Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 33:8-11
AC 4363. Verses 8-11. And he said, What to thee are all these camps which I met? And he said, To find grace in the eyes of my lord. And Esau said, I have much, my brother, be to thee what is to thee. And Jacob said, Nay I pray, if I pray I have found grace in thine eyes, then accept my present from my hand; for because that I have seen thy faces like seeing the faces of God, and thou hast accepted me. Take I pray my blessing that is brought to thee, because God hath graciously bestowed upon me, and because I have all. And he urged him, and he took it. "And he said, Whit to thee are all these camps which I met?" signifies the special things which are thence derived; "and he said, To find grace in the eyes of my lord," signifies grateful initiation; "and Esau said, I have much, my brother, be to thee what is to thee," signifies tacit acceptance, in order that he might thus insinuate the affection of the good from truth; "and Jacob said, Nay I pray," signifies the first beginning of affection; "if I pray I have found grace in thine eyes, then accept my present from my hand," signifies the reciprocal of affection in order that it might he insinuated; "for because that I have seen thy faces like seeing the faces of God, and thou hast accepted me," signifies the affection itself in the perception with which it was reciprocally insinuated; "take I pray my blessing that is brought to thee," signifies the Divine things that were to be adjoined to Divine good natural; "because God hath graciously bestowed upon me," signifies from Providence; "and because I have all," signifies His spiritual riches; "and he urged him, and he took it," signifies that from the good of truth this affection was insinuated by means of affection inspired by Divine good.
AC 4364. And he said, What to thee are all these camps which I met? That this signifies the special things which are thence derived, is evident from the signification here of "camps," as being special things; for they are those enumerated in the foregoing chapter (Gen. 32:14, 15), namely, 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; by which were meant goods and truths with their things of service, by means of which initiation might be effected (n. 4263, 4264), consequently special things. The special things here referred to are nothing else than such as confirm truths as being true, and goods as being good. They are accessory to the man‘s thoughts and affections, that is, to the things which he knows and loves, and on account of which he favors and affirms a thing to be so. The presents which in the church of olden time were given to kings and priests likewise involved such things. It is well known that another is brought over to one’s opinion, or to what we say is good and true, both by reasons and by affections; and it is these very confirmatory things that are meant by "special things," and are here signified by "camps;" for which reason it is said that these camps were "to find grace in the eyes of my lord;" and afterwards, "if I pray I have found grace in thine eyes, then accept my present from my hand."
 The case is the same in spiritual things, or in matters of faith, when these are being conjoined with the good of charity. Man believes that goods and truths flow in immediately from heaven, thus without mediums within him; but he is much mistaken. The Lord leads everyone by means of his affections, and thus bends him by a tacit providence, for He leads him through freedom (n. 1937, 1947). That all freedom is of affection or love, may be seen above (n. 2870, 2873); and hence all the conjunction of good with truth is effected in freedom, but not in compulsion (n. 2875-2878, 2881, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031). When therefore man has been led in freedom to good, truths are then accepted and implanted, and he begins to be affected by them, and is thus introduced little by little into heavenly freedom. When one who has been regenerated (that is, who loves his neighbor, and still more who loves the Lord) reflects upon his past life, he will find that he has been led by many things of his thought and by many of his affection.
 What is here specifically meant by the special things which are thence derived, may be seen more clearly from examples. Let the truth which is to be insinuated into good be this that man has life after death. This truth is not accepted unless it is confirmed by special things, as by these that a man can think not only of the things he sees and feels, but also of those which he does not see and feel; that he can also be affected by them; that he can be conjoined with them by affection, consequently with heaven, nay, with the Lord Himself; and that he who can be conjoined with the Divine, can never die. These and many more such things are the special things which first occur, before this truth is being insinuated into good, that is, before it is fully believed. This truth does indeed first submit itself, but still the special things cause it to be accepted.
 Take as another example the truth that man is a spirit, and that he is clothed with a body while he lives in the world. This also is a truth which is to be insinuated into good; for unless it has been so insinuated, the man cares nothing for heaven, for he then thinks of himself as he does of the brute animals. But this truth cannot be insinuated except by means of special things, as by these that the body which he carries about serves for uses in this world, namely, that he may see the things that are in the world with material eyes, and may act by material muscles, thereby having powers that are adapted to the heavy things in the world; and that nevertheless there is something more interior which thinks and wills of which the body is the instrument or material organ; and that a man‘s spirit is himself, or the man himself, who acts and feels through these organic forms; and that he can confirm this by many of his own experiences if he is once in the belief that the case is so. All these are special things, which are set forth in advance, and which cause the truth itself that is in question to be insinuated into good; and they are derived from it. It is these and similar things that are here signified by the "camps."
AC 4365. And he said, To find grace in the eyes of my lord. That this signifies grateful initiation, may be seen without explication; for "to find grace" denotes that they may be accepted, and things which are accepted are gratefully initiated, that is, are insinuated.
AC 4366. And Esau said, I have much, my brother, be to thee what is to thee. That this signifies tacit acceptance, in order that he might thus insinuate the affection of the good from truth, may be seen from this refusal, in that it involves assent; for he nevertheless accepted. In anyone’s refusing and at the same time accepting, the end sometimes is that affection may be insinuated; and moreover this is thereby increased, and thus passes from thinking well into willing well. In spiritual life man is led by the Lord by things nearly like those by which a man leads others in civil life, in which it is usual to refuse to accept, to the end that the giver may act from affection; thus not from thinking only, but also from willing. For if the favor should not be accepted, the end in view would be lost; and therefore the end urges the giver to think of it still more intently, and thus to will it from the heart.
 The reason why this kind of thing does not appear in spiritual life as in civil life, is that there are few in whom good is being conjoined with truths, that is, who are being regenerated; and moreover the few who are being regenerated do not reflect upon such things; nor can they do so, for they do not know what spiritual good is, because they do not know what charity is and what in the genuine sense the neighbor is. And as they do not know these things, neither can they have an interior idea of the truth that belongs to faith. And moreover they separate spiritual life from civil life so widely, that they would not dare to draw any idea of the one from the other. That the two correspond, and that spiritual life is represented in civil life, they know not at all, and some do not even allow any comparison; when yet the case really is that no idea can be had of spiritual life except from the things that are in civil life; and therefore if the latter is set aside, the former falls to the ground, until at last it is no longer believed in as may be plainly evident from the fact that it is no longer believed that spirits and angels associate and converse together as men do, and reason in like manner as men do about what is honorable and becoming, just and fair, and good and true, and this much more perfectly; still less that they see, hear, and explore one another, join together in societies, dwell together, and many other like things.
AC 4367. And Jacob said, Nay I pray. That this signifies the first beginning of affection, may be seen from what was said just above, namely, that refusing to accept a present insinuates affection, which is here manifested by his saying, "Nay I pray." From this it is evident that these words denote the first beginning of affection.
AC 4368. If I pray I have found grace in thine eyes, then accept my present from my hand. That this signifies the reciprocal of affection in order that it might he insinuated, is evident from what precedes and what follows. For the subject treated of is the conjunction of good with truths in the natural, consequently the insinuation of affection from good into truth. That the refusal of the present sent by Jacob was for this purpose that affection might be insinuated into truth, was shown above (n. 4366); and therefore by the words immediately preceding, "Nay I pray," is signified the first beginning of affection (n. 4367). Hence by these words, "If I have found grace in thine eyes, then accept my present from my hand," is signified the reciprocal of affection in order that it might be insinuated; for he says this from good will, that is, from affection. Hence in what follows it is said that he "urged him."
 By the reciprocal of affection, which is insinuated by the good which is Esau into the truth which is Jacob, there is meant the affection of truth. For there are two affections which are heavenly the affection of good, and the affection of truth. The affection of truth originates solely from good. The affection itself comes from this source; for truth has no life from itself, but receives life from good; and therefore when a man is affected by truth, this is not from truth, but from the good that flows into the truth, and produces the affection itself. This is what is here meant by the "reciprocal of affection in order that it might be insinuated." It is known that there are many within the church who are affected by the Word of the Lord, and who bestow much pains on the reading of it; but still there are few who have as their end that they may be instructed in the truth, for most remain in their own dogma, the confirmation of which from the Word is their sole aim. These seem to be in the affection of truth, but are not; for those alone are in the affection of truth who love to be instructed about truths, that is, to know what the truth is, and to search the Scriptures for this end. No one is in this affection except the man who is in good, that is, who is in charity toward the neighbor, and still more he who is in love to the Lord. With these good itself flows into truth, and produces the affection, for the Lord is present in this good. This may be illustrated by the following examples.
 They who are in the good of genuine charity, and read the words which the Lord spake to Peter: I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in the heavens (Matt. 16:15-19); these (namely those who are in the affection of truth from the good of genuine charity) love to be taught what is meant by these words; and when they hear that by the rock there upon which the church will be built (and consequently by Peter) is signified the faith of charity, and that it is in this way that the keys for opening and shutting heaven are given to this faith (n. 2760), they then rejoice and are affected by this truth, because in this way the Lord alone, the source of faith, has this power. But they who are not in the affection of truth from the good of genuine charity, but in the affection of truth from some other good, and especially if from the love of self and of the world, are not affected with this truth, but are made sad, and are also made angry, because they desire to claim this power for the priesthood. They are made angry because they are thus deprived of dominion; and they are made sad because they are deprived of respect.
 Take also as an example those who are in the affection of truth from the good of genuine charity: if these hear that charity makes the church, but not faith separated from charity, they receive this truth with joy; whereas they who are in the affection of truth from the love of self and of the world do not receive it. Moreover when those who are in the affection of truth from the good of genuine charity hear that love toward the neighbor does not begin from self, but from the Lord, they rejoice; whereas they who are in the affection of truth from the love of self and of the world, do not receive this truth, but sharply maintain that this love begins from themselves. Thus they do not know what it is to love the neighbor as one‘s self. They who are in the affection of truth from the good of genuine charity rejoice when they hear that heavenly blessedness consists in doing good to others from good will, and not for the sake of any selfish end; whereas they who are in the affection of truth from the love of self and of the world, do not desire this, nor even apprehend it.
 When they who are in the affection of truth from the good of genuine charity are instructed that the works of the external man are nothing unless they proceed from the internal man, and thus from good willing, they receive this with joy; whereas they who are in the affection of truth from the love of self and of the world laud the works of the external man, but care nothing for the good willing of the internal man, and in fact do not know that the good willing of the internal man remains after death, and that the works of the external man separate from it are dead, and perish. And the case is the same with everything else. From these examples it is evident that the truths of faith can never be conjoined with anyone unless he is in the good of genuine charity; thus with nothing but good; and also that every genuine affection of truth is from this good. Everyone can see this confirmed from his daily experience, namely, that they who are in evil do not believe, but that they believe who are in good. From this it is plainly evident that the truth of faith is conjoined with good, and never with evil.
AC 4369. For because that I have seen thy faces like seeing the faces of God, and thou hast accepted me. That this signifies the affection in the perception with which it was reciprocally insinuated, is evident from the signification of "seeing faces like the faces of God," as being affection in perception; for by the "faces" are signified the interiors (n. 358, 1999, 2434, 3527, 3573, 4066), and by the "faces of God," all good (n. 222, 223); and when this flows in it gives affection in perception; and from the signification of "accepting me," as being affection insinuated. That the signification is affection insinuated, is evident from what has been said just above about the insinuation of affection; thus from the series.
AC 4370. Take I pray my blessing that is brought to thee. That this signifies the Divine things that were to be adjoined to Divine good natural, is evident from the signification here of the "blessing," as being the things that were mentioned in the foregoing chapter (Gen. 32:14, 15); by which were signified Divine goods and truths With their things of service for effecting initiation (n. 4263, 4264), and that were to be adjoined to Divine good natural (n. 4364).
AC 4371. Because God hath graciously bestowed upon me. That this signifies from Providence, is evident from the signification here of these words, as being Providence (n. 4359).
AC 4372. And because I have all. That this signifies His spiritual riches, is evident from the signification of "his having all," as being here the Lord’s spiritual riches; for what he had was flocks and herds, by which as before shown are signified goods and truths, and these are what are called spiritual riches. Spiritual riches are predicated of truth, and their uses of good.
AC 4373. And he urged him, and he took it. This signifies that from the good of truth this affection was insinuated by means of affection inspired by Divine good, (n. 4364). The affection itself of truth inspired in the good by the Divine good is attested by his urging him (n. 4366). As further regards the affection of truth which is treated of in these verses, be it known that this appears to be from truth, and thus in truth, and yet it is not from truth, but from good; for truth has nothing of life in it except that which is from good. Its appearing as if it were from truth, is comparatively circumstanced as is the life that is in the body, and yet is not of the body, but of the soul. Nor is it of the soul, but through the soul from the first of life (that is, from the Lord), although it appears as if it were of the body. It is also circumstanced as is an image in a mirror, which appears in the mirror, when yet it is of the inflowing form.
 To those who keep the mind in the mere historicals, it does not indeed appear that the internal sense of these and the foregoing words is of such a nature, for they think of Esau and Jacob, and of the gift that was sent forward; not knowing that by Esau is represented Divine good in the natural, and by Jacob the truth which is to be conjoined with the Divine good there; and that by their friendly conference is here signified affection inspired into truth by good. And yet when these things are being read by man the angels understand these historicals in no other way; for the angels have no other idea than a spiritual one, and with them the historical sense is turned into this idea. In this way do angelic thoughts correspond with human thoughts. It is such perpetual correspondences that make the Word holy and Divine; for thus by ascent the literal sense becomes spiritual, and this even to the Lord, where it is Divine. This is inspiration.GENESIS 33:8-11 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|