Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 14:23
AC 1747. Verse 23. That from a thread even to the thong of a shoe, I will not take aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have enriched Abram. "That from a thread even to the thong of a shoe," signifies all natural and corporeal things that were unclean; "I will not take aught that is thine," signifies that in celestial love here was nothing of the kind; "lest thou shouldest say, I have enriched Abram," signifies that the Lord derived no strength whatever from such things.
AC 1748. That from a thread even to the thong (or latchet) of a shoe. That this signifies all natural and corporeal things that were unclean, is evident from the signification of "the thong of a shoe." In the Word the sole of the foot and the heel signify the ultimate natural (n. 259). A shoe is that which covers the sole of the foot and the heel; a "shoe" therefore signifies what is natural still further, thus the corporeal itself. The signification of a "shoe" is according to the subject. When predicated of goods it is taken in a good sense; and when of evil, in a bad sense; as here in treating of the substance of the king of Sodom, by whom evil and falsity are signified, the "thong of a shoe" signifies unclean natural and corporeal things. By the "thread of a shoe" falsity is signified, and by the "thong of a shoe" evil, and this the most worthless of all, because the word is a diminutive.
 That such things are signified by a "shoe," is evident also from other passages in the Word; as when Jehovah appeared to Moses out of the midst of the bush, and said to Moses:--
Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground (Exod. 3:5).
The prince of the army of Jehovah said in like manner to Joshua:--
Put off thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holiness (Josh. 5:15).
Here every one can see that the shoe would take away nothing from the holiness, provided the man were holy in himself; but that it was said for the reason that the shoe represented the ultimate natural and corporeal which was to be put off.
 That it is the unclean natural and corporeal, is also plain in David:--
Moab is my washpot, upon Edom will I cast My shoe (Ps. 60:8).
The command to the disciples involves what is similar:-
Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, as ye go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet (Matt. 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5)
where the "dust of the feet" has a signification like that of a "shoe," namely, uncleanness from evil and falsity, because the sole of the foot is the ultimate natural. They were commanded to do this because they were at that time in representatives, and thought that heavenly arcana were stored up in these alone, and not in naked truths.
 Because a "shoe" signified the ultimate natural, the putting off of the shoe, or the shoe-loosing, signified that one should be divested of the ultimate things of nature; as in the case of him who was not willing to fulfill the duty of brother-in-law, spoken of in Moses:--
If the man is not willing to fulfill the duties of a husband’s brother, then his brother‘s wife shall come unto him in the eyes of the elders, and draw his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and Say, So shall it be done to the man that doth not build up his brother’s house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe taken off (Deut. 25:5-10);
meaning that which is devoid of all natural charity.
 That a "shoe" signifies the ultimate natural, in a good sense also, is likewise evident from the Word; as in Moses, concerning Asher:--
Blessed be Asher above the sons; let him be acceptable unto his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil; iron and brass shall thy shoe be (Deut. 33:24, 25)
where the "shoe" denotes the ultimate natural; a "shoe of iron" natural truth, a "shoe of brass" natural good, as is evident from the signification of iron and brass (n. 425, 426). And because a "shoe" signified the ultimate natural and corporeal, it became a symbol of what is least and most worthless; for the ultimate natural and corporeal is the most worthless of all things in man. This was meant by John the Baptist, when be said,
There cometh One that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose (Luke 3:16; Mark 1:7; John 1:27).
AC 1749. I will not take aught that is thine. That this signifies that in celestial love there was nothing of the kind, may be seen from the fact that it was Abram who said that he would not take aught from the king of Sodom. Abram represented the Lord, now victorious, and thus the things which were of celestial love, which He procured to Himself by the victories; and the king of Sodom represented evil and falsity, from which there was nothing in the Lord as a victor, or in celestial love.
 What is meant by these things in the internal sense cannot be made evident unless it be known how the case is in the other life. With evil and infernal spirits there reigns the love of self and of the world. Hence they think that they are the gods of the universe, and that they can do much. When they are vanquished, although they perceive that they can do nothing at all, there still remains the notion of power and dominion; and they think that they can contribute much to the Lord‘s power and dominion, and therefore in order that they may reign together with the good spirits, they offer them their services. But as the things by which they think that they can effect anything are nothing but evil and falsity; and in the Lord, or in celestial love, there is nothing but good and truth, the king of Sodom, by whom such are represented, is here told in reply that there was nothing of the bind in the Lord, or that the Lord had no power from evil and falsity.
 Dominion from evil and falsity is altogether contrary to dominion from good and truth. Dominion from evil and falsity consists in desiring to make all slaves; dominion from good and truth in desiring to make all free. Dominion from evil and falsity consists in destroying all; but dominion from good and truth in saving all. From which it is evident that dominion from evil and falsity is of the devil, and that dominion from good and truth is of the Lord. That the two kinds of dominion are altogether contrary to each other may be seen from the Lord’s words in (Matthew 12:24-30); also from His saying that no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13).
AC 1750. Lest thou shouldest say, I have enriched Abram. That this signifies that the Lord derived no strength whatever from such things, may be seen from the signification of "being enriched," which is to acquire power and strength. How these things are, is evident from what has just been said. GENESIS 14:23 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|