Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 32:13-15
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AC 4260. Verses 13-15. And he passed the night there in that night, and he took of that which came into his hand a present for Esau his brother: two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their colts, forty heifers and ten bullocks, twenty she-asses and ten foals. "And he passed the night there in that night," signifies in that obscure state; "and he took of that which came into his hand a present for Esau his brother," signifies things Divine to be initiated into celestial natural good; "two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams," signifies goods and thence truths Divine; "thirty milch camels and their colts, forty heifers and ten bullocks, twenty she-asses and ten foals," signifies things of service, general and special.

AC 4261. And he passed the night there in that night. That this signifies in that obscure state, is evident from the signification of "passing the night," and also of "night," as being an obscure state (n. 1712, 3693).

AC 4262. And he took of that which came into his hand a present for Esau his brother. That this signifies things Divine to be initiated into celestial natural good, is evident from the signification of "taking of that which came into his hand," as being from those things which befell from forethought, and thus those which were from Divine Providence; and as those things which are of the Divine Providence are Divine, by "taking of that which came into his hand" are here signified things Divine;-from the signification of a "present," as being initiation; and from the representation of Esau, as being the Divine natural as to good (n. 3302, 3322, 3504, 3599), here as to celestial good, because the natural was not yet made Divine.

[2] That a "present" signifies initiation, is because it was given to gain good will and favor; for in old time the presents which were given and offered had various significations; those which were given on approaching kings and priests signified one thing, and those which were offered upon the altar, another; the former signified initiation, but the latter, worship (n. 349). For all sacrifices in general, of whatever kind, were called "presents;" but the meat offerings which were bread and wine, or cakes with a libation, were specifically so called; for in the original language "meat offering" signifies a "present."

[3] That they gave presents to kings and priests on approaching them, is evident from many passages in the Word, as when Saul consulted Samuel (1 Sam. 9:7, 8); when they who despised Saul did not offer him a present (1 Sam. 10:27); when the queen of Sheba came to Solomon (1 Kings 10:2);and also all the others of whom it is said:--

All the earth sought the faces of Solomon, to hear his wisdom; and they offered every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and arms, and spices, horses, and mules (1 Kings 10:24, 25).

And as this was a holy ritual, signifying initiation, the wise men from the east also, who came to Jesus just after His birth, brought presents-gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:11); "gold" signified celestial love; "frankincense," spiritual love; and "myrrh," these loves in the natural.

[4] That this ritual was commanded, is evident in Moses:--

The faces of Jehovah shall not be seen empty (Exod. 23:15; Deut. 16:16, 17);

and that the presents given to priests and kings were as if given to Jehovah, is evident from other places in the Word. That presents which were sent signified initiation, is manifest from the presents which the twelve princes of Israel sent to initiate the altar, after it was anointed (Num. 7); where their presents are called "the initiation" (Num. 7:88).

AC 4263. Two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams. That this signifies goods and thence truths Divine, is evident from the signification of "she-goats" and of "ewes," as being goods (n. 3995, 4006, 4169); and from the signification of the "he-goats" and "rams," as being truths (n. 4005, 4170); here, goods and truths Divine. That goods and truths are mentioned so many times, and are signified by so many various things, is because all the things of heaven and of the church have reference thereto; the things of love and charity to goods, and the things of faith to truths. But still the differences among them as to genera and as to species are innumerable, and indeed endless, as is evident from the fact that all who are in good are in the Lordís kingdom; and yet no society there, nor indeed an individual in a society, is in the same good as another. For one and the same good is never possible with two, and still less with many, for in this case these would be one and the same, and not two, still less many. Everyone consists of various things, and this by heavenly harmony and concord.

AC 4264. Thirty milch camels and their colts, forty heifers and ten bullocks, twenty she-asses and ten foals. That this signifies things of service general and special, is evident from the signification of "camels and their colts," and of "heifers and bullocks," also of "she-asses and their foals," as being the things which are of the natural man. As to camels, (n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145); bullocks, (n. 1824, 1825, 2180, 2781, 2830); and she-asses, (n. 2781). The things which are of the natural man are relatively things of service, (n. 1486, 3019, 3020, 3167). Hence it is that by these animals are signified things of service general and special. As regards the number, of she-goats two hundred, of he-goats twenty, of ewes two hundred, of rams twenty, of camels and their colts thirty, of heifers forty, of bullocks ten, of she-asses twenty, and of their foals ten, these are arcana which cannot be opened without much explication and ample deduction; for all numbers in the Word signify actual things (n. 482, 487, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252); and what they signify has been shown in the foregoing pages where they have occurred.

[2] I have sometimes wondered that when the speech of the angels fell down into the world of spirits, it fell also into various numbers; and also that where numbers were read in the Word, real things were understood by the angels. For number never penetrates into heaven, because numbers are measures of both space and of time, these being of the world and of nature, to which in the heavens correspond states and changes of states. The most ancient people, who were celestial men and had communication with angels, knew what was signified by every number, even by the compound ones; and from them their signification was handed down to their posterity, and to the sons of the Ancient Church. These are things which will hardly be credited by the man of the church at this day, who believes nothing to have been stored up in the Word more holy than what appears the letter.

GENESIS 32:13-15    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info