Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 28:10-11
AC 3689. Verses 10, 11. And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a place, and passed the night there, for the sun was set; and he took of the stones of the place, and placed them for his pillows, and lay down in that place. "And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba," signifies life more remote from Divine doctrinal things; "and went toward Haran," signifies the good and truth of that degree; "and he lighted upon a place," signifies the state; "and passed the night there, for the sun was set," signifies life in what is obscure; "and he took of the stones of the place," signifies the truths of that state; "and placed them for his pillows," signifies communication of a most general nature with the Divine; "and lay down in that place," signifies the tranquillity of the state.
AC 3690. And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba. That this signifies life more remote from Divine doctrinal things, is evident from the signification of "going," as being to live (n. 3335, 3685); thus "going out" signifies living more remotely; and from the signification of "Beer-sheba," as being Divine doctrine (n. 2723, 2858, 2859, 3466); hence it is evident that by "Jacob went out from Beer-sheba" is signified life more remote from Divine doctrinal things. Life is said to be more remote when it is in external truths, and is lived according to them, as is the life of the infancy and childhood of those who are being regenerated (n. 3688).
 In order to show further what this life is, and what its quality, it may be expedient to add a few words. All the histories of the Word are truths more remote from essential Divine doctrinal things, but still are of service to little children and older children, in order that thereby they may be by degrees introduced into the interior doctrinal matters of truth and good; and at last to Divine things themselves; for within them, in their inmost, is the Divine. While children are reading them and are affected by them from innocence, the angels who are with them are in a happy celestial state, being affected from the Lord with the internal sense, consequently with those things which the historical facts represent and signify; and it is the celestial happiness of the angels that flows in and causes the delight with the children. In order that this first state may exist, that is, the first state of infancy and childhood of those to be regenerated, the histories of the Word were given, and were so written that all things therein both in general and in particular contain within them things Divine.
 How far removed these historical matters are from Divine doctrinal things can be seen from the following example from them. When anyone first knows only that God descended on Mount Sinai, and gave tables to Moses, on which were written the Ten Commandments, and that Moses broke those tables, and that God wrote like commandments on other tables; while delighted solely with this history, he is in the life of external truth remote from Divine doctrinal things but afterwards when he begins to be delighted and affected with the commandments or precepts themselves therein contained, and lives according to them, he is then in the life of truth, yet still remote from the Divine doctrinal things themselves. For a life according to the commandments is only a moral life, the precepts whereof are known to all who live in human society, from civil life itself and the laws thereof--as that the Deity is to be worshiped, and parents honored; and that murder, adultery, and theft must not be committed.
 But he who is being regenerated is led by degrees from this more remote life (that is, moral life), into a life nearer to Divine doctrinal things that is, into spiritual life. When this comes to pass the man begins to wonder why such commandments or precepts were sent down from heaven in so miraculous a manner, and written on tables by the finger of God, when yet they are known to every people, and are also written in the laws of those who have never heard anything from the Word. If when he comes into this state of thought he is among those who are capable of being regenerated, he is brought by the Lord into a still more interior state, namely, into a state of thinking that deeper things lie concealed therein, with which as yet he is unacquainted; and when he reads the Word in this state, he finds everywhere in the Prophets, and especially in the Evangelists, that each one of these precepts contains within it things still more heavenly.
 For example, in respect to the honoring of parents, he now sees that when men are born anew, that is, when being regenerated, they receive another Father, and then become His sons, and that it is He who is to be honored; thus that this is the sense that lies hidden within this precept. And by degrees he learns that this new Father is the Lord; and at last that He is to be honored by being worshiped, and that He is worshiped when He is loved. When one who is being regenerated is in this truth, and in a life according to it, he is in Divine doctrine, and is then in an angelic state, and from this state looks at the things he before knew as following on in order, and as flowing from the Divine as it were according to the steps of a ladder, above which is Jehovah or the Lord; and on the steps whereof are His angels ascending and descending thus he sees the things with which he had previously been delighted as more remote from him according to degrees. The case is the same with the other precepts of the decalogue (n. 2609). From this it is now evident what is meant by a life more remote from Divine doctrinal things, which is here signified by "Jacob went out from Beer-sheba."
AC 3691. And went toward Haran. That this signifies to the good and truth of that degree, is evident from the signification of "Haran," as being external good and truth, for by " Haran" is signified what is external, and by "Laban" who dwelt there, good and truth; thus by Haran" is here meant external good and truth. This is the signification of "Haran", (n. 1430, 3612). It follows that by "Jacob went forth from Beer-sheba and went to Haran," in the internal sense is signified that he betook himself further from Divine doctrinal things; thus to external good and truth.
 It is said "to good and truth of that degree," because goods and truths are perfectly distinguished from each other according to degrees; interior goods and truths being in a higher degree, and exterior ones in a lower degree. In a higher degree are the goods and truths of the rational; in a lower degree are the goods and truths of the natural; and in the lowest are the sensuous goods and truths of the body. Interior goods and truths, or those of a higher degree, flow into exterior goods and truths, or those of a lower degree, and exhibit therein an image of themselves, almost as man’s interior affections exhibit themselves in the countenance and its changes. From this it is manifest that interior goods and truths are completely separate from exterior goods and truths, or what is the same, those in a higher degree from those in a lower one; so separate that it is possible for the interior ones, or those in a higher degree, to exist quite apart from the exterior ones, or those in a lower degree. He who has not a distinct notion of degrees cannot have a distinct notion of interior and exterior goods, nor how the case is with man‘s soul, or with his spirit and body, nor how it is with the heavens in the other life.
 That there are three heavens is known, and that one heaven is more interior than another, and that the third heaven is inmost. These heavens are most distinct from each other according to degrees. They who are in the inmost or third heaven are nearest the Lord; they who are in the interior or second heaven are more remote; and they who are in the exterior or first heaven are still more remote. No other communication between these heavens is possible than such as is that of man’s inmosts with his exteriors for the man who is in love to the Lord and in charity toward his neighbor is a little heaven that in an image corresponds to the three heavens, and he receives the influx of good and truth out of the three heavens from the Lord according to the same degrees. The relative nature of these degrees to one another may be seen from the two cases adduced above (n. 3688, 3690).
 They who are in real love to the Lord, so as to have a perception of it, are in a higher degree of good and truth, and are in the inmost or third heaven; thus are nearer to the Lord, and are called celestial angels. They who are in charity toward the neighbor so as to have a perception of charity, and not so much a perception of love to the Lord, are in a lower degree of good and truth, and are in the interior or second heaven; thus are more remote from the Lord, and are called spiritual angels. But they who are in charity toward the neighbor merely from the affection of truth, so as not to have a perception of charity itself toward the neighbor, except from the truth with which they are affected, are in a still lower degree of good and truth, and are in the exterior or first heaven; thus are still more remote from the Lord, and are called good spirits.
 From this it may in some measure be evident how the case is in respect to degrees namely, that those things which are in a higher degree exhibit themselves in an image in those which are in the degree next lower. In love to the Lord there is a proximate image of the Lord, which is called a "likeness," wherefore they who are in love itself to the Lord are called His "likenesses." In charity there is also an image of the Lord (only more remote), for in true charity the Lord is present; and therefore they who are therein are called His "images" (n. 50, 51, 1013); while they who are in the affection of truth, and thence in a certain species of charity toward the neighbor, are also images of the Lord, but still more remotely. The three heavens are distinguished into these degrees, and according to these degrees the Lord flows in with Divine good and truth, thus with wisdom and intelligence, and with heavenly joy and happiness.
AC 3692. And he lighted upon a place. That this signifies the state, is evident from the signification of "place," as being state (n. 1273-1275, 1377, 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387).
AC 3693. And passed the night there, for the sun was set. That this signifies life in what is obscure, is evident from the signification of "night," as being a state of shade (n. 1712); thus "passing the night" signifies living in this state; and from the signification of the "sun being set," as being to be in what is obscure; for it is then " evening," and that "evening" signifies that which is obscure, may be seen above (n. 3056). By that which is obscure is here meant obscurity of intelligence in respect to truth, and obscurity of wisdom in respect to good; for the light which the angels have from the Lord has within it intelligence and wisdom, and is also thence derived (n. 1521, 1524, 1529, 1530, 3138, 3167, 3195, 3339, 3341, 3636, 3637, 3643); and therefore in so far as they are in light, so far they are also in intelligence and wisdom but in so far as they are not in light, thus in so far as they are in shade, so far they are not in intelligence and wisdom (n. 2776, 3190, 3337). It is for this reason that in common speech "light" is predicated of the things of the understanding. Man is not aware of this reason, and therefore believes that these terms are used merely by way of comparison. Men use many other forms of expression that flow from a perception of such things as exist in the other life, in which they are as to their spirits, and that have been received in conversation because they are interiorly acknowledged, but are blotted out of notice by the things of the body, which are of such a nature as to extinguish the things of perception in which man‘s interior man is.
 That in the Word the "setting of the sun" signifies the falsity and evil in which they are who have no charity and faith; thus that it signifies also the last time of the church, may be seen above (n. 1837); and also that it signifies obscurity in respect to those things which are of good and truth, such as exists with those who are in a degree more remote from Divine doctrinal things, may be seen above (n. 3691). That the "setting of the sun," or the "sun being set," has these significations, may be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Micah:--
Night unto you instead of vision; and darkness unto you instead of divination; and the sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them (Micah 3:6);
"the sun shall go down upon the prophets" signifies that they have no longer any truth and understanding of truth; "prophets" denote those who teach the truths of doctrine (n. 2534). In Amos:--
It shall come to pass in that day that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the day of light; and I will turn your feast into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation (Amos 8:9, 10);
"to cause the sun to go down at noon" denotes obscurity as to truth with those who are in the knowledges of good and truth. "Noon" signifies a state of light, or of the knowledges of truth, (n. 1458, 3195).
 In Isaiah:--
Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for Jehovah shall be thine everlasting light (Isa. 60:20);
where the Lord’s kingdom is treated of; the "sun shall no more go down" denotes that they shall be in the life of good and in wisdom, because in the Lord‘s celestial love and light; "the moon shall not withdraw itself" denotes that they shall be in the life of truth, and in intelligence, because in the Lord’s spiritual love and light. In the other life the Lord is a sun to the celestial angels, and a moon to the spiritual angels, and hence they have wisdom and intelligence, (n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643). From this it is evident what is meant in the internal sense of the Word by the rising"‘ and "setting" of the sun.
 In David:--
O Jehovah my God Thou art very great Thou hast put on glory and honor who covereth Himself with light as with a garment He stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain he made the moon for appointed festivals He knoweth the going down of the sun. Thou disposest the darkness that it may become night (Ps. 104:1, 2, 19, 20);
here in like manner the "moon" denotes intelligence, and the sun" wisdom, from the Lord; the " going down of the sun" denotes the obscurity of each; to dispose the darkness that it may become night," signifies the moderating of a state of obscurity. That the angels have changes of state between the highest degree of light and a less degree, or between the highest degree of wisdom and a less degree, and that these changes of state are as the morning when the sun rises, and as midday when it is in its greatest altitude, and as the evening when it sets, and afterwards as morning again, will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be shown elsewhere.
 In Joshua:--
From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border (Joshua 1:4)
where there is described the extension of the land of Canaan, by which is signified in the internal sense the Lord‘s kingdom (n. 1607, 3038, 3481). The "river Euphrates" is one border of it, that is, of things spiritual and celestial, (n. 1866); and the great sea" and the "going down of the sun" is another, by which is represented the ultimate, which is relatively obscure also the all the borders and all the places in that land are representative, (n. 1585).
 In Joshua:--
If in taking a pledge thou shalt take for a pledge thy neighbor’s garment, thou shalt restore it unto him before the sun goeth down for that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin, wherein he shall sleep (Exod. 22:26, 27).
If he be a poor man, thou shalt not lie down upon his pledge thou shalt surely restore to him the pledge before the sun goeth down and he shall bless thee and it shall be righteousness unto thee before Jehovah thy God (Deut. 24:12, 13).
That in this law, as in all the rest, there is "what is representative and significative of the Divine law, which is that of good and truth in the Lord‘s kingdom, from which this law comes, is manifest from its particulars. That it contains as the very ground of the law that a man’s companions ought not to be deprived of external truths, which are the doctrinal things according to "which they live, and their rituals; and that such truths are the "garment," may be seen above (n. 297, 1073, 2576). "Restoring the pledge before the sun "went down," denotes before truth perishes "with him; and because this truth is external, it is said that "the garment is for his skin in "which he shall sleep."
The soul that hath touched what is unclean shall be unclean until the even, and shall not eat of the holy things; but when he has bathed his flesh in water, and the sun is down, he shall be clean; and afterwards he shall eat of the holy things (Lev. 22:6, 7).
He that is not clean, toward evening shall bathe himself in waters; and when the sun is down, he shall enter into the midst of the camp (Deut. 23:10, 11).
That this law also has its origin in the laws of good and truth, or the laws of order in the Lord‘s kingdom, is evident; otherwise it would never have been commanded that the unclean person should be unclean until the evening, and should then wash himself with waters, and after the sun was down should be clean. The law of order in the Lord’s kingdom from which the above law comes, is that when good and angelic spirits lapse into a state of the love of self, and thereby into a state of falsity, they are then remitted a little into their natural or lower state, and are there imbued with knowledges of good and truth that bear upon the matter in question, which is signified by "washing themselves "with waters in the evening." "Washing with waters" denotes to be purified from falsities, (n. 3147, 3148); and "waters" are the knowledges of truth, (n. 28, 680, 739, 2702, 3058). And after they have been in that obscure state which is signified by the " going down of the sun," they return into their former state, which is signified by their "being clean," and "entering into the midst of the camp," on which subject of the Lord‘s Divine mercy something shall be said elsewhere from experience. From what has been said it is now evident that when mentioned in the Word the "going down of the sun" with the good signifies an obscure state as to truth; and with the evil a state of falsity.
AC 3694. And he took of the stones of the place. That this signifies the truths of that state, is evident from the signification of stones," as being lower truths, such as are those of the natural man (n. 643, 1298).
AC 3695. And placed them for his pillows. This signifies communication of a most general nature with the Divine, which is evident from the signification of "pillows" for the head or the neck, as being communication with external things, thus communication of a most general nature; for that the nape or the neck signifies the communication of interior things with exterior things, or what is the same, of higher things with lower, and thereby conjunction, may be seen above (n. 3542, 3603). Hence those things which are under the nape or neck, that is, pillows, here signify the communication of inmost or Divine things with outermost ones, which communication is also of a most general nature; for that which is external is relatively general, and that which is outermost is most general; for the singulars of interior things appear as a one, thus as a general, in exterior things. These moreover are the things that are represented and signified by the "ladder set on the earth, whose top reached to heaven, with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it," concerning which presently.
AC 3696. And lay down in that place. That this signifies the tranquillity of the state, is evident from the signification of "lying down," as being to be in a state of tranquillity; for "lying down" and "sleeping" signify nothing else. That in the internal sense this is the signification of "lying down," may, also be seen from other passages in the word, concerning which just below. With those who are to be regenerated, who are here treated of in the internal representative sense, the case is that first of all they are in a state of tranquillity, or in a state of external peace (for external peace, or peace in externals, is called "tranquillity"); and the same is produced the Divine state of peace that is inmostly "within it; and it comes forth into the externals through the removal of cupidities and falsities for these are what cause all unrest. Moreover at the beginning of his life, that is, during his infancy, every man is in a state of tranquillity but as he advances in life, that is, grows up to manhood, he removes himself from this state, because he gives himself up to worldly cares, and consequently to anxieties caused by the cupidities of the love of self and of the world, and the derivative falsities.
 The case is almost the same with the new life in the man who is being regenerated: at first he is in a state of tranquillity; but as he passes into a new life, he "also passes at the same time into an untranquil state for the evils and falsities with which he had before become imbued emerge and come forth, and disturb him, and this at last to such a degree that he is in temptations and vexations inflicted by the diabolical crew, who are continually striving to destroy the state of his new life. Yet inmostly the man is in a state of peace, for unless this were with him inmostly, he would not combat, for in his battlings he is continually looking to this state as the end, and unless he had such an end, he would in no wise have power and strength to combat. This moreover is the reason why he overcomes; and because this is the end in view, he also comes into this state after the combats or temptations. This is like the state of spring, which succeeds the state of autumn and winter; or it is like the state of dawn, which succeeds evening and night. A state of peace in spiritual things is like spring and dawn in natural things, (n. 1726, 2780); and peace is from good and truth, and unrest from what is evil and false, (n. 3170).
 That in the Word "to lie down" signifies a state of tranquillity, may be seen from the following passages. In Moses:--
If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments and do them, I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid and I will cause the evil wild beast to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword pass through your land (Lev. 26:3, 6)
where "lying down" is manifestly predicated of a state of peace and tranquillity; "evil beasts" denote the cupidities of evil (n. 45, 46, 908), which shall "cease;" the "sword" denotes, falsity fighting against truth (n. 2799), which shall not "pass through;" all which shows that peace and the tranquillity of peace are from good and truth, and that the destruction thereof is from evils and falsities.
 In Isaiah:--
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid and the calf and the young lion together and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie do"" together (Isa. 11:6, 7)
where the Lord is treated of, and the state of peace in His kingdom; that they shall "lie down together" signifies that they cannot be infested by any evil and falsity. In Hosea:--
In that day will I make a covenant for them with the wild beast of the field, and with the fowl of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the earth and I will break the bow and the sword and war out of the land, and will make them to lie down in confidence (Hosea 2:18)
where in like manner "to lie down" signifies a state of tranquillity on the removal of falsities and evils, which occasion unrest.
 In David:--
I will lay me down and sleep and I will awake for Jehovah sustaineth me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of the people that have set themselves against me round about (Ps. 3:5, 6)
where "to lie down and sleep" signifies a state of tranquillity and security. Again
In peace I will both lay me down and sleep; for Thou Jehovah alone makest me to dwell in confidence (Ps. 4:8).
He will make me to lie down in green pastures He will lead me to the waters of rest; He will restore my soul (Ps. 23:2, 3).
From these passages it is evident that a state of peace and tranquillity is signified by "lying down;" and that by "lying down in that place" is signified the tranquillity of the state, for in the internal sense "place" signifies state (n. 3692).GENESIS 28:10-11 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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