Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 3:7-8
AC 6850. Verses 7, 8. And Jehovah said, Seeing I have seen the affliction of My people, which is in Egypt, and I have heard their cry from before their taskmasters; for I have known their sorrows; and I am come down to liberate them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to make them come up out of that land unto a land good and broad, unto a land flowing with milk honey, unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. "And Jehovah said, Seeing I have seen the affliction of My people," signifies mercy toward those who are of the spiritual church after infestations by falsities "and I have heard their cry from before their taskmasters," signifies the aid of mercy against those who desired to compel them to serve; "for I have known their sorrows," signifies foresight in regard to how much they would be immersed in falsities; "and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians," signifies that He would let Himself down to them to set them free from the power of false memory-knowledges, which endeavor to destroy the truths of the church; "and to make them come up out of that land," signifies that they should be elevated; "unto a land good and broad," signifies to heaven, where are the good of charity and the truth of faith; "flowing with milk and honey," signifies the pleasantness and delight thence; "unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite," signifies the region occupied by evils from falsities; "and the Amorite, and the Perizzite," signifies by evils and the derivative falsities; "and the Hivite, and the Jebusite," signifies by idolatry in which there is somewhat of good and truth.
AC 6851. And Jehovah said, Seeing I have seen the affliction of My people. That this signifies mercy toward those who are of the spiritual church after infestations by falsities, is evident from the signification of "saying," in the historicals of the Word, as being perception; but when it is said of Jehovah, or the Lord, it does not denote perception, but omniscience, because the Lord perceives and knows each and all things from eternity; and from the signification of "Seeing I have seen," when said of Jehovah or the Lord, as being mercy, for when the Lord sees anyone in misery, or in affliction, He is merciful to him. The Lord indeed sees all, and thus is merciful to all, but it is not said that He is merciful with respect to any but those who receive His mercy, that is, who are in good; and from the signification of "affliction," as being infestation (n. 6663), here by falsities, because by the Egyptians, by whom are signified false memory-knowledges (n. 6651, 6679, 6683) and from the signification of "a people," as being those who are of the spiritual church (n. 2928). They who are of the celestial church are in the Word called "a nation."
AC 6852. And I have heard their cry from before their taskmasters. That this signifies the aid of mercy against those who desired to compel them to serve, is evident from the signification of a "cry," as being entreaty (n. 6801) and from the signification of "to hear," as being to obey and notice (n. 5017); but when it is said of Jehovah or the Lord, it denotes to bring the aid of mercy to him who implores it. It is with hearing as it is above (n. 6851) with seeing, namely, that the Lord hears all, and thus brings aid to all, but according to the necessities. They who cry, and implore Him for themselves alone, and thus against others, as the wicked are wont to do: these also the Lord hears, but He does not bring them aid, and when He does not bring aid, it is said that He "does not hear "and from the signification of "taskmasters," as being those who desire to compel to serve. That a "taskmaster" or "exactor" denotes one who compels to serve, is evident from these passages:--
The peoples shall take them, and bring them to their place, and they shall rule over their exactors. It shall come to pass in the day that Jehovah shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy trouble, and from the hard service wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt utter this parable concerning the king of Babylon, How hath the exactor ceased! (Isa. 14:2-4).
I will encamp about My house because of the army, because of him that goeth and of him that returneth, that the exactor may not pass through upon them any more (Zech. 9:8).
They were called "exactors" who exacted tribute (2 Kings 23:35; Deut. 15:3), and also they who compelled them to work according to the imposition of the tributes. They are also called "princes of tributes" (Exod. 1:11); that these are they who compelled them to serve may be seen above (n. 6659).
AC 6853. For I have known their sorrows. That this signifies foresight in regard to how much they would be immersed in falsities, is evident from the signification of "knowing," when said of the Lord, as being foresight (that "to know" denotes foresight is because the Lord knows each and all things from eternity); and from the signification of "sorrows," as being immersion in falsities; for when they who are in good are immersed in falsities, they come into anguish and anxieties, and are tormented; for they love truths and abhor falsities, and constantly think about salvation, and about their unhappiness if falsities should rule with them. But they who are not in good, care not whether they are in falsities or in truths, for they do not think at all about salvation, or about unhappiness, because they do not believe in these things. The delights of the loves of self and of the world take away all belief about the life after death. These persons are perpetually immersed in falsities. Immersion in falsities appears in the other life like one who is immersed in waves, which according to the abundance of falsities rise higher and higher, until at last they rise over his head; the waves appearing thinner or denser according to the quality of the falsities. With the wicked the immersion appears as a mistiness and as a cloudiness more or less dusky, which compasses them about, and quite separates them from the serenity of the light of heaven.
AC 6854. And I am come down to liberate them out of the hand of the Egyptians. That this signifies that He would let Himself down to them, to set them free from the power of the false memory-knowledges which endeavor to destroy the truths of the church, is evident from the signification of "coming down," as being to let Himself down; from the signification of "to liberate," as being to set free, for he who sets free from falsities, liberates; from the signification of "hand," as being power (n. 878, 3387, 3563, 4931-4937, 5544) and from the signification of the "Egyptians," as being false memory-knowledges which are contrary to the truths of the church (n. 6651, 6679, 6683), thus which endeavor to destroy them. As regards the fact that the Lord comes down, the case is this. The Lord is said to "come down," or to "let Himself down," when He comes to Judgment (n. 1311); and also when He comes to lower regions, here to those who are of the spiritual church, who are signified by the "sons of Israel;" for these are treated of in the internal sense, how they are infested by falsities, and then endure temptations, and afterward are liberated, that they may be introduced into heaven.
 But in the contents of this and the following verses, in the internal sense, there is a still greater mystery, which is not yet known in the church, and therefore is to be made known. They who are called "the spiritual" (who are such as can be regenerated only as to the intellectual part, but not as to the will part, and in whose intellectual part therefore a new will is implanted by the Lord, which will is according to the doctrinal things of faith pertaining to their church): these, namely such spiritual men, were saved only by the Lord‘s coming into the world. The reason is that the Divine passing through heaven, which was the Divine Human before the Lord’s coming, could not reach them, because the doctrinal things of their church were for the most part not true, and consequently the good which is of the will was not good (n. 6427) As these could be saved only by the coming of the Lord, and thus could not before be raised into heaven, therefore they were meanwhile kept in the lower earth, in places there which in the Word are called "pits;" which earth was beset about by the hells where are falsities, by which they were then much infested, and yet were guarded by the Lord. But after the Lord came into the world, and made the Human in Himself Divine, then He delivered those who were there in "pits," and raised then to heaven; and out of them He also formed the spiritual heaven, which is the second heaven. This is meant by the descent of the Lord to the lower regions, and by the deliverance of those who were bound.
 This is the mystery which in the internal sense is also described in this and the following verses. See what was shown above about these spiritual men, namely: That the spiritual are in obscurity as to the truth and good of faith (n. 2708, 2715, 2718, 2831, 2849, 2935, 2937, 3241, 3833, 6289): That their obscurity is illumined by the Lord‘s Divine Human (n. 2716, 4402): That as they are in obscurity as to the truth and good of faith, they are very much assaulted by the hells, but that the Lord continually protects them (n. 6419): That the spiritual cannot be regenerated as to the will part, but only as to the intellectual part, and a new will is there formed by the Lord (n. 863, 875, 895, 927, 928, 1023, 1043, 1044, 2256, 4328, 4493, 5113): That the spiritual were saved by the coming of the Lord into the world (n. 2833, 2834, 3969).
 In the prophetic Word occasional mention is made of the "bound," and of the "bound in the pit," and that they were delivered by the Lord; by whom are specifically meant those who are here spoken of, as in these passages:--
I Jehovah have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thy hand, because I will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the nations, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (Isa. 42:6, 7).
I kept Thee, and gave Thee for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to divide the wasted heritages; to say to the bound, Go forth, to them that are in darkness, Be ye revealed. They shall feed upon the ways, and on all hillsides is their pasture (Isa. 49:8, 9);
this is manifestly said of the Lord. Specifically "the bound" denote those who were detained in the lower earth until the Lord’s coming, and who were then raised into heaven; and in general all those who are in good, and are kept by falsities as it were bound, from which they nevertheless desire to work their way out.
By the blood of Thy covenant I will send forth Thy bound out of the pit (Zech. 9:11).
Gathering they shall be gathered together, the bound in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; after a multitude of days they shall be visited (Isa. 24:22);
"the bound in the pit" denote the same.
Jehovah hath anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to preach liberty to the captives, to the bound, to the blind, to proclaim the year of Jehovah‘s good pleasure (Isa. 61:1).
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwelt the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined (Isa. 9:2).
AC 6855. And to make them come out of that land. That this signifies that they should be raised, namely, from the place and state where they are being infested by falsities, is evident from the signification of "to make to come lip," as being to be raised; and from the signification of "land," here the land of Egypt, as being the place and state where they are infested by falsities. That "Egypt" is the false memory-knowledge which infests has been already shown; the like is also signified by the "land of Egypt."
AC 6856. Unto a land good and broad. That this signifies to heaven where are the good of charity and the truth of faith, is evident from the signification of "land," here the land of Canaan, as being the Lord’s kingdom, thus heaven (n. 1607, 3038, 3481, 3705, 4447); from the signification of a "good land," as being the good of charity there; and from the signification of a "broad land," as being the truth of faith there. That "breadth" denotes the truth which is of faith, see (n. 3433, 3434, 4482).
AC 6857. Flowing with milk and honey. That this signifies the pleasantness and delight thence, is evident from the signification of "milk," as being the celestial spiritual, or the truth of good (n. 2184); and as it denotes the truth of good, it denotes also the pleasantness thereof, for these are conjoined; and from the signification of "honey," as being delight (n. 5620). From what was shown above (n. 6854) it can be seen what is meant by "making to come up out of that land to a land good and broad, flowing with milk and honey," namely, that they who had been detained in the lower earth in pits there until the Lord‘s coming, should then he raised to heaven where are the good of charity and the truth of faith and the derivative pleasantness and delight. These things are specifically signified by these words; but in general are signified all of the spiritual church who are in temptation and are liberated from it.
AC 6858. Unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite. That this signifies the region occupied by evils from falsities, is evident from the representation of the Canaanites, as being evils from the falsities of evil (n. 4818); and from the representation of the Hittites, as being falsities from which are evils (n. 2913). By the nations in the land of Canaan (Gen. 15:18, 19; Exod. 23:23, 28; 33:2; 34:11; Deut. 7:1; 20:17; Josh. 3:10; 24:11; Judges 3:5), are signified all kinds of evil and falsity. What is meant by the region occupied by evils from falsities, and also by the other kinds of evil and falsity, must be told. Before the coming of the Lord into the world, evil genii and spirits occupied all that region of heaven to which the spiritual were afterward taken up; for before the coming of the Lord many such roamed at large and infested the good, especially the spiritual who were in the lower earth; but after the coming of the Lord they were all thrust down into their hells, and that region was set free, and was given for an inheritance to those who were of the spiritual church. It has been frequently observed that as soon as any place is left by good spirits it is occupied by evil ones; and that the evil are driven out of it and as soon as this is done it again passes to those who are in good. The reason is that the infernals continually burn to destroy the things of heaven, especially those to which they are in opposition; and therefore when any place is left, being then without protection, it is immediately occupied by the evil. As before said, this is especially meant by the region occupied by evils and falsities, which is signified by the place where the nations were that were to be driven out. This, together with what was said above (n. 6854), is a great mystery, which cannot be known without being revealed.
AC 6859. And the Amorite, and the Perizzite. That this signifies by evils and the derivative falsities, is evident from the representation of the Amorite, as being evil (n. 1857, 6306); and from the representation of the Perizzite, as being falsity (n. 1573, 1574). There are two origins of evil, and also two origins of falsity. One origin of evil is from falsity of doctrine or of religiosity the other is from the cupidities of the love of self and of the world. As just said, the falsity of the first origin is from falsity of doctrine or of religiosity; and the falsity of the other origin is from the evil of the cupidities of the said loves. These evils are what is signified by the "Canaanite" and the "Amorite," and these falsities by the "Hittite" and the "Perizzite."
AC 6860. And the Hivite, and the Jebusite. That this signifies by idolatry in which there is somewhat of good and truth, is evident from the representation of the Hivite, as being idolatry in which there is somewhat of good; and from the representation of the Jebusite, as being idolatry in which there is somewhat of truth. That such things are signified by these nations, can be seen from the fact that it was permitted that a covenant should be made with the Gibeonites by Joshua and the elders (Josh. 9:3); and that they were made hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of God (Josh. 9:23, 27); that these were Hivites see (verse 7), and (Josh. 11:19). That by the Jebusites are represented those who were in idolatry, but in which there was somewhat of truth, can be seen from the fact that the Jebusites were long tolerated in Jerusalem, and were not driven out of it (Josh. 15:63; 18:28; 2 Sam. 5:6-10). EXODUS 3:7-8 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
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