Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 24:55-58
AC 3173. Verses 55-58. And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel remain with us days, at least ten; afterwards thou shalt go. And he said unto them, Do not delay me, and Jehovah hath prospered my way; send me away, and I will go to my lord. And they said, Let us call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. "Her brother and her mother said," signifies a doubting of the natural man "let the damsel remain with us," signifies detention by them; "days, at least ten; afterwards thou shalt go," signifies the state for departure, appearing to them full; "and he said unto them, Do not delay me," signifies the will of the affection of good; "and Jehovah hath prospered my way," signifies that all things were now provided; "send me away, and I will go to my lord," signifies as to the state of initiation "and they said, Let us call the damsel and inquire at her mouth," signifies the consent solely of the affection of truth; "and they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go," signifies its full consent.
AC 3174. Her brother and her mother said. That this signifies a doubting of the natural man, appears from the signification of "brother," as being good in the natural man (n. 3160); and from the signification of "mother," as being the truth there (n. 3167); consequently "brother" and "mother" signify the natural man, for this is constituted of good and truth; that there is doubt is manifest, namely, whether the damsel should remain some days, or should go at once with the man.
AC 3175. Let the damsel remain with is. That this signifies a detention by them, appears from the signification of remaining," as here being to be detained, as is also evident from the series in the internal sense. For the case is this Man is never born into any truth, not even into any natural truth - as that he should not steal, should not kill, should not commit adultery, and the like; still less is he born into any spiritual truth as that there is a God, and that he has an internal which will live after death. Thus of himself man knows nothing that relates to eternal life. Man learns both these kinds of truth, otherwise he would be much worse than a brute animal; for from his hereditary nature he loves himself above all and desires to possess all things in the world. Hence unless he were restrained by civil laws and by fears for the loss of honor, of gain, of reputation, and of life, he would steal, kill, and commit adultery, without any perception of conscience. That this is the case is very evident; for a man, even when instructed, commits such crimes without conscience, nay, defends them, and by many considerations confirms himself in the commission of them so far as he is allowed; what then would he not do if he had not been instructed? The case is the same in spiritual things; for of those who are born within the church, who have the Word, and are constantly instructed, there are still very many who ascribe little or nothing to God, but everything to nature; thus who do not at heart believe that there is any God, and therefore do not believe that they shall live after death; and who accordingly have no wish to learn anything relating to eternal life.
 From all this it is evident that man is born into no truth, but that he has all to learn, and this by an external way, namely, that of hearing and seeing. By this way truth has to be insinuated, and implanted in his memory; but so long as the truth is there only, it is merely memory-knowledge; and in order that truth may pervade the man it must be called forth thence, and be conveyed more toward the interiors; for his human is more internal, being in his rational; for unless man is rational, he is not man; and therefore according to the quality and the measure of a mass rational, such is the quality and the measure of the man. man cannot possibly be rational unless he possesses good. The good whereby man surpasses the animals, is to love God, and to love the neighbor; all human good is from this. Into this good truth must be initiated and conjoined, and this in the rational. Truth is initiated into good and conjoined with it when man loves God and loves his neighbor, for then truth enters in to good, inasmuch as good and truth mutually acknowledge each other, all truth being from good, and having respect to good as its end and as its soul, and thus as the source of its life.
 But truth cannot without difficulty be separated from the natural man, and be thence elevated into the rational; for in the natural man there are fallacies, and cupidities of evil, and also persuasions of falsity; and so long as these are there and adjoin themselves to the truth, so long the natural man detains truth with himself, and does not suffer it to be elevated from itself into the rational; and this is what is signified in the internal sense by the words, "Let the damsel remain with us days, at least ten, afterwards thou shalt go." The reason is that the natural man puts truth in doubt, and reasons about it as to whether it is so; but as soon as the cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity, and the derivative fallacies, are separated by the Lord, and the man begins from good to be averse to reasonings against truth, and to be superior to doubts, then truth is in a state to depart from the natural and to be elevated into the rational, and to put on a state of good; for then truth becomes of good and has life.
 For the better comprehension of this, let us take examples. It is a spiritual truth that all good is from the Lord, and all evil from hell: this truth must in many ways be confirmed and illustrated before it can be elevated out of the natural man into the rational, nor can it ever be elevated until the man is in the love of God; for before this it is not acknowledged, consequently is not believed. The case is similar in regard to other truths, as in regard to the truth that the Divine Providence is in the veriest singulars; and that unless it is in these, it is not in what is universal. Again: in regard to the truth that man first begins to live when that perishes which in the world he believes to be the all of life; and that the life which he then receives is relatively ineffable and unlimited; and that he is altogether ignorant of this so long as he is in evil-these and similar truths can never be believed, unless the man is in good; for it is good which comprehends, because the Lord through good flows in with wisdom.
AC 3176. Days, at least ten, afterwards thou shalt go. That this signifies the state for departure appearing to them full, is evident from the signification of "day," as being state (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788); and from the signification of "ten,"as being what is fall (n. 1988, 3107); here, appearing full to the natural; and from the signification of "going," as being to depart From this it is evident that "days, at least ten, afterwards thou shalt go," signifies the state for departure appearing to them full; wherefore it now follows, "he said to them, do not delay me," by which is signified the "way" of the affection of good.
AC 3177. Jehovah hath prospered my way. That this signifies that all things were now provided, is evident without explication; for that "Jehovah prospers the way" signifies that He provides here, as to the truth which was to be conjoined with good; for by "way" is signified truth (n. 627, 2333).
AC 3178. Send me away, and I will go to my lord. That this signifies as to the state of initiation, is evident from the sense which results from the internal sense of these words. The same words also imply the affection of conjunction, for this affection pertains to the state of initiation.
AC 3179. And they said, Let us call the damsel and inquire at her mouth. That this signifies the consent solely of the affection of truth, appears from the signification of a "damsel," as being an affection wherein is innocence (n. 3067, 3110) here the affection of truth, because she is Rebekah, who, before she consents, is called "damsel," but when she consents, as presently follows, is called "Rebekah". That "Rebekah" is the affection of truth, see (n. 3077); and from the signification of "inquiring at her mouth," as being to perceive whether this consents; thus it is the consent solely of the affection of truth that is here signified.
 The case is this: Truth itself, which is to be initiated into good, acknowledges its own good; because good acknowledges its own truth; hence comes consent, but that it is a consent inspired into truth from good may be seen above (n. 3161). With man it never appears that there is any consent on the part of truth when it is being initiated and conjoined with good (that is, when man is being regenerated), nor on the part of good as knowing its own truth, and initiating and conjoining such truth with itself; and yet these things are effected precisely in this way; for the things that take place during man‘s regeneration are altogether unknown to him; and if he were to know only one out of ten thousand of them he would be astounded. There are innumerable, nay, illimitable secret things by which man is at that time led of the Lord, some only of which shine forth from the internal sense of the Word.
 The Ancient Church formed for itself an idea of these things from marriages; namely, from the state of a virgin before betrothal, from her state after betrothal, from her state when she was to be wedded, afterwards when she was married, and lastly when she bore offspring to her husband; the fruits of truth from good, or of faith from charity, they called children, and so on. Such was the wisdom of the Ancient Church; their books were also written in this way; and this manner of writing was transmitted from them to the Gentiles; for it was their desire by things which are in the world to express those which are in heaven, and indeed from natural things to see spiritual ones but at the present day this wisdom is altogether lost.
AC 3180. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. That this signifies full consent, is evident from the sense resulting from the internal sense of these words; for when to the question she replied, "I will go," it denotes that she fully consented. The full consent of truth is given when truth perceives in itself an image of good, and in good the very effigy of itself from which it is. GENESIS 24:55-58 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|