Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 20:18
AC 2585. Verse 18. For closing Jehovah had therefore closed very womb of the house of Abimelech, because of the word of Sarah, Abraham‘s wife. "For closing Jehovah had therefore closed every womb of the house of Abimelech," signifies the barrenness of the doctrine; "because of the word of Sarah," signifies by reason of the rational, if it had conjoined itself; "Abraham’s wife," signifies that spiritual truth might be conjoined with celestial good.
AC 2586. For closing Jehovah had therefore closed every womb of the house of Abimelech. That this signifies barrenness, namely, of doctrine, is evident from the signification of "closing to close up the womb," as being to prevent conception itself; and from the signification of "the house of Abimelech," as being the good of the doctrine of faith, which shows that barrenness is signified. That up to this point in this chapter " God" is mentioned, but here for the first time "Jehovah," is because "God" is mentioned where the subject is truth, but "Jehovah" where the subject is good. All the conception of doctrine is from god as a father, but its birth is by means of truth as a mother, as occasionally stated before. Here the conception of doctrine is treated of, and as this is from good, "Jehovah" is mentioned; whereas above its birth is treated of, and as this takes place by means of truth, "God" is mentioned, as in the verse preceding: "God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants, and they brought forth."
 The case is the same elsewhere in the Word where conception is treated of, as in Isaiah:--
Jehovah hath called me from the womb. Thus saith Jehovah that formed me from the womb; then shall I be precious to Jehovah; and my God shall be my strength (Isaiah 49:1, 5);
"strength" is predicated of truth, and therefore "God" is mentioned In the same
Thus saith Jehovah thy Maker, and thy Former from the womb (Isaiah 44:2, 24).
For the same reason it is said "the house of Abimelech," by which is signified the good of the doctrine of faith. That a "house" denotes good, see (n. 2048, 2233, 2234); and that "Abimelech" denotes the doctrine of faith, (n. 2509, 2510). That there is a Divine arcanum in the fact that they brought forth, and that the wombs of the house of Abimelech were shut on account of Sarah, is manifest; and this arcanum cannot possibly be disclosed except by the internal sense.
AC 2587. Because of the word of Sarah. That this signifies by reason of the rational if it had conjoined itself, is evident from the representation of "Sarah" as a sister, as being rational truth (n. 2508). The "word of Sarah" signifies the whole transaction, namely, that she was called a sister, and that Abimelech took her, but that he did not come near her. What these things signify further will be told in what follows.
AC 2588. Abraham‘s wife. That this signifies in order that spiritual truth might be conjoined with celestial good, is evident from the representation of Sarah as a wife, as being spiritual truth conjoined with celestial good (n. 1468, 1901, 2063, 2065, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507); and from the representation of Abraham, as being celestial good conjoined with spiritual truth (n. 2011, 2172, 2198, 2501). Whether we say "spiritual truth and celestial good," or "the Lord," it is the same; because the Lord is truth itself and good itself, and is the very marriage itself of truth and good, and of good and truth. How the case herein is can indeed be seen from the explication but as these matters are among those which are obscure at this day, we may so far as possible illustrate them. The subject here treated of is the doctrine of faith, concerning which the Lord thought in His childhood, namely, whether it was allowable to enter into it by means of rational things, and thus form for one’s self ideas concerning it His so thinking came from His love and consideration for the human race, who are such as not to believe what they do not comprehend in a rational manner. But He perceived from the Divine that this ought not to be done; and He therefore revealed the doctrine to Himself from the Divine, and thereby at the same time all things in the universe that are subordinate, namely, all things of the rational and of the natural.
 How the case is with the doctrinal things of faith among men has been stated above (n. 2568), namely, that there are two principles from which they think, a negative and an affirmative and that those think from the negative principle, who believe nothing unless they are convinced by what is of reason and memory-knowledge; nay, by what is of sense; but those think from the affirmative who believe that things are true because the Lord has said so in the Word, thus who have faith in the Lord. They who are in the negative in regard to a thing being true because it is in the Word, say at heart that they will believe when they are persuaded by things rational and memory-knowledges. But the fact is that they never believe; and indeed they would not believe if they were to be convinced by the bodily senses of sight, hearing, and touch; for they would always form new reasonings against such things, and would thus end by completely extinguishing all faith, and at the same time turning the light of the rational into darkness, because into falsities. But those who are in the affirmative, that is, who believe that things are true because the Lord has said so, are continually being confirmed, and their ideas enlightened and strengthened, by what is of reason and memory-knowledge, and even by what is of sense; for man has light from no other source than by means of the things of reason and memory, and such is the way with every one. With these the doctrine thus "living lives;" and of them it is said, that they "are healed," and "bring forth;" whereas with those who are in the negative the doctrine "dying dies;" and it is said of them that "the womb closing is closed." All this shows what it is to enter into the doctrine of faith by means of rational things, and what to enter into rational things by means of the doctrine of faith; but let this be illustrated by examples.
 It is from the doctrine of the Word, that the first and principal thing of doctrine is love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor. They who are in the affirmative in regard to this can enter into whatever things of reason and of memory, and even of sense, they please, every one according to his gift, his knowledge, and his experience. Nay, the more they enter in, the more they are confirmed; for universal nature is full of confirmation. But they who deny this first and principal thing of doctrine, and who desire to be first convinced of anything true by means of the things of reason and memory, never suffer themselves to be convinced, because at heart they deny, and all the time take their stand in favor of some other principle which they believe to be essential; and finally, by confirmations of their principle they so blind themselves that they cannot even know what love to the Lord and love to the neighbor are. And as they confirm themselves in what is contrary, they at length confirm themselves in the notion that no other love is possible that has any delight in it except the love of self and of the world; and this to such a degree (if not in doctrine, yet in life) that they embrace infernal love in place of heavenly love. But with those who are not in the negative nor as yet in the affirmative, but are in doubt before they deny or affirm, the case is as above stated (n. 2568), namely that they who incline to a life of evil fall into the negative, but they who incline to a life of good are brought into the affirmative.
 Take another example: It is among the primary things of the doctrine of faith that all good is from the Lord, and all evil from man, that is, from one‘s self. They who are in the affirmative that it is so, can confirm themselves by many things of reason and of memory-knowledge, such as that no good can possibly flow in except from god itself, that is, from the Fountain of Good, thus from the Lord; and that the beginning or principle of good can be from no other source; finding illustration in all things that are truly good, in themselves, in others, in the community, and also in the created universe. But they who are in the negative confirm themselves in what is contrary by everything they think of, insomuch that at last they do not know what good is; and dispute among themselves as to what is the highest good, being deeply ignorant of the fact that it is the celestial and spiritual good from the Lord, by which all lower good is made alive, and that the delight therefrom is truly delight. Some also think that unless good is from themselves, it cannot possibly come from any other source.
 Take as another example the truth that they who are in love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor can receive the truths of doctrine and have faith in the Word, but not they who are in the life of the love of self and the world; or what is the same, that they who are in good can believe, but not they who are in evil. They who are in the affirmative can confirm this by numberless things of reason and memory. From reason they can confirm it on the ground that truth and good agree, but not truth and evil; and that as all falsity is in evil, so it is from evil; and that if any who are in evil nevertheless have truth, it is on the lips, and not in the heart; and from their memory-knowledge they can confirm by many things that truths shun evils, and that evils spew out truths. But they who are in the negative confirm themselves by alleging that every one, of whatever character, is able to believe just as well as others, even though he lives in continual hatred, in the delights of revenge, and in deceit; and this even while they themselves altogether reject from their doctrine the good of life, after the rejection of which they do not believe anything.
 That it may be still more manifest how the case herein is, let us take this example: They who are in the affirmative that the Word has been so written as to possess an internal sense which does not appear in the letter, can confirm themselves therein by many rational considerations; as that by the Word man has connection with heaven; that there are correspondences of natural things with spiritual, in which the spiritual are not seen; that the ideas of interior thought are altogether different from the material ideas which fall into the words of language; that man, being born for both lives, can, while in the world, be also in heaven, by means of the Word which is for both worlds; that with some persons a certain Divine light flows into the things of the understanding, and also into the affections, when the Word is read; that it is of necessity that there should be something written that has come down from heaven, and that therefore the Word cannot be such in its origin as it is in the letter; and that it can be holy only from a certain holiness that it has within it. He can also confirm himself by means of memory-knowledges; as that men were formerly in representatives, and that the writings of the Ancient Church were of this nature; also that the writings of many among the Gentiles had this origin; and that it is on this account that in the churches such a style has been revered as holy, and among the Gentiles as learned, as examples of which the books of many authors might be mentioned. But they who are in the negative, if they do not deny all these things, still do not believe them, and persuade themselves that the Word is such as it is in the letter, appearing indeed worldly, while yet being spiritual (as to where the spiritual is hidden within it they care little, but for manifold reasons are willing to let it be so), and this they can confirm by many things.
 In order to present the subject to the apprehension of the simple, take as an example the following matter of knowledge. They who are in the affirmative that sight is not of the eye, but of the spirit, which sees the things that are in the world through the eye as an organ of its body, can confirm themselves by many things; as from our hearing things said by others; in that they refer themselves to a certain interior sight, into which they are changed; which would be impossible unless there were an interior sight; also that whatever is thought of is seen by an interior sight, by some more clearly, by others more obscurely; and again, that things we imagine present themselves not unlike objects of sight; and also that unless it were the spirit within the body that saw the objects which fall within the ken of the eye as the organ of sight, the spirit could see nothing in the other life, when yet it cannot but be that it will see innumerable and amazing things that cannot possibly be seen with the bodily eye. Then again we may reflect that in dreams, especially those of the prophets, many things have been seen although not with the eyes. And finally, should anyone be skilled in philosophy, he may confirm himself by considering that outer things cannot enter into inner things, just as compounds cannot into simples; and therefore that things of the body cannot enter into those of the spirit, but only the reverse; not to mention a host of other proofs, until at last the man is persuaded that the spirit has sight, and not the eye, except from the spirit. But they who are in the negative call every consideration of this kind either a matter of nature or one of fancy, and when they are told that a spirit possesses and enjoys much more perfect sight than a man in the body, they ridicule the idea, and reject it as an idle tale, believing that if deprived of the sight of the bodily eye they would live in the dark; although the very opposite is the truth, for they are then in the light.
 From these examples we may see what it is to enter into the things of reason and memory-knowledge from truths, and what it is to enter into truths from the things of reason and memory-knowledge; and that the former is according to order, but the latter contrary to order; and that when we do that which is according to order we are enlightened; but when we do that which is contrary to order, we are made blind. All of which shows of how great concern it is that truths should be known and believed; for man is enlightened by truths, but is made blind by falsities. By truths there is opened to the rational an immense and almost unbounded field; but by falsities comparatively none at all, although this does not appear to be so. It is because the angels are in truths that they enjoy wisdom so great; for truth is the very light of heaven.
 They who have blinded themselves by not being willing to believe anything which they do not apprehend by the senses, until at length they have come to believe nothing, were in old times called " serpents of the tree of knowledge;" for such reasoned much from sensuous things and their fallacies, which easily fall into man’s apprehension and belief, and thereby they seduced many (n. 195, 196). In the other life such are readily distinguished from other spirits by the fact that in regard to all things of faith they reason whether it be so; and if they are shown a thousand and a thousand times that it is so, still they advance negative doubts against every proof that is offered; and this they would go on doing to all eternity. So blind are they on this account that they have not common sense, that is, they cannot comprehend what good and truth are; and yet every one of them thinks himself wiser than all in the universe; making wisdom to consist in being able to invalidate what is Divine, and deduce it from what is natural. Many who in this world have been esteemed wise, are preeminently of this character; for the more anyone is endowed with talent and knowledge, and is in the negative, the more insane he is, beyond all others; whereas the more anyone is endowed with talent and knowledge, and is in the affirmative, the wiser he is able to be. It is by no means denied man to cultivate the rational faculty by means of memory-knowledges; but that which is forbidden is to harden ourselves against the truths of faith which belong to the Word.
 These things are much treated of in the internal sense of the Word, especially in that of the prophetic Word, where Asshur (or Assyria) and Egypt are treated of; for reasoning is signified by "Asshur" (n. 119, 1186); and memory-knowledge by "Egypt" (n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462). Concerning those who desire to enter into doctrinal and Divine things by means of memory-knowledges and rational things, we read in Isaiah:--
I will confound Egypt in Egypt, and they shall fight every man against his brother, and every man against his companion, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom and the spirit of Egypt shall be made void in the midst of it, and I will swallow up the counsel thereof the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be dried up and shall become totally dry; and the streams shall vanish, the rivers of Egypt shall be minished and dried up the reed and the flag shall wither away; and all the seed of the river shall become dry. Jehovah hath mingled a spirit of perversities in the midst of her, and they have caused Egypt to go astray in every work thereof, as a drunken man strayeth in his vomit (Isaiah 19:2, 3, 5-7, 14).
In the same:--
Woe to the rebellious sons, who walk to go down into Egypt, but have not asked at My mouth, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. And the strength of Pharaoh shall be unto you for a shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt for a reproach (Isa. 30:1-3).
In the same:--
Woe to them that go down into Egypt for help, and stay upon horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, and seek not Jehovah. And when Jehovah shall stretch out His hand, he that helpeth shall stumble, and he that is helped shall fall, and they shall all be consumed together. And Asshur shall fall by the sword not of man, and the sword not of man shall devour him (Isa. 31:1, 3, 8).
My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew them out pits, broken pits, which can hold no water. Is Israel a servant? If he was born of the house, why is be become a prey? Dost thou not do this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God in the time when He led thee in the way? And now what hast thou to do with the way to Egypt to drink the waters of Shihor? or what hast thou to do with the way of Asshur to drink the waters of the river? O generation, see ye the Word of Jehovah: have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore said My people, We will rule, we will come no more unto Thee? why goest thou away so much to change thy way? thou shalt be ashamed from Egypt also, as thou wast ashamed from Asshur (Jeremiah 2:13, 14, 17, 18, 31, 36).
In the same:--
Hear ye the word of Jehovah, O remnant of Judah thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth the God of Israel, If setting ye set your faces to come into Egypt, and ye come to sojourn there then it shall come to pass that the sword which ye were fearing for yourselves shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine whereof ye were afraid shall cleave unto you there in Egypt, that ye die there. So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to come into Egypt, to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon you (Jeremiah 42:15-17).
And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am Jehovah; because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel; in their taking thee by thy hand thou didst break, and didst rend for them every shoulder, and in their leaning upon thee thou breakest, and makest all their loins to be at a stand; therefore thus said the Lord Jehovah, Behold I will bring a sword upon thee, and will cut off from thee man and beast, and the land of Eat shall be a desolation and a waste, and they shall know that I am Jehovah; because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it (Ezekiel 29:6-9).
Ephraim was like a silly dove; they called unto Eat, they went unto Asshur; when they shall go, I will spread out My net upon them; woe unto them because they have wandered away from Me (Hosea 7:11-13).
In the same
Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind; every day he multiplieth a lie and a waste, and they make a covenant with Asshur, and oil is carried down into Egypt (Hosea 12:1).
In the same:--
Israel hath committed whoredom under her god thou hast loved hire upon all the corn-floors; Ephraim shall return into Egypt, and they shall eat what is unclean in Asshur; for lo they are gone away from devastation, Egypt shall gather them up, Moph shall bury them, the thorn shall possess their desirable things of silver, the thistle shall be in their tents. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit yea, though they bring forth yet will I slay the desired fruit of their womb my God will cast them out, because they did not hearken unto Him, and they shall be wanderers among the nations (Hosea 9:1, 3, 6, 16, 17).
Woe to Asshur, the rod of Mine anger, and he is the staff in their hand of Mine indignation; he thinketh not right, neither doth his heart meditate right; for it is in his heart to destroy and to cut off nations not a few; for he saith, Are not my princes all of them kings? I will visit upon the fruit of the elation of heart of the king of Asshur, for he hath said, In the strength of my hand I have done it, and in my wisdom, for I am intelligent and I will remove the bounds of the peoples, and will plunder their treasures, and will cast down as a mighty one the inhabitants. Therefore shall the Lord of lords Zebaoth send among his fat ones leanness and instead of his glory, kindling there shall be kindled a burning of fire (Isaiah 10:5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16).
 In all these passages, by "Asshur" as before shown is signified reasoning; by "Egypt" and "Pharaoh" memory. knowledge; by "Ephraim" the intellectual; and there is described in these and in many other places of what quality man‘s rational becomes when it reasons concerning the truths of faith from the negative principle. The like is involved in Isaiah chapters 36 and 37, where we read that when Rabshakeh, sent by the king of Asshur, spake against Jerusalem and king Hezekiah, the angel of Jehovah smote a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the king of Asshur; by which is signified what an overthrow of man’s reasonings takes place when he reasons against Divine things, however much the man may then appear to himself to be wise.
 This reasoning is also in various places called "whoredom with the sons of Egypt and with the sons of Asshur." As in Ezekiel:--
Thou hast committed whoredom with the sons of Egypt, thy neighbors, great of flesh, and hast multiplied thy whoredom and hast committed whoredom with the sons of Asshur, and yet thou wast not satisfied (Ezekiel 16:26, 28; 23:3, 5-21);
 Concerning those who enter into rational things and memory-knowledges from the doctrine of faith, and thence are wise. In Isaiah:--
In that day shall there be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Jehovah and it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto Jehovah Zebaoth in the land of Egypt for they shall cry unto Jehovah because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour and a Prince, and He shall deliver them and Jehovah shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Jehovah in that day; and they shall offer sacrifice and meat-offering, and shall vow a vow unto Jehovah, and shall perform it (Isaiah 19:19-21).
In the same:--
In that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Asshur, and Asshur shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptians shall serve Asshur. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Asshur, a blessing in the midst of the land, which Jehovah zebaoth shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Asshur the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance (Isaiah 19:23-25);
where the spiritual church is treated of, of which the spiritual is "Israel," the rational is "Asshur," and the faculty of knowing is "Egypt;" which three constitute the intellectual things of that church, which thus follow in order; on which account it is said, "In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Asshur," and "Blessed be Egypt My people, and Asshur the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance."
 In the same:--
It shall come to pass in that day that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Asshur, and they that were outcasts in the land of Egypt, and they shall bow themselves down to Jehovah in the mountain of holiness at Jerusalem (Isa. 27:13).
In the same:--
Thus saith Jehovah, The labor of Egypt, and the merchandise of Cush and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine they shall go after thee, and shall bow themselves down to thee, they shall make supplication unto thee. In thee only is God, and there is no God else besides (Isa. 45:14).
"Cush and the Sabeans" are knowledges (n. 117, 1171). In Zechariah:--
Egypt shall go up to Jerusalem, to worship the King Jehovah Zebaoth (Zechariah 14:17, 18).
I look unto Jehovah, I wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me; a day for building thy walls, in this day, and they shall come even unto thee thence from Asshur, and the cities of Egypt, and thence from Egypt even to the river (Micah 7:7, 11, 12).
 In Ezekiel:--
Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, At the end of forty years will I gather Egypt from the peoples whither they were scattered, and I will bring again the captivity of Egypt (Ezekiel 29:13, 14).
In the same:--
Behold, Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches and a shadowing forest, and lofty in height, and its branch was among the tangled boughs the waters made it grow, going with her streams round about her plantation, and she sent out her canals unto all the trees of the field; therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long by reason of many waters; all the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs, and under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth, and under its shadow dwelt all great nations. And it became fair in its greatness, in the length of its branches, for its root was by many waters; the cedar‘ in the garden of God did not hide it, the fir’ were not like its boughs, nor was any tree in the garden of God like unto it in its beauty. I made it fair by the multitude of its branches, and all the trees of Eden that were in the garden of God, envied it (Ezekiel 31:3-8).
The Most Ancient Church, which was celestial, is here described in regard to the quality of its rational, and thereby its wisdom and intelligence, because that church looked at things below from Divine things, thus at truths from goods themselves, and thence at things that are subordinate. "Asshur" and the "cedar" are the rational; the "tangled boughs among which were its branches" are memory-knowledges; the "rivers and waters" are spiritual goods, among which was its root; the "height and length of its branches" are its extension; the "garden of God" is the spiritual church the "trees of Eden" are perceptions. From this and from all that goes before we can see what is the quality of man‘s rational, and what is the quality of his faculty of knowing, when they are subordinated to Divine truths, and serve them by confirming them.
 That rational things and memory-knowledges are of service to those who are in the affirmative as means of being wise, was represented and signified by its being commanded the sons of Israel to borrow from the Egyptians vessels of gold, and vessels of silver, and garments (Exod. 3:22; 11:2; 12:36, 36). The like is meant by its being said in various passages of the Word that they should possess the goods, houses, vineyards, and oliveyards, and other things, of the nations; and also that the very gold and silver taken from the nations should become holy. As in Isaiah:--
Jehovah will visit Tyre, and she shall return to her harlot hire, and shall commit whoredom with all the kingdoms of the earth upon the face of the ground, and her merchandise and her harlot hire shall be holiness to Jehovah it shall not he stored up nor laid away, for to them that dwell before Jehovah her merchandise shall be for eating till satisfied, and for an ancient covering (Isaiah 23:17, 18);
"the merchandise of Tyre" denotes knowledges (n. 1201), which to those who are in the negative are as harlot hire but to those who are in the affirmative are as what is holy. The like is also meant by the Lord’s words:--
Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into eternal habitations; if ye have not become faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will intrust you with the true? (Luke 16:9, 11).