Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 31:31-32
AC 4147. Verses 31, 32. And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid, for I said, Perchance thou wilt take away thy daughters from me by force. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, he shall not live before our brethren; search thou what is with me, and take it to thee. And Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. "And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid, for I said, Perchance thou wilt take away thy daughters from me by force," signifies the state if the separation were made in the freedom of that good, in that it would be injured in respect to the affections of truth; "with whomsoever thou findest thy gods, he shall not live before our brethren," signifies that the truth was not his (Laban’s), and that his truth could not subsist in his (Jacob‘s) good; "search thou what is with me, and take it to thee," signifies that all things of that good were separated; "and Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them," signifies that they were of the affection of interior truth.
AC 4148. And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid, for I said, Perchance thou wilt take away thy daughters from me by force. That this signifies the state if the separation were made in the freedom of that good, in that it would be injured in respect to the affections of truth, is evident from what precedes, where the separation in freedom on the part of the good signified by "Laban" has been treated of, to which an answer is here given. In the internal sense each word involves heavenly arcana, which cannot be expounded for the reason stated just above (n. 4136). It is evident that there is here signified the state that would exist if the separation had been effected in the freedom of that good; and that the affections of truth would in that case be injured is signified by the words, "Perchance thou wilt take away thy daughters from me by force;" for by "daughters" (here Rachel and Leah) are signified the affections of truth, as has already been frequently shown. How the case herein is can be better seen from what now follows.
AC 4149. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, he shall not live before our brethren. That this signifies that the truth was not his (Laban’s), and that his truth could not subsist in his (Jacob‘s) good, is evident from the signification of "gods," here the teraphim, as being truths (n. 4111), yet not the truths of the good signified by "Laban," but those of the affection represented by Rachel. As these truths are here signified by " gods," it is therefore stated that Rachel stole them, and more is said of them in what follows, which would not have been told if that deed had not involved arcana that are manifest only in the internal sense. And as the truths which are here the subject treated of are not those of the good signified by "Laban," but those of the affection of truth represented by Rachel, therefore by the words, "with whomsoever thou findest thy gods, he shall not live before our brethren," is signified that the truth was not his, and that his truth could not subsist in his (Jacob’s) good.
 With this arcanum the case is this: Every spiritual good has its own truths; for where this good is, there are its truths. Regarded in itself good is one, but it becomes various by means of truths; for truths may be compared to the fibers that compose one of the bodily organs, in accordance with the form of which fibers there results the organ, and consequently its operation, which operation is effected by means of the life that flows in through the soul; and this life is from the good which is from the Lord. It is thus that good, although one, is yet various with every individual, so various as never to be similar in every respect with one as with another. Hence also it is that the truth of one can never subsist in the good of another. For all the truths with everyone who is in good communicate with one another, and produce a certain form, and therefore the truth of one cannot be transferred into another; but when it is transferred, it passes into the form of him who receives it, and puts on another aspect. But this arcanum is too deep to be expounded in a few words. From this it follows that the mind of one is never altogether like that of another; but that great as is the number of men, so great is the variety in respect to affections and thoughts; and also that the universal heaven consists of angelic forms in perpetual variety, which being disposed by the Lord into the heavenly form act as and produce a one. For a one is never composed of the same things, but of things various in form, which make a one according to their form. From all this it is now evident what is meant by his (Laban‘s) truth not subsisting in his (Jacob’s) good.
AC 4150. Search thou what is with me, and take it to thee. That this signifies that all things of that good were separated, is evident from the meaning of the words, which is, that nothing which is thine is with me, that is, that nothing which is of the good signified by "Laban" is in the good which Jacob had, consequently that all things of that good were separated.
AC 4151. And Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. That this signified that they were of the affection of interior truth, is evident from the representation of Rachel, as being the affection of interior truth (n. 3758, 3782, 3793, 3819); and from the signification of "stealing," as being to take away that which is dear and holy (n. 4112, 4113, 4133). By Rachel stealing the teraphim, or Laban‘s gods, as narrated above, was signified the change of state represented by Laban as to truth (n. 4111); and here and in what follows, this change of state is further described, as resulting from the fact that after the good represented by Laban had been separated from the good which is "Jacob," it came through this separation into another state; for those truths which when the goods had been conjoined had appeared to the good represented by Laban as its own, were now perceived as if they had been taken away. This is the reason why Laban made complaint concerning them, and why he searched in the tents and did not find anything. For the truths signified by the teraphim in a good sense (n. 4111), were not his, but belonged to the affection of truth which is "Rachel."
 How the case herein is cannot be seen except from what happens in the other life; for the things which there happen near a man appear to him as if they were in him; and the case is nearly the same with the spirits in the other life. When societies of spirits which are in mediate good are in company with angels, it then appears to them exactly as if the truths and goods which belong to the angels are theirs, and indeed they know no otherwise. But when they are separated, they then perceive that this is not the case and they therefore complain, as believing them to be taken away by those in whose company they have been. This is what is here signified in the internal sense by what is narrated concerning the teraphim.
 Speaking generally, the case is that no one ever has good and truth which is his own, but all good and truth flow in from the Lord, both immediately, and also mediately through angelic societies; and yet it appears as if the good and truth were the man’s, to the intent that they may be appropriated to him, until he comes into a state to know, and then to acknowledge, and at last to believe, that they are not his, but the Lord‘s. Moreover it is known from the Word, and thereby in the Christian world, that all good and truth are from the Lord, and that nothing of good is from man; nay, the doctrinals of the church which are from the Word declare that man cannot even strive after good of himself, and thus cannot will it, and therefore cannot do it-for doing good is from willing good and that all faith also is from the Lord; so that a man can have no faith at all unless it flows in from the Lord.
 These things are declared by the doctrinals of the church, and are taught by preachings. But that few, nay, very few, believe it to be so, may be seen from the fact that they suppose all life to be in themselves, and scarcely any think that life flows in. All man’s life consists in the faculty of being able to think and of being able to will; for if the faculty of thinking and willing is taken away, nothing of life remains. And the veriest life consists in thinking good and willing good, and also in thinking truth, and in willing that which we think to be true. As it is in accordance with the doctrinals of the church which are from the Word that these things are not of man, but of the Lord, and that they flow in from the Lord through heaven, those who possess any judgment and are able to reflect, might conclude therefrom that all life flows in.
 The same is the case with evil and falsity. According to the doctrinals from the Word, the devil is continually endeavoring to seduce man, and is continually inspiring evil; and therefore when anyone commits a great crime it is said that he has suffered himself to be led astray by the devil. And this is the real fact, although few if any believe it; for as all good and truth are from the Lord, so all evil and falsity are from hell, that is, from the devil, for hell is the devil. From this we can also see that as all good and truth flow in, so also do all evil and falsity, and consequently also all the thinking and willing of evil. As these also flow in, all who have any judgment and are able to reflect, can infer that all life flows in, although it appears as if it were in man.
 That this is the case has frequently been shown to spirits who had come recently from the world into the other life. But some of them have said that if all evil and falsity also flow in, nothing of evil and falsity can be attributed to them, and they are not in fault, because these come from another source. But they received for answer that they had appropriated evil and falsity by believing that they think and will of themselves; whereas if they had believed as the case really is, they would not then have appropriated the evil and falsity, for they would have believed all good and truth to be from the Lord; and if they had believed this, they would have suffered themselves to be led by the Lord, and therefore would have been in a different state; and then the evil which entered into their thought and will would not have affected them, because not evil but good would have gone out of them; for it is not the things that enter in, but those which go out that affect us; according to the Lord‘s words in (Mark 7:15).
 Many can know this, but few believe it. Even those who are evil can know, but still not believe it, for they desire to be in what is their own, and they love this to such a degree that when they are shown that everything flows in, they come into anxiety and urgently entreat that they may be permitted to live in what is their own, insisting that if this should be taken away from them, they could live no longer. Such is the belief even of those who know. These things have been said in order that it may be known how the case is with societies of spirits which are in mediate good, when they are conjoined with others and when they are separated from them; namely, that when they are conjoined, they know no otherwise than that the goods and truths are their own, although they are not theirs.GENESIS 31:31-32 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|