Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 4:23
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AC 427. Verse 23. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, and with your ears perceive my speech; for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a little one to my hurt. By "Lamech" is signified vastation, as before; that he "said unto his wives Adah and Zillah, with your ears perceive my speech," signifies confession, which can only be made where there is a church, which, as has been said, is signified by his "wives." "I have slain a man to my wounding," signifies that he had extinguished faith, for by a "man" is signified faith; "a little one to my hurt," signifies that he had extinguished charity. By a "wound" and a "hurt" (or "bruise") is signified that there was no more soundness; by a "wound," that faith was desolated; by a "hurt," that charity was devastated.

AC 428. From the contents of this and the following verse, it is very evident that by "Lamech" is signified vastation; for he says that he had "slain a man," and a " little child," and that Cain should be avenged sevenfold, and Lamech "seventy and sevenfold."

AC 429. That by a "man (vir)" is signified faith, is evident from the (verse 1) of this chapter, in that Eve said, when she bare Cain, "I have gotten a man Jehovah;" by whom was meant the doctrine of faith, called a "man Jehovah." It is evident also from what was shown above concerning a man or male, that he signifies understanding, which is of faith. That he had also extinguished charity, here called a "little one," or a "little child," follows, for he who denies and murders faith, at the same time also denies and murders the charity that is born from faith.

AC 430. A "little one," or "little child," in the Word, signifies innocence, and also charity, for true innocence cannot exist without charity, nor true charity without innocence. There are three degrees of innocence, distinguished in the Word by the terms "sucklings," "infants," and "little children;" and as there is no true innocence without true love and charity, therefore also by "sucklings," "infants," and "little children," are signified the three degrees of love: namely, tender love, like that of a suckling toward its mother or nurse; love like that of an infant toward its parents; and charity, similar to that of a little child toward its instructor. Thus it is said in Isaiah:--

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6).

Here a "lamb," a "kid," and a "calf," signify the three degrees of innocence and love; a "wolf," a "leopard," and a "young lion," their opposites; and a "little child," charity. In Jeremiah:--

Ye commit this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and wife, infant and suckling, out of the midst of Judah, to leave you no remains (Jeremiah 44:7).

"Man and wife" denote things of the understanding and of the will, or of truth and of good; and "infant and suckling," the first degrees of love. That an " infant" and a "little child" denote innocence and charity, is very evident from the Lord‘s words in Luke:--

They brought unto Him little children that He should touch them. And Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein (Luke 18:15, 17).

The Lord Himself is called a "little one," or "child" (Isa. 9:6), because He is innocence itself and love itself, and in the same passage He is spoken of as "Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace."

AC 431. That by a "wound" and a "bruise" is signified that here was soundness no longer, by a "wound" that faith was desolated, and by a "bruise" that charity was devastated, is evident from the fact that "wound" is predicated of a "man," and "bruise" of a "little one." The desolation of faith and the vastation of charity are described in the same terms in Isaiah:--

From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wound and bruise and a fresh sore; they have not been pressed out, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil (Isaiah 1:6).

In this passage "wound" is predicated of faith desolated, "bruise" of charity devastated, and "sore" of both.

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