Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 31:17-18
AC 4102. Verses 17, 18. And Jacob arose, and lifted his sons and his women upon the camels. And he carried away all his acquisition, and all his substance which he had gathered, the acquisition of his purchase, which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. "And Jacob arose," signifies the elevation of the good meant by "Jacob;" "and lifted his sons and his women upon the camels," signifies the elevation of truths and of the affections of them, and their orderly arrangement in generals; "and he carried away all his acquisition and all his substance which he had gathered," signifies the separation of the truth and good derived from what was Laban’s; "the acquisition of his purchase," signifies the things acquired by these from other sources; "which he had gathered in Paddan-aram," signifies the knowledges of truth and good in the natural; "to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan," signifies in order to be conjoined with the Divine good of the rational, to the intent that His human might be made Divine.
AC 4103. And Jacob arose. That this signifies the elevation of the good meant by "Jacob," is evident from the signification of "arising," as involving elevation (n. 2401, 2785, 2912, 2927) and from the representation of Jacob, as being the good of the natural, here, the good which is drawing nearer to the Divine, because it was to be separated from the mediate good, or "Laban" (n. 4073). By the elevation which is signified by "arising," is meant a drawing nearer to the Divine. As regards man, he is said to be "elevated" when he draws nearer to heavenly things, and this because heaven is believed to be elevated, or on high; but this is so expressed from the appearance, for heaven and consequently the things of heaven (that is, heavenly and spiritual things) are not on high, but are within (n. 450, 1735, 2148). And therefore man is in heaven as to his interiors when he is in spiritual love and faith.
AC 4104. And lifted his sons and his women upon the camels. That this signifies the elevation of truths and of the affections of them, and their orderly arrangement in generals, is evident from the signification of "sons," as being truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2693); from the signification of "women," here Rachel and Leah and also the handmaids, as being the affections of truth, of knowledges, and of memory-knowledges, as shown before; and from the signification of "camels," as being general memory-knowledges in the natural (n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145).
 He who does not know how the case is with representations and correspondences, cannot believe that these words, "he lifted his sons and his women upon the camels," have such a signification; for they appear to him too remote from such matters to involve and contain within themselves any such spiritual meaning, for he thinks about sons, women, and camels. But the angels, who see and perceive all such things spiritually, do not think about sons, but when "sons" are mentioned they think of truths; nor do they think about women, but when "women" are mentioned they think of the affections of truth, of knowledges, and of memory-knowledges; nor do they think about camels, but instead they think of general things in the natural. For such is the correspondence of all these things; and such is angelic thought; and wonderful to say such is the thought of the internal spiritual man while living in the body, although the external man is entirely unaware of it. For the same reason, when a man who has been regenerated dies, he comes into the like thought, and can think and speak with angels, and this without instruction; which would be quite impossible unless he had had such interior thought. That the thought is of this character comes from the correspondence of natural and spiritual things; and from this it is evident that although the literal sense of the Word is natural, it nevertheless contains within itself and every particular of it spiritual things; that is, such as are of the interior or spiritual thought and the derivative speech; or in other words, such as exist in the thought and speech of the angels.
 As regards the elevation of truths and of the affections of them, and their orderly arrangement in generals, the case is this: The truths and the affections are elevated when the things of eternal life and of the Lord‘s kingdom are set before those which belong to life in the body and to the kingdom of the world. When a man acknowledges the former as the principal and primary, and the latter as the instrumental and secondary, then with him truths and the affections of them are elevated; for in the same proportion the man is carried away into the light of heaven, within which there are intelligence and wisdom; and in the same proportion the things which are of the light of the world become to him images and as it were mirrors in which he sees the things of the light of heaven. The contrary happens when the man sets the things of the life of the body and of the kingdom of the world before those of eternal life and the Lord’s kingdom; as when he believes that the latter have no existence because he does not see, them, and because no one has come from there and made them known; and also when he believes that if they do exist, nothing worse will happen to him than to others; and when he confirms himself in these ideas, and lives the life of the world, and utterly despises charity and faith. With such a man, truths and the affections of them are not elevated, but are either suffocated, or rejected, or perverted; for he is in natural light, into which nothing of heavenly light inflows. From all this it is evident what is meant by the elevation of truths and of the affections of them.
 As regards their orderly arrangement in generals, this is a necessary consequence; for in so far as a man sets heavenly things before worldly ones, so far are the things in his natural arranged in order according to the state of heaven, so that as before said they appear therein as images and mirrors of heavenly things, for they are corresponding representatives. It is the ends that effect the arrangement into order, that is, the Lord through the ends in the man. For there are three things that follow in order, namely, ends, causes, and effects. Ends produce causes, and through causes, effects. Such therefore as are the ends, such come forth the consequent causes, and such the consequent effects. Ends are the inmost things with man; causes are middle or mediates, and are called mediate ends; and effects are ultimates, and are called last or ultimate ends. Effects are also what are called generals. From all this it is evident in what consists orderly arrangement in generals, namely, that when the things of eternal life and of the Lord‘s kingdom are regarded as the end, all the middle ends or causes, and all the ultimate ends or effects, are arranged in order in accordance with the end itself; and this in the natural, because the effects are there or what is the same, the generals are there.
 Every man of adult age who possesses any judgment, and will give the matter any consideration, is able to know that he is in two kingdoms, namely, in a spiritual kingdom and in a natural kingdom; and also that the spiritual kingdom is interior, and the natural kingdom exterior; and consequently that he can set one before the other, that is, he can regard one as the end in preference to the other; and thus that the one which he regards as his end, or prefers, rules with him. If therefore he regards the spiritual kingdom as his end, and prefers it (that is, the things that belong to this kingdom), he then acknowledges as the principal and primary, love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and consequently all things that confirm this love and charity, and are said to be of faith; for these belong to that kingdom; and in this case all things in his natural are arranged and set in order in accordance therewith, in order that they may be subservient and obedient. But when a man has as his end and sets first the natural kingdom (that is, the things it contains), he then extinguishes all that is of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, and all that is of faith, insomuch that he makes them of no account whatever; but makes the love of the world and of self, and all that belongs thereto, to be everything. When this is the case, all things in his natural are arranged in order in accordance with these ends, thus in utter contrariety to the things of heaven; and in this way he makes hell in himself. To regard as an end is to love, for every end is of the love, because whatever is loved is regarded as the end.
AC 4105. And he carried away all his acquisition, and all his substance which he had gathered. That this signifies the separation of the truth and good derived from what was Laban’s, is evident from the signification of "carrying away," as being to separate; from the signification of "acquisition," as being truth; and from the signification of "substance," as being good. "Which he had gathered," has regard to Laban and his flock, by means of which they had been procured. The reason wily "acquisition" denotes truth, and "substance" good, is that in the original language "acquisition" is a word which also signifies cattle in general, and by" cattle" specifically are signified truths, when by "flocks" are signified goods; and by "substance" is signified the resources from which all these are procured. For when two things of nearly similar signification are mentioned in the Word, the one is predicated of truth, and the other of good, on account of the heavenly marriage of truth and good in every particular of the Word (n. 683, 793, 801, 2173, 2516, 2712).
AC 4106. The acquisition of his purchase. That this signifies the things procured by these from other sources, is evident from the signification of "acquisition," as being truths; and from the signification of "purchase,"as being things procured from another source; for the acquisitions that were ought were from another source, but yet were from those that had been procured by means of the flock of Laban.
AC 4107. Which he had gathered in Paddan-aram. That this signifies the knowledges of good and truth in the natural, is evident from the signification of "Paddan-aram," as being the knowledges of good and truth (n. 3664, 3680).
AC 4108. To go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. That this signifies in order to be conjoined with the Divine good of the rational, to the intent that His human might be made Divine, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Divine rational (n. 1893, 2066, 2083, 2630); and specifically the Divine good of the rational (n. 3012, 3194, 3210); and from the signification of the "land of Canaan," as being the Lord‘s celestial kingdom (n. 1607, 3481), and in the supreme sense, that is, when predicated of the Lord, His Divine Human (n. 3038, 3705). This shows that by the words, "to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan," is signified in order to be conjoined with the Divine good of the rational, to the intent that His human might be made Divine.
 As regards the conjunction of the rational and the natural in man, be it known that the rational is of the internal man and the natural of the external; and that their conjunction produces the human, of such a quality as is the conjunction, and that there is conjunction when they act as a one; and they act as a one when the natural ministers and is subservient to the rational. With man this is impossible unless it is done by the Lord; but with the Lord it was done by Himself.GENESIS 31:17-18 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|