Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 7:10-12
AC 752. Verse 10. And it came to pass after the seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. This signifies, as before, the beginning of temptation.
AC 753. That by "seven days" is signified the beginning of temptation was shown above at (verse 4); and it has reference to what has gone before, namely, that this temptation, which was of the things of his understanding, was the beginning of temptation, or the first temptation; and it is the conclusion thus expressed. And because this first temptation was as to things of the understanding, it is described by the "waters of the flood," as above at (verse 7), and by the "flood of waters" at (verse 6), which properly signify such temptation, as was there shown.
AC 754. Verse 11. In the six hundredth year of Noah‘s life, in the second month, in the seventeenth day of the month, in that day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the cataracts of heaven were opened. By "the six hundredth year, the second month, and the seventeenth day," is signified the second state of temptation; "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up," signifies the extreme of temptation as to the things of the will; "the cataracts of heaven were opened," signifies the extreme of temptation as to the things of the understanding.
AC 755. That by "the six hundredth year, the second month, and seventeenth day," is signified the second state of temptation, follows from what has hitherto been said; for from (verse 6-11) the first state of temptation is treated of, which was temptation as to things of his understanding. And that now the second state is treated of, namely, as to things of the will, is the reason why his age is told again. It was said before that he was "a son of six hundred years," and here that the flood came "in the six hundredth year of his life, in the second month, and in the seventeenth day." No one could suppose that by the years of Noah’s age, of which the years, months, and days are specified, a state of temptation as to things of the will is meant. But as has been said, such was the manner of speech and of writing among the most ancient people; and especially were they delighted in being able to specify times and names, and thereby construct a narrative similar to actual history; and in this consisted their wisdom.
 Now it has been shown above, at (verse 6), that the "six hundred years" signify nothing else than the first state of temptation, and so do the "six hundred years" here; but in order that the second state of temptation might be signified, "months" and "days" are added; and indeed two months or "in the second month," which signifies combat itself, as is evident from the signification of the number "two" in (verse 2) of this chapter, where it is shown that it signifies the same as "six," that is, labor and combat, and also dispersion. But the number "seventeen" signifies both the beginning of temptation and the end of temptation, because it is composed of the numbers seven and ten. When this number signifies the beginning of temptation, it involves the days up to seven, or a week of seven days; and that this signifies the beginning of temptation has been shown above, at (verse 4) of this chapter. But when it signifies the end of temptation (Genesis 8:4), then "seven" is a holy number; to which "ten" (which signifies remains) is adjoined, for without remains man cannot be regenerated.
 That the number "seventeen" signifies the beginning of temptation, is evident in Jeremiah, when that prophet was commanded to buy a field from Hanamel his uncle‘s son, which was in Anathoth; and he weighed him the money, seventeen shekels of silver (Jeremiah 32:9). That this number also signifies the Babylonish captivity, which represents the temptation of the faithful and the devastation of the unfaithful, and so the beginning of temptation and at the same time the end of temptation, or liberation, is evident from what follows in the same chapter,-the captivity in (Jeremiah 32:36), and the liberation in (Jeremiah 32:37) and following verses. No such number would have appeared in the prophecy if it had not, like all the other words, involved a hidden meaning.
 That "seventeen" signifies the beginning of temptation, is also evident from the age of Joseph, who was a "son of seventeen years" when he was sent to his brothers and sold into Egypt (Gen. 37:2). His being sold into Egypt has a similar signification, as of the Lord’s Divine mercy will be shown in the explication of that chapter. There the historical events are representative, which actually took place as described; but here significative historical incidents are composed, which did not take place as described in the sense of the letter. And yet the actual events involve arcana of heaven, in fact every word of them does so, exactly as do these made-up histories. It cannot but appear strange that this is so, because where any historical fact or statement is presented, the mind is held in the letter and cannot release itself from it, and so thinks that nothing else is signified and represented.
 But that there is an internal sense in which the life of the Word resides (and not in the letter, which without the internal sense is dead), must be evident to every intelligent man. Without the internal sense how does any historical statement in the Word differ from history as told by any profane writer? And then of what use would it be to know the age of Noah, and the month and day when the flood took place, if it did not involve a heavenly arcanum? And who cannot see that this saying: "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the cataracts of heaven were opened," is a prophetical one? Not to mention other like considerations.
AC 756. That "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up," signifies the extreme of temptation as to things of the will, is evident from what has been said just above respecting temptations, that they are of two kinds, one as to things of the understanding, the other as to things of the will, and that the latter relatively to the former are severe; and it is evident likewise from the fact that up to this point temptation as to things of the understanding has been treated of. The same is evident from the signification of the "deep," namely, cupidities and the falsities thence derived (n. 18), and it is evident also from the following passages in the Word. In Ezekiel:--
Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and many waters shall cover thee (Ezekiel 26:19),
where the "deep" and "many waters" denote the extreme of temptation. In Jonah:--
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; the deep was round about me (Jonah 2:5),
where likewise the "waters" and the "deep" denote the extreme of temptation. In David:--
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy water-spouts; all Thy breakers and all Thy waves are over me (Ps. 42:7),
where also the "deep" manifestly denotes the extreme of temptation Again:--
He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up; and He made them go through the deeps as in the wilderness, and He saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy, and the waters covered their adversaries (Ps. 106:9-11),
where the "deep" denotes the temptations in the wilderness.
 In ancient times, hell was meant by the "deep;" and phantasies and persuasions of falsity were likened to waters and rivers, as also to a smoke out of the deep. And the hells of some appear so, that is, as deeps and as seas; concerning which, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter. From those hells come the evil spirits that devastate, and also those that tempt man; and their phantasies that they pour in, and the cupidities with which they inflame a man, are as inundations and exhalations therefrom. For as before said, through evil spirits man is conjoined with hell, and through angels with heaven. And therefore when it is said that "all the fountains of the deep were broken up," such things are signified. That hell is called the "deep" and that the foul emanations therefrom are called "rivers," is evident in Ezekiel:--
Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the day when he went down into hell I caused a mourning, I covered the deep above him, and I restrained the rivers thereof, and the great waters were stayed (Ezekiel 31:15).
Hell is also called the "deep," or "abyss," in John (Rev. 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3).
AC 757. The cataracts of heaven were opened. That this signifies the extreme of temptation as to things of the understanding, is also evident from the above. Temptation as to things of the will, or as to cupidities, can by no means be separated from temptation as to things of the understanding; for if separated there would not be any temptation, but an inundation, such as there is with those who live in the fires of cupidities, in which they, like infernal spirits, feel the delights of their life. They are called the "cataracts of heaven" from the inundation of falsities or reasonings; concerning which also in Isaiah:--
He who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and be that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare; for the cataracts from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth do shake (Isaiah 24:18).
AC 758. Verse 12. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. This signifies that the temptation continued. "Rain" is temptation; "forty days and forty nights," denotes its duration.
AC 759. That the "rain" here is temptation is evident from what has been said and shown above, concerning a "flood" and an "inundation;" and also from the signification of the "fountains of the deep were broken up," and the "cataracts of heaven were opened," as being temptations.
AC 760. That the "forty days and forty nights," signify its duration, was shown above, at (verse 4). By "forty," as before said, is signified every duration of temptation, whether greater or less, and indeed severe temptation, which is of the things of the will. For by continual pleasures, and by the loves of self and of the world, consequently by the cupidities that are the connected activities of these loves, man has acquired a life for himself of such a kind that it is nothing but a life of such things. This life cannot possibly accord with heavenly life; for no one can love worldly and heavenly things at the same time, seeing that to love worldly things is to look downward, and to love heavenly things is to look upward. Much less can any one love himself and at the same time the neighbor, and still less the Lord. He who loves himself, hates all who do not render him service; so that the man who loves himself is very far from heavenly love and charity, which is to love the neighbor more than one’s self, and the Lord above all things. From this it is evident how far removed the life of man is from heavenly life, and therefore he is regenerated by the Lord through temptations, and is bent so as to bring him into agreement. This is why such temptation is severe, for it touches a man‘s very life, assailing, destroying, and transforming it, and is therefore described by the words: "the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the cataracts of heaven were opened."
AC 761. That spiritual temptation in man is a combat of the evil spirits with the angels who are with him, and that this combat is commonly felt in his conscience, has been stated before, and concerning this combat it should also be known that angels continually protect man and avert the evils which evil spirits endeavor to do to him. They even protect what is false and evil in a man, for they know very well whence his falsities and evils come, namely, from evil spirits and genii. Man does not produce anything false and evil from himself, but it is the evil spirits with him who produce it, and at the same time make the man believe that he does it of himself. Such is their malignity. And what is more, at the moment when they are infusing and compelling this belief, they accuse and condemn him, as I can confirm from many experiences. The man who has not faith in the Lord cannot be enlightened so as not to believe that he does evil of himself, and he therefore appropriates the evil to himself, and becomes like the evil spirits that are with him. Such is the case with man. As the angels know this, in the temptations of regeneration they protect also the falsities and evils of a man, for otherwise he would succumb. For there is nothing in a man but evil and the falsity thence derived, so that he is a mere assemblage and compound of evils and their falsities.
AC 762. But spiritual temptations are little known at this day. Nor are they permitted to such a degree as formerly, because man is not in the truth of faith, and would therefore succumb. In place of these temptations there are others, such as misfortunes, griefs, and anxieties, arising from natural and bodily causes, and also sicknesses and diseases of the body, which in a measure subdue and break up the life of a man’s pleasures and cupidities, and determine and uplift his thoughts to interior and religious subjects. But these are not spiritual temptations, which are experienced by those only who have received from the Lord a conscience of truth and good. Conscience is itself the plane of temptations, wherein they operate.
AC 763. Thus far temptations have been treated of; and now follows the end or purpose of the temptation, which was that a new church might arise. GENESIS 7:10-12 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|