Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 31:51-53
AC 4202. Verses 51-53. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar which I have set up between me and thee. This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap to me, and this pillar, for evil. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor judge between us, the God of their father; and Jacob sware by the Dread of his father Isaac. "And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar which I have set up between me and thee," signifies conjunction; "this heap be witness, and the pillar be witness," signifies confirmation; "that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap to me, and this pillar, for evil," signifies the limit defining how much can flow in from good; "the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor judge between us," signifies the Divine flowing into both; "the God of their father," signifies from the supreme Divine; "and Jacob sware by the dread of his father Isaac," signifies confirmation from the Divine Human, which in this state is called "the Dread."
AC 4203. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar which I have set up between me and thee. That this signifies conjunction, is evident from what has been said above; for the heap and the pillar were for a sign and for a witness that a covenant was made (that is, friendship) thus in the internal sense the signification is conjunction.
AC 4204. This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness. That this signifies confirmation, is evident from the signification of "witness," as being confirmation; namely, of good by truth which is the "pillar," and of truth from good which is the "heap" (n. 4197).
AC 4205. That I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap to me, and this pillar, for evil. That this signifies the limit defining how much can flow in from good, is evident from the signification here of "passing over," as being to flow in; from the signification of a "heap," as being good (n. 4192); and from the signification of a "pillar," as being truth (n. 3727, 3728, 4090); and also because both the heap and the pillar were for a sign or for a witness; but here, for a sign of the limit. As conjunction is treated of, the connection involves that in the internal sense the signification is the limit defining how much can flow in from good. It has been stated above that conjunction is effected by good, and that good flows in according to the reception. But the reception of good is not possible in any other way than according to truths, truths being that which good flows into; for good is the agent, and truth is the recipient; and therefore all truths are recipient vessels (n. 4166). As truths are that which good flows into, truths are what limit the inflow of good; and this is what is here meant by the limit that defines how much can flow in from good.
 How the case herein is shall be briefly stated. The truths with man, no matter what they may be, or of whatever nature, enter into his memory by means of affection, that is, by a certain delight which is of love. Without affection (or without the delight which is of love) nothing can enter to man, for in these is his life. The things which have entered are reproduced whenever a similar delight recurs, together with many other things which have associated or conjoined themselves with them and in the same way when the same truth is reproduced by one‘s self or by another, the affection or delight of love which there was when it entered, is in like manner excited again for being conjoined they cohere. From this it is evident how the case is with the affection of truth; for the truth which has entered together with an affection of good, is reproduced when a similar affection recurs and the affection also is reproduced when a similar truth recurs. It is also manifest from this that no truth can ever be implanted with genuine affection, and become rooted interiorly, unless the man is in good; for the genuine affection of truth is from the good which is of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor. The good flows in from the Lord, but is not fixed except in truths; for in truths good is welcomed, because they are in accord. From all this it is also evident that the reception of good is according to the nature of the truths. The truths that exist with those Gentiles who have lived in mutual charity are of such a nature that the good which inflows from the Lord can also find in them a welcome; but so long as they live in this world, not in the same way as with those Christians who have truths from the Word and live from them in spiritual charity (n. 2589-2604).
AC 4206. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor judge between us. That this signifies the Divine flowing into both, namely, into the good which those have who are within the church, and into the good which those have who are without the church, is evident from the signification of the "God of Abraham," as being the Divine of the Lord regarding those who are within the church; and from the signification of the "God of Nahor," as being the Divine of the Lord regarding those who are without the church. From this it is manifest that by these words is signified the Divine flowing into both. The reason why the "God of Abraham" denotes the Divine of the Lord regarding those who are within the church, is that Abraham represents the Divine of the Lord, and consequently that which comes directly from the Lord (n. 3245, 3878). Hence they who are within the church are specifically meant by the "sons of Abraham" (John 8:39). And the reason why the "God of Nahor" denotes the Divine of the Lord regarding those who are out of the church, is that Nahor represents the Church of the Gentiles, and his sons those therein who are in brotherhood (n. 2863, 2864, 3052, 3778, 3868). For this reason also Laban, who was Nahor’s son, here represents good that is aside, such as the Gentiles have from the Lord. That such various things of the Lord are represented, is not because various things are in the Lord, but because His Divine is variously received by men. This is like the life in man, which flows in and acts upon the various sensory and motive organs of the body, and upon the various members and viscera, and everywhere presents variety. For the eye sees in one way, the ear hears in another, the tongue perceives in another; so the arms and hands move in one way, and the loins and the feet in a different way; the lungs act in one way and the heart in another; the liver in one way and the stomach in another, and so on; but nevertheless it is one life which actuates them all so variously, not because the life itself acts in different ways, but because it is differently received; for the form of each organ is that according to which the action is determined.
AC 4207. The God of their father. That this signifies from the supreme Divine, is evident from the signification of the "God of a father," as being the supreme Divine; for wherever "father" is mentioned in the Word, it signifies in the internal sense good (n. 3703); and the "Father" of the Lord, or the "Father" when named by the Lord, is the Divine good that is in Him (n. 3704). The Divine good is the supreme Divine, but the Divine truth is that which is from the Divine good, and is also called the "Son." Moreover by "father" is here meant Terah, who was the father of both Abraham and Nahor, and represents the common stock of the churches, as may be seen above (n. 3778). Hence in the relative sense Abraham represents the genuine church; and Nahor the Church of the Gentiles (n. 4206).
AC 4208. And Jacob sware by the Dread of his father Isaac. That this signifies confirmation from the Divine Human, which in this state is called "the Dread," is evident from the signification of swearing," as being confirmation (n. 2842, 3375) and from the signification of the "Dread of Isaac," as being the Lord‘s Divine Human (n. 4180). Oaths were made in the name of the Lord’s Divine Human (n. 2842).
 The reason why it is here said, "the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, the God of their father" (that is, of Terah) and "the Dread of Isaac," Jacob‘s father, is that the sons of Terah acknowledged this number of gods, for they were idolaters (n. 1353, 1356, 1992, 3667). And it was a peculiarity in that house that each family worshiped its own god. This is the reason why it is here said, "the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, the God of their father, and the Dread of Isaac." Nevertheless it was enjoined upon the family of Abraham to acknowledge Jehovah as their God; and yet they did not acknowledge Him otherwise than as another god, by whom they might distinguish themselves from the Gentiles, thus they acknowledged Jehovah merely as to the name, and it was in consequence of this that they so often fell away to other gods, as may be seen from the historic parts of the Word. The reason of this merely nominal acknowledgment was that they were solely in externals, and what internal things were they knew not at all, and did not desire to know.
 In so far as they were concerned the very rituals of their church were merely idolatrous, because they were separated from internal things for when separated from its internal every ritual of the church is idolatrous. Nevertheless what is genuine of the church could be represented by them; for representations do not regard the person, but the thing (n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147). Yet in order that a representative church might come into existence, and that there might thus be some communication of the Lord through heaven with man, it was of especial importance that they should be kept in the acknowledgment of Jehovah, if not in heart, still with the mouth; for with them the representatives did not issue from internal, but from external things; and it was in this way that they had communication with the Lord; quite otherwise than in the genuine church, in which the communication is effected by means of internal things. For this reason their Divine worship did not at all affect their souls, that is, did not make them blessed in the other life, but only prosperous in this world.
 Therefore in order that they might be kept in these external things, there were so many miracles performed among them, which would never have taken place if they had been in internal things; and for this reason they were so many times driven to their worship by punishments, captivities, and threats; whereas no one is driven by the Lord to internal worship, but this is implanted through freedom (n. 1937, 1947, 2874-2881, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031). Their principal external was that they should confess Jehovah; for Jehovah was the Lord, who was represented in all things of that church. Jehovah was the Lord (n. 1343, 1736, 2921, 3035).GENESIS 31:51-53 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|