Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 25:27-28
AC 3307. Verses 27, 28. And the boys grew up: and Esau was a man skillful in hunting, a man of the field; and Jacob was a perfect man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because his hunting was in his mouth; and Rebekah loved Jacob. "And the boys grew up," signifies the first state; "and Esau was a man skillful in hunting," signifies the good of life from truths sensuous and of memory-knowledge; "a man of the held," signifies the good of life from doctrinal things; "and Jacob was a perfect man," signifies truth; "dwelling in tents," signifies the derivative worship; "and Isaac loved Esau, because his hunting was in his mouth," signifies that the Divine good of the Lord’s Divine rational loved the good of truth; "`and Rebekah loved Jacob," signifies that the Divine truth of the Divine rational loved the doctrine of truth.
AC 3308. The boys grew up. That this signifies the first state, namely, of the conjunction of good and truth, is evident from the signification of "growing up," when predicated of good and truth in respect to origin and progress, as being the first state of the latter, namely, of progress, concerning which hereafter; and from the signification of the "boys," as being good and truth; for good is represented by the "boy Esau," and truth by the "boy Jacob," as before shown. The case with good and truth is the same as with offspring, in that they are conceived, are in the womb, are born, grow up, and also advance in age even to the last. That they are conceived, are in the womb, and are born, pertains to the state of origin; but that they grow up, and advance in age even to the last, pertains to the state of progress. The state of progress advances in succession from the birth, and is a state of the conjunction of good and truth. The first of this state is that which is here signified by "growing up." This state commences immediately after birth, and is continued even to the last of life; and with those who are in good, after the life of the body to eternity. The angels are thus being continually perfected.
AC 3309. And Esau was a man skillful (sciens) in hunting. That this signifies the good of life from truths sensuous and of memory-knowledge, is evident from the representation of Esau, as being the good of life; and from the signification of a "man skillful in hunting," as being those who are in the affection of truth. For a "man skillful" is predicated of the affection of truth, or of those who are in the affection of truth; whereas "hunting" signifies the truths themselves, but truths which are of the natural man from which are goods. And as the truths of the natural man are those which are called memory-knowledges (n. 3293); and these are chiefly of two kinds or degrees, namely, sensuous truths, and truths in the form of memory-knowledge, both are here signified by "hunting." Sensuous truths are those in which children are, and truths in the form of memory-knowledge are those in which the same children are as they grow up. For no one can be in truths of memory-knowledge unless he is first in sensuous truths, inasmuch as the ideas of the former are procured from the latter; and from these may afterwards be learned and comprehended truths still more interior, which are called doctrinal truths, and which are signified by a "man of the field".
 That by "hunting" are signified truths sensuous and of memory-knowledge, in which are instructed and by which are affected those who are in the good of life, is because "hunting," in a wide sense, means the things taken by hunting; such as rams, kids, she-goats, and the like; and which are spiritual goods, as may be seen above (n. 2180, 2830); and also because the arms used in hunting, which were quivers, bows, and darts, signify the doctrinal things of truth (n. 2685, 2686, 2709). That such are the things which are signified by "hunting," is evident from what is said to Esau by his father Isaac in a subsequent chapter:--
Take I pray thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and hunt me a hunting, and make me savory meat, such as I have loved (Gen. 27:3, 4);
and to Jacob, who is there taken for Esau, in the same chapter:--
Bring to me that I may eat of my son‘s hunting, that my soul may bless thee (Gen. 27:25);
from which it is evident what is signified by "hunting."
 Hence it is that to "hunt" signifies to teach and also to persuade, and this in both senses, that is, from the affection of truth, and from the affection of falsity; from the affection of truth in Jeremiah:--
I will bring them back into their land that I gave unto their fathers; behold I will send for many fishers, saith Jehovah, and they shall fish them; and after this I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks (Jeremiah 16:15, 16);
where "fishers" denote those who teach from sensuous truths (n. 40, 991); and "hunters," those who teach from truths of memory-knowledge, and also from doctrinal things. "Upon every mountain and upon every hill," signifies teaching those who are in the affection of good and in the affection of truth. "Mountain and hill" have this signification, (n. 795, 796, 1430). The like is involved in "hunting in the field" (Gen. 27:3). That "hunting" signifies also persuading from the affection of falsity, appears in Ezekiel:--
Behold I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly away, and I will tear off your coverings, and will deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall be no longer in your hand to be hunted (Ezek. 13:20, 21).
Concerning the signification of "hunting" in this sense, (n. 1178); but to this kind of hunting, "nets" are usually attributed.
AC 3310. That "a man of the field" signifies the good of life from doctrinal things, is evident from the signification of "field." In the Word frequent mention is made of "earth" or "land," of "ground," and of "field;" and by "earth" or "land," when used in a good sense, is signified the Lord’s kingdom in the heads and on earth, thus the church, which is His kingdom on earth. The like is signified by "ground," but in a more restricted sense (n. 566, 662, 1066-1068, 1262, 1413, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928). The same is signified also by "field," but in a sense still more restricted (n. 368, 2971); and as the church is not the church from doctrinal things except in so far as these have respect to the good of life as their end; or what is the same, unless these doctrinal things are conjoined with the good of life, therefore by "field" is principally signified the good of life; and in order that this may be of the church, there must be doctrinal things from the Word which have been implanted in this good. Without doctrinal things there is indeed good of life, but not as yet the good of the church, thus not as yet good truly spiritual, except only in the capacity of becoming so; as is the case with the good of life among the Gentiles who have not the Word, and therefore are ignorant of the Lord.
 That a "field" is the good of life in which are to be implanted the things which are of faith, that is, spiritual truths which are of the church, is very evident from the Lord‘s parable in Matthew:--
The sower went forth to sow, and as he sowed, some fell upon the hard way, and the birds came and devoured them and others fell upon stony places where they had not much earth, and straightway they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was risen, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away; and others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them; but others fell upon the good ground and yielded fruit, some a hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold: he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear (Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:5-8).
Here four kinds of earth or ground in a field-that is, in the church-are treated of. That the "seed" is the Word of the Lord, thus truth, which is said to be of faith, and that the "good ground" is the good which is of charity, is evident, for it is the good in man that receives the Word; the "hard way" is falsity; a "stony place" is truth that has no root in good; "thorns" are evils.
 As regards the good of life from doctrinal things, which is signified by "a man of the field," the case is this: They who are being regenerated, at first do what is good from doctrinal things, for of themselves they do not know what is good, but learn it from the doctrinal things of love and charity; from these they know who the Lord is; who is the neighbor; what love is, and what charity; thus what good is. When they are in this state they are in the affection of truth, and are called "men (viri) of the field but afterwards when they have been regenerated, they do not do what is good from doctrinal things, but from love and charity, for they are then in the good itself which they have learned through doctrinal things, and then are called "men (homines) of the field." The case herein is as with one who by nature inclines to adulteries, thefts, and murders, but who learns from the commandments of the decalogue that such things are of hell, and so abstains from them. In this state he is affected by the commandments because he is afraid of hell, and from these and likewise from many things in the Word he learns how he ought to direct his life; and in this case when he does what is good, he does it from the commandments. But when he is in good, he begins to be averse to the adulteries, thefts, and murders to which before he had been inclined; and when he is in this state, he no longer does what is good from the commandments, but from good, which then is in him. In the former state he learns good from truth; in the latter state he teaches truth from good.
 The same is the case also with spiritual truths, which are called doctrinal things, and are still more interior commandments; for doctrinal things are the interior truths that belong to the natural man. The first truths are of sense, the next are of memory-knowledge, the interior ones are of doctrine. These doctrinal truths are founded upon truths of memory-knowledge, for man can form and retain no idea, notion, or conception of them except from memory-knowledges. But truths of memory-knowledge are founded upon truths of the senses, for without sensuous things no memory-knowledges can be comprehended by man. These truths, namely, those of memory-knowledge and of sense, are what are signified by "a man skillful in hunting;" but doctrinal truths are those which are signified by a "man of the field." In this way do these truths follow in succession with man; and therefore until he is of adult age, and through truths of sense and of memory-knowledge is in doctrinal truths, no man is able to be regenerated, for he cannot be confirmed in the truths of doctrine, except by means of ideas derived from the things of memory-knowledge and of sense. For nothing is possible in man’s thought, even as to the deepest arcanum of faith, that is not attended with a natural and sensuous idea, although the man is for the most part ignorant of the nature of it; but in the other life, if be desires it, it is presented to view before his understanding, and even, if be so wishes, before his sight; for however incredible it may appear, in the other life such things can be presented to the sight.
AC 3311. And Jacob was a perfect man. That this signifies truth, is evident from the representation of Jacob, as being the doctrine of natural truth (n. 3305); and from the signification of "perfect," as being predicated of those who are in truth, thus of truth (n. 612).
AC 3312. Dwelling in tents. That this signifies the derivative worship, is evident from the signification of "tents," as being the holy of love, and thence of worship (n. 414, 1102, 2145, 2152). That "tents" signify the holy of worship, is because in the most ancient time the man of the church who was in love to the Lord and thence in holy worship, dwelt in tents, and there performed his holy worship; and because at that time the holy of love and thence the holy of worship began to be represented by tents, it was commanded that they should make a Tent according to the pattern shown to Moses upon Mount Sinai, and should therein institute their Divine worship. Hence also the feast of tabernacles, and their then dwelling in tents, was for the sake of the representation of the holy worship which belonged to the man of the celestial church; and this shows that by "dwelling in tents" is signified worship.
AC 3313. And Isaac loved Esau, because his hunting was in his mouth. That this signifies that the Divine good of the Divine rational loved the good of truth, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Lord‘s Divine rational as to Divine good (n. 3012, 3013, 3194, 3210); and from the representation of Esau, as being the Lord’s Divine natural as to the good therein (n. 3300, 3302); and from what follows concerning Edom and from the signification of "hunting" as being the good of life from natural truths (n. 3309). "In his mouth" signifies that it was in His natural affection; for in the word that is said to be "in the heart" which is interior and proceeds from good, and that to be "in the mouth" which is exterior and proceeds from truth; and as the good of truth, which is here represented by Esau and is signified by "hunting," is exterior good-that is, is in natural affection, and proceeds from truth-therefore it is said to have been "in Isaac‘s mouth."
AC 3314. A Rebekah loved Jacob. That this signifies that the Divine truth of the Divine rational loved the doctrine of truth, is evident from the representation of Rebekah, as being the Divine truth of the Divine rational (n. 3012, 3013, 3077, and the whole preceding chapter, where Rebekah is treated of); and from the representation of Jacob, as being the doctrine of natural truth, and in the supreme sense the Lord’s Divine natural as to truth (n. 3305). That the Divine good of the Divine rational loved the good which was in the natural, and the Divine truth of the Divine rational loved the truth which was in the natural, stands thus: It is good and truth that constitute the rational, and it is also good and truth that constitute the natural; the good of the rational flows in without truth--thus immediately--into the good of the natural; and also through truth, thus mediately; whereas the good of the rational flows in through the truth of the rational into the truth of the natural, thus mediately; and also through the good of the natural into the truth there, thus also immediately. Hence it is that there is a closer conjunction of the good of the rational with the good of the natural, than with its truth; which conjunction is signified by "Isaac loving Esau;" and that there is a closer conjunction of the truth of the rational with the truth of the natural, than with its good, which conjunction is signified by "Rebekah loving Jacob."
 These things are indeed such as can with difficulty be apprehended, for the reason especially that the world, even the learned world, is ignorant of the most general truths upon the subject--as that the rational is distinct from the natural, and that it is good and truth which constitute beth the rational and the natural; and still less is it known that the rational must flow into the natural in order for man to be able to think, and to will as he thinks. As these most general truths are unknown, the influx spoken of above can with difficulty be comprehended; and yet these are matters in regard to which the angels have light, and perceive things innumerable, and this attended with the delight in which they are when it is given them at the same time to think concerning the Lord‘s Divine in respect to the Human. The man who is in good and in whom there is what is angelic while he is in the body, is also gifted with some light from the Lord on these and similar subjects; but he who is not in good feels a loathing when thinking of such things, and the more so the more he thinks of them as applied to the Divine that pertains to the Lord’s Human. It is better therefore that those who are of such a nature should remove their mind from such subjects; for they comprehend nothing of them, and even reject them; saying at heart, What is this to me? it will bring me neither honors nor gain.GENESIS 25:27-28 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|