Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 49:1-2
AC 6333. From the things said by Jacob in this chapter it may be clearly seen that there is another sense in the Word than that which appears in the letter; for Jacob, who was then Israel, says that he will tell what shall befall his sons in the end of the days (verse 1), and yet the things he tells and that he predicts did not at all befall them; such as that the descendants of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi should be cursed more than the rest; and that Simeon and Levi should be divided in Jacob, and be scattered in Israel (verses 3-7); but the contrary befell Levi, namely, that he was blessed, for the priesthood was allotted to him.
 Neither did that befall Judah which is said of him, except that the representative of the church remained longer with him than with the rest of the tribes; and moreover such things are said of him as no one can know the meaning of, except from another sense which is hidden within, as that he should bow himself and couch as a lion; should bind his young ass unto the vine, and his ass‘s colt unto the choice vine; that he should wash his clothing in wine, and his covering in the blood of grapes; that his eyes should be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk (verses 9, 11, 12). All these things are of such a nature as to cause everyone to see that there is something within them that is known in heaven, and that cannot be made known to man, except from thence.
 It is the same with what Israel said of the rest of his sons; as of Zebulun, that he should dwell at the haven of the seas and of ships, and that his side should be toward Zidon; of Issachar, that he should be a bony ass lying down between the burdens, stooping his shoulder to bear a burden; of Dan, that he should be a serpent in the way, an arrow-snake upon the path, biting the horse’s heels, and that his rider will fall backward; and so on with the rest. From all this it is very evident that as already said the Word has an internal sense. The Word is given in order to unite heaven and earth, or angels with men; and therefore it has been so written that it may be spiritually apprehended by the angels, when naturally apprehended by man, and that in this way what is holy may flow in through the angels, by which means union is effected. Such is the Word in both the historical and the prophetical parts; but the internal sense is less apparent in the historical than in the prophetical parts, because the historical parts have been written in a different style, yet still by means of significatives.
 The historical parts have been given in order that infants and children may thereby be initiated into the reading of the Word; for the historical parts are delightful, and rest in their minds, whereby communication is given them with the heavens; and this communication is grateful, because they are in a state of innocence and mutual charity. This is the reason why there is an historical Word. There is a prophetical Word, because when it is read, it is not understood by man except obscurely, and when it is understood obscurely by such men as there are now, it is perceived clearly by the angels, as it has been given me to know from much experience, of which by the Lord‘s Divine mercy elsewhere.
AC 6334. Verses 1, 2. And Jacob called his sons, and said, Gather ye yourselves together, and I will tell you what shall befall you in the end of the days. Assemble yourselves and hear ye sons of Jacob, and hear unto Israel your father. "And Jacob called his sons," signifies the setting in order of the truths of faith and goods of love in the natural; "and said, father ye yourselves together," signifies all of them in general together; "and I will tell you what shall befall you in the end of the days," signifies the quality of the state of the church in the order in which they then were "assemble yourselves," signifies that they should set themselves in order; "and hear, ye sons of Jacob," signifies the truths and goods in the natural; "and hear unto Israel your father," signifies a prediction about them by spiritual good; in the supreme sense, the Lord’s foresight.
AC 6335. And Jacob called his sons. That this signifies the setting in order of the truths of faith and goods of love in the natural, is evident from the signification of "calling," as being to set in order, for the reason of calling them together was that the truths of faith and goods of charity might be presented in this orderly arrangement; and from the representation of Jacob and his sons, as being the truths of faith and goods of love in the natural. Jacob represents these in general, (n. 3509, 3525, 3546, 3659, 3669, 3677, 3775, 3829, 4234, 4273, 4337, 5506, 5533, 5535, 6001, 6236); and also his sons, or the tribes named from them, the same in particular, (n. 3858, 3926, 3939, 4060). As regards the setting in order of the truths of faith and of the goods of love, which is here signified, and is presented in the internal sense in this chapter, be it known that tile twelve tribes of Israel represented in general all truths and goods in one complex, thus all the truths and goods which proceed from the Lord, and consequently these which are in heaven, and of which heaven consists. And because they are all represented in general, they are also represented severally in particular; for generals contain in them particulars, as wholes contain parts.
 The lights in heaven are varied in accordance with the goods and the derivative truths, and the states of intelligence and wisdom, in accordance with the lights and it was from this that the light sparkled and quivered through the Urim and Thummim, and this with variety in accordance with the state of the matter about which the interrogation was made. This took place because the twelve tribes, by which were signified all truths and goods in general, were marked on that breastplate, that is, on the Urim and Thummim, for there was a single precious stone for each tribe. The reason why they were precious stones was that they signified spiritual and celestial truths (n. 114, 3720); and the gold in which they were set signified good (n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658). This is the secret that was signified by the Urim and Thummim.
 That the twelve tribes had such a signification, is plain from the passages in the Word where they are mentioned; especially from the inheritance of the tribes in the land of Canaan described in Joshua and from their inheritance in the Lord‘s kingdom, described in the last chapters of Ezekiel, where we read of the new earth, the new Jerusalem, and the new temple; and in John and (Revelation 7:4-8); also from the order in which they encamped in the wilderness, which was of such a nature that they thereby represented truths and goods in their genuine order. Hence the prophetic utterance of Balaam: When Balaam lifted up his eyes, and saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes, the spirit of God came upon him. And he gave forth an enunciation, and said, How good are thy tabernacles O Jacob! thy habitations O Israel! As the valleys are they planted, as gardens beside the river, as sandalwood trees which Jehovah hath planted, as cedars beside the waters" (Num. 24:2-6). See also the things shown about the tribes and their ordering in (n. 2129, 3858, 3862, 3926, 3939, 4060, 4603).
AC 6336. And said, Gather ye yourselves together. That this signifies all in general together, is evident from the signification of "gathering,’ as being that they should be together, here all the truths of faith and the goods of love which are signified by the twelve sons of Jacob (n. 6335).
AC 6337. And I will tell you what shall befall you in the end of the days. That this signifies the quality of the state of the church in the order in which they then were, is evident from the signification of "telling what shall befall," as being to communicate and to foretell; and from the signification of the "end of the days," as being the last of the state in which they are together. For "days" are states (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, 3462, 3785, 4850); and the "end" is the last; thus the "end of the days" is the last of the state, namely, that in which truths and goods in general, when in their order, are together. The reason why it is the state of the church which is signified, is that the truths and goods which are represented by Jacob and his sons are what constitute the church; therefore by Jacob is represented the church (n. 4286, 4439, 4514, 4520, 4680, 4772, 5536, 5540); and so also by his sons (n. 5403, 5419, 5427, 5458, 5512). That the quality of the state is meant, is because the representation of the truths and goods of the church is according to the order in which the soils of Jacob or the tribes are mentioned in the Word (n. 3862, 3926, 3939). One quality is signified when Reuben is mentioned first, for when Reuben is mentioned first the quality begins from faith; but when Judah is mentioned first, then the quality begins from love; and it is different still when some other one is mentioned first. The quality is also varied according to the order in which the rest of the tribes are mentioned after these. Hence come forth innumerable, nay, infinite, variations, and more so when the truths and goods in general which are signified by the twelve tribes also take on specific variations, each truth and good innumerable ones, which causes each of them to receive in general another face; and still more so when these specific truths and goods take on innumerable singular variations; and so on. That infinite variations thus arise may be illustrated by many things in nature. Hence then it is that the twelve tribes have a different signification when mentioned in one order in the Word, from what they have when mentioned in another; thus they have a different signification in this chapter from what they have elsewhere.
AC 6338. Assemble yourselves. That this signifies that they should set themselves in order, is evident from the signification of "assembling," as being to be set in order, for in the spiritual sense "to be assembled" has no other meaning, because truths and goods cannot be assembled unless they are also set in order. For the universal influx which proceeds from the Lord effects this, because it contains within it all the singulars down to the veriest ones; and it is all these taken together which are the universal influx that reduces into order all things in the heavens. When the universal influx is doing this, it appears as if the very goods and truths set themselves in order, and as if they flow into order of their own accord. This is the case with the universal heaven, which is in order, and is continually kept in order by the universal influx from the Lord. It is also the case with the societies in heaven in general, and likewise with the societies in particular; for as soon as angels or spirits assemble, they are forthwith disposed into order as of themselves, and thus constitute a heavenly society, which is an image of heaven. This would never take place unless the universal influx which proceeds from the Lord contained within it the veriest singulars of all, and unless all these were in the most perfect order. If there were any universal influx from God without singulars, as many suppose, and a man, spirit, or angel were to direct himself in singulars, instead of order there would be confusion of all things; neither would there be a heaven, a hell, the human race, or even nature. This may be illustrated by many things with man, as that unless his thoughts were ordered universally and at the same time singularly by the affections of love, it would be impossible for them to flow rationally and analytically. So likewise with the actions: unless the soul in universal and in singular flowed into the viscera of the body, nothing could take place in the body with order and regularity; but when the soul flows in singularly and thus universally, then all things are set in order as of themselves. These things have been said to the intent that it may be known what is meant by truths and goods setting themselves in order.
AC 6339. And hear, ye sons of Jacob. That this signifies the truths and goods in the natural, is evident from the representation of the sons of Jacob, as being the truths and goods of the church in the natural (n. 6335).
AC 6340. And hear unto Israel your father. That this signifies a prediction about them by spiritual good, in the supreme sense the Lord‘s foresight, is evident from the signification of "hearing," namely, what shall happen in the end of the days, as being prediction; and from the representation of Israel, as being spiritual good (n. 5801, 5803, 5806, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833); and because prediction is signified in the internal sense by "hearing what shall befall in the end of the days," the foresight of the Lord is signified in the supreme sense, for all prediction is from the Lord’s foresight. Its being said that the "sons of Jacob should hear to Israel," signifies that they who are of the church should hear the Lord, that is, should hear Him in the Word, and what He there teaches with respect to the truths of faith and the goods of love, and what He predicts with respect to those who are in such truth and good as are signified by one or another son of Jacob; as what He teaches and predicts about those in faith separate from charity, here signified by "Reuben," "Simeon," and "Levi;" or about those in celestial good, signified by "Judah;" also about those in spiritual good, signified by "Joseph;" thus also about those who are in such things as are signified by the rest of the sons. GENESIS 49:1-2 - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|