Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 11:2
AC 1289. Verse 2. And it came to pass when they journeyed from the east, that they found a valley in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. "When they journeyed from the east," signifies when they went back from charity; "the east," is charity from the Lord; "that they found a valley in the land of Shinar," signifies that their worship became more unclean and profane "and they dwelt there," signifies their life.
AC 1290. When they journeyed from the east. That this signifies when they went back from charity, is evident from the signification in the Word of "journeying," and of "the east." That "journeying" here signifies to go back, is evident from its being said concerning charity which is "the east" whence they journeyed.
AC 1291. That "the east" is charity from the Lord, is evident from what has been shown before (n. 101, 1250).
AC 1292. That they found a valley in the land of Shinar. That this signifies that their worship became more unclean and profane, is evident from the signification of "a valley," and of "the land of Shinar." In the Word, "mountains" signify love or charity, because these are the highest, or, what is the same, the inmost things in worship, as before shown (n. 795). Hence "a valley" signifies what is beneath the mountains, that is, what is lower in worship, which is the same as what is exterior therein; and "the land of Shinar," signifies external worship wherein is what is profane, as before shown (n. 1183). And so in this passage, their having found a valley in the land of Shinar signifies that their worship became more unclean and profane.
 In the first verse it is said of the church that it was of one lip and that its words were one, which means that it had one doctrine in general and in particular. But in this verse the decline of the church is treated of, in that it is said that they journeyed from the east, that is, they began to go back from charity; for in so far as the church, or a man of the church, goes back from charity, so far his worship goes back from what is holy, or in other words, so far his worship approaches what is unclean and profane. That their having found a valley in the land of Shinar signifies the decline of the church, or of worship, to what is profane, is because a valley is a low place between mountains, by which are signified the holy things of love or of charity in worship, as before said. This may also be seen from the signification of "a valley" in the Word, where valleys are designated, in the original language, by certain terms which signify, when used in that sense, what is more or less profane in worship.
 That "valleys" have such a signification is evident in Isaiah:--
The burden of the valley of vision. For it is a day of tumult, and of treading down, and of perplexity, to the Lord Jehovih of Armies, in the valley of vision (Isa. 22:1, 5).
"The valley of vision" denotes phantasies and reasonings, whereby worship is falsified and at last profaned. In Jeremiah:--
How sayest thou I am not defiled, I have not walked after the Baalim? see thy way in the valley (Jeremiah 2:23).
"The valley" denotes unclean worship. Again:--
They have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom; wherefore behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter (Jeremiah 7:31, 32; 19:6).
"The valley of Hinnom" denotes hell, and also the profanation of truth and good.
 In Ezekiel:--
Thus hath said the Lord Jehovih to the mountains and to the hills, to the watercourses and to the valleys, Behold Me, I bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places (Ezekiel 6:3).
I will give unto Gog a place there for burial in Israel, the valley of them that pass through toward the east of the sea, and they shall call it the valley of the multitude of Gog (Ezekiel 39:11, 15).
This is said of worship in externals "a valley" denotes such worship. But when the worship has not yet become so profane, this is expressed by the Hebrew word for valley that is used in the verse before us (Gen. 11:2); and also in Isaiah:--
I will open rivers upon the slopes, and I will make fountains in the midst of the valleys, the wilderness a pool of waters, and the dry land springs of waters (Isaiah 41:18).
This is said of those who are in ignorance, or who are beyond the knowledges of faith and of charity, and yet are in charity. "Valley" as used here denotes these. In like manner does "valley" in (Ezekiel 37:1).
AC 1293. And they dwelt there. That this signifies the derivative life, may be seen from the signification in the Word of "dwelling," which is living. The word "dwell" frequently occurs in both the prophetic and the historic parts of the Word, and in the internal sense it usually signifies to live. The reason is that the most ancient people dwelt in tents, and held their most holy worship there; and therefore in the Word "tents" signify what is holy in worship, as before shown (n. 414). And as tents signified the holy in worship, "to dwell," also, in a good sense, signifies to live, or life. In like manner, because the most ancient people journeyed with their tents, in the internal sense of the Word "to journey" signifies the modes and order of life. GENESIS 11:2 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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