Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 24:49-51
AC 3156. Verses 49-51. And now if ye will do mercy and truth with my lord, tell me; and if not, tell me; and I will look to the right hand or to the left. And Laban and Bethuel answered, and said, The word hath gone forth from Jehovah; we cannot speak unto thee evil or good. Behold Rebekah is before thee; take her, and go, and let her be the woman of thy lord’s son, as Jehovah hath spoken. "Now if ye will do mercy and truth with my lord," signifies exploration of the consent from each of their faculties, that of the will, and that of the understanding; "tell me and if not, tell me," signifies their free state of deliberation; "and I will look to the right hand or to the left," signifies reciprocal freedom. "And Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The word hath gone forth from Jehovah; we cannot speak unto thee evil or good," signifies acknowledgment that it was of the Lord alone. "Behold Rebekah is before thee; take her, and go, and let her be the woman of thy lord‘s son, as Jehovah hath spoken," signifies consent inspired from the Lord.
AC 3157. Now if ye will do mercy and truth with my lord. That this signifies exploration of the consent from each of their faculties, that of the will, and that of the understanding, is evident from the signification of "mercy," as being what is of good or of love (n. 3063, 3073, 3120); and from the signification of "truth," as being what is of truth, or of faith (n. 3121, 3122) and because the good which is of love is of the will, and the truth which is of faith is of the understanding, and these things are said to Laban and Bethuel, thus to men, that they should do mercy and truth, they signify what is from each of their faculties, namely, the will and the understanding. That it is exploration of consent, is evident both from its being said, "if ye will do," and from the words that follow, "tell me; and if not, tell me; and I will look to the right hand or to the left." In the regeneration of man, which is an image of the Lord’s glorification (n. 3138), the case is that the truth of faith is indeed learned, but is not acknowledged, still less received by good, unless there is consent from each faculty, namely, the will and the understanding. Consent is acknowledgment itself; by this is effected reception, and indeed from the will, for good is there; and when the truth of faith has been received by the will, or what is the same, by good, then the man is regenerate for then truth is of good, or faith is of charity, or as to life is charity itself (n. 3121).
AC 3158. Tell me; and if not, tell me. That this signifies their free state of deliberation, is evident from the sense of the words. From all that precedes it is evident that the words which in the sense of the letter in this chapter treat of the betrothal and marriage of Rebekah with Isaac, in the internal sense treat of the initiation and conjunction of good and truth; for the initiation and conjunction of good and truth are spiritual betrothal and spiritual marriage. In each there is required a free state of deliberation. That this is necessary in betrothal and marriage, is well known; but that it is required in the initiation and conjunction of good and truth, is not so well known, because it is not apparent to the natural man, and because such initiation and conjunction are among the things that are accomplished without man‘s reflecting upon them; nevertheless during every moment when man is being reformed and regenerated, it comes to pass that he is in a state of freedom when truth is being conjoined with good.
 Every one may know, if he only considers, that nothing is ever man’s, as his, unless it is of his will; what is only of the understanding does not become man‘s until it becomes of the will also; for what is of the will constitutes the being (esse) of a man’s life; but what is of the understanding constitutes the coming forth (existere) of his life thence derived. Consent from the understanding alone is not consent, but all consent is from the will; wherefore unless the truth of faith which is of the understanding is received by the good of love which is of the will, it is not at all truth which is acknowledged, and thus it is not faith. But in order that truth may be received by the good which is of the will, it is necessary that there be a free state. All that is of the will appears free; the very state of willing is liberty; for that which I will, that I choose, that I long for, because I love it and acknowledge it as good. All this shows that truth, which is of faith, never becomes man‘s as his until it has been received by the will, that is, until it has been initiated and conjoined with the good there; and that this cannot be effected except in a free state.
AC 3159. And I will look to the right hand, or to the left. That this signifies reciprocal freedom, is evident without explication. The case is this: Good from the Lord is continually flowing in through the internal man into the external, and in the earliest appears it appears in the external man under the form of the affection of truth. So far as a man looks to celestial and spiritual good as the end, so far truth is initiated and conjoined with good; or what is the same, so far the affection of truth is initiated and conjoined with the affection of good. But so far as a man looks to good that is his own, and thus to himself and the world, as the end, so far does celestial and spiritual good recede. This is the reciprocal freedom which is signified by "looking to the right or to the left."
AC 3160. And Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The word hath gone forth from Jehovah; we cannot speak unto thee evil or good. That this signifies acknowledgment that it was of the Lord alone, may be seen from the explication of the several words as to the internal sense; but that this is the conclusion from them, is evident without such explication. That "the word hath gone forth from Jehovah," signifies from the Lord, is evident; for by "Jehovah," so often named in the Old Testament, no other is ever meant than the Lord (n. 1343, 136, 1815, 2156, 2329, 3023, 3035). That these things involve arcana, is evident from the fact that here Laban made answer, who was a brother, and then Bethuel who was the father; but not the father and mother; and that the virgin did not answer till afterwards. The reason of this is that by Laban as a brother is represented the affection of good in the natural man (n. 3129, 3130); and by Bethuel, the origin of the affection of good. The affection of good and the affection of truth in the natural man are as brother and sister; and the affection of truth called forth from the natural man into the rational and there conjoined with good, is as a married woman.
 The secret reason why Laban and Bethuel answered, that is, the brother first and then the father, is that while good from the rational man is flowing into the natural, it does not flow immediately into the truth there, but into the good there, and through the good into the truth; and unless there is this influx the affection of truth cannot come into actual being. The affection of good in the natural man is that which acknowledges, and thus is that which first consents; for there is an immediate communication between rational good and natural good, but not between rational good and natural truth. Concerning the parallelism of these see (n. 1831, 1832). Two ancient formulas of speech are found here, namely, "The word hath gone forth from Jehovah," meaning that it was done of Jehovah; and "We cannot speak unto thee evil or good," meaning that they neither dared to deny nor to affirm. Concerning the acknowledgment that it was of the Lord alone, see what now follows.
AC 3161. Behold Rebekah is before thee; take her and go, and let her be the woman of thy lord’s son, as Jehovah hath spoken. That this signifies consent inspired from the Lord, is also evident from the explication of the several words, of which in the internal sense this is a general conclusion. The case herein is this: When the Lord lived in the world He by His own power made the human in Himself Divine. The human begins in the inmost of the rational (n. 2106, 2194); and it is here described how He made this Divine; namely, that as this had been done before as to good, so now it is done as to truth; for the rational consists of good and truth. The good there, was from His veriest Divine, that is, from Jehovah the Father, of whom He was conceived; but the truth was to be procured in the ordinary way, as with other men.
 For it is well known that man is not born rational, but only into the capacity of becoming rational; and that he becomes so through memory-knowledges, namely through knowledges of many genera and species, the first of which are means leading to those which follow next, and this in order even to the last, which are knowledges of the spiritual things of the Lord‘s kingdom, and are called doctrinal things. That these are learned in part from the doctrine of faith, in part immediately from the Word, and so in part by the man’s own study, is also well known. So long as these doctrinal things are only in the memory, they are only truths in the form of memory-knowledge; nor are they yet appropriated to the man as his; but they are for the first time appropriated to him when he begins to love them for the sake of life, and still more when he applies them to life. When this is done, the truths are raised out of the natural memory into the rational, and are there conjoined with good; and when thee have been conjoined, they are no longer of memory-knowledge merely, but of the life; for then the man no longer learns from truths how he should live, but lives from them, and thereby the truths are appropriated to him, and become of the will. Thus man enters into the heavenly marriage; for the heavenly marriage is the conjunction of good and truth in the rational. These things the Lord does with men.
 But in Himself the Lord did all these things from Himself; and from the Divine Itself He not only begat the rational as to good, but also through this the natural as to truth, which He conjoined with good for it is good that chooses truth for itself, and also forms it, since good acknowledges nothing else as truth than that which is in agreement. In this way did the Divine good, which was the Lord‘s, make for itself truth; nor did it acknowledge as truth anything else than that which agreed with Divine good, that is, that was Divine from Him. Thus He did all things both in general and in particular from His own power. All this is what is signified by the acknowledgment that it was of the Lord alone, and by consent inspired from the Lord.GENESIS 24:49-51 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|