Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 29:35
previous  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 3878. Verse 35. And she conceived again, and bare a son, and she said, This time I will confess Jehovah; therefore she called his name Judah; and she stood still from bearing. "And she conceived again, and bare a soil," signifies, as before, spiritual conception and birth from what is external to what is still more internal; "and she said, This time I will confess Jehovah," signifies in the supreme sense the Lord, in the internal sense the Word, in the external sense doctrine therefrom, in the present case the Divine of love and the Lord’s celestial kingdom "therefore she called his name Judah," signifies its quality; "and she stood still from bearing," signifies ascent by a ladder from the earth to Jehovah or the Lord.

AC 3879. And she conceived again, and bare a son. That this signifies spiritual conception and birth from what is external to what is still more internal, is evident from what was said above (n. 3860, 3868), where similar words occur.

AC 3880. And she said, This time I will confess Jehovah. That this signifies in the supreme sense the Lord, in the internal sense the Word, in the external sense doctrine therefrom, in the present case the Divine of love and the Lord‘s celestial kingdom, is evident from the signification of "confessing." That in the external or proximately interior sense " to confess" signifies doctrine from the Word, is manifest; for confession is nothing else, even in common speech, than a man’s declaration of his faith before the Lord; thus it comprehends in it whatever the man believes; consequently, whatever is to him doctrine. That in the internal sense "to confess" signifies the Word, follows from this, for all the doctrine of faith and charity must be from the Word; because from himself man knows nothing of things celestial and spiritual, and therefore he can know them only from Divine revelation, which is the Word. That in the supreme sense "to confess" signifies the Lord, is because the Lord is the Word, consequently doctrine from the Word, and because the Word in the internal sense has regard to the Lord alone, and treats of His kingdom (n. 1871, 2859, 2894, 3245, 3305, 3393, 3432, 3439, 3454). Thus it is that by "confessing Jehovah" is dignified the Divine of love and His celestial kingdom for the Lord is Divine love itself, and the influx of this constitutes His kingdom, and this by means of the Word which is from Him. That by "Judah," who was named from "confessing Jehovah," is signified the Divine of love and the Lord‘s celestial kingdom, has been shown above (n. 3654); and hence it is here said that "confessing" has this signification.

[2] But the signification of " to confess" and of "confession," may be seen from the passages in the Word in which these expressions occur; as in Isaiah:--

In that day thou shalt say, I will confess to Thee, O Jehovah though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou hast comforted me. And in that day ye shall say, Confess to Jehovah, call upon His name, make known His works among the people, make mention that His name is exalted (Isa. 12:1, 4).

In David:--

We confess to Thee, O God, we confess, and Thy name is near, Thy wondrous works declare (Ps. 75:1).


A psalm for confession: Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth; He hath made us, and not we ourselves, His people and the flock of His pasture. Enter through His gates with confession, into His courts with praise; confess ye to Him, and bless His name. For Jehovah is good, His mercy is forever, and His truth to generation and generation (Ps. 100:1-5).

Here it is evident what "confessing" and " confession’ signify, namely, acknowledging Jehovah or the Lord, and the things which are His. That this acknowledgment is doctrine and the Word, is manifest.

[3] Again in Isaiah:--

Jehovah will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places joy and gladness shall be found therein, confession and the voice of singing (Isa. 51:3).

And in Jeremiah:--

Thus saith Jehovah, Behold I am bringing back the captivity of Jacob‘s tents, and I will have compassion on his dwelling places and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall be inhabited after the manner thereof and out of them shall proceed confession, and the voice of them that make merry (Jer. 30:18, 19).

In David:--

I will confess to Jehovah according to His righteousness, and I will sing to the name of Jehovah Most High (Ps. 7:17).


When I shall go to the house of God, with the voice of singing and of confession, with a multitude that keep a festival (Ps. 42:4).


I will confess unto Thee O Lord among the nations, I will sing psalms unto Thee among the peoples for Thy mercy is great, even to heaven (Ps. 57:9, 10).

[4] From these passages it is evident that "confession" has reference to the celestial of love, for it is distinguished from terms that belong to the spiritual of love; for it is said "confession and the voice of singing," "confession and the voice of them that make merry," "I will confess unto Thee among the nations, and I will sing psalms unto Thee among the peoples,"-" confession" and "confessing" being celestial, and the "voice of singing," the "voice of them that make merry and sing psalms," being spiritual expressions. It is also said, "confess among the nations, and sing psalms among the peoples," because "nations" signify those who are in good, and "peoples" those who are in truth (n. 1416, 1849, 2928); that is, those who are in celestial love, and those who are in spiritual love. For in the Word, with the Prophets, two expressions for the most part occur, one having reference to the celestial or good, and the other to the spiritual or truth, in order that there may be a Divine marriage in every part of the Word, thus a marriage of good and truth (n. 683, 793, 801, 2173, 2516, 2712, 3132). From this it is also manifest that "confession" involves the celestial of love; and that genuine confession, or that which is from the heart, can only be from good; the confession which is from truth being called the "voice of singing, the voice of them that make merry, and that sing psalms."

[5] So also in the following passages. In David:--

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with confession (Ps. 69:30).


I will confess to Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth O my God; unto Thee will I sing with the harp, O Thou Holy One of Israel (Ps. 71:22).

That "to sing with the harp" and with other stringed instruments signifies spiritual things, may be seen above (n. 415-420). Again:--

Enter into His gates with confession, into His courts with praise confess to Him, bless His name (Ps. 100:4);

here " confession" and " confessing" are from the love of good but "praise" and "blessing" from the love of truth. Again:--

Answer unto Jehovah with confession sing psalms upon the harp unto our God (Ps. 147:7).


I will confess to Thee in the great congregation I will praise Thee among much people (Ps. 35:18).


I will confess to Jehovah with my mouth, and in the midst of many will I praise Him (Ps. 109:30).


We Thy people and the flock of Thy pasture will confess to Thee forever; we will recount Thy praise to generation and generation (Ps. 79:13).


Let them confess to Jehovah His mercy, and His wonderful works to the sons of man. Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of confession, and declare His works with singing (Ps. 107:21, 22).

[6] That these passages contain two expressions for one thing, is manifest, and they would appear like vain repetitions unless one involved the celestial, which is good, and the other the spiritual, which is truth; consequently the Divine marriage, the Lord’s kingdom itself being such a marriage. This mystery pervades the Word throughout, but can never be disclosed except by means of the internal sense, and the derivative knowledge as to which expression belongs to the celestial class, and which to the spiritual. But it must be known in general what the celestial is, and what the spiritual, and these have often been treated of above.

[7] Real confession of the heart, being from celestial love, is in the genuine sense confession. The man who is in‘ this confession acknowledges that all good is from the Lord, and that all evil is from himself; and when he is in this acknowledgment, he is in a state of humiliation, for he then acknowledges that the Lord is everything in him, and that he himself is relatively nothing; and when confession is made from this state, it is made from celestial love.

[8] But the sacrifices of confession that were offered in the Jewish Church were thanksgivings, and in a universal sense were called eucharistic and repaying sacrifices, which were of two kinds- confessional, and votive. That the sacrifices of confession involved the celestial of love, may be seen from their institution, concerning which we read in Moses:--

This is the law of the sacrifice of the eucharistics that shall be offered to Jehovah if he has offered it for confession, then he shall offer, besides the sacrifice of confession, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and fine flour boiled, cakes mingled with oil, upon leavened cakes of bread he shall offer his gift, besides the sacrifice of confession (Lev. 7:11-13).

All the things here mentioned-the "unleavened cakes mingled with oil," the "unleavened wafers anointed with oil," the "fine flour boiled," and the "leavened cakes of bread," signify the celestial things of love and faith, and confessions therefrom, and that those who made the offerings must be in humiliation. By "fine flour" and "cakes" thereof are signified the celestial of love and the derivative spiritual of faith, which is charity, (n. 2177); by "what is unleavened," purification from evils and falsities, (n. 2342); by " oil," the celestial of love, (n. 886, 3728); by " bread," the same, (n. 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478, 3735).

[9] But the votive sacrifices, which were another kind of eucharistics, in the external sense signified repayment; in the internal sense the will that the Lord should provide; and in the supreme sense a state of providence (n. 3732). This is the reason why mention is made of all these in the Word throughout; as in David:--

Offer unto God the sacrifice of confession and pay thy vows unto the Most High. Whoso offereth the sacrifice of confession, honoreth Me; and he who ordereth his way, to him will I show the salvation of God (Ps. 50:14, 23).


Thy vows are upon me, O God I will repay confessions unto Thee (Ps. 56:12).


I will sacrifice to Thee the sacrifice of confession, and will call upon the name of Jehovah I will pay my vows unto Jehovah (Ps. 116:17, 18).

And in Jonah:--

I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of confession I will pay that which I have vowed (Jonah 2:9).

[10] From all this it is now manifest what is the confession from which Judah was named; namely, that in the supreme sense it signifies the Lord and the Divine of love; in the internal sense, the Word and also the Lord’s celestial kingdom; and in the exterior sense, the doctrine from the Word which is of the celestial church. That these things are signified in the Word by "Judah," may be seen from what now follows.

AC 3881. Therefore she called his name Judah. That this signifies his quality, is evident from the signification of "name," and of" calling a name," as being quality (n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006, 3421). The quality itself is contained in the internal sense of the words that Leah spoke-" This time I will confess Jehovah," concerning which just above (n. 3880), namely, that in the supreme sense it is the Lord and the Divine of His love; in the internal sense, the Word and also the Lord‘s celestial kingdom; and in the exterior sense, the doctrine from the Word which is of the celestial church. That these things are signified in the Word by "Judah," wherever the name occurs, scarcely anyone as yet knows, because the histories of the Word are believed to be merely historical; and the prophecies to be of the things that have been consigned to oblivion, except some from which doctrinal tenets may be drawn. That there is a spiritual sense in them is not believed, because at this day it is not known what the spiritual sense of the Word is, nor even what that which is spiritual is. The principal reason of this is that men live a natural life, and the natural life is such that when it is regarded as the end, or is loved above all other things, it obliterates both knowledges and faith; insomuch that when spiritual life and a spiritual sense are mentioned, it is as though a kind of nonentity were spoken of, or something unpleasant and sad, that excites loathing, because it is in disagreement with the natural life. As this is now the state of the human race, they do not apprehend, nor are they willing to apprehend that anything else is meant by the names in the Word than the things themselves which are named; such as nations, peoples, persons, countries, cities, mountains, rivers; when yet in the spiritual sense names signify actual things.

[2] That in the internal sense "Judah" signifies the Lord’s celestial church; in the universal sense His celestial kingdom; and in the supreme sense the Lord Himself, may be seen from many passages in the Old Testament where "Judah" is mentioned; as from the following. In Moses:--

Thou art Judah; thy brethren shall praise thee thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies thy father‘s sons shall bow down themselves to thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp from the prey my son thou art gone up; he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall be the gathering together of the peoples. Binding his ass‘s foal unto the vine, and the son of his she-ass unto the choice vine, he shall wash his garment in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are red with wine, and his teeth white with milk (Gen. 49:8-12).

[3] This prophetic utterance of Jacob (then Israel) concerning Judah, cannot be understood by anyone-not even a single word of it-except from the internal sense; as for instance what is meant by "his brethren praising him;" and by "his father’s sons bowing down themselves to him;" by "his going up from the prey like a lion‘s whelp, and stooping and couching as a lion;" or what by " Shiloh;" by "binding his ass’s foal to a vine, and the son of his she-ass to a choice vine;" by "washing his garment in wine, and his covering in the blood of grapes;" by "his eyes being red with wine, and his teeth white with milk." As before said these expressions cannot possibly be understood by anyone except from the internal sense, when yet all and each of them signify celestial things of the Lord‘s kingdom, and Divine things; and thereby it is predicted that the Lord’s celestial kingdom, and in the supreme sense the Lord Himself, should be represented by Judah. But concerning all these expressions, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy more shall be said in the explication of that chapter.

[4] The case is the same in other parts of the Word, especially in the Prophets, where mention is made of Judah; as in Ezekiel:--

Thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the sons of Israel his companions and take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and of all the house of Israel his companions and join them for thee one to another into one stick, and they shall become one in My hand. I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel and one king shall be king to them all. My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd; and they shall walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers dwelt; they and their sons shall dwell upon it, and their sons’ even forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. And I will establish with them a covenant of peace it shall be to them an everlasting covenant. I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. Thus shall My habitation be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Ezek. 37:15-28).

whoever supposes that by "Judah" is here meant Judah; by "Israel," Israel; by "Joseph," Joseph; by Ephraim," Ephraim; and by "David," David; will believe that all these things are to come to pass as they are described in the sense of the letter-that Israel will be again consociated with Judah, as well as the tribe of Ephraim; likewise that David will rule over them, and that they will thus dwell upon the land given unto Jacob forever; and that an everlasting covenant will in this case be established with them, and a sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore; when in the internal sense the Jewish nation is not meant at all; but the Lord‘s celestial kingdom which is "Judah," and His spiritual kingdom which is "Israel," and the Lord Himself who is "David." From this it is very plain that by names are not meant persons, but things celestial and Divine.

[5] The case is similar in regard to the following words in Zechariah:--

Many peoples and numerous nations shall come to seek Jehovah Zebaoth. In those days ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of a man of Judah saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you (Zech. 8:22, 23).

They who apprehend these words according to the letter will say (as the Jewish nation to this day believes) that as this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, it will be; and therefore that the Jews will return to the land of Canaan, and many will follow them out of all the languages of the nations, and will lay hold of the skirt of a man of Judah, and will pray for leave to follow them; and that then God (namely, the Messiah, whom Christians call the Lord) will be with them, to whom they must first be converted. This would be the promise of the words if by a "man of Judah" there were meant a Jew. But the subject here treated of in the internal sense is a new spiritual church among the Gentiles; and by a "man of Judah" is signified the saving faith which comes from love to the Lord.

[6] That by "Judah" is not meant Judah; but, as already said, in the internal sense the Lord’s celestial kingdom, which was represented in the church instituted with Judah or the Jews, may also be clearly seen from the following passages:--

The Lord shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four wings of the earth. Then shall the envy of Ephraim depart, and the enemies of Judah shall be cut off Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim (Isa. 11:12, 13).

And in Jeremiah:--

Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, who shall reign as a king, and shall prosper, and shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell securely and this is His name whereby they shall call Him, Jehovah our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5, 6).

And in Joel:--

Then ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God, dwelling in Zion, the mountain of My holiness and Jerusalem shall be holiness. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall flow with waters and a fountain shall come forth from the house of Jehovah, and shall water the stream of Shittim. Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem to generation and generation (Joel 3:17, 18, 20).

[7] And in Zechariah:--

In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the chieftains of Judah shall say in their heart, I will strengthen to myself the inhabitants of Jerusalem in Jehovah Zebaoth their God. In that day will I make the chieftains of Judah like a hearth of fire in the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf and they shall devour all the peoples round about on the right hand and on the left and Jerusalem shall yet again be inhabited in her own place, even in Jerusalem and Jehovah shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David, and the glory of the inhabitant of Jerusalem, may not lift itself up above Judah. In that day will Jehovah defend the inhabitant of Jerusalem. And the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of Jehovah before them. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitant of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace (Zech. 12:4-10).

The subject here treated of is the Lord‘s celestial kingdom, that truth should not have dominion therein over good, but that truth should be subordinate to good. Truth is signified by the "house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem;" and good by "Judah." From this it is manifest why it is first said that "the glory of the house of David, and the glory of the inhabitant of Jerusalem, may not lift itself up above Judah;" and next, that "the house of David shall be as God, and as the angel of Jehovah, and that the spirit of grace shall be poured upon it, and upon the inhabitant of Jerusalem;" for such is the state when truth is subordinate to good, or faith to love. The "horse which shall be smitten with astonishment, and the horse of the peoples with blindness," signifies self-intelligence (n. 2761, 2762, 3217).

[8] Again:--

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness to Jehovah and the pots in the house of Jehovah shall be like the bowls before the altar; and every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness to Jehovah Zebaoth (Zech. 14:20, 21);

describing the Lord’s kingdom. In Malachi:--

Behold I send My angel who shall prepare the way before Me and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant whom ye desire behold He cometh but who may abide the day of His coming? Then shall the meat-offering of Judah and of Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah, as in the days of old, and as in former years (Mal. 3:1, 2, 4);

where the subject treated of is manifestly the Lord‘s advent. It is known that the meat-offering of Judah and Jerusalem was not then pleasant; but that worship from love was pleasant, which is the "meat-offering of Judah;" and worship from faith derived from love, which is the "`meat-offering of Jerusalem."

[9] In Jeremiah:--

Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth, Yet again shall they say this word in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity Jehovah bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness. and Judah and all the cities thereof shall dwell therein together. Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will sow the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. Behold the days come that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers (Jer. 31:23, 24, 27, 31, 32).

And in David:--

The Lord hath chosen the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion that He loved; and hath built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth hath He founded it forever (Ps. 78:68, 69).

[10] From these and many other passages here omitted, it may be seen what is signified in the Word by "Judah;" and that it is not the Jewish nation, because this was very far from being a celestial church, or the Lord’s celestial kingdom; being the worst of all nations in regard to love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and also in regard to faith; and this from the days of their first fathers, the sons of Jacob, down to the present time. Such persons were nevertheless capable of representing the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord‘s kingdom, (n. 3479-3481), because in representations the person is not reflected upon, but only the thing that is represented, (n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3670).

[11] But when they did not remain in the rituals ordained by Jehovah or the Lord, but turned away from them to idolatries, they then no longer represented celestial and spiritual things, but the opposite, that is, infernal and diabolical things-according to the Lord’s words in John:--

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will to do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth (John 8:44).

That this is signified by "Judah" in the opposite sense, may be seen from the following words in Isaiah:--

Jerusalem hath stumbled, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their word are against Jehovah to rebel against the eyes of His glory (Isa. 3:8).

And in Malachi:--

Judah hath dealt treacherously, and abomination hath been wrought in Israel and in Jerusalem and Judah hath profaned the holiness of Jehovah, because he hath loved and betrothed to himself the daughter of a strange god (Mal. 2:11);

and also in the following passages: (Isa. 3:1; 8:7, 8; Jer. 2:28; 3:7-11; 9:26; 11:9, 10, 12; 13:9; 14:2; 17:1; 18:12, 13; 19:7; 32:35; 36:31; 44:12, 14, 26, 28; Hosea 5:5; 8:14; Amos 2:4, 5; Zeph. 1:4).

AC 3882. And she stood still from bearing. That this signifies ascent by a ladder from the earth to Jehovah or the Lord, is evident from the signification of "bearing," or of "birth," as being truth and good; for these are births in the spiritual sense, inasmuch as man is regenerated or born anew by means of truth and good. These also are what are signified by the four sons born of Leah-Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. "Reuben" signifies the truth which is the first of regeneration, or of the new birth; this is truth merely as to memory-knowledge, thus it is to know truth. "Simeon" signifies the truth which is the second of regeneration, or of the new birth; this is truth as to the will, thus it is to will truth. " Levi" signifies the truth which is the third of regeneration, or of the new birth; this is truth as to affection, thus it is to be affected with truth, which is the same thing as charity. But "Judah" signifies good, which is the fourth of regeneration, or of the new birth, and this is the celestial of love. When the regenerate man, or he who is born anew, arrives at this stage, the Lord appears to him, for he has then ascended from the lowest step, as by a ladder, up to the step where the Lord is.

[2] This also is the ascent which was signified by the ladder seen by Jacob in a dream, which stood upon the earth, whose top reached to heaven, and on which the angels of God ascended and descended, and upon which stood Jehovah or the Lord (Gen. 28:12). Hence it is evident that such is the signification of "standing still from bearing." That by "conceiving and bearing," here mentioned four times, is signified advancement from external to internal, or from truth to good, that is, from earth to heaven, may be seen above (n. 3860, 3868, 3874, 3879). Descent follows afterwards, for man cannot descend unless he has first ascended. Descent is nothing else than looking at truth from good, as from a mountain upon which he has climbed, a man views the things which lie beneath. That he then can comprehend in one view innumerable things more than they who stand beneath or in the valley, is manifest; and the case is precisely the same with those who are in good (that is, in love to the Lord and in charity toward the neighbor), as compared with those who are only in truth, that is, in faith alone.