Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 24:59-61
AC 3181. Verses 59-61. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his sister. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Our sister, be thou for thousands of ten thousands, and may thy seed inherit the gate of those that hate thee. And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man, and the servant took Rebekah and went away. "They sent away Rebekah their sister," signifies separation from the affection of Divine truth; "and her nurse," signifies from the innocence pertaining thereto; "and Abraham‘s servant and his men," signifies from Divine things in the natural man; "and they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her," signifies devout wishes from Divine enlightenment; "Our sister, be thou for thousands of ten thousands," signifies the fructification of the affection of truth to infinitude; "and may thy seed inherit the gate of those that hate thee," signifies the Lord’s spiritual kingdom from the marriage of good and truth in the Divine Human, to which kingdom belong charity and faith where before were evil and falsity; "and Rebekah arose," signifies the elevation of the affection of truth, and the consequent separation; "and her damsels," signifies the subservient affections; "and they rode upon the camels," signifies the intellectual part elevated upon natural memory-knowledges; "and followed the man," signifies under the auspices of Divine truth natural; "and the servant took Rebekah and went away," signifies that Divine good natural performed the initiation.
AC 3182. They sent away Rebekah their sister. That this signifies separation from the affection of Divine truth, is evident from the signification of "sending," as denoting to be separated; and from the representation of Rebekah the sister, is being the affection of Divine truth (n. 3077, 3179); that "sister" is truth, see (n. 1495, 2508, 2524, 2556, 3160). How the case herein is, may be seen from what has been said and shown above in this chapter; but to make the matter plainer, a few words more shall be said. When the truth which is to be initiated and conjoined with good is elevated out of the natural, it is separated from what is therein; and this separation is what is signified by their sending away Rebekah their sister. Truth is separated when the man no longer from truth regards good, but from good truth; or what is the same, when he no longer from doctrine regards life, but from life doctrine. For example: doctrine teaches the truth that no one is to be held in hatred; for whoever holds another in hatred, kills him every moment. In early life a man scarcely admits the truth of this, but as he advances in age and is being reformed, he accounts this as one of the doctrinal things according to which he ought to live. At last he lives according to it; and then he no longer thinks from the doctrine, but acts from the life. When this is the case, this truth of doctrine is elevated out of the natural, and indeed is separated from the natural and implanted in good in the rational; and this being effected he no longer suffers the natural man by any of its sophistry to call it in doubt; nay, he does not suffer the natural man to reason against it.
AC 3183. And her nurse. That this signifies from the innocence appertaining thereto (that they also sent this away, that is, separated it from themselves), appears from the signification of a "nurse," or one that gives suck, as being innocence. Repeated mention is made in the Word of those that suck, and of those that give suck; and by the former is signified the first state of infants, which state it is evident must be a state of innocence; for when first born, man is introduced into a state of innocence, in order that this may be a plane for all the succeeding states, and be the inmost in them; which state is signified in the Word by a "suckling." Next he is introduced into a state of the affection of celestial good, that is, of love toward his parents, which with such infants is in the place of love to the Lord; and this state is signified by an "infant." Afterwards he is introduced into a state of the affection of spiritual good, or of mutual love, that is, of charity toward his playmates, which state is signified by "boys." As he advances further in age, he is introduced into a state of the affection of truth; this is signified by "young men;" and the subsequent states are signified by "men," and finally by "old men." This last state, signified by "old men," is the state of wisdom, in which is the innocence of infancy; thus the first state and the last are united; and man when old, being again a little child, but wise, is introduced into the Lord‘s kingdom.
 From all this it is evident that innocence is the first state, which is that of the sucking child. Hence also she that gives suck signifies innocence; for of the giver and the receiver, as of the actor and the one acted upon, a similar state is perceived. It is here said that they sent away also the nurse (or her who gave suck), to the intent that the affection of truth might be described, namely, that it was from innocence; for the affection of truth is not the affection of truth unless innocence is in it (n. 2526, 2780, 3111); for by innocence the Lord flows into this affection, and indeed with wisdom, since true innocence is wisdom itself (n. 2305, 2306); and in the eyes of the angels they who are in innocence appear as infants (n. 154, 2306).
 That in the Word a "sucking child" signifies innocence, is also evident from other passages; as in David:--
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou founded strength (Ps. 8:2; Matt. 21:16);
where "babes" denote celestial love, and "sucklings," innocence. In Jeremiah:--
Wherefore commit ye great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, the infant and the suckling out of the midst of Judah, that I should leave you none remaining? (Jer. 44:7)
where the "infant and the suckling" in like manner denote celestial love and the innocence thereof; and when these become none, then there are no longer any "remains," that is, any good and truth remaining stored up by the Lord in the internal man. That these are remains, see (n. 1906, 2284); for all goods and truths perish together with innocence, inasmuch as innocence is immediately from the very Divine, and thus is the very essential in them all.
The infant and the suckling faint in the streets of the city (Lam. 2:11);
"there the signification is the same. Again:--
The whales draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones the daughter of My people is become cruel the tongue of the suckling cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst; the little children ask bread, and no man reaches it unto them (Lam. 4:3, 4)
the "suckling" again denoting innocence; "little children," the affections of good. In Moses:--
Without shall the sword bereave, and from the chambers terror, both the young man, and the virgin, the suckling with the old man (Deut. 32:25)
the "sword bereaving the young man, the virgin, the suckling with the old man," signifies that falsity will destroy the affection of truth, and the affection of good; also innocence together with wisdom. In Isaiah:--
They shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon the shoulder, and kings shall be thy nourishers, and their queens those who give thee suck (Isa. 49:22, 23)
where "kings thy nourishers" denotes intelligence; and "queens those who give thee suck," wisdom: and that this is of innocence, has been stated above.
AC 3184. And Abraham’s servant, and his men. That this signifies from Divine things in the natural man, is evident from the signification of "Abraham‘s servant," as being the natural man (n. 3019, 3020); and from the signification of "his men," as being all things therein (n. 3169); it is evident that Divine things in the natural man are signified, because the servant was sent by Abraham, who, as has been abundantly shown above, represents the Divine of the Lord.
AC 3185. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her. That this signifies devout wishes from Divine enlightenment, is evident from the signification of "blessing," in saying farewell to one who is departing, as being devout wishes for success and happiness; that here these were from Divine enlightenment, is evident from what presently follows; and also because enlightenment flows into the natural man through the affection of truth, which is " Rebekah," when being initiated into good, which is "Isaac."
AC 3186. Our sister, be thou for thousands of ten thousands. That this signifies the fructification of the affection of truth to infinitude, appears from the signification of "sister," who is Rebekah, as being the affection of truth (n. 3077, 3179, 3182); and from the signification of "being for thousands of ten thousands," as being fructification to infinitude; "thousands of ten thousands" here denote what is infinite, because the subject treated of is the Lord, in whom all things both in general and in particular are infinite. With man the case is this: Goods are not fructified and truths are not multiplied with him, until the conjunction of truth and of good has been effected in his rational, that is, until he is regenerate for then the fruits or offspring come forth from legitimate or heavenly marriage, which is that of good and truth. It is true that previously to this time the goods which he does appear as if they were goods and the truths appear as if they were truths; but they are not genuine, for the very soul, which is good wherein is innocence from the Lord, is not in them; thus neither do they affect the man and make him happy. The affection of love and of charity, together with the happiness thereof, which affection is the soul, is given of the Lord when man is being regenerated.
 That by "thousands" is signified much, and also what is infinite, may be seen above (n. 2575); and still more by "ten thousands," and still more by "thousands of ten thousands," as also in other passages. Thus in Moses:--
When the ark rested, he said, Return Jehovah, the ten thousands of the thousands of Israel (Num. 10:36)
where by "the ten thousands of the thousands" is also signified what is infinite, because it is predicated of the Lord, who is here "Jehovah." Again:--
Jehovah rose from Seir unto them; He shone forth from Mount Paran, and came from the ten thousands of holiness (Deut. 33:2)
where "ten thousands" also denote what is infinite. In David:--
The chariots of God are ten thousands of thousands of peaceable ones (Ps. 68:17);
where the "chariots of God" denote those things which are of the Word and of the doctrine thence derived; "ten thousands of thousands" denote the infinite things which are therein. In John:--
I saw, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne their number was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousand (Rev. 5:11);
denoting that they were innumerable.
AC 3187. And may thy seed inherit the gate of those that hate thee. That this signifies the Lord’s spiritual kingdom derived from the marriage of good and truth in the Divine Human, to which kingdom pertain charity and faith where before were evil and falsity, may appear from what was said and explained above (n. 2851), where nearly the same words occur. That "seed" denotes those who are called the spiritual, thus in the universal sense all who constitute the Lord‘s spiritual kingdom, or what is the same, that kingdom itself, is evident from the signification of "seed," as being charity and faith (n. 1025, 1447, 1610, 1940), and accordingly those who are in charity through faith. That these are the spiritual, see (n. 2088, 2184, 2507, 2708, 2715, 2954); also that these have charity and faith from the marriage of good and truth in the Lord’s Divine Human, thus that they have salvation therefrom, (n. 2661, 2716, 2833, 2834).
 In the Ancient Church this was a customary devout wish to a betrothed virgin, when she was going to be married:-‘,Be thou for thousands of ten thousands, and may thy seed inherit the gate of thine enemies," or of "them that hate thee;" but the wise ones of that church by these words understood spiritual things; namely, that when they entered into the marriage of good and truth, that is, when they were regenerate, then goods and truths would be fructified to thousands of ten thousands, that is, immeasurably; and that charity and faith would succeed in the place where evil and falsity were before; but when the wisdom of the Ancient Church expired, they then no longer received from this devout wish any spiritual sense, but a wholly worldly sense, namely, that the posterity might be innumerable, and that it might take possession of and inherit the land of the Gentiles. Pre-eminently did the descendants of Jacob so understand these words; and they confirmed themselves in so doing by the fact that they not only increased immensely, but also inherited the land, which was to them the gate of their enemies; not knowing that all these things were representative, that is, representative of the Lord’s celestial and spiritual kingdom, and that on the expulsion thence of evils and falsities there would succeed in their place good and truth; which meaning will clearly appear when of the Lord‘s Divine mercy these representatives are opened.
 In particular, that is, with every man who becomes a kingdom of the Lord, the case also is this: Before he becomes this kingdom, that is, before he is being regenerated, he is inwardly nothing but evil and falsity; and infernal and diabolical spirits have possession of that which is called the "gate" (n. 2851); but when he is becoming a kingdom of the Lord, that is, when he is being regenerated, then evils and falsities, or what is the same, infernal and diabolical spirits, are driven out, and good and truth enter and inherit that place; and then there is in him a conscience of good and truth. And as the case is in particular, so also is it in general. From all this it is evident what is meant in the internal sense by the above words.
AC 3188. And Rebekah arose. That this signifies the elevation of the affection of truth and a consequent separation, that is, an elevation to the rational, and a separation from the natural; appears from the signification of "arising," as implying elevation (n. 2401, 2785, 2912, 2927, 3171); and whereas it implies elevation, it implies also separation and also from the representation of Rebekah, as being the affection of truth (n. 3077, 3179). From this it is evident that Rebekah arising" signifies the elevation of the affection of truth, and a separation from the natural (n. 3182).
AC 3189. And her damsels. That this signifies the subservient affections, is evident from the signification of "damsel," when Rebekah was so called, as being an affection in which is innocence (n. 3067, 3110); but when they are so called who followed Rebekah to serve her, they signify subservient affections. Every affection appears as something simple, or as one thing; but that it contains things innumerable, see (n. 3078); all things which are therein are affections, consociated in an incomprehensible form; they are also mutually subordinate to one another, for there are some which administer, and some which serve. The societies of heaven are in such a form, nay, so is the whole heaven, being arranged in order by the Lord according to the Divine form which is in Himself. The form of the Lord’s spiritual kingdom comes forth in accordance with the orderly arrangement of the affections in His Divine Human, which orderly arrangement is treated of in the internal sense of this chapter and the following one. But there are very few things herein which can be unfolded to the apprehension, they being adapted to the perception of angels.
AC 3190. And they rode upon the camels. That this signifies the intellectual part elevated above natural memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of "riding," as being to be elevated as to the intellectual part (n. 2761, 2762) and from the signification of "camels," as being general memory-knowledges in the natural man (n. 3048, 3071), thus natural memory-knowledges. The case herein is this: then truth is elevated out of the natural into the rational, it is taken out of the sphere of worldly light into the sphere of heavenly light, thus as it were from the obscurity of night into the clearness of day; for the things which are of the light of the world, in which are all natural things, are relatively as in night, but the things which are of the light of heaven, in which are spiritual things, are relatively as in day; and therefore when truth is elevated out of the natural toward the rational, the man is at the same time elevated into intelligence and into wisdom; moreover all intelligence and wisdom with man are from this source. This is what is signified by the intellectual part being elevated above natural memory-knowledges.
AC 3191. And followed the man. That this signifies under the auspices of Divine truth natural, is evident from the signification of "going after" or "following," as being here in the internal sense under the guidance or auspices; and from the signification of the "man," as being truth (n. 3134); here, Divine truth natural (n. 3184).
AC 3192. And the servant took Rebekah and went away. That this signifies that Divine good natural effected the initiation, is evident from the signification of the "servant," as being Divine good natural (n. 3184); and from the signification of "taking Rebekah and going away," as being to initiate, that is, to introduce to Isaac; that is, to Divine good in the rational; as may appear without further explication. The case herein is this: Truth out of the natural could not be elevated to good in the rational, except through Divine truth and Divine good, both natural; Divine truth natural, which is called the "man," must show the way and lead; Divine good natural, which is called the "servant," must introduce and initiate. To speak comparatively, these are as two wings which uplift. But these things cannot as yet be more fully unfolded to the apprehension; for it must first be known what Divine truth natural is, and what Divine good natural, which subjects are treated of in the internal sense in the following chapters concerning Joseph. GENESIS 24:59-61 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|