Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 38:19-23
AC 4880. Verses 19-23. And she arose, and went, and put off her veil from upon her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his companion the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand; and he found her not. And he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot that was at the fountains upon the way? And they said, There was no harlot there. And he returned to Judah and said, I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, There was no harlot there. And Judah said, Let her take it to her; haply we be put to shame; behold I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. "And she arose," signifies elevation; "and went," signifies life; "and put off her veil from upon her," signifies that what was obscure was dissipated; "and put on the garments of her widowhood," signifies intelligence; "and Judah sent the kid of the goats," signifies a marriage pledge; "by the hand of his companion the Adullamite," signifies by falsity; "to receive the pledge from the woman‘s hand," signifies in the place of external pledges; "but he found her not," signifies because there was not anything conjugial on his part; "and he asked the men of that place, saying," signifies that truths were consulted; "Where is the harlot?" signifies whether it was falsity; "that was at the fountains upon the way," signifies that it appeared as truth; "and they said," signifies perception from truths; "There was no harlot there," signifies that it was not falsity; "and he returned to Judah," signifies reflection; "and said, I have not found her," signifies that this cannot be disclosed by falsity; "and also the men of the place said, There was no harlot there," signifies perception from truths that it was not falsity; "and Judah said, Let her take it to her," signifies that it was indifferent to him; "haply we be put to shame," signifies although it was a disgrace; "behold I sent this kid," signifies that it is enough that there is a pledge; "and thou hast not found her," signifies if there is not anything conjugial.
AC 4881. And she arose. That this signifies elevation, is evident from the signification of "arising," as involving some elevation (n. 2401, 2785, 2912, 2927, 3171, 4103). The elevation which is signified by "arising" is in the spiritual sense an elevation from an obscure state into a clearer one, as from a state of ignorance into one of intelligence; for in this way man is elevated from a state of the light of the world into a state of the light of heaven.
AC 4882. And went. That this signifies life, is evident from the signification of "going," as being to live (n. 3335, 3690). That in the internal sense "to go" is to live does indeed appear rather remote or abstracted from the ideas of thought in which man is, and this because man is in space and in time, and has formed the ideas of his thought therefrom, as for instance his idea of going, advancing, journeying, traveling, and moving. As these actions exist in space, and also in time, and as space and time are therefore inwoven in his ideas concerning them, it is difficult for man to apprehend that states of life are signified by them. But when the idea from space and time concerning them is separated or put off, there results the spiritual thing which is signified. For in the spiritual world or in heaven nothing of space or time enters the ideas, but instead what belongs to the state of life (n. 1274, 1382, 2625, 2788, 2837, 3356, 3404, 3827, 4814). It does indeed appear to spirits and angels that they advance and move from place to place, just as it appears to men; but still it is changes of the state of life that produce this appearance; just as it appears to them, as well as to men, that they live from themselves, when yet they do not live from themselves, but from the Divine of the Lord from whom is the all of life. These appearances with the angels are called real, because they appear as if they really were.
 I have some times spoken with spirits about these appearances; and those who are not in good, and consequently not in truth, are unwilling to hear that it is an appearance that they live of themselves, for they wish to live of themselves. But besides their being shown by living experience that they do not live of themselves, and that progressions from place to place are changes and progressions of the state of life, they were also told that they might be satisfied in not knowing but that they have life from themselves, as they could have no more even if the life in them were really from themselves; but that still it is better to know how the case really is, because then they are in the truth, and if in the truth, they are also in the light of heaven, for the light of heaven is the truth itself which is from the Divine of the Lord; and thus they would neither claim good for themselves, nor would evil adhere to them. The angels are in this truth, not only by knowledge, but also by perception.
 That times and spaces in the spiritual world are states of life, and that the all of life is from the Lord, may be seen from the following experience. Every spirit and angel sees the good at the right, and the evil at the left, and this to whatever quarter he turns; the good and the evil so appear to him if he looks toward the east, and so if he looks to the west, or to the south, or the north. This is true of every spirit and angel; so that if two were looking, one toward the east, and the other toward the west, still to both the good would appear on the right, and the evil on the left. The appearance is the same to those who are remote from the spirits who are seen, even though these should be behind them. From this it may be clearly inferred that the all of life is from the Lord, or that the Lord is in the life of everyone; for the Lord appears there as the sun, and on His right are the good, or the sheep, and on his left are the evil, or the goats. Hence it is similar with everyone, because as already said the Lord is the all of life. This cannot but seem a paradox to man, because so long as he is in the world he has ideas from worldly things, and consequently from space and time; whereas in the spiritual world, as said above, the ideas are not from space and time, but from the state of the affections and of the derivative thoughts. From this also it is that spaces and times in the Word signify states.
AC 4883. And put off her veil from upon her. That this signifies that what was obscure was dissipated, is evident from the signification of "covering herself with her veil," as being to obscure the truth, of which above (n. 4859); hence "to put off the veil" is to dissipate this obscurity.
AC 4884. And put on the garments of her widowhood. That this signifies intelligence, is evident from the signification of a "widow," as being one who is in truth without good but still desires to be led by good, of which above (n. 4841); and from the signification of "garments," as being truths (n. 297, 2576, 4545, 4763). That these things taken together signify intelligence, is because nothing but truths constitute intelligence, since those who are in truths from good are in intelligence; for through truths from good the intellectual mind is in the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is intelligence, because it is Divine truth from Divine good. A further reason why putting on the garments of widowhood here signifies intelligence is that in the general sense a "widow" is one who is in truth and desires to be led by means of good into the truth of intelligence (n. 4844), thus into intelligence.
 That it may be known how the case herein is, it must be briefly explained. The truth in man is not the truth of intelligence until it is led by means of good; and when it is led by means of good, it then for the first time becomes the truth of intelligence. For truth has no life from itself, but from good, and it has life from good when man lives according to truth; for then it infuses itself into man’s will, and from his will into his actions, thus into the whole man. The truth which man only knows or apprehends, remains outside of his will, and so outside of his life; for man‘s will is his life. But when man wills the truth, it is then on the threshold of his life; and when from willing he does it, then the truth is in the whole man; and when he does it frequently, it not only recurs from habit, but also from affection, thus from freedom. Let anyone who pleases, consider whether man can be imbued with anything but that which he does from will. That which he only thinks and does not do, and still more that which he thinks and is not willing to do, is merely outside of him, and is also dissipated like chaff by the slightest wind, as it is in fact dissipated in the other life; from which it may be known what faith is without works. From these things it is now plain what the truth of intelligence is, namely, that it is the truth which is from good. Truth is predicated of the understanding, and good of the will, or what is the same, truth is of doctrine and good is of life.
AC 4885. And Judah sent the kid of the goats. That this signifies a marriage pledge, is evident from the signification of a "kid of the goats," as being a pledge of conjugial love, or a pledge of conjunction, of which above (n. 4871).)
AC 4886. By the hand of his companion the Adullamite. That this signifies by falsity, is evident from the representation of Hirah the Adullamite, who was the "companion" of Judah, as being falsity (n. 4817, 4854).
AC 4887. To receive the pledge from the woman’s hand. That this signifies in the place of external pledges, is evident from the signification of the "signet, kerchief, and staff," which were the pledge, as being pledges of the conjunction of the external or natural man, and thus external pledges (n. 4874).
AC 4888. But he found her not. This signifies because there was not anything conjugial on his part, namely, on the part of Judah; for be came to her, not as to a wife, but as to a harlot; for which reason Tamar did not desire a kid of the goats, by which a marriage pledge was signified (n. 4885). Nor indeed was there anything of genuine marriage on the part of Tamar; for her conjunction was that of a daughter-in-law with her father-in-law under the pretext of the duty of a husband‘s brother. These things are signified by his not finding her.
AC 4889. And he asked the men of that place. That this signifies that truths were consulted, is evident from the signification of "asking," as being to consult; and from the signification of "men," as being truths (n. 265, 749, 1007, 3134, 3309). "The men of the place" are truths in respect to the state of this thing, for "place" is state (n. 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387).
AC 4890. Where is the harlot? That this signifies as to whether it was falsity, is evident from the signification of a "harlot," as being falsity (n. 4865).
AC 4891. That was at the fountains upon the way. That this signifies that it appeared as truth, is evident from the signification of "fountains," as being the truths of the church (n. 2702, 3096, 3424, 4861). It is said "upon the way," because a "way" is predicated of truth, and in the opposite sense of falsity (n. 627, 2333, 3123, 3142); and as it is asked, "where is the harlot that was at the fountains upon the way?" thereby is signified whether it was falsity that appeared as truth.
AC 4892. And they said. That this signifies perception from truths, is evident from the signification of "saying," in the historic parts of the Word, as being to perceive (n. 1791, 1815, 1819, 1822, 1898, 1919, 2080, 2619, 2862, 3509). That perception from truths is signified is because "the men of the place said," and that "the men of the place" are truths may be seen just above (n. 4889).
AC 4893. There was no harlot there. That this signifies that it was not falsity, is evident from the signification of a "harlot," as being falsity, as above (n. 4890). What these things which have thus far been unfolded in respect to the signification of the words, involve in a series, may in some measure appear from what has been said above (n. 4865, 4868, 4874); and more over they are things which cannot be comprehended unless the nature of the conjunction between internal truth and the external truth of the Jewish Church is known, both on the part of the internal truth represented by Tamar, and on the part of the external represented by Judah. As these are unknown they would fall into shade if further unfolded, thus into no idea of the understanding; for the understanding, which is the sight of the internal man, has its light and its shade, and those things fall into its shade which do not coincide with what it has had some notion of before. Yet all these particulars in a series, together with innumerable things which cannot even be comprehended by man, enter clearly into the light of the understanding of the angels. From this then it is evident how great and how excellent is angelic intelligence in comparison with that of man.
AC 4894. And he returned to Judah. That this signifies reflection, is evident from the fact that by the "Adullamite the companion of Judah" is signified falsity (n. 4816, 4854, 4886); and when falsity is said to return and to relate what happened, as is here said of the companion of Judah, nothing else is signified than recalling to mind, and reflection how the case is.
AC 4895.And said, I hate not found her. That this signifies that this cannot he disclosed by falsity, is evident from the signification of "not having found," as being not to have disclosed; and because the Adullamite says this, by whom falsity is signified (n. 4894), it follows that by his saying "I have not found her" is signified that falsity could not disclose it, or that this cannot he disclosed by falsity.
AC 4896. And also the men of the place said, There was no harlot there. That this signifies perception from truths that it was not falsity, is evident from what was said just above (n. 4892, 4893), where similar words occur.
AC 4897. And Judah said, Let her take it to her. That this signifies that it was indifferent to it, is evident from the affection in these words, as being indignation and thence indifference.
AC 4898. Haply we be put to shame. That this signifies although it was a disgrace, is evident from the signification of "being put to shame," as being disgrace.
AC 4899. Behold I sent this kid. That this signifies that it is enough that there is a pledge, is evident from the signification of a "kid of the goats," as being a pledge of conjugial love, or of conjunction (n. 4871), here only a pledge, because the kid was not accepted, for the reason that there was nothing conjugial; and as this was the reason, therefore by thou hast not found her is signified if there is not anything conjugial; this also flows from indifference, of which above (n. 4897). It is needless to explain these things any further, for the reason stated above (n. 4893), that they would fall into the shade of the understanding; and whatever falls into this shade, falls into unbelief, as for instance that there must be what is conjugial in order that there may be a church, namely, the conjugial between truth and good; and also that there must be an internal in the external; and that without the two there is nothing of a church. In the present words the internal and external in the Jewish Church are described in the internal sense, and it is shown that as to that nation there was not any internal in the external; but that in respect to the statutes and laws abstracted from the nation, there was.
 Who at this day has any other belief than that there was a church with the Jewish nation, and that it was chosen and loved above all others, the reason for this belief being chiefly that miracles so many and so great were wrought among them, and that so many prophets were sent to them, and also that they had the Word. And yet that nation in itself had nothing of the church, for it was not in any charity, did not know even what genuine charity is, and also had no faith in the Lord. They indeed knew that He was to come, but supposed that it was to exalt them above all in the whole world; and because this was not done they entirely rejected Him, being unwilling to know anything about His heavenly kingdom, These things, which are the internals of the church, that nation did not acknowledge even in doctrine and still less in life. From all this alone it may be concluded that there was nothing of the church in that nation.
 It is one thing for the church to be with a people, and another for the church to be in a people - as for example, the Christian Church is with those who have the Word, and from doctrine preach the Lord; but still there is nothing of the church in them unless they are in the marriage of good and truth, that is, unless they are in charity toward the neighbor, and thence in faith; thus unless the internals of the church are in the externals. The church is not in those who are solely in externals separate from intervals, neither is it in those who are in faith separate from charity, nor in those who acknowledge the Lord from doctrine and not life. Hence it as plain that it is one thing for the church to be with a nation, and quite another to be in the nation.
 In the internal sense of this chapter is described the church as it was with the Jewish nation, and as it was in that nation. The quality of the church with that nation is described by the conjunction of Tamar with Judah under the pretext of the duty of a husband’s brother, and the quality of the church in that nation is described by the conjunction of Judah with Tamar as with a harlot. But a more particular description of these things is omitted for the reason spoken of above, for as there stated they would fall into the shade of the understanding. That the shade of the understanding is in these things may be seen from the fact that at this day scarcely anyone knows what the internal of the church is. And who knows that charity toward the neighbor consists in willing, and from willing in acting, and hence that faith consists in perceiving? When this is unknown, and especially when it is denied, as it is by those who make faith saving without the works of charity, into what shade must those things fall which are here said in the internal sense concerning the conjunction of what is internal with the external of the church with the Jewish nation and in that nation. They who do not know that charity is the internal and thus the essential of the church, stand very remote from the first step toward the understanding of such things, and therefore very far from the innumerable and ineffable things that are in heaven, where the things relating to love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor are the all of life, and consequently the all of wisdom and of intelligence.GENESIS 38:19-23 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|