Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 10:15
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AC 1199. Verse 15. And Canaan begat Zidon, his firstborn, and Heth. "Canaan," here as before, signifies external worship in which there is nothing internal. "Zidon" signifies the exterior knowledges of spiritual things; and because they are the first things of such external worship, it is said that Zidon was "the firstborn of Canaan;" "Heth" signifies the exterior knowledges of celestial things.

AC 1200. That "Canaan" signifies external worship in which there is nothing internal, was shown before where Canaan was treated of. The external worship which is called "Canaan" is such as was that of the Jews, both before and after the coming of the Lord. They had an external worship which they strictly observed, but yet were so ignorant of what is internal that they supposed that they lived only with the body. Of the nature of the soul, of faith, of the Lord, of spiritual and celestial life, of the life after death, they were entirely ignorant. And therefore in the time of the Lord very many of them denied the resurrection-as is evident in (Matthew 22:22-33; Mark 12:18-28; Luke 20:27-41). When a man is such that he does not believe that he will live after death, he also disbelieves that there is anything internal which is spiritual and celestial; and such are they who live in mere cupidities, because they live a mere life of the body and of the world; especially those who are immersed in loathsome avarice. They nevertheless have worship, attend their synagogues, or their churches, and observe the ceremonies, some very strictly; but as they do not believe that there is a life after death, their worship cannot be other than external worship wherein is nothing internal-like a shell without a kernel, or a tree whereon is no fruit, and not even leaves. It is such external worship that is signified by "Canaan." The other kinds of external worship, treated of above, were worships that had internal things within.

AC 1201. That "Zidon" signifies exterior knowledges of spiritual things, is evident from the fact that it is called the "firstborn of Canaan;" for the firstborn of every church, in the internal sense, is faith (n. 352, 367). But here, where there is no faith, because no internal things, there are nothing but exterior knowledges of spiritual things which are in the place of faith; thus knowledges such as existed among the Jews, which are knowledges not only of the rites of external worship, but also of many things, such as doctrinals, which belong to that worship. That this is the signification of "Zidon" is also evident from the fact that Tyre and Zidon were extreme borders of Philistia, and were moreover by the sea; and therefore by "Tyre" interior knowledges are signified, and by "Zidon" exterior knowledges, that is, of spiritual things-which is also evident from the Word. In Jeremiah:--

On the day that cometh to lay waste all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Zidon every helper that remaineth; for Jehovah will lay waste the Philistines, the remnant of the isle of Caphtor (Jer. 47:4).

Here "the Philistines" denote the mere memory-knowledge of the knowledges of faith and charity; "Tyre" denotes the interior knowledges, and "Zidon" the exterior knowledges, of spiritual things.

[2] In Joel:--

What are ye to Me, O Tyre and Zidon, and all the borders of Philistia? Forasmuch as ye have taken My silver and gold, and have carried into your temples My desirable good things (Jer. 3:4, 5).

Here "Tyre and Zidon" evidently denote knowledges, and are called "the borders of Philistia;" "silver and gold," and "desirable good things," are knowledges. In Ezekiel:--

The princes of the north, all of them, and every Zidonian who has gone down with the slain into the pit. When he has been made to lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with them that are slain with the sword; Pharaoh and all his crowd (Ezekiel 32:30, 32).

"The Zidonians" here denote exterior knowledges, which without internal things are nothing but memory-knowledges and therefore they are named in connection with Pharaoh, or Egypt, by whom memory-knowledges are signified. In Zechariah:--

Hamath also shall be bordered thereon; Tyre and Zidon, because she was very wise (Zechariah 9:2).

The subject here is Damascus; "Tyre and Zidon" denote knowledges.

[3] In Ezekiel:--

The inhabitants of Zidon and of Arvad were thy rowers; thy wise men, O Tyre, were in thee, they were thy pilots (Ezekiel 27:8).

Here "Tyre" denotes interior knowledges; wherefore her wise men are called "pilots;" and "Zidon" denotes exterior knowledges, and therefore her inhabitants are called " rowers;" for such is the relation of interior knowledges to exterior. In Isaiah:--

Let the inhabitants of the isle be silent, the merchant of Zidon, that passes over the sea, they have replenished thee. And in great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river was her revenue, and she was the mart of nations. Be ashamed, O Zidon for the sea hath spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying, I have not travailed, nor brought forth, nor have I brought up young men, nor caused virgins to grow up (Isaiah 23:2-4)

"Zidon" here denotes exterior knowledges, which, because there is nothing internal in them, are called "the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river her revenue, the mart of the nations," and also "the sea," and "the stronghold of the sea;" and it is said that she doth not "travail and bring forth"-which could not be comprehended in the literal sense, but is all perfectly clear in the internal sense; as is the case with other passages in the Prophets. Because "Zidon" signifies exterior knowledges, it is said to be "a circuit about Israel," that is, around the spiritual church (Ezek. 28:24, 26); for exterior knowledges are like a circuit round about.

AC 1202. That Zidon is called "the firstborn of Canaan" because these knowledges are the foremost things of such external worship, wherein is no internal worship, has just been explained, in the preceding paragraph.

AC 1203. That "Heth" signifies exterior knowledges of celestial things is consequently evident. It is customary in the Prophets for spiritual and celestial things to be joined together, that is, where spiritual things are treated of, celestial things are also treated of; for the reason that the one is from the other, and there is a certain want of perfection if they are not conjoined; so that there is an image of the heavenly marriage in each and all things of the Word. It is also evident from this, as well as from the Word in other places, that by "Zidon" are signified exterior knowledges of spiritual things, and by "Heth" exterior knowledges of celestial things, in both senses-that is to say, without internal things, and with internal things-and also simply exterior knowledges. Spiritual things, as has often been said before, are those which are of faith; and celestial things are those which are of love; and again, spiritual things are those which are of the understanding, and celestial things are those which are of the will. That "Heth" signifies exterior knowledges without internal, is evident in Ezekiel:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih unto Jerusalem, Thy tradings and thy nativity are of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite. Thou art thy motherís daughter, that loatheth her man (vir) and her sons; and the sister of thy sisters, that loathed their husbands and their sons. Your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite (Ezekiel 16:3, 45).

Here external worship without internal is "Canaan;" to "loathe husbands and sons," is to reject goods and truths. Hence her mother is called "a Hittite." But "Heth" is also taken in the Word for exterior knowledges of celestial things in a good sense, as are nearly all names of countries, cities, nations, and persons, for a reason already explained. Concerning this signification of "Heth," by the Divine mercy of the Lord hereafter. Knowledges of spiritual things are those which have regard to faith, consequently to doctrine; and knowledges of celestial things are those which have regard to love, and thus to life.

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