Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 7:8-13
AC 7287. Verses 8-13. And Jehovah said unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall say unto you, saying, Give you a wonder, then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh; it shall become a water-serpent. And Moses and Aaron came unto Pharaoh; and they did so as Jehovah had commanded; and Aaron cast his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a water-serpent. And Pharaoh called also the wise men also the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did so with their enchantments. And they cast forth every man his rod, and they became water-serpents; and Aaron‘s rod swallowed up their rods. And Pharaoh’s heart was made firm, and he heard them not; as Jehovah had spoken. "And Jehovah said unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying," signifies instruction; "When Pharaoh shall say unto you," signifies if they have doubt concerning the Divine; "saying, give you a wonder," signifies and they therefore desire to be confirmed; "then thou shalt say unto Aaron," signifies influx and communication; "Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh," signifies the power which is shown; "it shall become a water-serpent," signifies that thereby mere fallacies and the derivative falsities will reign among them; "and Moses and Aaron came unto Pharaoh, and they did so as Jehovah had commanded," signifies the effect; "and Aaron cast his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a water-serpent," signifies that mere fallacies and the derivative falsities would reign among them; "and Pharaoh called also the wise men and the sorcerers," signifies abuse of Divine order; "and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did so with their enchantments," signifies thus to appearance the same by perverting the ends of order; "and they cast forth every man his rod, and they became water-serpents," signifies power from order that they became dull in respect to the noticing of truth "and Aaron‘s rod swallowed up their rods," signifies that this power was taken away from them; "and Pharaoh’s heart was made firm," signifies obstinacy; "and be heard them not," signifies that they who were in evils from falsities did not receive; "as Jehovah had spoken," signifies prediction.
AC 7288. And Jehovah said unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying. That this signifies instruction, is evident from the signification of "Jehovah said," as being instruction (n. 6879, 6881, 6883, 6891).
AC 7289. When Pharaoh shall say unto you. That this signifies if they have doubt concerning the Divine, is evident from what now follows, namely, "if Pharaoh shall say, Give you a wonder," which words plainly imply doubt concerning the Divine; for to desire a wonder is to doubt until it is confirmed to the senses.
AC 7290. Saying, Give you a wonder. That this signifies, and they therefore desire to be confirmed, is evident from the signification of "wonders and signs," as being confirmations of truths (n. 3900, 6870). As regards the wonders and signs treated of in what follows, be it known that they were done among such as were in external worship, and did not desire to know anything about internal worship, for they who were in such worship had to be driven by external means. This is the reason why miracles were done among the Israelitish and Jewish people, for they were in external worship only. In the absence of their desire for internal worship they had to be in external, in order that they might represent holy things in outward ones, and that in this way there might he communication with heaven as by something of a church, for correspondences, representatives, and significatives conjoin the natural world with the spiritual. This is the reason why so many miracles were done in that nation.
 But miracles are not done among those who are in internal worship, that is, in charity and faith, because to these they are hurtful, for miracles compel belief, and what is compelled does not remain, but is dissipated. The inward things of worship, which are faith and charity, must be implanted in freedom, for then they are appropriated, and what is so appropriated remains; whereas that which is implanted in compulsion, remains outside the internal man in the external, because nothing enters into the internal man except by means of intellectual ideas, which are reasons; for the ground which there receives is an enlightened rational. Hence it is that no miracles are wrought at this day. That they would be hurtful, can be seen from what has been said; for they drive men to believe, and fix their ideas in the external man that the case is so; and if the internal man afterward denies that which the miracles have confirmed, there results an opposition and collision of the internal and external man; and finally when the ideas derived from miracles are dissipated, there is effected a conjunction of falsity and truth, and thus a profanation. From this it is evident how injurious at the present day are miracles in a church in which the inward things of worship have been disclosed. These moreover are the things signified by the Lord‘s words to Thomas:--
Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they who see not, and believe (John 20:29);
thus they are blessed who do not believe through miracles.
 But miracles are not injurious to those who are in external worship without internal, for with such there can be no opposition of the internal and external man, thus no collision, consequently no profanation. That miracles do not contribute anything to faith, may be sufficiently evident from the miracles wrought among the people of Israel in Egypt, and in the wilderness, in that they had no effect at all upon them. Although that people had recently seen so many miracles in Egypt, and afterward the sea Suph divided, and the Egyptians sunk therein; the pillar of a cloud going before them by day, and the pillar of fire by night; the manna daily raining down from heaven and although they saw Mount Sinai smoking, and heard Jehovah speaking thence, besides other miracles, nevertheless in the midst of such things they fell away from all faith, and from the worship of Jehovah to the worship of a calf (Exod. 32); from which it is plain what is the effect of miracles.
 Still less would be their effect at this day, when it is not acknowledged that there is anything from the spiritual world, and when everything of the kind which takes place, and which is not attributed to nature, is denied; for denial universally reigns against the Divine influx and government in the earth. And therefore if the man of the church were at this day to see the veriest Divine miracles, he would first bring them down into nature, and there defile them, and afterward would reject them as phantasms, and finally would laugh at all who attributed them to the Divine, and not to nature. That miracles are of no effect is also evident from the Lord’s words in Luke:--
If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead (Luke 16:31).
AC 7291. And thou shalt say unto Aaron. That this signifies influx and communication, namely, of the law Divine which Moses represents, with the doctrine which Aaron represents, is evident from the signification of "saying," when by Moses to Aaron, as being influx and communication (n. 6291). "Saying" here signifies the same as "speaking," namely, both influx and communication. "Speaking" has this signification, (n. 7270). This influx and communication cannot be expressed in the historical part of the Word except by "saying," and "speaking." That the law Divine which Moses represents flowed into the doctrine which Aaron represents, is because the law Divine is internal truth, and doctrine is external truth; and it is a general rule that internal things flow into external things, and not vice versa, because internal things are purer and simple in comparison, while external things are gross, for they are the generals of internal things.
AC 7292. Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh. That this signifies the power which is shown, is evident from the signification of a "rod," as being power (n. 4013, 4015, 4876, 4936, 6947, 7011, 7026); and from the signification of "casting before Pharaoh," as being to show; for that which is cast before the eyes is shown.
AC 7293. It shall become a water-serpent. That this signifies that thereby mere fallacies and the derivative falsities will reign among them, is evident from the signification of a "serpent," as being the sensuous and bodily (n. 6949), thence fallacies, for the sensuous and bodily, separated from the rational, that is, not subordinate to it, is full of fallacies, so that it is scarcely anything but fallacies (n. 6948, 6949). It is a water-serpent that is here signified, for in the original, " serpent" is here expressed by the same term as "whale," which is the largest fish of the sea, and a "whale" signifies memory-knowledges in general. As therefore by the "Egyptians" are signified falsities from fallacies, this word signifies a serpent, that is, a water-serpent, because it stands for the whale that is in the waters, and because the waters of Egypt are falsities.
 That Pharaoh or Egypt is called a "whale" is evident in Ezekiel:--
Speak and say, Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Behold I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great whale that lieth in the midst of his rivers (Ezek. 29:3).
Son of man, take up a lamentation upon Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art become like a young lion of the nations; and thou art as whales in the seas; and thou hast come forth with thy streams, thou hast troubled thy streams (Ezek. 32:2).
In these passages by a "whale" are signified memory-knowledges in general, by which, because they are from the sensuous man, the things that belong to faith are perverted. That a "whale" denotes memory-knowledge in general, is because a "fish" denotes memory-knowledge in particular (n. 40, 991). And as "whales" signify memory-knowledges perverting the truths of faith, by them are also signified reasonings from fallacies, whence come falsities.
 Such things are signified by "whales" in David:--
Thou didst break through the sea by thy strength; Thou hast broken the heads of the whales upon the waters (Ps. 74:13).
Like things are signified also by "leviathan" in Isaiah:--
In that day Jehovah with His hard and great and strong sword will visit upon leviathan the long serpent, and upon leviathan the crooked serpent, and will slay the whales that are in the sea (Isa. 27:1).
And in David:--
Thou hast broken in pieces the heads of leviathan, Thou gavest him to be meat to the people Ziim (Ps. 74:14).
"Leviathan" in a good sense denotes reason from truths, in Job 41; reason from truths is opposite to reasonings from falsities.
 And as by "whales" are signified reasonings from fallacies perverting truths, by "water-serpents," which are expressed by the same word in the original, are signified the falsities themselves from the fallacies from which come reasonings, and by means of which come perversions. Falsities are signified by these serpents in the following passages:--
Iim shall answer in her palaces, and serpents in the palaces of delights (Isa. 13:22).
Thorns shall come up in her palaces, the thistle and the brier in the fortresses thereof; that it may be a habitation of serpents, a court for the daughters of the owl (Isa. 34:13).
In the inhabitation of serpents, her couch, shall be grass for reed and rush (Isa. 35:7).
I will make Jerusalem heaps, a dwelling-place of serpents (Jer. 9:11).
I made the mountains of Esau a waste, and his heritage for the serpents of the wilderness (Mal. 1:3).
 In these passages "serpents" denote falsities from which are reasonings. The same are also signified by "dragons;" but "dragons" denote reasonings from the loves of self and of the world, thus from the cupidities of evil, which pervert not only truths, but also goods. These reasonings come forth from those who in heart deny the truths and goods of faith, but in mouth confess them for the sake of the lust of exercising command and of making profit, thus also from those who profane truths and goods. Both are meant by "the dragon, the old serpent, which is called the Devil and Satan, which seduceth the whole world" (Rev. 12:9); and also by the same dragon, which persecuted the woman who brought forth a son that was caught up unto God and unto His throne (Rev. 12:5); and which cast out of his mouth water as a river, that he might swallow up the woman (Rev. 12:15).
 The "son" that the woman brought forth is the Divine truth at this day unfolded; the "woman" is the church; "the dragon, the serpent," denotes those who will persecute; "the water as a river which the dragon would cast out," denotes the falsities from evil and the reasonings thence, by which they will attempt to destroy the woman, that is, the church; but that they will effect nothing, is described by, "the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out" (Rev. 12:16).
AC 7294. And Moses and Aaron came unto Pharaoh, and they did so as Jehovah had commanded. That this signifies the effect, can be seen without explication.
AC 7295. And Aaron cast his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a water-serpent. That this signifies that mere fallacies and the derivative falsities would reign among them, is evident from the signification of "casting a rod," as being to show power (n. 7292); from the representation of Pharaoh and his servants, as being those who infest by falsities; and from the signification of "water-serpents," as being fallacies and the consequent falsities (n. 7293).
 This prophetic sign signifies the first warning to desist given to those who infest. For when the evil who in the other life infest the upright, first come there from the world, they have good spirits and angels adjoined to them, as when they lived as men in the body; for even evil men have also angels with them, in order that they may be able, if they will, to turn themselves to heaven, and to receive influx thence and be reformed. It is for this reason (everything of the life following them) that at first they are associated with angels. But when from their life in the world they are such that they cannot receive the influx of truth and good from heaven, then the angels and good spirits gradually recede from them; and as these recede, they become less and less rational; for to be rational comes through heaven from the Lord.
 The first degree of the taking away and deprivation of the influx of truth and good is here described by the rod of Aaron being turned into a serpent, whereby is signified that mere fallacies would reign, and the falsities thence derived. The second degree is described by the waters of Egypt being turned into blood, whereby is signified that truths themselves were falsified. The third degree is that from the waters there crept forth frogs, whereby are signified reasonings from mere falsities; and so on. By such degrees also are the evil in the other life deprived of the understanding of truth and good.
AC 7296. And Pharaoh called also the wise men and the sorcerers. That this signifies abuse of Divine order, is evident from the signification of "the wise men," as being those who are in the knowledge of spiritual things, and of their correspondence with natural things; they who investigated and taught such things were called "wise" among them, for they were things mystical. And because the Egyptians paid great attention to such things, they called themselves "son of the wise," and "of the kings of old," as is plain in Isaiah:--
How say ye unto Pharaoh, a son of the wise am I, a son of kings of old (Isa. 19:11).
The Egyptians called the knowledges of things "wisdom," as also did the Chaldeans (Jer. 50:35). And from the signification of "sorcerers," as being those who pervert Divine order, thus who pervert the laws of order. That sorcery and magic are nothing else, can be seen from sorcerers, especially in the other life where they abound. For they who in the life of the body have practiced cunning, and have devised various arts for defrauding others, and at last from their success have attributed all things to their own prudence, in the other life learn magic, which is nothing but abuse of Divine order, especially of correspondences. For it is according to Divine order that each and all things correspond; as for example, the hands, arms, and shoulders correspond to power, and from this so does a rod; and therefore they form for themselves rods, and also representatively present shoulders, arms, and hands, and in this way exercise magical power; and so in thousands of other things. There is abuse of order and of correspondences when things of order are not applied to good ends, but to evil ones, as to that of exercising command over others, and to that of destroying; for the end of order is salvation, thus to do good to all. From this then it is evident what is meant by the abuse of order which is signified by "sorcerers."
AC 7297. And they also, the magicians of Egypt, did so with their enchantments. That this signifies the same in appearance by perverting the ends of order, is evident from the signification of "they also did," when said of the magicians of Egypt, as being to present the like in appearance, for things that flow from order are not altered by abuse, but appear the same to the external form, yet not as to the internal form, for they are contrary to the ends of order; and from the signification of "enchantments," as being the very arts of perverting order. By "sorcerers," and "enchantments," when mentioned in the Word, is signified the art of presenting falsities so that they appear as truths, and of presenting truths so that they appear as falsities, which is especially done by means of fallacies.
 Such is the signification of "sorceries," and "enchantments," in the following passages:--
Yet these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood; in their completeness shall they come upon thee, by reason of the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the exceeding greatness of thine enchantments. stand firm in thine enchantments, and in the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast labored from thy youth (Isa. 47:9, 12);
speaking of Babel and the Chaldeans.
Draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of an adulterer and a harlot (Isa. 57:3).
Woe to the city of bloods, for the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of sorceries, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her sorceries (Nahum 3:1, 4).
"the city of bloods" denotes the falsification of truth; "whoredoms," the falsified good of truth; "sorceries," the arts of presenting falsities as truths, and truths as falsities.
 In Malachi:--
I will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers (Mal. 3:5).
With thine enchantment were all the nations seduced (Rev. 18:23).
speaking of Babylon. In Micah:--
I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and will destroy thy chariots; and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and will destroy all thy strongholds; and I will cut off sorceries out of thy hand (Micah 5:10-12).
From all these passages it is evident that by "sorceries" are signified the arts of presenting truths as falsities, and falsities as truths; for by "the horses that were to be cut off" are signified intellectual things (n. 2761, 2762, 3217, 5321, 6125, 6534); by "the chariots that were to be destroyed" are signified doctrinal things of truth (n. 2760, 5321); by "the cities of the land that were also to be cut off" are signified the truths of the church that "cities" are truths, (n. 2268, 2451, 2712, 2943, 4492, 4493); and that "land" is the church, (n. 662, 1067, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5557); by "strongholds" are signified truths in so far as they defend goods. From all this then it can be known what is signified by the "sorceries that were to be cut off from the hand," namely, the arts of presenting truths as falsities, and falsities as truths; these arts also correspond to the phantasies whereby the evil in the other life present before the eyes beautiful things as ugly, and ugly things as beautiful; which phantasies are also a species of sorceries, for they also are abuses and perversions of Divine order.
AC 7298. And they cast every man his rod, and they became water-serpents. That this signifies power from order that they became dull in respect to the noticing of truth, is evident from the signification of "casting a rod," as being the exhibition of power (n. 7292); and from the signification of "water-serpents," as being falsities from fallacies (n. 7293), here dulness in respect to the noticing of truth, for in proportion as fallacies cause truths not to be noticed, so is dulness induced Such dulness is also induced by magicians in the other life, and this by the abuse and perversion of order, for they know how to take away the influx of heaven, and when this is taken away there is dulness in the noticing of truth; and they also know how to induce fallacies, and to present them in a light like the light of truth, and at the same time to obscure the real truths; they likewise know how to inject what is persuasive, and thus to dull the noticing of truth; not to mention other methods. When there is dulness, falsities appear as truths, such falsities being signified by "sorceries" and "enchantments." From all this it is evident how magicians can present what is in appearance the same.
 Be it further known that it is according to the laws of order that no one ought to be persuaded about truth in a moment, that is to say, that truth should be so confirmed in a moment as to leave no doubt whatever about it; because the truth which is so impressed becomes persuasive truth, and is devoid of any extension, and also of any yielding quality. Such truth is represented in the other life as hard, and as such that it does not admit good into it so as to become applicable. Hence it is that as soon as in the other life any truth is presented before good spirits by a manifest experience, there is soon afterward presented something opposite which causes doubt. In this way it is given them to think about it, and to consider whether it be so, and to collect reasons, and thus to bring that truth into their minds rationally. By this there is effected an extension in the spiritual sight in respect to that truth, even to its opposites; and thence it sees and perceives in the understanding all the quality of the truth, and thence can admit influx from heaven according to the states of the objects, for truths receive various forms according to the circumstances. This is the reason why the magicians were allowed to do as Aaron did; for thereby doubt was excited among the sons of Israel about the miracle, whether it was Divine and thus an opportunity was given them of thinking and considering whether it was Divine, and of finally confirming themselves that it was so.
AC 7299. And Aaron‘s rod swallowed up their rods. That this signifies that this power was taken away from them, is evident from the signification of "swallowing up," as being to take away; and from the signification of a "rod," as being power (n. 7292). Moreover from the magicians in the other life there is taken away the power to abuse order and to pervert its laws. This is done in two ways, one being that by the Lord’s Divine power the angels annihilate their magical productions, and this when they employ them to do evil to the upright (the angelic power from the Lord being so great that it instantly dissipates all such things); and the other is that the magic is altogether taken away from them, so that they can no longer exhibit anything of the kind.
AC 7300. And Pharaoh‘s heart was made firm. That this signifies obstinacy, is evident from the signification of the "heart being made firm," as being obstinacy (n. 7272).
AC 7301. And he heard them not. That this signifies that they who were in evils from falsities did not receive, is evident from what was said above (n. 7224, 7275); for by Pharaoh, of whom it is here said that "he did not hear," are represented those who are in falsities and infest; and in so far as they infest, so far they are in evil from falsities; for infestation is from evil, and is effected by means of falsities.
AC 7302. As Jehovah had spoken. That this signifies according to the prediction, is evident without explication. EXODUS 7:8-13 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
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