Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 10:22-25
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AC 1223. Verse 22. The sons of Shem: Elam, and Asshur, and Arpachshad, and Lud, and Aram. By " Shem" is signified here as before, an internal church; by "the sons of Shem," the things that are of wisdom; "Elam, and Asshur, and Arpachshad, and Lud, and Aram" were so many nations, by which are signified things that are of wisdom,-by "Elam" faith from charity, by "Asshur" the derivative reason, by "Arpachshad" the derivative memory-knowledge, by "Lud" the knowledges of truth, by "Aram" the knowledges of good.

AC 1224. From all this it is evident what these names signify in the internal sense, namely, that the Ancient Church, which was internal, was endowed with wisdom, intelligence, memory-knowledge, and the knowledges of truth and of good. Such things are contained in the internal sense, although here are only names from which nothing else appears in the literal sense than that there were so many origins or fathers of nations, thus nothing doctrinal, much less anything spiritual and celestial. Such is the case also in the Prophets, where, whenever a series of names occurs, which in the internal sense signify actual things, they follow one another in a beautiful order.

AC 1225. That by " Shem" is signified an internal church, has been stated and shown in the preceding chapter, at the 18th and following verses.

AC 1226. That by "the sons of Shem" are signified the things that are of wisdom, is evident merely from Shem‘s being an internal church, the sons of which are none other than things of wisdom. Everything is called wisdom that is begotten of charity, because it comes by means of charity from the Lord, from whom is all wisdom, for He is wisdom itself. Hence comes true intelligence, and hence comes true memory-know, edge, and hence comes true knowledge, which are all sons of charity, that is, sons of the Lord through charity. And because they are sons of the Lord through charity, wisdom is predicated of each of them, for wisdom is in each of them, and they draw their life from it, and this in such a manner that neither intelligence, nor memory-knowledge, nor knowledge, has life except from the wisdom which is of charity, which is of the Lord.

AC 1227. That "Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram" were so many nations, is evident from the historical and prophetical parts of the Word where they are mentioned. And that they signify things that are of wisdom, is evident from what has been said just above, and from what follows. Among these nations there was an internal church; with others, who were called sons of Japheth, there was an external church; with those who were called sons of Ham there was a corrupted internal church; and with those who were sons of Canaan there was a corrupted external church. Whether it be said internal and external worship, or an internal and an external church, it is quite the same.

AC 1228. That by "Elam" is signified faith from charity, is evident from the essence of an internal church. A church is internal when charity is the principal of it, from which it thinks and acts. The first offspring of charity is none other than faith; for faith is from it, and from no other source. That "Elam" is faith from charity, or the faith itself which constitutes an internal church, is evident also in Jeremiah:--

The Word of Jehovah that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam: Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four ends of the heavens, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. And I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their soul; and I will bring evil upon them, My fierce anger, and I will send the sword after them till I have consumed them. And I will set My throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes. But it shall come to pass in the latter days that I will bring back the captivity of Elam (Jeremiah 49:34-39).

[2] In this passage "Elam" denotes faith, or what is the same thing, an internal church, become perverted and corrupt; and then the same restored. Just as in the Word, Judah, Israel, and Jacob, are frequently spoken of-by whom churches are signified-by "Judah" a celestial church, by "Israel" a spiritual church, by "Jacob" an external church; of which become perverted it is said in like manner that they should be scattered, and then, being scattered by their enemies, they should be gathered again and brought back from their captivity, by which is meant the creation of a new church. So here it is said of Elam, or the internal church perverted and corrupt, that it should be scattered, and afterwards that it should be brought back; and then that Jehovah should set His throne in Elam, that is in the internal church, or in the internals of the church, which are nothing else than the things of faith from charity.

[3] In Isaiah:--

The burden of the desert of the sea. It cometh from the desert, from a terrible land. A grievous vision is declared unto Me; the treacherous one dealeth treacherously: and the waster layeth waste. Go up, O Elam, besiege, O Madai; all the sighing thereof I will make to cease (Isaiah 21:1, 2).

Here the laying waste of the church by Babel is spoken of; "Elam" is the internal church; "Madai" is the external church, or external worship in which is internal. That Madai is such a church, or such worship, is shown at (verse 2) of this chapter, where Madai is said to be a son of Japheth.

AC 1229. That by "Asshur" is signified reason, is evident from what was shown above, at (verse 11) of this chapter.

AC 1230. That by "Arpachshad" is signified memory-knowledge, cannot be so well confirmed from the Word, but is evident from the series of things that precede and that follow.

AC 1231. That by "Lud" are signified the knowledges of truth, is evident from the fact that the knowledges of truth are from that source, that is, from the Lord through charity, and thus through faith, by means of reason and of memory-knowledge. So also in Ezekiel:--

Persia and Lud and Put were in thine army, thy men of war; they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thine honor (Ezekiel 27:10).

This is said of Tyre. "Lud and Put" denote knowledges, which are said to be in her army and to be her men of war, because they serve in defending truths with the aid of reason. This also is to "hang the shield and helmet." That "Put" signifies the exterior knowledges of the Word, may be seen above, at (verse 6) of this chapter.

AC 1232. That by "Aram," or Syria, are signified the knowledges of good, follows; and is seen also from the Word, as in Ezekiel:--

Aram was thy trader, in the multitude of thy works; in chrysoprase, crimson, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and carbuncle; they gave them in thy tradings (Ezekiel 27:16),

where Tyre is treated of, or the possession of knowledges; and "works, chrysoprase, crimson, broidered work, fine linen, coral, and carbuncle," here signify nothing else than the knowledges of good. In Hosea:--

Jacob fled into the field of Aram, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept guard; and by a prophet Jehovah brought Israel up out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he kept. Ephraim hath provoked to anger with bitternesses (Hosea 12:12-14).

"Jacob" here denotes the external church, and "Israel," the internal spiritual church; "Aram," the knowledges of good; "Egypt," memory-knowledge that perverts; "Ephraim," intelligence perverted. What these signify in series cannot be seen from the literal sense, but only from the internal sense, where names signify actual things of the church, as has been said. In Isaiah:--

Behold Damascus is rejected from being a city, and is become a ruinous heap. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Aram shall be as the glory of the sons of Israel (Isaiah 17:1, 3).

"The remnant of Aram" here denotes the knowledges of good, which are called "the glory of Israel." "Aram," or Syria, in the opposite sense, denotes the knowledges of good perverted; for it is a usual thing in the Word that the expressions are used in both senses (Isa. 7:4-6; 9:11, 12; Deut. 26:5).

AC 1233. Verse 23. And the sons of Aram: Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. "Aram" here, as before, signifies the knowledges of good; "the sons of Aram" are the derivative knowledges, and that which comes of these knowledges; "Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash," signify so many kinds of these knowledges.

AC 1234. That "Aram" signifies the knowledges of good, has been shown just above. That "the sons of Aram" are the derivative knowledges, and the things which are of knowledges, follows. These derivative knowledges are natural truths; and the things which are of knowledges are the things done according to them. That these things are signified cannot be so well confirmed from the Word, because these are not among the names that are frequently mentioned. Only Uz is mentioned, in (Jeremiah 25:20; Lam. 4:21). It follows then that "Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash" signify so many kinds of these knowledges, and of deeds according thereto.

AC 1235. Verse 24. And Arpachshad begat Shelah; and Shelah begat Eber. "Arpachshad" was a nation so called, by which is signified memory-knowledge; " Shelah" likewise was a nation so called, by which is signified that which is derived from this memory-knowledge; by "Eber" also a nation is signified, the father of which was Eber, one who was called by this name, by whom there is signified a second Ancient Church, which was separate from the former one.

AC 1236. That "Arpachshad" was a nation so called, and that by it is signified memory-knowledge, is evident from what was said of it just above, at (verse 22).

AC 1237. That "Shelah" likewise was a nation, and that by it is signified that which is derived from this memory-knowledge, follows, because it is said that "Arpachshad begat Shelah."

AC 1238. That by "Eber" is signified a nation also, whose father was Eber, one who was called by this name, is to be understood in this way. Those mentioned hitherto were the nations among whom the Ancient Church existed, and were all called sons of Shem, of Ham, of Japheth, and of Canaan, because by Shem, Ham, Japheth, and Canaan are signified the various worships of the church. Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and Canaan never existed as men; but because the Ancient Church specifically, and in general every church, is such that it is true internal, corrupt internal, true external, and corrupt external, therefore the above-mentioned names were given in order that all the differences in general might be referred to them and their sons, as to their heads. Moreover the nations here named originally had such worship; and therefore are called the sons of one of the sons of Noah. And for the same reason also, such worships themselves are signified by the names of these nations in the Word.

[2] This first Ancient Church, signified by Noah and his sons, was not confined to a few, but extended over many kingdoms, as is evident from the nations mentioned, namely, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria, Ethiopia, Arabia, Lybia, Egypt, Philistia as far as Tyre and Sidon, and the whole land of Canaan, on this side and beyond Jordan. But afterwards in Syria a kind of external worship began, which from thence spread itself widely around, over many countries, especially over Canaan, and which was different from the worship of the Ancient Church. And as something of a church thus arose that was separate from the Ancient Church, there sprang up thence as it were a new church, which may therefore be called the Second Ancient Church. The first institutor of this was Eber, and therefore this church is called after Eber. At that time, as has been said before, all were distinguished into households, families, and nations. Each nation acknowledged one father, from whom also it was named, as is seen in various places in the Word. Thus the nation which acknowledged Eber as its father was called the Hebrew nation.

AC 1239. That by "Eber" is signified a second Ancient Church that was separate from the former, is evident from what has just been said.

AC 1240. Verse 25. And unto Eber were born two sons; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. Eber was the first institutor of the second Ancient Church, and by him this church is signified; unto him "were born two sons," by whom are signified the two kinds of worship, namely, internal and external. His two sons were called "Peleg" and "Joktan;" by "Peleg" is signified the internal worship of that church, and by "Joktan" its external worship; "for in his days was the earth divided," signifies that a new church then arose, "the earth" here as before signifying the church; "his brother‘s name Was Joktan," signifies the external worship of that church.

AC 1241. As to Eber being the first institutor of the second Ancient Church, by whom this church is signified, the case is this. The first Ancient Church, so widely spread as has been stated, especially through the Asiatic world, in process of time degenerated-as is usual with all churches everywhere-and was adulterated by innovators, as to both its external and its internal worship, and this in various places and especially by the fact that all things significative and representative which the Ancient Church had from the mouth of the Most Ancient Church- which all bore reference to the Lord and His Kingdom-were turned into things idolatrous, and by some of the nations into things magical. That the whole church might not go to ruin, it was permitted by the Lord that significative and representative worship should be somewhere reestablished, which was done by Eber. This worship consisted chiefly in externals. The externals of worship, in addition to the priestly offices and what pertained to them, were high places, groves, statues, anointings, and many other things called statutes. The internals of worship were doctrinal things handed down from the time before the flood, especially from those who were called "Enoch," who collected the perceptive findings of the Most Ancient Church, and made doctrinal things therefrom. These were their Word; and from these internals and those externals came the worship of this church, a worship set up anew by Eber, but added to, and also changed. Especially did they begin to exalt sacrifices above other rites. In the true Ancient Church sacrifices had been unknown, except among some of the descendants of Ham and Canaan, who were idolaters, and with whom they were permitted to prevent them from sacrificing their sons and daughters. From all this the quality of this second Ancient Church, instituted by Eber and continued among his posterity who were called the Hebrew nation, is manifest.

AC 1242. That by the two sons of Eber, who were named Peleg and Joktan, the two kinds of worship of that church, internal and external, are signified-by Peleg the internal worship and by Joktan the external worship-is evident especially from this, that in the internal sense this second Ancient Church is signified by Eber and the Hebrew nation, and that in every church there is an internal and an external. For without the internal it is not and cannot be called a church, but an idolatry. Therefore, "sons" being here predicated of the church, it is evident that by one son the internal of the church is signified, and by the other the external; as in various other places in the Word; and as is signified by Adah and Zillah, the two wives of Lamech (n. 409); by Leah and Rachel; by Jacob and Israel, of whom hereafter; and by others. The posterity of Joktan is treated of in this chapter; that of Peleg in the following chapter.

AC 1243. For in his days was the earth divided. That this signifies that a new church then arose, is now consequently evident; for by "the earth" nothing else than the church is signified, which has been clearly shown above (n. 662, 1066).

AC 1244. And his brother’s name was Joktan. That this signifies the external worship of that church, has been shown just above. That external worship is called a "brother" may be seen above, at (verse 21) of this chapter, where it is said of Shem that he was the elder brother of Japheth. This is why the name "brother" is here added.

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