Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 4:5-6
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 355. Verse 5. But to Cain and his offering He looked not; and Cain‘s anger was kindled exceedingly, and his faces fell. By "Cain," as has been stated, is signified faith separated from love, or such a doctrine as admits of the possibility of this separation; by his "offering not being looked to," is signified as before that his worship was unacceptable. By "Cain’s anger being kindled exceedingly, and his faces falling," is signified that the interiors were changed. By "anger" is denoted that charity had departed; and by the "faces," the interiors, which are said to "fall" when they are changed.

AC 356. That by "Cain" is signified faith separated from love, or a doctrine that admits of this separation; and that "to his offering He looked not," signifies that his worship was not acceptable, has been shown before.

AC 357. That "Cain‘s anger was kindled" signifies that charity had departed, is evident from what is afterwards related of his killing his brother Abel, by whom is signified charity. Anger is a general affection resulting from whatever is opposed to self-love and its cupidities. This is plainly perceived in the world of evil spirits, for there exists there a general anger against the Lord, in consequence of evil spirits being in no charity, but in hatred, and whatever does not favor self-love (amori proprio) and the love of the world, excites opposition, which is manifested by anger. In the Word, "anger," "wrath," and even "fury," are frequently predicated of Jehovah, but they are of man, and are attributed to Jehovah because it so appears, for a reason mentioned above. Thus it is written in David:--

He sent against them the anger of His nostril, and wrath, and fury, and trouble, and an immission of evil angels; He hath weighed a path for His anger, He withheld not their soul from death (Ps. 78:49, 50).

Not that Jehovah ever sends anger upon any one, but that men bring it upon themselves; nor does He send evil angels among them, but man draws them to himself. And therefore it is added, that He "hath weighed a path for His anger, and withheld not their soul from death;" and therefore it is said in Isaiah, "To Jehovah shall he come, and all that were incensed against Him shall be ashamed" (Isaiah 45:24), whence it is evident that "anger" signifies evils, or what is the same, a departure from charity.

AC 358. That by the "faces falling" is signified that the interiors were changed, is evident from the signification of the "face" and of its "falling." The face, with the ancients, signified internal things, because internal things shine forth through the face; and in the most ancient times men were such that the face was in perfect accord with the internals, so that from a man’s face every one could see of what disposition or mind he was. They considered it a monstrous thing to show one thing by the face and think another. Simulation and deceit were then considered detestable, and therefore the things within were signified by the face. When charity shone forth from the face, the face was said to be "lifted up;" and when the contrary occurred, the face was said to "fall;" wherefore it is also predicated of the Lord that He "lifts up His faces upon man," as in the benediction (Num. 6:26; Ps. 4:6), by which is signified that the Lord gives charity to man. What is meant by the "face falling," appears from Jeremiah:--

I will not make My face to fall toward you, for I am merciful, saith Jehovah (Jeremiah 3:12).

The "face of Jehovah" is mercy, and when He "lifts up His face" upon any one, it signifies that out of mercy He gives him charity; and the reverse when He "makes the face to fall," that is, when man‘s face falls.

AC 359. Verse 6. And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why is thine anger kindled? and why are thy faces fallen? "Jehovah said unto Cain," means that conscience dictated; that his "anger was kindled, and that his countenance fell," signifies as before that charity had departed, and that the interiors were changed.

AC 360. That "Jehovah said unto Cain" means that conscience dictated, needs no confirmation, as a similar passage was explained above.

GENESIS 4:5-6    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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