Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 29:21-24
AC 3828. Verses 21-24. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my woman, for my days are fulfilled, and I will come to her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him, and he came to her. And Laban gave her Zilpah his handmaid, unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid. "And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my woman," signifies that from general good there was now conjunction with the affection of interior truth; "for my days are fulfilled, and I will come to her," signifies that now was the state in question; "and Laban gathered together all the men of the place," signifies all the truths of that state; "and made a feast," initiation; "and it came to pass in the evening," signifies the state as yet obscure; "that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him, and he came to her," signifies that as yet there was conjunction only with the affection of external truth; "and Laban gave her Zilpah his handmaid, unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid," signifies the external affections or external bonds which are subservient means.
AC 3829. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my woman. That this signifies that from general good there was now conjunction with the affection of interior truth, is evident from the representation of Jacob, as being the good of the natural in the present case general good, because the things of the natural are relatively general, there being innumerable things which flow from the internal man into the natural or external man which appear in this latter as one general thing, and still more so before the particulars of the generals have been received, as in the present case. For this reason the good which is represented by Jacob is now called general good. That conjunction with the affection of interior truth is signified, is manifest, for Rachel, who is here called "my woman," represents the affection of interior truth, as before shown.
AC 3830. For my days are fulfilled, that I may come to her. That this signifies that now was the state in question, is evident from the signification of "days," as being states (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, 3462, 3785). That by "my days are fulfilled, that I may come to her," is signified that this was now the state in question, is manifest without explication.
AC 3831. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place. That this signifies all the truths of that state, is evident from the signification of "men (vir)," as being truths (n. 3134); and from the signification of "place," as being state (n. 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387).
AC 3832. And made a feast. That this signifies initiation, is evident from the signification of a "feast," as being appropriation and conjunction (n. 3596); in the present case initiation, because initiation precedes conjunction, and likewise pledges and attests it. The feasts made in old times among those who were in significatives and representatives, signified nothing else than initiation into the mutual love which is of charity. The nuptial feasts also signified initiation into conjugial love; and the holy feasts, initiation into spiritual and celestial love; and this because feasting, or eating and drinking, signified appropriation and conjunction (n. 3734). Because of this signification the Lord also said with the same meaning:--
Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 8:11).
And in another place, to His disciples:--
That ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom (Luke 22:30).
And when He instituted the Holy Supper, He said:--
I say unto you, that I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom (Matt. 26:29).
Everyone may see that by "sitting, in the Lord‘s kingdom," is not signified sitting down, eating, and drinking; but something which exists in that kingdom, and is the appropriation of the good of love and the truth of faith; thus it signifies that which is called spiritual and celestial food. It is also manifest from the above words that there is an internal sense in all that the Lord spoke, and that without understanding this it cannot be known what it is to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to eat and drink in the Lord’s kingdom at His table, and to drink with them of the fruit of that vine in the kingdom of His Father; nay, neither can it he known what is meant by eating bread and drinking wine in the Holy Supper.
AC 3833. And it came to pass in the evening. That this signifies the state as yet obscure, is evident from the signification of "evening," as being an obscure state (n. 3056). Among the ancients, who were in congruent rituals, the feasts that were made in the evening, that is, the suppers, signified nothing else than the state of initiation which precedes conjunction, which state relatively to the state of conjunction is obscure. For during man‘s initiation into truth and thence into good, all that he learns is obscure to him; but when good is being conjoined with him, and he regards truth therefrom, it then becomes clear to him, and this successively more and more; for now he is no longer in doubt as to whether a thing exists, or whether it is so; but he knows that it exists, and that it is so.
 When man is in this state, he then begins to know innumerable things, for he now proceeds from the good and truth which he believes and perceives as from a center to the circumferences and in proportion as he proceeds, in the same proportion he sees the things which are round about, and successively more and more widely, for he is constantly pushing out and widening the boundaries. Thenceforth also he commences from every subject in the space within the boundaries; and from these as from new centers he throws out new circumferences, and so on. In this way the light of truth from good increases immeasurably, and becomes like a continuous lucidity, for the man is then in the light of heaven, which is from the Lord. But with those who are in doubt and in discussion as to whether a thing exists, and whether it is so, these innumerable, nay, illimitable things do not appear one whit; to them all things in both general and particular are utterly obscure, and are scarcely regarded as one really existing thing, but rather as one thing the existence of which is doubtful. In such a state is human wisdom and intelligence at this day, when he is deemed wise who can reason with ingenuity as to whether a thing exists; and he is deemed still wiser who can reason that it does not exist.
 For example take the proposition that there is an internal sense of the Word, which is called mystical: until this is believed, it is impossible for men to know the least of the innumerable things which are in the internal sense, and which are so many as to fill the whole heaven with an infinite variety. Another example is that the man who reasons concerning the Divine Providence, as to whether it is only universal, and not in the singulars, cannot possibly know the innumerable arcana of Providence, which are as many in number as are the contingencies of everyone’s life from first to last, and from the creation of the world to its end; nay, even to eternity. Again: he who reasons as to whether it is possible for anyone to be in good, seeing that the will of man is radically depraved, can never know all the arcana relating to regeneration, nor even that a new will is implanted by the Lord, nor the arcana relating to this implantation; and so with everything else. From this it may be known in what obscurity such persons are, and that they do not even see, much less touch, the first threshold of wisdom.
AC 3834. That he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him, and he came to her. That this signifies that as yet there was conjunction only with the affection of external truth, is evident from the representation of Leah, as being the affection of external truth (n. 3793, 3819). That "to bring her to him" signifies conjunction such as that which is conjugial, is manifest. The case herein is this: The man who is in the affection of internal truth, that is, in the desire to know the interior arcana of the Lord‘s kingdom, has not at first these arcana conjoined with him, even although he knows them, and at times acknowledges, and as it were believes them, for as yet there are present with him worldly and corporeal affections, which cause him to indeed receive and as it were believe these arcana; but in so far as these affections are present, so far the interior truths in question cannot he conjoined. It is only the affection of truth from good, and the affection of good, that applies these arcana to itself; and in so far as man is in these affections, so far interior truths are conjoined with him, for truths are the vessels that receive good.
 The Lord also provides that celestial and spiritual truths (such as are all interior truths) should not be conjoined with any other affections than genuine ones. For this reason the general affection of truth from good precedes, and the truths that are insinuated therein are nothing but general truths. The states of truth are altogether in accordance with the states of good, that is, the states of faith with the states of charity. For example: it is possible for the wicked to know that the Lord rules the universal heaven, and also that heaven is mutual love and love to the Lord; also that by such love those who are there have conjunction with the Lord, and wisdom, and likewise happiness; nay, it is possible for them to be in the persuasion that it is so; and yet the truth of faith may not be conjoined with them, and still less the good of love. From the life it is known whether these have been conjoined, just as a tree is known by its fruit. The case in respect to this is like that of grapes in which there are no stones, and which, when buried in earth however fertile, dissolve into mere mold; or like that of an ignis fatuus in the night, which is dissipated as soon as the sun rises. But of the Lord’s Divine mercy more on this subject hereafter.
AC 3835. And Laban gave her Zilpah his handmaid, unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid. That this signifies the external affections, or external bonds, which are subservient means, is evident from the signification of a "handmaid," as being the external affections (n. 1895, 2567). That "Laban gave her" signifies that they are from the collateral good of a common stock, for this is the origin of such affections. They are called external bonds, because all affections are bonds (n. 1077, 1080, 1835, 1944), for nothing holds man in bonds except his affection. The affection of each man does not indeed appear to him as a bond, yet still it is so called because it rules him, and keeps him bound to it. Internal affections however are called internal bonds, the affections of truth and of good being called the bonds of conscience. To these correspond external bonds or external affections, for every internal has a corresponding external. As the man who is being regenerated is introduced to internal things by means of external ones, and as this state of introduction is here treated of, therefore it is here said that Laban‘s handmaid was given to his daughter Leah for a handmaid, by which is signified that such affections were given as serve as the means of introduction. That these affections were the most external ones, such as are those called the affections of the body, is evident from the fact that Leah represents the affections of external truth. But on this subject also, of the Lord’s Divine mercy more elsewhere. GENESIS 29:21-24 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|