Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 27:14-17
AC 3534. Verses 14-17. And he went, and took, and brought to his mother; and his mother made dainties, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took garments of desires of Esau her elder son that were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son. And the skins of the kids of the she-goats she caused to be put upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck. And she gave the dainties, and the bread, which she had made, into the hand of Jacob her son. "And he went, and took, and brought to his mother," signifies a state of obedience of the truth of the natural; "and his mother made dainties, such as his father loved," signifies things that are delectable, but not desirable; "and Rebekah took garments of desires of Esau her elder son," signifies the genuine truths of good; "that were with her in the house," signifies that were from the Divine good through the Divine truth of the Divine rational; "and put them upon Jacob her younger son," signifies the affection of truth, or the life of good from truth; " and the skins of the kids of the she-goats," signifies the external truths of domestic good; "she caused to be put upon his hands," signifies according to the faculty of receiving; "and upon the smooth of his neck," signifies that disjoining truth should not appear; "and she gave the dainties," signifies delectable things thence derived; "and the bread," signifies the good thence derived; "which she had made," signifies which were from Divine truth; " into the hand of Jacob her son," signifies that such was the affection of natural truth.
AC 3535. And he went, and took, and brought to his mother. That this signifies a state of obedience of the truth of the natural, may be seen from what was said above (n. 3533); thus without further explication.
AC 3536. And his mother made dainties, such as his father loved. That this signifies things that are delectable, but not desirable, is evident from the representation of Rebekah, who is here the "mother," as being the Divine rational as to truth; and from the signification of "dainties," as being the pleasant things which are of truth, concerning which above (n. 3502). The reason why the delectable things here referred to are not desirable, is that they are not from the hunting of Esau, that is, from the truth of genuine good (n. 3501), but from the kids of the goats which are of the flock, that is, from the truth of domestic good (n. 3518, 3519). How these things are circumstanced is evident from what was said above (n. 3502, 3512, 3518, 3519).
AC 3537. And Rebekah took garments of desires of Esau her elder son. That this signifies the genuine truths of good, is evident from the signification of "garments of desires," as being genuine truths. "Garments" signify truths relatively lower, (n. 2576); "of desires" denotes genuine, because of the genuine good of the natural, which is represented by Esau the elder son (n. 3300, 3302, 3322, 3494, 3504, 3527).
AC 3538. That were with her in the house. That this signifies that were from the Divine good through the Divine truth of the Divine rational, is evident from the representation of Rebekah, who is here meant by "her," as being the Divine truth of the Divine rational; and from the signification of "house," as being here the Divine good, because it is predicated of the Lord. "House" is good, (n. 710, 2233, 2234, 2559, 3128). That these things are signified by the words "that were with her in the house," is because by "house" is signified the rational both as to good and as to truth; or what is the same, both as to the will part, which is of good, and as to the intellectual part, which is of truth. When the rational acts from the will part or good, through the intellectual part or truth, then the rational mind is called one house." From this also heaven itself is called the "house of God," because therein is nothing else than good and truth, and the good acts through truth united or conjoined with itself. This is also represented in marriages between a husband and wife who constitute one house, by reason that conjugial love comes forth from the Divine marriage of good and truth (n. 2728, 2729, 3132); and both the husband and the wife have a will from good, but with a difference such as is that of good in respect to its own truth and therefore good is signified by the husband, and truth by the wife; for when there is one house, then good is the all therein, and truth, being of good, is also good. The reason why it is said, "with her in the house," not "with him" or "with them," is that the subject now is the state of the conjunction of truth and good, that is, the state before they were fully united or conjoined, which state is now to be described.
AC 3539. And put them upon Jacob her younger son. That this signifies the affection of truth, or the life of good from truth, is evident from the representation of Rebekah, as being the Divine truth of the Divine rational; from the representation of Jacob, as being the Divine truth of the Divine natural; and from the signification of "putting upon,"’as being here to communicate and to imbue, namely, the truths of good which are signified by the "garments of Esau" (n. 3537), thus the affection of truth of the natural, which is here the same as the life of good from truth. How these things are to be understood may be known from what was said above (n. 3518) but because they are such things as are at this day utterly unknown, it is permitted to unfold them somewhat further to the apprehension. In this chapter the Lord is treated of, and how He made His very natural Divine; and in the representative sense there is treated of the regeneration of man as to his natural (n. 3490).
 The case herein with man is this: The end of regeneration is that man may be made new as to his internal man, thus as to his soul or spirit; but man cannot be made new or regenerated as to his internal man unless he is regenerated as to his external man also; for although after death man becomes a spirit, he nevertheless has with him in the other life the things which are of his external man, namely, natural affections, and also doctrinal things, and even memory-knowledges; in a word, all things of the exterior or natural memory (n. 2475-2483); for these are the planes in which his interiors are terminated; and therefore according to the disposition that has been made of these things is the character of interior things when they flow into them, because they are modified in them. This shows that man must be regenerated or made new not only as to his internal or rational man, but also as to his external or natural man; and unless this were the case there would not be any correspondence. There is a correspondence between the internal man and its spiritual things, and the external man and its natural things, (n. 2971, 2987, 2989, 2990, 3002, 3493).
 The state of the regeneration of man is described in a representative sense in this chapter by "Esau" and "Jacob;" here, the quality of man‘s first state while he is being regenerated, or before he has been regenerated; for this state is entirely inverted in respect to that in which man is when he has been regenerated. For in the former state, during regeneration, or before he has been regenerated, intellectual things which are of truth apparently act the first part; but when he has been regenerated, the things of the will, which are of good, act the first part. That intellectual things which are of truth apparently act the first part in the first state, was represented by Jacob, in that he claimed the birthright of Esau for himself (n. 3325, 3336) and also in that he claimed the blessing, which is here treated of; and that the state has been completely inverted, is represented by Jacob’s art to be Esau, in clothing himself with the garments of Esau and the skins of the kids of the she-goats for in this state rational truth not yet thus conjoined with rational good, or what is the same, the understanding not thus conjoined with the will, in this manner inflows and acts into the natural, and disposes inversely the things which are there.
 This can also be seen from much experience, especially from the fact that a man is able to observe in the understanding, and thereby his natural can know, many things which are good and true, and yet the will cannot as yet act in accordance with them; as for instance that love and charity are the essential in man: this the intellectual faculty of man can see and confirm, but until he has been regenerated the will faculty cannot acknowledge it: there are even those who are in no love to the Lord whatever, and in no charity toward the neighbor, who well apprehend this. In like manner that love is the very life of man, and that such as the love is, such is the life; and likewise that everything delightful and everything pleasant is from love, consequently all joy and all happiness and therefore also such as the love is, such is the joy and such the happiness. A man is also able to apprehend in his understanding, even should his will dissent or go contrary thereto, that the happiest life is from love to the Lord and from charity toward the neighbor, because the very Divine flows into it; and on the other hand that the most miserable life is from the love of self and the love of the world, because hell flows into it; and from this it may be perceptible to the understanding, yet not to the will, that love to the Lord is the life of heaven, and that mutual love is the soul from this life; and therefore in so far as a man does not think from the life of his will, nor reflect upon his life derived therefrom, so far he perceives this in his understanding; but in so far as he thinks from the life of his will, so far he does not perceive, nay, denies it.
 Also to the understanding it may clearly appear that it is into the humiliation with a man that the Divine can inflow; for the reason that in this state the loves of self and of the world, and consequently the infernal things which oppose, are removed; but yet so long as the will is not new and the understanding has not been united to it, the man cannot be in humiliation of heart; nay, in so far as the man is in a life of evil, that is, in so far as his will is toward evil, so far this state is not possible; and what is more, so far the matter is obscure to him, and so far he even denies it. Hence also a man can perceive in his understanding that the humiliation of man is not for the sake of the Lord‘s love of glory, but for the sake of His Divine love, and in order that He can thereby inflow with good and truth and make the man blessed and happy; nevertheless so far as the will is consulted, so far this is obscured. The same is true in very many other cases.
 This faculty of man of being able to understand what is good and true although he does not will it, has been given to man in order that he may have the capacity of being reformed and regenerated; on which account this faculty exists with the evil as well as with the good; nay, with the evil it is sometimes more acute, but with this difference, that with the evil there is no affection of truth for the sake of life, that is, for the sake of the good of life from truth, and therefore they cannot be reformed; but with the good there is the affection of truth for the sake of life, that is, for the sake of the good of life, and therefore they can be reformed. But the first state of the reformation of these is that the truth of doctrine appears to them to be in the first place, and the good of life in the second, because they do what is good from truth; and their second state is that the good of life is in the first place, and the truth of doctrine in the second, for then they do what is good from good, that is, from the will of good; and when this is the case, because the will has been conjoined with the understanding as in a marriage, the man has been regenerated. In the internal sense these two states are treated of in the things said concerning Esau and Jacob.
AC 3540. And the skins of the kids of the she-goats she caused to be put. That this signifies the external truths of domestic good, is evident from the signification of "skins," as being external things and from the signification of the kids of the she-goats," because from a home flock, as being the truths of domestic good (n. 3518, 3519), where also it appears what domestic good is, and what the truths thence derived. Every good has its own truths, and every truth has its own good, which must be conjoined together in order for them to be anything. That "skins" signify things external is because skins are the outermosts of the animal in which its interiors are terminated, in like manner as is the case with the skin or cuticles in man. This signification is derived from the representation in the other life, there being those there who belong to the province of the skin, concerning whom of the Lord’s Divine mercy something will be said when we speak concerning the Grand Man at the end of the following chapters. They are such as are only in external good and its truths. Hence the "skin" of man, and also of beasts, signifies what is external; which is also manifest from the Word, as in Jeremiah:--
For the multitude of thine iniquity are thy skirts uncovered, and thy heels suffer violence. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots? then can ye also do good that are taught to do evil (Jer. 13:22, 23);
where "skirts" are external truths; "heels," outermost goods. The "heel," and "shoes," are the lowest natural things, (n. 259, 1748); and because these truths and goods are from evil, as here said, they are compared to an "Ethiopian," or a black, and his "skin," and also to a "leopard" and his "spots."
 In Moses:--
If in pledging thou shalt have pledged thy neighbor‘s garment, thou shalt restore it unto him before the sun goes down; for that is his only covering it is his garment for his skin wherein he shall lie down (Exod. 22:26, 27).
As all the laws in the Word, even those which are civic and forensic, have a correspondence with the laws of good and truth in heaven, and were thence enacted, such is the case with this law also; otherwise it would be impossible to discover why a pledged garment should be restored before the sun went down; and why it is said that his garment is for his skin wherein he shall lie down, But from the internal sense the correspondence is manifest, being that our companions are not to be defrauded of external truths, which are the doctrinal things according to which they live, and rituals. A "garment" signifies such truths, (n. 297, 1073, 2576); but the "sun" is the good of love or of life which is therefrom (n. 1529, 1530, 2441, 2495); that this should not perish, is signified by the garment being restored before the sun went down; and because these external truths are the externals of the interior things, or their termination, it is said that "his garment is for his skin wherein he shall lie down."
 As "skins" signified external things, it was commanded that the covering of the Tent should be of the skins of red rams, and over these the skins of badgers (Exod. 26:14); for the Tent was representative of the three heavens, thus of the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord’s kingdom. The curtains which were round about represented natural things that are external (n. 3478), which are the "skins of rams and of badgers," and as external things are those which cover internal ones, or in other words natural things are those which cover spiritual and celestial ones, just as the body covers its soul, therefore this was commanded; and in like manner that when the camp set forward Aaron and his sons should cover the ark of the testimony with the veil of covering, and should put over this covering the skin of a badger; and that upon the table and the things which were upon it they should spread a cloth of scarlet double-dyed, and should cover it with badger‘s skin as a covering; likewise that they should put the lampstand and all its vessels under a covering of badger’s skin; and should put all the vessels wherewith they ministered under a cloth of blue, and should cover them with a covering of badger‘s skin (Num. 4:5-12). Whoever thinks of the Word holily may know that Divine things are represented by all these things: by the ark, the table, the lampstand, and the vessels wherewith they ministered; also by the coverings of scarlet double-dyed and blue; and also by the coverings of badgers’ skins and that by all these things are represented the Divine things that are within the external ones.
 Inasmuch as the prophets represented those who teach, and hence the teaching of good and truth from the Word (n. 2534), and Elijah the Word itself (n. 2762), in like manner John, who for this reason is called the Elias that was to come (Matt. 17:10-13); therefore in order that they might represent the Word as it is in its external form, that is, in the letter, Elijah was girded with a girdle of skin about his loins (2 Kings 1:8) and John had his raiment of camel‘s hair, and a girdle of skin about his loins (Matt. 3:4). And inasmuch as the skin of man and beast signified external things, which are natural things in their relation to spiritual and celestial ones; and as in the Ancient Church it was customary to speak and write by significatives, therefore also in Job, which is a book of the Ancient Church, "skin" has the same signification, as may be seen from several passages in that book, and also from this:--
I know my Redeemer, He liveth, and at the last He will arise above the dust, and afterward these shall be encompassed with my skin, and from my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25, 26).
To be "encompassed with skin" denotes by the natural, such as man has with him after death (n. 3539); "from the flesh to see God" is to do so from what is our own, vivified. This is "flesh" may be seen above, (n. 148, 149, 780). That the book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church is evident as before said from its representative and significative style; but it is not of those books which are called the Law and the Prophets, because it has not an internal sense which treats solely of the Lord and of His kingdom for this is the one thing that makes a book of the genuine Word.
AC 3541. Upon his hands. That this signifies according to the faculty of receiving, is evident from the signification of "hand," as being poor (n. 878, 3091); thus the faculty of receiving.
AC 3542. And upon the smooth of his neck. That this signifies that disjoining truth should not appear, is evident from the predication of "smooth," or of "smoothness," as being concerning truth (n. 3527); and from the signification of the "neck," as being that which conjoins; here, therefore, because the appearance was upon the smooth of his neck, the signification is that disjoining truth should not appear. How the case herein is can be seen from what was said and shown above (n. 3539), namely, that that good and those truths which flow forth from the understanding, and not at the same time from the will, are not good and not truths, however much they may so appear in the outward form; and if the will is of evil, the good and the truths disjoin instead of conjoining; but if anything of the will is of good, then they do not disjoin, but conjoin, although they are disposed in an inverted order, for by their means the man is being regenerated; and because when thus disposed they serve at first for the regeneration of man, it is said that thus disjoining truth should not appear; but more concerning these things below.
 The reason why the "neck" signifies that which conjoins, is that the higher things in man, which are of the head, communicate through the intervening neck with the lower things which are of his body hence it is that both influx and communication, and consequently conjunction, are signified by this intermediate part; as may be seen still more conclusively from the correspondences of the Grand Man with the things of the human body, treated of at the ends of the chapters. From this comes a like signification of the "neck" in the Word, as in Isaiah:--
His breath as an overflowing stream will divide even unto the neck (Isa. 30:28);
where an "overflowing stream" denotes falsity thus overflowing; "dividing even unto the neck" denotes falsity closing up and thus intercepting the communication and thus the conjunction of higher things with lower ones which conjunction is precluded and intercepted when spiritual good and truth are not received.
 In Habakkuk:--
Thou hast smitten the head out of the house of the wicked, laying bare the foundation even unto the neck (Habakkuk 3:13);
where "smiting the head out of the house of the wicked" denotes destroying the principles of falsity "laying bare the foundation even unto the neck" denotes intercepting the conjunction thereby. In Jeremiah:--
Transgressions knit together are come up upon my neck he hath over-thrown my forces God hath given me into their hands, I am not able to rise up (Lam. 1:14);
"transgressions knit together ascending upon my neck" denote falsities ascending toward interior or rational things.
 Inasmuch as by the "neck" was signified this communication and conjunction, therefore by the bonds of the neck was signified interception, consequently the desolation of truth which comes forth when the spiritual things that continually flow in from the Lord are no longer admitted into the rational of man, and consequently not into his natural. This interception, or desolation, is what is represented in Jeremiah by the command that he should make unto himself bonds and yokes, and should put them upon his neck, and send them to the peoples, and should say that they were to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and that they who did not yield their necks under his yoke should be visited by the sword, the famine, and the pestilence; but that those who bowed down their necks should be left upon the land (Jer. 27:2, 3, 8, 11). To put the neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him," signifies to be desolated as to truth, and to be vastated as to good. It is "Babel" which vastates, (n. 1327); and they are vastated lest holy things should be profaned, (n. 301-303, 1327, 1328, 2426, 3398, 3399, 3402); and because when the influx of good and truth is intercepted, what is evil and false is served, therefore also to "put the neck under the yoke" signifies to serve.
 Again in the same Prophet:--
Thus saith Jehovah, Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon within two years of days from off the neck of all the nations (Jer. 28:11);
signifying that they should be delivered from vastation. In Isaiah:--
Shake thyself from the dust arise, sit thee down O Jerusalem open the bonds of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion (Isa. 52:2);
where "to open the bonds of the neck" signifies to admit and receive good and truth. In Micah:--
Behold against this family do I devise an evil from which ye shall not draw forth your necks, and ye shall not walk erect, for it is an evil time (Micah 2:3).
"Not to draw forth the neck from evil" is not to admit truth; "not to walk erect" is thereby not to look to higher things, that is, to those which are of heaven (n. 248).
AC 3543. And she gave the dainties. That this signifies the delectable things thence derived, is evident from the signification of "dainties," as being things pleasant and also delectable (n. 3502, 3536).
AC 3544. And the bread. That this signifies the good thence derived, is evident from the signification of "bread," as being good (n. 276, 680, 1798, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478).
AC 3545. That she had made. That this signifies which were from Divine truth, is evident from the representation of Rebekah, as being the Divine truth of the Lord’s Divine rational and because it is said of Rebekah that she had "made them," it signifies that they were from Divine truth.
AC 3546. Into the hand of Jacob her son. That this signifies that such as the affection of natural truth, is evident from its being a closing period of that precedes and at this time such was Jacob, by whom is represented natural truth (n. 3305, 3509, 3525), in that he was clothed as to his hands and neck with the skins of kids of goats, and had in his hands dainties that he was to carry to his father Isaac. GENESIS 27:14-17 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|