Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 30:3-5
AC 3912. Verses 3-5. And she said, Behold my maidservant Bilhah, come to her and she shall bear upon my knees, and I shall be built, even I from her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid for a woman, and Jacob came to her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. "And she said, Behold my maidservant Bilhah," signifies the affirming means there is between natural truth and interior truth; "come to her," signifies that with this there is the faculty of conjunction; "and she shall bear upon my knees," signifies acknowledgment in the affection of interior truth, from which there is conjunction; "and I shall be built, even I, from her," signifies that thereby this affection has life; " and she gave him Bilhah her hand-maid for a woman," signifies that the affirmative means was adjoined; "and Jacob came to her," signifies that it was conjoined; "and Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son," signifies reception and acknowledgment.
AC 3913. And she said, Behold my maidservant Bilhah. That this signifies the affirming means which there is between natural truth and interior truth, is evident from the signification of a "maidservant" and also of a "handmaid" as being the affection of the knowledges that belong to the exterior man (n. 1895, 2567, 3835, 3849); and because this affection is the means for conjoining interior truths with natural or external truths, by "handmaid" is here signified the affirming means between them: and from the representation of Bilhah, as being the quality of this means. By the handmaids given to Jacob by Rachel and Leah for women to the intent that they might bring forth offspring, nothing else was represented and signified in the internal sense, than such a thing as is of service here, for a means of the conjunction of interior truth with external truth; for by Rachel is represented interior truth, and by Leah external truth (n. 3793, 3819). For by the twelve sons of Jacob are here described the twelve general or cardinal things by means of which while being regenerated or made a church, man is initiated into what is spiritual and celestial. For when a man is being regenerated, or made a church (that is, when from a dead man he is becoming alive, or from corporeal heavenly), he is led by the Lord through many states. These general states are what are designated by the "twelve sons," and afterwards by the "twelve tribes;" for which reason the "twelve tribes" signify all things of faith and love, as may be seen above (n. 3858); for generals involve all the particulars and singulars, and these latter bear relation to the former.
 When a man is being regenerated, the internal man is to be conjoined with the external, consequently the goods and truths of the internal man with the goods and truths of the external; for from truths and goods man is man. These cannot be conjoined without means. Means are such things as derive something from the one side, and something from the other, and which are attended with the effect that in so far as the man accedes to the one, the other becomes subordinate. These means are what are signified by the "handmaids," the means on the part of the internal man by the handmaids of Rachel; and the means on the part of the external man by the handmaids of Leah.
 That there must be means of conjunction may be seen from the fact that of itself the natural man does not in the least agree with the spiritual man, but disagrees so far as to be altogether opposite. For the natural man regards and loves himself and the world; but the spiritual man does not regard himself and the world, except in so far as is conducive to the promotion of uses in the spiritual world; and thus regards its service and loves it from the use and end. The natural man seems to himself to have life when he is elevated to dignities, and thus to super-eminence over others; but the spiritual man seems to himself to have life in humility, and in being the least. Nor does he disregard dignities, provided that by them as means he can be of service to his neighbor, to the community, and to the church. Yet he does not reflect for the sake of himself upon the dignities to which he is elevated, but for the sake of the uses which he regards as the ends. The natural man is in his bliss when he is richer than others, and possesses the world’s wealth; but the spiritual man is in his bliss when he is in the knowledges of truth and good, which are his riches; and still more when he is in the practice of good according to truths; and yet he does not despise riches, because by means of them he can be in that practice, and in the world.
 From these few considerations it is evident that the state of the natural man and that of the spiritual man are opposed to each other by their ends but that nevertheless they can be conjoined, which takes place when the things of the external man are made subordinate and subservient to the ends of the internal man. In order therefore that a man may become spiritual, it is necessary for the things of the external man to be reduced to compliance; thus that the ends in favor of self and the world be put off; and ends in favor of the neighbor and the Lord‘s kingdom be put on. The former can by no means he put off and the latter put on, and thus the two he conjoined, except through means. These means are what are signified by the "handmaids," and in particular by the "four sons" born of the hand-maids.
 The first means is one that affirms or is affirmative of internal truth--that it is so. When this affirmative comes, the man is in the beginning of regeneration; good is being worked by the internal, and causes the affirmation. This good cannot inflow into what is negative, nor even into what is full of doubt, until this becomes affirmative. But afterwards it manifests itself by affection, that is, by the man’s being affected with truth, or beginning to be delighted with it; first in knowing it, and then in acting according to it. Take for example the truth that the Lord is the salvation for the human race. Unless this is made affirmative by the man, all the things he has learned from the Word or in the church concerning the Lord, and that are in his natural memory among the memory-knowledges, cannot be conjoined with his internal man, that is, with what can be there of faith. Thus neither can affection flow in, not even into the generals of that truth which are conducive to man‘s salvation. But when it becomes affirmative, innumerable things are added, and are filled with the good that flows in; for good continually flows in from the Lord, but where there is no affirmative, it is not received. An affirmative is therefore the first means, and is as it were the first abode of the good that flows in from the Lord. The same is the case with all the other truths that are called truths of faith.
AC 3914. Come to her. That this signifies that with this there is the faculty of conjunction, is evident from the signification of "coming to anyone," when what is matrimonial is referred to, as being conjunction; here the faculty of conjunction with the affirmative; for the first of conjunction must be with the affirmative--that it is so.
AC 3915. And she shall bear upon my knees. That this signifies acknowledgment in the affection of interior truth, from which there is conjunction, is evident from the signification of "bearing," as being to acknowledge in faith and act (n. 3905); and from the signification of "knees," or "thighs," as being the things that belong to conjugial love (n. 3021); thus the things that belong to the conjunction of the truth of faith with the good of love; for this conjunction is the very conjugial principle in the Lord’s kingdom. Thus "bearing upon my knees" signifies an acknowledgment of the interior truth represented by Rachel. The custom among the ancients of sons and daughters being acknowledged as legitimate who were born of handmaids by consent of the wife, and brought forth upon her knees in order that they might be acknowledged, was derived from the Ancient Church, whose worship consisted in rituals that were representative and significative of celestial and spiritual things. In that church, because "bearing" signified the acknowledgment of truth, and "knees" conjugial love, thus the conjunction of good and truth from affection, such a ritual was accepted when the wife was barren, to the intent that she might not represent the dead who do not rise again to life (n. 3908).
 In the internal sense by these words there is signified a second degree of affirmation or acknowledgment, which is from affection; for in order that the conjunction may take place, there must be affection within the acknowledgment or affirmation; for all conjunction is effected by means of affection, because without affection truths have no life. For example: to know the truths that the neighbor must be loved, and that charity consists in this, and in charity spiritual life, is bare memory-knowledge, unless attended with affection, that is, unless they are willed from the heart. Without affection these truths do not live, and however well anyone knows them, he nevertheless does not love his neighbor, but himself more than him, and he is in natural life, but not in spiritual life. It is natural affection that rules over spiritual affection, and so long as natural affection rules, the man is called "dead," for he has a life contrary to heavenly life, and heavenly life is the veriest life.
AC 3916. And I shall be built, even I from her. That this signifies that thereby this affection has life, is evident from the signification of "being built" as being not to die (n. 3908), and consequently to rise again, or live.
AC 3917. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid for a woman. That this signifies that the affirmative means was adjoined, is evident from the representation of Bilhah, and from the signification of "handmaid," as being an affirmative means (n. 3913); and from the signification of "giving for a woman," as being to adjoin.
AC 3918. And Jacob came to her. That this signifies that it was conjoined, is evident from the signification of "coming or entering in unto" anyone, when predicated of what is matrimonial, as being conjunction (n. 3914).
AC 3919. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. That this signifies reception and acknowledgment, is evident from the signification of "conceiving," as being reception; and from the signification of "bearing," as being acknowledgment (n. 3860, 3868, 3905, 3911); for in the spiritual sense conceptions and births are receptions of truth from good, and the consequent acknowledgments. GENESIS 30:3-5 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|