Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 32:3-5
AC 4238. Verses 3-5. And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, This shall ye say unto my lord Esau: Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now. And I had ox and ass, flock, and manservant and handmaid; and I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes. "And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother," signifies the first communication with celestial good; "unto the land of Seir," signifies celestial natural good; "the field of Edom," signifies the derivative truth; "and he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau," signifies the first acknowledgment of good as being in the higher place; "I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now," signifies that He had imbued Himself with the good signified by "Laban;" "and I had ox and ass, and flock, and manservant and handmaid," signifies acquisitions therein in their order; "and I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes," signifies instruction concerning His state, and also the condescension and humiliation of truth in the presence of good.
AC 4239. And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother. That this signifies the first communication with celestial good, is evident from the signification of "sending messengers," as being to communicate; and from the representation of Esau, as being celestial good in the natural (n. 3300, 3302, 3494, 3504, 3527, 3576, 3599, 3669). As before said (n. 4234), the subject here treated of is the conjunction of the truth Divine of the natural (which is "Jacob,") with the good Divine therein (which is " Esau"), and therefore the enlightenment of the natural from the Divine was first treated of (n. 4235); and here there is treated of the first communication, which is signified by Jacob‘s sending messengers to Esau his brother. In the Word good and truth are called "brothers," (n. 367, 3303).
AC 4240. Unto the land of Seir. That this signifies celestial natural good, is evident from the signification of the "land of Seir," as being in the supreme sense the Lord’s celestial natural good. The reason why the "land of Seir" has this signification, is that Mount Seir was a boundary of the land of Canaan on one side (Josh. 11:16, 17); and all boundaries, such as rivers, mountains, or lands, represented those things which were ultimates (n. 1585, 1866, 4116); for they put on their representations from the land of Canaan, which was in the midst, and represented the Lord‘s heavenly kingdom, and in the supreme sense His Divine Human (n. 1607, 3038, 3481, 3705). The ultimates, which are boundaries, are those things which are called natural; for it is in natural things that spiritual and celestial things are terminated. Thus is it in the heavens; for the inmost or third heaven is celestial, because it is in love to the Lord; the middle or second heaven is spiritual, because it is in love toward the neighbor; and the ultimate or first heaven is celestial and spiritual natural, because it is in simple good, which is the ultimate of order there. It is similar with the re-generate man, who is a little heaven. From all this can now be seen whence it is that the "land of Seir" signifies celestial natural good. Esau also, who dwelt there, represents this good, as was shown above; and hence the same is signified by the land where he dwelt; for lands take on the representations of their inhabitants (n. 1675).
 From all this it is now evident what is signified in the Word by "Seir." As in Moses:--
Jehovah came from Sinai, and arose from Seir unto them, He shore forth from Mount Paran and He came from the ten thousand of holiness (Deut. 33:2, 3).
In the song of Deborah and Barak in the book of Judges:--
O Jehovah, when thou wentest forth out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, the clouds also dropped water’, the mountains flowed down, this Sinai, before Jehovah the God of Israel (Judges 5:4, 6).
In the prophecy of Balaam:--
I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not nigh; there shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise up out of Israel; and Edom shall be an inheritance Seir also shall be an inheritance of his enemies, and Israel maketh strength (Num. 24:17, 18).
Everyone can see that in these passages " Seir" signifies some-thing of the Lord, for it is said that Jehovah " arose from Seir," that He "went forth out of Seir, and marched out of the field of Edom," and that "Edom and Seir shall be an inheritance.‘s Yet what of the Lord it signifies, no one can know except from the internal sense of the Word; but that it is the Lord’s Divine Human, and specifically the Divine natural as to good, may be seen from what has been said above. To "arise," and to "go forth out of Seir" denote that He made even His natural Divine, in order that from this also there might be light, that is, intelligence and wisdom; and that in this way He might become Jehovah, not only as to His Human Rational, but also as to His Human Natural; and therefore it is said, "Jehovah arose from Seir," and "Jehovah went forth out of Seir." The Lord is Jehovah (n. 1343, 1736, 2004, 2005, 2018, 2025, 2156, 2329, 2921, 3023, 3035). The "prophecy concerning Dumah" in Isaiah involves a like meaning:--
He calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? watch-man, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night (Isa. 21:11, 12).
 By the "land of Seir" in the relative sense is properly signified the Lord‘s kingdom with those who are out of the church, that is, with the Gentiles, when the church is being set up among them, on the former or old church falling away from charity and faith. That those who are in darkness then have light is evident from many passages in the Word. This is properly signified by "arising from Seir," and "going forth out of Seir, and marching out of the field of Edom," and by "Seir being an inheritance;" as also by the above words in Isaiah: "He calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night;" "the morning cometh" denotes the Lord’s advent (n. 2405, 2780), and the consequent enlightenment to those who are in night (that is, in ignorance), but enlightenment from the Lord‘s Divine natural (n. 4211). As most of the things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise has "Seir;" as in (Ezekiel 25:8, 9; 35:2-15); and occasionally in the historicals of the Word.
AC 4241. The field of Edom. That this signifies the derivative truth (that is, truth from good) is evident from the signification of the "field of Edom," as being the Lord’s Divine natural as to good, with which are conjoined the doctrinal things of truth, or truths (n. 3302, 3322). The" derivative truths," or those which are from good, are distinct from the truths from which is good. The truths from which is good are those with which man imbues himself before regeneration; but the truths which are from good are those with which he imbues himself after regeneration, for after regeneration truths proceed from good, because the man then perceives and knows from good that they are true. Such truth, thus the truth of good, is what is signified by the "field of Edom;" as also in the passage cited above from the book of Judges: "O Jehovah, when Thou wentest forth out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom" (Judges 5:4).
AC 4242. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau. That this signifies the first acknowledgment of good as being in the higher place, may be seen from the signification here of "commanding the messengers to say," as being reflection and the consequent perception that it is so (n. 3661, 3682), consequently acknowledgment; and from the representation of Esau, as being good (n. 4234, 4239). That good was in the higher place is signified by his not calling Esau his "brother," but his "lord," and also (as follows) by his calling himself his "servant," and afterwards speaking in the same manner. While man is being regenerated truth is apparently in the first place and good in the second; but good is in the first place and truth in the second when he has been regenerated, (n. 1904, 2063, 2189, 2697, 2979, 3286, 3288, 3310, 3325, 3330, 3332, 3336, 3470, 3509, 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, 3570, 3576, 3579, 3603, 3701). This is also what is meant by the prophetic utterance of Isaac the father to Esau his son:--
By thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck (Gen. 27:40).
It is the inversion of state foretold in these prophetic words which is treated of in the present chapter.
AC 4243. I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now. That this signifies that He had imbued Himself with the good signified by "Laban," is evident from the representation of Laban, as being mediate good, that is, good not genuine, but still serving to introduce genuine truths and goods (n. 3974, 3982, 3986, 4063); from the signification of "sojourning," as being to be instructed (n. 1463, 2025); and from the signification of "tarrying" or "staying," as being predicated of a life of truth with good (n. 3613); here being to imbue with. Hence it is evident that by the words, "I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now," is signified that He had imbued Himself with the good signified by Laban.
 The case herein is this: Truth cannot be implanted in good except by mediate things, such as have been treated of in the preceding chapters, in which is described Jacob‘s sojourning and tarrying with Laban, and his acquisition of a flock there. In the present chapter is described the process of conjunction, and thus the inversion of state, in the order which exists when truth is being made subordinate to good. Truth is apparently in the first place, when a man is learning truth from affection, but does not yet live so much in accordance with it. But good is in the first place when he lives according to the truth which he has learned from affection; for truth then becomes good, inasmuch as the man then believes it to be good to do according to the truth. They who have been regenerated are in this good; and they also who have conscience, that is, who no longer reasoned whether a thing is true, but do it because it is true, and thus have imbued themselves with it in faith and in life.
AC 4244. And I had ox and ass, flock and manservant and hand maid. That this signifies acquisitions therein in their order, is evident from the signification of "ox and ass, flock and man-servant and handmaid," as being instrumental goods and truths both exterior and interior, thus acquisitions in their order. An "ox" is exterior natural good, and an "ass" exterior natural truth, (n. 2781); and that a "flock" is interior natural good, a "manservant" its truth, and a "hand-maid" the affection of this truth, is evident from the signification of each, as explained several times above. These goods and truths are the acquisitions here treated of, and that they are named in their order, is manifest; for the exterior are the ox and the ass; and the interior are the flock, the manservant, and the handmaid.
AC 4245. And I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes. That this signifies instruction concerning His state, and also the condescension and humiliation of truth in the presence of good, is evident from the signification of "sending to tell," as being to instruct concerning one’s state. That there then follow condescension and humiliation of truth in the presence of good, is manifest; for Jacob calls him his lord," and says, "to find grace in thine eyes," which are words of condescension and humiliation. There is here described the nature of the state when the inversion is taking place, that is, when truth is being made subordinate to good, or when they who have been in the affection of truth are beginning to be in the affection of good. But that there is such inversion and subordination is not apparent to any but those who have been regenerated, and to those only of the regenerated who reflect. There are few at this day who are being regenerated, and still fewer who reflect; for which reason the things here said about truth and good cannot but be obscure, and perchance of such a nature as not to be acknowledged; especially with those who put the truths of faith in the first place, and the good of charity in the second; and who consequently think much about doctrinal things, but not about the goods of charity; and think of eternal salvation as being from the former, but not from the latter. They who think in this manner can in no wise know, still less perceive, that the truth of faith is subordinated to the good of charity. The things which man thinks, and from which he thinks, affect him. If he should think from the goods of charity, he would then plainly see that the truths of faith are in the second place and he would then also see the truths themselves as in light; for the good of charity is like a flame that gives light, and thus enlightens each and all things which the man had before supposed to be true; and he would also perceive how falsities had intermingled themselves, and had put on the appearance of being truths. GENESIS 32:3-5 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|