Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 31:44-46
AC 4188. Verses 44-46. And now come, let us make a covenant, I and thou, and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made a heap, and they did eat there upon the heap. "And now come, let us "take a covenant, I and thou, and let it be for a witness between me and thee," signifies the conjunction of the Divine natural with the goods of works, in which are they who are aside, or the Gentiles; "and Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar," signifies such truth and the derivative worship; "and Jacob said unto his brethren," signifies those who are in the good of works; " gather stones; and they took stones, and made a heap," signifies truths from good; "and they did eat there upon the heap," signifies appropriation from good Divine.
AC 4189. And now come, let us make a covenant, I and thou, and let it be for a witness between me and thee. That this signifies the conjunction of the Divine natural with the goods of works, in which are they who are aside, or the Gentiles, is evident from the signification of a "covenant," as being conjunction (n. 665, 666, 1023, 1038, 1864, 1996, 2003, 2021); from the representation here of Laban, who is "I," as being the goods of works, as shown in what follows; and from the representation of Jacob, who here is "thou," as being the Divine natural.
 That by "Laban" are here signified the goods of works in which are those who are aside, or the Gentiles, is for the reason that as Laban is now separated from Jacob (that is, mediate good from the good Divine of the natural), he can no longer represent mediate good; but as he had served for a means, he therefore represents some good, and indeed good that is aside, or collateral good. Before Laban had been thus conjoined with Jacob, he represented collateral good (n. 3612, 3665, 3778), and accordingly good that is aside, the nature of which will be stated in what follows. It is similar with Laban as with Lot and Ishmael. So long as Lot was with Abraham, he represented the Lord as to the external sensuous man (n. 1428, 1434, 1547, 1597, 1598, 1698); but when he had been separated from Abraham, he represented those who are in external worship, but yet in charity (n. 2317, 2324, 2371, 2399), and also several states of the church successively (n. 2422, 2459).
 It was so with Ishmael: so long as he was with Abraham, he represented the Lord’s first rational (n. 1893, 1949-1951); but when he was afterwards separated, he represented those who are called the spiritual (n. 2078, 2691, 2699, 3263, 3268). Such also is the case with Laban. The reason is, that although a separation has been made, conjunction still remains, but not that which existed before. It is for this reason that Laban here and in what now follows represents the goods of works, such as are with those who are aside, that is, with the Gentiles. The Gentiles are said to be aside, or in collateral good, because they are outside of the church. Those within the church who are in truth and good are not in a collateral line, but in the direct line, for they have the Word, and through the Word they have direct communication with heaven, and through heaven with the Lord; but not so the Gentiles, for these have not the Word, and know not the Lord. For this reason they are said to be aside. Those Gentiles are meant who are in the goods of works, that is, who are in externals within which there is the good of charity. These are what are called the "goods of works," but not "good works;" for good works may exist without having goods within, but not so the goods of works.
AC 4190. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. That this signifies such truth and the derivative worship, is evident from the signification of a stone," as being truth (n. 643, 1298, 3720); and from the signification of a "pillar," as being the derivative worship, that is, the worship which is from truth (n. 3727). From this it is manifest that such truth and the derivative worship are signified by these words. It is said such truth," namely, such as exists with the Gentiles; for although the Gentiles know nothing about the Word, and accordingly nothing about the Lord, they nevertheless have external truths such as Christians have; as for instance that the Deity is to be worshiped in a holy manner, that festivals are to be observed, that parents are to be honored, that we must not steal, must not commit adultery, must not kill, and must not covet the neighbor‘s goods; and thus such truths as those of the decalogue; which also are for rules of life within the church. The wise among them observe these laws not only in the external form, but also in the internal. For they think that such things are contrary not only to their religious system, but also to the general good, and thus to the internal duty which they owe to man, and that consequently they are contrary to charity, although they do not so well know what faith is. They have in their obscurity somewhat of conscience, contrary to which they are not willing to act, and in fact some of them cannot do so. From this it is evident that the Lord rules their interiors, although they are in obscurity; and thus that He imparts to them the faculty of receiving interior truths, which they do also receive in the other life. Respecting the Gentiles, see (n. 2589-2604).
 It has at times been given me to speak with Christians in the other life concerning the state and lot of the Gentiles outside of the church, in that they receive the truths and goods of faith more easily than do Christians who have not lived according to the precepts of the Lord; and that Christians think cruelly about them, in assuming that all who are out of the church are damned, and this from the received canon that without the Lord there is no salvation. This indeed, as I have said to them, is true; but the Gentiles who have lived in mutual charity, and have done from a kind of conscience what is just and equitable, receive faith and acknowledge the Lord more easily in the other life than those within the church who have not lived in such charity. Moreover Christians are in what is false, in believing that heaven is for them alone, because they have the book of the Word, written on paper but not in their hearts; and because they know the Lord, and yet do not believe that He is Divine as to His Human; but acknowledge Him only as a common man in. respect to His other essence, which they call His human nature, and therefore when left to themselves and their own thoughts, they do not even adore Him. Thus it is they who are out of the Lord, for whom there is no salvation.
AC 4191. And Jacob said unto his brethren. That this signifies those who are in the good of works, is evident from the representation of Jacob, as being the Lord’s Divine natural; and from the signification of "brethren," as being goods (n. 3815, 4121); here, those who are in the goods of works, and who are Gentiles, as his been shown above (n. 4189). For all who are in good are conjoined with the Divine of the Lord, and on account of this conjunction are called by the Lord "brethren;" as in Mark:--
Jesus looking round on them which sat about Him, saith, Behold My mother, and My brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother (Mark 3:31, 34, 35).
All conjunction is through love and charity, as everyone can see; for spiritual conjunction is nothing else than love and charity. That love to the Lord is conjunction with Him is manifest; and that charity toward the neighbor is the same, is evident from the words of the Lord in Matthew:--
Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me (Matthew 25:40);
the subject treated of here being the works of charity.
AC 4192. Gather stones; and they took stones, and made a heap. That this signifies truths from good, is evident from the signification of "stones," as being truths (n. 4190); and from the signification of a "heap," as being good. That a "heap" signifies good, is because in old time, before they built altars, they made heaps, and ate together upon them, for a witness that they were joined together by love. But afterwards, when the representatives of the ancients were regarded as holy, instead of heaps they built alters; which also were of stones, but arranged in a more orderly manner (Josh. 22:28, 34). This is the reason why a "heap" has the same signification as an "altar," namely, the good of love; and by the "stones" in it are signified the truths of faith.
AC 4193. And they did eat there upon the heap. That this signifies appropriation from good Divine, is evident from the signification of "eating together," as being communication, conjunction, and appropriation (n. 2187, 2343, 3168, 3513, 3596, 3832); and from the signification of a "heap," as being good (n. 4192); here, good Divine. GENESIS 31:44-46 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|