Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 16:4
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AC 1908. Verse 4. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived; and she saw that she had conceived, and her mistress was despised in her eyes. "He went in unto Hagar," signifies the conjunction of the internal man with the life which is of the affection of memory-knowledges; "and she conceived," signifies the first life of the rational; "and she saw that she had conceived, and her mistress was despised in her eyes," signifies that this rational at its conception lightly esteemed the truth itself that was adjoined to good.

AC 1909. He went in unto Hagar. That this signifies the conjunction of the internal man with the life which is of the affection of memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of "Hagar," as being the life of the exterior or natural man (explained above at verse 1) and that this life is the life of the affection of memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of the "Egyptian handmaid". There are many affections belonging to the exterior man, all dedicated to their uses; but the affection of knowledges (cognitiones et scientiae) stands pre-eminent above them all, when it has for its end that we may become truly rational, for thus it has good and truth for its end. The very life of the internal man flows into all the affections of the natural man, but is varied there according to the ends when it flows into affections which have the world for their end, this end is vivified by that life, and there results worldly life; when into affections which have self for their end, this end is vivified by that life, and there results corporeal life; and so in all other cases. It is from this that cupidities and phantasies live, but a life contrary to the affection of good and truth.

[2] The inflowing life is applied to no other object than the end, because with every one his end is his love, and it is the love alone that lives. All other objects are only derivations from this, and they all draw their life from the end. Every one may see what kind of life he has, if he will only search out what his end is; not what all his ends are--for he has numberless ones, as many as intentions, and almost as many as judgments and conclusions of thoughts, which are only intermediate ends, variously derived from the principal one, or tending to it--but let him search out the end he prefers to all the rest, and in respect to which all others are as nothing. If he has for his end himself and the world, let him know that his life is infernal; but if he has for his end the good of his neighbor, the common good, the Lordís kingdom, and especially the Lord Himself, let him know that his life is heavenly.

AC 1910. And she conceived. That this signifies the first life of the rational, is evident from the signification of "conception," as being the first life. As regards the rational, it receives its life, as before said, from the life of the internal man flowing into the life of the affection of knowledges (cognitiones et scientiae) in the exterior man. The life of the affection of these knowledges gives a sort of body to the rational, or clothes the life of the internal man as the body clothes the soul for this is precisely the case with these knowledges. In everything appertaining to man, in everything of his affection and in everything of his thought, there is the idea or likeness of soul and body, for there is nothing, however simple it may appear, that is not composite, and that does not come forth from what is prior to itself.

AC 1911. And she saw that she had conceived, and her mistress was despised in her eyes. That this signifies that this rational at its conception, lightly esteemed the truth itself that was adjoined to good, is evident from the signification of the "mistress," or Sarai, as being truth adjoined to good. The rational is conceived cannot acknowledge intellectual or spiritual truth as truth, because there adhere to this rational many fallacies from the memory-knowledges drawn from the world and from nature, and many appearances from the knowledges taken from the literal sense of the Word, and these are not truths.

[2] For example: it is an intellectual truth that all life is from the Lord; but the rational first conceived does not apprehend this, and supposes that if it did not live from itself it would have no life; nay, it is indignant if the contrary is said, as has been many times perceived from the spirits who still cling to the fallacies of the senses.

[3] It is an intellectual truth that all good and truth are from the Lord; but the rational first conceived does not apprehend this, because it has the feeling that they are as from itself; and it also supposes that if good and truth were not from itself, it could have no thought of good and truth, and still less do anything good and true; and that if they are from another it should let itself go, and wait all the time for influx.

[4] It is an intellectual truth that nothing but good is from the Lord, and not even the least of evil; and this too the rational first conceived does not believe, but supposes that because the Lord governs everything, evil also is from Him; and that because He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and is good itself, and does not take away the punishments of the evil in hell, He wills the evil of punishment; when yet He does evil to no one, nor does He will that any one should be punished.

[5] It is an intellectual truth that the celestial man has from the Lord a perception of good and truth; but the first rational either denies the existence of perception altogether, or supposes that if a man were to perceive from another, and not from himself, he would be as if inanimate, or devoid of life. In fact the more the rational thinks from memory-knowledges that originate from sensuous things and from philosophical reasonings, the less does it apprehend the foregoing and all other intellectual truths, for the fallacies therefrom are involved in so much the darker shades. Hence it is that the learned believe less than others.

[6] Since the rational first conceived is such, it is evident that it despises its mistress, that is, it lightly esteems intellectual truth. Intellectual truth does not become manifest, that is, is not acknowledged, except in so far as fallacies and appearances are dispersed, and these are not dispersed so long as the man reasons about truths themselves from things of sense and from memory-knowledges, but it for the first time becomes manifest when he believes from a simple heart that it is truth because so said by the Lord. Then the shades of fallacies are dispersed, and then nothing in him prevents him from apprehending it.

[7] In the Lord however there were no fallacies, but when His rational was first conceived there were appearances of truth that in themselves were not truths, as is evident from what has been already said (n. 1661). Hence also His rational at its first conception lightly esteemed intellectual truth; but gradually, as His rational was made Divine, the clouds of the appearances were dispersed, and intellectual truths lay open to Him in their light and this is represented and signified by Ishmael being expelled from the house when Isaac grew up. That the Lord did not lightly esteem intellectual truth, but that He perceived and saw that His new rational did so, will be seen from what follows (n. 1914).

GENESIS 16:4    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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