Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 32:24-25
AC 4272. Verses 24, 25. And Jacob remained alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the dawn arose. And he saw that he prevailed not over him, and he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint in his wrestling with him. "And Jacob remained alone," signifies the good of truth procured, which was in this case the last or ultimate; "and there wrestled a man with him," signifies temptation as to truth; "until the dawn arose," signifies before the conjunction of the natural good signified by "Jacob" with the celestial spiritual or the Divine good of truth; "and he saw that he prevailed not over him," signifies that He overcame in temptations; "and he touched the hollow of his thigh," signifies where celestial spiritual good is conjoined with the natural good signified by Jacob; "and the hollow of Jacob‘s thigh was out of joint in his wrestling with him," signifies that as yet truth had not the power of completely conjoining itself with good. These same two verses relate also to Jacob himself and his posterity, and in this case the quality of these is signified. In this sense, by "touching the hollow of his thigh," is signified where conjugial love is conjoined with natural good; and by "the hollow of Jacob’s thigh being out of joint in his wrestling with him," is signified that in the posterity of Jacob this conjunction was wholly injured and displaced.
AC 4273. And Jacob "remained alone. That this signifies the good of truth procured, which was in this case the last or ultimate, is evident from the representation here of Jacob, as being the good of truth. What Jacob had represented has been shown in the preceding pages, and also that he represented various things in the natural, because the state of truth and good is of one kind in the beginning, of another in its progress, and still another in the end (n. 3775, 4234) here, he represents the good of truth. The reason of this representation is that his wrestling is presently treated of, by which in the internal sense is signified temptation; and because he was named "Israel," by whom is represented the celestial spiritual man; and also because in what next follows his conjunction with Esau is treated of, by which conjunction is signified the initiation of truth into good. These are the reasons why Jacob now represents the last or ultimate good of truth in the natural.
AC 4274. And there wrestled a man with him. That this signifies temptation as to truth, is evident from the signification of "wrestling," as being temptation. Temptation itself is nothing else than a wrestling or combat; for truth is assaulted by evil spirits and is defended by the angels who are with the man. The perception of this combat by the man is the temptation (n. 741, 757, 761, 1661, 3927, 4249, 4256). But no temptation can take place unless the man is in the good of truth, that is, in the love or affection of it. For he who does not love his truth, or is not affected by it, cares nothing for it; but he who loves it is in anxiety lest it should suffer injury. Nothing else produces the understanding life of man except that which he believes to be true, nor his will life except that which he has impressed upon himself as being good; and therefore when that is assaulted which he believes to be true, the life of his understanding is assaulted; and when that which he has impressed upon himself as being good is assaulted, the life of his will is assaulted; so that when a man is being tempted, his life is at stake. That the first of combat is as to truth, or concerning truth, is because this is what he principally loves, and that which is of anyone‘s love is that which is assaulted by evil spirits; but after the man loves good more than truth, which takes place when the order is being inverted, he is tempted as to good. But what temptation is few know, because at this day few undergo any temptation, for no others can be tempted than those who are in the good of faith, that is, in charity toward the neighbor. If they who are not in this charity were to be tempted, they would succumb at once; and they who succumb come into the confirmation of evil and the persuasion of falsity; for the evil spirits with whom they are thus associated then conquer within them. This is the reason why at this day few are admitted into any spiritual temptation, but only into some natural anxieties, in order that they may thereby be withdrawn from the loves of self and of the world, into which they would otherwise rush without restraint.
AC 4275. Until the dawn arose. That this signifies before the conjunction of the natural good signified by "Jacob" with the celestial spiritual, or the Divine good of truth, is evident from the signification of the "dawn" as being in the supreme sense the Lord, in the representative sense His kingdom, and in the universal sense the celestial of love (n. 2405); here, the celestial spiritual. For when the dawn arose, Jacob was named Israel, by whom is signified the celestial spiritual man; wherefore "before the arising of the dawn" denotes before the conjunction with the celestial spiritual of the natural good now signified by "Jacob." What the celestial spiritual is, will be told at the twenty-eighth verse, in treating of Israel.
AC 4276. And he saw that he prevailed not over him. That this signifies that He overcame in temptations, is evident without explication.
AC 4277. And he touched the hollow of his thigh. That this signifies where celestial spiritual good is conjoined with the natural good signified by "Jacob," is evident from the signification of the "thigh," as being conjugial love, and thence all celestial and spiritual love, because these are derived from conjugial love as offspring from their parent (n. 3021);-and from the signification of the "hollow," or "socket," or cavity of the thigh, as being where there is conjunction; here, therefore, where there is the conjunction of celestial spiritual good with the natural good signified by "Jacob." But of this conjunction nothing can be said unless it is first known what celestial spiritual good is, which is "Israel," and what natural good is, which is " Jacob." This will be told presently at (verse 28) in treating of Jacob, then named Israel, and again afterwards in treating of Jacob’s posterity.
AC 4278. And the hollow of Jacob‘s thigh was out of joint in his wrestling with him. That this signifies that as yet truth had not the power of completely conjoining itself with good, is evident from the signification of being "out of joint," namely, that truths had not as yet been disposed in such an order that they all, together with good, could enter into celestial spiritual good (n. 4300, 4301), consequently that truth had not yet the power of completely conjoining itself with good; for the "hollow of the thigh" denotes where goods are conjoined together (n. 4277).
AC 4279. These things which have been unfolded thus far are thus to be understood in the supreme sense and in the internal sense; but it is otherwise in the lower sense in which the quality of Jacob and of his posterity is treated of. As the Word is from the Lord, and descends from Him through heaven to man, it is therefore such that it is Divine as to every particular; and as it has descended from the Lord, so it ascends, that is, is uplifted to Him, and this through the heavens. It is known that there are three heavens, and that the inmost heaven is called the third heaven, the middle heaven the second heaven, and the lowest the first heaven; and therefore when the Word ascends as it descends, in the Lord it is Divine; in the third heaven it is celestial (for this heaven is the celestial heaven); in the second heaven it is spiritual (for this heaven is the spiritual heaven); and in the first heaven it is celestial and spiritual natural, and the same heaven is also so termed. But in the church with man, the Word as regards the sense of its letter is natural, that is, worldly and earthly.
 From this it is manifest what the nature of the Word is, and how the case is with the Word when it is being read by a man who is in what is holy, that is, in good and truth. For it then appears to him as worldly, or as historical, within which there is nevertheless what is holy; but in the first heaven it appears as celestial and spiritual natural, within which there is nevertheless what is Divine; in the second heaven it is spiritual; in the third heaven it is celestial; and in the Lord it is Divine. The sense of the Word is circumstanced in accordance with the heavens: the supreme sense of the Word, in which the subject treated of is the Lord, is for the inmost or third heaven; its internal sense, in which the subject treated of is the Lord’s kingdom, is for the middle or second heaven; but the lower sense of the Word, in which the internal sense is determined to the nation that is named, is for the lowest or first heaven; and the lowest or literal sense is for man while still living in the world, and who is nevertheless of such a nature that the interior sense, and even the internal and the supreme senses, can be communicated to him. For man has communication with the three heavens, because he is created after the image of the three heavens, even so that when he lives in love to the Lord and in charity toward the neighbor, he is a heaven in the least form. Hence it is that within man is the Lord‘s kingdom, as the Lord Himself teaches in Luke:--
Behold, the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).
 These things have been said in order that it may be known that in the Word there is not only the supreme sense, and the internal sense, but also a lower sense, and that in the lower sense the internal sense is determined to the nation there named; and when this is done, the sense manifestly appears from the series of things. That this wrestling of the man with Jacob, and the dislocation and displacement of his thigh, are predicated also of Jacob and his posterity, is manifest; and therefore I may unfold these same words according to this sense. This sense will be called in what follows the INTERNAL HISTORICAL SENSE, and this for the additional reason that it is wont to be occasionally represented to the life and in form in the first heaven, as also I have sometimes been permitted to see. (n. 4272).
AC 4280. That in the internal historical sense, by his touching the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, is signified where conjugial love is conjoined with natural good, is evident from the signification of the "hollow of the thigh," as being where there is the conjunction of conjugial love (n. 4277). That conjunction there with natural good is signified, is because the thigh is there conjoined to the feet. In the internal sense the "feet" signify natural good, as may be seen above (n. 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986).
 That the "thigh" denotes conjugial love, and the "feet" natural good, is among the things that are now obsolete and lost. The Ancient Church, which was in representatives and significatives, knew these things very well. The knowledge of such things was their intelligence and wisdom, and this not only of those who were of the church, but also of those who were out of the church, as is evident from the oldest books of the Gentiles, and from the things which at this day are called fables; for significatives and representatives were derived to them from the Ancient Church. With them also the thighs and the loins signified what is conjugial, and the feet what is natural. The thighs and the feet have this signification from the correspondences of all man‘s members, organs, and viscera with the Grand Man, which correspondences are now being treated of at the end of the chapters. Of the correspondences with the thigh and the feet more will be said in what follows, where it will be confirmed by living experience that such is their signification.
 At the present day these things cannot but appear paradoxical, because, as before said, this knowledge is altogether obsolete and lost. And yet how much this knowledge surpasses other knowledges, may be seen from the fact that without it the Word cannot possibly be known as to its internal sense; and because the angels who are with man perceive the Word according to this sense; and also because by means of this knowledge communication is given to man with heaven. And (what is incredible) the internal man itself thinks in no other way; for when the external man apprehends the Word according to the letter, the internal man apprehends it at the same time according to the internal sense, although the man while living in the body is not aware of this. Especially may this be seen from the fact that when a man comes into the other life and becomes an angel, he knows the internal sense as of himself without instruction.
 What conjugial love is, which is signified by the thighs and also by the loins, may be seen above (n. 995, 1123, 2727-2759); and that conjugial love is the fundamental of all loves (n. 686, 3021); and hence it is that those who are in genuine conjugial love are also in celestial love (that is, in love to the Lord), and in spiritual love (that is, in charity toward the neighbor); and therefore by conjugial love not only is this love itself meant, but also all celestial and spiritual love. These loves are said to be conjoined with natural good when the internal man is conjoined with the external, or the spiritual man with the natural. This conjunction is that which is signified by the "hollow of the thigh" That with Jacob and his posterity in general there was no such conjunction, will appear from what follows; for this is the subject here treated of in the internal historical sense.
AC 4281. That by the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint in his wrestling with him, is signified that this conjunction was wholly injured and displaced in Jacob‘s posterity, is evident from the signification of being "out of joint" in the sense in question, as being to be displaced, and thus to be injured. That the "hollow of the thigh" denotes conjunction, is manifest from what was said above (n. 4280); and because in the Word "Jacob" denotes not only Jacob, but also all his posterity, as is evident from many passages in the Word (Num. 23:7, 10, 21, 23; 24:5, 17, 19; Deut. 33:10; Isa. 40:27; 43:1, 22; 44:1, 2, 21; 48:12; 59:20; Jer. 10:16, 25; 30:7, 10, 18; 31:7, 11; 46:27, 28; Hos. 10:11; Amos 7:2; Micah 2:12; 3:8; Ps. 14:7; 24:6; 59:13; 78:5; 99:4).
 That Jacob and his posterity were of such a character that with them celestial and spiritual love could not be conjoined with natural good (that is, the internal or spiritual man with the external or natural man), is manifest from everything which is related of that nation in the Word; for they did not know, nor were they willing to know, what the internal or spiritual man is, and therefore this was not revealed to them; for they believed that nothing exists in man except that which is external and natural. In all their worship they had regard to nothing else, insomuch that Divine worship was to them no otherwise than idolatrous; for when internal worship is separated from external, it is merely idolatrous. The church that was instituted with them was not a church, but only the representative of a church; for which reason that church is called a representative church. That a representative of a church is possible with such people may be seen above (n. 1361, 3670, 4208).
 For in representations the person is not reflected upon, but the thing which is represented; and therefore Divine, celestial, and spiritual things were represented not only by persons, but also by inanimate things, as by Aaron’s garments, the ark, the altar, the oxen and sheep that were sacrificed, the lampstand with its lamps, the bread of arrangement upon the golden table, the oil with which they were anointed, the frankincense, and other like things. Hence it was that their kings, the evil as well as the good, represented the Lord‘s royalty; and the high priests, the evil as well as the good, represented the things that belong to the Lord’s Divine priesthood, when they discharged their office in an outward form according to the statutes and precepts. In order therefore that the representative of a church might come forth among them, such statutes and laws were given them by manifest revelation as were altogether representative; and therefore so long as they were in them and observed them strictly, so long they were able to represent; but when they turned aside from them, as to the statutes and laws of other nations, and especially to the worship of another god, they then deprived themselves of the faculty of representing. For this reason they were driven by outward means, such as captivities, disasters, threats, and miracles, to laws and statutes truly representative; but not by internal means, as are those who have internal worship in external. These things are signified by the "hollow of Jacob‘s thigh being out of joint," taken in the internal historical sense, which regards Jacob and his posterity.GENESIS 32:24-25 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|