Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 16:7
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AC 1924. Verse 7. And the Angel of Jehovah found her by a fountain of waters in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. "The Angel of Jehovah found her," signifies the thought of the interior man; "the Angel of Jehovah" is here the interior thought from the Lord‘s internal; "by a fountain of waters in the wilderness," signifies natural truth that had not as yet attained to life; "by the fountain in the way to Shur," signifies that truth was from those things which proceed from memory-knowledges.

AC 1925. The Angel of Jehovah found her. That this signifies the thought of the interior man, namely, in the Lord, may be seen from the representation and signification of "the Angel of Jehovah." "The Angel of Jehovah" is occasionally mentioned in the Word, and everywhere, when in a good sense, represents and signifies some essential in the Lord and from the Lord; but what he represents and signifies may be seen from the connection. They were angels who were sent to men, and who spoke through the prophets; yet what they spoke was not from the angels, but through them, for the state of the latter was then such that they knew not but that they were Jehovah, that is, the Lord; but as soon as they had done speaking, they returned into their former state, and spoke as from themselves.

[2] This was the case with the angels who spoke the Word of the Lord, as has been given me to know from much similar experience in the other life, concerning which, of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter. This is the reason why the angels were sometimes called "Jehovah;" as is very evident from the angel who appeared to Moses in the bush, of whom it is written:--

And the Angel of Jehovah appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, and God called unto him out of the midst of the bush. God said unto Moses, I am that I am. And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel Jehovah, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you (Exod. 3:2, 4, 11, 15)

from which it is evident that it was an angel who appeared to Moses as a flame in the bush, and that he spoke as Jehovah because the Lord or Jehovah spoke through him.

[3] For in order that the speaking may come to man by words of articulate sound and in ultimate nature, the Lord makes use of the ministry of angels, filling them with the Divine, and lulling the things which are their own; so that at the time they do not know but that they themselves are Jehovah. In this way the Divine of Jehovah, which is in the highest things, passes down into the lowest of nature, in which lowest is man in respect to sight and hearing. 80 it was with the angel who spoke to Gideon, of whom it is thus said in the book of Judges:--

The Angel of Jehovah appeared unto Gideon, and said unto him, Jehovah is with thee, thou mighty man of strength. And Gideon said unto him, In me, my Lord; why then is all this befallen us? And Jehovah looked upon him, and said, Go in thy might; and Jehovah said unto him, Surely I will be with thee (Judges 6:12, 14, 16)

and it is afterwards said:--

And Gideon saw that he was the Angel of Jehovah, and Gideon said, Ah, Lord Jehovah, forasmuch as I have seen the Angel of Jehovah face to face. And Jehovah said unto him, peace be unto thee; fear not (Judges 6:22, 23).

In this case also it was an angel, but he was then in such a state that he did not know otherwise than that he was Jehovah or the Lord.

[4] So in another place in the book of Judges:--

The Angel of Jehovah went up from Gilgal to Bochim, and he said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you into the land which I sware unto your fathers, and I said, I will not make void My covenant with you to eternity (Judges 2:1)

where in like manner an angel speaks in the name of Jehovah, saying that he had led them up out of the land of Egypt, when yet the angel did not lead them out, but Jehovah, as is declared many times elsewhere. From all this we may see how angels spoke through the prophets, namely, that Jehovah Himself spoke, but through angels, and the angels spoke nothing from themselves. That the Word is from the Lord, is evident from many passages, as in Matthew:--

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son (Matthew 1:22, 23),

besides other passages. As when the Lord speaks with men He speaks through angels, therefore sometimes in the Word the Lord is also called an "Angel," and then by "Angel," as already said, there is signified some essential thing in the Lord and from the Lord; as, in the present case, the Lord‘s interior thought; and therefore also the angel is called in this chapter "Jehovah" and also "God," as in (verse 13): "and Hagar called the name of Jehovah that was speaking unto her, Thou God seest me."

[5] In other places likewise some special attribute of the Lord is signified by "angels." As in John:--

The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches (Rev. 1:20).

There are no angels of churches, but by the "angels" is signified that which is of the church, thus that which is of the Lord in respect to the churches. And again:--

I saw the wall of the Holy Jerusalem great and high, having twelve gates, and upon the gates twelve angels, and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Rev. 21:12)

where by the "twelve angels" the same is signified as by the "twelve tribes," namely, all things of faith, and thus the Lord, from whom is faith and all that is of faith. And again:--

And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel (Rev. 14:6)

where by the "angel" is signified the gospel, which is the Lord’s alone.

[6] In Isaiah:--

The Angel of His faces saved them in His love and in His pity He redeemed them and He bare them and carried them all the days of eternity (Isaiah 63:9)

where by "the Angel of His faces" is meant the Lord‘s mercy toward the whole human race, in redeeming them. So too it was said by Jacob when he blessed the sons of Joseph:--

The Angel who redeemed me from all evil bless the lads (Gen. 48:16)

where also redemption, which is the Lord’s, is signified by the "Angel." In Malachi:--

The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant whom ye desire (Malachi 3:1)

it is here plainly evident that the Lord is signified by the "Angel," since He is called "the Angel of the covenant" on account of His advent. And even more plainly does it appear that the Lord is signified by an "Angel" in Exodus:--

Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee by the way, and to bring thee to the place which I have prepared. He will not endure your transgression, for My name is in the midst of him (Exodus 23:20, 21).

Hence now it is evident that by "Angel" in the Word is meant the Lord; but what of the Lord, appears from the series and connection in the internal sense.

AC 1926. That in the passage before us "the Angel of Jehovah" denotes the interior thought that came from the Lord‘s Internal, is evident, as before said, from the connection. By that which is "interior" is here meant that in the Lord which was united to Jehovah, or to His Internal. The unition was not effected all at once and by a single alternation, but successively from His earliest childhood to the end of His life in the world, and this chiefly by means of temptations and victories. Each temptation and victory effected union, and in proportion as He united Himself with His Internal or Jehovah, in the same proportion His thought became interior, and in the same proportion intellectual truth was united to Divine good. This is the thought that is here meant by the interior thought which was from the Lord’s Internal, and which is properly and peculiarly represented and signified in the present case by "the Angel of Jehovah."

AC 1927. By a fountain of waters in the wilderness. That this signifies natural truth that had not as yet attained to life, is evident from the signification of "a fountain of waters," as being truth; and from the signification of "the wilderness," as being that which as yet has but little vitality. Such also is the signification of this term in the internal sense in Luke, where the Lord is treated of

The child (John) grew, and waxed strong in spirit and was in the wilderness until the day of his showing unto Israel (Luke 1:80).

That "a fountain of waters" and "the wilderness" signify these things, may be confirmed by very many passages from the Word; but as mention is very often made of "fountains" in what follows, and also of the " wilderness," where their signification is the same as here, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy the proof will there be given. What it is for truth not yet to have attained to life, will be evident from what is to be said presently.

AC 1928. By the fountain in the way to Shur. That this signifies that truth was from those things which proceed from memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of a "fountain," also of a "way," and likewise of Shur." A "fountain," as before said, signifies truth. A "way" signifies that which leads to truth and which proceeds from truth (n. 627). But "Shur" signifies such memory-knowledge as is still as it were in the wilderness, that is, which has not yet attained to life. Truths that come from memory-knowledges are said to attain to life, when they join or associate themselves with the truths into which flows the celestial of love, for the very life of truth comes thence. There are conjunctions of actual things, thus of truths, like those of the societies in heaven, to which also they correspond for a man as to his interiors is a kind of little heaven. The actual things, or truths, that have not been conjoined in accordance with the form of the heavenly societies, have not yet attained to life; for before this the celestial of love from the Lord cannot flow in with adaptation. They first receive life when the form is similar on both sides, or when the man’s little heaven is a correspondent image of the Grand Heaven; previous to this, no one can be called a heavenly man.

[2] The Lord, who was to govern the universal heaven from Himself, did when in the world reduce the truths and goods in His external man, or in His Human Essence, into such order; but as He perceived that His rational that was first conceived was not of this character (verses 4 and 5), He thought out the cause, and perceived that the natural truths that sprung from memory-knowledges had not as yet attained to life, that is, were not as yet reduced into that heavenly order. And besides, the truths of faith have no life at all, unless the man lives in charity, for all the truths of faith flow from charity and are in charity; and when they are in charity and from charity, then they have life. In charity there is life, but never in truths apart from charity.

[3] That "Shur" signifies memory-knowledge that has not yet attained to life, is evident from its meaning, for Shur was a wilderness not far from the Red Sea, thus toward Egypt, as is evident in Moses:--

Moses made Israel to journey from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water (Exod. 15:22).

That it was toward Egypt is evident also in Moses, where the posterity of Ishmael are spoken of:--

They dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is toward the faces of Egypt (Gen. 25:18).

Also in 1 Samuel:--

Saul smote Amalek from Havilah, as thou comest to Shur, that is toward the faces of Egypt (1 Sam. 15:7).

And again:--

David made a raid against the Geshurite, and the Gizrite, and the Amalekite, for they were the inhabitants of the land who were of old, as thou goest to Shur, even to the land of Egypt (1 Sam. 27:8).

From these passages it may be seen that by " Shur" is signified the first memory-knowledge, and in fact such as is still in the wilderness, or that is not as yet conjoined with the rest in accordance with the order of heavenly association; for by "Egypt," before which it was, is signified memory-knowledge in every sense has before shown, (n. 1164, 1165, 1156, 1462).

AC 1929. That these things are signified by "the Angel of Jehovah finding Hagar at a fountain of waters in the wilderness, at the fountain in the way to Shur," can by no means appear from the literal sense, and the less so seeing that it is historical; for this sense seems very remote from signifying such things. But still this is the meaning that comes into the ideas of the angels when these things are read by man, for the angels have no idea of Hagar, nor of a fountain of waters, nor of a wilderness, nor of a way, nor of Shur. None of these things penetrate to the angels, but perish at the first threshold. But what is signified by "Hagar," by "a fountain," by "a wilderness," by "a way," and by "Shur," this they understand, and thereby form heavenly ideas, and in this way they perceive the Lord‘s Word for the internal sense is the Word to them.

GENESIS 16:7    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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