Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 31:33-35
AC 4152. Verses 33-35. And Laban came into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah‘s tent, and into the tent of the two handmaids, and found them not; and he went out of Leah’s tent, and came into Rachel‘s tent. And Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them in the camel’s straw, and sat upon them; and Laban felt about all the tent, and found them not. And she said to her father, Let there not be anger in the eyes of my lord, that I cannot rise up before thee, for the way of women is upon me. And he searched, and found not the teraphim. "And Laban came into Jacob‘s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two handmaids, and found them not," signifies that in their holy things there were not such truths; "and he went out of Leah‘s tent, and came into Rachel’s tent," signifies the holy of that truth; "and Rachel had taken the teraphim," signifies interior natural truths which were from the Divine; "and put them in the camel‘s straw," signifies in memory-knowledges; " and sat upon them," signifies that they are interior; "and Laban felt about all the tent, and found them not," signifies that that which was his own was not there; "and she said to her father," signifies to good; "let there not be anger in the eyes of my lord, that I cannot rise up before thee," signifies that they cannot be revealed; "for the way of women is upon me," signifies that as yet they were among unclean things; "and he searched, and found not the teraphim," signifies that they were not his.
AC 4153. And Laban came into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah‘s tent, and into the tent of the two handmaids, and found them not. That this signifies that in their holy things there were not such truths, is evident from the signification of a tent," as being what is holy (n. 414, 1102, 2145, 2152, 3201, 3312, 4128), here, holy things, because they were the tents of Jacob, Leah, and the handmaids. That the truths in question were not there, is signified by his not finding the teraphim there. In a good sense " teraphim" are truths, (n. 4111). By Jacob is represented the good of the natural; by Leah, the affection of external truth; and by the handmaids, external affections, as shown above; and as the truths which are here in question were not external, but internal, they were not found in the tents of these persons (that is, in their holy things), but were it, Rachel’s tent, that is, in the holy of the affection of interior truth; for by Rachel is represented the affection of interior truth.
AC 4154. And he went out of Leah‘s tent, and came into Rachel’s tent. That this signifies the holy of that truth, is evident from what has just been said. The case with truths (as with goods) is that they are exterior and interior; for there is an internal man and an external. It is the goods and truths of the internal man that are called internal goods and truths, and the goods and truths of the external man are called external goods and truths. The goods and truths of the internal man are of three degrees, such as there are in the three heavens. The goods and truths of the external man are also of three degrees and they correspond to the internal ones; for there are goods and truths midway between the internal and external man (that is, mediating ones); for without middle or mediating goods and truths no communication is possible. There are goods and truths proper to the natural man, which are called external goods and truths; and there are also goods and truths of the senses which are of the body, and thus outermost ones. These last mentioned goods and truths of three degrees belong to the external man, and as before said they correspond to as many goods and truths of the internal man; concerning which of the Lords Divine Providence elsewhere.
 The goods and truths of each degree are most distinct from one another, and are by no means confused together. Those which are more interior are component, and those which are more exterior are composite. Although these goods and truths are most distinct from one another, they nevertheless do not appear to man as distinct. The sensuous man sees no otherwise than that all interior things, nay, internal things themselves, are only sensuous, for he sees from sensuous things, thus from outermost ones. Interior things cannot be seen from outermost things, but outermost things can be seen from interior things. He who is a natural man (that is, who thinks from memory-knowledges) knows no otherwise than that the natural things from which he thinks are inmost, when in fact they are external. The interior man, who judges and concludes from analytic principles that have been disclosed by virtue of natural memory-knowledges, believes in like manner that these are the inmost things which man possesses, because they appear as the inmost to him; and yet these are below his rational things, so that relatively to genuine rational things they are exterior or lower. much is the case with man‘s apprehension. The things just spoken of are those of the natural or external man in three degrees; but as before said those of the internal man are also in three degrees such as there are in the three heavens.
 From all that has been said it may now be seen how the case is with the truths signified by the " teraphim,’ in that they were not found in the tents of Jacob, Leah, or the handmaids, but in Rachel‘s tent, that is, in the holy of the affection of interior truth. All the truth that is from the Divine is in that which is holy, for it cannot be otherwise, because the truth that is from the Divine is holy. It is said to be holy from the affection (that is, from the love) which flows in from the Lord, and causes the man to be affected with the truth.
AC 4155. And Rachel had taken the teraphim. That this signifies interior natural truths which are from the Divine, is evident from the representation of Rachel, as being the affection of interior truth and from the signification of the "teraphim," as being truths from the Divine (n. 4111), thus interior truths, the nature of which, and where they are, has been stated just above (n. 4154).
AC 4156. And put them in the camel’s straw. That this signifies in memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of the "camel‘s straw," as being such knowledges (n. 3114). They are called "straw," both because this is the food of a camel, and because they are relatively gross and devoid of order. For this reason memory-knowledges are also signified by "thickets" of trees and of the forest (n. 2831). "Camels" denote the general memory-knowledges which are of the natural man, (n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145).
 That memory-knowledges are relatively gross and devoid of order, and are therefore signified by "straw," and also by " thickets," is not apparent to those who are in mere memory-knowledges, and are on this account reputed learned. These believe that the more a man knows, or the more memory-knowledge he possesses, the wiser he is. But that the case is very different has been made evident to me from those in the other life who when they had lived in the world had been in mere memory-knowledges, and thereby had gained the name and reputation of being learned, for they are sometimes more stupid than those who have no such skill in memory-knowledges. The reason of this has also been disclosed, namely, that memory-knowledges are indeed a means of becoming wise, but are also a means of becoming insane. To those who are in the life of good, memory-knowledges are a means of becoming wise; but to those who are in a life of evil, they are a means of becoming insane; for by means of memory-knowledges these persons confirm not only their life of evil, but also principles of falsity, and this arrogantly and with persuasion, because they believe themselves to be wiser than others.
 From this it comes to pass that they destroy their rational; for it is not the man who can reason from memory-knowledges, even when he can apparently do so in a more lofty manner than others, who is in the enjoyment of the rational faculty; for this skill is the result of a mere fatuous light. But that man excels in the rational who is able clearly to see that good is good, and truth truth, consequently that evil is evil, and falsity falsity; whereas the man who regards good as evil and evil as good, and also the man who regards truth as falsity and falsity as truth, can by no means be said to be rational, but rather, irrational, however able he may be to reason. With him who clearly sees that good is good and that truth is truth, and on the other hand that evil is evil and falsity is falsity, light flows in from heaven, and enlightens his intellectual faculty, and causes the reasons which he sees in his understanding to be so many rays of that light. The same light also illuminates the memory-knowledges, so that they confirm the truth, and moreover disposes them into order and into heavenly form. But they who are against good and truth, as are all who are in the life of evil, do not admit that heavenly light, but are delighted solely with their own fatuous light, the nature of which is to see as one who in the dark beholds spots and streaks on a wall, and out of them fancifully makes all kinds of figures, which however are not really figures, for when the light of day is let in, it is seen that they are nothing but spots and streaks.
 From all this we can see that memory-knowledges are a means of becoming wise, and also a means of becoming insane; that is, that they are a means of perfecting the rational, and also a means of destroying the rational. In the other life therefore they who by means of such knowledges have destroyed their rational, are much more stupid than they who have not been versed in them. That these knowledges are relatively gross, is manifest from their belonging to the natural or external man; whereas the rational, which is cultivated by their means, belongs to the spiritual or internal man. How far these differ and are distant the one from the other in regard to purity, may be known from what has been said and shown concerning the two memories (n. 2469-2494).
AC 4157. And sat upon them. That this signifies that they are interior, being thus beneath her in the straw of the camel, is evident from the signification of the "straw of the camel," as being memory-knowledges, as just shown. The truths signified by the "teraphim" were not memory-knowledges, but were within them. For as regards the truths of three degrees (n. 4154), the more interior are within the more exterior; for so do they bestow themselves in order.
AC 4158. And Laban felt about all the tent, and found them not. That this signifies that that which was his own was not there, is evident from the series of things in the internal sense, thus without further explication.
AC 4159. And she said to her father. That this signifies to good, is evident from the signification of " father," as being good (n. 3703); and from the representation of Laban, who is here the "father," as being mediate good, concerning which above.
AC 4160. Let there not be anger in the eyes of my lord, that I cannot rise up before thee. That this signifies that they cannot be revealed, is also evident from the series of things in the internal sense, consequently without further explication. For to rise up would be to disclose and therefore to reveal the truths signified by the "teraphim;" and thus " not being able to rise up," signifies that they could not be revealed.
AC 4161. For the way of women is upon me. That this signifies that they were as yet among unclean things, is evident from the signification of the "way of women," as being uncleannesses, thus that the things upon which she sat were unclean (Lev. 15:19-31); so that it means that they were as yet among unclean things. Interior truths are said to be among unclean things when they are among memory-knowledges which do not as yet correspond, or which are in disagreement. Such things are removed when the man is being cleansed, that is, when he is being regenerated.
AC 4162. And he searched, and found not the teraphim. That this signifies that they were not his (namely, that these truths were not Laban’s) is evident from the signification of "searching and not finding." In the external historic sense these things involve that they were indeed Laban‘s, but were hidden; but in the internal sense, that they were not his. The teraphim" denote truths from the Divine, (n. 4111). How the case herein is, namely, that these truths did not belong to the good signified by "Laban," but to the affection of interior truth, may be seen from what has been said above (n. 4151). From all this it is evident what arcanum lies concealed in that which is related concerning the teraphim.
 The reason why truths from the Divine are signified by the "teraphim," is that those who were of the Ancient Church distinguished the Divine (that is, the Lord) by various names, and this according to the different appearances in the effects; as for instance by the name "God Shaddai," from the temptations in which the Lord combats for man, and after which He confers benefits upon him (n. 1992, 3667); His Providence lest man should of himself enter into the mysteries of faith, they called "cherubs" (n. 308); the truths Divine which they received by answers, they said were "teraphim;" and other of the Divine attributes they also called by particular names.
 They who were wise among them understood by all these names none but the one only Lord but the simple made for themselves so many representative images of that Divine and when Divine worship began to be turned into idolatry, they fashioned for themselves so many gods. From this arose so many idolatries among the Gentiles also, who increased the number of them. But as in ancient times Divine things were understood by these names, some of them were retained, as " Shaddai," and also "cherubs," and " teraphim," by which in the Word such things as have been stated are signified. That by "teraphim" are signified the truths Divine which came from answers, is evident in (Hosea 3:4).GENESIS 31:33-35 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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