Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 9:5
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AC 1004. Verse 5. And surely your blood with your souls will I require; from the hand of every wild beast will I require it; and from the hand of man, from the hand of the man his brother will I require the soul of man. "And surely your blood with your souls will I require," signifies that violence inflicted upon charity will punish itself; "your blood" here, is violence; "souls" are they who inflict violence; "from the hand of every wild beast," signifies from all that is violent in man; "from the hand of man," is from all his will; "from the hand of the man his brother," is from all his understanding; "will I require the soul of man," is to avenge profanation.

AC 1005. And surely your blood with your souls will I require. That this signifies that violence inflicted upon charity will punish itself, and that "blood" is violence, and "souls" they who inflict violence, is evident from what precedes and what follows, as also from the signification of "blood" in the opposite sense, and from the signification of "soul" in the opposite sense. From what precedes, because in the preceding verse the eating of blood is treated of, by which is signified profanation, as has been shown. From what follows, as the next verse treats of the shedding of blood; and therefore here the subject is the state and punishment of him who mingles what is sacred with what is profane. From the signification of blood" in the opposite sense, because in the genuine sense "blood" signifies what is celestial, and in reference to the regenerate spiritual man charity, which is his celestial; but in the opposite sense "blood" signifies violence inflicted upon charity, consequently what is contrary to charity, and therefore all hatred, revenge, cruelty, and especially profanation, as may be seen from the passages in the Word cited above (n. 374, 376). From the signification of "soul" in the opposite sense, since "soul" in the Word signifies in general life, thus every man who lives; but since such as man is such is his life, it signifies also the man who brings violence, as may be confirmed by many passages from the Word, but here only by this from Moses:--

He that eateth blood, I will set My faces against the soul that eateth blood, and I will cut it off from among his people; for the soul of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that will make atonement for the soul (Lev. 17:10, 11, 14).

Here the " soul" denotes the life in a threefold sense, as often elsewhere. That violence inflicted upon charity will bring punishment on itself, will be evident from what follows.

AC 1006. From the hand of every wild beast. That this signifies from all that is violent in man, is evident from the signification of "wild beast." In the Word "wild beast (fera)" signifies what is living (n. 908), but in the opposite sense it signifies what is like a wild beast, thus whatever is ferine in man. Therefore it signifies a man of such life, namely, a violent man, or one who inflicts violence on charity; for he is like a wild beast. Man is a man from love and charity, but he is a wild beast from hatred, revenge, and cruelty.

AC 1007. From the hand of man (homo). That this is from all of his will, and that "from the hand of the man brother (viri fatris)," is from all of his intellectual, is evident from the signification of "man" - for the essential and life of man is his will, and such as the will is, such is the man - and from the signification of a "man brother." The intellectual in man is called "man brother," as shown before (n. 367). Whether it be a true intellectual, a spurious intellectual, or a false intellectual, it is still called a "man brother;" for the understanding is called "man (vir)" (n. 158, 265), and the "brother" of the will (n. 367). "Man (homo)" and "man (vir) brother" are here mentioned, and the unclean will and unclean intellectual are so called, because profanation is here treated of, no mention or representation of which is tolerated in heaven, but is at once rejected. For this reason such mild terms are here used, and the meaning of the words of this verse is in a manner ambiguous, that it may not be known in heaven that such things are contained in it.

AC 1008. Will I require the soul of man. That this means to avenge profanation, is evident from what has been said in the preceding verse and in this verse, for the subject is the eating of blood, by which is signified profanation. What profanation is, few know, and still less what its punishment is in the other life. Profanation is manifold. He who utterly denies the truths of faith does not profane them, as do not the nations which live outside of the church and of knowledges. But he profanes them who knows the truths of faith, and especially he who acknowledges them, bears them in his mouth, preaches them, and persuades others to adopt them, and yet lives in hatred, revenge, cruelty, robbery, and adultery, which he confirms in himself by many things that he extracts from the Word, perverting them and thus immersing them in these foul evils. He it is who profanes. And it is such profanity chiefly that brings death to a man, as may be evident from this, that in the other life what is profane and what is holy are entirely separated-what is profane in hell and what is holy in heaven. When such a man comes into the other life, in every idea of his thought, just as in the life of the body, what is holy adheres to what is profane. He cannot there bring forth a single idea of what is holy without what is profane being seen adhering, as clearly as in daylight, there is such perception of another‘s ideas in the other life. Thus in everything he thinks profanation is manifest, and since heaven abhors profanation, he cannot but be thrust down into hell.

[2] The nature of ideas is known to hardly any one. It is supposed that they are something simple; but in each idea of thought there are things innumerable, variously conjoined so as to make a certain form, and hence pictured image of the man, which is all perceived and even seen in the other life. Merely for example- when the idea of a place occurs, whether of a country, a city, or a house, then an idea and image of all things the man has ever done there comes forth, and they are all seen by angels and spirits; or when the idea of a person whom he has held in hatred, then the idea comes forth of all things which he has thought, spoken, and done against him. And so it is with all other ideas; when they come up, all things in general and particular that he has conceived and impressed on himself in regard to the subject in question lie open to view. As when the idea of marriage arises, if he has been an adulterer, all filthy and obscene things of adultery, even of thought about it, come forth; likewise all things with which he has confirmed adulteries- whether from things of sense, from things of reason, or from the Word-and how he has adulterated and perverted the truths of the Word.

[3] Moreover, the idea of one thing flows into the idea of another and colors it, as when a little black is dropped into water and the whole volume of water is darkened. Thus is the spirit known from his ideas, and, wonderful to say, in every idea of his there is an image or likeness of himself, which when presented to view is so deformed as to be horrible to see. From this it is evident what is the state of those who profane holy things, and what is their appearance in the other life. But it can never be said that those profane holy things who in simplicity have believed what is said in the Word, even if they have believed what was not true; for things are said in the Word according to appearances, as may be seen above (n. 589).

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