Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 11:11-14
AC 1336. Verse 11. And Shem lived after he begat Arpachshad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Shem lived after he begat Arpachshad five hundred years," signifies the duration and state; " Shem" signifies here, as before, internal worship in general; "Arpachshad" signifies memory-knowledge; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies the doctrinal things.
AC 1337. That these things are signified, calls for no confirmation, being evident from the signification of the same words as given above. I shall merely state that the internal worship of this church was no other than a kind of memory-knowledge (scientificum), thus a kind of love which may be called a love of truth. For when this church began, there was scarcely any charity left, and therefore scarcely any faith, which comes solely from charity; as also is evident from what was said just before concerning the city and the tower of Babel, in that Jehovah did confound the lip of all the earth (verse 9).
AC 1338. And begat sons and daughters. That this signifies doctrinal things, is evident from the signification of "sons," as before given (n. 264, 489-491, 533).
AC 1339. Verse 12. And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years and begat Shelah. "And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years," signifies the beginning of the second state of this church, as well as that second state itself; " Arpachshad" signifies here, as before, memory-knowledge; "and begat Shelah," signifies the derivation therefrom. Shelah was a nation so called, whereby is signified that which pertains to memory-knowledge.
AC 1340. That these things are signified calls for no confirmation. That " Shelah" was a nation so called, whereby is signified that which pertains to memory-knowledge, has been stated before, at (Gen. 10:24).
AC 1341. Verse 13. And Arpachshad lived after he begat Shelah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Arpachshad lived after he begat Shelah four hundred and three years," signifies the duration and state; "Arpachshad" here, as before, signifies memory-knowledge; and "Shelah" is that which pertains to memory-knowledge; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies the doctrinal things.
AC 1342. Verse 14. And Shelah lived thirty years and begat Eber. "And Shelah lived thirty years," signifies the beginning of a third state; "Shelah" here, as before, signifies that which pertains to memory-knowledge; "and begat Eber," signifies a derivation therefrom; "Eber" was a nation called, from Eber as its father, the Hebrew nation, whereby is signified the worship in general of the Second Ancient Church.
AC 1343. That "Eber" was a nation called, from Eber as its father, the Hebrew nation, and that thereby is signified the worship in general of the Second Ancient Church, is evident from those historical parts of the Word wherein it is spoken of. From that nation, because the new worship commenced there, all were called Hebrews who had a similar worship. Their worship was of the kind that was afterwards restored among the descendants of Jacob; and its chief characteristic consisted in their calling their God "Jehovah," and in their having sacrifices. The Most Ancient Church with unanimity acknowledged the Lord, and called Him Jehovah, as is evident from the first chapters of Genesis, and elsewhere in the Word. The Ancient Church, that is, the church after the flood, also acknowledged the Lord, and called Him Jehovah, especially those who had internal worship, and were called "sons of Shem." The others, who were in external worship, also acknowledged Jehovah, and worshiped Him. But when internal worship became external, and still more when it became idolatrous, and when each nation began to have its own god whom it worshiped, the Hebrew nation retained the name Jehovah, and called their God Jehovah; and hereby were distinguished from the other nations.
 Together with their external worship, the descendants of Jacob in Egypt lost this also--that they called their God Jehovah; nay, Moses himself did so; and therefore they were instructed first of all that Jehovah was the God of the Hebrews, and the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; as may be seen from these words in Moses:--
Jehovah said unto Moses, Thou shalt come in, thou and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, Jehovah the God of the Hebrews hath met with us; and now let us go, we pray thee, a three days’ journey into the wilderness, and we will sacrifice to Jehovah our God (Exod. 3:18).
Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us; let us go, we pray thee, a three days‘ journey into the wilderness, and we will sacrifice to Jehovah our God (Exod. 5:2, 3).
 That together with the worship the descendants of Jacob in Egypt lost also the name of Jehovah, may be seen from these words in Moses:--
Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the sons of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM WHO I AM. And He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel, Jehovah the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you this is My name to eternity (Exod. 3:13-15).
 From these words it is evident that even Moses did not know Jehovah; and that they were distinguished from others by the name of Jehovah the God of the Hebrews. Hence in other places also Jehovah is called the God of the Hebrews:--
Thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Jehovah the God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee (Exod. 7:16).
Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith Jehovah the God of the Hebrews (Exod. 9:1, 13).
And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah the God of the Hebrews (Exod. 10:3).
And in Jonah:--
I am a Hebrew; and I fear Jehovah the God of the heavens (Jonah 1:9).
And also in Samuel:--
The Philistines heard the voice of the shouting, and said, What meaneth the voice of this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrew? And they knew that the ark of Jehovah was come into the camp. And the Philistines said, Woe unto us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these august gods? These are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness. Be like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews (1 Sam. 4:6, 8, 9).
Here also it is evident that the nations were distinguished by the gods on whose name they called, and the Hebrew nation by Jehovah.
 That the second essential of the worship of the Hebrew nation consisted in sacrifices, is also evident from passages cited above (Exod. 3:18; 5:2, 3); as well as from the fact that the Egyptians abominated the Hebrew nation on account of this worship, as is evident from these words in Moses:--
Moses said, It is not right so to do, for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to Jehovah our God; lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? (Exod. 8:26).
For this reason the Egyptians so abominated the Hebrew nation that they would not eat bread with them (Gen. 43:32). It is also evident from all this that the posterity of Jacob was not the only Hebrew nation, but all who had such worship; and therefore in Joseph’s time the land of Canaan was called the land of the Hebrews:--
Joseph said, I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews (Gen. 40:15)
 That there were sacrifices among the idolaters in the land of Canaan, may be seen from many passages, for they sacrificed to their gods--to the Baals and others; and moreover Balaam; who was from Syria where Eber dwelt and whence the Hebrew nation came, not only offered sacrifices before the descendants of Jacob came into the land of Canaan, but also called Jehovah his God. That Balaam was from Syria, whence came the Hebrew nation, see (Numbers 23:7); that he offered sacrifices, (Numbers 22:39, 40; 23:1-3, 14, 29); that he called Jehovah his God, (Numbers 22:18), and throughout the chapter. What is said of Noah (Gen. 8:20), that he offered burnt-offerings to Jehovah, is not true history, but is history so made up, because by burnt-offerings there is signified the holy of worship, as may there be seen. From all this it is now evident what is signified by "Heber," or by the Hebrew nation.GENESIS 11:11-14 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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