Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 12:12-13
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 1471. Verse 12. And it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they will say, This is his wife and they will kill me, and will make thee to live. "And it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee," signifies the memory-knowledge of knowledges (scientia cognitionum), which is described as to what it is when they see celestial knowledges; "that they will say, This is his wife," signifies that they will call the knowledges celestial; "and they will kill me, and will make thee to live," signifies that they would not care for the celestial things, but only for the mere knowledges, which they would carry off.

AC 1472. And it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee. That this signifies the memory-knowledge of knowledges, which is described as to what it is when they see celestial knowledges, is evident from the signification of "Egypt," which is the memory-knowledge of knowledges, as before shown; and from this it is evident what is signified by the words "when the Egyptians see," namely, that this memory-knowledge is such as is described in this verse. The memory-knowledge of knowledges is attended with this, and it is some thing natural in it, as is manifested in children when they first begin to learn, namely, that the higher things are, the more they desire them; and still more when they hear that they are celestial and Divine. But this delight is natural, and arises from a desire that is of the external man. With other men this desire causes them to feel delight in the mere memory-knowledge of knowledges, without any further end; when yet the memory-knowledge of knowledges is nothing but an instrumental agency having for its end a use, namely, that the knowledges may serve celestial and spiritual things as vessels; and when they are thus serving, they are then for the first time in their use, and receive from the use their delight. Any one can see, if he pays attention, that in itself the memory-knowledge of knowledges is nothing but a means whereby a man may become rational, and thence spiritual, and at last celestial; and that by means of the knowledges his external man may be adjoined to his internal; and when this is done, he is in the use itself. The internal man regards nothing but the use. For the sake of this end also, the Lord insinuates the delight that childhood and youth perceives in memory-knowledges. But when a man begins to make his delight consist in memory-knowledge alone, it is a bodily cupidity which carries him away, and in proportion as he is thus carried away (that is, makes his delight consist in mere memory-knowledge), in the same proportion he removes himself from what is celestial, and in the same proportion do the memory-knowledges close themselves toward the Lord, and become material. But in proportion as the memory-knowledges are learned with the end of use,--as for the sake of human society, for the sake of the Lordís church on earth, for the sake of the LordĎs kingdom in the heavens, and still more for the Lordís own sake,--the more are they opened toward Him. On this account also the angels, who are in the memory-knowledge of all knowledges, and indeed to such a degree that scarcely one part in ten thousand can be presented to the full apprehension of man, yet esteem such knowledge as nothing in comparison with use. From what has been said it may be seen what is signified by the words, "When the Egyptians shall see thee, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me and will make thee to live." These things were said because the Lord when a child knew this and thought in this way, namely, that if He should be carried away by a mere desire for the memory-knowledge of knowledges, this memory-knowledge is of such a character that it would care no more for celestial things, but only for the knowledges (cognitiones) which the desire for memory-knowledge would carry away. On these subjects more follows.

AC 1473. And they will say, This is his wife. That this signifies that they will call the knowledges celestial, is evident from the signification of a "wife," as being the truth that was adjoined to celestial things; hence "this is his wife" signifies that which is celestial.

AC 1474. And they will kill me, and will make thee to live. That this signifies that they would not care for celestial things, but only for mere knowledges, is evident from what has just been said.

>Verse 13. Say, I pray, thou art my sister, that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee." Say, I pray, thou art my sister," signifies intellectual truth which is a "sister;" "that it may be well with me for thy sake,Ď signifies that so the celestial could have no violence done to it; "and that my soul may live because of thee," signifies that so the celestial could be saved.

AC 1475. Say, I pray, thou art my sister. That this signifies intellectual truth, which is a "sister," is evident from the signification of a "sister," as being intellectual truth when celestial truth is a "wife," concerning which hereafter. These things stand thus: it is the nature of memory-knowledge to desire nothing more than to introduce itself into celestial things and explore them; but this is contrary to order, for it thus does violence to celestial things. Order itself is that the celestial by means of the spiritual introduces itself into the rational, and thus into the memory-knowledge (in scientificum), and adapts this to itself; and unless this order is observed, there cannot possibly be any wisdom. In the passage before us are also contained the arcana as to how the Lord was instructed by His Father according to all order; and thus how His external man was conjoined with His internal, that is, how His external man was made Divine, like the internal; thus how He became Jehovah as to each essence; which was done by means of knowledges, which are the means. Without knowledges as means, the external man cannot even become man.

AC 1476. That it may be well with me for thy sake. That this signifies that so the celestial could have no violence done to it, is evident from what has been said above; for as has been repeatedly said, the order is that the celestial flows into the spiritual, the spiritual into the rational, and this into the faculty of memory-knowledge. When there is this order, then the spiritual is adapted by the celestial, the rational by the spiritual, and the memory-knowledge by the rational. The memory-knowledge in general then becomes the ultimate vessel; or what is the same, memory-knowledges, specifically and particularly, become the ultimate vessels which correspond to rational things, rational things to spiritual things, and spiritual things to celestial things. When this is the order, the celestial cannot suffer any violence; otherwise, it does so suffer. As in the internal sense the Lordís instruction is here treated of, the method of His progress therein is here described.

AC 1477. That my soul may live because of thee. That this signifies that thus the celestial could be saved, is evident from the signification of the "soul," as being the celestial; for this is the soul itself, because the very life itself. Hence it is evident what is signified by the words "that my soul may live because of thee." It will be evident from what follows, that celestial or Divine things were not so adjoined to the Lord that they made one essence, until He endured temptations, and thus expelled the evil hereditary from the mother. Here and in the following verses it is described how meanwhile the celestial itself suffered no violence, but was saved.

GENESIS 12:12-13    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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