The Bible

Exodus 16:2-26 : Manna and Quail

Study the Inner Meaning

2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:

3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:

7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?

8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.

10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.

11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.

13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.

14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.

15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.

18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.

20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.

23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.

25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.

26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Other references to this story:

Arcana Coelestia 2838, 3579, 8351, 10114, 10115, 10134, 10283, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 146, 179, 386

Last Judgment (Posthumous) 337, 345

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 6:7, 12:10, 14:11, 15:24, 25, 17:3, 20:8, 24:16, 40:34, 35

Leviticus 9:23, 25:21, 22

Numbers 11:4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 18, 20, 31, 14:10, 27, 16:11, 13, 20:4, 21:5

Deuteronomy 8:3, 16

1 Samuel 7

Nehemiah 9:15, 20

Psalms 78:19, 24, 28, 81:11, 105:40, 106:25, 107:5

Matthew 6:34

Luke 10:16

John 6:31

1 Corinthians 10:3

2 Corinthians 8:15

Revelation 2:17

Word/Phrase Explanations

congregation
A congregation is a group of people with common loves, interests, and purposes. It often refers to a church group. In the Word it is...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

moses
Moses's name appears 814 times in the Bible (KJV), third-most of any one character (Jesus at 961 actually trails David at 991). He himself wrote...

aaron
Aaron was the brother of Moses and he has two representations, one when he was Moses' spokesperson during the first part of the exodus, and...

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

died
'The soul going forth' and 'dying,' as in Genesis 35:18, signifies the extreme of temptation, which is when the old self dies and the new...

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

egypt
In the Bible, Egypt means knowledge and the love of knowledge. In a good sense that means knowledge of truth from the Lord through the...

sat by the flesh pots
'To sit by the flesh pots,' as in Exodus 16:3, means a life according to pleasure, and is lust, because this is the life of...

sat
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

pots
There is an interesting relationship between facts and truth. It's necessary to have facts if we want to know the truth, but facts on their...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. When we...

bread
The word “bread” is used two ways in the Bible. In some cases it means actual bread; in others it stands for food in general....

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil. 'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

kill
The Lord is love itself, and that love is the ultimate source of all energy and thus of all life. It follows, then, that the...

Rain
'Rain,' in a positive sense, denotes blessing, but in the opposite sense, damnation Rain,' as in Genesis 2:5-6, Exodus 34:25-27, and Hosea 6:3, signifies the...

people
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Go out
To go out to meet, as in Genesis 14:17, signifies to submit themselves. To go out, as in Genesis 28:10, signifies to live more remotely....

Gather
To gather, as in Genesis 6:21, refers to those things which are in the memory of man, where they are gathered. It also implies that...

walk
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. Like most numbers in...

prepare
In general, when something is "prepared" in the Bible it means that it is in the proper spiritual order, which happens when our hearts and...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

twice
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates...

much
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

daily
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Glory
Glory, wisdom, and thanksgiving signify the Lord's divine spiritual principle. Honor, virtue and might signify his divine celestial principle, as in Revelation 7:12.

Murmur
'To murmur' denotes complaint and pain from the bitterness of temptation.

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

spake
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

Cloud
In Isaiah 19:1, "Jehovah rides upon a light cloud, and comes into Egypt", signifies the visitation of the natural man from spiritual-natural Divine Truth, for...

filled
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

Quails
'Quails,' as in Exodus 16:13, signify natural delight, because a quail was a bird of the sea, which signifies the natural principle, and its flesh,...

camp
Camps in the Bible represent spiritual order – a person’s (or a church community’s) whole collection of desires for good and true ideas on how...

Dew
Dew, in Deut. 32:2 signifies the multiplication of truth from good, and the fructification of good by truth.

Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

Round
Something 'round' relates to good. 'A small round thing,' as in Exodus 16:14, refers to the good of truth in its first formation. This is...

host
A host and an army come from the same Hebrew word and mean the same thing in Bible; when the Children of Israel were numbered...

upon
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

Hoar frost
'Hoar frost' in the Word, signifes truth in the form of good.

Frost
Frost, as in Exodus 16:14, is predicated of truth being made good, which is the good of truth.

ground
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

Manna
'Manna' signifies the good of celestial love conjoined to wisdom. 'Manna' signifies the good of truth. 'Manna' signifies celestial and spiritual good. Hidden manna,' as...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

omer
The Bible uses a somewhat dizzying array of unfamiliar measurement, leaving translators a choice between being accurate and confusing or inaccurate and clear. Since they...

Number
To number,' as in Isaiah 22:10, signifies falsifying. To number bones,' as in Psalm 22:14-18, signifies desiring to dissipate truths by reasonings and false principles....

Tents
'Ohalim' or 'tabernacles' signify the holy part of what is good.

lack
For something to “fail” in the Bible means there is not enough understanding of truth and desire for good for someone to attain a higher...

Worms
'A worm' denotes falsity of evil in the good derived from the proprium or selfhood. 'That dies not,' denotes infernal torment related to falsity. 'A...

Sun
The 'sun' signifies celestial and spiritual love. The 'sun' in the Word, when referring to the Lord, signifies His divine love and wisdom. Because the...

Hot
'Hot' signifies being in spiritual love.

rulers
"Rulers" or "governors" in the Bible represent the most basic, most essential true ideas that guide us in life, ideas that spring directly from the...

the rest
In Leviticus 6:16, 'Aaron and his sons eating the remainder' signifies a person’s reciprocation and making something one's own. This represents conjunction by means of...

rest
'To slumber' and 'sleep' denotes the state of a person who is not in truths, as in Jeremiah 51:39, 57, Psalm 8:3 and 76:5, and...

holy
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

bake
In a broad sense, there are two things we get from our food. One is energy, in the form of carbohydrates and fats. The other...

Seethe
'To seethe' signifies destroying truths and goods by falsities.

kept
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

Stink
To 'stink,' as in Genesis 34:30, denotes aversion and abomination.

Find
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

Six days
The six days' or periods of time, are the various consecutive states in a person's regeneration. They are, in general, as follows: The first state...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 Correspondences of Food
Illustrations of three places in the Word that mention food. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Gathering Manna
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Gathering Manna
Give children little pieces of round pasta or couscous to glue onto a picture of a woman gathering manna.
Project | Ages up to 10

 Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Manna
Article | Ages 7 - 14

 Manna and Quail
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Manna from Heaven
On one side, draw the Israelites gathering manna or glue little balls of "manna" made with flour, olive oil, water, etc. Use the other side to give examples of "heavenly manna" from the Word.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Memory Verse: Our Daily Bread
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Overview of Lead and Guide Us Levels A B C for Ages 3-14
Overview of the Youth Journey Program "Lead and Guide Us", Levels A, B and C, for ages 3-14. Suitable for Sunday schools, camps, classrooms and families.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Pillar of Fire and Cloud, Crossing the Red Sea, Manna
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Quails and Manna
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Quails and Manna (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Quotes: Our Daily Bread
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Praise the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Israelites Gather Manna
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord Provides for the Children of Israel
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord Sends Quail
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Video Discussion Questions: Manna in the Wilderness
Rev. Chris Barber suggested that the manna in our lives is the feelings of gratitude we experience when someone does something nice for us, the satisfaction we get from doing a job well done, or the warm feelings we get from connecting with others.
Activity | Ages 11 - 17

Commentary

What Is It? The Story of Manna in the Wilderness

By Rev. Robert S. Junge

By Anonymous (Meister 1) (Hochschul- und Landesbibliothek Fulda)

A Sermon by Robert S. Junge

“And it was in the evening that the quail came up, and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a deposit of dew round about the camp. And the deposit of dew went up, and behold upon the faces of the wilderness a small round thing, small as the hoar frost upon the earth. And the sons of Israel saw, and they said a man to his brother, What is this? For they knew not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which Jehovah hath given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:13-15).

From common perception, many of us think of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land as being like our journey to heaven. In the story of the Lord’s miraculously delivering Israel from bondage in Egypt, perhaps we also glimpse the Lord’s answer to our own prayer: “Deliver us from evil.” We sense that in our journey through the confusing wilderness of life, we must somehow cooperate with the Lord if we are to reach our land of promise. Somehow we have to learn how to respond to our spouse, our children, our friends, our country, the Lord’s church, and even the Lord Himself!

We know that the Word teaches us how to live – how to respond. We get the general points: shun evil, love others, do good. But the specific answers elude us. The Writings explain that the specific answers are within the details of the literal stories in the Word. The Word has an internal or spiritual sense, which answers that recurring and nagging question, “What shall I do?” Yet the Writings also say, “He who does not look beyond external things cannot possibly apprehend this; for he knows not what that which is internal is, scarcely that there is anything internal, and still less that this internal can be opened, and that when it is opened, heaven is therein” (Arcana Coelestia 8513).

It's so easy to get caught up in simply coping with daily challenges. We can get enslaved by first one and then another external pressure and anxiety. Yet who and what we love, what we think, and what we will are the real internals of life. If we do not acknowledge and care about these internal things we will never see the internal of the Lord’s Word. We will never see the revealed internal meaning of life.

Today, with the help of what is revealed by the Lord in the Writings, we will try to see some of those details in the story of the Lord’s feeding Israel in the wilderness. Perhaps seeing a few of these things will help us begin to think beyond external things and begin to acknowledge the internal meaning of the Word and the internal reason for why we are here.

The Israelites had seen the miraculous plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians. Their faith, stimulated by those miracles, led them to follow Moses. In these stories, Moses represents the Word. He spoke whatever the Lord told Him, and the Word is the Lord speaking to us. In the beginning of our journey most of us see something different and wonderful about the Word. On the basis of that sense of wonder, and as part of the crowd of believers, we’re willing to follow, but only up to a point - only up to the time when we face difficult decisions, where the answers aren’t clear.

When we find ourselves bewildered in the wilderness of life, doubts creep in. We thirst for answers but, like Israel confronted with bitter water in the wilderness, we find that the few answers we do see in the Word are bitter and hard to take. It’s not so easy to follow some of those simple direct commands. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery! Yet we must try to live by whatever we do see. If we do the Lord will sweeten those few truths and give us delight in them, even as He showed Moses a piece of wood that would sweeten the water for Israel. The water of truth will not only begin to quench our thirst for answers, but it will also begin to clean up our lives.

But the story regarding manna comes later. This time Israel murmured for food. It is one thing to feel delight in having some of the answers. But life is not all about head stuff. By itself knowing answers won’t solve our relationships with our spouse, our children, or our friends and neighbors. Knowing is one thing, but living by what we know is another. Just as our bodies need food as well as water., we need affection and delight as well as truth to keep our spirits alive. We thirst for truth, but we hunger, even STARVE for delight, affection, and love. Most of us, at one time or another, have known such yearning and hunger. Life is a terrifying wilderness when love for others, and from others seems to be absent or is tested. Only the Lord can feed such internal hunger.

But the Lord cannot give us that delight unless we as if of ourselves live by what we see in His Word. He can provide for us, only as He could provide for Israel, when they were willing to follow Moses, who represents His Word. And following the Word involves a struggle, because the truth confronts not only our hereditary tendencies towards evil, but also the actual evils we have confirmed in our lives. We really enjoy those evils. In that state it looks like much more fun to turn back and pursue our own likes and dislikes. The past, the fleshpots of Egypt, can look mighty attractive in comparison to compelling ourselves to do what is right. We did evil in the past because it seemed delightful and sweet. And it still looks pretty delightful and sweet when we compare it to doing what the Lord asks.

In this context and thinking a little more deeply about the Word we can relate to the words of the story, “And all the assemblage of the sons of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness. And the sons of Israel said unto them, Oh, that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat to satiety! For ye have brought us forth unto this wilderness, to kill this whole congregation with hunger.” (Exodus16:2-3). Sometimes it seems as if the Lord asks too much.

But when we see the contrasts and cry out, the Lord is there, even as He was there for Israel. Then Jehovah told Moses, how He would feed Israel – how He would satisfy their hunger. “And it was in the evening that quail came up, and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a deposit of dew round about the camp. And the deposit of dew went up and behold upon the faces of the wilderness a small round thing, small as the hoar frost upon the earth. And the sons of Israel saw. And they said a man to his brother. What is this? Because they knew not what it was” (Exodus 16:13-14).

We talk about love. We say we love this or that person or thing. Love moves us. It is our very life, for if you were take away our loves what would we be? But we really do not grasp what love is. Love is that hidden manna that feeds us and lifts us up forever. Yet as we ponder it, like Israel, we may well say, “What is this?” When He was on earth the Lord helped us to understand. “Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, Moses gave you not the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world. Then said they to Him, Lord always give us this bread. And Jesus said to them, I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:32-35). Our challenge is to learn to say, “Lord always give us this bread.”

The Lord came into the world to restore love to Him and towards each other. He is the Source of all love. His love is there like manna every morning to sustain us. But we have to cooperate. Moses told Israel, “Gather ye of it every man according to the mouth of his eating” (Exodus 16:16). We have to do our part. The Lord’s love is there all the time, but we must as it were gather it, and take it into our lives. We have to do our part.

But love is given every man “according to his eating,” (Exodus 16:17). We will be fed. The Lord will inspire our hearts with love, but in the measure of our spiritual need. No more and no less than we can apply to our lives. And we truly apply His love to our lives, when we acknowledge it as a gift from Him -- when we take it into our hearts – in a sense when we “eat it up.” “Lord, always give us this bread!”

But if we forget the Lord’s care and let our own anxiety and fear control, then we will not truly receive his love. In fact it will repel us. If we turn His love to our own selfish concerns, it will not nurture our spiritual life. We will find no delight in the Lord’s love. Those were not content with the Lord’s measure, neglected the words of Moses, and saved some until the morning, found that the manna bred worms and stank.

So we cooperate with the Lord. We receive His love and make it a part of our life even as we receive Him as He that comes down from heaven and gives life into the world. Gathering, measuring, and eating, all according to His Word, we act as if everything depended upon us. Yet it is not truly so. Love is reciprocal. It is true that we must respond AS IF everything depended upon us – with all our hearts. Yet in doing so we must also acknowledge the Lord as the Source of all human love.

To remind us of His side of the covenant, on the sixth day the Lord provided double the manna. What is left over does not stink and breed worms on the seventh day. Those who cooperate with the Lord and yet truly acknowledge Him as the Source of their love and their life will know the peace of His day of rest – the Sabbath of the Lord. Love and wisdom will be united in their hearts, and they will walk confidently. They will be in the order of life – the Lord’s order.

That order prescribes that we receive love as if it were our own. To achieve this sense we must go through alternating states. Life has its evening and its morning states – its ups and downs. In evening states we know external or natural delights. But in the morning we recognize that there is more to life than pleasure. We have uses to perform for our fellow man – uses towards others that express the love that the Lord provides – uses that will bring us true and internal delight and happiness. Yet “this good cannot arise except through the delights that are of the natural man” (Arcana Coelestia 8522). We need both external and internal delights, but in their proper relation to each other.

There is an expression that charity begins at home. We need to take care of food, clothing, shelter, and a host of natural things, in order to go out each day inspired to serve our neighbors. But these needs and their accompanying delights are servants; they are means to the true uses of life. The Lord also provides quail in the evening, which signify these natural delights. For example, we have times when we work with and instruct our children from a deep love to prepare them for heaven, and we also have times when we simply play with them. All human relationships have their internal and external delights. We need both. But if natural delights rule, they turn to lust and they bring spiritual death (Numbers 11).

Life is indeed a journey. We will face many trials in the wilderness. But the Lord has an inheritance prepared for each of us in His promised land. Everything that happens to us looks to this end. No matter how it appears on the dark days, if we are faithful, there will be times when the taste of the manna will be like that of a cake of honey. The Lord will be there, and He will provide as He provided for the sons of Israel. “And the sons of Israel did eat the manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat the manna until they came unto the border of the land of Canaan” (Exodus 16:35).

Additional Reference: Divine Love and Wisdom 1.


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