Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 20:14-15
AC 2564. Verse 14. And Abimelech took flock and herd, and menservants and maidservants, and gave unto Abraham; and restored to him Sarah his wife. "Abimelech took," signifies the doctrine of faith; "flock and herd," signifies that it was enriched with rational goods and natural goods; "and men-servants and maidservants," signifies also with rational truths and natural truths, as well as with their affections; " and gave unto Abraham," signifies to the Lord; "and restored to him Sarah his wife," signifies when the Divine spiritual had been adjoined to the Divine celestial.
AC 2565. Abimelech took. That this signifies the doctrine of faith, is evident from the signification of "Abimelech," as being the doctrine of faith (n. 2504, 2509, 2510).
AC 2566. Flock and herd. That this signifies that it was enriched with rational goods and natural goods, is evident from the signification of "flock and herd." Those within the church are called the "flock" who are truly rational, that is, are internal men; hence also it is that in the abstract rational or internal goods themselves are signified by "flock", concerning which signification of "flock" see above, (n. 343, 415, 1565). But those within the church are called the "herd" who are natural, that is, are external men; hence also in the abstract natural or external goods themselves are signified by "herd;" (concerning which signification of "herd" see also above, (n. 2180). That such things are signified by "beasts" has been shown above, (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 776, 1823, 2179). Its being said that "Abimelech took and gave" signifies that the doctrine of faith was enriched; for as already said by "Abimelech" is signified the doctrine of faith.
AC 2567. And menservants and maidservants. That this signifies that it was enriched also with rational truths and natural truths, as well as with the affections of them, is evident from the signification of "menservants and maidservants." These are frequently mentioned in the Word, and by them are signified in the internal sense things that are relatively lower and of less value, such as are rational and natural things in comparison with spiritual and celestial things. By natural truths are meant memory-knowledges of every kind, for these are natural. That in the Word these are signified by "menservants and maidservants," is manifest from the internal sense of the words where they are mentioned, as in Isaiah:--
Jehovah will have compassion on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and will set them upon their own ground and the sojourner shall cleave unto them, and shall join themselves unto the house of Jacob; and the peoples shall take them, and shall bring them to their own place and the house of Israel shall possess them for themselves upon the ground of Jehovah for menservants and for maidservants (Isaiah 14:1, 2),
 where " Jacob" denotes the external church; "Israel," the internal; "sojourners," those who are being instructed in truths and goods (n. 1463, 2025); "menservants and maidservants," natural and rational truths together with the affections of them, which are to serve the church meant by "Jacob and Israel." It is evident that Jacob and Israel are not meant here, nor the Jews and Israelites, for the latter when dispersed among the Gentiles became Gentiles. The Jews still cherish this prophecy and expect its fulfillment, even according to the letter, namely, that sojourners will cleave to them, that the people will bring them to their place, and will be to them for menservants and maidservants; when yet not even the smallest thing is to be understood of the Jews and Israelites in the prophecies of the Word where these are mentioned; as must be evident even to themselves from the fact that it is often said of Israel equally as of Judah that they shall be brought back.
 Again in the same Prophet:--
Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty, and emptieth it out, and will disfigure the face of it, and scatter the inhabitants thereof and it shall be, as the people, so the priest as the servant, so his master as the maidservant, so her mistress (Isa. 24:1, 2).
Here the "earth" denotes the church (n. 662, 1066, 1068, 1850), which is made empty and is emptied out, and its face is disfigured, and its inhabitants scattered, when there are longer any interior truths and goods, which are the "people and the priest," nor any exterior truths and goods, which are the "servant" and the "maidservant," as comes to pass when external things rule over internal things.
I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob and out of Judah an inheritor of My mountain, and My chosen shall possess it, and My servants shall dwell there (Isa. 65:9),
where "Jacob" denotes the external church; "Judah," the internal celestial church; the "chosen," its goods and the "servants," its truths.
 In Joel:--
I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; also upon the servants and the maidservants will I pour out My spirit in those days (Joel 2:28, 29)
where the Lord‘s kingdom is treated of; "to prophesy" denotes to teach (n. 2534); "sons," truths themselves (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147); "daughters," goods themselves (n. 489-491); "servants" and "maidservants," lower truths and goods, upon which the spirit is said to be poured out when they accede and confirm. That such things are signified by "menservants and maidservants" here and elsewhere, does not so appear, by reason both of the common idea respecting menservants and maidservants, and of the apparent history.
 In John:--
I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all, both of free and bond, both of small and great (Rev. 19:17, 18).
It is here evident that it is not the flesh of kings, of captains, of mighty men, of horses, of those who sit on them, of the free and of the bond, which they should eat; but that it is the truths of the church, both internal and external, that were made "flesh" for them.
 That "menservants" signify truths, and "maidservants" goods, which are subservient to and thus serve spiritual and celestial truths and goods, is more clearly evident from the laws enjoined in the Representative Church in regard to menservants and maidservants; which laws all have regard to the state of the church and of the Lord’s kingdom in general and in particular; and to the way in which lower truths and goods, or those which are natural and rational, are to serve those which are spiritual and celestial, and thereby those which are Divine. For example: The Hebrew manservant and the Hebrew maidservant were to be free in the seventh year, and were then to be endowed from the flock, the threshing-floor, and the wine-press (Exod. 21:2, 6; Deut. 15:12-15; Jer. 34:9-14): The servant‘s wife was to be free if she entered into service with him; but if the master gave him his wife, the wife and children were to be the master’s (Exod. 21:3, 4). A poor brother who had been purchased was not to serve as a bondservant, but as a hired servant and a sojourner; at the jubilee he was to go out together with his children (Lev. 25:39-43): If a brother were bought by a foreign sojourner, he might be redeemed, and was to go out in the year of the jubilee (Lev. 25:47): Menservants and maidservants might be bought of the nations around, and of the sons of foreign sojourners, and they were to be their perpetual possession, whom they might rule absolutely, but not the sons of Israel (Lev. 25:44-46): If a manservant did not desire to go out of service, his ear was to be pierced with an awl, at the door, and he was to be a perpetual servant; and the same with a maidservant (Exod. 21:6; Deut. 15:16, 17): If anyone smote his manservant or his maidservant with a rod, so that he died, vengeance was to be taken on him; but if he survived a day or more, he was to be free, because he was his money (Exod. 21:20, 21): If he should smite a servant‘s eye or tooth, he was to go forth free (Exod. 21:26, 27): If an ox should gore a manservant or a maidservant so that he died, the owner was to pay thirty shekels to his master, and the ox was to be stoned (Exod. 21:32): A servant who had escaped from his master was not to be placed in confinement, but should dwell in the place where he chose, and was not to be afflicted (Deut. 23:15, 16): A servant bought with silver, and circumcised, was to eat of the Passover (Exod. 12:44): Any one’s daughter that was bought was not to go out of service like the manservants; if she were evil, her master was not to sell her to a stranger; if she were betrothed to his son, she was to be as a daughter; if he took another, he was not to diminish her food, her raiment, nor her duty of marriage; if these things were not done, she was to go out of service without price (Exod. 21:7-12).
 All these laws have their origin from the laws of truth and good in heaven, and in the internal sense have reference to them; partly by correspondences, partly by representatives, and partly by significatives. But after the representatives and significatives of the church (which were the most external and lowest things of worship) had been abolished, the necessity for these laws ceased also. Now if these laws were to be unfolded from the laws of order of truth and good, and from representatives and significatives, it would be plain that nothing else was meant by "menservants" than rational and memory truths (vera rationalia et scientifica), which are lower truths, and therefore ought to serve spiritual truths; and that by "maidservants" were signified the goods of these, which being also lower, ought to serve indeed, but in another manner; and therefore certain of the laws laid down respecting maidservants differ from those laid down respecting menservants; for regarded in themselves truths are more fully servants than their goods are.
 By the "king‘s right," in Samuel, nothing else is signified in the internal sense than the "right" of truth, and likewise the "right" of falsity when it begins to rule over truth and over good; as is evident from the explication of the words by which this is described:--
This will be the right of the king that shall reign over you he will take your sons and appoint them to him over his chariots and for his horsemen, and they shall run before his chariots; he will take your daughters for perfumers, and for cooks, and for bakers; your menservants and your maidservants and your goodliest young men and your asses will be take and put them to his work; he will take the tenth of your flock; and ye shall be for servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king whom ye have chosen for you, and Jehovah will not answer you in that day (1 Sam. 8:11, 13, 16-18).
 That by a "king" is signified truths, may be seen above (n. 1672, 2015, 2069); thus in the opposite sense things that are not true, that is, falsities. By the "sons whom he would appoint for himself over his chariots and for his horsemen," are signified the truths of doctrine, which should be subservient to principles of falsity, which are the "chariots and horsemen." By the "daughters whom he should take for perfumers, cooks, and bakers," are signified the goods of doctrine, by which those falsities would be filled with delight; and which would be made to favor the falsities. By the "menservants and maidservants, the young men, and the asses, by which he would do his work," are signified the things of reason and of memory-knowledge, by which those falsities would be confirmed. By the "flock of which he will take a tenth" are signified the remains of good that he would do violence to. And by their "being servants" is signified that it would come to pass that the celestial and spiritual things of the Word and of doctrine, instead of ruling, would be subservient to the confirmation of the falsities of his principles, and the evils of his cupidities. For there is nothing that cannot be injected into principles of falsity as confirmatory of them, either by a false application, by a wrong interpretation, by perversion, or by a rejection of those things which do not favor; and therefore it is added: "if ye cry out in that day because of your king whom ye have chosen for you, Jehovah will not answer in that day."
AC 2568. It has been said above in this chapter that doctrine would become null and void if the rational were consulted (n. 2516, 2538); and that it was not consulted (n. 2519, 2531). But here it is said that the doctrine of faith was enriched with goods and truths both rational and natural. At first view these statements appear as if they were adverse and contrary to each other; and yet are not so. How the case was with the Lord, has been stated; but how it is with man, remains to be told.
 As regards man it is one thing to regard the doctrine of faith from rational things, and altogether another to regard rational things from the doctrine of faith. To regard the doctrine of faith from rational things is not to believe in the Word, or in the doctrine thence derived, until one is persuaded from rational things that it is so; whereas to regard rational things from the doctrine of faith is first to believe in the Word, or in the doctrine therefrom, and then to confirm the same by rational things. The former is inverted order, and results in nothing being believed; whereas the latter is genuine order, and causes the man to believe the better. It is the former that is here meant by its being said that Abimelech should die because of the woman; by which is signified that the doctrine of faith would become null and void if the rational were consulted (n. 2516, 2538); but the latter is meant by its being said that Abimelech gave flock and herd, and menservants and maidservants; by which is signified that the doctrine of faith was enriched with rational and natural goods and truths.
 These things are much treated of in the Word in its internal sense, especially where Asshur and Egypt are spoken of; for the reason that while the doctrine of faith is regarded from rational things, that is, while a man does not believe until he is persuaded from them that it is so, it then not only becomes null and void, but whatever is contained in it is also denied; whereas when rational things are regarded from the doctrine of faith, that is, when a man believes the Word, and afterwards the same things are confirmed by rational things, the doctrine is then living and whatever is contained in it is affirmed.
 There are therefore two principles; one of which leads to all folly and insanity, and the other to all intelligence and wisdom. The former principle is to deny all things, or to say in the heart that we cannot believe them until we are convinced by what we can apprehend, or perceive by the senses; this is the principle that leads to all folly and insanity, and is to be called the negative principle. The other principle is to affirm the things which are of doctrine from the Word, or to think and believe within ourselves that they are true because the Lord has said them: this is the principle that leads to all intelligence and wisdom, and is to be called the affirmative principle.
 The more they who think from the negative principle consult things rational, the more they consult memory-knowledges, and the more they consult things philosophical, the more do they cast and precipitate themselves into darkness, until at last they deny all things. The causes of this are, that no one can apprehend higher things from lower ones, that is, spiritual and celestial things, still less Divine things, from lower ones, because they transcend all understanding, and moreover everything is then involved in negatives from that principle. On the other hand, they who think from an affirmative principle can confirm themselves by whatever things rational, by whatever memory-knowledges, and whatever things philosophic they have at command; for all these are to them things confirmatory, and give them a fuller idea of the matter.
 Moreover there are some who are in doubt before they deny, and there are some who are in doubt before they affirm. They who are in doubt before they deny are they who incline to a life of evil; and when this life carries them away, then in so far as they think of the matters in question they deny them. But they who are in doubt before they affirm are they who incline to a life of good; and when they suffer themselves to be bent to this by the Lord, then in so far as they think about those things so far they affirm. As this subject is further treated of in the verses which follow,. it is permitted of the Lord’s Divine mercy to illustrate them more fully there (n. 2588).
AC 2569. And gave unto Abraham; and restored to him Sarah his wife. That he "gave unto Abraham" signifies to the Lord, is evident from the representation of Abraham, as being the Lord. That he "restored unto him Sarah his wife" signifies when the Divine spiritual had been adjoined to the Divine celestial, is evident from the signification of "Sarah a wife," as being spiritual truth adjoined to celestial good (n. 2507). The internal sense of the words in this verse is manifest from what has been said, namely, that when the Human in the Lord had been united to the Divine, and the Divine to the Human, He then possessed omniscience not only of Divine celestial and spiritual things, but also of infra-celestial and infra-spiritual things, that is, of rational and natural things; for from the Divine, as from the Sun of all light, everything is seen as present.
AC 2570. Verse 15. And Abimelech said, Behold my land is before thee; dwell in that which is good in thine eyes. "Abimelech said, Behold my land is before thee," signifies the Lord‘s perception concerning the doctrine of love and charity; "dwell in that which is good in thine eyes," signifies that he was in everything where there was good.
AC 2571. Abimelech said, Behold my land is before thee. That this signifies the Lord’s perception concerning the doctrine of love and charity, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to think (n. 2506); and from the signification of "land," as being here the doctrine of love and charity. "Land" (or "earth") in the internal sense signifies various things (n. 620, 636, 1066); and that which it signifies is evident from the series or connection. For it signifies the external man of the church, when "heaven" signifies the internal (n. 82, 913, 1411, 1733); it also signifies the region where the church is (n. 662, 1066); it signifies the church itself; also in a universal sense the Lord‘s kingdom in the heavens and on earth, since this was represented by the land of Canaan or the holy land (n. 1437, 1585, 1607); the same being signified also by the "new heaven and new earth" (n. 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118); and because "land" signifies the man of the church, the church, and the Lord’s kingdom, it also signifies that which is their essential, namely, love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, for on this they all hang (n. 537, 540, 547, 553, 2130); consequently it signifies the doctrine of love and charity, which belongs to the church, and which is here the "land of Abimelech;" for by Abimelech as a king is signified the doctrine of faith, as shown above; and by his "land," whence and where he was, is signified the doctrine of love and charity, whence and where faith is.
 That the Lord‘s thought hitherto had been concerning the doctrine of faith, but now was concerning the doctrine of love and charity, comes from the fact that the Lord adjoined the Human to the Divine by means of the truths which are of faith (although at the same time by means of Divine goods which are of love, in the truths) according to the order by which man also becomes spiritual and celestial; but not Divine, so as to have life in himself, like the Lord. But when the Divine marriage of truth and good and of good and truth in the Lord had been effected, which is signified by Abimelech restoring to Abraham Sarah his wife, (n. 2569), the Lord’s thought then was concerning the doctrine of love and charity, and this also according to order; for when a man has become spiritual and celestial he then no longer thinks from truth, but from good; yet not from the Divine good united to the Divine truth, as did the Lord. This is the reason why the doctrine of love and charity is now for the first time mentioned, although regarded in itself the doctrine of faith is the same; and the Lord‘s perception and thought in everything of faith was always from the Divine Love. Hence it is that the doctrine of love and charity is the Divine doctrine itself, and is that which was cultivated in the most ancient churches; and because this made a one with the doctrine of faith, they cast out those who separated them (n. 2417).
AC 2572. Dwell in that which is good in thine eyes. That this signifies that He was in everything where there was good (in the proximate sense, that He was in the good of doctrine) is evident from the signification of "eyes," as being the intellectual, which is of doctrine; and from the signification of "dwelling," as being to live (n. 1293); here Esse (being), because it is predicated of the Lord. Esse in everything where there is good, is Esse in the omniscience of all Divine, celestial, spiritual, rational, and natural things, and this from Divine love; for in the Divine Love there is omniscience of all these things (n. 2500).
 Moreover there are both the good and the truth of doctrine. The good of doctrine is love and charity, the truth of doctrine is faith. They who are in the good of doctrine, that is, in love and charity, are in the truth of doctrine, that is, in faith. But it is one thing to be in good, or in love and charity, and another to be in the good of doctrine. Little children who are in love to their parents and in charity toward other little children are in good, but not in the good of doctrine, consequently not in the truth of doctrine, or faith. But they who have been regenerated by the truths of faith are in the good of doctrine. In so far as these are in good, so far are they in truths; that is, in so far as they are in love and charity, so far are they in faith, consequently, so far in wisdom and intelligence.
 The angels, being in love to the Lord and in mutual love, are also in all truth, and thus in all wisdom and intelligence; not only in regard to celestial and spiritual things, but also in regard to rational and natural things; for from love, because from the Lord, they are in the very principles or springs of things that is, in their ends and causes. To see from principles, or from ends and causes, is to see from heaven all things that are below, even those which are on the earth. To use a comparison, this is like one who is on a high mountain, in a watch-tower, who is able to look around for many miles upon the things below; while they who are below, especially if they are in a valley or in a forest, can scarcely see as many paces. Precisely so is it with those who are in the good of doctrine, in comparison with those who are in the truth of doctrine separated from its good; although the latter think that they see farther than the former. Nevertheless these see nothing of good, nor anything of truth except very slightly on the surface, and even this defiled by falsities.
 Yet at the best the wisdom and intelligence of angels is finite, and in comparison with the Lord’s Divine Wisdom, most finite, and scarcely anything; as is evident from the fact that between the Infinite and the finite there is no ratio; but yet there is a communication from the Divine omnipotence; and also from the fact that the Lord is Good Itself and Love Itself, consequently the Esse itself of good, and the Esse itself of the love that exists with the angels, and thus the Esse itself of their wisdom and intelligence. From this we can see that the Lord is in everything in which there is good, both in heaven and on earth. They who think that the Lord is in truth separate from good are much mistaken. He is not in anything but good, and from that in truth; that is, in love and charity, and from that in faith.GENESIS 20:14-15 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|