Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 10:1
next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 1139. It has been stated already that there are four different styles in the Word. The first, which was that of the Most Ancient Church, is such as is that from the first chapter of Genesis to this chapter. The second is the historical style, as in the following books of Moses, and in the rest of the historical books. The third is the prophetic style. The fourth is intermediate between the prophetic style and that of common speech. Concerning these styles seen.

AC 1140. In this chapter, and in the following one as far as Eber, the most ancient style is continued; but here it is intermediate between the style of made-up history, and that of true history. For by Noah, and his sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and Canaan, nothing else was meant, nor is anything else meant, than the Ancient Church regarded abstractedly as to its worship-namely, by "Shem" internal worship, by "Japheth" corresponding external worship, by "Ham" internal worship corrupted, by "Canaan" external worship separated from internal. Such persons never existed; but the kinds of worship were so named because all other different kinds, or all specific differences, could be reduced to these as fundamental ones. By "Noah" therefore was meant merely the Ancient Church in general, as a parent comprehending all. And yet by the names in this chapter, except those of Eber and his posterity, are meant so many nations; and so many nations there were that constituted the Ancient Church; which church was widely spread around the land of Canaan.

AC 1141. They who are here named "sons of Japheth" were all such as had external worship corresponding to internal; that is, who lived in simplicity, in friendship, and in mutual charity. Nor did they know any other doctrinal teachings than external rites. They who are named "`sons of Japheth" were those who had internal worship corrupted. They who are called "sons of Canaan" were those who had external worship separate from internal. They who are called "sons of Shem" were internal men, and worshiped the Lord and loved the neighbor; whose church was nearly like our true Christian Church.

AC 1142. What manner of men they were specifically is not related in this chapter, for they are only recounted as to their names. But this appears from the writings of the prophets, where the names of these nations occur in different places, and everywhere with no other signification though sometimes in the genuine, and sometimes in the opposite sense.

AC 1143. Although these were the names of the nations that constituted the Ancient Church, yet in the internal sense they mean actual things (res), namely, the worships themselves. In heaven nothing at all is known about the names, countries, nations, and the like; the angels have no idea of such things, but of the actual things signified by them. The Word of the Lord is living by virtue of the internal sense. This is as the soul, of which the external sense is as the body. And just as with man when his body dies the soul lives, and when the soul lives he no longer knows the things that pertain to the body, so when he comes among angels he does not know what the Word is in the sense of the letter, but only what it is in its soul. Such was the man of the Most Ancient Church; who, if he were living and read the Word at the present day, would not cleave at all to the sense of the letter; but would be as if he did not see it, but only the internal sense abstractedly from the letter; and indeed as if the letter had no existence. Thus he would be in the life or soul of the Word. It is the same everywhere in the Word, even in its historical parts, which were just such as are narrated, and yet there is not so much as one little word therein that does not, in the internal sense, enfold within it deep secrets which never appear to those who hold the mind in the historical connection. Thus in this chapter by the names, in the literal or historical sense, are meant the peoples that constituted the Ancient Church, but in the internal sense their doctrinals are signified.

AC 1144. Verse 1. And these are the nativities of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and unto them were sons born after the flood. "These are the nativities of the sons of Noah," signifies derivations of the doctrinals and worships of the Ancient Church, which in general is "Noah;" "Shem, Ham, and Japheth" signify here as before-"Shem" true internal worship, "Ham" internal worship corrupted, and "Japheth" external worship corresponding to internal; "and unto them were sons born, "signifies doctrinals derived therefrom; "after the flood, "signifies from the time when this new church arose.

AC 1145. These are the nativities of the sons of Noah. That these signify derivations of the doctrinals and worships of the Ancient Church, which in general is " Noah," is evident from the signification of "nativities" (of which above). In the external or literal sense, "nativities" or "births," as is known, are generations of one from another; but in the internal sense all things have regard to what is celestial and spiritual, that is, to the things of charity and of faith. Thus here the "nativities" are those of the church, consequently are doctrinal matters, as will be made more clear in what follows.

AC 1146. Shem, Ham, and Japheth. That these signify here as before-" Shem" true internal worship, "Ham" internal worship corrupted, and "Japheth" external worship corresponding to internal, is evident from what has been previously stated concerning them; where it was shown, not only that Shem, Ham, and Japheth signify those kinds of worship, but also what is meant by true internal worship, or Shem; what by internal worship corrupted, or Ham; and what by external worship corresponding to internal, or Japheth. They need not therefore be further dwelt upon.

AC 1147. And unto them were sons born. That these signify the doctrinals thence derived, is evident from the signification of "sons" in the internal sense, as being the truths of faith, and also the falsities, consequently doctrinal matters; by which both true and false are meant, for such are the doctrinals of churches. That " sons" have such a signification see above, (n. 264, 489, 491, 535).

AC 1148. After the flood. That this signifies from the time when this new church arose, is evident likewise from what has been said in the preceding chapters; for the end of the Most Ancient Church is described by the flood, and also the beginning of the Ancient Church. It must be observed that the church before the flood is called the Most Ancient Church, and the church after the flood, the Ancient Church.

GENESIS 10:1     -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info