Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 24:17-20
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AC 3087. Verses 17-20. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me I pray sip a little water from thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord; and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and made him drink. And she finished making him drink, and she said, I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw, and drew for all his camels. "The servant ran to meet her, and said," signifies exploration from Divine good; "let me I pray sip a little water from thy pitcher," signifies inquiry whether anything of truth from this source can be conjoined; "and she said, Drink, my lord," signifies reciprocation; "and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand," signifies submission of the recipients from power; "and made him drink," signifies initiation. "And she finished making him drink," signifies what is successive; "and she said, I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking," signifies reciprocation as to the enlightenment of all the memory-knowledges in the natural man. "And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough," signifies the separation of the affection of truth which was being initiated into Divine good; "and ran again unto the well," signifies a lower affection of truth "and drew for all his camels," signifies whereby the general memory-knowledges were enlightened.

AC 3088. The servant ran to meet her, and said. That this signifies exploration from Divine good, is evident from the signification of "running to meet her," as being an exploration as to whether the case was as he had spoken in his heart (the internal sense so dictates); also from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive (often shown before) and thud to explore. That this was from Divine good, is because the servant here acts in the stead of his lord, that is, of Abraham and also of Isaac; for he that is sent puts on the personality of him who sends. This is often the case in the Word, as when angels are spoken of who are first mentioned as angels and are afterwards called "Jehovah", as the angel who appeared to Moses in the bush, (Exod. 3:2, 4); and the angel that appeared to Gideon, (Judges 6:11, 12, 14). For the same reason Rebekah addresses him as "my lord" in the next verse.

AC 3089. Let me I pray sip a little water from thy pitcher. That this signifies inquiry whether anything of truth from this source could be conjoined, is evident from the signification of "sipping," as being similar to that of "drinking;" but diminutively, because exploring is implied. That "to drink", is to perceive, see (n. 3069). In the internal sense "to drink" also denotes to be communicated and to be conjoined, and is predicated of what is spiritual, as "to eat" is predicated of what is celestial (n. 2187, 2343). The same is further evident from the signification of "water," as being truth (n. 680, 739, 2702). Here therefore the words "let me I pray sip a little water from thy pitcher," signify exploring whether anything of truth from this source could be conjoined. The "pitcher" is the recipient, in which and out of which is truth (n. 3068, 3079). That there was an exploration is because the first affection of truth was attended with something from the maternal, which was to be separated (n. 3040, 3078). With a man about to be regenerated the case is that his first affection of truth is very impure; for there is in it an affection of use and an end for the sake of himself, for the sake of the world, for the sake of glory in heaven, and the like, which ends regard himself, but not the community, the Lordís kingdom, and still less the Lord. Such an affection necessarily precedes; nevertheless it is successively purified by the Lord, till at last falsities and evils are removed and are cast as it were into the circumference; and yet they had been of service as means.

AC 3090. And she said, Drink, my lord. That this signifies reciprocation, is evident from the assent or consent. What the reciprocation of truth is when it is to be conjoined with good, is apparent from marriages; for marriage comes from the fact that there is consent on both sides. This has its origin from the marriage of good and truth; on the side of good there is will, and on that of truth there is consent, and from this comes the conjunction. Although this reciprocation is not apparent with man when he is being regenerated, that is, when he is entering into the heavenly marriage, it nevertheless takes place. The same is more manifest from the fact that when a man is being regenerated, there is effected a likeness of a marriage between the will and the understanding; good being of the will, and truth of the understanding. Therefore the ancients instituted a marriage between the will and the understanding, and between the several things of the will and those of the understanding (n. 54, 55).

AC 3091. And she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand. That this signifies submission of the recipients from power, is evident from the signification of "letting down," as being submission; from the signification of a "pitcher" being a recipient (n. 3068, 3079); and from the signification of the "hand," as being power (n. 878). The submission of the recipients, from power, consists in the doctrinal things, the knowledges, and the memory-knowledges, which are the recipients, (n. 3068, 3079), applying themselves. There is a chain of subordination, thus of application, and consequently of submission, from the First of life, or the Lord. As the things which are in a lower place ought to serve the higher, they must be in submission; for without their submission there is no conjunction. The "power" here spoken of is from truth; this causes the things which are below to submit. In the Word power is especially attributed to truth; and therefore the "hands," "arms," and "shoulders" (by which in the internal sense powers are signified) are predicated of truth (n. 878, 1085); and the power which appears to be from truth is itself from good, through truth.

AC 3092. And made him drink. That this signifies initiation, is evident from the signification of "giving to drink (potare), in that it is almost the same as that of "drinking (bibere);" but "drinking" here involves more activity on the part of him who drinks. That "drinking" is receiving, and also being conjoined, may be seen above (n. 3069, 3089); thus "making him drink (facere potare)" denotes to give an opportunity to receive, which is the first of initiation.

AC 3093. And she finished making him drink. That this signifies what is successive of initiation, is evident from the fact that "finished," or "to finish," involves the end of the act that precedes and the beginning of the act that follows, and thus what is successive; and also from the signification of "making to drink," as being to be initiated (n. 3092).

AC 3094. And she said, I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. That this signifies reciprocation as to the enlightenment of all the memory-knowledges in the natural man, is evident from the signification of "camels," as being general memory-knowledges in the natural man (n. 3048, 3071); and from the signification of "drawing," that is, "drawing water," as being to instruct and also to enlighten (n. 3058, 3071). It is evident that this is reciprocation because she said that she would do this, and also did it; that is, drew water for the camels. The enlightenment that is here treated of is on the part of truth, although it is from good through truth. As regards the enlightenment of memory-knowledges in the natural man the case is this: All enlightenment is from good for the good which is of love is comparatively as the sunĎs flame, from which are heat and light; but truth is as the object through which the flame shines, by which there is enlightenment from light; and such as is the light therefrom, such is the enlightenment.

[2] There is nothing else that receives good but truth, and such as is the truth, such is the reception, and such is the consequent enlightenment. When therefore there is enlightenment by means of truth, the enlightenment appears to be from the truth, as if it were its own; although it is of good, which thus gives light through the truth. Moreover the enlightenment of good by means of truth penetrates still further, and affects more deeply, and produces a lower affection of truth, which will be spoken of presently. The light of heaven is from the Divine good of the Lord through His Divine truth; and because it is through the Divine truth in His Human, it penetrates not only to those who are celestial, but also to the spiritual, and enlightens with wisdom and intelligence all who are in heaven. And because this is the source of wisdom and intelligence, therefore the Divine good and the Divine truth in the Lordís Human are so much treated of in the internal sense of the Word; and in the present passage, this sense treats of the first enlightenment of truth from good, and of good through truth.

AC 3095. And she hasted and emptied her pitcher into the trough. That this signifies the separation of the affection of the truth which was being initiated into Divine good, is evident from the signification of "emptying the pitcher," as being to separate the truth; for by a "pitcher," as a containing vessel, is signified not merely the memory-knowledge in which is truth, but also the truth in which is good (n. 3068, 3079); and here, because initiation is treated of, it signifies the truth which was being initiated into Divine good. And because truth itself cannot possibly be conjoined with good except through its affection (n. 3024, 3066), for in affection is the life through which is conjunction, therefore here it is the affection of truth that is meant. The meaning of the passage is also evident from the signification of a "trough," or "watering place," as being the good of truth; for the water in the trough signifies truth (n. 739, 2702), and the trough itself signifies the same as wood, namely, good (n. 2784, 2812). The good of truth is that which is produced from good by means of truth, and is like an offspring born of truth as a mother, and of good as a father. All the genuine good in the natural man is from this, that is, from the marriage of good and truth in the rational. This good is that which is called the good of truth, and is signified in the Word by a "trough," or "watering place."

AC 3096. And she ran again unto the well to draw. That this signifies a lower affection of truth, is evident from the signification of a "well," as being truth (n. 2702), but truth that is lower; and as the initiation of truth is here treated of, a lower affection of truth is signified, as just said (n. 3094) The difference of signification in the internal sense between a "fountain" and a "well" may be seen in the number already cited (n. 2702), namely, that the term "fountain" is used when a purer and a higher truth is treated of, but "well" when a truth not so pure and also lower; as is the case in this chapter likewise, in which it is sometimes said a "fountain" and sometimes a "well." Natural truth is lower truth; and the affection of natural truth is a lower affection of truth; from this affection, proximately, are the general memory-knowledges enlightened; and that this enlightenment penetrates further and affects more deeply, see (n. 3094).

AC 3097. And drew for all his camels. That this signifies that general memory-knowledges were enlightened thereby, is evident from the signification of "drawing," as being to instruct, and also to enlighten (n. 3058, 3071); and from the signification of "camels," as being general memory-knowledges (n. 3048).

AC 3098. The things contained in the internal sense from (n. 3088) to this point, are also such as can be apprehended by those only who have been instructed concerning the internals of man, and who are in truths; for through truths and according to truths, comes enlightenment. The subject here is the first initiation of truth into good; for as before said good itself flows into the natural through the rational, thus by an internal way, and enlightens the things which are therein; whereas truth itself inflows into the natural through the sensuous part, especially that of hearing and sight, and thus by an external way. Truth has its rise from this source, as may be known to every one who reflects; but the conjunction of good and truth is not there, but is in the rational; therefore truth is called forth therefrom, thus out of the natural sphere into the spiritual; for the truth that is to be conjoined with good is spiritual. How the case is with the truth that is first called forth thence, is treated of in these verses (n. 3087-3097).

GENESIS 24:17-20    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info