Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 23:14-15
AC 2956. Verses 14, 15. And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, My lord, hear me; land of four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. "Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him," signifies a state of reception; "My lord, hear me," signifies the first state of reception; "land of four hundred shekels of silver," signifies the price of redemption by means of truth; "what is that between me and thee?" signifies that he gave his assent, but still desired it to be from himself; "bury therefore thy dead," signifies here as before, emerging from night, and a consequent resuscitation.
AC 2957. Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him. That this signifies a state of reception, is evident from the signification of "answering," when assent is given, as being to receive (n. 2941). That it is a state of reception which is here signified by "answering and saying," is evident from what follows.
AC 2958. My lord, hear me. That this signifies the first state of reception, is also evident from what follows, and also from what was said above (n. 2945) where the same words occur; there however there was denial, but here affirmation although there is still doubt, for in what follows presently it is said, "What is that between me and thee?" by which is signified that he gave assent, but still desired it to be from himself. And besides, "My lord, hear me," is merely a customary form of speech intended to excite reflection in another, yet still it involves a state of making an offer.
AC 2959. Land of four hundred shekels of silver. That this signifies the price of redemption by means of truth, is evident from the signification of "four hundred shekels" (concerning which presently); and from the signification of "silver" as being truth (n. 1551, 2048, 2937). That "four hundred shekels" signifies the price of redemption, is because "four hundred" signifies vastation; and "shekel" signifies the price. What vastation is may be seen above (n. 2455, 2682, 2694, 2699, 2701, 2704), namely, that it is twofold; of one kind when a church altogether perishes, that is, when there is no longer any charity or faith, and when it is said to be "devastated" or laid waste;" and of the other kind when they who are of the church are reduced to a state of ignorance, and also of temptation, in order that the evils and falsities with them may be separated and as it were dispersed. They who emerge from this kind of vastation are they who are specifically called the redeemed, for they are then instructed in the goods and truths of faith, and are reformed and regenerated by the Lord (concerning whom see the passages cited). Now whereas "four hundred" when predicated of time, as "four hundred years," signifies the duration and state of vastation, so when predicated of shekels it signifies the price of redemption; and when mention is made of silver at the same time, there is signified the price of redemption by means of truth.
 That "four hundred years" signifies the duration and state of vastation, may also be seen from what was said to Abram:--
Jehovah said unto Abram, Knowing thou shalt know that thy seed shall be a sojourner in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years (Gen. 15:13);
where it seems that by "four hundred years" is meant the stay of the sons of Israel in Egypt. But that their stay in Egypt is not what is signified, but something else which is not manifest to anyone except from the internal sense, is evident from the fact that the stay of the sons of Israel in Egypt was but half of that time; as is clearly evident from the generations from Jacob to Moses for from Jacob came Levi; from Levi, Kohath; from Kohath, Amram; and from Amram, Aaron and Moses (Exod. 6:16-20). Levi and his son Kohath came with Jacob into Egypt (Gen. 46:11); Moses was of the second generation after this, and he was eighty years old when he spoke to Pharaoh (Exod. 7:7); from all which it is evident that from the coming of Jacob into Egypt to the going forth of his sons was about two hundred and fifteen years.
 It is still further evident that by "four hundred" in the Word something else is signified than what is meant by the number itself in the historic sense, from its being said:--
The dwelling of the sons of Israel which they dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years and it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, in the selfsame day it came to pass that all the armies of Jehovah went out from the land of Egypt (Exod. 12:40, 41);
when nevertheless the stay of the sons of Israel there was but half that number of years; but it was four hundred and thirty years counting from Abraham‘s entrance into Egypt; and therefore it was so said for the sake of the internal sense that lies concealed in the words. In the internal sense, by the sojourning of the sons of Jacob in Egypt is represented and signified the vastation of the church; the state and duration of which is described by the number "four hundred and thirty years;" by "thirty" the state of vastation of Jacob’s sons, that it was none at all, because they were such that they could not be reformed by any state of vastation, concerning the signification of the number thirty, (n. 2276); and by "four hundred years," the general state of vastation of those who were of the church.
 Therefore they who go forth from this vastation are they who are called the "redeemed," as is also plain from the words spoken to Moses:--
Wherefore say unto the sons of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of Egypt, and I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments (Exod. 6:6).
So in another passage:--
Jehovah brought you out with a mighty band, and redeemed you out of the house of servants, from the band of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deut. 7:8; 13:5).
And in another place:--
Thou shalt remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, but Jehovah thy God redeemed thee (Deut. 15:15; 24:18).
Thy people whom Thou hast redeemed to Thee out of Egypt (2 Sam. 7:23).
Because those who emerge from the state of vastation are called the "redeemed," therefore by "four hundred shekels" is signified the price of redemption.
 That a shekel" signifies the price or estimation is evident from the following passages in the Word; in Moses:--
And all thy estimation shall be in the shekel of the holiness (Lev. 27:25).
And in another place:--
When a soul hath committed a trespass, and sinned in error from the holy things of Jehovah, he shall bring his guilt-offering to Jehovah, a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to thy estimation, in silver of shekels, after the shekel of holiness (Lev. 5:15).
From these passages it is plain that by a "shekel" is signified the price or estimation. It is said the "shekel of holiness," because the price or estimation has regard to truth and good from the Lord; and truth and good from the Lord are the holy itself in the church. For this reason it is called the "shekel of holiness" in other places also (Exod. 30:24; Lev. 27:3; Num. 3:47, 50; 7:13, 19, 25, 31, 37, 43, 49, 55, 61, 67, 73; 18:16).
 That the "shekel" denotes the price of what is holy, is clearly evident in Ezekiel, where the Holy Land and the Holy City are treated of. It is there said of the shekel:--
The shekel shall there be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh (pound) (Ezek. 45:12);
that here by "shekel," and by "pound," and by the numbers, are signified holy things, that is, good and truth, anyone can see; for the Holy Land, and the Holy City in it (or the New Jerusalem there treated of) is no other than the kingdom of the Lord, where neither shekel nor gerah nor pound, nor the counting by them, but the number itself, from its signification in the internal sense, determines the estimation or the price of what is good and what is true.
 In Moses:--
They shall give every man an expiation for his soul lest there should be a plague, half a shekel, after the shekel of holiness: the shekel is twenty gerahs and the half shekel for a therumah (an oblation) to Jehovah (Exod. 30:12, 13);
where ten gerahs, which are the "half shekel," denote the remains which are from the Lord. Remains are goods and truths stored up with man, and these are signified by "ten," (n. 576, 1738, 1906, 2284); and also that remains are goods and truths from the Lord stored up with man, (n. 1906, 2284). These therefore are called an "oblation to Jehovah," and it is said that by them there shall be an expiation for the soul. The reason why it is so often said that the shekel was twenty gerahs, as in the passages quoted, and also in (Lev. 27:25; Num. 3:47; 18:16), is that the "shekel which is twenty gerahs" signifies the estimation of the good of remains. That "twenty" signifies the good of remains may be seen above, (n. 2280). On this account the shekel was likewise a weight, according to which the value both of gold and of silver was estimated (Gen. 24:22; Exod. 38:24; Ezek. 4:10; 45:12); the value of gold, because "gold" signifies good (n. 113, 1551, 1552); and of silver, because "silver" signifies truth (n. 1551, 2048). From all this it is now plain that by "land of four hundred shekels of silver" is signified the price of redemption by means of truth. It is called "land" because the subject is the spiritual church, which is reformed and regenerated by means of truth from the Lord (n. 2954). That by "land" is signified the church, (n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118).
AC 2960. What is that between me and thee? That this signifies that he gave his assent, but still desired it to be from himself, namely, his being prepared or reformed, is evident from the sense of the letter when applied to the internal sense which treats of reformation. Above, it was said by Ephron, "The field give I thee, and the cave that is therein I give it thee" (verse 11), by which was signified that they desired to prepare themselves in regard to the things which are of the church and of faith, that is, reform themselves; that such is the first state of those who are being reformed may be seen above (n. 2946). But when they progress further in the knowledges of truth or of faith, then comes their second state, in which they indeed give assent, but still desire it to be from themselves; this is the state treated of in this verse; but a third state is presently described, namely, the state of belief that they are reformed by the Lord. The cause of their being such in the beginning was stated above (n. 2946). But that when they advance in the knowledges of truth or of faith they indeed acknowledge that they are reformed by the Lord, but still desire it to be from themselves, is for the reason that the cloud of ignorance is only gradually dispersed, and that the confirmations of truth are strengthened with time, and that good is perfected by imbuements of the knowledges‘ of truth. It is the good itself in which the truth has been implanted that causes them not only to acknowledge but also to believe that reformation is from the Lord. This is the third state; and it is followed by a fourth, namely, that in which they perceive it to be from the Lord. But there are few who come into this state in the life of the body, for it is an angelic state; but they who are regenerate come into it in the other life. Hence it is evident that in the internal sense is here described the man of the spiritual church, and what his state is while he is yet immature; also what it is when be begins to mature, and at last when he has matured.
AC 2961. Bury therefore thy dead. That this signifies an emerging from night, and a consequent resuscitation, is evident from the signification of "dead," as being night in regard to the truths of faith; and from the signification of "being buried," as being to be raised up (n. 2917, 2923, 2925, 2931, 2948, 2955). The reason why these words are said so often in this chapter, is that the subject treated of is the emerging from night in regard to the truths of faith, and the resuscitation (that is, the reformation and regeneration) of the spiritual church. GENESIS 23:14-15 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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