Judges 9

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1 And Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brethren, and spoke to them, and to all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,

2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the citizens of Shechem, Which is better for you, that seventy persons, all sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you? And remember that I am your bone and your flesh.

3 And his mother's brethren spoke of him in the ears of all the citizens of Shechem all these words. And their heart inclined after Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.

4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-Berith, and Abimelech hired with them vain and wanton men, and they followed him.

5 And he came to his father's house, to Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy persons upon one stone; but there remained Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal; for he had hid himself.

6 And all the citizens of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the memorial-oak that is in Shechem.

7 And they told it to Jotham, and he went and stood on the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said to them, Hearken to me, ye citizens of Shechem, that God may Hearken to you.

8 The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive-tree, Reign over us.

9 And the olive-tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to wave over the trees?

10 And the trees said to the fig-tree, Come thou, reign over us.

11 But the fig-tree said to them, Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?

12 Then said the trees to the vine, Come thou, reign over us.

13 And the vine said to them, Should I leave my new wine, which cheers God and man, and go to wave over the trees?

14 Then said all the trees to the thorn-bush, Come thou, reign over us.

15 And the thorn-bush said to the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, come, put confidence in my shadow; but if not, fire shall come out of the thorn-bush and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

16 Now therefore, if ye have dealt truly and sincerely in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and if ye have done to him according to the deserving of his hands;

17 -- for my father fought for you, and endangered his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian;

18 but ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy men, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his handmaid, king over the citizens of Shechem, because he is your brother;

19 -- if ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you;

20 but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the citizens of Shechem and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the citizens of Shechem and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.

21 And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, because of Abimelech his brother.

22 And Abimelech ruled over Israel three years.

23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem; and the citizens of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,

24 that the violence [done] to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, who slew them, and upon the citizens of Shechem, who had strengthened his hands to slay his brethren.

25 And the citizens of Shechem set liers in wait for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them. And it was told Abimelech.

26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem; and the citizens of Shechem put confidence in him.

27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode [the grapes], and made rejoicings, and went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech.

28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is he not the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his overseer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem! and why should *we* serve him?

29 Oh! would that this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.

30 And Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, and his anger was kindled;

31 and he sent messengers to Abimelech craftily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren are come to Shechem, and behold, they shut up the city against thee;

32 and now, rise up by night, thou and the people that are with thee, and lie in ambush in the fields.

33 And it shall be in the morning when the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and fall upon the city; and behold, he and the people that is with him shall come out against thee, and thou shalt do with him as thou shalt find occasion.

34 And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they lay in ambush against Shechem in four companies.

35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city. Then Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, out of the ambush.

36 And Gaal saw the people, and said to Zebul, Behold, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains. And Zebul said to him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as men.

37 And Gaal spoke again, and said, Behold, people are coming down from the high part of the land, and one company is coming along by the way of the Magician's oak.

38 Then said Zebul to him, Where is now thy mouth, thou that saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out now, I pray, and fight against them.

39 And Gaal went out before the citizens of Shechem, and fought against Abimelech.

40 And Abimelech pursued him, and he fled before him, and there fell many wounded, as far as the entrance of the gate.

41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah. And Zebul drove out Gaal and his brethren, that they might not dwell in Shechem.

42 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech.

43 And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and lay in ambush in the field. And he looked, and behold, the people came forth out of the city; and he rose up against them and smote them.

44 And Abimelech, and the companies that were with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city; and two of the companies ran upon all that were in the fields, and slew them.

45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that were in it, and broke down the city, and sowed it with salt.

46 And all the men of the tower of Shechem heard [that], and they entered into the stronghold of the house of the ùgod Berith.

47 And it was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem had gathered together.

48 Then Abimelech went up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it up and laid it on his shoulder, and said to the people that was with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, do as I have done.

49 And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and they followed Abimelech, and put [them] to the hold, and burned the hold with fire upon them. And all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.

50 And Abimelech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.

51 But there was a strong tower in the midst of the city, and thither fled all the men and women, all the citizens of the city; and they shut it behind them, and went up to the roof of the tower.

52 And Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and he drew near to the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire;

53 and a woman cast the upper stone of a handmill on Abimelech's head, and crushed his skull.

54 Then he called hastily to the young man that carried his armour, and said to him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that they say not of me, A woman killed him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they went every man to his place.

56 And God rendered back the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father in slaying his seventy brethren.

57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render back upon their heads; and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

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Exploring the Meaning of Judges 9      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 9: Abimelech’s conspiracy, the parable of the trees, Abimelech’s downfall.

This chapter follows the story of Gideon’s many sons; he had seventy sons by his many wives, and also one other son, Abimelech, by a concubine. After Gideon’s death, Abimelech went to the men of Shechem, where his mother’s family lived, and asked them if they would rather be ruled by seventy sons, or by him. The men of Shechem agreed it would be better to have one king, so they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the temple of Baal. Using the silver, Abimelech hired men to come with him, and they killed the seventy sons of Gideon except the youngest, Jotham, who hid. Then they anointed Abimelech king.

When Jotham heard the news, he stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and taunted the men of Shechem with a parable. In his parable, the trees were searching for a king to lead them; they ask the olive, then the fig, then the vine to rule over them. Each refuses, because they do not want to give up their special purpose. Finally, the bramble agrees to lead them, but gives them the choice of either sheltering in its non-existent shade or being consumed by its own fire.

Jotham explained the parable, warning that Abimelech and the men of Shechem would more than likely tear each other down in the end. Then he fled to Beer to escape his brother’s vengeance.

After Abimelech had ruled Israel for three years, the Lord sent an evil spirit to spark ill-will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. This evil spirit was meant to avenge the killing of Gideon’s seventy sons.

The rest of this chapter describes the city’s descent into chaos, illustrating the various manifestations of evil and falsity through many examples. Robbers were sent to ambush travellers in the mountains, the people of Shechem drunkenly cursed Abimelech in the temple of their god, and the tower of Shechem was burned, killing a thousand hiding in it. Finally, Abimelech lay siege to Thebez, and the people took shelter on the top of a tower there. When he tried to burn that tower, a woman hurled down a millstone to break Abimelech’s skull. In his final moments, Abimelech commanded his armourbearer to kill him with his sword, so that people would not say he was killed by a woman. All of these incidents depict the absolute corruption under Abimelech’s rule.

*****

The key to understanding this story is that Gideon’s son, Abimelech, is the son of a concubine, not a lawful wife. Spiritually speaking, a concubine stands for a love that has become distorted. A genuine love for someone is a love for sake of that other person, while a distorted love means loving someone for what we can get from them (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Love and Wisdom 271[2], on the love of dominating for the sake of self-love).

The references to Gideon’s seventy sons stand for the enormity of Abimelech’s wrongdoing. The number ‘seven’ stands for something fully worked through, and seventy even more so.

Jotham’s parable presents three levels of pure love: the love of the Lord (the olive with its fragrant oil), the love of truth (the vine with its rich wine), and the love of use (the fig with its abundant seeds). The bramble, with its painful grip, stands for a love of evil and falsity (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 273).

The evil spirit sent by the Lord seems to show that God was punishing his own people, but that is only how things appear (Arcana Caelestia 1838). When we look deeper, we will realize that we are punished by our own evil actions, for evil breeds more evil and there is no rest for the wicked (see Isaiah 48:22). In regeneration, the process of breaking down the power of evil and false states in ourselves is called “vastation”. Once we have done the grueling work to minimize these influences over us, we can fully appreciate the joys of spiritual life (Arcana Caelestia 2694[2]).

Spiritually, an ambush depicts the way hell attacks our minds: without warning. Drunkenness and cursing a former ally stands for the abandonment of all values and integrity. The tower represents the pride which rises up in self-love and love of dominance, and beyond that, Abimelech’s aversion to being killed by a woman stands for the rejection of all that is good and true. Her millstone grinds corn to make it edible, in the same way that we must process truths to put them to use (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Explained 1182).

This powerful chapter shows the descent of evil into greater evils, until they become so consuming they have no vestige of good left, and no recognition of truth remaining. The final two verses state: “Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Gideon.”

Swedenborg

Výklad(y) nebo odkazy ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 157, 1666, 2455, 4430, 9207, 9277, 9905, ...


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 638

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Skočit na podobné biblické verše

Genesis 29:14, 33:19

Numbers 21:16, 28

Deuteronomy 27:12

Joshua 8:3, 4, 20:7, 24:26

Judges 1:7, 4:9, 6:11, 8:30, 33, 35, 9:4, 15, 20, 27, 57, 11:3, 12:3

1 Samuel 2:3, 16:14, 15, 25:10, 31:4

2 Samuel 1:9, 3:39, 5:9, 11:21, 15:4, 13

1 Kings 1:21, 2:32, 33, 12:16, 22:23

2 Kings 3:25, 11:3, 14:8, 9

2 Chronicles 13:7, 21:4

Job 31:3

Psalms 7:17, 10:8, 68:15, 94:23, 104:15

Proverbs 5:22

Isaiah 3:11

Lamentations 4:20

Ezekiel 19:14

Acts of the Apostles 17:5

James 4:16

Významy biblických slov

Abimelech
Abimelech, his companion Ahusath, and Phicol, the chief captain of his army (Genesis 26:26), represent the doctrinals of faith as grounded in the literal sense...

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....

Shechem
In Genesis 12:6, 'Abram’s passing through the land unto the place Shechem' signifies a new state of the Lord when the celestial aspects of love...

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

mother's
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

brethren
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...

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

family
Families (Gen 8:19) signify goodnesses and truths arranged in man by the Lord, according to order. Families have respect to truths. (Nahum 3:4)

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...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

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

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...

man
"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...

remember
'To remember,' as in Genesis 41:9, signifies conjunction. 'Remembering' denotes conjunction because the remembrance of anyone in the other life joins them together, because as...

bone
Bones are strong and supportive, providing a framework for our bodies and making motion and action possible. They are also the least "alive" part of...

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...

words
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

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...

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

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...

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

silver
'Silver,' in the internal sense of the Word, signifies truth, but also falsity. 'Silver' means the truth of faith, or the truth acquired from selfhood,...

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...

slew
'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...

stone
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

remained
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...

youngest
In general, birth order in the Bible reflects the progression of spiritual states, but the specifics of those states depends greatly on context: who the...

gathered
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...

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...

mount
'Mount Olivet' signifies the celestial church, or celestial good, which comes from love towards the Lord, and divine love.

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

voice
'Voice' signifies what is announced from the Word. 'Voice' often refers and is applied to things that cannot have a voice, as in Exodus 4,...

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...

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

tree
'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

trees
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

anoint
Oil in the Bible represents the Lord’s love, so anointing someone (or something) with oil was a way to make that person (or object) a...

olive
'An olive,' as in Isaiah 17:6, signifies celestial remains. 'An olive' signifies love and charity, because 'the olive tree' signifies the celestial church, and so...

reign
To reign,' as in Revelation 5, signifies being in truths and goods, and so in power, from the Lord, to resist evils and falsities which...

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,...

fatness
Fat signifies the celestial principle. Fat things, full of marrow, signify goodnesses. Fat and blood signify interior goods and truths, and hence the Israelites, prior...

honour
'Honor' signifies the good of love. 'To honor,' as mentioned in Isaiah 24:15, signifies worship and adoration. 'To honor thy father and thy mother,' as...

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...

wave
'A wave' denotes life flowing in.

fig
The Writings tell us that the fig tree represents the "natural human," which is our outward life in the world, and the thoughts and feelings...

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...

new wine
'New wine' is the divine truth of the New Testament.

Thorn
A bramble (Exod. 3:2) signifies scientific truth, because all small shrubs of every kind signify scientifics, but the greater shrubs themselves signify perceptions and knowledges....

in 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...

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...

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...

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

shadow
'The shadow is good' of the oak, poplar and elm means complacence.

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...

devour
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...

cedars
'Libanus' signifies the spiritual church. The glory of Libanus,' as in Isaiah 9:13, signifies the celestial spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom and church.

lebanon
'Lebanon' signifies spiritual good. 'Lebanon' signifies the church regarding the perception of truth from the rational self.

truly
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...

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

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...

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...

risen
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

risen up
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

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...

slain
'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...

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

handmaid
'Maids' denote external affections serving the internal.

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

fled
To flee signifies to escape, and be rescued. To flee signifies to be overcome.

dwelt
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

israel
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...

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

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...

evil
'To hurt,' as mentioned in Revelation 6:6, signifies violation and profanation. 'To hurt' as mentioned in Revelation 9:4, signifies perverting the truths and goods of...

violence
'Violence' signifies the outrage done to charity and the destruction of charity and faith. 'Violence,' as in Jeremiah 15:21, signifies falsities which assault the good...

might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

blood
Bloods signify evil, in Ezek. 16:9.

strengthened
To 'be strengthened,' as in Genesis 21:18, signifies being supported.

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...

Tops of the mountains
'On the first of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen,' as in Genesis 8:5, signifies the truths of faith, which begin to...

mountains
In Isaiah 40:12 'to weigh the mountains in a balance, and the hills in scales,' signifies that the celestial aspects of love and charity are...

way
'To set a way,' as in Genesis 30:36, signifies being separated.

fields
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...

vineyards
A vineyard signifies the church where the Word is, by which the Lord is known. (Apocalypse Revealed 650)

ate
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...

drank
Food in the Bible represents the desire for good, and water and other drinks represent the understanding and true ideas we need to recognize what...

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...

overseer
'A procurator' or 'steward' denotes the external church.

Hamor
'Hamor, the father of Schechem,' represents the truth of the church among the ancients. 'Hamor, the father of Schechem,' signifies the good of the church...

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...

remove
As with many verbs, the meaning of "remove" in the Bible varies a good bit depending on context. It generally involves a separation of spiritual...

increase
'Produce' denotes fruit derived from the good of charity, and truth of faith.

army
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...

ruler
'A ruler' or 'governor' signifies goods of the church, and in the opposite sense, falsities.

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

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...

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

messengers
'A messenger' signifies communication.

rise
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

rise up
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

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

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...

early
Since the sun represents the Lord, the early morning and sunrise represent a state of enlightenment, with a new and clear understanding coming after a...

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

rose up
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

four
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

entrance
In a general sense, doors in the Bible represent the initial desires for good and concepts of truth that introduce people to new levels of...

gate
"Gates" in ancient times had a significance that does not hold in the modern world. Cities then were enclosed by walls for protection; gates in...

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...

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

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

high
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

land
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...

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...

despised
We tend to think of "despising" something or someone as just a strong way of expressing dislike, but there is a further shade of meaning...

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....

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...

pursued
'To pursue,' as in Genesis 14:16, signifies a state of purification, because 'to pursue enemies' is the expulsion of evils and falsities which were with...

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...

many
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...

dwell
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

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...

smote
To strike or smite, when used in the Bible, means to attack, harm or destroy, and is usually in reference to an attack on someone’s...

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...

salt
'Salt' is the desire of conjunction of truth with good, which is why only salt will conjoin water, which corresponds to truth, and oil, which...

tower
'Towers,' as in Psalms 48:12, signify the interior truths which defend the aspects of love and charity. In the opposite sense, they denote the interiors...

entered
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

house of the
'The house of the prison' denotes the vastation of falsity, and also falsity itself.

seen
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...

haste
'To hasten' or 'hastiness' in the internal sense, does not denote what is quick, but what is certain, and also what is full, thus every...

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...

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...

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...

women
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

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

strong
Strength' relates truth and falsity. Strength,' as in Luke 10:27, signifies the will and understanding extended to extremes. Strength,' as in Revelation 1:6, signifies divine...

midst
'Middle' denotes what is primary, principal, or inmost.

shut
There are only a couple of references in the Writings to "close" used as a verb, and both stem from Amos 9:11, which talks about...

roof
'A house-top,' as mentioned in Matthew 24:13, signifies the superior state of a person, and consequently, his state as to good.

near
'Nigh' denotes truth in affinity with good.

Woman
'Women,' as in Genesis 45:19, signify the affections of truth. But in Genesis 31:50, 'women' signify affections of not genuine truth, so not of the...

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

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

young
"Youths" or "Young men" generally represent intelligence or the understanding of truth. This is fitting, since adolescent boys tend to be more advanced intellectually than...

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...

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...

killed
'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...

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

place
'A dry place,' as in Luke 11:24, signifies states of evil and falsity which are in the life of someone who does the work of...

back
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

wickedness
'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

render
'To reward' signifies meting out punishment.

heads
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

curse
The Lord is love itself, and his love for us never wavers and never changes. What does waver and change is the degree to which...

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 Abimelech’s Death
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jotham Tells the Parable of the Trees
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Sequence the Story of Abimelech
Cut out sentence strips to sequence the story of Abimelech.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 The Parable of the Trees
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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