Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 26:10-11
AC 3396. Verses 10, 11. And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us, in that one of the people might lightly have lain with thy woman, and thou wouldst have brought guilt upon us? And Abimelech commanded all the people, saying He that toucheth this man and his woman, dying he shall die "And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us," signifies indignation; "that one of the people might lightly have lain with thy woman, and thou wouldst have brought guilt upon us," signifies that Divine truth might have been adulterated and thus profaned; "and Abimelech commanded all the people, saying," signifies a decree " he that toucheth this man and his woman, dying he shall die," signifies that Divine truth and Divine good are not to be opened; and are not even to be approached in faith, on account of the danger of eternal damnation if they should be profaned.
AC 3397. And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? That this signifies indignation, is evident without explication.
AC 3398. That one of the people might lightly have lain with thy woman, and thou wouldst have brought guilt upon us. That this signifies that Divine truth might have been adulterated and thus profaned, is evident from the signification of "lying with," as being to be perverted or adulterated; from the signification of "one of the people," as being some one of the spiritual church (n. 2928); from the signification of "woman" who here is Rebekah, as being Divine truth; and from the signification of "guilt," as being the blame of the profanation of truth; so that by "one of the people might lightly have lain with thy woman, and thou wouldst have brought guilt upon us," is signified that some one of the church might easily have adulterated Divine truth, and have brought upon himself the blame of the profanation of truth. It was said above (n. 3386) that as Abraham twice called his wife Sarah his sister, first in Egypt, and afterwards in Gerar with Abimelech; and that as Isaac in like manner called his woman Rebekah his sister, also with Abimelech; and as these three cases are recorded in the Word, there must be some very deep secret involved thereby. This very secret is seen in the internal sense, namely, that by "sister" is signified rational truth, and by "woman" Divine truth; and this was called rational truth (that is, " sister"), lest Divine truth (here called the "woman" who was Rebekah) should be adulterated, and thus profaned.
 In regard to the profanation of truth the case is this: Divine truth cannot possibly be profaned except by those who have first acknowledged it; for when those who have first entered into truth by acknowledgment and belief, and have thus been initiated into it, afterwards recede from it, there continually remains an impression of it stamped within, which is recalled at the same time with the falsity and evil and hence by adhering to these the truth is profaned. Therefore those with whom this is the case have continually in themselves that which condemns them thus their own hell for when the infernals approach a sphere where good and truth are, they are instantly sensible of their own hell, because they come into that which they hold in hatred, consequently into torment. Therefore those who have profaned truth dwell continually with that which torments them, and this according to the degree of the profanation. For this reason it is most especially provided by the Lord that Divine good and truth may not be profaned; and this is provided chiefly by the circumstance that the man who is such that he cannot but profane is withheld as far as possible from the acknowledgment and belief of truth and good; for as before said no one can profane except the man who has first acknowledged and believed.
 This was the reason why internal truths were not disclosed to Jacob‘s descendants the Israelites and Jews, who were not openly told even that there is anything internal in man, thus that there is any internal worship; and scarcely anything was said to them about the life after death, and the Lord’s heavenly kingdom; or about the Messiah whom they expected. The reason was that they were of such a character that it was foreseen that if such things had been disclosed to them they could not have helped profaning them, because they desired nothing but earthly things and because that race was of this nature and so remains, it is still permitted that they should be in utter unbelief; for if they had once acknowledged, and had afterwards gone back, they must needs have brought upon themselves the most grievous of all hells.
 This was also the reason why the Lord did not come into the world and reveal the internal things of the Word until there was no good whatever remaining with them, not even natural good, for they could then no longer receive any truth with internal acknowledgment (because it is good that receives truth), and therefore they could not profane it. Such was the state meant by the fullness of time," and by the consummation of the age," and also by the last day" so much treated of in the Prophets. It is for the same reason that the arcana of the internal sense of the Word are now being revealed for at this day there is scarcely any faith, because not any charity; thus because it is the consummation of the age and when this is the case, then these arcana can be revealed without danger of profanation, because they are not interiorly acknowledged.
 It is for this secret reason that it is related in the Word concerning Abraham and Isaac that when in Gerar with Abimelech they called their wives their sisters. Those can profane who acknowledge, but not those who do not acknowledge, still less those who do not know, (n. 593, 1008, 1010, 1059). What danger there is from a profanation of holy things and of the Word, (n. 571, 582). They who are within the church can profane holy things; but not they who are without the church, (n. 2051). It is provided by the Lord that profanation may not take place, (n. 1001, 2426). Worship becomes external in order to prevent internal worship from being profaned, (n. 1327, 1328). Men are kept in ignorance, lest the truths of faith should be profaned, (n. 301-303).
AC 3399. In the internal sense "to lie with a woman" denotes to pervert and adulterate truth (here truth Divine, because by the "woman" or Rebekah is represented Divine truth, as shown above) is evident from the fact that by "lying with," by adultery," and by harlotry," in the Word, nothing else is signified than perversions of good and falsifications of truth (n. 2466, 2729); and this for the reason that adulteries are diametrically contrary to conjugial love, insomuch that they are destructive of it; and conjugial love is from the marriage of good and truth (n. 2508, 2618, 2727-2759, 3132) and therefore those things which are contrary to good and truth, of which destroy them, are in the Word called "adulteries."
 Be it known however that they who are of the spiritual church cannot adulterate good so as to profane it, because they cannot receive good so as to have a perception of it, like the celestial and yet they can profane truth, because this they can acknowledge. But in the last true of the church they cannot even acknowledge truth, because there then universally reigns with them unbelief concerning the Lord, concerning the life after death, and concerning the internal man and an unbelief that universally reigns, prevents the truths of faith from penetrating interiorly. With every one that which is universal limits and hinders such things from entering deeply, both when the man is ignorant of them, and also when he supposes that he believes them.
 But they who are capable of profaning good are those of the celestial church, for these can receive good even to perception. This was the case with the antediluvians, who were therefore secluded from all others, and who are confined in a hell separate from the hells of others (n. 1265-1272) and that the profanation of good should not any longer take place is signified by its being said that when man was cast out of Eden, Jehovah caused to dwell at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and the flame of a sword that turned itself, to keep the way of the tree of lives (Gen. 3:24) (n. 308, 310).
AC 3400. That "guilt" denotes the blame or imputation of sin and of transgression against good and truth, is evident from the passages of the Word where "guilt" is mentioned and also described, as in Isaiah:--
It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him, and He hath made Him weak if thou shalt make His soul guilt, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper through His hand (Isa. 53:10)
where the Lord is treated of; to "make His soul guilt" denotes sin imputed to Him, thus blame by those who hated Him and not that in Himself He contracted anything of sin, that He should take it away. In Ezekiel:--
Thou art become guilty through thy blood that thou hast shed, and art defiled in thine idols which thou hast made (Ezek. 22:4)
where "shedding blood" signifies offering violence to good (n. 374, 376, 1005), whence comes guilt. In David:--
They that hate the righteous shall have guilt Jehovah redeemeth the soul of His servants and none of them that trust in Him shall have guilt (Ps. 34:21, 22).
Thus "guilt" denotes all sin which remains its separation by good from the Lord is redemption," which was also represented by the expiation made by the priest when they offered the sacrifice of guilt as we read in (Lev. 6:1-26; 7:1-10; 19:20-22; Num. 5:1-8); where also the kinds of guilt are enumerated, which are as follows: hearing the voice of cursing and not declaring it; touching anything unclean swearing to do evil sinning by mistake concerning the holy things of Jehovah doing any of those things which are forbidden by the commandments; refusing to a neighbor that which was to be kept for him; finding what has been lost, and denying it and swearing to a lie; lying with a woman that is a bondmaid betrothed to a man, not redeemed, neither made free; and all sins committed against a man by committing a trespass against Jehovah.
AC 3401. And Abimelech commanded all the people, saying. That this signifies a decree, is evident from the signification of " commanding," as being to make a decree and from the representation of Abimelech, as being those who are in the doctrine of faith (n. 3392), and in the supreme sense the Lord (n. 3393) and from the signification of "people," as being those who are of the spiritual church (n. 3398) from which it is evident that " Abimelech commanded all the people" signifies a decree from the Lord in the spiritual church. The decree itself is that which follows, namely, that Divine truth and Divine good are not to be opened, and are not even to be approached in faith, from the danger of eternal damnation if They should be profaned. This is the subject next treated of.
AC 3402. He that toucheth this man and his woman, dying he shall die. That this signifies that Divine truth and Divine good are not to be opened, and are not even to be approached in faith, from the danger of eternal damnation if they should be profaned, is evident from the signification of "touching this man and his woman," as being to approach the Divine truth and Divine good which are represented by Isaac and Rebekah. Truth is here mentioned in the first place, and good in the second, because those are treated of who are in the spiritual church, who are able to adulterate and even profane truth, but not good, and for this reason it is said "man and woman" (n. 915, 2517);--and also from the signification of " dying he shall die," as being eternal damnation, which is spiritual death; here, from profanation, which is the subject treated of.
 It is of the Lord‘s providence that no one should be admitted into good and truth - that is, into the acknowledgment and affection thereof - any further than he can remain in them, on account of the danger of eternal damnation, (n. 3398). The case with good and truth, as before stated and shown’, is that in a man these betake themselves inward in so far as he is in evil and falsity; consequently that the angels who are with him from heaven in so far retire; and diabolical spirits from hell in so far approach. And the converse also is true. The removal of good and truth, consequently of the angels, from the man who is in evil and falsity is not apparent to him, because he is then in the persuasion that evil is good, and that falsity is truth, and this from the affection of them and the consequent delight; and when he is in this state it is impossible for him to know that good and truth have been removed from him. Good and truth, or the angels, are said to be removed from man when he is not affected by them, that is, when he is no longer delighted with them, but on the contrary is affected by the things that are of the love of self and the love of the world, that is, when these alone delight him.
 To know good and truth, that is, to hold them in the memory, and to talk about them, is not to possess them; but to possess them is to be affected by them from the heart; neither does anyone possess good and truth when he is affected by them for the sake of thereby gaining reputation and wealth for in this case he is not affected by good and truth, but by honor and gain, and he makes the former the means of obtaining the latter. In the other life the goods and truths that such persons have known, and have even preached, are taken away from them, and there remains the love of self and of the world, from which is their life. From this it is evident how the case is with good and truth, namely, that no one is allowed to approach them with affection and faith, unless he is of such a character that he can continue in them to the end of his life. But they who profane are those who cannot be withheld from them.GENESIS 26:10-11 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|