Judges 12

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1 And the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and passed northward; and they said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thy house upon thee with fire.

2 And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye saved me not out of their hand.

3 And when I saw that ye saved me not, I put my life in my hand, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and Jehovah delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?

4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim; and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye are fugitives of Ephraim, ye Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim, [and] in the midst of Manasseh.

5 And the Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And it was so, that, when [any of] the fugitives of Ephraim said, Let me go over, the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;

6 then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth; and he said Sibboleth; for he could not frame to pronounce it right: then they laid hold on him, and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. And there fell at that time of Ephraim forty and two thousand.

7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in [one of] the cities of Gilead.

8 And after him Ibzan of Beth-lehem judged Israel.

9 And he had thirty sons; and thirty daughters he sent abroad, and thirty daughters he brought in from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.

10 And Ibzan died, and was buried at Beth-lehem.

11 And after him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.

12 And Elon the Zebulunite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel.

14 And he had forty sons and thirty sons' sons, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.

15 And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill-country of the Amalekites.

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Exploring the Meaning of Judges 12      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 12: Jephthah’s conflict with Ephraim; Ibzan, Elon and Abdon.

After Jephthah’s victory over the Ammonites, the men of Ephraim came to Jephthah, demanding to know why he hadn’t asked them to join the battle. Jephthah answered that when his people had struggled against Ammon in the past, Ephraim had not answered their calls for help.

Jephthah and Ephraim went to war over this dispute, and Ephraim was defeated. Jephthah’s men, the men of Gilead, stood by the fords of the Jordan to catch fleeing Ephraimites. When a man asked to cross, they would tell him to say “Shibboleth”. The men who pronounced the word as “Sibboleth” were from Ephraim, and were put to death. In total, forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed in the war.

Jephthah died after judging Israel for six years, and was buried in Gilead.

*****

The spiritual meaning of Ephraim is to understand the truths of the Word. Wherever Ephraim is referenced in a negative sense, as in this chapter, the spiritual meaning becomes an understanding of the Word which has been destroyed. The Word commands us to live by what we understand and believe; in this story, Ephraim did not heed Jephthah’s words (see Swedenborg’s work, Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 79[3]).

The escaping Ephraimites were exposed by their accent, as they could not pronounce the ‘sh’ sound of “Shibboleth”. The letter ‘h’ stands for the genuine truth of the Word, which is the love of the Lord and for the neighbour. A purely intellectual understanding of the Word fails to comprehend this living heart that makes the Word what it is, and consequently, can only say “Sibboleth” (see Swdenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 4280).

The Word tells us that forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed - that seems an colossal number of casualties! But the Word does not report facts from a historical standpoint; it presents living truths, even in numbers. Forty-two is six multiplied by seven, so its spiritual meaning can be understood as a combination of both numbers. In the creation story, the Lord worked for six days and rested on the seventh. This idea relates to our regeneration, which involves our struggles during temptation, as well as the peace that comes from spiritual growth. The fact that the number of casualties was in the thousands emphasizes the significance of the spiritual meaning (Arcana Caelestia 8539[2]).

Jephthah judged Israel six years. The number six here carries the same meaning of conflict and work during temptation. The temptation in this chapter would be to understand the Word purely in an intellectual or dead way (Ephraim in a bad sense), rather than living by the truths it teaches.

*****

After Jephthah, there were three minor judges of Israel. The first was Ibzan, who gave away thirty daughters to marry abroad, and brought in thirty foreign daughters for his thirty sons. The Bible does not tell us any more about Ibzan, except the curious fact that he came from Bethlehem. It’s uncertain whether this is the same town where the Lord would be born, or another town of the same name.

Ibzan, whose name means ‘illustrious’, stands for a generous and willing spirit, able to take in new perspectives and to share his blessings with others. This concept is called mutual love, which is a key quality of heaven (Arcana Caelestia 2738).

The next judge, Elon, came from Zebulun, and led Israel for ten years. Even these few details that we learn about him present a sense of integrity in their spiritual meanings: his name means an ‘oak’, a tree which is associated with nobility, strength, and longevity, each of which are fitting qualities of a leader; he came from Zebulun, which represents the unity of good and truth (Arcana Caelestia 4592[13]); and the number ten (the number of years that he judged Israel) symbolizes completeness, and also our spiritual ‘remains’ (see Sweenborg’s work, Doctrine of Life 56).

The third and final judge, Abdon, had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy young donkeys. Abdon’s name means “to serve”, which is the third spiritual principle after love and truth. To serve is to offer our life to God through charity toward others. A young donkey represents the untamed level of our lives before regeneration, which needs spiritual care (Arcana Caelestia 5084[8]).

These last three ‘minor’ judges remind us of the qualities which guard against the next major opponent of Israel: the Philistines, who represent faith without regard to charity or good works.

Swedenborg

Výklad(y) nebo odkazy ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 2781, 9212


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 31

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Významy biblických slov

men
"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...

ephraim
Ephraim was the second son born to Joseph in Egypt and was, along with his older brother Manasseh, elevated by Jacob to the same status...

passed
'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...

northward
'North' signifies people who are in obscurity regarding truth. North,' in Isaiah 14:31, signifies hell. The North,' as in Jeremiah 3:12, signifies people who are...

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...

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....

Ammon
The children of Ammon ('Jeremiah 49:1'), signify those who falsify the truths of the Word, and of the church.

call
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

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...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

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...

saved
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

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

saw
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...

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

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...

day
"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...

Gilead
Mount Gilead, as in Genesis 31:21, 23, as a boundary, in a spiritual sense, signifies the first good, which is that of things pertaining to...

smote
'To smite' signifies condemnation. 'To smite,' as in Genesis 14:15, signifies vindication. 'To smite,' as in Genesis 32:8, signifies destruction. 'To smite the earth with...

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

manasseh
'Manasseh' signifies the will of the spiritual church.

jordan
The land of Jordan,' as in Psalm 42:6, signifies what is lowly, consequently, what is distant from the celestial, as the external parts of a...

ephraimites
Ephraim was the second son born to Joseph in Egypt and was, along with his older brother Manasseh, elevated by Jacob to the same status...

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...

fell
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

Time
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

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...

thousand
As children, most of us at some point frustrated our mothers into using the phrase “if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand...

judged
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

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...

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

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...

buried
'Being buried' or 'put into monuments' signifies resurrection and continuation of life.

cities
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

after
Behind, or after, (Gen. 16:13), signifies within or above, or an interior or superior principle.

thirty
'Thirty' has a twofold significance because it is is the product of five and six, and also three and ten. From five multiplied by six,...

daughters
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....

sent
'To send' signifies revealing.

seven
The number 'seven' was considered holy, as is well known, because of the six days of creation, and the seventh, which is the celestial self,...

ten
Most places in Swedenborg identify “ten” as representing “all,” or in some cases “many” or “much.” The Ten Commandments represent all the guidance we get...

aijalon
The valley of Ajalon has respect to faith: by the sun standing still upon Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon (Joshua 10:12)...

land
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

son
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....

rode
'To ride' signifies being elevated regarding the intellectual part of the mind. To ride upon a cherub,' as in Psalm 18:9, 10, denotes the Lord’s...

ass
Donkeys signify the things relating to the self-intelligence of the sensual man; and camels, the things of self-intelligence in the natural man (Isa 30:6, 7.)

eight
According to Swedenborg, the number eight represents something that is complete within itself, in every respect. Two reasons are offered for this. First, eight is...

hill
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...

country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

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