Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 10:11-12
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AC 1184. Verses 11, 12. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and built Nineveh, and the city of Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and Calah; this is that great city. "Out of that land went forth Asshur," signifies that they who were in such external worship began to reason about the internals of worship; "Asshur" denotes reasoning; "and built Nineveh, and the city of Rehoboth, and Calah," signifies that thereby they formed doctrinals of faith for themselves; by "Nineveh" are signified the falsities of these doctrinals; by " Rehoboth and Calah," the same from another origin; "Resen, between Nineveh and Calah," signifies that they also formed for themselves doctrinals of life. By " Resen" are signified falsities of doctrinals thence derived; "Nineveh" is falsity from reasonings " Calah" is falsity from cupidities; "between Nineveh and Calah," is falsity from both; "this is that great city," signifies doctrinals, that these increased and prevailed.

AC 1185. Out of that land went forth Asshur. That this signifies that they who were in such external worship began to reason about the internals of worship, may be seen from the signification of "Asshur" in the Word, as being reason and reasoning, concerning which in what presently follows. There is a twofold meaning in these words, namely, that Asshur went forth out of that land, and that Nimrod went forth from that land into Asshur, or Assyria. It is so expressed because both are signified, namely, that reasoning concerning spiritual and celestial things arises from such worship - which is that Asshur went forth out of the land of Shinar - and that such worship reasons about spiritual and celestial things - which is that Nimrod went forth from that land into Asshur, or Assyria.

AC 1186. That "Asshur" is reasoning, is evident from the signification of Asshur or Assyria in the Word, where it is constantly taken for the things which pertain to reason, in both senses; namely, for what is of reason, and for reasonings. By reason and rational things are properly meant things that are true; and by reasoning and reasonings, those which are false. Because "Asshur" signifies reason and reasoning, it is very frequently connected with "Egypt," which signifies memory-knowledges; for reason and reasoning are from such knowledges. That "Asshur" signifies reasoning is evident in Isaiah:--

Woe unto Asshur, the rod of Mine anger, he thinketh not right, neither doth his heart meditate right, he hath said, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, because I am intelligent (Isaiah 10:6, 7, 13),

where "Asshur" denotes reasoning, of whom it is therefore predicated that he neither thinketh nor doth meditate right; and it is said, "by his own wisdom, because he is intelligent."

[2] In Ezekiel:--

Two women, the daughters of one mother, committed whoredom In Egypt; they committed whoredom in their youth. The one committed whoredom, and doted on her lovers, on Asshur (the Assyrians) her neighbors, who were clothed in blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses. The sons of Babel came to her, and they defiled her with their whoredom (Ezekiel 23:2, 3, 5, 6, 17).

Here "Egypt" denotes memory-knowledges; "Asshur," reasoning; and "the sons of Babel," falsities from cupidities.

[3] In the same:--

O Jerusalem, thou hast also committed whoredom with the sons of Egypt, thou hast committed whoredom also with the sons of Asshur, and thou hast multiplied thy whoredom even into the land of Canaan unto Chaldea (Ezek. 16:26, 28, 29),

where "Egypt" in like manner denotes memory-knowledges;"Asshur," reasoning. Reasoning from memory-knowledges concerning spiritual and celestial things is called "whoredom," both here and elsewhere in the Word. That whoredom with the Egyptians and the Assyrians is not meant, any one can see.

[4] In Jeremiah:--

Israel, what hast thou to do with the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Shihor? and what hast thou to do with the way of Asshur, to drink the waters of the river (Euphrates)? (Jer. 2:18, 36).

Here likewise " Egypt" denotes memory-knowledges; and "Asshur," reasoning. In the same:--

Israel is a scattered sheep, the lions have driven him away, first the king of Asshur hath devoured him, and after that this king of Babel hath broken his bones (Jer. 50:17, 18).

"Asshur" here is reasoning concerning spiritual things.

[5] In Micah:--

This shall be the peace, when Asshur shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces, we will even set over him seven shepherds, and eight princes of men, and they shall feed down the land of Asshur with the sword, and the land of Nimrod, In the gates thereof, and he shall deliver from Asshur, when he shall come into our land, and when he shall tread upon our border (Micah 5:6, 6).

The subject here is Israel, or the spiritual church, of which it is said that "Asshur shall not enter in," that is, that reasoning shall not; "the land of Nimrod" denotes such worship as is signified by Nimrod, in which the interiors are evil and false.

[6] That " Asshur" in the Word is also reason, which is in the man of the church, whereby he discerns truth and good, is evident in Hosea:--

They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Asshur (Hosea 11:11).

"Egypt" here denotes the memory-knowledge of the man of the church; and "Asshur," his reason. That a "bird" is the intellectual of the memory (scientificum intellectuale), and "a dove" rational good, has been shown before.

[7] In Isaiah:--

In that day shall there be a path from Egypt to Asshur, and Asshur shall come into Egypt, and Egypt into Asshur, and the Egyptians shall serve Asshur. In that day shall Israel he the third with Egypt and with Asshur, a blessing in the midst of the land, which Jehovah Zebaoth shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Asshur the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance (Isaiah 19:23-25).

The subject here is the spiritual church, which is "Israel," whose reason is "Asshur," and memory-knowledge "Egypt." These three constitute the intellectual things of the man of the spiritual church, which follow one another in this order. In other places also where Asshur is named, it signifies the rational, either true or false, as in (Isaiah 20:1-6; 23:13; 27:13; 30:31; 31:8; 36:1-22; 37:1-38; 52:4; Ezek. 27:23, 24; 31:3-18; 32:22; Micah 7:12; Zeph. 2:13; Zech. 10:11; Ps. 83:8). "Asshur" denotes reasoning in (Hosea 5:13; 7:11; 10:6; 11:5; 12:1; 14:3; Zechariah 10:10), where Ephraim is spoken of, by whom is signified the intellectual, but here, perverted.

AC 1187. He built Nineveh, and the city of Rehoboth, and Calah. That this signifies that they thus formed doctrinals of faith for themselves, is evident from the signification of Nineveh, and Rehoboth, and Calah (concerning which in what immediately follows), and from the signification of a "city," in the Word, as being doctrine, either true or heretical (n. 402).

AC 1188. That falsities of doctrine are signified by "Nineveh," and such things also from another origin by "Rehoboth and Calah," is evident from the signification of Nineveh in the Word, concerning which presently. Falsities of this kind are from three origins. The first is from the fallacies of the senses in the obscurity of an unenlightened understanding, and from ignorance; hence comes the falsity which is "Nineveh." The second origin is from the same cause, but with a predominant cupidity, such as that for innovation, or for pre-eminence: the falsities from this origin are "Rehoboth." The third origin is from the will and thus from cupidities, in that men are unwilling to acknowledge anything as truth that does not favor their cupidities; hence come the falsities which are called "Calah." All these falsities arise through Asshur, or reasonings concerning the truths and goods of faith.

[2] That "Nineveh" signifies falsities from the fallacies of the senses in the obscurity of an unenlightened understanding, and from ignorance, is evident in Jonah, who was sent to Nineveh, which city was pardoned because they were such, and from the particulars in Jonah concerning Nineveh, of which by the Divine mercy of the Lord in another place. The particulars there are historical, and yet prophetical, involving and representing such arcana, as do all the other historicals of the Word.

[3] Likewise in Isaiah, where it is said of the king of Asshur that he remained in Nineveh, and that when he bowed himself in the house of Nisroch his god, his sons slew him with the sword (Isaiah 37:37, 38). Although these things are historical, yet they are prophetical, involving and representing similar arcana; and here by "Nineveh" is signified external worship in which there are falsities and because this was idolatrous he was slain by his sons with the sword. " Sons" are falsities, as has been shown before; "the sword" is the punishment of falsity, as everywhere in the Word.

[4] In Zephaniah also:--

Jehovah will stretch forth His hand upon the north, and will destroy Asshur, and will make Nineveh a desolation, a dryness like the wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, every wild beast of his kind, the cormorant and the bittern also shall pass the night in the pomegranates thereof, a voice shall sing in the windows, wasteness upon the threshold, for he hath laid bare its cedar (Zephaniah 2:13, 14).

Nineveh is here described, but in the prophetic style, and the falsity itself which is signified by Nineveh. This falsity, because it is worshiped, is called "the north, the wild beast of his kind, the cormorant and the bittern in the pomegranates," and is described by "a voice singing in the windows," and by "laying bare the cedar," which is intellectual truth. All these expressions are significative of such falsity.

AC 1189. That falsities originating from cupidities are signified by "Calah," cannot be confirmed from the prophetical, but only from the historical parts of the Word, in that the king of Asshur carried the sons of Israel into Asshur, or Assyria, and made them dwell in Calah, and in Habor, by the river Gozan, and in the cities of Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:11). The historical facts here involve nothing else, for, as was said before, all the historicals of the Word are significative and representative. Thus "Israel" here is the perverted spiritual church; "Asshur" is reasoning; and "Calah" is such falsity.

AC 1190. And Resen, between Nineveh and Calah. That this signifies that they also formed for themselves doctrinals of life; and that the false doctrinals thence derived are signified by "Resen," may be seen from what has just been shown respecting Nineveh and Calah; and also from the connection, in that in the preceding verse falsities of doctrine, and here falsities of life are treated of. For such is the style of the Word, especially the prophetical style, that when it treats of things of the understanding it treats also of those of the will. In the preceding verse things of the understanding, or falsities of doctrine, are treated of; but here falsities of life, which are signified by "Resen." As no further mention is made of Resen in the Word, this cannot so well be confirmed, except from the fact of Resenís being built between Nineveh and Calah, that is, between falsity from reasonings and falsity from cupidities, which produces falsity of life; and from its being called the "great city," because it is from falsities both of the understanding and of the will.

AC 1191. This is that great city. That this signifies doctrinals, and that these increased and prevailed, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being a true doctrinal, or a false doctrinal (n. 402). And it is called the "great city" because all falsity of doctrine, and of the worship therefrom, is derived into falsity of life.

AC 1192. In (verse 10), just above, the evils in worship, signified by "Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar," were treated of; in these two verses the falsities in worship, signified by "Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen," are treated of. Falsities belong to principles from reasonings; evils to cupidities from the love of the world and of self.

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