Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 30:17-18
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AC 3953. Verses 17, 18. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived and bare Jacob a fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my reward, because I gave my handmaid to my man; and she called his name Issachar. "And God hearkened unto Leah," signifies the Divine love; "and she conceived and bare Jacob a fifth son," signifies reception and acknowledgment; "and Leah said, God hath given me my reward, because I gave my handmaid to my man," signifies in the supreme sense the Divine good of truth and truth of good; in the internal sense, celestial conjugial love; and in the external sense, mutual love; "and she called his name Issachar," signifies its quality.

AC 3954. And God hearkened unto Leah. That this signifies the Divine love, is evident from the signification of "hearkening" to anyone, when predicated of God or the Lord, as being the Divine love; for hearkening to anyone is doing what he prays for and desires. As this is from Divine good, and Divine good comes from the Divine love, by "hearkening" to anyone is signified in the supreme sense the Divine love. For with the internal sense of the Word the case is that when the sense of the letter ascends toward heaven, and thus enters into the sphere where the thought is from the Lord and concerning the Lord and what belongs to the Lord, it is at last so perceived by the angels; for the internal sense is the Word to the angels, whereto the sense of the letter serves as a plane or means of thinking. For the sense of the letter cannot come to the angels, because it treats in most places of worldly, earthly, and corporeal things, of which the angels cannot think, because they are in spiritual and celestial things, and thus far above what is earthly. For this reason a Word has been given that can serve man and at the same time the angels. In this the Word differs from every other writing.

AC 3955. And she conceived and bare Jacob a fifth son. That this signifies reception and acknowledgment, is evident from the signification of "conceiving," as being reception; and of "bearing," as being acknowledgment (n. 3860, 3868, 3905, 3911, 3919).

AC 3956. And Leah said, God hath given me my reward, because I gave my handmaid to my man. That this signifies in the supreme sense the Divine good of truth and truth of good; in the internal sense, celestial conjugial love; and in the external sense, mutual love, may be seen from the signification of "reward." "Reward" is frequently mentioned in the Word, but few know what it there signifies. It is known in the churches that by the goods which man does he can merit nothing, for they are not his, but the Lord’s; and that meriting or merit looks to man, and thus conjoins itself with the love of self, and with the thought of pre-eminence over others, and consequently with contempt for others. For this reason works done for the sake of reward are not good in themselves, because they do not spring from the genuine fountain; that is, from charity toward the neighbor. Charity toward the neighbor has within it the desire that it should be as well with him as with ourselves; and with the angels, that it should be better with him than with themselves. Such also is the affection of charity; and therefore it is averse to all self-merit, and consequently to all the doing of good that looks to reward. To those who are in charity, the reward consists in being able to show kindness, and in being allowed to do so, and in the kindness being accepted. This is the delight, nay, bliss itself that is enjoyed by those who are in the affection of charity. From this it is evident what that "reward" is that is mentioned in the Word, namely, the delight and bliss of the affection of charity; or what is the same, the delight and bliss of mutual love (n. 3816); for the affection of charity, and mutual love, are the same thing. (n. 1110, 1111, 1774, 1835, 1877, 2027, 2273, 2340, 2373, 2400). From all this it is evident that by reward" in the external sense is here signified mutual love.

[2] That in a sense still higher, or in the internal sense, by "reward" is signified celestial conjugial love, may be seen from the things that have been said above concerning the heavenly marriage (n. 2618, 2739, 2741, 2803, 3024, 3132, 3952), namely, that it is the conjunction of good and truth; and that mutual love is from this conjunction, or from this marriage (n. 2737, 2738). It is evident from this that "reward" in the internal sense is celestial conjugial love.

[3] That in the supreme sense "reward" is the Divine good of truth and truth of good, is evident from the fact that the heavenly marriage is thence derived; for this union is in the Lord, and proceeds from Him; and when it inflows into heaven, it makes the conjugial of good and truth, and thereby mutual love. From what has now been said and from what goes before, it is evident what is signified in the internal sense by these words of Leah: "God hath given me my reward, because I gave my handmaid to my man;" for by the "handmaid" is signified an affirmative means that serves for the conjunction of the external and the internal man (n. 3913, 3917, 3931). Thus before those things which are signified by the sons of the handmaids are affirmed and acknowledged, there cannot come forth any conjunction of good and truth, and thus not any mutual love; for these affirmations necessarily come first. This is what is meant by these words now before us.

AC 3957. And she called his name Issachar. That this signifies its quality, is evident from the signification of "calling a name," as being the quality (n. 3923, 3935); for Issachar was named from "reward," and hence the name involves what has been said above concerning reward, and at the same time what is signified by the rest of Leah‘s words. As by "Issachar" is meant " reward;" and as in the external sense reward" is mutual love; and in the internal sense, the conjunction of good and truth, it may be well to state that very few at the present day in the Christian world know that "reward" has this meaning, for the reason that they do not know what mutual love is, and still less that good must be conjoined with truth in order that man may be in the heavenly marriage. I have been permitted to speak on this subject with very many in the other life who were from the Christian world, and with the more learned also; but wonderful to say, scarcely anyone of those with whom I have been permitted to speak knew anything about it, when yet they might of themselves have known much about such things if they had only been willing to use their reason. But as they had not been solicitous about the life after death, but only about life in the world, such things had no interest for them.

[2] The things which they might have known of themselves had they chosen to use their reason, are the following: First, that when man is divested of his body, he comes into the full exercise of a much more enlightened understanding than when living in the body, for the reason that while he is in the body, corporeal and worldly things occupy his thoughts, which induce obscurity; but when he is divested of the body, such things do not interfere, and it is with him as with those who are in interior thought by abstraction of the mind from the things of the outward senses. From this they might know that the state after death is much more clear-sighted and enlightened than the state before death; and that when a man dies, he passes comparatively from shade into light, because he passes from the things of the world to those of heaven, and from the things of the body to those of the spirit. But wonderful to say, although they are able to understand all this, they nevertheless think the contrary, namely, that the state of life in the body is relatively clear, and that the state of life after being divested of the body is relatively obscure.

[3] The Second thing that they may know if they will use their reason, is that the life which man has procured for himself in the world follows him; that is, he is in such a life after death. For they may know that without dying altogether no one can put off the life which he has acquired from infancy; and that this life cannot be changed into another in a moment, still less into an opposite one. For example: he who has acquired a life of deceit, and has found in this the delight of his life, cannot put off the life of deceit, but is still in that life after death. He who is in the love of self, and thereby in hatred and revenge against those who do not serve him, and those who are in other such evils, remain in them after the life of the body; for these are the things which they love, and which constitute the delights of their life, and consequently their veriest life; and therefore such things cannot be taken away from them without at the same time extinguishing all their life. And so in other cases.

[4] The Third thing which a man may know of himself, is that when he passes into the other life he leaves many things behind which have no place there, such’ as cares for food, for clothing, for a place of abode, and also for gaining money and wealth, as well as for being exalted to dignities, all of which are so much thought of by man in the life of the body; but in the other life are succeeded by others that are not of this earthly kingdom.

[5] Therefore the Fourth thing a man can know is that he who in the world has thought solely of such worldly things, so that he has been wholly possessed by them, and has acquired delight of life in them alone, is not fitted to be among those whose delight is to think about heavenly things, that is, about the things of heaven.

[6] From this follows also a Fifth thing; namely, that when the externals of the body and the world are taken away, the man is then such as he has been inwardly; that is, he so thinks and so wills. If his thoughts have inwardly been deceits, machinations, aspiration for dignities, for gains, and for fame thereby; if they have been hatreds and revenges and the like, it can be seen that he will still think such things, thus the things that belong to hell, however much he might for the sake of the before mentioned ends have concealed his thoughts from men, and thus appeared outwardly to be worthy, while leading others to believe that he had not such things at heart. That all such externals, or simulations of worth, are also taken away in the other life, may likewise be known from the fact that outward things are put off together with the body, and are no longer of any use. From this everyone may conclude for himself what kind of a man he will then appear to the angels.

[7] The Sixth thing that may be known is that heaven, or the Lord through heaven, is continually working and inflowing with good and truth; and that if there is not then in men, in their interior man which lives after the death of the body, some recipient of good and truth, as a ground or plane, the good and truth that flow in cannot be received; and for this reason man while living in the body ought to be solicitous to procure such a plane within himself; but this cannot be procured except by thinking what is good toward the neighbor, and by willing what is good to him, and therefore doing what is good to him, and thus by acquiring the delight of life in such things. This plane is acquired by means of charity toward the neighbor, that is, by means of mutual love; and is what is called conscience. Into this plane the good and truth from the Lord can inflow, and be received therein; but not where there is no charity, and consequently no conscience; for there the inflowing good and truth pass through, and are turned into evil and falsity.

[8] The Seventh thing that a man can know of himself, is that love to God and love toward the neighbor are what make man to be man, distinct from brute animals; and that they constitute heavenly life, or heaven; while their opposites constitute infernal life, or hell. But the reason why a man does not know these things is that he does not desire to know them, because he lives the opposite life, and also because he does not believe in the life after death; and likewise because he has taken up with principles of faith, but none of charity; and consequently believes in accordance with the doctrinal teachings of many, that if there is a life after death, he can be saved by faith, no matter how he has lived, even if his faith is received in his dying hour.

GENESIS 30:17-18    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info