Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 35:8
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 4562. Verse 8. And Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried from under Bethel under the oak; and he called the name of it Allon-bacuth. "And Deborah Rebekah‘s nurse died," signifies that hereditary evil was expelled; "and she was buried from under Bethel under the oak," signifies rejected forever; "and he called the name of it Allon-bacuth," signifies the quality of the natural in that it was expelled.

AC 4563. And Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died. That this signifies that hereditary evil was expelled, is evident from the signification of "dying," as being the end, or that a thing ceases to be such (n. 494, 3253, 3259, 3276), here therefore expelled, because the subject treated of is hereditary evil; and from the representation of Deborah Rebekah‘s nurse, as being hereditary evil. In nourishing and suckling an infant a nurse properly signifies the insinuation of innocence by means of what is celestial spiritual, for milk denotes the celestial spiritual (n. 2184), and the infant she suckles denotes innocence (n. 430, 1616, 2126, 2305, 2306) But here by "Deborah Rebekah’s nurse" is signified that which was received from the mother and nourished from infancy. That this was the hereditary evil from the mother against which the Lord fought, may be seen from what has been shown regarding this hereditary (n. 1414, 1444, 1573), and from His expelling it, so that at last He was not the son of Mary (n. 2159, 2574, 2649, 3036).

[2] It is known that man derives evil from both his parents, and that this evil is called hereditary evil. He is therefore born into it, but still it does not manifest itself until the man becomes an adult and acts from his understanding and the derivative will, and meanwhile it lies hidden, especially during infancy. And as of the Lord‘s mercy no one is blamed for what is hereditary, but for what is actual (n. 966, 2308), and what is hereditary cannot become actual until the man acts from his own understanding and his own will, therefore infants are led by the Lord by means of infants and angels from Him, and hence they appear in a state of innocence while hereditary evil still lurks in everything they do (n. 2300, 2307, 2308). This hereditary evil yields them nourishment, or is as a nurse, until the time when they judge for themselves (n. 4063); and then if they are being regenerated they are brought by the Lord into a state of new infancy, and at last into heavenly wisdom; thus into genuine infancy, that is, into innocence; for genuine infancy or innocence dwells in wisdom (n. 2305, 3183). The difference is, that the innocence of infancy is without, and hereditary evil within; whereas the innocence of wisdom is within, and evil both actual and hereditary is without. From these and other things that have been already stated, it is evident that hereditary evil acts as a nurse from the earliest infancy to the age of new infancy; and hence it is that by a "nurse" is signified hereditary evil, and also that by a "nurse" is signified the insinuation of innocence by means of the celestial spiritual.

[3] As in the internal sense of this chapter the disposition and arrangement of truths by good in the Lord’s natural is treated of (n. 4536), and the consequent progression to interior things, therefore hereditary evil is also treated of, in that it was expelled. This is the reason why mention is made in this verse of Deborah, Rebekah‘s nurse, that she died and was buried under an oak, which is not a thing of sufficient moment to interrupt the series unless it involved such things.

[4] The very mystery that is specifically signified by "Rebekah’s nurse" cannot as yet be disclosed, for before this is done it is necessary to know the nature of the influx of the rational into the natural, namely, that it is from the good of the rational immediately into the good of the natural, and from the good of the rational mediately, through the truth there into the good of natural truth. "Rebekah"is the truth of the rational (n. 3012, 3013, 3077); and "Isaac" is the good of the rational (n. 3012, 3194, 3210); "Esau" is the good of the natural by immediate influx from the good of the rational, or "Isaac;" and "Jacob" is the good or good of truth of the natural by mediate influx through the truth of the rational, or "Rebekah." In regard to this influx, mediate and immediate, (n. 3314, 3573). This must be known before it is possible to have any specific knowledge of the mystery why by "Rebekah‘s nurse" is here signified and described hereditary evil; for it is from this that the nature of this evil can be seen.

AC 4564. And she was buried from under Bethel under the oak. That this signifies that it was rejected forever, is evident from the signification of "being buried," as being to be rejected, for what is buried is rejected; and from the signification of "under the oak," as being forever (n. 4552). "From under Bethel" signifies outside of the natural, for what is said to be underneath, or below, in the internal sense is without (n. 2148). "Bethel" is the Divine natural (n. 4089, 4539).

[2] The case herein is this. Evil both hereditary and actual in a man who is being regenerated is not exterminated so as to vanish or become null and void, but is only separated, and by the Lord’s disposal is rejected to the circumferences (n. 4551, 4552); and it remains so with the man even to eternity; but he is withheld by the Lord from the evil and is kept in good. When this takes place it appears as if evils were cast away and the man purified from them, or as is said, "justified." All the angels of heaven confess that with them, in so far as it is of themselves, there is nothing but evil and its derivative falsity; but in so far as it is from the Lord, there is good and the derivative truth.

[3] They who have conceived any other opinion on this subject, and have while living in the world confirmed themselves from their doctrine in the idea that they had been justified and were then without sins, thus that they are holy, are remitted into the state of their evils, both from what is actual and from what is hereditary, and are kept in this state until they know by living experience that of themselves they are nothing but evil, and that the good in which they had seemed to themselves to be, was from the Lord, consequently is not theirs, but the Lord‘s. Such is the case with the angels, and such also is it with the regenerate among men.

[4] But with the Lord it was otherwise. All the hereditary evil from the mother He altogether removed from Himself, expelled, and cast out. For He had no evil by inheritance from His Father, because He was conceived of Jehovah, but only from the mother. This is the difference; and this is what is meant by the Lord’s being made righteousness, the Holy itself, and the Divine.

AC 4565. And he called the name of it Allon-bacuth. That this signifies the quality of the natural in that it was expelled, is evident from the signification of "calling a name," as being the quality (n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006, 3421). "Allon-bacuth" in the original language means "the oak of weeping," and the place was so called because the "oak" denotes the lowest of the natural, into which, and at last out of which, hereditary evil was cast. The "oak" denotes the lowest of the natural, and also what is perpetual, (n. 4552). But "weeping" signifies the last farewell, and therefore it was customary to weep for the dead when they were buried, although it was known that only the dead body was rejected by burial, and that they who had been therein were alive in respect to their interiors. Hence it is evident what is the quality of that which is signified by "Allon-bacuth," or the "oak of weeping."

GENESIS 35:8    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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