Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 18:17-23
AC 8696. Verses 17-23. And Moses‘ father-in-law said unto him, The word that thou doest is not good. Wearing thou wilt wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee, because the word is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to do it, thou alone. Now hear my voice, I will counsel thee, and God shall be with thee. Be thou for the people with God, and bring thou the words unto God; and do thou teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. And do thou see out of all the people men of strenuousness, fearing God, men of truth, hating gain; and do thou set them for princes of thousands, princes of hundreds, princes fifties, and princes of tens; and let them judge the people in every time; and it shall be, every great word let them bring unto thee, and every small word let them judge; and devolve from upon thee, and let them bear with thee. If thou do this word, and God have commanded thee, then thou shalt be able to stand, and also all this people shall come upon its place in peace. "And Moses’ father-in-law said unto him," signifies foresight; "The word that thou doest is not good," signifies that a change must be made; "wearing thou wilt wear way, both thou, and this people that is with thee," signifies that thus the truth which has been implanted would perish; "because the word is too heavy for thee," signifies that it is not possible because not in conformity with order; "thou art not able to do it, thou alone," signifies without the influx of truth from the Divine from some other source; "now hear my voice," signifies agreement from the union; "I will counsel thee, and God shall be with thee," signifies that it is from the Divine; "be thou for the people with God," signifies the truth proceeding immediately from the Lord; "and bring thou the words unto God," signifies mediation and intercession; "and do thou teach them the statutes and the laws," signifies that from truth immediately from the Lord come the external and internal goods and truths of the church; "and make known to them the way wherein they must walk," signifies the light of intelligence and the consequent life; "and the work that they must do," signifies faith In act; "and do thou see out of all the people," signifies the choosing of ministering truths; "men of strenuousness, fearing God," signifies with which good from the Divine could be conjoined; "men of truth, hating gain," signifies with which the truths are pure without a worldly end; "and do thou set them for princes of thousands," signifies primary truths which are in the first degree under the truth immediately from the Divine; "princes of hundreds," signifies primary truths in the second degree; "princes of fifties," signifies intermediate primary truths; "and princes of tens," signifies primary truths in the third place; "and let them judge the people in every time," signifies a disposing In this manner perpetually; "and it shall be, every great word let them bring unto thee," signifies that everything is from the truth that is immediately from the Divine; "and every small word let them judge," signifies the appearance of some singular and particular things as from another source; "and devolve from upon thee, and let them bear with thee," signifies thus functions and offices for them; "if thou do this word, and God have commanded thee," signifies that thus it is from the Divine; "then thou shalt be able to stand," signifies thus an abode with them; "and also all this people shall come upon its place in peace," signifies that they who are of the spiritual church shall thus be in good, and shall be led by means of good.
AC 8697. And Moses‘ father-in-law said unto him. That this signifies foresight, is evident from the signification of "saying," when it is predicated of the Divine good that is represented by Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, as being foresight (n. 5361, 6496).
AC 8698. The word that thou doest is not good. That this signifies that a change must be made, is evident from what follows.
AC 8699. Wearing thou wilt wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee. That this signifies that thus the truth which has been implanted would perish, is evident from the signification of "wearing away," as being to be gradually consumed, thus to perish. That it denotes the truth which has been implanted, is because by "Moses" is meant truth from the Divine, and by "the people" those who receive. How the case is with these things shall be told in what follows.
AC 8700. For the word is too heavy for thee. That this signifies that it is not possible because not in conformity with order, is evident from the signification of "a heavy word," as being that it is not possible. That "a heavy word" here denotes that it is not possible, is evident from what precedes, namely, that "wearing he would wear away, and the people that were with him," by which is signified that the truth which has been implanted would perish; and also from what follows, namely, "Thou art not able to do it, thou alone;" and afterward, "If thou do this word, thou shalt be able to stand;" by which is meant impossibility unless a change is made.
 That it is not possible because not in conformity with order, is because in the other life everything is possible that is in conformity with order. The Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord is what makes order, and is order itself. Consequently as everything that is according to Divine truth is according to order, it is possible; and as everything that is contrary to Divine truth is contrary to order, it is impossible. That this is the case may appear more evident from examples. It is according to order that they who have lived well shall be saved, and that they who have lived ill shall be condemned. Hence it is impossible that they who have lived well should be sent into hell, and that they who have lived ill should be raised into heaven. Consequently it is impossible that they who are in hell can of the Lord‘s pure mercy be brought out therefrom into heaven and be saved; for it is the reception of the Lord’s mercy while they lived in the world through which everyone is saved. They who receive it then are in the other life in the Lord‘s mercy, for they are then in the capacity of receiving it there To give it to others, and in general to everyone at pleasure, provided they have faith, and thus believe that they are cleansed from sins, is impossible, because it is contrary to order, that is, contrary to the Divine which is order.
 It is according to order that faith and charity be implanted in freedom and not under compulsion, and that the faith and charity which have been implanted in freedom, endure; but not if they have been implanted under compulsion. The reason is that what is done in freedom is insinuated into the affection, and thus into the will of man, and is therefore appropriated; but not what is done under compulsion. Consequently it is impossible for man to be saved unless, seeing that he has been born in evil, he is allowed to do evil, and to desist from evil. When in this freedom he desists from evil of himself, the affection of truth and good is insinuated by the Lord, whereby he has freedom to receive the things which are of faith and charity, for freedom belongs to the affection. From this it is plain that it is impossible to compel man to salvation. If this could be done, all men in the world would be saved.
 It is according to order for all in the other life to be associated together according to the life which they have acquired to themselves in the world; the evil with the evil, and the good with the good. Consequently it is not possible for the evil and the good to be together; neither is it possible for those to be in good who are evil, because good and evil are opposites, and the one destroys the other. For this reason also it is plain that it is not possible for those to be saved who are in hell; thus that it is not possible for salvation to be from mercy alone however a man has lived. They who are in hell and are there tormented, impute the torments there to the Divine, saying that the Divine can take away their torment if He will, because He is omnipotent; but that He will not, and that therefore He is the cause of their torment; for he who can and will not, they say, is the cause. But to take away such torments is impossible, because it is contrary to order; for if they were taken away, the evil would rise up against the good, and would subjugate the angels themselves, and destroy heaven. But the Divine wills nothing but good, namely, the happiness of the good, and for the sake of this, the bridling, and at the same time, the amendment, of the wicked. This being the end--the end of the Divine love and of mercy itself--it is not possible that torments should be taken away from him who is In hell. From these examples it can be seen that everything is impossible which is contrary to order, howsoever it may appear as possible to those who do not know the arcana of heaven.
AC 8701. Thou art not able to do it, thou alone. That this signifies without the influx of truth from good from some other source, is evident from the signification of "doing it alone," when said of the truth Divine represented by Moses, as being the influx of truth from it alone, and not at the same time from some other source. How the case herein is can be seen from what was said above (n. 8685) concerning the immediate influx of truth Divine, and concerning its influx immediate and at the same time mediate; namely, that the influx of truth Divine is immediate in the first state of man when he is being regenerated; but that the influx is immediate and mediate in the second state, that is, when he has been regenerated. When the influx is immediate, the Lord indeed flows in with good and truth, yet the good is not then perceived, but truth; therefore the man is then led by means of truth, not so much by good. But when the influx is at the same time mediate, then good is perceived, for mediate influx is into the man’s external sensuous; hence it is that the man is then led by the Lord by means of good. In general be it known that a man has not been regenerated until he acts from the affection of good; for he then wills good, and it is delightful and blessed to him to do it. When he is in this state, his life is the life of good, and he is in heaven, for what universally reigns in heaven is good; the truth which is of faith however, leads man to good, thus to heaven, but does not place him in heaven. The reason of this is that in the other life all are associated together according to the life of the will, not according to the life of the understanding; for where the will is, there the understanding is, but not the reverse: it is so in heaven, and it is so in hell. They who are evil are not sent into hell until they are in the evil of their life; for when they are in this, they are also in the falsity of their evil; in like manner they who are in good are, in heaven, in the truth of their good. In the other life all are reduced to the state of having one mind, namely, that what they will they also think, and they do not think differently from what they will. But in the world it is otherwise, for in the world a man can think differently, and even understand differently, from what he wills; but this in order that he may be reformed, that is, may understand good though he wills evil, and thus may be led by his understanding to will good; but in the other life everyone is led according to his will which has been acquired in the world.
AC 8702. Now hear my voice. That this signifies agreement from the union, is evident from the signification of "hearing a voice," as being obedience, but here agreement, because it is said by Jethro, by whom is represented the Divine good united to the Divine truth which is represented by Moses. They are united, (n. 8666); consequently by "hear my voice" is signified agreement from the union. He it known that when good and truth have been conjoined, there is agreement in each and all things, namely, of good with truth and of truth with good. The reason is that good is of truth and truth is of good, and thus these two are one; for what good wills, this truth confirms; and what truth perceives as truth, this good wills, and both together do. The case is similar with good and truth as with the will and the understanding; what the will wills and loves, this the understanding thinks and confirms, and vice versa. That these two are alike is because good is of the will, and truth is of the understanding. In such a state are they who are led of the Lord by means of good (n. 8701).
AC 8703. I will counsel thee, and God shall be with thee. That this signifies that it is from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "to counsel," when by the Divine good which is represented by Jethro, as being what is determined by the Divine, thus what is from the Divine; and from the signification of "God shall be with thee," as also being from the Divine. But from the Divine, as signified by "to counsel," respects the Divine good which is represented by Jethro; whereas from the Divine, as signified by "God shall be with thee," respects the Divine truth which is represented by Moses.
AC 8704. Be thou for the people with God. That this signifies the truth proceeding immediately from the Lord, is evident from the signification of "being for the people with God," when said of the Divine truth represented by Moses, as being nearest with the Lord, because proceeding immediately from Him. What these things involve, will be plain from what now follows.
AC 8705. And bring thou the words unto God. That this signifies mediation and intercession, is evident from the signification of "bringing the words unto God," when said of the Divine truth, as being to mediate with the Divine Itself and to intercede, for he who mediates and intercedes brings the matters to Him who gives aid. Mediation and intercession are of the Divine truth, because this is nearest with the Divine good, which is the Lord Himself. That the Divine truth is nearest with the Divine good, which is the Lord, is because it proceeds immediately from Him. As the occasion offers, it shall here be told how the case is with the Lord‘s mediation and intercession. They who believe that there are three Persons who constitute the Divine and who together are called one God, from the sense of the letter of the Word have no other idea of mediation and intercession than that the Lord sits at the right hand of His Father, and speaks with Him as man with man, and brings the supplications of men to the Father, and entreats that for His sake, because He suffered the cross for the human race, He may pardon them and have mercy. Such is the idea of intercession and mediation which every simple person has from the sense of the letter of the Word.
 But be it known that the sense of the letter is according to the apprehension of simple men, in order that they may be introduced into interior truths themselves; for the simple cannot have any other idea of the heavenly kingdom than as of an earthly kingdom, nor any other idea of the Father than as or a king on the earth, and of the Lord than as of the son of a king who is the heir of the kingdom. That the simple have such an idea, is plainly evident from the idea of the Lord’s apostles themselves about His kingdom; for at first they believed, like the rest of the Jews, that the Lord as the Messiah would be the greatest king upon the earth, and would raise them to a height of glory above all the nations and peoples on the whole globe. But when thee heard from the Lord Himself that His kingdom is not on earth but in heaven; then neither could they think otherwise than that His kingdom in heaven is altogether like a kingdom on the earth. And therefore James and John asked that in His kingdom the one might sit on His right hand and the other on His left; and the rest of the apostles, who also wanted to become great in that kingdom, had indignation, and disputed among themselves which of them should be greatest there. And as such an idea cleaved to them and could not be rooted out, the Lord indeed said unto them that they should "sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Mark 10:37, 41; Luke 22:24, 30; Matt. 19:28); but they did not then know what the Lord meant by the "twelve thrones," and by the "twelve tribes," and by "judgment."
 From all this it can now be seen what the idea is, and whence it is, concerning the Lord‘s mediation and intercession with the Father. But he who knows the interior things of the Word has a totally different notion about the Lord’s mediation and His intercession, namely, that He does not intercede as a son with a royal father on earth, but as the Lord of the universe with Himself, and as God of Himself, for the Father and He are not two, but are one, as He Himself teaches (John 14:8-11). He is called "Mediator" and "Intercessor," because by "the Son" is meant the Divine truth, and by "the Father" the Divine good (n. 2803, 2813, 3704), and mediation is effected through the Divine truth, because by means of it access is given to the Divine good; for the Divine good cannot be approached, because it is like the fire of the sun, but the Divine truth, because it is like the light therefrom, which gives to man‘s sight, which is of faith, passage and access (n. 8644). Hence it can be seen what mediation and intercession are. It shall be told further whence it is that the Lord Himself, who is the Divine good itself and the Sun itself of heaven, is called "a Mediator and Intercessor with the Father."
 When the Lord was in the world, and before He was fully glorified, He was the Divine truth; wherefore at that time there was mediation, and He interceded with the Father, that is, with the Divine good itself (John 14:16, 17; 17:9, 15, 17). But after He was glorified as to the Human, He is called "Mediator and Intercession" for this reason, that no one can think of the Divine Itself unless he presents to himself the idea of a Divine Man; still less can anyone be conjoined through love with the Divine Itself except by means of such an idea. If anyone without the idea of a Divine Man thinks of the Divine Itself, he thinks indeterminately, and an indeterminate idea is no idea; or he conceives an idea of the Divine from the visible universe without an end, or with an end in obscurity, which idea conjoins itself with the idea of the worshipers of nature, and also falls into nature, and thus becomes no idea. From this it is evident that there would not be any conjunction with the Divine through faith, nor through love. All conjunction requires an object, and the conjunction effected is according to the quality of the object. For this reason the Lord as to the Divine Human is called "a Mediator" and "an Intercessor," but He mediates and intercedes with Himself. That the Divine Itself cannot be apprehended by any idea, is evident from the Lord’s words in John:--
No one hath ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:18).
Ye have never heard the voice of the Father, nor seen His shape (John 5:37).
 Nevertheless, what is remarkable, all who think from themselves or from the flesh about God, think of Him indeterminately, that is without any determinate idea; whereas they who think of God not from themselves, nor from the flesh, but from the spirit, think about Him determinately, that is, they present to themselves an idea of the Divine under a human form. So the angels in heaven think of the Divine, and so the wise ancients thought, to whom also, when the Divine Itself appeared, it appeared as a Divine Man; for the Divine passing though heaven is a Divine Man. The reason is that heaven is a Grand Man, as has been shown at the end of many chapters. From all this it is evident of what sort are the intelligent of the world, and of what sort are the intelligent of heaven; namely, that the intelligent of the world remove from themselves the idea of the human; and consequently between their minds and the Divine there is no mediation, whence they have thick darkness whereas the intelligent of heaven have an idea of the Divine in the Human; thus the Lord is to them mediation, and consequently in their minds there is light.
AC 8706. And do thou teach them the statutes and the laws. That this signifies that from truth immediately from the Lord come the external and internal goods and truths of the church, is evident from the representation of Moses, of whom it is said that he should teach, as being the truth proceeding immediately from the Lord (n. 7010, 7382); from the signification of "the statutes," as being the external goods and truths of the church (n. 3382, 8362); and from the signification of "the laws," as being the internal goods and truths of the church (n. 8695).
AC 8707. And make known to them the way wherein they must walk. That this signifies the light of intelligence, and the consequent life, is evident from the signification of "the way," as being predicated of the understanding of truth (n. 627, 2333), here in an interior degree, because it is predicated of the understanding which the man of the spiritual church has from the immediate influx of truth from the Lord, from which there is no perception of truth, but light which gives the capacity of understanding. It is with this light as with the light of the sight of the eye; in order that the eye may see objects, there must be a light from which there is a general illumination. In this light the eye sees and discerns objects, and is affected with beauty and delight according to their agreement with order. The case is similar with the sight of the internal eye, which is the understanding; in order that this may see, there must also be a light from which there is a general illumination, in which come into view the objects which are the things of intelligence and wisdom. This light is from the Divine truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord (n. 8644). The objects presented in this light appear beautiful and delightful according to their agreement with each person‘s good. And from the signification of "wherein they must walk," that is, in the light, as being the consequent life. In the internal sense "to walk" denotes life, (n. 3335, 4882, 5493, 5605, 8417, 8420).
AC 8708. And the work that they must do. That this signifies faith in act, is evident from the signification of "the work that they must do," as being action, here action from the light of intelligence, thus from faith; for faith from the Lord is in the light of intelligence (n. 8707). In proportion as a man receives of the truths which are of faith, he enters into that light and is raised into heaven; but the reception of the truths of faith is not effected by acknowledgment alone, but by acknowledgment conjoined with life; that is, by their being acknowledged in act. This reception is what is meant by "the work that they must do."
AC 8709. And do thou see out of all the people. That this signifies the choosing of ministering truths, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as here being to choose; and from the signification of "the people," as being predicated of truths (n. 1259, 1260, 3581, 4619), here of truths that minister to the truth immediately from the Divine which is represented by Moses (n. 7010); for the princes whom he was to choose were to be ministrant to him. "Princes" denote ministrant truths.
AC 8710. Men of strenuousness, fearing God. That this signifies with which good from the Divine could be conjoined, is evident from the signification of "men of strenuousness," as being those who have strength from the truths which are from good; for by "man" is signified truth (n. 3134, 5502), and by "strenuousness," the consequent strength. Moreover in the original tongue "strength" is signified by the same expression that is here rendered "strenuousness." That it denotes strength from the truths that are from good, is because the men are said also to be "God fearing," and by "God fearing" are signified those who are in good from the Divine; for "the fear of God" denotes worship from the good of faith and from the good of love (n. 2826, 5459).
AC 8711. Men of truth, hating gain. That this signifies because the truths are pure without a worldly end, is evident from the signification of "men of truth," as being pure truths; that "men of truth" denote pure truths is because by "men" are signified truths (n. 3134, 5502), and by "truth," faith (n. 3121), thus by "men of truth" are signified truths of faith, that is, pure truths; and from the signification of "hating gain," as being aversion to persuasions from falsity and evil, for by "hating" is signified aversion, and by "gain," the falsity and evil which persuade and draw away from truth and good. By "gain" in general is signified all the falsity from evil that perverts the judgments of the mind; and as this is the case with those who have the world as their end, therefore by "those who hate gain" are also signified those who are without a worldly end. That "gain" denotes all the falsity from evil which perverts the judgments of the mind and withdraws from truth and good, can be seen by everyone who reflects, and in this sense "gain" is frequently mentioned in the Word (Isa. 33:15; 56:11; 57:17; Jer. 6:13; 8:10; 22:17; Ezek. 22:27; 33:31; Ps. 119:36).
AC 8712. And do thou set them for princes of thousands. That this signifies the primary truths which are in the first degree under the truth that is immediately from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "princes," as being primary things (n. 1482, 2089, 5044), here truths from good, because these princes were to be under Moses, by whom is represented truth Divine proceeding from Divine good, that is, from the Lord; and from the signification of "thousands," as being those who are in the first degree; for by "a thousand" are signified many persons, or in the abstract sense many things and where there are many things, or they who are over many, and are thereby in a degree of greater dignity than those who are over few; here therefore those who are in the first degree, for they who were in a lower degree were princes of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. In the internal sense "a thousand" does not mean a thousand, but many persons or many things, (n. 2575).
AC 8713. Princes of hundreds. That this signifies primary truths in the second degree, is evident from the signification of "princes," as being primary things (n. 8712); and from the signification of "hundreds," as being many persons or many things, but in the second degree, because "thousands" signify those in the first degree. "A hundred" denotes much, (n. 4400).
AC 8714. Princes of fifties. That this signifies intermediate primary truths, is evident from the signification of "princes," as being primary things (n. 8712, 8713); and from the signification of "fifties," as being intermediate things, namely, between the truths from good that are in the second degree and those which are in the third, signified by "princes of hundreds" and "princes of tens." That "fifty" denotes things intermediate, is because by "fifty" is signified both much and somewhat, the like as by "five". That it signifies much, see (n. 5708, 5956); that it signifies somewhat, (n. 4638, 5291); consequently when "fifty" is named between "a hundred" and "ten," it denotes things intermediate. Intermediate things are those which draw near to one side, and proceed from the other, thus are between those which for the sake of conjunction are in a prior degree and those which are in a posterior one.
AC 8715. And princes of tens. That this signifies primary truths in the third place, is evident from the signification of "princes," as being primary things; and from the signification of "tens," as also being many, but in a less degree, because under "hundreds". That "tens," or "ten," also denotes many, see (n. 3107, 4638). Princes being set in order over a thousand, over a hundred, and over ten, abstractedly from all number represented many things in the first degree, in the second, and in the third, in like manner as in other passages in the Word, as where the Lord said of the servant that he "owed ten thousand talents," and that the fellow-servant "owed him a hundred pence" (Matt. 18:24, 28) in like manner where He spoke of "a king about to wage war with another king, as consulting whether he was able with ten thousand to meet the other who was coming with twenty thousand" (Luke 14:31). In like manner in John:--
An angel coming down from heaven laid hold on the dragon, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, that he should seduce the nations no more, until the thousand years should be consummated: the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were consummated: this is the first resurrection (Rev. 20:1-3, 5)
in this passage by "a thousand" is not signified a thousand, but much, without any number. In like manner in Moses:--
Jehovah doing mercy to a thousand generations that love Him (Exod. 20:5, 6; Deut. 5:9, 10; 7:9; Jer. 32:18).
The word He commanded to a thousand generations (Ps. 105:8).
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; it shall not come nigh thee (Ps. 91:7)
The chariots of God are twenty thousand, thousands of peaceful ones (Ps. 68:17).
Our flocks thousands, and ten thousands in our streets (Ps. 144:13).
A thousand years in Thy sight are as a day (Ps. 90:4).
It is similar with "a hundred’ and with "ten," for lesser numbers signify the like with the greater that result from multiplication by a like number (n. 5291, 5335, 5708, 7973); "a hundred" and also "ten" signify much, (n. 3107, 4400, 4638).
AC 8716. And let them judge the people in every time. That this signifies a disposing in this manner perpetually, is evident from the signification of "judging," as being the disposing of truths (n. 8685); and from the signification of "in every time," as being perpetually.
AC 8717. And it shall be, every great word let them bring unto thee. That this signifies that everything is from the truth that is immediately from the Divine, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being truth immediately from the Divine (n. 7010, 7382); that everything is from this, is signified by "every great word let them bring unto him." It appears from the sense of the letter as if everything was to be brought to Divine truth; but as everything comes from the Lord through the truth proceeding from Him, or everything of life is from Him, therefore in the internal sense it is not signified to this truth, but from it. The case herein is as was shown concerning influx (n. 3721, 5119, 5259, 5779, 6322), namely, that influx does not take place from exteriors to interiors; but from interiors to exteriors. The reason is that all exteriors are formed to minister to interiors, as instrumental causes to their principal causes, and the former are dead causes without the latter. Be it known that in the internal sense things are set forth such as they are in themselves; not such as they appear in the sense of the letter.
 In itself the fact is that by means of the truth proceeding from Himself the Lord directs all things down to the veriest singulars; not as a king in the world, but as God in heaven and in the universe. A king in the world exercises only a care over the whole, and his princes and officers a particular care. It is otherwise with God, for God sees all things, and knows all things from eternity, and provides all things to eternity, and from Himself holds all things in their order. From this it is evident that the Lord has not only a care over the whole, but also a particular and individual care of all things, otherwise than as a king in the world. His disposing is immediate through the truth Divine from Himself, and is also mediate through heaven. But the mediate disposing through heaven is also as it were immediate from Himself, for what comes out of heaven comes through heaven from Him. That this is so the angels in heaven not only know, but also perceive in themselves. The Divine disposing or providence of the Lord is in all things and each, nay, in the veriest singulars of all, howsoever otherwise it appears before man, (n. 4329, 5122, 5904, 6058, 6481-6487, 6490, 6491).
 But this subject falls with difficulty into the idea of any man, and least of all into the idea of those who trust in their own prudence; for they attribute to themselves all things that happen prosperously for them, and the rest they ascribe to fortune, or chance; and few to the Divine Providence. Thus they attribute the things that happen to dead causes, and not to the living cause. When things turn out happily they indeed say that it is of God, and even that there is nothing that is not from Him; but few, and scarcely any, at heart believe it. In like manner do those who place all prosperity in worldly and bodily things, namely, in honors and riches, and believe that these alone are Divine blessings; and therefore when they see many of the evil abound in such things, and not so much the good, they reject from their heart and deny the Divine Providence in individual things, not considering that Divine Blessing is to be happy to eternity, and that the Lord regards such things as are of brief duration, as relatively, are the things of this world, no otherwise than as means to eternal things. Wherefore also the Lord provides for the good, who receive His mercy in time, such things as contribute to the happiness of their eternal life; riches and honors for those to whom they are not hurtful; and no riches and honors for those to whom they would be hurtful. Nevertheless to these latter He gives in time, in the place of honors and riches, to be glad with a few things, and to be more content than the rich and honored.
AC 8718. But every small word let them judge. That this signifies the appearance of some particular and singular things as from another source, is evident from the things unfolded just above (n. 8717), namely, that by their bringing every great word unto Moses is signified that each and all things down to the veriest singulars are from the Lord. From this it also follows that "a small word" too, that is, things particular and singular, are from Him. That there is an appearance that they are from another source will be seen below.
AC 8719. And devolve from upon thee, and let them bear with thee. That this signifies thus functions and offices for them, is evident from the signification of "to devolve from upon thee," as being to hand down to others also; and from the signification of "bearing with thee," as being to be of assistance. That by these words is signified thus functions and offices for them, is because the Lord does each and all things from Himself immediately, and mediately through heaven. That He acts mediately through heaven is not because He needs their and, but that the angels there may have functions and offices, and consequently life and happiness in accordance with their offices and uses. From this there is an appearance to them that they act from themselves, but a perception that it is from the Lord. These things are signified by Moses "devolving from upon him," and by the princes, who were to judge small matters, "bearing with him." The Lord flows in not only immediately, but also mediately, and not only into the firsts, but also into the mediates and lasts of order, (n. 6982, 6985, 6996, 7004, 7007).
AC 8720. If thou do this word, and God have commanded thee. That this signifies that thus it is from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "if God have commanded that thou do this word," as being when it is so from the Divine.
AC 8721. Then thou shalt be able to stand. That this signifies thus an abode with them, is evident from the signification of "thou shalt be able to stand," as being to have an abode with those who are of the spiritual church. That this is signified, is because if truth flowed in only immediately from the Divine, and not also through heaven mediately, the man of that church could be led only by means of truth, and not by means of good, as can be seen from what was shown above (n. 8685, 8701); and unless he were led by means of good, he could not be in heaven, thus the Lord could not have an abode with him; for the abode of the Lord with man is in the good with him, and not in the truth except through the good.
AC 8722. And also all this people shall come upon its place in peace. That this signifies that they who are of the spiritual church shall thus be in good, and shall be led by means of good, is evident from the signification of "the people," as being those who are of the spiritual church, because by "the people" are meant the sons of Israel, by whom is represented the spiritual church; from the signification of "coming unto a place," as being to the state to which they shall be led, which state is a state of good; for they who are of the spiritual church are led by means of truth to good, and when they come to good, then they come to their own place. "Place" denotes state (n. 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387, 4321, 4882, 5605, 7381); and the signification of "peace," is the Divine in good; for in the supreme sense "peace" denotes the Lord, and it is from this that it inmostly affects good, and is the very being of the happiness of those who are in good. So long as man is in truth, and not yet in good, he is in an untranquil state; but when he is in good, then he is in a tranquil state, thus in peace. The reason is that evil spirits cannot attack good, but flee away at the first perception of it; whereas they can attack truth. Hence it is that when men are in good, they are in peace. This is what is signified by "all this people shall come upon its place in peace." What it is to be led by the Lord by means of truth, and what by means of good, see (n. 8516, 8539, 8643, 8648, 8658, 8685, 8690, 8701). EXODUS 18:17-23 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|