Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 33:17-20
AC 4388. Verses 17-20. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him a house, and made booths for his acquisition; therefore he called the name of the place Succoth And Jacob came to Shalem, a city’ of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came thither from Paddan-aram, and encamped to the faces of the city. And he bought the portion of the field, where he had stretched his tent, from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem‘s father, for a hundred kesitah. And he erected there an altar, and he called it El Elohe Israel. "And Jacob journeyed to Succoth," signifies the state of the life of good from truth at that time; "and built him a house," signifies the increase of good from truth in that state; "and made booths for his acquisition," signifies likewise of those things which are in general, an increase in good from truth then; "therefore he called the name of the place Succoth," signifies the quality of this state; "and Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem," signifies the interior truths of faith which are of tranquillity; "which is in the land of Canaan," signifies in the Lord’s kingdom; "when he came thither from Paddan-aram," signifies after the former state; "and encamped to the faces of the city," signifies application; "and he bought the portion of the field," signifies the appropriation of good from that truth; "where he had stretched his tent," signifies what is holy; "from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem‘s father," signifies the origin of that truth from a Divine stock from another source; "for a hundred kesitah," signifies what is full; "and he erected there an altar," signifies interior worship; "and he called it El Elohe Israel," signifies that it was from the Divine Spiritual.
AC 4389. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth. That this signifies the state of the life of good from truth at that time, is evident from the representation of Jacob, as being the good of truth; here the good from truth then from the things adjoined to it from the good which is "Esau," which things have been treated of; from the signification of "journeying," as being the order and practices of life (n. 1293), thus the state of the life; and from the signification of "Succoth," as being the quality of this state (n. 4391, 4392).
AC 4390. And built him a house. That this signifies the increase of good from truth in that state, is evident from the signification of "building a house," as being to instruct the external man in intelligence and wisdom (n. 1488). And as intelligence belongs to truth, and wisdom to good, by "building a house" is here signified the increase of good from truth. A "house" denotes good, (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3142, 3652, 3720). What the good of truth is, has been already stated (n. 4337, 4353), namely, that it is truth in will and act. This truth is what is called good, and the conscience which is from this good is called a conscience of truth. This good which is from truth increases in proportion as the man exercises charity from willing well, thus in proportion and in such a manner as he loves the neighbor.
 The reason why good and truth are mentioned so frequently in the explications, is that all things in heaven, and consequently all in the Lord’s church, bear relation to good and truth. Speaking generally these two include all things that belong to doctrine and to life; truths, all things that belong to doctrine; and goods, all things that belong to life. Moreover it is a universal fact that the human mind has no other objects than those which are of truth and good; its understanding, those which are of truth; and its will, those which are of good. Hence it is evident that truth and good are terms of the widest signification, and that their derivations are unutterable in number. This is the reason why truth and good are so often mentioned.
AC 4391. And made booths for his acquisition. That this signifies likewise in general an increase in good and truth then, is evident from the signification of "acquisition," as being goods and truths in general; and from the signification of "making booths" or tents, as being like that of building a house, namely, to receive an increase of good from truth, with the difference that "building a house" is less general, thus is more interior; and "making booths" or tents is more general, thus more external. The former was for themselves (that is, for Jacob, his women and children), the latter was for the servants, the flocks, and the herds. "Booths" or "tents" in the Word properly signify the holy of truth, and are distinguished from tabernacles, which are also called," tents," by the fact that the latter signify the holy of good (n. 414, 1102, 2145, 2152, 4128). In the original language the former are called "Succoth," but the latter "Ohalim." The holy of truth is the good which is from truth.
 That this is the signification of the booths or tents which are called "Succoth," is evident also from the following passages in the Word. In David:
Jehovah God rode upon a cherub and did By, and was carried upon the wings of the wind; He made darkness His hiding place, and His surroundings His tent (succoth), darkness of waters, clouds of the heavens (Ps. 18:11, 12).
He bowed the heavens when He came down, and thick darkness was under His feet; and He rode upon a cherub and did By, and was carried upon the wings of the wind; and He put darkness round about Him for tents (succoth), bindings of the waters, clouds of the heavens (2 Sam. 22:10-12);
where the subject treated of is Divine revelation or the Word. To "bow the heavens when He came down" denotes to hide the interiors of the Word; "thick darkness under His feet" denotes that the things which appear to man are relatively darkness (such is the literal sense of the Word). To "ride upon a cherub" denotes that it was so provided; to "put darkness round about Him for tents," or "His surroundings for His tent," denotes the holy of truth in its hiding place, namely, within the literal sense; the "bindings of the waters" and "clouds of the heavens," denote the Word in the letter. The "clouds of the heavens" denote the Word in the letter, (n. 2135a, 4060).
 The like is signified by these words in Isaiah:
Jehovah will create over every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and over her convocations, a cloud by day, and a smoke and the shining of a flame of fire by night; for over all the glory there shall be a covering. And there shall be a tent (succah) for a shade by day, and for refuge and hiding against flood rain (Isa. 4:5, 6)
a "cloud" here also denotes the literal sense of the Word; and "glory," the internal sense; as also in (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27); a "tent" here also denotes the holy of truth. Interior truths are said to be in "hiding," for the reason that if they had been revealed, they would in that case have been profaned (n. 3398, 3399, 4289); which is also set forth by these words in David:
Thou hidest them in the hiding place of Thy faces from the ensnaring counsels of a man; Thou hidest them in a tent (succah) by reason of the strife of tongues (Ps. 31:21).
 That a "tent" denotes the holy of truth is evident also in Amos:
In that day will I set up the tent (succah) of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches, and I will set up the ruins, and I will build according to the days of eternity (Amos. 9:11);
to "set up the tent of David that is fallen," denotes to restore the holy of truth after it has perished; "David" denotes the Lord relatively to Divine truth (n. 1888), for a "king" denotes Divine truth (n. 2015, 2069, 3009). As a "tent" signified the holy of truth, and "dwelling in tents," the derivative worship, therefore the feast of tents, which is called the "feast of tabernacles," was instituted in the Jewish and Israelitish Church (Lev. 23:34, 42, 43; Deut. 16:13, 16); where also this feast is called the "feast of Succoth," or "of tents."
AC 4392. Therefore he called the name of the place Succoth. That this signifies the quality of this state, is evident from the signification of "calling a name," as being the quality (n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006, 3421); and from the signification of "place," as being state (n. 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387, 4321). The quality of this state is what" Succoth" involves, namely, the quality of the state of the holy in truth from good at that time. For "Succoth" means "tents," and "tents" signify the holy of truth (n. 4391). "Succoth" signifies the like also in David:
I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth; Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the strength of My head; Judah is My lawgiver (Ps. 60:6, 7; 108:7, 8).
AC 4393. And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem. That this signifies the interior truths of faith which are of tranquillity, is evident from the signification of " Shalem," as being the tranquillity of peace; and from the signification of a "city of Shechem," as being interior truths of faith (n. 4430). A "city" denotes truth in faith, (n. 402, 2268, 2449, 2451, 2712, 2943, 3216). That "Shalem" signifies the tranquillity of peace, may be seen in David:
In Judah is God known, His name is great in Israel; in Shalem also is His tent, and His dwelling place in Zion; there brake He the live coals of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the war (Ps. 76:1-3);
where it is evident that "Shalem" denotes the tranquillity of peace, for it is said that "He there brake the live coals of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the war;" and also from its signification in the original language, for "Shalem" means tranquillity and perfection. What the tranquillity of peace is, see (n. 1726, 3696). In this peace there are interior truths; that is, those who are in interior truths in faith and in life. But so long as men are in exterior truths, and especially when they are coming from exterior into interior truths, the state is then untranquil, for then there are temptation combat,. The same is also here represented by Jacob, in that after he had been in fear and anxiety on account of Esau, he had now arrived at a state of tranquillity.
AC 4394. Which is in the land of Canaan. That this signifies in the Lord‘s kingdom, is evident from the signification of the "land of Canaan," as being the Lord’s kingdom (n. 1413, 1437, 1607, 3038, 3481, 3705). When a man is in interior truths in faith and in life, he is in the Lord‘s kingdom, and in a state of tranquillity, and then looks at exterior things as one who looks from a high hill upon a tempestuous sea.
AC 4395. When he came thither from Paddan-aram. That this signifies after the former state, is evident from the signification of "when he came thither," as being after; and from the signification of "Paddan-aram," as being the knowledges of good and truth (n. 3664, 4107, 4112), but exterior knowledges, which serve to introduce genuine goods and truths; for Laban was there, by whom is represented the affection of such good (n. 3612, 3665, 3778, 3974, 3982, 3986, 4063, 4189, 4206). It is therefore said, "when he came thither from Paddan-aram," because there was a coming from external truths and goods to interior ones; thus from the former state to this one.
AC 4396. And encamped to the faces of the city. That this signifies application (namely, to the goods of that truth), is evident from the signification of "encamping," as properly being an arranging according to order (n. 4236), but here application; for "to encamp" here signifies fixing a settlement with his herds and flocks, which also were above called a "camp" (n. 4364); and from the signification of "to the faces of the city," as being to the goods of that truth, for the "face" signifies the interiors (n. 358, 1999, 2434, 3527, 3573, 4066), consequently the affections of good and truth, which shine forth from the face. A "city" denotes truth, (n. 402, 2268, 2449, 2451, 2712, 2943, 3216).
AC 4397. And he bought the portion of the field. That this signifies the appropriation of good from that truth, is evident from the signification of "buying," as being to appropriate to one’s self; and from the signification of the "portion of the field," as being the good which is from that truth. A "field" denotes the church as to good, thus good, (n. 2971, 3196, 3317, 3500, 3508, 3766).
AC 4398. Where he had stretched his tent. That this signifies what is holy, is evident from the signification of a "tent," as being what is holy (n. 414, 1102, 2145, 2152, 3210).
AC 4399. From the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem‘s father. That this signifies the origin of that truth from a Divine stock from another source, will appear from what is to be said in the following chapter, where Hamor and Shechem are treated of.
AC 4400. For a hundred kesitah. That this signifies what is full, is evident from the signification of a "hundred," as being a full state (n. 2636), consequently what is full. But properly by a "hundred" is here signified much, for the subject treated of is the appropriation of good from interior truths, which are signified by the "sons of Hamor the father of Shechem" (n. 4399). By the "kesitah," which were coins, in the internal sense are signified such truths. This word is also derived from a word which means "truth" (Ps. 60:6). The conjunction of good with these truths will be spoken of below (n. 4402).
AC 4401. And he erected there an altar. That this signifies interior worship, is evident from the signification of "erecting an altar," as being worship. For an altar was the principal representative of the Lord (n. 921, 2777, 2811), and hence also the principal thing in worship. By worship is here meant interior worship from the Divine Spiritual, which subject now follows.
AC 4402. And he called it El Elohe Israel. That this signifies from the Divine Spiritual (namely, interior worship), is evident from the signification of "El Elohe", explained in what follows; and from the signification of "Israel," as being the spiritual (n. 4286, 4292). As regards what has been said from (verse 17) of this chapter thus far, the case is this: In this chapter in the supreme sense the subject treated of is the Lord, how He made His natural Divine. But as the things which exist in the supreme sense concerning the Lord surpass the ideas of man’s thought (for they are Divine), I may illustrate them by such things as fall more nearly into the ideas, namely, by the manner in which the Lord regenerates man‘s natural; for in the internal sense the regeneration of man as to his natural is also here treated of, because the regeneration of man is an image of the glorification of the Lord (n. 3138, 3212, 3296, 3490). For the Lord glorified Himself, that is, made Himself Divine, according to Divine order; and according to such order He also regenerates man, that is, makes him celestial and spiritual. Here it is explained how He makes man spiritual, for "Israel" signifies the spiritual man.
 The spiritual man is not the interior rational man, but the interior natural. The interior rational man is what is called the celestial man. What the difference is between the spiritual and the celestial man has already been frequently stated. A man is made spiritual by having the truths in him conjoined with good, that is, the things of faith conjoined with those of charity, and this in his natural. Exterior truths are there first Conjoined with good, and afterwards interior truths. The conjunction of exterior truths in the natural was treated of in this chapter from (verses 1 to 17); and the conjunction of interior truths with good, from (verse 17-20). Interior truths are not conjoined with good in any other way than by enlightenment flowing in through the internal man into the external man. From this enlightenment Divine truths are manifest only in a general manner, comparatively as innumerable objects are seen by the eye as one obscure thing without distinction. This enlightenment from which truths are manifest only in a general manner, was signified by Esau’s words to Jacob, "Let me set I pray with thee of the people that are with me;" and by Jacob‘s answer, "Wherefore is this? let me find grace in thine eyes" (n. 4385, 4386).
 The spiritual man is relatively in obscurity, (n. 2708, 2715, 2716, 2718, 2831, 2849, 2935, 2937, 3241, 3246, 3833). It is this spiritual man who is represented by Israel (n. 4286). The spiritual man is so called from the fact that the light of heaven, in which is intelligence and wisdom, flows into those things in man which are of the light of the world, and causes the things which are of the light of heaven to be represented in those which are of the light of the world, and thereby to correspond. For regarded in itself the spiritual is the Divine light itself which is from the Lord, consequently it is the intelligence of truth and the wisdom thence derived. But with the spiritual man this light falls into the things which are of faith in him, and which he believes to be true; whereas with the celestial man it falls into the good of love. But although these things are clear to those who are in the light of heaven, they are nevertheless obscure to those who are in the light of the world, thus to most people at this day, and possibly so obscure as to be scarcely intelligible; and yet as they are treated of in the internal sense, and are of such a nature, the opening of them is not to be dispensed with; the time is coming when there will be enlightenment
 The reason why the altar was called EL Elohe Israel, and by it was signified interior worship from the Divine Spiritual, is that in the supreme sense "El Elohe" is the same as the Divine Spiritual, and so also is "Israel." "Israel" denotes the Lord as to the Divine Spiritual, and in the representative sense the Lord’s spiritual church, or what is the same, the man who is spiritual, (n. 4286, 4292). In the original tongue "El Elohe" means "God God," and strictly according to the words, "God of gods." In the Word, Jehovah or the Lord is in many places called "El," in the singular, also "Eloah;" and He is likewise called "Elohim," in the plural; sometimes both in one verse, or in one series. He who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word cannot know why this is so. That "El" involves one thing, and "Eloah" another, and "Elohim" another, everyone may judge from the fact that the Word is Divine, that is, derives its origin from the Divine, and that it is thereby inspired as to all the words, nay, as to the least point of all.
 What "El" involves when mentioned, and what "Elohim," may be seen from what has been occasionally shown above, namely, that "El Elohim" or "God" is mentioned when truth is treated of (n. 709, 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822, 3921, 4287). Hence it is that by "El" and "Elohim" in the supreme sense is signified the Divine Spiritual, for this is the same as the Divine truth, but with the difference that by "El‘ is signified truth in the will and act, which is the same as the good of truth (n. 4337, 4353, 4390). The expression "Elohim" is used in the plural, because by truth Divine are meant all truths which are from the Lord. Hence also angels are sometimes called in the Word " Elohim" or "gods" (n. 4295), as will also appear from the passages adduced from the Word below. Now as in the supreme sense "El" and "Elohim" signify the Lord as to truth, they also signify Him as to power; for truth is that of which power is predicated, because good acts by truth when it exerts power (n. 3091, 4015). Therefore wherever power from truth is treated of in the Word, the Lord is called "El" and "Elohim," that is, "God." Hence also it is that in the original language "El" also signifies one who is powerful.
 That "El" and "Elohim" or "God," are mentioned in the Word where the Divine Spiritual is treated of, or what is the same, the Divine truth, and hence the Divine power, may be still more evident from the following passages. In Moses:
God said unto Israel in the visions of the night, I am the God of gods (El Elohe) of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will there make of thee a great nation (Gen. 46:2, 3);
as these words were spoken to Israel, whom He would make a great nation, and thus the subject treated of is truth and its power, it is here said "El Elohe," which in the proximate sense signifies "God of gods." That in the proximate sense "Elohim" denotes "gods," because predicated of truths and the derivated power, is also evident in the same:
Jacob built there an altar, and called the place El-Beth-El, because there the Elohim were revealed unto him, when be fled before his brother (Gen. 35:7).
And also elsewhere:
Jehovah your God, He is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God (El), powerful and formidable (Deut. 10:17);
where "God of gods" is expressed by "Elohe Elohim," and afterwards "God" by "El," to whom greatness and power are ascribed.
 In David:
Jehovah is a great God (El), and a great King above all gods (Elohim). In His hand are the searchings out of the earth; and the strengths of the mountains are His (Ps. 95:3, 4);
here "God" or "El" is used because the subject treated of is the Divine truth and the derivative power; and also "gods," because the subject treated of is also the truths thence derived; for in the internal sense a "king" signifies truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670). Hence it is evident what a "great king above all gods" involves. The "searchings out of the earth" also denote the truths of the church, which are called the "strengths of the mountains" from the power from this good. In the same:
Who in heaven shall compare himself to Jehovah? who among the "on’ of the gods (Elim) shall be likened to Jehovah I God (El) mighty in the secret of the holy ones. O Jehovah God Zebaoth, who is as Thou the strong Jah? (Ps. 89:6-8).
Here the "sons of the gods" or " of Elim," denote truths Divine, of which it is evident that power is predicated; for it is said a "God (El) mighty, Jehovah God of Armies, who is strong as Thou?"
 So in another place in David:
Give unto Jehovah, O ye sons of the gods, give unto Jehovah glory and strength (Ps. 29:1)
They fell upon their faces, and said, God of gods (EL Elohe) of the spirits of all flesh (Num. 14:22).
I said, ye are gods (Elohim) and ye are all sons of the Most High (Ps. 82:6; John 10:34);
where they are called "gods" from truths, for "sons" are truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2628, 3373, 3704). Again:
Confess ye to the God of gods (Elohe Elohim); confess ye to the Lord of lords (Ps. 136:2, 3).
The king will act according to his own pleasure, and will puff himself up, and will exalt himself above every god (El), and above the God of gods (El Elohim) will speak wondrous things (Daniel 11:36);
from this it is evident that in the proximate sense "El Elohe" is "God of gods," and that in the internal sense "gods" are predicated of the truths which are from the Lord.
 It is said "El," or "God," in the singular, where the subject treated of is the power which is from the Divine truth, or what is the same, from the Lord‘s Divine Spiritual, as may be seen from the following passages. In Moses:
Let my hand be as God (El) to do evil to thee (Gen. 31:29).
Neither is there a hand for God (El) (Deut. 28:32).
And in Micah:
Neither is there a hand for God (El) (Micah 2:1).
"A hand for God" denotes that there may be power. "Hand" denotes power, (n. 878, 3387); and "hand" is predicated of truth, (n. 3091). In David:
I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers; He shall call Me, Thou my Father, my God (El), the rock of my salvation (Ps. 89:25, 26);
speaking of power from truths. Again:
The wicked saith in his heart, God (El) hath forgotten, He hath hidden His faces, He will never see: arise, Jehovah God (El), lift up Thy hand wherefore doth the wicked despise God (Elohim)? (Ps. 10:11-13);
denoting the same.
Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God (El), my rock (Ps. 18:2);
where power is treated of. In Isaiah:
The residue shall return, the residue of Jacob, to the powerful God (El) (Isa. 10:21).
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, God (El), Mighty, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).
Behold the God (El) of my salvation, I will trust, and not be afraid; for He is my strength (Isa. 12:2).
I am God (El) yea, from this day, I am He, and there is none that can rescue out of My hand, I am doing, and who shall withdraw it? (Isa. 43:12, 13);
said of power. In Jeremiah:
God (El) the great, the powerful, whose name is Jehovah of Armies (Jer. 32:18).
In the second book of Samuel:
With my God (El) I will leap over a wall. God (El), His way is perfect,’ the discourse of Jehovah is pure. Who is God (El) save Jehovah? who is a rock save our God (Elohim)? God (El) is the strength of my refuge (2 Samuel 22:30-33).
 In Moses:
God (El) is not a man that He should lie, or the son of man that He should repent; hath He said, and shall He not do? or hath He spoken, and shall He not establish? He brought them forth out of Egypt, He hath as it were the strengths of a unicorn in that time it shall be said to Jacob and Israel, What hath God (El) wrought? (Num. 23:19, 22, 23);
where in the internal sense power and truth are treated of. And again:
God (El) who brought him forth out of Egypt; He hath as it were the strengths of a unicorn; He shall consume the nations His enemies, and shall break their bones, and shall crush his darts (Num. 24:8).
That "horns" and "strengths of a unicorn" signify the power of truth from good, see (n. 2832). Not to mention many other passages. As most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so also have "god" and "gods," which names are used when falsity and power from falsity are treated of; as in Ezekiel:
The gods (Elim) of the strong shall speak to him in the midst of hell (Ezek. 32:21).
Ye have been in heat in the gods (Elim) under every green tree (Isa. 57:5);
where the term "gods" is used from falsities. In like manner in other places.