Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 9:26
AC 1095. Verse 26. And he said, Blessed be Jehovah the God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. "Blessed be Jehovah the God of Shem," signifies every good for those who worship the Lord from internals; "Shem," is the internal church; "and Canaan shall be his servant," signifies that such as make worship consist solely in externals are among those who may perform vile services to the men of the church.
AC 1096. Blessed be Jehovah the God of Shem. That this signifies every good for those who worship the Lord from internals, is evident from the signification of "blessed." Blessing involves every good: celestial, spiritual, and natural; and all these are signified by "blessing," in the internal sense. In the external sense, by "blessing" is signified every worldly, corporeal, and earthly good; but these, if they be a blessing, must necessarily be so from internal blessing; for this alone is blessing, because it is eternal, and is conjoined with every felicity, and is the very being of blessings. For what really is, unless it is eternal? Every other being ceases to be. It was customary among the ancients to say, "Blessed be Jehovah;" by which they meant that from Him is every blessing, that is, every good; and the same was also a formula of thanksgiving because the Lord blesses, and has blessed; as in David (Ps. 28:6; 31:21; 41:13; 66:20; 68:19, 35; 72:18, 19; 89:52; 119:12; 124:6; 135:21; 144:1; and many other places).
 "Blessed be Jehovah" is said here because Shem, or the internal church, is the subject that is being treated of, which church is said to be internal, from charity. In charity the Lord is present, who is here called "Jehovah God." But He is not so called in the external church, for although the Lord is present in it, He is not present as He is in the man of the internal church. For the man of the external church still believes that he does the goods of charity from himself, and therefore when the subject treated of is the man of the external church, the Lord is called "God," as in the following verse concerning Japheth: "God shall enlarge Japheth." That every good is the portion of those who worship the Lord from internals, is evident also from the order of things; for the order is this: from the Lord is everything celestial, from the celestial is everything spiritual, from the spiritual is everything natural. This is the order of the coming forth of all things, and therefore it is the order of influx.
 The celestial is love to the Lord and toward the neighbor. Where there is no love, the connection is broken, and the Lord is not present, who flows in solely through the celestial, that is, through love. When there is no celestial, there cannot possibly be any spiritual, because everything spiritual is through the celestial from the Lord. The spiritual is faith, and therefore there is no faith except through charity, or love, from the Lord. It is similar with the natural. According to this same order do all goods flow in; from which it follows that those have every good who worship the Lord from internals, that is, from charity; whereas those who do not worship Him from charity have no good, save such as counterfeits what is good, but in itself is evil, such as the delight of hatreds and adulteries, which regarded in itself is nothing but an excrementitious delight, into which also it is turned in the other life.
AC 1097. And Canaan shall be his servant. That this signifies that such as make worship consist solely in externals are among those who may perform vile services to the men of the church, is evident especially from the representatives in the Jewish Church. In the Jewish Church the internal church was represented by Judah and Israel; by Judah the celestial church, by Israel the spiritual church, and by Jacob the external church. But those who made worship consist solely in externals were represented by the Gentiles, whom they called strangers, and who were their servants, and performed menial services in the church. As in Isaiah:--
Strangers shall stand and feed your flock, and the sons of the stranger shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers; but ye shall be called the priests of Jehovah the ministers of our God shall ye be called; ye shall eat the wealth of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves (Isaiah 61:5, 6).
Here celestial men are called the "priests of Jehovah," spiritual men the "ministers of our God;" those who make worship consist solely in externals are called the "sons of the stranger," who should serve in their fields and vineyards.
The sons of the stranger shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee (Isaiah 60:10),
where in like manner their services are mentioned. In Joshua concerning the Gibeonites:--
Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall not be cut off from you a servant, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God; and Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, especially for the altar of Jehovah (Joshua 9:23, 27).
It may be seen elsewhere who were represented by the Gibeonites, because of the covenant made with them, in spite of which however they were among those who served in the church. Concerning strangers, a law was delivered, that if they would receive peace and open their gates, they should be tributary and serve (Deut. 22:2; 1 Kings 9:21, 22). Everything written in the Word concerning the Jewish Church was representative of the kingdom of the Lord. The kingdom of the Lord is such that every one in it, whosoever and whatsoever he may be, must perform some use. Nothing but use is regarded by the Lord in His kingdom. Even the infernals must perform some use, but the uses which they perform are most vile. Among those who in the other life perform vile uses are those who have had merely external worship, separated from internal.
 Moreover the representatives in the Jewish Church were of such a nature that there was no thought about the person that represented, but only about the thing represented thereby; as for instance in the case of the Jews, who were by no means celestial men, and yet represented them; and Israel again was by no means a spiritual man, yet represented him; and so it was with Jacob and the rest. The same was the case with the kings and priests, by whom was represented the royalty and holiness of the Lord. This is very evident from the use of inanimate things for representation, as Aaron‘s garments, the altar itself, the tables for bread, the lamps, the bread and wine, besides oxen, bullocks, goats, sheep, kids, lambs, pigeons, and turtledoves. And because the sons of Judah and Israel only represented the internal and external worship of the Lord’s church, and yet more than others made all worship consist in externals, they above all others may be called "Canaan," according to his signification here.
AC 1098. What is meant by "Shem," and what by "Japheth," that is, who is a man of the internal church, and who is a man of the external church; and hence what is meant by "Canaan," will be evident from the following considerations. The man of the internal church attributes to the Lord all the good that he does, and all the truth that he thinks; but the man of the external church does not know how to do this, and yet does what is good. The man of the internal church makes the worship of the Lord from charity, thus internal worship, essential, and external worship not so essential; but the man of the external church makes external worship essential, and does not know what internal worship is, although he has it. And therefore the man of the internal church believes that he is acting against his conscience if he does not worship the Lord from what is internal; while the man of the external church believes that he is acting against his conscience if he does not sacredly observe external rites. There are many things in the conscience of the man of the internal church, because he knows many things from the internal sense of the Word; but there are fewer things in the conscience of the man of the external church, because he knows few things from the internal sense of the Word. The former, that is, the man of the internal church, is he who is called "Shem;" and the latter, that is, the man of the external church, is he who is called "Japheth." But he who makes worship consist only in externals, and has no charity, consequently no conscience, is called "Canaan." GENESIS 9:26 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|