Exodus 4

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1 Moses answered and said: They will not believe me, nor hear my voice, but they will say: The Lord hath not appeared to thee.

2 Then he said to him: What is that thou holdest in thy hand? He answered: A rod.

3 And the Lord said: Cast it down upon the ground. He cast it down, and it was turned into a serpent: so that Moses fled from it.

4 And the Lord said: Put out thy hand and take it by the tail. He put forth his hand, and took hold of it, and it was turned into a rod.

5 That they may believe, saith he, that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared to thee.

6 And the Lord said again: Put thy hand into thy bosom. And when he had put it into his bosom, he brought it forth leprous as snow.

7 And he said: Put back thy hand into thy bosom. He put it back, and brought it out again, and it was like the other flesh.

8 If they will not believe thee, saith he, nor hear the voice of the former sign, they will believe the word of the latter sign.

9 But if they will not even believe these two signs, nor hear thy voice: take of the river water, and pour it out upon the dry land, and whatsoever thou drawest out of the river shall be turned into blood.

10 Moses said: I beseech thee, Lord. I am not eloquent from yesterday and the day before: and since thou hast spoken to thy servant, I have more impediment and slowness of tongue.

11 The Lord said to him: Who made man's mouth? or who made the dumb and the deaf, the seeing and the blind? did not I?

12 Go therefore and I will be in thy mouth: and I will teach thee what thou shalt speak.

13 But he said: I beseech thee, Lord send whom thou wilt send.

14 The Lord being angry at Moses, said Aaron the Levite is thy brother, I know that he is eloquent: behold he cometh forth to meet thee, and seeing thee shall be glad at heart.

15 Speak to him, and put my words in his mouth: and I will be in thy mouth, and in his mouth, and will shew you what you must do.

16 He shall speak in thy stead to the people, and shall be thy mouth: but thou shalt be to him in those things that pertain to God.

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

18 Moses went his way, and returned to Jethro his father in law and said to him: I will go and return to my brethren into Egypt, that I may see if they be yet alive. And Jethro said to him: Go in peace.

19 And the Lord said to Moses, in Madian: Go, and return into Egypt: for they are all dead that sought thy life.

20 Moses therefore took his wife, and his sons, and set them upon an ass: and returned into Egypt, carrying the rod of God in his hand.

21 And the Lord said to him as he was returning into Egypt: See that thou do all the wonders before Pharao, which I have put in thy hand: I shall harden his heart, and he will not let the people go.

22 And thou shalt say to him: Thus saith the Lord: Israel is my son, my firstborn.

23 I have said to thee: Let my son go, that he may serve me, and thou wouldst not let him go: behold I will kill thy son, thy firstborn.

24 And when he was in his journey, in the inn, the Lord met him, and would have killed him.

25 Immediately Sephora took a very sharp stone, and circumcised the fore skin of her son, and touched his feet and said: A bloody spouse art thou to me.

26 And he let him go after she had said A bloody spouse art thou to me, because of the circumcision.

27 And the Lord said to Aaron: Go into the desert to meet Moses. And he went forth to meet him in the mountain of God, and kissed him.

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord, by which he had sent him, and the signs that he had commanded.

29 And they came together, and they assembled all the ancients of the children of Israel.

30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had said to Moses: and he wrought the signs before the people,

31 And the people believed. And they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel: and that he had looked upon their affliction: and falling down they adored.

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

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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...

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

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...

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

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

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.

saith
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...

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...

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,'...

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...

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...

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

Word
'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...

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...

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

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,...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

Send
'To send' signifies revealing.

angry
Anger is an emotion so common to people that it requires no definition. However a couple of points of interest can be raised. 1) 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...

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...

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.

Shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

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.

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...

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...

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...

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

life
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...

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.

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...

firstborn
When the Bible talks about generations or birth order, the internal meaning has to do with the progression of spiritual states and their relative importance....

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...

Journey
'To journey' signifies the institutes and order of life.

Inn
An inn' signifies a place of instruction. An inn' signifies the exterior natural level in general. This cannot be confirmed from parallel passages in the...

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...

killed
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...

Sharp
'Sharp' signifies something accurate and exquisite.

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...

Skin
'Skin' corresponds to truth or to falsity in the extremes. 'The skin,' as relates to the grand human, means the natural self. There are spirits...

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...

Go after
To go after or to follow, as in Genesis 24:8, signifies to be separated from the natural, and conjoined to the rational principle.

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

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...

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...

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

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....

Wrought
wrought (also entwined or entwisted) is predicated of the natural scientific principle, and in Isaiah 45:13, of divine natural truth.

believed
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...

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...

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

 Moses and the Burning Bush
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Moses and the Burning Bush
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Who Do You Trust?
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18


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