Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 26:18
AC 3418. Verse 18. And Isaac returned, and digged again the wells of waters which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; add the Philistines stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he called their names after the names which his father called them. "And Isaac returned, and digged again the wells of waters which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father," signifies that the Lord opened those truths which were with the ancients; "and the Philistines stopped them up after the death of Abraham," signifies that they who were in the mere memory-knowledge of knowledges denied those truths; "and he called their names," signifies their quality; "after the names which his father called them," signifies significatives of truth.
AC 3419. And Isaac returned, and digged again the wells of waters which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father. That this signifies that the Lord opened those truths which were with the ancients, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Lord as to the Divine rational, concerning which above; from the signification of "returning and digging again," as being to open again; from the signification of "wells of waters," as being the truths of knowledges. "Wells" are truths (n. 2702, 3096); and "waters" are knowledges, (n. 28, 2702, 3058); and from the signification of "the days of Abraham his father," as being a previous time and state as to truths, which truths are signified by the wells which they digged at that time, thus the truths which were with the ancients. "Days" signify time and states, (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893). When "days" signify states, then by Abraham the father is represented the Lord’s Divine Itself before He adjoined to it the Human (n. 2833, 2836, 3251); when they signify time, then by Abraham the father are signified the goods and truths which were from the Lord‘s Divine before He adjoined to it the Human, thus the goods and truths which were with the ancients.
 The truths which were with the ancients are at this day wholly obliterated, insomuch that scarcely anyone knows that they ever existed, and that they could be any other than what are taught at this day, when yet they were totally different. The ancients had Representatives and Significatives of the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord’s kingdom, thus of the Lord Himself; and they who understood such representatives and significatives were called the wise; and they were wise, for thereby they were able to speak with spirits and angels. For when angelic speech (which is incomprehensible to man because spiritual and celestial) descends to man, who is in a natural sphere, it falls into representatives and significatives such as are in the Word, and hence it is that the Word is a holy writing; for in order to a full correspondence that which is Divine cannot be presented in any other way before the natural man.
 And as the ancients were in representatives and significatives of the Lord‘s kingdom, in which there is nothing but celestial and spiritual love, they had also doctrinal things that treated solely of love to God and of charity toward the neighbor; and by virtue of these doctrinal things they were called the wise. From these doctrinal things they knew that the Lord would come into the world, and that Jehovah would be in Him, and that He would make the human in Himself Divine, and would thus save the human race. From these doctrinal things they also knew what charity is, namely, the affection of being of service to others without any end of recompense; and also what is the neighbor toward whom there should be charity, namely, all in the universe, but still each with discrimination. At this day these doctrinal things are utterly lost, and in place of them there are doctrinal things of faith, which the ancients accounted as relatively nothing. At the present day the doctrinal things of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor are rejected, in part by those who in the Word are called "Babylonians and Chaldeans," and in part by those who are called "Philistines" and also "Egyptians;" and thus are so completely lost that there remains scarcely any trace of them. For who at the present day knows what that charity is which is devoid of all regard for self, and which is averse to everything that is for the sake of self? And who knows that the neighbor is every one, with discrimination according to the kind and amount of good in him? thus that he is good itself, consequently in the supreme sense the Lord Himself, because He is in good, and good is from Him, and the good which is not from Him is not good, however much it may appear to be so? And because it is not known what charity is, and what the neighbor, it is not known who they are that in the Word are signified by the "poor," the "miserable," the "needy," the "sick," the "hungry" and "thirsty," the "oppressed," "widows," "orphans," "captives," the "naked," "sojourners," the "blind," the "deaf," the "halt," "maimed," and other’s when yet the doctrinal things of the ancients taught who these were, and to what class of the neighbor, and thus of charity, each belonged. The whole of the Word in the sense of the letter is written in accordance with these doctrinal things, so that he who has no knowledge of them cannot possibly know any interior sense of the Word.
 As in Isaiah:--
Is it not to break bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the afflicted that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the dawn, and thy healing shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of Jehovah shall gather thee (Isa. 58:7, 8).
He who lays stress on the sense of the letter believes that if he merely gives bread to the hungry, takes into his house the poor outcasts or wanderers, and covers the naked, he will on this account come into the glory of Jehovah, or into heaven when yet these are mere outward acts, and even the wicked may do them for the sake of self-merit; but by the "hungry, the "afflicted," the "naked," are signified those who are spiritually such, thus different states of misery in which the man may be who is the neighbor, and toward whom charity is to be exercised.
 In David:--
He that executeth judgment for the oppressed; that giveth bread to the hungry; Jehovah looseth the prisoners; Jehovah openeth the eyes of the blind; Jehovah raiseth up them that are bowed down; Jehovah loveth the righteous; Jehovah guardeth the sojourners; He upholdeth the fatherless and widow (Ps. 146:7-9);
where by the "oppressed," the "hungry," the "prisoners," the "blind;" the "bowed down," the "sojourners," the "fatherless" and "widow," are not meant those who are commonly so called, but those who are such in respect to spiritual things, that is, in respect to their souls. Who these were, and in what state and degree they were neighbors, thus what charity was to be exercised toward them, was taught by the doctrinal things of the ancients. It is the same everywhere else in the Old Testament; for when the Divine descends into what is natural with man, it descends into such things as are works of charity, with discrimination according to genera and species.
 The Lord also spoke in like manner, because He spoke from the Divine Itself, as in Matthew:--
Then shall the King say unto thee on His right hand, Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you; for I was a hungered, and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me to drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me (Matthew 25:34-36).
By the works here recounted are signified the universal genera of charity; and in what degree are the goods or the good men who are the neighbors toward whom charity is to be exercised and that in the supreme sense the Lord is the neighbor, for He says:--
Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me (Matthew 25:40).
From these few examples it may be seen what is meant by the truths with the ancients. But that these truths are altogether obliterated by those who are in the doctrinal things of faith, and not in the life of charity, that is, by those who in the Word are called "Philistines," is signified by the Philistines stopping up the wells after the death of Abraham, which is the subject next treated of.
AC 3420. And the Philistines stopped them up after the death of Abraham. That this signifies that they who were in the mere memory-knowledge of knowledges denied those truths, is evident from the signification of "stopping up," as being not to be willing to know, and what is the same, to deity and thus to obliterate them (n. 3412); and from the representation of the Philistines, as being those who are in the mere memory-knowledge of knowledges (n. 1197, 1198, 3412, 3413). Those are in the memory-knowledge of knowledges who are in the doctrinal things of faith and are not willing to know the truths of knowledges or of doctrinal things. The truths of knowledge or of doctrinal things are those which are of life, and which have regard to charity toward the neighbor and love to the Lord. The doctrine to which these doctrinal things and knowledges pertain, merely teaches them and therefore the man who teaches what ought to be done, and does not do it, is not willing to know truths, because they are contrary to his life and that which is contrary to his life he also denies. It is from these causes that the doctrinal things of love and charity, which in the Ancient Church were the whole of doctrine, are obliterated.
AC 3421. And he called their names. That this signifies their quality, is evident from the signification of "calling names," as being the quality (n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006, 3237); and as "to call names" or "a name" signifies the quality, therefore "to call" without a name being mentioned, in the internal sense of the Word signifies to be of such a quality. As in Isaiah:--
Hear ye this O house of Jacob who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the Waters of Judah. For they call themselves of the city of holiness, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel (Isa. 48:1, 2);
where "calling themselves of the city of holiness" signifies being of such a quality. Add in Luke:--
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus; He shall be great, and shall he called the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:31, 32);
"to be called the Son of the Most High" denotes being.
AC 3422. After the names which his father called them. That this signifies significatives of truth, is evident from the fact that the names which in ancient times were given to persons, places, and things, were all significative (n. 340, 1946, 2643); thus the names given to fountains and wells were significative of the things that were formerly understood by fountains and wells, and which had relation to truth (n. 2702, 3096) and because names were significative, by "name" also, and by "calling by name" is signified in general the quality of either a thing or a state (n. 3421); and this being so, by the names in the Word, in its internal sense, is not signified any person, or any nation, or any kingdom, or any city, but always some actual thing. That by "wells" in this passage there is signified something heavenly must be obvious to every one for unless this were so, to mention so many particulars concerning wells would not be worthy of the Divine Word, because it would be of no use to know them; as for instance that the Philistines stopped up the wells which the servants of Abraham digged that Isaac digged them again, and that he called their names after their former names and afterwards that the servants of Isaac digged a well in the valley about which the shepherds strove; and that they digged again another well about which they also strove; and afterwards another about which they did not strive; and again another; and lastly that they told Isaac about a new well (verses 15, 18-22, 25, 32, 33); but the heavenly signification of these wells is now manifest from the internal sense. GENESIS 26:18 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|