Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 20:3
AC 2512. Verse 3. And God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou wilt die because of the woman whom thou hast taken, for she is married to a husband. "God came to Abimelech," signifies the Lord’s perception concerning the doctrine of faith; "in a dream by night," signifies that it was obscure; "and said to him," signifies thought thence; "Behold, thou wilt die because of the woman," signifies that the doctrine of faith would be null and void if the rational were consulted in regard to its contents; "for she is married to a husband," signifies that the doctrine of true faith, and the things therein, are conjoined with the celestial.
AC 2513. God came to Abimelech. That this signifies the Lord‘s perception concerning the doctrine of faith, is evident from the signification of "God coming," and from the signification of "Abimelech." That "God coming" signifies to perceive, is evident, for perception is nothing else than the Divine advent or influx into the intellectual faculty. That "Abimelech" signifies the doctrine of faith was shown above, (n. 2504, 2509, 2510).
AC 2514. In a dream by night. That this signifies that the perception was obscure, is evident from the signification of a "dream," and likewise of "night." A "dream," when perception is treated of, signifies something obscure in comparison with wakefulness; and still more when it is said "a dream by night." The Lord’s first perception is called obscure, because it was in the human that He was to put off, and the shades of which He was to disperse The Lord‘s perception, although from the Divine, was yet in the human, which is such that it does not immediately receive the light itself, but gradually as the shades which are there are dispersed. That He brought Himself into what was less obscure in regard to the doctrine of faith, is signified by "God coming again to Abimelech in a dream," as declared in (verse 6), where there is no mention of "night;" and that He afterwards came into clear perception is signified in (verse 8) by the words, "Abimelech rose early in the morning."
AC 2515. And said to him. That this signifies thought therefrom, namely, from the perception, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive, and also to think (n. 2506). As it is here said that there was thought from the perception, it may be well to state in a few words how the case is with thought. There are thoughts from perception; thoughts from conscience; and thoughts from no conscience. Thoughts from perception exist only with the celestial, that is, with those who are in love to the Lord; such thought is the most internal that exists with man; and it exists with the celestial angels in heaven, for it is perception from the Lord by which and from which their thought exists; and to think contrary to perception is impossible. Thoughts from conscience are lower, and exist with the spiritual, that is, with those who are in the good of charity and faith as to life and as to doctrine. Moreover with these persons to think contrary to conscience is impossible; for this would be to think against the good and truth which are dictated to them from the Lord through conscience.
 But thoughts from no conscience exist with those who do not suffer themselves to be inwardly directed by what is good and true, but only by what is evil and false; that is, not by the Lord, but by themselves. Such persons believe that they inwardly think just as do those who think from conscience and perception, for the reason that they do not know what conscience is, still less perception; but the difference is as great as is that between hell and heaven. They who think without conscience think from any cupidities and phantasies whatever; thus from hell; and when it seems otherwise, it is from external decorum for the sake of reputation. But they who think from conscience think from the affections of good and truth; thus from heaven. But as regards the Lord’s thought, it transcended all human understanding, for it was immediately from the Divine.
AC 2516. Behold, thou wilt die because of the woman. That this signifies that the doctrine of faith would become null and void if the rational were consulted as to its contents, is evident from the signification of "Abimelech," who is here addressed, as being the doctrine of faith; from the signification of "dying," as being to become null and void; and from the signification of a "sister," who is here called "the woman," as being the rational (n. 2508). Hence now by "Abimelech dying because of the woman" is signified that the doctrine of faith would become null and void if the rational were consulted.
 The reason why there is no doctrine of faith from the rational, is that the rational is in appearances of good and truth, which appearances are not in themselves truths (n. 2053, 2196, 2203, 2209). Moreover the rational has under it fallacies which are from external sensuous things confirmed by memory-knowledges, which induce obscurity in these appearances of truth. The rational for the most part is merely human, as also is evident from its birth; and this is why nothing doctrinal of faith can begin from it, and still less be constructed from it; but must be from the Lord‘s Divine Itself and Divine Human. This is its origin, and indeed so entirely that the Lord is doctrine itself; on which account also in the Word He is called the Word, the Truth, the Light, the Way, the Door; and (what is an arcanum) all doctrine is from the Divine good and the Divine truth, and has in itself the heavenly marriage. Doctrine that has not this in it is not the genuine doctrine of faith. Hence it is that in all the particulars of the Word (the source of doctrine) there is an image of a marriage (n. 683, 793, 801).
 In the literal or external sense of the Word the doctrine of faith does indeed appear as if it possessed much from the rational, and even from the natural; but this is because the Word is for man, and has been in this manner accommodated to him; but still in itself it is spiritual from a celestial origin, that is, from Divine truth conjoined with Divine good. That doctrine would become null and void if as to its contents the rational were consulted, will be illustrated by examples in what follows.
AC 2517. For she is married to a husband. That this signifies that the doctrine of true faith is spiritual, and that its contents are conjoined with the celestial, is evident from the signification of being "married to a husband." "Husband," when mentioned in the Word, signifies good, and "wife" then signifies truth. It is otherwise when the husband is called the "man;" for then "man" signifies truth, and "wife" good (n. 915). Here therefore her being "married to a husband" signifies that truth is conjoined with good, and in such a manner that the truth also is good. The same is also evident from the signification of "Sarah as a wife," as being spiritual truth, and of "Abraham," as being celestial good, both Divine (n. 2501, 2507). And as "Sarah" signifies Divine spiritual truth, the doctrine itself of true faith is also meant by "Sarah a wife;" for the doctrine is from truths. It is plain from this that her being "married to a husband" means that the doctrine of true faith is spiritual, and that its contents are conjoined with the celestial. GENESIS 20:3 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|