Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 49:21
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AC 6411. Verse 21. Naphtali is a hind let loose, giving discourses of elegance. "Naphtali," signifies the state after temptations; "is a hind let loose," signifies the freedom of natural affection; "giving discourses of elegance," signifies gladness of mind.

AC 6412. That Naphtali signifies the state after temptations is evident from the representation of Naphtali as being temptation, and also the state after temptations (n. 3927, 3928). Moreover Naphtali is so named from "wrestlings," which in the spiritual sense are temptations.

AC 6413. Is a hind let loose. That this signifies the freedom of natural affection, is evident from the signification of a "hind," as being natural affection; and from the signification of "let loose," as being freedom, for when a captured hind is let loose it has freedom. Deliverance from a state of temptations is compared to a "hind let loose," because the hind is an animal of the forest, loving freedom more than other animals, in which the natural also resembles it; for this loves to be in the delight of its affections, consequently in freedom, for freedom is that which belongs to affection. The reason why a "hind" signifies natural affection, is that it is one of the beasts which are significative of (good) affections, as are all those which are for food and use, such as lambs, sheep, goats, and kids, and also oxen, bullocks, and cows; but these beasts are also significative of spiritual affections, because burnt-offerings and sacrifices were made of them, whereas hinds, not being employed for such a use, were significative of natural affections. That "beasts" signify affections may be seen above, (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 719, 776, 1823, 2179, 2180, 3519, 5198); also that their signifying affections is from the representatives in the world of spirits, (n. 3218, 5198).

[2] Natural affections are also signified by "hinds" in David:--

Jehovah maketh my feet like those of binds, and stationeth me upon my high places (Ps. 18:33).

And in Habakkuk:--

Jehovah the Lord is my strength, who setteth my feet like those of binds, and maketh me to march upon my high places (Habakkuk 3:19).

"To make the feet like those of hinds" denotes the natural in the freedom of the affections. "Feet" are the natural, (n. 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952, 5327, 5328). That "to set the feet as those of hinds" has this signification, may be seen from the fact that to make the feet nimble and active to run like those of hinds is not anything spiritual; and get that something spiritual is involved, is plain from what immediately follows, that "Jehovah will set him and cause him to march upon his high places," whereby is signified spiritual affection, which is above natural affection. So with this passage in Isaiah:--

The lame shall leap as a hart (Isa. 35:6);

for by the "lame" is signified one who is in good, but not as yet genuine (n. 4302).

[3] In David:--

As the hart crieth after the water brooks, so crieth my soul after Thee (Ps. 42:1);

the "hart" here is the affection of truth; "to cry after the water brooks" denotes to long for truths. "Waters" are truths, (n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668).

[4] In Jeremiah:--

Out of the daughter of Zion hath gone forth all her honor; her princes are become like harts, they have found no pasture (Lam. 1:6);

where the "daughter of Zion" denotes the affection of good, which affection is of the celestial church (n. 2362); "princes" denote the primary truths of that church (n. 1482, 2089, 5044), which are compared to "harts," whereby are signified the affections of natural truth; and by the "harts not finding pasture," are signified natural affections without truths and their goods. That a "pasture" denotes truth and the good of truth, which sustain the spiritual life of man, see above, (n. 6078, 6277).

[5] So by "hinds" in Jeremiah:--

The earth has been broken in pieces, in that there hath not been rain in the land, the husbandmen have been ashamed, they have covered over their heads, because even the hind hath brought forth in the field, but forsook it, because there was no grass (Jer. 14:4, 5);

the "hind" denotes the affection of natural good; "bath brought forth in the field" denotes to conjoin the natural affections with the spiritual things of the church; but because these affections were devoid of truths and goods, it is said that she "forsook, because there was no grass." Everyone can see that there is an internal sense in what is here said about the hind; for without an internal sense what could be here meant by the "hind bringing forth in the field, but forsaking, because there was no grass?"

[6] In like manner in David:--

The voice of Jehovah hath made the hinds to calve, and strippeth bare the forests; but in His temple everyone saith, Glory (Ps. 29:9);

that there is an internal sense which is spiritual in the words "the voice of Jehovah hath made the hinds to calve" is very evident from the fact that immediately afterward it is said, "but in His temple everyone saith, Glory," which words without the spiritual sense do not cohere with what is said before about hinds and forests.

AC 6414. Giving discourses of elegance. That this signifies gladness of mind, is evident from the signification of "discourses of elegance," as being gladness of mind; for all discourse proceeds from the mind, and when the mind is glad and cheerful, it speaks with elegance. After temptations come gladness and delight, (n. 1992, 3696, 4572, 5628).

AC 6415. From what was said by Israel in this prophetic utterance about Dan, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali, it is very plain that there is an internal sense and that without this sense scarcely anything can be understood and known; such as that "Dan shall be a serpent upon the way, an arrow-snake upon the path, biting the horse‘s heels, and that his rider shall fall backward;" that "a troop shall ravage Gad, and he shall ravage the heel;" that "Asher’s bread shall be fat, and he shall give the delights of a king;" and that "Naphtali is a hind let loose, giving discourses of elegance." Who without the key from the internal sense can know what these things mean? That they were not said of the sons of Jacob, nor of the tribes, may be seen from the fact that nothing of the kind here described befell them in the "end of days," when yet Israel says that he would tell them what should then befall them (verse 1); and as they were not said of them, it follows that they were said of such things as are represented by them, the nature of which has been unfolded above.

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