Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 12:6
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AC 1439. Verse 6. And Abram passed through the land, even unto the place Shechem, even unto the oak-grove Moreh: and the Canaanite was then in the land. "Abram passed through the land, even unto the place Shechem" signifies the Lord‘s second state, when the celestial things of love became apparent to Him, which are signified by "Shechem;" "even unto the oak-grove Moreh," signifies the third state, namely, the first perception, which is "the oak-grove Moreh;" "and the Canaanite was then in the land," signifies the evil hereditary from the mother in His external man.

AC 1440. Abram passed through the land, even unto the place Shechem. That this signifies the Lord’s second state, when the celestial things of love became apparent to Him, is evident from what precedes and from the order of all these events, from what precedes, in that He advanced to the celestial things of love and attained to them, which is signified by "they went forth to go into the land of Canaan," and by " they came into the land of Canaan;" and from the order of the events, in that after He had advanced to celestial things and had attained to them, they then became apparent to Him. In celestial things there is the very light of the soul; because the Divine itself, that is, Jehovah Himself, is in them; and as the Lord was to conjoin the Human Essence to the Divine Essence, when He attained to celestial things it could not be otherwise than that Jehovah appeared to Him.

AC 1441. That these things are signified by "Shechem," is also evident from the fact that Shechem is as it were the first station in the land of Canaan, in journeying from Syria, or from Haran; and as the celestial things of love are signified by "the land of Canaan," it is evident that their first appearing is signified by Shechem. When Jacob returned from Haran into the land of Canaan, he in like manner came to Shechem, as is evident from the following passage:--

Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him a house, and made booths for his cattle therefore he called the name of the place Succoth. And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when be came from Paddan-aram, and encamped before the city. And he erected there an altar (Gen. 33:17-20)

where also by " Shechem" is signified the first of light. In David:--

God hath spoken in His holiness I will exult, I will divide Shechem, and will mete out the valley of Succoth; Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine, and Ephraim is the strength of Mine head Judah is My lawgiver; Moab is My washpot; upon Edom will I cast My shoe; over Philistia will I sound in triumph (Ps. 60:6-8; 108:7-9);

where the signification of " Shechem" is similar. That names signify nothing else than actual things (res), and that so also does Shechem," may be plainly seen from these prophetic sayings of David; for otherwise they would be little hut an accumulation of names. That Shechem was made a city of refuge (Josh. 20:7), and also a city of the priests (Josh. 24:21), and that a covenant was made there (Josh. 24:1, 25), involve also what is similar.

AC 1442. Unto the oak-grove Moreh. That this signifies the first perception, is also evident from the order. As soon as Jehovah appeared to the Lord in His celestial things it is evident that He attained perception all perception is from celestial things. What perception is, has been declared and shown before (n. 104, 202, 371, 483, 495, 503, 521, 536, 865). Every one receives perception from the Lord when he comes to celestial things. They who have become celestial men, such as those of the Most Ancient Church, have all received perception, as before shown (n. 125, 597, 607, 784, 895). They who become spiritual men, that is, who receive charity from the Lord, have something analogous to perception, or rather they have a dictate of conscience, more or less clear, in proportion as they are in the celestial things of charity. The celestial things of charity are attended with this; for in them alone the Lord is present, and in them He appears to man. How much more must this have been the case with the Lord, who from infancy advanced to Jehovah, and was conjoined and united to Him, so that they were One.

AC 1443. As regards "the oak-grove Moreh" being the first perception, the case is this. There are with man things intellectual, things rational, and things of memory (scientifica); his inmost things are intellectual, his interior things are rational, and his exterior things are those of the memory (scientifica); all these are called his spiritual things, which are in the order here given. The intellectual things of the celestial man are compared to a garden of trees of every kind; his rational things, to a forest of cedars and similar trees, such as there were in Lebanon; but his memory-knowledges (scientifica) are compared to oak-groves, and this from their intertwined branches such as are those of the oak. By trees themselves are signified perceptions as by the trees of the garden of Eden eastward, inmost perceptions, or those of intellectual things (n. 99, 100, 103) by the trees of the forest of Lebanon, interior perceptions, or those of rational things; but by the trees of an oak-grove, exterior perceptions, or those of memory-knowledges, which belong to the external man. Hence it is that "the oak-grove Moreh" signifies the Lord‘s first perception; for He was as yet a child, and His spiritual things were not more interior than this. Besides, the oak-grove Moreh was where the sons of Israel also first came when they passed over the Jordan and saw the land of Canaan, concerning which in Moses:--Thou shalt put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal. Are they not beyond Jordan, behind the way of the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanite that dwelleth in the plain over against Gilgal, beside the oak-groves of Moreh (Deut. 11:29, 30) by which also is signified the first of perception, for the entrance of the sons of Israel represents the entrance of the faithful into the Lord’s kingdom.

AC 1444. And the Canaanite was then in the land. That this signifies the evil hereditary from the mother, in His external man, is evident from what has been already said concerning that which was inherited by the Lord; for He was born as are other men, and inherited evils from the mother, against which He fought, and which He overcame. It is well known that the Lord underwent and endured the most grievous temptations, temptations so great that He fought alone and by His own power against the whole of hell. No one can undergo temptation unless evil adheres to him; he who has no evil cannot have the least temptation; evil is what the infernal spirits excite.

[2] In the Lord there was not any evil that was actual, or His own, as there is in all men, but there was hereditary evil from the mother, which is here called "the Canaanite then in the land." Concerning this, see what was said above, at (verse 1) (n. 1414), namely, that there are two hereditary natures connate in man, one from the father, the other from the mother; that which is from the father remains to eternity, but that which is from the mother is dispersed by the Lord while the man is being regenerated. The Lord‘s hereditary nature from His Father, however, was the Divine. His hereditary from the mother was evil, and this is treated of here, and is that through which He underwent temptations (Mark 1:12, 13; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1, 2). But, as already said, He had no evil that was actual, or His own, nor had He any hereditary evil from the mother after He had overcome hell by means of temptations; on which account it is here said that there was such evil at that time, that is, that the "Canaanite was then in the land."

[3] The Canaanites were those who dwelt by the sea and by the coast of Jordan, as is evident in Moses. The spies on their return said:--

We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey, and this is the fruit of it. Howbeit the people that dwelleth in the land is strong, and the cities are fenced, very great; and moreover we saw the children of Anak there Amalek dwelleth in the south; and the Hittite and the Jebusite and the Amorite dwell in the mountains and the Canaanite dwelleth by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan (Num. 13:27-29).

That the Canaanites dwelt by the sea and by the coast of Jordan, signified evil thence in the external man, such as is the hereditary from the mother; for the sea and the Jordan were boundaries.

[4] That such evil is signified by "the Canaanite," is also evident in Zechariah:--

In that day there shall be no more a Canaanite in the house of Jehovah Zebaoth (Zechariah 14:21)

where the Lord’s kingdom is treated of, and it is signified that the Lord will conquer the evil meant by the Canaanite and will expel it from His kingdom. All kinds of evils are signified by the idolatrous nations in the land of Canaan, among which were the Canaanites (Gen. 15:15, 19, 21; Exod. 3:8, 17; 23:23, 28; 33:2; 34:11; Deut. 7:1; 20:17; Josh. 3:10; 24:11; Judges 3:5). What evil is signified by each nation specifically, shall of the Lord‘s Divine mercy be told elsewhere.

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