Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 4:13-17
AC 6994. Verses 13-17. And he said, In me, my Lord, send I pray by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send. And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses, and He said, Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that speaking he will speak. And also behold he goeth forth to meet thee; and he will see thee, and he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and shalt put the words in his mouth; and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall speak for thee unto the people; and it shall be that he shall be to thee for a mouth, and thou shalt be to him for God. And thou shalt take in thy hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs. "And he said, In me, my Lord," signifies asseveration; "send I pray by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send," signifies that the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine Human will be mediately uttered; "and the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses," signifies clemency; "and He said, Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite?" signifies the doctrine of good and truth; "I know that he will speak," signifies preaching; "and also behold he goeth forth to meet thee," signifies reception; "and he will see thee," signifies perception; "and he will be glad in his heart," signifies the affection of love; "and thou shalt speak unto him," signifies influx; "and shalt put the words in his mouth," signifies that what he utters will proceed from the Divine Human; "and I will be with thy mouth," signifies that truth Divine will proceed through the Divine Human from the Divine Itself; "and with his mouth," signifies thus with the things thence derived; "and will teach you what ye shall do," signifies thus the Divine in each and all things which shall be done; "and he shall speak for thee unto the people," signifies that he will be doctrine to the spiritual church; "and it shall be that he shall be to thee for a mouth," signifies truth Divine, which also proceeds mediately from the Lord; "and thou shalt be to him for God," signifies the Divine truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord; "and thou shalt take in thy hand this rod," signifies Divine power therein; "wherewith thou shalt do the signs," signifies the consequent enlightenment and confirmation of truths.
AC 6995. And he said, In me, my Lord. That this signifies asseveration, is evident from the fact that "in me" is a form of asseveration (n. 6981).
AC 6996. Send I pray by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send. That this signifies that the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine Human will be mediately uttered, is evident from the representation of Moses who says this, as being the Lord as to the Word, that is, as to Divine truth (n. 6752); from the signification of "sending," when said of the Lord, as being to proceed (n. 2397, 4710); and from the signification of "sending by the hand," as being by another to whom power will be given, namely, the power of uttering the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine Human of the Lord; and as it denotes by another to whom power is given, it denotes mediately. It was shown above (n. 6982, 6985), that the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Lord‘s Divine Human cannot be heard and perceived by any man, nor even by an angel. Therefore in order that it may be heard and perceived, there must be mediation, which mediation is effected through heaven, and afterward through the angels and spirits with the man.
 This can be plainly known from the fact that man cannot even hear the spirits who are with him speaking with one another; and if be heard he could not perceive, because the speech of spirits is without human words, and is the universal speech of all languages. Moreover spirits cannot hear angels; and if they heard they could not perceive, because the angelic speech is still more universal. Nay, the angels of the inmost heaven can be still less heard and perceived, because their speech is not a speech of ideas, but of affections which are of celestial love. Seeing that since these kinds of speech are so far away from man, that they cannot possibly be heard and perceived by him, what then, so to speak, must be the Divine speech, which is infinitely above all the kinds of speech in the heavens! It is said "the Divine speech," but the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine Human of the Lord is meant. This being so, it can be seen that the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, in order to be heard and perceived, must pass to man through mediations. The last mediation is through the spirit who is with the man, who inflows either into his thought, or by means of a living voice.
 That the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Lord cannot be heard or perceived, is also evident from the correspondences and derivative representatives; namely, that the things a man speaks are presented quite differently with spirits; and the things spirits speak, quite differently with the angels. This can be seen from the spiritual sense of the Word and its literal sense, in that the literal sense, which is adapted to man, is significative and representative of the things which are in the spiritual sense; while this latter sense is not perceptible to man except in so far as it can be presented and expressed by such things as are of the world and of nature; and still less the angelic sense. What then must be the case with the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Divine of the Lord, which is infinitely above the angelic understanding, and which is not perceptible in heaven except in so far as it passes through heaven, and so puts on a form adapted and suited to the perception of those who are there, which is effected by means of a wonderful influx, not at all comprehensible to anyone! These things have been said in order that it may be known that the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord cannot be heard or perceived by anyone, except through mediations.
AC 6997. And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses. That this signifies clemency, is evident from the signification of "the anger of Jehovah," as not being anger, but the opposite of anger, thus mercy, and here clemency. That Jehovah has not any anger is evident from the fact that He is love itself, good itself, and mercy itself; and anger is the opposite, and also is a weakness, which cannot be applicable to God; and therefore when in the Word "anger" is predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, the angels do not perceive anger, but either mercy or the removal of the evil from heaven; here clemency, because it is said to Moses, by whom is represented the Lord as to Divine truth when He was in the world.
 That in the Word "anger" is attributed to Jehovah or the Lord is because it is a most general truth that all things come from God, thus evil things as well as good. But this most general truth, which must be taught to children, youths, and the simple, should afterward be illustrated, that is, by showing that evils are from man, though they appear as if from God, and that it is so said in order that they may learn to fear God, lest they should perish by the evils which they themselves do; and afterward may love Him; for fear must precede love in order that in love there may be holy fear. For when fear is insinuated in love, it becomes holy from the holy of love; and then it is not fear of the Lord’s being angry and punishing, but lest they should act against good itself, because this will torment the conscience.
 Moreover the Israelites and Jews were driven by punishments to observe the statutes and precepts in outward form; and from this they believed that Jehovah was angry and punished, when yet it was themselves who by idolatries brought such things upon them, and separated themselves from heaven; whence came punishments; as is also said in Isaiah:--
It is your iniquities that have separated between you and your God; and your sins do hide His faces from you (Isa. 59:2).
And as the Israelites and Jews were solely in externals without an internal, they were therefore held in the opinion that Jehovah was angry and punished; for they who are in externals without an internal do all things from fear, and nothing from love.
 From all this it can now be seen what is meant in the Word by the "anger and wrath of Jehovah," namely, punishments; as in these passages:--
Behold the name of Jehovah cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the heaviness of a burden; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue is as a burning fire (Isa. 30:27);
where "anger" denotes reproof and warning lest they should perish through evils. Again:--
In an inundation of anger I hid My faces from thee for a moment (Isa. 54:8);
"an inundation of anger" denotes temptation, in which evils vex and torment. In Jeremiah:--
I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand, and with a strong arm, and in anger, and in fury, and in great indignation; lest My fury go forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the wickedness of your works (Jer. 21:5, 12).
To fill with the carcasses of the men whom I have smitten in Mine anger, and in My wrath (Jer. 33:5).
I will pour out upon them Mine indignation, all the wrath of Mine anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My zeal (Zeph. 3:8).
He sent on them the wrath of His anger, indignation, and fury, and distress, and a sending of evil angels (Ps. 78:49).
 Besides many other passages, in which, as in the above, by "anger," "wrath," "fury," "fire," are meant punishments and damnations, into which man casts himself when into evils; for it is of Divine order that goods are attended with rewards; and hence it is that evils are attended with punishments, because they are conjoined together punishment and damnation are also meant by "the day of the anger of Jehovah" (Isa. 13:9, 13; Lam. 2:1; Zeph. 2:3; Rev. 6:17; 11:18); also by "the wine of the anger of God," and by "the cup of the anger of God" (Jer. 25:15, 28; Rev. 14:10; 16:19); and likewise by "the winepress of the anger and fury of God" (Rev. 14:19; 19:15)
 That punishment and damnation are signified by "anger," is also evident in these passages:--
Offering of vipers! Who hath warned you to flee from the anger to come? (Matt. 3:7).
He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the anger of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
In the last time there shall be great distress upon the land, and anger on this people (Luke 21:23).
From these passages it is plain that by the "anger of Jehovah" are signified punishments and damnations. That by "anger" is meant clemency and mercy, is because all the punishments of the evil arise from the mercy of the Lord toward the good, lest these should be harmed by the evil; yet the Lord does not impose the punishments on them, but they do so upon themselves, for in the other life evils and punishments are conjoined together. Especially do the evil impose punishments on themselves when the Lord does mercy to the good, for then evils increase upon them, and consequently punishments. It is from this that instead of the "anger of Jehovah," by which are signified the punishments of the evil, the angels understand mercy.
 From all this it can be seen what is the nature of the Word in the sense of the letter, and also what Divine truth is in its most general form, namely, that it is according to appearances; and this for the reason that man is such that what he sees and apprehends from his sensuous, he believes; and what he does not see nor apprehend from his sensuous, he does not believe; thus does not receive. Hence it is that the Word in the sense of the letter is according to things that so appear; and yet it has genuine truths stored up in its inward bosom; and in its inmost bosom, the truth Divine itself which proceeds immediately from the Lord; thus also Divine good, that is, the Lord Himself.
AC 6998. And He said, Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? That this signifies the doctrine of good and truth, is evident from the representation of Aaron, as being the Lord as to Divine good or the priesthood; but here, before he was initiated into the priesthood, the doctrine of good and truth: and therefore also it is said that "he should be to Moses for a mouth, and Moses to him for God;" for by Moses is represented the Lord as to the Divine truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord; consequently by Aaron, the Divine truth which proceeds mediately from the Lord, and which is the doctrine of good and truth. That truth which Moses here represents is truth which cannot be heard or perceived by man (n. 6982); but the truth which Aaron represents is truth which can be both heard and perceived by man; hence Aaron is called the "mouth," and Moses his "God;" and hence Aaron is called a "Levite," for by a "Levite" is signified the doctrine of good and truth of the church, which ministers to and serves the priesthood.
AC 6999. I know that he will speak. That this signifies preaching, is evident from the signification of "speaking," when said of doctrine, which is represented by Aaron, as being preaching; for this is of doctrine, that is, of him who represents doctrine, and who is called the "mouth," which denotes utterance (n. 6987).
AC 7000. And also behold he goeth forth to meet thee. That this signifies reception, is evident from the signification of "going forth to meet," as being to be made ready for receiving, that is, the Divine truth which is represented by Moses, thus denoting its reception. The angels and spirits who receive the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and advance it further, are said "to go forth to meet" when they are made ready by the Lord to receive.
AC 7001. And he will see thee. That this signifies perception, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being to understand and perceive (n. 2150, 2807, 3764, 3863, 4567, 4723).
AC 7002. And he will be glad in his heart. That this signifies the affection of love, is evident from the signification of "being glad in heart," as being the pleasantness and delight from the affection which is of love; for all gladness proceeds from the affection of love. That the affection of love is said of the doctrine of good and truth, and not of those who are in the doctrine, is from angelic speech, for so the angels speak, because they are unwilling to speak of persons, because speech about persons would avert the ideas from a universal view of things, thus from the comprehension of innumerable things together. For this reason they attribute to doctrine what is pleasant and enjoyable, also affection and the like. These things also are in doctrine when the man applies it to himself, because in doctrine there is truth Divine proceeding from the Lord, and in truth Divine proceeding from the Lord there is love, thus what is pleasant and enjoyable.
AC 7003. And thou shalt speak unto him. That this signifies influx, is evident from the signification of "speaking," as being influx (n. 2951, 5481, 5743, 5797).
AC 7004. And shalt put the words in his mouth. That this signifies that what he utters will proceed from the Divine Human, is evident from the representation of Moses, who was to put words in Aaron‘s mouth, as being the Lord as to the Divine truth which proceeds from His Divine Human; and from the signification of "mouth," as being voice and utterance (n. 6987). Thus "to put in the mouth" denotes to give to utter; but when said of the Lord, it denotes to proceed, because the Word which is uttered by a spirit or angel, proceeds from the Lord’s Divine Human. Aaron moreover represents the doctrine of good and truth, which is uttered. The case herein is this.
 From the Lord proceeds Divine truth immediately and mediately; that which proceeds immediately is above all the understanding of angels; but that which proceeds mediately is adapted to the angels in the heavens and also to men, for it passes through heaven and thereby puts on the angelic and the human quality; but into this truth also the Lord flows immediately, and thus leads angels and men both mediately and immediately (n. 6058). For each and all things are from the First being, and the order has been so instituted that the First being may be present in the derivatives both mediately and immediately, thus alike in the ultimate of order and in its first; for the Divine truth itself is the one only substantial, the derivatives being nothing but successive forms thence derived. From this also it is plain that the Divine flows immediately also into each and all things, because all things have been created from the Divine truth, the Divine truth being the one only essential (n. 6880), thus that from which all things are. The Divine truth is what is called "the Word" in John:--
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1:1, 2).
By such influx the Lord leads man not only by providence in the universal, but also in every singular, nay, in the veriest singulars of all. For these reasons it is said that the things which are uttered proceed from the Divine Human.
 That there is an immediate influx of the Lord where there is also a mediate, thus in the last of order equally as in the first of order, has been told me from heaven, and a living perception of it has been given; also that what is effected by mediate influx, that is, through heaven and the angels there, is relatively very little; and further, that the Lord leads heaven by means of immediate influx, and at the same time by means of it keeps all things there in their connection and order.
AC 7005. And I will be with thy mouth. That this signifies that truth Divine will proceed through the Divine Human from the Divine Itself, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Lord as to truth Divine; and from the signification of "being with his mouth," as being to be in the truth Divine which proceeds from the Divine Human. The Divine Itself, which is called the "Father," is meant by "I," or Jehovah. Hence it is evident that by "I will be with thy mouth" is signified that truth Divine proceeds through the Divine Human from the Divine Itself; which is the same as that the holy of the spirit proceeds from the Son, and the Son from the Father, according to the doctrine of the church; which however is to be understood in this way: that this Trine is in the Lord and is one in Him.
AC 7006. And with his mouth. That this signifies thus with the things thence derived, is evident from the representation of Aaron, as being the doctrine of good and truth (n. 6998); and from the signification of "being with his mouth," as being the Divine with this doctrine, and in it; and as this doctrine is from the Divine truth which proceeds immediately from the Divine Human (n. 7005), therefore by "being with his mouth" is signified with the things thence derived. The doctrine of good and of truth proceeds mediately and immediately from the Divine Human of the Lord, (n. 7004).
AC 7007. And will teach you what ye shall do. That this signifies thus the Divine in each and all things which shall be done, is evident from the signification of "teaching," as being to flow in, and when as here said of the Divine, as being to proceed (n. 6993); and from the signification of "what ye shall do," as being what shall be done. That it denotes in each and all things, is because it is said of the Divine. Something shall here be said about the Divine being in each and all things that take place with man. That such is the case appears to man to be far from the truth, because he thinks, "If the Divine were in each and all things that take place, evils would not happen, neither would anyone suffer damnation;" also that the justice of a cause would always triumph; that the upright would be happier in the world than the wicked; with many like things; and as they see the contrary, they do not believe that the Divine is in each and all things. Hence it is that they attribute to themselves and their own sagacity the singulars, and to the Divine only the universal government; and all other things they call fortune and chance, which they conceive to be blind things of nature.
 But man so thinks because he does not know the secrets of heaven, which are that the Lord leaves to everyone his own freedom; for unless man is in freedom, he can never be reformed. Compulsion does not reform, because it inroots nothing, for that which is compulsory is not of man‘s will; but that which is free is of his will. Nevertheless good and truth, in order to be man’s as his own, must be inrooted in his will, for that which is outside the will is not the man‘s. And as for this reason everyone is left to his freedom, man is allowed to think evil, and to do evil, in so far as external fears do not restrain. And also for the same reason, in this world the wicked man is apparently glad and in his glory more than the upright; but the glorying and gladness of the wicked are external, or of the body, which in the other life are turned into infernal unhappiness; whereas the glorying and gladness of the upright are internal, or of the spirit, and remain and become heavenly happiness.
 Moreover in eminence and opulence there is worldly, but not eternal happiness; and therefore both the wicked and the upright have it, or if the latter do not have it, it is that they may not be turned away from good by such things and as men make the Divine blessing to consist in worldly goods and happinesses, when they see the contrary their weakness drives them into errors with respect to the Divine Providence. They also come to conclusions from the present things which they see, without considering that the Divine Providence looks to what is eternal, especially that all things may be in order in heaven, and also in hell; thus that heaven may constantly bear relation to a Man, and that hell may be in the opposite, whence comes equilibrium; and that this cannot possibly exist except by means of the Divine Providence in the veriest singulars of all, thus unless the Divine continually guides and bends man’s freedom.
 In regard to the other points, see what has been already said and shown about the Divine Providence, namely: That the providence of the Lord cannot be universal unless it in the veriest singulars (n. 1919, 4329, 5122, 5894, 6481-6486, 6490): That the providence of the Lord has regard to what is eternal (n. 5264, 6491): That evil is foreseen by the Lord, and good is provided (n. 5155, 5195, 6489): That the Lord turns into good the evil which He foresees (n. 6574): That contingent things are of providence (n. 5508, 6493, 6494): That man‘s own prudence is like a few specks of dust in the atmosphere, and Providence like the whole atmosphere (n. 6485): That many fallacies attack the Divine Providence in singulars (n. 6481).
AC 7008. And he shall speak for thee unto the people. That this signifies that he will be doctrine to the spiritual church, is evident from the representation of Aaron, of whom it is said that "he shall speak for Moses to the people," as being the doctrine of good and truth (n. 6998); from the signification of "speaking," as being confession and preaching (n. 6999); and from the representation of the sons of Israel, who are here the "people," as being the spiritual church (n. 6426).
AC 7009. And it shall be that he shall be to thee for a mouth. That this signifies the truth of doctrine, which also proceeds mediately from the Lord, is evident from the representation of Aaron, who was to be "to Moses for a mouth," as being doctrine (n. 6998); and from the signification of "being to Moses for a mouth," as being his utterance or preaching (n. 6987). It is said the truth of doctrine which also proceeds mediately from the Lord, because the truth of doctrine, which is represented by Aaron, is such as is heard and perceived by angels and men. This truth is what proceeds mediately from the Lord; but the truth which is represented by Moses, is that which proceeds from the Lord immediately, and is not heard or perceived by men, nor even by angels (n. 6982, 6985, 6996, 7004).
AC 7010. And thou shalt be to him for God. That this signifies the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord immediately, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Lord as to Divine truth (n. 6752). That it denotes the Divine truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord, is signified by that he was "to Aaron for God;" for by "God" in the Word is meant the Lord as to Divine truth, and by "Jehovah," the Lord as to Divine good. That in the Word the Lord is called "God" where truth is treated of, but "Jehovah" where good is treated of, see (n. 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822, 3921, 4402): That the angels are called "gods" from the truths in which they are from the Lord (n. 4402): And that in the opposite sense the "gods of the nations" denote falsities (n. 4402, 4544).
AC 7011. And thou shalt take in thy hand this rod. That this signifies Divine power herein, is evident from the signification of "rod," as being power (n. 4013, 4015, 4876, 4936), and in fact when it is in the hand; for by "hand" is signified spiritual power, and by "rod" natural power. As the natural has no power except from the spiritual, so a rod has no power unless it is in the hand; and therefore it is said that "he should take it in his hand." The "hand," when predicated of the Lord denotes the power proceeding from His Divine rational, and a "rod" the power proceeding from His Divine natural, (n. 6947). It is said "the Divine power therein," namely, in truths, because power is predicated of truth (n. 3091, 6344, 6423, 6948).
AC 7012. Wherewith thou shalt do the signs. That this signifies the consequent enlightenment and confirmation of truths, is evident from the signification of a "sign," as being the confirmation of truths (n. 6870); that it also denotes enlightenment, is because the confirmation of truths is effected by means of enlightenment from the Lord when a man studies the Word with the end of knowing truths. As regards enlightenment and the consequent confirmation of truths, be it known that they who are in externals without an internal (as were the Jews and the Israelites) cannot be enlightened, thus neither can they be confirmed in truths whereas when they who are in externals and at the same time in internals read the Word, they are enlightened, and in their enlightenment see truths, in which they are afterward more and more confirmed; and, wonderful to say, everyone has such enlightenment as is his affection of truth; and such affection of truth as is his good of life. Hence also it is that they who are in no affection of truth for the sake of truth, but for the sake of their own advantage, are not at all enlightened when they read the Word, but are only confirmed in doctrinal things, no matter of what kind, whether false, as heresies are, or entirely contrary to truths, as are the Jewish ones; for they do not seek the kingdom of the Lord, but the world; not faith, but fame; thus not heavenly riches, but only earthly; and if perchance they are seized with a desire of knowing truths from the Word, falsities present themselves instead of truths, and at last there is denial of all things. These things have been said in order that it may be known what enlightenment is, and the consequent confirmation of truth. EXODUS 4:13-17 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|