Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 29:2-3
AC 3763. Verses 2, 3. And he saw, and behold a well in the field, and behold there three droves of the flock lying by it; for out of that well they watered the droves, and a great stone was upon the well‘s mouth. And all the droves were gathered together thither; and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock, and they put the stone in its place again upon the well‘s mouth. "And he saw," signifies perception and behold a well," signifies the Word; "in the field," signifies for the churches and behold there three droves of the flock lying by it," signifies the holy things of churches and of doctrinal things for out of that well they watered the droves," signifies that the memory-knowledge is thence derived "and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth," signifies that it was closed; " and all the droves were gathered together thither," signifies that all churches and their doctrinal things were thence derived; "and they rolled the stone from the well‘s mouth," signifies that they opened it; "and watered the flock," signifies that thence came doctrine "and they put the stone in its place again upon the well’s mouth," signifies that meanwhile it was closed.
AC 3764. And he saw. That this signifies perception, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being to perceive, concerning which below, at (verse 32), when treating of Reuben, who was so named from "seeing."
AC 3765. And behold a well. That this signifies the Word, is evident from the signification of a "well," as being the Word, and also doctrine from the Word (n. 2702, 3096, 3424). The Word is here called a well," because the natural is treated of, which regarded in itself apprehends the Word solely as to the literal sense; whereas the Word is called a" fountain" when the rational is treated of, by which the Word can be perceived according to the internal sense.
AC 3766. In the field. That this signifies for the churches, is evident from the signification of a "field," as being the church as to good (n. 2971). In the Word the church is signified by "land," "ground," and "field," but with a difference. The reason why "field" signifies the church, is that the church as a field receives the seeds of good and truth; for the church has the Word, from which come these seeds; and this is the reason why everything in a field signifies that which is of the church, such as sowing, reaping, standing corn, wheat, barley, and other things, and this also with a difference.
AC 3767. And behold there three droves of the flock lying by it. That this signifies the holy things of churches and of doctrinal things, is evident from the signification of "three," as being that which is holy (n. 720, 901); and from the signification of "droves of the flock," as being those things which are of the church, thus doctrinal things; specifically, a "flock" signifies those who are within the church, and who learn and become imbued with the goods which are of charity, and the truths which are of faith; and in this case a "shepherd" signifies one who teaches these things; but in general a "flock" signifies all those who are in good, thus who belong to the Lord‘s church in the universal world; and inasmuch as all these are introduced into good and truth by means of doctrinal things, therefore by a "flock" are also signified doctrinal things. For in the internal sense the things which determine the quality of a man, and the man himself who is of such a quality, are meant by the same expression; for the subject, which is man, is understood from that by virtue of which he is man.
 For this reason it has been repeatedly stated that names signify actual things, and also signify those to whom such things appertain, as that "Tyre" and "Zidon" signify the knowledges of good and truth, and also those who are in such knowledges; and that "Egypt" signifies memory-knowledge, and "Asshur" reasoning, yet there are also understood those who are in these; and so with every other name. But the speech in heaven among the angels is effected by means of actual things, without the idea of persons; thus by universals and this for the reason that in this way they comprise countless things in their discourse; and especially is this the case because they attribute all good and truth to the Lord, and nothing to themselves; the result of which is that the ideas of their speech are not determined to any but the Lord alone. From all this we can now see whence it is that a "flock" is said to signify churches, and also doctrinal things. Droves of a flock are said to be "lying by the well," because the doctrinal things are from the Word. A "well" denotes the Word, (n. 3765).
AC 3768. For out of that well they watered the droves. That this signifies that the memory-knowledge is thence derived; that is, from the Word, is evident from the signification of a "well," as being the Word (n. 3765) and from the signification of "watering," or "giving to drink," as being to be instructed (n. 3069); and from the signification of "droves," as being the memory-knowledge of doctrinal things (n. 3767). Hence it is evident that by "watering the droves out of the well" is signified that the memory-knowledge of the doctrinal things of good and truth is from the Word. In what now follows concerning Jacob, the Lord is treated of in the supreme sense-how He made His natural Divine, and in this chapter the initiation is treated of; and in the internal representative sense those who are being regenerated are treated of-how the Lord renews their natural man, and in this chapter the initiation is treated of; therefore the subject here treated of is the Word and the doctrine thence derived; for initiation and regeneration are effected by means of doctrine from the Word. And inasmuch as these things are signified by a "well" and by "three droves of the flock," therefore these are mentioned historically, which would have been of too trifling import to be mentioned in the Divine Word unless they had signified such things. What they enfold is evident, namely, that all the memory-knowledge and doctrine of good and truth are from the Word.
 The natural man can indeed know, and also perceive, what good and truth are, but only natural and civic good and truth; but spiritual good and truth he cannot know, because this must come from revelation, thus from the Word. For example: a man may know from the rational that is possessed by everyone that his neighbor ought to be loved, and that God ought to be worshiped; but how the neighbor is to be loved, and how God is to be worshiped, thus what spiritual good and truth are, can be known only from the Word-as that good itself is the neighbor, consequently they who are in good, and this according to the good in which they are; and that good is the neighbor because the Lord is in good, and therefore in the love of good the Lord is loved.
 In like manner they who have not the Word cannot know that all good is from the Lord, and that it inflows with man, and causes the affection of good, and that this affection is called charity; neither can they who have not the Word know who is the God of the universe; and that He is the Lord is hidden from them; when yet the inmost of affection or of charity, consequently the inmost of good, must look to Him. From this it is evident what spiritual good is, and that this cannot be known except from the Word. With regard to the Gentiles, so long as they are in the world they indeed do not know this, nevertheless while they live in mutual charity with one another, they thence derive such a capacity that in the other life they can be instructed concerning such matters, and they also easily receive and become imbued therewith (n. 2589-2604).
AC 3769. And a great stone was upon the well’s mouth. That this signifies that the Word was closed, is evident without explication. The Word is said to be closed when it is understood solely as to the sense of the letter, and when all that is in this sense is taken for doctrine. And it is still more closed when those things are acknowledged as doctrinal things which favor the cupidities of the love of self and of the world; for these especially roll a great stone upon the mouth of the well, that is, close up the Word; and then mankind do not know, neither do they desire to know, that there is any interior sense in the Word, when yet they may see this from many passages where the sense of the letter is unfolded as to the interior sense; and also from the doctrinal things received in the church, to which by various explications they refer all the sense of the letter of the Word.
 What is meant by the Word being closed may be seen especially from the Jews, who explain each and all things according to the letter, and thence believe that they are chosen in preference to all nations on the face of the earth, and that the Messiah will come to bring them into the land of Canaan and exalt them above all nations and peoples of the earth; for they are immersed in earthly corporeal loves, which are such that they altogether close up the Word as to interior things. Therefore also they do not yet know whether there is any heavenly kingdom, whether they shall live after death, what the internal man is, nor even that there is anything spiritual; still less do they know that the Messiah has come to save souls. That the Word is closed with them, may be sufficiently evident also from the fact that although they live among Christians, they do not receive the least of their doctrinal things-according to the following words in Isaiah:--
Say to this people, Hearing, hear ye, and do not understand and seeing, see ye, and do not perceive. Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes. And I said, Lord, how long? And He said, Until the cities be waste without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the ground be wasted to a solitude (Isa. 6:9-11; Matt. 13:14, 15; John 12:40, 41).
 For in so far as a man is immersed in loves of self and of the world, and in the cupidities of these loves, so far the Word is closed to him; for these loves have self as their end, which end kindles a natural lumen, but extinguishes heavenly light, so that men sharply see the things of self and the world, but not at all those of the Lord and His kingdom; and when this is the case, they may indeed read the Word, but it is with the end of acquiring honors and riches, or for appearance‘ sake, or from the love and consequent habit of it, or from piety, and yet not from a purpose of amending the life. To such persons the Word is in various ways closed; to some so much that by no means are they willing to know anything but what their doctrinal things dictate, whatever these may be.
 For example: should anyone say that the power of opening and shutting heaven was not given to Peter, but to the faith of love, which faith is signified by Peter’s keys, inasmuch as the love of self and of the world opposes this, they will by no means acknowledge it. And should anyone say that saints ought not to be worshiped, but the Lord alone, neither do they receive this. Or if anyone should say that by the bread and wine in the Holy Supper is meant the Lord‘s love toward the universal human race, and the reciprocal love of man to the Lord, this they do not believe. Or should anyone assert that faith is of no avail unless it is the good of faith, that is, charity, this they explain inversely; and so with everything else. They who are of this character cannot see one whit of the truth that is in the Word, nor are they willing to see it, but abide obstinately in their own dogma; and are not even willing to hear that there is an internal sense wherein is the sanctity and glory of the Word, and even when they are told that it is so, from their aversion thereto they loathe the bare mention of it. Thus has the Word been closed, when yet it is of such a nature as to lie open even into heaven", and through heaven to the Lord, and it is closed solely in relation to man, in so far as he is in the evils of the love of self and of the world in respect to his ends of life, and in the consequent principles of falsity. From this it is evident what is signified by a great stone being upon the well’s mouth.
AC 3770. And all the droves were gathered together thither. That this signifies that all churches and their doctrinal things are thence derived, is evident from the signification of " droves," as being churches, and also the doctrinal things that belong to churches (n. 3767, 3768). That these are from the Word is signified by the droves being gathered together thither.
AC 3771. And they rolled the stone from the well‘s mouth. That this signifies that they opened it, is evident from what has been said above (n. 3769) concerning the signification of a "great stone upon the well’s mouth," as being that the Word was closed. Thus it is manifest that their rolling the stone from the well‘s mouth signifies that they opened it.
AC 3772. And watered the flock. That this signifies that the doctrine was thence derived, is evident from the signification of "watering," or of "giving to drink," as being to instruct (n. 3069, 3768); and from the signification of a "flock," as being those who are in the goods and truths of faith (n. 343, 3767). Thus "to water the flock" is to instruct out of the Word, consequently it is doctrine.
AC 3773. And they put the stone in its place again upon the well’s mouth. That this signifies that meanwhile it was closed, is evident from what has been said (n. 3769, 3771) concerning the stone upon the well‘s mouth. As regards the Word being opened to the churches, and being afterwards closed, the case is this: in the beginning of the setting up of any church, the Word is at first closed to the men of it, and is afterwards opened, the Lord so providing; and thus they learn that all doctrine is founded on the two commandments-that the Lord is to be loved above all things, and the neighbor as themselves. When these two commandments are regarded as the end, the Word is opened; for all the Law and the Prophets, that is, the whole Word, so depend on these commandments that all things are derived from them and therefore all have reference to them. And whereas the men of the church are then in the principles of truth and good, they are enlightened in everything they see in the Word; for the Lord is then present with them by means of angels, and teaches them although they are unaware of this), and also leads them into the life of truth and good.
 This may be seen also from the case of all churches, in that they were such in their infancy, and worshiped the Lord from love, and loved the neighbor from the heart. But in process of time churches withdraw from these two commandments, and turn aside from the good of love and charity to the so-called things of faith, thus from life to doctrine and in so far as they do this, so far the Word is closed. This is what is signified in the internal sense by the words: Behold a well in the field, and behold there three-droves of the flock lying by it; for out of that well they watered the droves; and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth. And all the droves were gathered together thither; and they rolled the stone from the well‘s mouth, and watered the flock, and they put the stone in its place again upon the well’s mouth."GENESIS 29:2-3 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|