Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 10:5
AC 1157. Verse 5. From these were dispersed the isles of the nations in their lands, every one according to his tongue, according to their families, as to their nations. " From these were dispersed the isles of the nations in their lands," signifies that the worships of many nations sprang from these; "isles" are particular regions and thus particular worships which were still more remote from internal worship; "lands" are their generals; "every one according to his tongue, according to their families, as to their nations," signifies that these were according to the genius of each; "according to his tongue," is according to the opinion of each; "according to their families," is according to their uprightness "as to their nations," is with respect to both in general.
AC 1158. From these were dispersed the isles of the nations in their lands. That this signifies that the worships of many nations originated from these, that "isles" are particular regions and thus particular worships which were still more remote, and that "lands" are their generals, is evident from the signification of " isles" in the Word. Thus far they have been treated of who had external worship corresponding to internal. By the seven sons of Japheth were signified those who approached nearer to true internal worship by the seven sons of Gomer and at the same time of Javan, those who were more remote from true internal worship. By " the isles of the nations" are signified those who are still more remote, and properly those who lived in mutual charity with one another, but yet in ignorance, knowing nothing about the Lord, about the doctrinals of faith of the church, and about internal worship; but who yet had a certain external worship which they religiously observed. Such are called " isles" in the Word, and therefore by " isles," in the internal sense, there is signified worship which is more remote from internal worship.
 They who are in the internal sense of the Word, as the angels are, have no knowledge of isles, for they no longer have any idea of such things; but instead of them they perceive a remoter worship, such as is that of the nations out of the church. And in like manner by "isles" they perceive those things within the church itself which are somewhat remote from charity, as are friendships and civilities. Friendship is not charity, and still less is politeness charity these are degrees below charity; and the more they derive from charity the more sincere they are.
 That such things are signified by "islands" may be seen from the following passages from the Word. In Isaiah:--
Keep silence before Me, O Islands; and let the peoples renew their strength, let them come near. The isles saw, and feared; the ends of the earth trembled they drew near, and came (Isaiah 41:1, 5).
Here "islands" denote upright nations out of the church who have religiously observed their external worship. The furthest limits of the region where the church is are called "the ends of the earth." In the same:--
He shall not be dark, and shall not break in pieces till He has set judgment in the earth, and the isles shall wait for His law. Sing unto Jehovah a new song, His praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and the fullness thereof, the isles and the inhabitants thereof. Let them give glory to Jehovah, and declare His praise in the islands (Isa. 42:4, 10, 12).
Here also "islands" denote nations out of the church, who have lived in ignorance, simplicity, and uprightness.
 In the same:--
Listen, O Isles, unto Me, and hearken, ye peoples from far (Isa. 49:1),
likewise denoting those nations which are more remote from the worship of the Lord, and from the knowledges of faith wherefore it is said "from far." Again:--
The Isles shall hope in Me, and on Mine arm shall they wait (Isa. 51:6),
denoting the same. Because they are such as live in uprightness, it is said, "they shall hope in Me, and on Mine arm shall they wait." In Jeremiah:--
Hear the word of Jehovah, O ye nations, and declare it in the Isles afar off (Jeremiah 31:10),
denoting the same. In Zephaniah:--
Jehovah will be terrible unto them, for with leanness He will consume all the gods of the earth and they shall bow themselves down to Him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the nations (Zephaniah 2:11).
"The isles of the nations" denote nations more remote from the knowledges of faith.
 In David:--
Jehovah reigneth; let the earth rejoice let the multitude of isles be glad. Clouds and darkness are round about Him (Psalms 97:1, 2)
denoting the same. Their ignorance is here representatively expressed by "clouds and darkness;" but because they are in simplicity and uprightness it is said "round about Him." Because by "islands" are signified those things which are more remote, Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, and Javan also - by whom were signified external worships - are called "islands" (Isa. 66:19). So also Kittim (Jer. 2:10; Ezek. 27:6). When contrasted with "lands," or with "mountains," "islands" signify also the truths of faith, from being in the sea; thus they signify doctrinals which are rituals.
AC 1159. Every one according to his tongue, according to their families, as to their nations. That this signifies that these were according to the genius of each; "according to their tongue," according to the opinion of each; "according to their families," according to their uprightness; and "as to their nations," as regards both in general, may be seen from the signification of "tongue," of "families," and of "nations," in the Word; concerning which of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter. That "tongue," or "language," in the internal sense, signifies opinion, thus principles and persuasions, is because there is a correspondence of the tongue with the intellectual part of man, or with his thought, like that of an effect with its cause. Such also is not only the influx of a man‘s thoughts into the movements of the tongue in speaking, but also the influx of heaven, concerning which some things from experience, by the Divine mercy of the Lord, will be told elsewhere.
 That "families" in the internal sense signify uprightness, and also charity and love, comes from the fact that in the heavens all things which are of mutual love are circumstanced as are relationships by blood and by marriage, thus as families (n. 685). In the Word therefore the things which pertain to love or charity are expressed by "houses," and also by "families," which it is unnecessary here to stop to confirm. (That such is the signification of a "house" see (n. 710).
 That "nations" here signify both, in general, is evident from the signification of a nation, or nations, in the Word. In a good sense "nations" signify things of the new will and understanding, consequently the goods of love and truths of faith; but in the opposite sense they signify evils and falsities; and in like manner so also do "houses," " families," and "tongues," as may be confirmed by very many passages from the Word. The reason is that the Most Ancient Church was distinguished into houses, families, and nations. A married pair with their children, and their menservants and maidservants, constituted a house; a number of houses that were not far distant from one another constituted a family; and a number of families, a nation. Hence "nations" signified all the families taken together in the aggregate. It is much the same in heaven; but the relation of all there is according to love and faith toward the Lord (n. 685).
 From this then comes the signification of "nations" in the internal sense, as a general term comprising things of both the will and the understanding, or what is the same of both love and faith; but relatively to the families and houses of which they are composed. (n. 470, 471, 483). It is evident from these considerations that "nations" signify both (opinion and uprightness] in general; and that, "every one according to his tongue, according to their families, as to their nations, "signifies according to the genius of each man, family, and nation, to whom worship was derived from the Ancient Church.GENESIS 10:5 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|