Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 23:7-8
AC 2926. Verses 7, 8. And Abraham rose up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, to the sons of Heth. Add he spake with them, saying, If it is with your soul that I should bury my dead from before me, hear me, and intercede for me with Ephron the son of Zohar. "Abraham rose up, and bowed himself," signifies the Lord‘s joy on account of the kind reception; "to the people of the land, to the sons of Heth," signifies by those who were to be of the new spiritual church; "and he spake with them, saying," signifies thought and perception concerning them;’ "if it is with your soul," signifies if from the affection of truth from the heart; "that I should bury my dead from before me," signifies that they desired to come forth from night and rise again; "hear me," signifies that they should comply; "and intercede for me with Ephron the son of Zohar," signifies those with whom the truth and good of faith could he received.
AC 2927. Abraham rose up, and bowed himself. That this signifies the Lord‘s joy on account of the kind reception, is evident from the signification of "rising up," as involving something of elevation (n. 2101, 2785), (for the mind is elevated by gladness and joy, and it is therefore here said that he "rose also from the representation of Abraham, as being the Lord; and from the signification of "bowing himself," as being to rejoice. Bowing is a movement of the body expressive both of humiliation and of joy; that here it is expressive of joy, and is on account of kind reception, is plain from what precedes and what follows.
AC 2928. To the people of the land, to the sons of Heth. That this signifies by those who are of the spiritual church, is evident from the signification of "people," as being those who are in truths, thus the spiritual (n. 1259, 1260); from the signification of the "land," as being the church (n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118); and from the signification of the "sons of Heth," as being those who are of the new spiritual church (n. 2913). The "people of the land" are sometimes mentioned in the Word where it treats of Israel and of Jerusalem, and by them in the internal sense is signified the spiritual church, or those who are of the spiritual church; for by "Israel" and by "Jerusalem" this church is meant. When Judah and Zion are treated of, the term "nation" is used, for by "nation" is signified the celestial church; and this church is meant by "Judah" and by "Zion."
 That it is said the "people of the land" when Israel and Jerusalem are treated of (thus where it treats of the spiritual church), is evident from many passages in the Word; as in Ezekiel:--
Say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord Jehovih to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to the ground of Israel, They shall eat their bread in sadness, and shall drink their waters in devastation; that her land may be laid waste the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate (Ezekiel 12:19, 20);
where in the internal sense Jerusalem and the ground of Israel denote the spiritual church; "bread" and "waters," charity and faith, or good and truth; the "land," the church itself, which is said to be "wasted" as to good, and "desolate" as to truth.
 In the same:--
Gog and his multitude shall the house of Israel bury, that they may cleanse the land seven months; and all the people of the land shall bury them (Ezekiel 39:11-13);
"Gog" denotes external worship separate from internal, which is idolatrous (n. 1151); the "house of Israel," the spiritual church in respect to good; the "people of the land," the same in respect to truth; the "land," the church itself. The "land" denotes the church for the reason that the land of Canaan represented the Lord’s kingdom and thus the church, for the Lord‘s kingdom on earth is the church.
 In the same:--
All the people of the land shall be for this oblation for the prince in Israel; and upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering. The people of the land shall bow themselves at the door of the gate in the sabbaths and in the new moons; and the people of the land shall enter, in the appointed feasts (Ezek. 45:16, 22; 46:3, 9);
where the New Jerusalem, that is, the Lord’s spiritual kingdom, is treated of; they who are in it are the "people of the land;" the "prince" is truth Divine which is from the Lord.
 The sons of Heth are so called because by "sons" are signified truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623). Truths are predicated of the spiritual, because the spiritual are initiated into good by means of truths, that is, into charity by means of faith; and because they do good from the affection of truth, not knowing that it is good from anything else than because they are so instructed. Their conscience also is founded in these truths of faith (n. 1155, 1577, 2046, 2088, 2184, 2507, 2715, 2716, 2718).
AC 2929. And he spake with them, saying. That this signifies thought and perception concerning them, is evident from the signification of "speaking and saying," as being to think and perceive (n. 1898, 1919, 2080, 2271, 2287, 2506, 2515, 2552, 2619).
AC 2930. If it is with your soul. That this signifies if it is from the affection of truth from the heart, is evident from the signification of "soul" in the internal sense. In many passages of the Word it is said "from the heart and from the soul," or "from the whole heart and from the whole soul, and by this is signified that it is from all the will and all the understanding. That man has two faculties, namely, will and understanding, may be known to every one; also that the will is a separate faculty from the understanding, for we are able to understand good and truth and yet will what is evil and false. From the beginning man was so created that his will and understanding should make a one, so that he should not think one thing and will another, nor will one thing and think another. Such is the state with the celestial, and such it was in the celestial church, which was called "Man" or "Adam." But with the spiritual, or in the spiritual church, one faculty has been separated from the other, that is, the understanding from the will; and the man is reformed by the Lord as to the intellectual part, and in this there is formed a new will and a new understanding (n. 863, 875, 895, 897, 927, 928, 1023, 1044, 2256). The new will which is from the Lord, in this part, is what is called "heart," and the new understanding is what is called "soul;" and when it is said, "from all the heart and from all the soul," by this is meant from all the will and from all the understanding.
 This is what is meant by "heart and soul" in Moses:--
Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength (Deut. 6:5).
Now, O Israel, what doth Jehovah thy God require of thee, but to fear Jehovah thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul (Deut. 10:12; 11:13).
This day Jehovah thy God commandeth thee to do these statutes and judgments; and thou shalt keep and do them with all thy heart and with all thy soul (Deut. 26:16).
in the book of Kings:--
David said to Solomon, Jehovah will establish His word which He spake concerning me, saying, If thy sons take heed to their way to walk before Me in truth, with all their heart and with all their soul; there shall not be cut off from thee a man from upon the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:4).
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29, 30).
 The same is also predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, because thence comes the affection of good which is of the will, and the affection of truth which is of the understanding, with the man of the church. As in Samuel:--
I will raise Me up a faithful priest, according to that which is in My heart and in My soul (1 Sam. 2:35).
And in Jeremiah:--
I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land in truth, with all My heart and with all My soul (Jeremiah 32:41).
And in other passages throughout the Word, "soul" signifies the affection of truth, as in Isaiah:--
With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit in the midst of me have I sought Thee early; for according to Thy judgments to the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9);
here "soul" denotes the affection of truth "spirit," the affection of good. That "judgments" are predicated of truths, and "righteousness" of good, (n. 2235).
 In the same:--
The fool speaketh folly, to make empty the hungry soul and to cause the thirsty for drink to fail (Isaiah 32:6);
the "hungry soul" denotes the desire for good, which the fool maketh empty; the "soul thirsty for drink"‘ denotes the desire for truth, which the fool causeth to fail. In Jeremiah:--
Their soul shall be as a watered garden, and I will water the wearied soul, and every sorrowful soul will I fill (Jeremiah 31:12, 25);
here "soul" denotes the affection of good and of truth. Again:--
All her people sigh, they seek bread, they have given their pleasant things for food to restore the soul. The comforter that restoreth my soul is far from me; my sons are desolate. They sought food for themselves, to restore their soul (Lam. 1:11, 16, 19);
"soul" denotes the life of the affection of good and truth; "food," wisdom and intelligence.
 It is said that " soul" signifies the affection of truth from the heart, because there are affections of truth which are not from the heart; as those which are from the love of self or of being eminent, from the love of the world or of making gain, also from the love of meriting; from these in like manner there come forth affections of truth, but they are not genuine; being from the will of the flesh, and not from the heart: that which is from the heart is from the Lord. Moreover "soul" in the Word signifies in the universal sense all life (n. 1000, 1005, 1040, 1742), for in the universal sense the soul is that from which another thing is, and lives; thus the soul of the body is its spirit, for from this the body lives but the soul of the spirit is its still more internal life, from which it has wisdom and understanding.
AC 2931. That I should bury my dead from before me. That this signifies that they desired to come forth from night and to rise again, is evident from the signification of "burying," which is to rise again; and of "dead," as denoting night in respect to the goods and truths of faith (n. 2923, 2925), where the same words occur.
AC 2932. Hear me. That this signifies that they should comply, is evident from the signification of "hearing," as being to obey, or comply (n. 2542).
AC 2933. And intercede for me with Ephron the son of Zohar. That this signifies those with whom the truth and good of faith could be received, is evident from the fact that the field and the cave in the field, where Sarah was to be buried, belonged to Ephron; and as "burial" signifies regeneration (n. 2916), it follows that by "Ephron" are signified those with whom the truth and good of faith could be received. The sons of Heth also represent the same, inasmuch as they were of Ephron’s city and were his people. By "interceding" is here signified to be prepared to receive. GENESIS 23:7-8 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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