Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 17:8-9
AC 8592. Verses 8, 9. And Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight against Amalek: to-morrow I stand upon the top of the hill, and the rod of God in my hand. "And Amalek came," signifies falsity from interior evil; "and fought with Israel in Rephidim," signifies that they attacked when grievous temptation was being endured; "and Moses said unto Joshua," signifies Divine influx into truth combating; "Choose us out men," signifies that it may draw up truths for the fight; "and go out, fight against Amalek," signifies against falsities from interior evil; "to-morrow I stand on the top of the hill," signifies the conjunction of truth Divine with the good of charity, and the consequent influx; "with the rod of God in my hand," signifies that from this was power.
AC 8593. And Amalek came. That this signifies falsity from interior evil, is evident from the signification of "Amalek," as being the falsity from interior evil. It is first to be told who and what they are who are in falsity from interior evil. Interior evil is that which lies inwardly concealed with man, hidden in his will, and thence in his thought, no trace of which appears in his externals, as in his actions, speech, and face. They who are in such evil study by every method and art to hide and hoard it under the semblance of what is honorable and just, and under the semblance of the love of the neighbor; yet still they devise nothing else within themselves than how they can inflict evil, and so far as they can they do inflict evil by means of others, taking care that it should not appear to be from them; they also color over the evil itself, that it may not seem like evil. The greatest delight of their life is to meditate such things, and to attempt them in concealment. This is called interior evil. They who are in this evil are called "evil genii," and in the other life are completely separated from those who are in exterior evil, and who are called "spirits." The evil genii have their hell behind man, that is, at his back, and are there in various caverns; but evil spirits have their hell before man, and also at the sides. In the Grand Man these genii belong to the province of the cerebellum, and also to that part of the spinal marrow which sends forth fibers and nerves to the involuntary parts.
 As further concerning the falsity from this evil--it is not like the falsity from the evil of evil spirits, for in itself it is evil. They who are in this evil do not attack the truths of faith, but the goods of faith; for they act by means of depraved affections, whereby they pervert good thoughts, and this in a manner almost incomprehensible Because they are of such a nature, their hells are completely separated from the hells of evil spirits, insomuch that they have scarcely any communication, and this for the reason that they may be separated from the men of the spiritual church; for if they were to flow in from their hells, it would be all over with the man of that church, because they would act in the most hidden manner into his conscience and would pervert it, and this by the breathing in of depraved affections. These infernal genii never attack a man openly, nor when he is capable of vigorous resistance; but when it appears that a man is falling so as to yield, they are then suddenly at hand, and push him on to a complete fall. This too is represented by the fact that Amalek now fell upon Israel; and also afterward, when the sons of Israel had set themselves in opposition to Jehovah, and were afraid of the nations in the land of Canaan:--
Then Amalek came down with the Canaanite from the mountain, and they smote the sons of Israel even unto Hormah (Num. 14:45).
 From all this it can be seen what is the quality of those who are represented by Amalek, and why the judgment came upon Amalek from Jehovah that there should be perpetual war against them, and that the memory of them should be blotted out from under heaven, according to these words in the last verse of this chapter:--Because the hand of the evil is against the throne of Jah, there shall be war to Jehovah against Amalek from generation to generation. And in Deuteronomy:--
Remember what Amalek did to thee by the way, when thou camest forth out of Egypt; that he met thee in the way, and smote the hindmost in thee, all that were feeble, when thou wast faint and weary, and he feared not God; when Jehovah thy God shall have given thee rest, thou shalt blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget (Deut. 30:17-19).
Also in the first book of Samuel, where it is said by Jehovah through Samuel unto Saul:--
I have resolved to visit that which Amalek did to Israel, who laid wait for him in the way, when he was coming up out of Egypt; wherefore go and smite Amalek, and give to the curse all things which are his, and spare them not; but slay from man even to woman, from infant even to suckling, from ox even to small cattle, from camel even to ass: but Saul spared king Agag, and the best of the flock, and of the oxen, and the second sort, and the rams, and all that was excellent; and so it was denounced against Saul that from him there should no more be a king over Israel (1 Samuel 15:1-3, 9, 23, 26).
That "the memory of Amalek was to be blotted out," and that "all things with him were to be given to the curse," signified that evil genii should have no communication whatever with those who are of the spiritual church; for they communicate with those who are not in truths, but who favor falsities from evil affection.
 Who cannot see that without a cause that lies deeply concealed Jehovah would never have said that "there should be perpetual war against Amalek," and that "the memory of them should be blotted out from under heaven," and that "all things with him should be given to the curse," and that nevertheless this was not done. The deeply hidden reason why these things were said and done, is involved in the words of Samuel to Agag the king of the Amalekites, whom Saul spared:--
Agag the king of Amalek came unto Samuel delicately; but Samuel said, As thy sword hath bereaved women, so shall thy mother be bereaved beyond women; and Samuel hewed him in pieces before Jehovah (1 Sam. 15:32, 33);
"to go delicately" signifies the outward blandishments of such spirits in the presence of others; "thy sword hath bereaved women" signifies that the falsity of these spirits inflicts violence on good affections; "thy mother shall be bereaved beyond women" signifies that with them will prevail evil affection from the will, and not from the intellectual part; "and Samuel hewed him in pieces before Jehovah" signifies that they were separated from those who are in falsity from evil from the intellectual part; thus genii from spirits. "Women" denote affections, (n. 568, 6014, 8337); and "a sword" denotes falsity combating and vastating, (n. 2799, 4499, 7102).
AC 8594. And fought with Israel in Rephidim. That this signifies that they attacked when grievous temptation was being endured, is evident from the signification of "fighting," as being to attack by means of falsities from interior evil; and from the signification of "Rephidim," as being the quality of the temptation as to truth (n. 8561). What is meant by these words is evident from what was said just above (n. 8593), namely, that in the other life they who are represented by Amalek attack those who are in temptation when they are falling almost to the point of yielding.
AC 8595. And Moses said unto Joshua. That this signifies Divine influx into fighting truth, is evident from the signification of "saying," as here being influx, because into truth combating, which is represented by Joshua--that it is Divine influx, is because by Moses is represented Divine truth, that is, the truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord, which truth, being purely Divine, flows into the truths of faith of whatever kind, and causes them to be truths; and from the representation of Joshua, as being fighting truth. That Joshua denotes fighting truth is evident from the fact that he was commanded to fight against Amalek, that is, against the falsities from interior evil. This war must be waged by truth made fighting through the influx of Divine truth. The truth Divine itself which proceeds immediately from the Lord, is not fighting, but pacific; for it is peace itself, because it proceeds from the Divine good of the Lord‘s Divine love. But in order that it may become fighting truth, it flows into such angels as are in ardent zeal for truth and good, and who being excited by this zeal fight. Hence comes the fighting truth which is represented by Joshua.
 As this truth was represented by Joshua, therefore he was also made the leader over the sons of Israel after Moses, and brought them into the land of Canaan, and fought with the nations there. For this reason also, when be came into the land of Canaan, there appeared to him an angel of Jehovah with a sword drawn in his hand, who called himself "the Prince of Jehovah’s army" (Josh. 5:13-15). By "a sword drawn in the hand" is signified fighting truth Divine in its power. "A sword" denotes truth fighting, see (n. 2799, 4499); also that "a drawn sword" denotes truth continually fighting against falsities and evils, see (n. 8294); and that "hand" denotes power, (n. 878, 4931-4937, 7518, 8050, 8153); and also that by "the nations in the land of Canaan" are signified falsities and evils against which the fight is to be waged, (n. 8504).
AC 8596. Choose us out men. That this signifies that it may draw up truths for the fight, is evident from the signification of "men," as being truths (n. 265, 749, 1007, 3134). To draw up these for the fight is signified by "Joshua choosing them;" for when by Joshua is represented truth Divine fighting, by "the men whom he chose" and joined to himself, are signified truths drawn up for the fight.
AC 8597. And go out, fight against Amalek. That this signifies against the falsities from interior evil, is evident from the representation of Amalek, as being falsities from interior evil (n. 8593).
AC 8598. To-morrow I stand on the top of the hill. That this signifies the conjunction of truth Divine with the good of charity, and the consequent influx, is evident from the representation of Moses, who was to stand on the top of the hill, as being truth Divine; from the signification of "standing," as being to be conjoined and to flow in; that "standing" here denotes to be conjoined, is because he was then on the top of the hill, and by "a hill" is signified the good of charity; that it also denotes to flow in, is because from it he viewed the battle, and also determined it, which is signified by Israel prevailing when he lifted up his hand and by Amalek prevailing when he let down his hand: and from the signification of "a hill," as being the good of charity (n. 6435).
 How the case is with the conjunction and influx of the good of charity into the fighting truth, shall be briefly told. As before said, the Divine becomes fighting truth through conjunction with those who are in zeal. They who are in zeal fight, yet not from any enmity and hostility, but rather from charity; for zeal differs from anger in the fact that zeal has within it the good of charity; and therefore when zeal fights it merely removes those who are in falsity and evil, to prevent them from hurting those who are in good and truth. On the other hand, anger not only removes them, but also pursues them with hatred and revenge. For from the charity that is in it, zeal wishes well even to those who are in evil and falsity, and also does well to them so far as they do not injure the good, whereas anger, from the hatred and revenge which are within it, wishes harm to all with whom it fights, whether they be good or evil. From this it can be seen what is meant by the influx of the good of charity into truth fighting. Zeal has good in it, and anger has evil, (n. 4164, 4444).
AC 8599. With the rod of God in thy hand. That this signifies that from this there was power, is evident from the signification of "the rod of God," as being Divine power (n. 4013, 4015, 4876, 4936, 7026); and from the signification of "hand," as also being power (n. 8595). It is said "the rod of God in the hand," because by "rod" is signified exterior power, and by "hand" interior power; or by "rod" natural power, and by "hand" spiritual power (n. 6947, 7011). It is said that "from this there was power," because truth fighting has power in it from good; for all the power which truth has, is from the good which is therein. The reason is that the Divine is in good, and through good in truth; but is not in truth without good. That all the power of truth is from good, see (n. 3563, 4931); and that all the power of good is from the Divine, is manifest. EXODUS 17:8-9 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|