Exodus 18

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1 And Jethro the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done to Moses, and to Israel his people; that Jehovah had brought Israel out of Egypt.

2 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,

3 and her two sons, of whom the name of the one was Gershom -- for he said, I have been a sojourner in a foreign land,

4 -- and the name of the other, Eliezer -- For the God of my father has been my help, and has delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.

5 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came to Moses with his sons and his wife into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mountain of God.

6 And he sent word to Moses: I, thy father-in-law Jethro, am come to thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.

7 And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other [after] their welfare, and went into the tent.

8 And Moses told his father-in-law all that Jehovah had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake; all the trouble that had befallen them on the way, and [how] Jehovah had delivered them.

9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness that Jehovah had done to Israel; that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.

10 And Jethro said, Blessed be Jehovah, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.

11 Now I know that Jehovah is greater than all gods; for in the thing in which they acted haughtily [he was] above them.

12 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt-offering and sacrifices for God; and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God.

13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood by Moses from the morning to the evening.

14 And Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did with the people, and said, What is this thing which thou art doing with the people? why dost thou sit alone, and all the people are standing by thee from morning to evening?

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, Because the people come to me to enquire of God.

16 When they have a matter, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known [to them] the statutes of God, and his laws.

17 And Moses' father-in-law said to him, The thing that thou art doing is not good.

18 Thou wilt be quite exhausted, both thou and this people that is with thee; for the thing is too heavy for thee: thou canst not perform it alone.

19 Hearken now to my voice: I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee. Be thou for the people with God, and bring the matters before God;

20 and teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do.

21 But do thou provide among all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place [them] over them, chiefs of thousands, chiefs of hundreds, chiefs of fifties, and chiefs of tens,

22 that they may judge the people at all times; and it shall be [that] they shall bring to thee every great matter, and that they shall judge every small matter, and they shall lighten [the task] on thee, and they shall bear [it] with thee.

23 If thou do this thing, and God command thee [so], thou wilt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.

24 And Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said.

25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, chiefs of hundreds, chiefs of fifties, and chiefs of tens.

26 And they judged the people at all times: the hard matters they brought to Moses, but every small matter they judged.

27 And Moses sent away his father-in-law, and he departed into his land.

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Word/Phrase Explanations

Jethro
Jethro,' the father-in-law of Moses, in Exodus 18:1, represents divine good, from which proceeds ordering. Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses,' signifies the good of the...

Midian
'Simran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Jishbak, and Shuah,' as in Genesis 25:2, represent the general divisions of the Lord’s spiritual kingdom, in the heavens and in...

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...

heard
'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...

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...

egypt
'Mizraim' signifies the same thing as Egypt.

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)...

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...

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

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...

sons
'Sons of the stranger' signify counterfeit truths, or falsities. 'Our sons' signify the doctrines of truth, and 'our daughters,' the doctrines of good, as in...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

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...

Gershom
Gershom, as in Exodus 18:3, denotes the quality of the good of truth among those who are without the church.

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...

Sojourner
'A sojourner' or 'stranger,' as in Matthew 25:32, signifies someone who is willing to be instructed.

foreign
A foreigner, as in Exodus 12:45, signifies one who does good from his own natural disposition alone.

land
'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

eliezer
Eliezer (Exod. 18:4) signifies the quality of the good of truths among those who are within the church.

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

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...

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

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...

encamped
'Pitch,' as in Genesis 14:10, denotes lusts. 'Burning pitch,' as in Isaiah 34:9, signifies direful fantasies.

mountain
'Hills' signify the good of charity.

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

meet
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...

kissed
To kiss' signifies uniting or conjunction from affection. To kiss,' as in c, signifies initiation. 'To kiss' signifies conjunction and acknowledgment.

tent
'Tent' is used in the Word to signify the celestial and holy aspects of love, because in ancient time they performed holy worship in their...

egyptians
Egyptians represent those who are in natural science, thus the natural, but the Hebrews, those who are of the church, thus respectively the spiritual. The...

israel's
'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...

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...

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

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

know
In a general sense, men represent things of the intellect – facts, ideas, knowledge, everything from the deepest truths to the most pernicious falsities about...

greater
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

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

a
A help-meet for him,' or 'a help as before him,' as mentioned in Genesis 2:18, signifies proprium, or what is one's own. However, whereas the...

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...

elders
Ancients of the people, and the princes thereof ('Isaiah 3:14'), have a similar signification with the twelve disciples.

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

bread
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

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...

judge
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...

stood
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

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

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...

saw
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

Sit
'To sit before Jehovah' is to be with Him, and so, it also means willing and acting from Him. 'To stand before Him,' is to...

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

statutes
All laws, even civil and judicial laws, which are in the Word, correspond to the laws of good and truth, which are in heaven.

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

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...

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...

work
'Works,' as in Genesis 46:33, denote goods, because they are from the will, and anything from the will is either good or evil, but anything...

truth
There's a great deal of talk in Swedenborg about "truth" as a concept – it's how we learn the Lord's will, what we must seek...

hating
If you truly hate someone, that means you would kill them and destroy their reputation if you could do so without repercussion – not a...

chiefs
On July 3, 1863, 12,500 Confederate troops attacked their Union foes during the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the American Civil War. The...

thousands
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...

hundreds
It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

fifties
God rested on the seventh day of creation. That represents a state of holiness and tranquility that was preserved in the form of the sabbath....

tens
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...

times
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...

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

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...

command
To command is to give an order that something must be done, and is directed to an individual, or a group. It is an imperative,...

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

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...

heads
Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

sent away
To "send away" means creating a separation of spiritual states. This phrase is used a great deal in Exodus, when Moses repeatedly calls on Pharaoh...

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...

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