Exodus 4

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English: American Standard Version         

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1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not appeared unto thee.

2 And Jehovah said unto him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod.

3 And he said, Cast in on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

4 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and take it by the tail: (and he put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand:)

5 That they may believe that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

6 And Jehovah said furthermore unto him, Put now thy hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as [white as] snow.

7 And he said, Put thy hand into thy bosom again. (And he put his hand into his bosom again; and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was turned again as his [other] flesh.)

8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

10 And Moses said unto Jehovah, Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

11 And Jehovah said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? Or who maketh [a man] dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, Jehovah?

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak.

13 And he said, Oh, Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

14 And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and 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.

16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and it shall come to pass, that he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God.

17 And thou shalt take in thy hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs.

18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren that are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.

19 And Jehovah said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt; for all the men are dead that sought thy life.

20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

21 And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thy hand: but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go.

22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born:

23 and I have said unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me; and thou hast refused to let him go: behold, I will slay thy son, thy first-born.

24 And it came to pass on the way at the lodging-place, that Jehovah met him, and sought to kill him.

25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, Surely a bridegroom of blood art thou to me.

26 So he let him alone. Then she said, A bridegroom of blood [art thou], because of the circumcision.

27 And Jehovah said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mountain of God, and kissed him.

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of Jehovah wherewith he had sent him, and all the signs wherewith he had charged him.

29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

30 and Aaron spake all the words which Jehovah had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.

31 And the people believed: and when they heard that Jehovah had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

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Arcana Coelestia 2242, 3325, 4876, 4936, 6132, 6588, 7268, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 17, 438, 598


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Apocalypse Explained 559, 581, 706, 714, 746, 750

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Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

believe
The meaning of "believe" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but runs deeper than what appears on the surface. When in the Old Testament people...

Hearken
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

voice
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

say
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...

Jehovah
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

rod
To ask counsel at their stocks,' as in Hosea 4:12, signifies the good of the delight that comes from some lusts.

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...

serpent
Serpents in the Bible represent reasoning that is based on what we know through our senses. This is the lowest and most outward mode of...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Tail
'Tail' signifies the opposite extreme of the head, because the brain is continued to the tail through the spine, This is why the head and...

Hold
'A hold,' 'a den,' or 'dungeon,' as mentioned in Revelation 18:2, signifies hell, because people who are there are in confinement.

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...

abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

Isaac
'Isaac' represents spiritual love. 'Isaac,' in Genesis 17:19, signifies the rational divine. 'Isaac' signifies the Lord's divine rational in reference to divine good. Isaac' signifies...

God of Jacob
The God of Jacob signifies goods in act.

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

White
'White' relates to truths, because it originates in the light of the sun.

Snow
'Snow' signifies truth in extremes, because it is water, which signifies the truths of faith. It also relates to truth because it is white. 'Snow,'...

turned
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

flesh
Flesh has several meanings just in its most obvious form. It can mean all living creatures as when the Lord talks about the flood "destroying...

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...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

Sign
'A sign' is mentioned in the Word in reference to the future, which constitutes revelation. This also refers to truth, when it constitutes testification. It...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

signs
The Bible often speaks of signs and miracles as things that convinced people of the Lord's leading. Swedenborg divides the two, identifying "signs" as things...

water
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

the river
The river Gihon, as in Genesis 2:13, signifies the knowledge of all things relating to goodness and truth.

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

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...

blood
The internal meaning of “blood” is a little tricky, because Swedenborg gives two meanings that seem quite different. In most cases, Swedenborg links blood with...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

Tongue
'The tongue,' as an organ, signifies doctrine, but as speech, or language, it signifies religion. 'Tongue' signifies perception of truth with respect to speech, and...

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

mouth
In most cases, "mouth" in the Bible represents thought and logic, especially the kind of active, concrete thought that is connected with speech. The reason...

Dumb
To be dumb, or unable to speak, as in Isaiah 35:6, signifies those who on account of ignorance of the truth, cannot confess the Lord,...

seeing
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...

blind
The meaning of “blind” in the Bible is not hard to see (no pun intended!). If light represents the flow of truthful ideas from the...

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...

Send
'To send' signifies revealing.

anger
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

aaron
Aaron was the brother of Moses. He symbolizes two things, one during the first part of the exodus, when he was Moses' spokesperson, and another...

Brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

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...

Well
'A well,' as in Numbers 21:17-18, signifies the Word of the ancient church. 'A well,' or 'pit,' as in Luke 14:5, signifies falsity and the...

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

Glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

heart
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...

Words
'Words,' as in Exodus 34:28, signify everything pertaining to doctrine.

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

Jethro
'Hobab,' or 'Jethro' denotes good of the church.

Father-in-law
Father-in-law denotes good, from which comes good conjoined to truth.

Brethren
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

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...

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

Midian
'Midian' signifies people who are in falsity.

Dead
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

wife
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Sons
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

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

back
There are many instances in the Bible which describe people turning back, looking back or going back. In most cases it is a negative, sometimes...

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...

Pharaoh
'Pharaoh' signifies scientific ideas, or the natural principle in general. 'Pharaoh' signifies false ideas infesting the truth of the church. Pharaoh,' in Genesis 40, represents...

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...

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

First-born
First-born, in a supreme sense, represents the Lord as to divine celestial love, and also those respectively who were of the celestial church. First-born: Inasmuch...

serve
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

Slay
'To slay a man to his wounding,' means extinguishing faith, and 'to slay a young man to his hurt,' signifies extinguishing charity, as in Genesis...

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...

Way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

lodging-place
"Lodging place" is a tricky term to deal with, because there are several different terms in the original language which are translated several different ways...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

met
In natural language, to "meet" someone can be positive or negative: it can be a welcoming and greeting, or it can be "meeting" them in...

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...

Zipporah
Zipporah, Moses's first wife, signifies different things in the three places that she appears. The relationships of Zipporah, her father Jethro (also known as Reuel)...

flint
Stones in general represent true ideas. Flint is a kind of stone that can be chipped to form extremely sharp edges. To keep the metaphor...

foreskin
Heaven is filled with the love and delight of marriage, which has its origin in the marriage of love and wisdom in the Lord and...

cast
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

feet
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

bridegroom
On a human level, a bride represents the affection for what is true, and the bridegroom represents the affection for what is good. Most references...

alone
To be alone in the Bible represents being free of evil and false influences. That's why the Lord seeks solitude to pray, and why the...

Circumcision
Circumcision (Gen. 17:10) signifies purity.

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...

mountain
The Writings tell us that the Lord's love is the sun of heaven, and it is natural for us to look above ourselves to the...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

Gathered together
'The waters were gathered together' signifies falsities collected.

elders
Elders are mentioned in the Bible mainly in two ways: First the elders of Israel: and second the 24 elders seated about the throne of...

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....

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...

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...

visited
The end time of the church and each individual, is called 'the visitation,' and precedes judgment. 'Visitation' is nothing but an exploration of the quality...

Affliction
An affliction "such as was not from the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be", mentioned in 'Matthew 24:21', means the infestation from...

bowed
To bow in prayer is common in most religious practices, so it's not surprising that “to bow” in the Bible represents humility and worship in...

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.


 His Rod Turns into a Serpent
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
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Activity | Ages over 18


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