Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 16:13-15
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AC 8450. Verses 13-15. And it was in the evening that the quail. came up, and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a deposit of dew round about the camp. And the deposit of dew went up, and behold upon the faces of the wilderness a small round thing, small as the hoar frost upon the earth. And the sons of Israel saw, and they said a man to his brother, What is this (Man hoc)? for they knew not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which Jehovah hath given you to eat. "And it was in the evening," signifies the end of the state; "that the quail came up," signifies natural delight through which is good; "and covered the camp," signifies that it filled the natural of the man; "and in the morning," signifies the beginning of a new state; "there was a deposit of dew round about the camp," signifies the truth of peace adjoining itself; "and the deposit of dew went up," signifies the insinuation of truth; "and behold upon the faces of the wilderness," signifies a new will part; "a small round thing," signifies the good of truth in the first formation; "small as the hoar frost upon the earth," signifies truth in the form of good consistent and flowing; "and the sons of Israel saw," signifies a perception; "and they said a man to his brother," signifies amazement; "What is this? for they knew not what it was," signifies at what was not known; "and Moses said unto them," signifies information through truth from the Divine; "This is the bread which Jehovah hath given you to eat," signifies that this is the good which must be appropriated and make their life, in the supreme sense that this is the Lord in you.

AC 8451. And it was in the evening. That this signifies the end of the state, is evident from the signification of "evening," as being the end of a state (n. 8426).

AC 8452. That the quail came up. That this signifies natural delight through which is good, is evident from the signification of "quail," as being natural delight. That "the quail" denotes natural delight is because it was a bird of the sea, and by a bird of the sea is signified what is natural, and by its flesh, which was longed for, is signified delight (n. 8431). That it also denotes through which is good, is because it was given in the evening. For when in the other life there is a state which corresponds to evening, then good spirits, and also angels, are remitted into the state of the natural affections in which they had been when in the world, consequently into the delights of their natural man. The reason is that good may come out of it, that is, that they may thereby be perfected (n. 8426). All are perfected by the implantation of faith and charity in the external or natural man; for unless these are there implanted, good and truth cannot flow in from the internal or spiritual man, that is, from the Lord through this man, because there is no reception; and if there is no reception, the influx is stopped and perishes, nay, the internal man also is closed. From this it is plain that the natural must be brought into a state of accommodation, in order that it may be a receptacle. This is effected by means of delights; for the goods that belong to the natural man are called delights, because they are felt.

[2] That "the quail" denotes natural delight is because, as before said, it is a bird of the sea; for it is said that it was carried off from the sea:--

A wind went forth from Jehovah, and carried off the quail from the sea, and let it down upon the camp (Num. 11:31);

and by "a bird of the sea" and its "flesh" is signified natural delight, and in the opposite sense the delight of concupiscence. This is signified by "the quail" in the following passage in Moses:--

The rabble that was in the midst of the people lusted a lust, and desired to have flesh; they said, Now is our soul dry, nor have our eyes anything (to look at) except the manna; there went forth a wind from before Jehovah, and carried off the quail from the sea, and let it down upon the camp; the people rose up all that day, and all the night, and all the morrow day, and gathered the quail; those who gathered least gathered ten homers, which they spread out for themselves by spreading out round about the camp; the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was swallowed, when the anger of Jehovah was kindled against the people, and Jehovah smote the people with a very great plague; wherefore He called the name of that place the graves of lust, because there they buried the people that lusted (Num. 11:4, 6, 31-34);

here "the quail" denote the delight of concupiscence. It is called the delight of concupiscence when the delight of any corporeal or worldly love has dominion and takes possession of the whole man, even so as to extinguish the good and truth of faith with him. This delight is what is described as the cause of their being smitten with a great plague. But the natural delight which is signified in this chapter by the quail that was given to the people in the evening, is not the delight of concupiscence, but is the delight of the natural or external man corresponding to the good of the spiritual or internal man. This delight has spiritual good within it, whereas the delight of concupiscence that is treated of in that chapter of Numbers has infernal evil within it. Each is called delight, and each is also felt as delight, but there is the greatest possible difference between them; for one has heaven in it, and the other has hell; moreover, when the external is put off, the one becomes heaven to the man, and the other becomes hell.

[3] The case herein is like that of two women who in outward form are alike beautiful in face and agreeable in life, but in the inward form are utterly unlike, the one being chaste and sound, the other lewd and rotten; thus one as to her spirit being with the angels, the other as to her spirit being with devils. But what they really are does not appear, except when the external is unrolled, and the internal is revealed. These things have been said in order that it may be known what the natural delight is in which is good, which is signified by "the quail" in this chapter; and what the natural delight is in which is evil, which is signified by "the quail" in the eleventh chapter of Numbers.

AC 8453. And covered the camp. That this signifies that it filled the natural of the man, is evident from the signification of "covering," as being to fill; and from the signification of "the camp," as being goods and truths (n. 8193, 8196), here the natural of the man, which is the containant; for the natural contains goods and truths, and without these it is not a living natural, nor are the good and truth of the external or natural man anything without the natural. Hence it is that as "the camp" signifies truths and goods, it also signifies the natural in which these are.

AC 8454. And in the morning. That this signifies the beginning of a new state, is evident from the signification of "morning," as being the beginning of a new state (n. 8427).

AC 8455. There was a deposit of dew round about the camp. That this signifies the truth of peace adjoining itself, is evident from the signification of "dew," as being the truth of peace (n. 3579). "Dew" signifies the truth of peace because in the morning it comes down from heaven and appears upon the herbage like fine rain, and has also stored up in it something of sweetness or delight more than rain has, whereby the grass and the crops of the field are gladdened; and "morning" denotes a state of peace (n. 2780). What peace is see (n. 2780, 3696, 4681, 5662), namely, that it is like dawn on the earth, which gladdens minds with universal delight; and the truth of peace is like the light of the dawn. This truth, which is called "the truth of peace," is the very Divine truth in heaven from the Lord, which universally affects all who are there, and makes heaven to be heaven; for peace has in it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and that He leads to a good end. When a man is in this faith, he is in peace, for he then fears nothing, and no solicitude about things to come disquiets him. A man comes into this state in proportion as he comes into love to the Lord.

[2] All evil, especially self-confidence, takes away a state of peace. It is believed that an evil person is at peace when he is in gladness and tranquillity because all things succeed with him. But this is not peace; it is the delight and tranquillity of cupidities, which counterfeit a state of peace. But in the other life this delight, being opposite to the delight of peace, is turned into what is undelightful, for this lies hidden within it. In the other life the exteriors are successively unfolded even to the inmosts, and peace is the inmost in all delight, even in what is undelightful with the man who is in good. So far therefore as he puts off what is external, so far a state of peace is revealed, and so far he is affected with satisfaction, blessedness, and happiness, the origin of which is from the Lord Himself.

[3] Concerning the state of peace which prevails in heaven it can he said that it is such as cannot be described by any words, neither, so long as he is in the world, can it come into the thought and perception of man, by means of any idea derived from the world. It is then above all sense. Tranquillity of mind, content, and gladness from success, are relatively nothing; for these affect only his externals; whereas peace affects the inmost things of all-the first substances, and the beginnings of substances in the man, and therefrom distributes and pours itself forth into the substantiates and derivatives, and affects them with pleasantness; and affects the origins of ideas, consequently the manís ends of life, with satisfaction and happiness; and thus makes the mind of the man a heaven.

AC 8456. And the deposit of dew went up. That this signifies the insinuation of truth, is evident from the signification of "going up," as here being to be dissipated, and thus not to appear to the sight; and from the signification of "the dew," as being the truth of peace. The deposit of this upon the manna signifies the insinuation of truth; for the truth of peace is the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord in heaven, which being the inmost insinuates itself into the truth which is beneath, and vivifies it, as the dew is wont to vivify the grass or growing crop upon which it falls in the morning. When the truth which is beneath has been vivified by it, then the truth of peace goes up, that is, as to appearance ceases, and the truth which had received life from it comes into view. Thus is born the truth of faith. For no truth of doctrine or of the Word becomes truth with man until it has received life from the Divine, and it receives life through the insinuation of the truth which proceeds from the Lord, which is called "the truth of peace." This truth is not the truth of faith, but it is the life or soul of the truth of faith, and it disposes into the heavenly form all things which are in the truth that is called "the truth of faith," and afterward it also disposes the truths themselves one with another. From all this it can be seen how the case is with the insinuation of truth with man by means of the truth of peace. Be it also known that the lower or exterior things with the man who is being regenerated receive life in succession from the higher or interior things; thus the truth of faith from the truth of peace; and the truth of peace from the Lord Himself. The insinuation of life from the Lord with those who are being regenerated is effected in successive order by Him, thus through what is inmost, and so through interior things to exterior. Consequently with the regenerated there is a way opened even from the Lord; but with those who are not regenerated the way is closed.

AC 8457. And behold upon the faces of the wilderness. That this signifies a new will part, is evident from the signification of "the wilderness," as here being a new will part through the insinuation of truth. For with the man of the spiritual church a new will part is formed by good through truth, and it appears with him as conscience. That this conscience is a conscience of truth, is evident from what has been previously shown concerning the regeneration of the spiritual man. "The wilderness" properly signifies what is uncultivated and uninhabited; in the spiritual sense it signifies where there are no good and truth, thus also where there is no life (n. 1927, 2708, 3900), and therefore when it is said that the dew appeared upon the faces of the wilderness, and beneath the dew the manna, by "the wilderness" is signified a new will part.

AC 8458. A small round thing. That this signifies the good of truth in its first formation, is evident from the signification of "small," as being predicated of truth; and from the signification of "round," as being predicated of good; consequently "a small round thing" is predicated of the good of truth. The good with the man of the spiritual church is called "the good of truth," and is truth not only as to origin, but also as to essence. It is seen as truth, but it is felt as good. Consequently as truth it forms the intellectual part of the mind, and as good it forms the new will part. For in man the intellectual part is distinguished from the will part by the fact that the intellectual part presents to itself things in a form, and so that it may see them as in the light, whereas the will part is affected by them so that it simultaneously feels them as delight, thus as good, and this according to the quality of the form. That "small" is predicated of truth, and "round" of good, has its cause in the manifestations of truth and of good in the other life. When truths and goods are presented in a visible form, as they are in the other life openly before the eyes of spirits and angels, then truth is presented in a discrete quantity, consequently as much or as little, according to the quality of the truth; truth is also presented as angular in various forms, and it is also presented as white. But good is there presented in a continuous quantity, thus not as much or as little; good is also presented as round, which is continuous in form; and in color as blue, yellow, and red. That when good and truth are presented to view they appear in this way, comes from their difference as to quality, which when it becomes visible thus expresses and represents itself in a natural form. Hence it is that things which in the world approach such forms signify either truths or goods, for there is nothing in the universe that in respect to its quality does not bear relation either to good or to truth.

AC 8459. Small as the hoar frost upon the earth. That this signifies truth in the form of good, consistent and flowing, is evident from the signification of "small," which is predicated of truth, and from the signification of "as the hoar frost," as being to be in the form of good. The good of truth, which is the good of the man of the spiritual church (n. 8458), is compared to hoar frost from the continuity of this as compared to snow. Snow, from being small and white, is predicated of truth; but hoar frost, from its continuity, is predicated of truth made good, which is the good of truth. That "snow" is predicated of truth is plain from the following passages:--

When Jesus was transfigured His vestments became shining, exceeding white as snow (Mark 9:23).

The angels at the sepulchre had an appearance as lightning, and clothing white as snow (Matt. 28:3).

I saw in the midst of the seven lampstands one like unto the Son of man; His head and His hairs were white as white wool, as snow (Rev. 1:13, 14).

Her Nazirites were whiter than snow, they were fairer than milk (Lam. 4:7).

Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow (Ps. 51:7).

I beheld till the thrones were cast forth, and the Ancient of Days did sit; His garment was like white snow, and the hair of His head like clean wool (Dan. 7:9).

In these passages "snow" is predicated of truth from its whiteness, and garments are compared to it, because "garments" in the spiritual sense denote truths (n. 4545, 4763, 5248, 5319, 5954, 6914, 6917, 6918). From all this it is evident what is meant by "hoar frost," namely, truth in the form of good. Truth is said to be consistent and flowing in the form of good, because truth is the form of good, and good is the life of this form, and is as it were its soul.

AC 8460. And the sons of Israel saw. That this signifies a perception, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being to understand and perceive (n. 2150, 2325, 2807, 3764, 4403-4421, 4567).

AC 8461. And they said a man to his brother. That this signifies amazement, is evident from the fact that "saying" involves that which follows, here that they were amazed when they saw the manna, as they said, "What is this (Man hoc)? because they knew not what it was;" and from the signification of "a man to his brother," as being mutually (n. 4725).

AC 8462. What is this (Man hoc)? because they knew not what it was. That this signifies amazement at what was not known, is evident from the fact that the word "manna" in its own tongue means What? thus, that which is not known. That from this the bread that was given to the sons of Israel in the wilderness was called "manna," is because this bread signifies the good of charity that is begotten through the truth of faith Before regeneration this good is quite unknown to man, and it is not even known that it exists. For before regeneration a man believes that besides the delights of the love of self and of the world, which he calls good, there cannot be possible any good which is not from this source, or of such a nature. If anyone should then say that there is an interior good which cannot come to our notice, consequently not to knowledge, so long as the delights of the love of self and of the would have dominion, and that this good is that in which are good spirits and angels, people would be amazed as at something which is quite unknown, and as at something that is not possible; when yet this good immensely transcends the delights of the love of self and of the world. They who are in the loves of self and of the world do not know what charity and faith are, and what it is to do good without recompense, and that this is heaven in man, and that they believe that nothing of joy and life would remain if they were deprived of the delights of these loves, when yet heavenly joy then begins, (n. 8037). From all this it is now evident why the manna was named from "What is this?"

AC 8463. And Moses said unto them. That this signifies information through truth from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being information (n. 7769, 7793, 7825, 8041); and from the representation of Moses, as being the truth that belongs to the law from the Divine (n. 6771, 6827).

AC 8464. This is the bread which Jehovah hath given you to eat. That this signifies that this is the good which must be appropriated and make their life, in the supreme sense that this is the Lord in you, is evident from the signification of "bread," as being good celestial and spiritual, and in the supreme sense, as being the Lord (n. 276, 680, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217, 4735, 4976, 5915), here spiritual good, that is, the good of the man of the spiritual church, which is the good of truth (n. 8458). As this bread was the manna, it follows that by "the manna" is signified this good; which is also apparent from the description of it in the thirty-first verse:--It was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it like that of a cake in honey; and likewise from the description of it in Numbers:--

The manna was like coriander seed, and the appearance thereof as the appearance of bdellium; they ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and boiled it in a pot, and made cakes of it: the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil (Numbers 11:7, 8).

From these particulars it is plain that in the spiritual sense "the manna" denotes the good of truth, that is, the good of the spiritual church. Hence also it is called "the grain of the heavens," in David:--

He commanded the skies from above, and opened the doors of the heavens, and made manna to rain down upon them, and gave them the grain of the heavens (Ps. 78:23, 24).

"Grain" denotes the good of truth, (n. 5295, 5410). "Manna" also denotes the good of truth which is given to those who undergo temptations and conquer, in John:--

To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone (Rev. 2:17).

That in the supreme sense "the manna" denotes the Lord in us, is evident from the very words of the Lord in John:--

Your fathers did eat the manna in the wilderness, and are dead: this is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that one may eat thereof and not die: I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eat of this bread he shall live eternally (John 6:49-51, 58).

From all this it is very plain that by "the manna" in the supreme sense is signified the Lord. The reason is that "the manna" denotes the good of truth, and all good is from the Lord, and consequently the Lord is in good, and is the good itself. That this good will be appropriated to them and make their life, is signified by "eating" (n. 3168, 3513, 3596, 4745); for the good which is from the Lord makes the life of heaven with man, and thereafter nourishes and sustains it.

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