse in heaven about doctrines; for as their discourse cannot be comprehended by those who are beneath, it is presented representatively, and as before said, to some by means of chariots, in which each and all things of the discourse are presented in a form, and before the eyes, from which the contents of the discourse can be comprehended and seen in a moment; some in the form of the chariot; some in its construction; some in its color; some in its wheels; some in the horses which draw it; some in the merchandise which the chariot conveys. It is from these representatives that "chariots" in the Word signify doctrinal things.
 From this it can in some measure be seen that by the "wheel of chariots" is signified the power of understanding; for as a chariot moves and goes forward by means of the wheels, so the truths which are of doctrinal things move forward by means of the understanding. This is also signified by "wheels" in Isaiah:--
Whose arrows are sharp, and all the bows bent; the hoofs of his horses are accounted as rock; his wheels as a whirlwind (Isa. 5:28);
speaking of him who vastates truth: "arrows" denote falsities; and a "bow" the doctrine of falsity (n. 2686, 2709); "the hoofs of the horses" denote sensuous memory-knowledges from a perverted understanding (n. 7729); "wheels," the powers of perverting and destroying truths, like a whirlwind.
 In Ezekiel:--
I saw the living creatures, when behold one wheel on the earth with the living creatures, beside the four faces thereof. The appearance of the wheels and their work was as the look of a beryl; and they four had the same likeness; moreover their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the midst of a wheel; where they went, they went upon their four squares; they turned not when they went. [As for] their circles, they had height and they had fear; moreover their circles were full of eyes round about for them four: thus when the living creatures went, the wheels went with them; the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels (Ezek. 1:15-20; 10:9-17);
by the "four living creatures" which were cherubs, is signified the providence of the Lord (n. 308); by the "wheels," Divine intelligence, or foresight; from which it is said that "the wheels went together with the living creatures," and that " their circles were full of eyes," also that " the spirit of the living creature was in them," that is, the truth of wisdom.
 In Daniel:--
I saw even until the thrones were cast forth, and the Ancient of days did sit: His garment like the white snow; the hair of His head like the clean wool; His throne flames of fire; His wheels burning fire (Daniel 7:9);
here "the Ancient of days" denotes the Lord as to Divine good; "the thrones cast forth" denote falsities "His garment" denotes truth Divine in the external form; "the hair of His head" denotes good Divine in the external form; "His throne" denotes heaven and the church; the "wheels" denote the things of wisdom and of intelligence, thus truths Divine; " burning fire" denotes the things of love and charity. Under the ten basins around the temple of Solomon there were also wheels of brass; the work of the wheels was like the work of a chariot wheel; their hands, and their backs, and their tires, and their spokes, were all molten (1 Kings 7:30-33); by these "basins" or "bases" were signified receptacles of the truth, by means of which a man is purified and regenerated; by the "wheels" were signified the intellectual powers, whereby is advancement.
AC 8216. And he drew it in heaviness. That this signifies resistance and impotence, is evident from the signification of a "wheel," as being the power of inflicting falsities (n. 8215); consequently "to draw it in heaviness" denotes a hindering by means of resistance, and the consequent impotence.
AC 8217. And the Egyptian said. That this signifies the thought, namely of those who were in falsities from evil, is evident from the signification of "saying," when evil assails, as being thought (n. 7094, 7107, 7244, 7937); and from the signification of "the Egyptian," as being those who were in falsities from evil (n. 8132, 8135, 8146, 8148).
AC 8218. I will flee before Israel. That this signifies separation from those who are in the good of truth and the truth of good, is evident from the signification of "fleeing," as being separation (n. 4113, 4114, 4120); and from the representation of Israel, as being those who are of the spiritual church, or what is the same, who are in the good of truth and the truth of good (n. 7957).
AC 8219. For Jehovah wageth war far them against the Egyptians. That this signifies that the Lord alone sustains the fight against falsities and evils, is evident from what was unfolded above (n. 8175), where like words occur. EXODUS 14:2-25 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|