Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 29:16-17
AC 3817. Verses 16, 17. And Laban had two daughters, the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah‘s eyes were weak, and Rachel was beautiful in form and beautiful in look. "And Laban had two daughters," signifies the affections of truth from the good which is from a common stock; "the name of the elder was Leah," signifies the affection of external truth with its quality; "and the name of the younger was Rachel," signifies the affection of internal truth with its quality; "and Leah’s eyes were weak," signifies that the affection of external truth is such in regard to the understanding of it; "and Rachel was beautiful in form and beautiful in look," signifies that the affection of internal truth is such in regard to what is spiritual.
AC 3818. And Laban had two daughters. That this signifies the affections of truth from the good which is from a common stock, is evident from the representation of Laban, as being the good of a common stock, but collaterally descended (n. 3612, 3665, 3778); and from the signification of "daughters," as being affections (n. 2362), in the present case the affections of truth from the good which is "Laban" (n. 3793).
AC 3819. The name of the elder was Leah. That this signifies the affection of external truth with its quality; and that the name of the younger was Rachel signifies the affection of internal truth with its quality, is evident from the representation of Leah, as being the affection of external truth; and of Rachel, as being the affection of internal truth (n. 3793); and from the signification of "name," as being quality (n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006). Leah is called the "elder" because external truth is first learned, and Rachel is called the "younger" because internal truth is learned afterwards, or what is the same, man is first affected with external truths, and afterwards with internal ones; for external truths are the planes of internal ones, being generals into which singulars are insinuated; for without a general idea of a thing man comprehends nothing that is singular. This is the reason why in the literal sense of the Word there are general, but in the internal sense singular, truths. The former are those called external truths; but the latter internal ones; and as truths without affection are not truths, because of no life, therefore when mention is made of external and internal truths, the affections of them are understood.
AC 3820. And Leah‘s eyes were weak. That this signifies that the affection of external truth is such in regard to the understanding of it, is evident from the representation of Leah, as being the affection of external truth (n. 3793); from the signification of "eyes," as being the understanding (n. 2701); and from the signification of "weak," as being relatively such. That the affections of external truth are weak in regard to the understanding; or what is the same, that they who are in them are so, may be seen from external, that is, general, ideas that are not yet illustrated by singulars, in that they are infirm and wavering, and are as it were carried away by every breath of wind, or in other words, suffer themselves to be drawn over to every opinion; whereas when the same have been illustrated by singulars, they become firm and steadfast, for from these they have the things both essential and formal which are signified by the "beautiful form and beautiful look of Rachel," by whom are represented the affections of interior truth.
 What is meant by external truths and their affections, and by internal truths and their affections, and by the former being relatively weak-eyed, and the latter beautiful in form and look, may be illustrated by an example. They who are in external truths know the mere general truth that good is to be done to the poor; and they do not know how to discern who are truly poor, and still less that by the "poor" in the Word are meant those who are spiritually so. In consequence of this, they do good alike to the evil and the good, not being aware that doing good to the evil is doing evil to the good, for thus there is given the evil the means of doing evil to the good; and therefore they who are in such simple zeal are subject to the greatest infestations from the cunning and deceitful. They on the contrary who are in internal truths know who are the poor, and discriminate among them, and do good to everyone according to his quality.
 To take another example: they who are in external truths know the mere general truth that they ought to love their neighbor; and they believe that everyone is the neighbor in the same degree, and thus that everyone is to be embraced with the same love, and so they suffer themselves to be led astray. But they who are in internal truths know in what degree everyone is the neighbor, and that each person is so in a different degree. Consequently they know innumerable things of which those who are in external truths are ignorant; and therefore they do not suffer themselves to be led away by the mere name of neighbor, nor to do evil from the persuasion of good which the name induces.
 To take yet another example: they who are in external truths alone, suppose that in the other life the learned will shine like the stars; and that all who have labored in the Lord’s vineyard will receive a reward above others. But they who are in internal truths know that by the "learned," the "wise," and the "intelligent," are signified those who are in good, whether they be in any human wisdom and intelligence or not, and that these shall shine as the stars and that they who labor in the Lord‘s vineyard receive a reward each in accordance with the affection of good and truth from which he labors; and that they who labor for the sake of themselves and the world, that is, for the sake of self-exaltation and opulence, have their reward in the life of the body; but in the other life have their lot with the wicked (Matt. 7:22, 23). Hence it is manifest how weak in understanding are they who are only in external truths; and that internal truths are what give to these essence and form, and also give quality to the good with them. Nevertheless they who during their life in this world are in external truths and at the same time in simple good, in the other life receive internal truths and the consequent wisdom; for from simple good they are in a state and capacity of reception.
AC 3821. And Rachel was beautiful in form and beautiful in look. That this signifies that the affection of interior truth is such in regard to what is spiritual, is evident from what has just now been said above. By "form" is signified essence; and by "look" the derivative beauty. GENESIS 29:16-17 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|