Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 26:15-17
AC 3411. Verses 15-17. And all the wells that his father’s servants digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped them up, and filled them with dust. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go away from us; for thou art much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, and encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. "And all the wells that his fathers servants digged in the days of Abraham his father, the philistines stopped them up," signifies that they who were in the memory-knowledge of knowledges were not willing to know interior truths which are from the Divine, and thus obliterated them; "and filled them with dust," signifies by earthly things; "and Abimelech said unto Isaac," signifies the Lord‘s perception concerning this doctrine; "go away from us for thou art much mightier than we," signifies that they could not endure those truths because of the Divine in them; "and Isaac departed thence," signifies that the Lord left interior doctrinal things; "and encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there," signifies that He betook Himself to lower rational things, that is, from interior appearances to exterior ones.
AC 3412. And all the wells that his father’s servants digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped them up. That this signifies that they who were in the memory-knowledge of knowledges were not willing to know interior truths which are from the Divine, and thus obliterated them, is evident from the signification of "wells," as being truths (n. 2702, 3096), here, interior truths which are from the Divine, inasmuch as the wells by which truths are signified are said to have been digged by his father‘s servants in the days of Abraham his father, for by Abraham is represented the Lord’s Divine Itself (n. 2011, 2833, 2836, 3251, 3305); from the signification of "stopping up," as being not to be willing to know, and thus to obliterate; and from the representation of the Philistines, as being those who are solely in the memory-knowledges of knowledges (n. 1197, 1198).
 Appearances of truth of a lower degree are now treated of, in which they may be who are in the memory-knowledge of knowledges, and who are here meant by the "Philistines." With interior truths which are from the Divine, and which are obliterated by those who are called "Philistines," the case is this In the Ancient Church and afterwards, those were called "Philistines" who applied themselves little to life, but much to doctrine, and who in process of time even rejected the things which are of life, and acknowledged as the essential of the church the things which are of faith, which they separated from life; consequently who made light of the doctrinal things of charity, which in the Ancient Church were the sum and substance of doctrine, and thus obliterated them, and instead thereof vaunted much the doctrinal things of faith, and made the whole of religion to consist in these; and inasmuch as thereby they departed from the life which is of charity--that is, from the charity which is of life--they pre-eminently were called the "uncircumcised;" for by the "uncircumcised" were signified all who were not in charity, however much they might be in doctrinal things (n. 2049).
 Those who thus departed from charity removed themselves also from wisdom and intelligence; for no one can be wise and intelligent in regard to truth unless he is in good, that is, in charity, because all truth is from good, and looks to good; so that they who are without good cannot understand truth, and are not even willing to know it. In the other life, when such persons are far from heaven, there sometimes appears with them a snowy light; but this light is like that of winter, which being devoid of heat produces no fruit; and therefore when such persons draw near to heaven their light is turned into mere darkness, and their minds are plunged into the like, that is, into stupor. From all this it can now be seen what is meant by the statement that those who are in the mere memory-knowledge of knowledges were not willing to know interior truths which are from the Divine, and thus obliterated them.
AC 3413. And filled them with dust. That this signifies by means of earthly things, that is, by the loves of self and of gain, is evident from the signification of "dust," as being that which is of this nature (n. 249). The meaning is that those called "Philistines" (that is, those who are not in life but in doctrine) obliterate interior truths by earthly loves, which are the love of self and of gain; from these loves they were called the "uncircumcised" (n. 2039, 2044, 2056, 2632). For they who are in these loves cannot but fill the wells of Abraham with dust (that is, obliterate the interior truths of the Word by earthly things), because from these loves they cannot possibly see spiritual things (that is, the things which are of the light of truth from the Lord) for these loves induce darkness, and darkness extinguishes this light. For as before said (n. 3412), on the approach of the light of truth from the Lord, they who are in doctrine only, and not in life, are in total darkness and stupor, and even become angry, and in every way busy themselves to dissipate truths; for the love of self and of gain is of such a nature that it cannot endure the near approach of anything of truth from the Divine. Nevertheless such persons can glory and take pride in the fact that they know truths, nay, they preach them from a kind of zeal; but it is the fires of those loves that kindle and arouse them, and their zeal is merely a fervor thence derived, as is sufficiently evident from the fact that they can preach against their own veriest life with a like zeal or fervor. These are the earthly things by which the Word itself, which is the fountain of all truth, is blocked up.
AC 3414. And Abimelech said unto Isaac. That this signifies the Lord‘s perception concerning that doctrine, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive; from the representation of Abimelech, who here is the king of the Philistines, as being that doctrine (n. 3365, 3391) and from the representation of Isaac, as being the Lord in respect to the Divine rational.
AC 3415. Go away from us; for those art much mightier than we. That this signifies that they could not endure interior truths because of the Divine therein, is evident from the signification of "to go away from us," as being not to endure the presence; and from the signification of his being "much mightier," as being on account of his opulence; here, on account of the Divine that was in interior truths. They who are called "Philistines" cannot endure the presence of good, thus not the presence of the Divine, (n. 3413).
AC 3416. And Isaac departed thence. That this signifies that the Lord left interior truths, is evident from the signification of "departing thence," as being to leave; here, to leave interior truths, because these are here treated of; and from the representation of Isaac, as being the Lord as to the Divine rational. That the Lord leaves interior truths, signifies that He does not open them to persons of such a character; for there are everywhere in the Word internal truths; but such persons as are in the memory-knowledge of knowledges, and not at the same time in life, do not when reading the Word even see these truths; as is evident from the fact that they who make faith the essential of salvation do not attend to those things which the Lord so frequently spake concerning love and charity (n. 1017, 2371) and they who do attend, call such things the fruits of faith, which fruits they thus distinguish, nay, separate, from charity, of the nature of which they are ignorant. Thus the posterior things of the Word appear to them, but not the anterior things; that is, the exterior things, but not the interior; and to see what is posterior or exterior without seeing what is anterior or interior is to see nothing of the Divine. This is what is meant by the Lord’s leaving interior truths, which is signified by Isaac‘s departing thence; not that the Lord leaves them, but that they remove themselves from the Lord, because from those things which are of life.
AC 3417. And encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. That this signifies that He betook Himself to lower rational things, that is, from interior appearances to exterior, is evident from the signification of "encamping," as being to dispose into order; and from the signification of the "valley of Gerar," as being lower rational things, or exterior appearances of truth, for a "valley" signifies lower, or what is the same, exterior things (n. 1723), and "Gerar" those which are of faith, thus which are of truth (n. 1209, 2504, 3365, 3384, 3385); and from the signification of "dwelling," as being to be and to live (n. 3384); so that by his "encamping in the valley of Gerar and dwelling there," is signified that the Lord so disposed truths that they might be adapted to the comprehension and genius of those also who are not much in life, but in the doctrinal things of faith; as may be seen from the Word, where also truths are thus adapted.
 For example: they who are in doctrinal things, and not so much in life, do not know otherwise than that the heavenly kingdom is similar to kingdoms on earth, in that men become great by ruling over others, this delight being the only one with which they are acquainted, and which they prefer to every other delight; and therefore the Lord spake in the Word according to this appearance, as in Matthew:--
Whosoever shall do and teach, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 5:19);
and in David:--
I said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High (Psalms 82:6; John 10:34, 35).
And because even the disciples themselves had at first no other opinion respecting the heavenly kingdom than that of greatness and preeminence, as on earth--as is evident in (Matthew 18:1; Mark 9:34; Luke 9:46)--and also had an idea of sitting on the right hand and the left of a king (Matt. 20:20, 21, 24; Mark 10:37), therefore also the Lord replied according to their apprehension and their spirit, saying, when there was a contention among them as to which of them should be greatest:--
Ye shall eat and drink at My table in My kingdom; and shall sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:30; Matt. 19:28);
for at that time they did not know that heavenly delight is not the delight of greatness and pre-eminence, but is the delight of humiliation and of the affection of serving others; thus of desiring to be least, and not greatest; as the Lord teaches in Luke:--
Whosoever is least among you all, the same shall be great (Luke 9:48).
 Thus they who are in the memory-knowledge of knowledges, and not in the life of charity, cannot know that there is any other delight than that which results from pre-eminence; and because this is the only delight that is seated in their minds, and makes all their life, therefore they are utterly ignorant of the heavenly delight that results from humiliation and the affection of serving others--that is, the delight of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor--consequently of the blessedness and happiness thence derived. This is the reason why the Lord spoke in adaptation to their Infirmity, that thereby they might be aroused and introduced to good, so as to learn, and to teach, and to do it. At the same time He teaches the nature of greatness and preeminence in heaven (Matt. 19:30; 20:16, 25-28; Mark 10:31, 42-45; Luke 9:48; 13:30; 22:25-28). These and the like are the appearances of truth of a lower degree; for they do become relatively great, pre-eminent, powerful, and of authority, seeing that a single angel has greater power than myriads of infernal spirits, get not from himself, but from the Lord; and he has it from the Lord in the proportion that he believes that he has no power from himself, thus that he is the least; and this he can believe in so far as he is in humiliation and in the affection of being of service to others, that is, in so far as he is in the good of love to the Lord, and of charity toward the neighbor.GENESIS 26:15-17 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|