Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
That these things are signified may now be seen by anyone, both from the signification of all the things mentioned in this verse, and from such things being here mentioned as the kind of stones and of mortar that they used; things by no means worthy to be mentioned in the Word of the Lord, unless these arcana were contained within them.1302.
Verse 4. And they said, Come, let us build us a city and a tower, and its head in heaven; and let us make us a name, lest peradventure we be scattered upon the faces of the whole earth. "And they said," signifies that it came to pass; "let us build us a city and a tower," signifies that they framed a doctrine and a worship; "a city" is a doctrine, "a tower" is the worship of self; "and its head in heaven," signifies even to their having dominion over the things that are in heaven; "and let us make us a name," signifies that thereby they might have a reputation for power; "lest peradventure we be scattered upon the faces of the whole earth," signifies that otherwise they would not be acknowledged.1303.
And they said. That this signifies that it came to pass, follows from the connection, just as the preceding words, "they said a man to his fellow," signified that it was begun; for Babel is here described, and what its quality is, by the "tower."1304.
Let us build us a city and a tower. That this signifies that they framed a doctrine and a worship, may be seen from the signification of "a city," and from that of "a tower," concerning which presently. The church is of such a nature that when charity toward the neighbor departs, and the love of self succeeds in its place, the doctrine of faith is of no account except insofar as it can be turned into the worship of self; and nothing whatever is accounted holy in worship unless it is for the sake of self, and thus unless it is self-worship. All love of self is attended with this; for he who loves himself more than others, not only hates all who are not subservient to him, and shows them no favor except when they have become subservient, but also, insofar as he is not under restraint, he rushes on even until he exalts himself above God. That this is the nature of the love of self when the reins are given to it, has been shown me to the life. This is what is signified by "a city and a tower." The love of self and every derivative cupidity is of all things the most filthy and the most profane, and is the veriest infernalism; and from this anyone may conclude what the quality of that worship must be which contains within it an infernalism so absolute.1305.
That "a city" signifies doctrine, or that which is doctrinal, whether genuine or heretical, has been shown before (n. 402).1306.
That "a tower" is the worship of self, is evident from the signification of "a tower." The worship of self exists when a man exalts himself above others even to the point of being worshiped. And therefore the love of self, which is arrogance and pride, is called "height," "loftiness," and "being lifted up;" and is described by all things that are high. As in Isaiah: The eyes of man's pride shall be humbled, and the loftiness of men shall be brought low, and Jehovah Himself alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of Jehovah of Armies is upon everyone proud and high and upon everyone that is lifted up, and he shall be humbled; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every lofty tower, and upon every fenced wall (Isa. 2:11-18); concerning the love of self, which is described by the "cedars," "oaks," "mountains," "hills," and "tower" that are "high" and "lifted up."  Again: There shall be rivers, streams of waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers shall fall (Isa. 30:25); in like manner denoting the love of self, and the exalting of self in worship. And again: Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not; Asshur hath founded it in tziim; they will set up their watchtowers, they will raise up their palaces, he will make it a ruin (Isa. 23:13); said of Tyre and its vastation; "watchtowers," expressed by another word, denote the phantasies therefrom. In Ezekiel: I will cause many nations to come up against thee, O Tyre, and they shall ruin the walls of Tyre, and destroy her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and will make her the dryness of a rock (Ezek. 26:3-4); the signification being similar.  The love of self in worship, or the worship of self, is called a "tower," for the reason that a "city" signifies a doctrine (as before shown, n. 402) and cities were formerly fortified with towers, in which there were watchmen; and there were also towers on the borders, which for this reason were called "towers of watchmen" (2 Kings 9:17; 17:9; 18:8), and "watchtowers" (Isa. 23:13). And besides, when the church of the Lord is compared to a "vineyard," those things which belong to worship and to its conservation are compared to a "winepress" and to "a tower in the vineyard," as is evident in Isaiah 5:1, 2; Matt. 21:33; Mark 12:1.1307.
And its head in heaven. That this signifies even to their having dominion over the things that are in heaven, follows from what has been said. For "to have the head in heaven" is to exalt self even that far, as is evident from the description of Babel in other places in the Word; and from what has already been said about "lifting up the head" (n. 257). The love of self is that which is least of all in accord with the heavenly life; for all evils come from it, not only hatreds, but also revenges, cruelties, and adulteries; and still less does it accord when it enters into worship, and profanes it. And therefore the hells consist of such persons, who the more they would lift up their heads into heaven, the deeper they press themselves down, and the more frightful are the penalties into which they precipitate themselves.1308.
And let us make us a name. That this signifies that thereby they might have a reputation for power, may be seen from the signification of "making oneself a name." For they knew that everyone desires to be in some worship; for this is common to all, and exists among all nations. For everyone who beholds the universe, and still more who considers the order of the universe, acknowledges some supreme being or entity [summum ens], and as he desires his own prosperity, he pays adoration to that entity. Moreover there is something within, which dictates this, for such a dictate flows in from the Lord through the angels who are with every man. The man who is not like this, and who does not acknowledge a God, is under the dominion of infernal spirits. Knowing this, they who build Babylonish towers make themselves a name by means of doctrinal and holy things, for otherwise they could not be worshiped, which is signified in what next follows by their otherwise being scattered over the faces of the whole earth, that is, they would not be acknowledged. And from this it follows that the higher such men can lift up the head to heaven, the more they make themselves a name. Their dominion is greatest over those who have some conscience; for these they lead whithersoever they will; but as to those who have not conscience, they rule all such by means of various external bonds.1309.
Lest we be scattered upon the faces of the whole earth. That this signifies that otherwise they would not be acknowledged, follows from what has just been said; for to be "scattered abroad upon the faces of the whole earth," is to be lost to their view, and thus not to be received and acknowledged.1310.
Verse 5. And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of man were building. "Jehovah came down," signifies judgment upon them; "to see the city and the tower," signifies because they had perverted doctrine and profaned worship; "which the sons of man were building," signifies which they had devised for themselves.1311.
And Jehovah came down. That this signifies judgment upon them, is evident from what has gone before and from what follows, and also from the signification of "coming down," when predicated of Jehovah; from what has gone before, in that the subject has been the building of the city and tower of Babel; from what follows, in that the subject is the confusion of lips and of dispersion; from the signification of "coming down," when predicated of Jehovah, in that this is said when judgment takes place. Jehovah or the Lord is everywhere present and knows all things from eternity; and therefore it cannot be said of Him that He came down to see, except in the literal sense, where it is so said according to the appearances with man. But in the internal sense it is not so, for in this sense the subject is presented as it is in itself, and not according to the appearances; so that in the passage before us "to come down to see" signifies judgment.  Judgment is predicated of a state when evil has reached its highest, or, as it is termed in the Word, when it is "consummated," or when "iniquity is consummated." For the case herein is that all evil has its limits as far as which it is permitted to go; but when it goes beyond these limits, it incurs the penalty of the evil. This is so both in particular and in general. The punishment of evil is what is then called a judgment. And because it appears at first as if the Lord did not see or observe that the evil exists-for when a man does evil without punishment, he supposes that the Lord troubles not Himself about the matter, but when he undergoes the penalty he begins to think that the Lord sees, and even that the Lord inflicts the punishment-it is therefore said, in accordance with these appearances, that Jehovah came down to see.  To "come down" is predicated of Jehovah, because "the highest" is predicated of Him, that is, He is said to be in the highest, and this too according to the appearance, for He is not in things highest but in things inmost, and this is the reason why in the Word what is highest and what is inmost have the same signification. On the other hand, judgment or the penalty of evil takes place in lower and lowest things. This explains why He is said to "come down;" as also in David: O Jehovah, bow Thy heavens and come down; touch the mountains and they shall smoke; cast forth lightning and scatter them (Ps. 144:5-6), where the punishment of evil, or judgment, is signified. In Isaiah: Jehovah of Armies shall come down to fight upon Mount Zion, and upon the hill thereof (Isa. 31:4). And again: O that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence (Isa. 64:1). Here in like manner to "come down" denotes the penalty, or judgment, inflicted upon evil. In Micah: Jehovah cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth, and the mountains shall be molten under Him (Micah 1:3-4).1312.
To see the city and the tower. That these words signify because they had perverted doctrine and profaned worship, is evident from the signification of a "city" and of a "tower," concerning which before.1313.
Which the sons of man were building. That this signifies which they had devised for themselves, is clear without explication. "The sons of man" here are the sons of the church; for they who are not of the church, and have not the knowledges of faith, cannot devise such things. That such as these cannot profane holy things, has been shown before (n. 301-303, 593).1314.
Verse 6. And Jehovah said, Behold, the people are one, and they all have one lip, and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them of all which they have thought to do. "And Jehovah said," signifies that it was so; "Behold, the people are one, and they all have one lip," signifies that they all had one truth of faith and doctrine; "and this is what they begin to do," signifies that they now begin to become different; "and now nothing will be withholden from them of all which they have thought to do," signifies unless their state is now changed.1315.
And Jehovah said. That this signifies that it was so, is evident from the fact, that here, as has been shown before, we have not true history, but made-up history; and therefore when it is said that "Jehovah said," it can signify nothing else than that it was so, as has also been shown before.1316.
Behold, the people are one, and they all have one lip. That this signifies that they all had one truth of faith and doctrine, is evident from the signification of "people," as being the truth of faith, and from the signification of "lip," as being doctrine. It has been shown before (n. 1259), that "people" signifies the truth of faith, that is, those who are in the truth of faith; and that "lip" signifies the doctrine of faith, was shown just above (at verse 1). The people is said to be "one," and their "lip one," when all have as their end the common good of society, the common good of the church, and the kingdom of the Lord; for when this is the case the Lord is in the end, and all are a one from Him. But the Lord cannot possibly be present with a man whose end is his own good; the Own itself of man estranges the Lord, because thereby the man twists and turns the common good of society, and that of the church itself, and even the kingdom of the Lord, to himself, insomuch that it is as if it existed for him. He thus takes away from the Lord what is His, and puts himself in His place. When this condition reigns in a man, there is the like of it in every single thought he has, and even in the least particulars of his thoughts; for such is the case with whatever is regnant in any man.  This does not appear so manifestly in the life of the body as it does in the other life, for there whatever is regnant in anyone manifests itself by a certain sphere which is perceived by all around him, and which is of this character because it exhales from every single thing in him. The sphere of him who has regard to himself in everything, appropriates to itself, and, as is said there, absorbs everything that is favorable to itself, and therefore it absorbs all the delight of the surrounding spirits, and destroys all their freedom, so that such a person has to be banished from society. But when the people is one, and the lip one, that is, when the common good of all is regarded, one person never appropriates to himself another's delight, or destroys another's freedom, but insofar as he can he promotes and increases it. This is the reason why the heavenly societies are as a one, and this solely through mutual love from the Lord; and the case is the same in the church.1317.
And this is what they begin to do. That this signifies that now they began to become different, is evident from the connection. To "begin to do," here signifies their thought or intention, and consequently their end, as also is evident from the words that next follow, "and now nothing will be withholden from them of all which they have thought to do." That in the internal sense their end is signified, is because nothing else than the end in a man is regarded by the Lord. Whatever may be his thoughts and deeds-which vary in ways innumerable-provided the end is made good, they are all good; whereas if the end is evil, they are all evil. It is the end that reigns in everything a man thinks and does. The angels with a man, being the Lord's angels, rule nothing in the man but his ends; for when they rule these, they rule also his thoughts and actions, seeing that all these are of the end. The end with a man is his very life; and all things that he thinks and does have life from the end, for, as was said, they are of the end; and therefore such as is the end, such is the man's life. The end is nothing else than the love; for a man cannot have anything as an end except that which he loves. He who thinks one thing and does another, still has as the end that which he loves; in the dissimulation itself, or in the deceit, there is the end, which is the love of self or the love of the world, and the derivative delight of his life. From these considerations anyone may conclude that such as is a man's love, such is his life. These therefore are the things signified by "beginning to do."1318.
And now nothing will be withholden from them of all which they have thought to do. That this signifies unless their state is now changed, may be seen from what follows. The internal sense of the Word is of such a nature that it keeps constantly in view the things that follow, and also the conclusion, although this does not appear to be so in the literal sense. As regards those who are of the character described above, unless their state were changed, they could not be withheld from doing all they thought of doing. But that their state was changed, is evident from what follows. The thought of doing is nothing else than the intention, that is, the end. The end with a man can never be withheld, that is, changed, unless his state is changed; for the end is the very life of a man, as was said. When the state is changed, the end also is changed; and with the end the thought. The nature of the change of state that took place with the man of this church, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be shown in what follows.1319.
Verse 7. Come, let us go down, and there confound their lip, that they hear not a man the lip of his fellow. "Come, let us go down," signifies that a judgment was thus effected; "and there confound their lip," signifies that not anyone has the truth of doctrine; "that they hear not a man the lip of his fellow," signifies that all are at variance with one another.1320.
Come, let us go down. That this signifies that a judgment was thus effected, is evident from what was said above (at verse 5) about the signification of "going down." The reason why it is here said, in the plural, "let us go down and confound their lip," is that it is the execution of a judgment, which is effected by means of spirits, and indeed by means of evil spirits.1321.
And there confound their lip. That this signifies that not anyone has the truth of doctrine, may be seen from the signification of "lip," as being doctrine, concerning which see above (at verse 1). Hence it follows that to "confound the lips" is to confound the things that are of doctrine, that is, the truths of doctrine. In the internal sense, "to confound" signifies not only to darken, but also to blot out and dissipate, so that there is not any truth. When the worship of self succeeds in the place of the worship of the Lord, then all truth is not only perverted, but is even abolished, and at last falsity is acknowledged in the place of truth, and evil in the place of good. For all the light of truth is from the Lord, and all darkness is from man; and when man takes the place of the Lord in worship, the light of truth becomes thick darkness; and then the light is seen by men as thick darkness, and thick darkness is seen as the light.  Such moreover is precisely the life of such persons after death; the life of falsity is to them as if it were light, but the life of truth is to them as thick darkness. But when they approach toward heaven, the light of such a life is changed into total darkness. So long as they are in the world, they can indeed speak truth, even with eloquence and apparent zeal; and as there is with all such persons a constant reflection upon self, they seem to themselves to think as they speak; but as their very end is the worship of self, their thoughts derive from the end that they do not acknowledge truth except insofar as self is in the truth. When a man in whose mouth is the truth is of such a character, it is evident that he does not possess the truth; and in the other life this is plainly evident, for there such men not only do not acknowledge the truth which they had professed in the life of the body, but hold it in hatred, and persecute it; and this just in proportion as their arrogance or their worship of self is not taken away.1322.
That they hear not a man the lip of his fellow. That this signifies that all are at variance, or that the one is against the other, is evident from the words themselves. "Not to hear one another's lip," is not to acknowledge what another says, and in the internal sense not to acknowledge what another teaches, that is, his doctrine, for "lip" is doctrine, as has been shown above (at verse 1). They acknowledge it indeed with the mouth, but not with the heart; but agreement with the mouth is nothing when there is disagreement of the heart. The case in this respect is the same as it is with evil spirits in the other life, who, in like manner as the good, are distinguished into societies, but are kept conjoined together by being attached by the like phantasies and cupidities, so that they act as a one in persecuting truths and goods. Thus there is a certain common interest by which they are held together; but as soon as this common bond is dissolved, they rush one upon another, and then their delight consists in tormenting their associate or associates. The case is similar with such doctrine and worship in this world; those in it acknowledge what pertains to doctrine and ritual harmoniously enough; but the common interest that holds them together is the worship of self; and so far as they can share in this common interest, they acknowledge; but so far as they cannot share or hope to share in it, they are disunited; for the reason given just above, that no one of this character possesses any truth, but everyone has falsity in the place of truth, and evil in the place of good. This therefore is what is signified by their "not hearing a man the lip of his fellow."1323.
Verse 8. And Jehovah scattered them from thence upon the faces of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. "And Jehovah scattered them from thence upon the faces of all the earth," signifies here, as before, that they were not acknowledged; "and they left off to build the city," signifies that such doctrine was not received.1324.
And Jehovah scattered them upon the faces of all the earth. That this signifies that they were not acknowledged, is evident from what was said before (at verse 4), where the same words occur. "And they left off to build the city"-that this signifies that such doctrine was not received, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being doctrine (as was shown above, n. 402); and from what was said at verses 4 and 5 concerning the building of a city and a tower. From all this it is evident that such doctrine, or such worship, wherein interiorly there is the love of self, or the worship of self, was not permitted to this Ancient Church, and this for the reason explained in the verse that next follows.1325.
Verse 9. Therefore He called the name of it Babel, because there did Jehovah confound the lip of all the earth; and from thence did Jehovah scatter them upon the faces of all the earth. "Therefore He called the name of it Babel," signifies such worship; "because there did Jehovah confound the lip of all the earth," signifies the state of this Ancient Church, that internal worship began to perish; "the earth" is the church; "and from thence did Jehovah scatter them upon the faces of all the earth," signifies that internal worship was annihilated.1326.
Therefore He called the name of it Babel. That this signifies such worship, that is, the kind of worship signified by "Babel," is evident from what has been said hitherto; that is to say, worship in which interiorly there is the love of self, and therefore all that is filthy and profane. The love of self is nothing else than man's Own; and how filthy and profane this is may be seen from what has been shown before concerning man's Own (n. 210, 215). From self-love [philautia], that is, the love of self, or man's Own, all evils flow, such as hatreds, revenges, cruelties, adulteries, deceits, hypocrisies, impiety; and therefore when the love of self, or man's Own, is in the worship, such evils are in it, according to the difference and degree of quantity and quality that are from that love. Hence comes all the profanation of worship. In point of fact, in proportion as anything from the love of self, or from man's Own, is introduced into worship, in the same proportion internal worship departs, that is, it comes to pass that there is no internal worship. Internal worship consists in the affection of good and the acknowledgment of truth, and in proportion as the love of self, that is, in proportion as man's Own, makes its approach, or enters in, the affection of good and the acknowledgment of truth depart, or go out. The holy can never be with the profane, just as heaven cannot be with hell, but the one must take its departure from the other. Such is the state and order in the Lord's kingdom. This is the reason why there is no internal worship among such men as those whose worship is called "Babel," but only a kind of dead thing, and in fact one inwardly cadaverous, that is worshiped. From this it is evident what must be the quality of the external worship that contains such an internal within it.  That such worship is "Babel," is evident from the Word in various places where Babel is described, as in Daniel, where the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon 1326-1 saw in a dream-the head of which was of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet part of iron and part of clay-signifies that from true worship there finally comes such worship as is called "Babel;" and therefore a stone cut out of the rock broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold (Dan. 2:31-33, 44, 45). The image of gold that Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon set up, and which they worshiped, was nothing else (Dan. 3:1 to the end). The like is signified by the king of Babylon with his lords drinking wine out of the vessels of gold that had been brought from the temple at Jerusalem, and praising the gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, and of stone, on which account there appeared the writing upon the wall (Dan. 5:1 to the end). The like is signified also by Darius the Mede commanding that he should be adored as a god (Dan. 6:7 to the end); and likewise by the beasts seen by Daniel in a dream (Dan. 7:1 to the end) and the beasts and the Babylon described by John in the Revelation.  That such worship was signified and represented is very evident, not only in Daniel and John, but also in the Prophets. As in Isaiah: Their faces are faces of flames. The stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof shine not with their light; the sun is darkened in his going forth, and the moon doth not cause her light to shine. There do the Ziim couch, and their houses are filled with the Ochim; and the daughters of the night owl dwell there, and satyrs dance there, and Iim answer in her palaces, and dragons in the buildings of pleasure (Isa. 13:8, 10, 21-22). This is said of Babylon, and the internal of such worship is described by "faces of flames," which are cupidities by "the stars," which are truths of faith, "not giving their light;" by "the sun," which is holy love, being "darkened;" by "the moon," which is the truth of faith, "not shining;" by "the Ziim," "Ochim," "daughters of the owl," "satyrs," "Iim," and "dragons," as being the interiors of their worship; for such things are of the love of self, that is, of man's Own. And therefore also Babylon is called in John "the mother of whoredoms and abominations" (Rev. 17:5); and also "a habitation of dragons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird" (Rev. 18:2); from all which it is evident that with such things within, there cannot be anything of good, or of the truth of faith; and that insofar as the goods of affection and the truths of faith depart, such things enter in. The same are called also "the graven images of the gods of Babylon" (Isa. 21:9).  That it is the love of self, or the Own of man, that is in such worship, or that it is the worship of self, is very evident in Isaiah: Prophesy this parable upon the king of Babylon: Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit on the mount of assembly, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the cloud, I will become like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be cast down to hell (Isa. 14:4, 13-15). Here it is manifest that "Babylon" denotes one who desires to be worshiped as a god; that is, that it is the worship of self.  Again: Come down, and sit on the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit in the earth, without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans; thou hath trusted in thy wickedness; thou hast said, None seeth me; thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath averted thee; thou hast said in thine heart, I, and there is none else besides like me (Isa. 47:1, 10). In Jeremiah: Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, that destroyeth all the earth; and I will stretch out My hand upon thee, and will roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee into a mountain of burning. Though Babylon should mount up to the heavens, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from Me shall they that lay waste come to her (Jer. 51:25, 53). From this passage also it is evident that "Babylon" is the worship of self.  That such persons have no light of truth, but total darkness; that is, that they have no truth of faith, is described in Jeremiah: The word that Jehovah spoke against Babylon, against the land of the Chaldeans. Out of the north there shall ascend upon her a nation that shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell therein; from man even to beast they shall move asunder, they shall be gone (Jer. 50:1, 3); "the north" denotes thick darkness, or no truth; "no man and no beast," no good. (See further concerning Babel, below, at verse 28, where Chaldea is treated of.)1327.
There did Jehovah confound the lip of all the earth. That this signifies the state of this Ancient Church, that internal worship began to perish, is evident from its being said, "the lip of all the earth," and not, as before, at verse 7, "the lip of those who began to build a city and a tower." By "the face of all the earth," is signified the state of the church, for "the earth" is the church (as has been shown before, n. 662, 1066). As regards the churches after the flood, the case stood thus: there were three of these churches that are specifically mentioned in the Word; namely, the First Ancient Church, which was named from Noah; the Second Ancient Church, named from Eber; and the Third Ancient Church, named from Jacob, and afterwards from Judah and Israel.  As regards the first of these churches, which was named from Noah, that church was as the parent of those which succeeded it; and, as is wont to be the case with churches in their beginnings, it was more unimpaired and guiltless than its successors, as is evident also from the first verse of this chapter, in that it had "one lip," that is, one doctrine, in consequence of all its members holding charity to be the essential thing. But in process of time, like other churches, this First Ancient Church began to fall, and this chiefly from the fact that many of them began to aspire after the worship of self, so that they might take precedence of others; as is evident from verse 4, for they said, "Let us build us a city and a tower, and its head in heaven; and let us make us a name." Such men in the church could not but be as a kind of ferment, or as a firebrand causing a conflagration. As the peril of the profanation of what is holy thence impended (see n. 571, 582), of the Lord's Providence the state of this church was changed, so that its internal worship perished, while its external worship remained, which is here signified by the statement that Jehovah confounded the lip of all the earth. It is also evident from this that such worship as is called "Babel" did not prevail in the First Ancient Church, but in those which followed, when men began to be worshiped as gods, especially after their death, whence arose the many gods of the Gentiles.  The reason why it was permitted that internal worship should perish and external remain, was that what is holy might not be profaned; for the profanation of what is holy is attended with eternal damnation. No one can profane what is holy except one who is in possession of the knowledges of faith, and who acknowledges the truth of them. A person who does not possess them cannot acknowledge, and still less profane them. It is the internal things that can be profaned; for what is holy abides in internal, and not in external, things. The case in this respect is the same as it is with a man who does what is evil, but does not purpose what is evil. To him the evil that he does cannot be imputed, just as it cannot be imputed to one who does not do it of deliberate intention, or to one who is destitute of reason. Thus a man who does not believe that there is a life after death, and yet performs external worship, cannot profane the things that belong to eternal life, because he does not believe that there is any such life; but the case is quite different with those who know and who acknowledge these things.  And this is the reason why it is permitted a man rather to live in pleasures and in cupidities, and by them to remove himself from internal things, than to come into the knowledge and acknowledgment of internal things, and profane them. For this reason the Jews are at this day permitted to immerse themselves in avarice, that in this way they may be further removed from the acknowledgment of internal things; for they are of such a character that if they were to acknowledge them, they could not but profane them. Nothing removes men further from internal things than avarice, because it is the lowest earthly cupidity. And the case is the same with many within the church; and it is the same with the Gentiles outside the church. These latter, to wit, the Gentiles, are least of all capable of profanation. This then is the reason why it is here said that Jehovah confounded the lip of all the earth, and why these words signify that the state of the church was changed, so that its worship became external, and devoid of all internal worship.  The like was represented and signified by the Babylonish captivity into which the Israelites, and afterwards the Jews, were carried away, concerning which it is thus written in Jeremiah: And it shall come to pass, that the nation and the kingdom which will not serve the king of Babylon, and whoso will not put his neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, upon that nation will I visit with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand (Jer. 27:8). "To serve the king of Babylon and to put the neck under his yoke," is to be utterly deprived of the knowledge and acknowledgment of the good and of the truth of faith, and thereby of internal worship.  This is still more plainly evident in the same Prophet: Thus hath said Jehovah to all the people in this city, Your brethren who have not gone forth with you into captivity, thus hath said Jehovah Zebaoth, Behold, I send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and I will make them like horrible figs (Jer. 29:16, 17). "To abide in the city and not go forth to the king of Babylon," represented and signified those who were in the knowledges of internal things, or of the truths of faith, and who profaned them, upon whom it is said there would be sent the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, which are the penalties of profanation; and that they should become like horrible figs.  That by "Babel" are signified those who deprive others of all the knowledge and acknowledgment of truth, was also represented and signified by these things in the same Prophet: I will give all Judah into the hand of the King of Babylon, and he shall carry them into Babylon, and shall smite them with the sword. Moreover I will give all the riches of this city, and all the toil thereof, and all the precious thing thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah, will I give into the hand of their enemies, and they shall spoil them, and take them (Jer. 20:4, 5). Here by "all the riches, all the toil, all the precious thing, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah," are signified the knowledges of faith,  Again: With the families of the north I will bring up the king of Babylon upon this land, and upon the inhabitants thereof, and upon all these nations round about, and I will give them to the curse, and will make them a desolation, and a hissing, and everlasting wastes; and this whole land shall be a waste (Jer. 25:9, 11). Here the devastation of the interior things of faith, or of internal worship, is described by "Babylon." For the man who worships self possesses no truth of faith, as has been shown before. Everything that is true he destroys and lays waste, and carries away into captivity. And therefore Babylon is called "a destroying mountain" (Jer. 51:25). (See what has been further said concerning Babel above, n. 1182.)1328.
And from thence did Jehovah scatter them upon the faces of all the earth. That this signifies that internal worship was annihilated, may be seen from the signification of "scattering," as being to dissipate. In the proximate sense, the scattering over the faces of all the earth, means the dispersion of those who desire to build the city of Babel; but as these are they who deprive others of all the knowledge of truth, as before said, the words signify, at the same time, the deprivation of internal worship; for the one is a consequence of the other; and here we have the consequence, for it is stated for the third time. That the First Ancient Church was deprived of the knowledges of truth and good, is evident from the fact that the nations which constituted that Ancient Church became for the most part idolaters, and yet had a certain external worship. The lot of those idolaters who are outside the church is much better than that of those idolaters who are within the church; for the former are external idolaters, whereas the latter are internal idolaters. That the lot of the former is better, is evident from the words the Lord spoke in Luke 13:23, 28-30; Matthew 8:11-12. This therefore is the reason why the state of this Ancient Church was changed.1329.
Verse 10. These are the births of Shem: Shem was a son of a hundred years, and begat Arpachshad two years after the flood. "These are the births of Shem," signifies the derivations of the Second Ancient Church; "Shem" is internal worship in general; "a hundred years," signifies the state of that church at the beginning; "Arpachshad" was a nation so named, by which is signified memory-knowledge [scientia]; "two years after the flood," signifies the second post-diluvian church.1330.
These are the births of Shem. That this signifies the derivations of the Second Ancient Church, is evident from the signification of "births," as being the origin and derivation of doctrinal things and of worships (as before said, n. 1145). Here, and elsewhere in the Word, the "births" are no other than those of the church, that is, of doctrinal things and of worships. The internal sense of the Word enfolds nothing else; and therefore when any church is born, it is said that "these are its births," as for instance when the Most Ancient Church was born: "These are the births of the heavens and of the earth" (Gen. 2:4); and in like manner with the other churches which followed, before the flood: "This is the book of the births" (Gen. 5:1). In like manner with the churches after the flood, which were three-the First called Noah, the Second named from Eber, the Third from Jacob, and afterwards from Judah and Israel. When the First of these churches is described, the record begins in a similar manner: "These are the births of the sons of Noah" (verse 1 of the preceding chapter). So with this Second church, named from Eber, in this verse: "These are the births of Shem." And with the Third also, in the twenty-seventh verse of this chapter: "These are the births of Terah." So that "births" signify nothing else than the origins and derivations of the doctrinal things and of the worships of the church that is being described. The reason why the births of this Second church are derived from Shem, or why its beginning is described by "Shem," is that "Shem" signifies internal worship, here, the internal worship of this church. Not that the internal worship of this church was such internal worship as that which was signified by "Shem" in the preceding chapter; but merely that it is the internal worship of the church.1331.
From what has been said it is now evident that "Shem" denotes internal worship in general. The quality of the internal worship of this church is evident from those who are named in succession after Shem, namely, that it was characterized by memory-knowledge [fuerit scientificum], as is confirmed by the numbers of the years, when they are examined and unfolded.1332.
That "a hundred years" signifies the state of that church in general, is evident from what has been stated and shown before concerning numbers and years (n. 482, 487, 488, 493, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 893), namely, that they signify times and states. But what and of what quality the states were that are signified by the number "a hundred" years, and by the numbers of years in the following verses of this chapter, it would be tedious to explain; moreover the subject is intricate.1334.
That Arpachshad was a nation so named, and that thereby is signified memory-knowledge, was stated at verse 24 of the preceding chapter (n. 1236).1335.
Two years after the flood. That this signifies the Second post-diluvian church, may be seen from the fact that by a "year," in the Word, as also by a "day" and by a "week," is signified an entire period, greater or less, of fewer or of more years; in fact a period in the abstract, as may be seen from the paragraphs referred to above (n. 488, 493). So here with the "two years after the flood," by which is signified the second period of the church, which was when this second church began.1336.
Verse 11. And Shem lived after he begat Arpachshad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Shem lived after he begat Arpachshad five hundred years," signifies the duration and state; "Shem" signifies here, as before, internal worship in general; "Arpachshad" signifies memory-knowledge; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies the doctrinal things.1337.
That these things are signified, calls for no confirmation, being evident from the signification of the same words as given above. I shall merely state that the internal worship of this church was no other than a kind of memory-knowledge [scientficum], thus a kind of love which may be called a love of truth. For when this church began, there was scarcely any charity left, and therefore scarcely any faith, which comes solely from charity; as also is evident from what was said just before concerning the city and the tower of Babel, in that Jehovah did confound the lip of all the earth (verse 9).1338.
And begat sons and daughters. That this signifies doctrinal things, is evident from the signification of "sons," as before given (n. 264, 489-491, 533).1339.
Verse 12. And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years and begat Shelah. "And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years," signifies the beginning of the second state of this church, as well as that second state itself; "Arpachshad" signifies here, as before, memory-knowledge; "and begat Shelah," signifies the derivation therefrom. Shelah was a nation so called, whereby is signified that which pertains to memory-knowledge.1340.
That these things are signified calls for no confirmation. That "Shelah" was a nation so called, whereby is signified that which pertains to memory-knowledge, has been stated before, at verse 24 of the preceding chapter.1341.
Verse 13. And Arpachshad lived after he begat Shelah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Arpachshad lived after he begat Shelah four hundred and three years," signifies the duration and state; "Arpachshad" here, as before, signifies memory-knowledge; and "Shelah" is that which pertains to memory-knowledge; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies the doctrinal things.1342.
Verse 14. And Shelah lived thirty years and begat Eber. "And Shelah lived thirty years," signifies the beginning of a third state; "Shelah" here, as before, signifies that which pertains to memory-knowledge; "and begat Eber," signifies a derivation therefrom; "Eber" was a nation called, from Eber as its father, the Hebrew nation, whereby is signified the worship in general of the Second Ancient Church.1343.
That "Eber" was a nation called, from Eber as its father, the Hebrew nation, and that thereby is signified the worship in general of the Second Ancient Church, is evident from those historical parts of the Word wherein it is spoken of. From that nation, because the new worship commenced there, all were called Hebrews who had a similar worship. Their worship was of the kind that was afterwards restored among the descendants of Jacob; and its chief characteristic consisted in their calling their God "Jehovah," and in their having sacrifices. The Most Ancient Church with unanimity acknowledged the Lord, and called Him Jehovah, as is evident from the first chapters of Genesis, and elsewhere in the Word. The Ancient Church, that is, the church after the flood, also acknowledged the Lord, and called Him Jehovah, especially those who had internal worship, and were called "sons of Shem." The others, who were in external worship, also acknowledged Jehovah, and worshiped Him. But when internal worship became external, and still more when it became idolatrous, and when each nation began to have its own god whom it worshiped, the Hebrew nation retained the name Jehovah, and called their God Jehovah; and hereby were distinguished from the other nations.  Together with their external worship, the descendants of Jacob in Egypt lost this also-that they called their God Jehovah; nay, Moses himself did so; and therefore they were instructed first of all that Jehovah was the God of the Hebrews, and the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; as may be seen from these words in Moses: Jehovah said unto Moses, Thou shalt come in, thou and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, Jehovah the God of the Hebrews hath met with us; and now let us go, we pray thee, a three days' journey into the wilderness, and we will sacrifice to Jehovah our God (Exod. 3:18). Again: Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us; let us go, we pray thee, a three days' journey into the wilderness, and we will sacrifice to Jehovah our God (Exod. 5:2-3).  That together with the worship the descendants of Jacob in Egypt lost also the name of Jehovah, may be seen from these words in Moses: Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the sons of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM WHO I AM. And He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel, Jehovah the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you this is My name to eternity (Exod. 3:13-15).  From these words it is evident that even Moses did not know Jehovah; and that they were distinguished from others by the name of Jehovah the God of the Hebrews. Hence in other places also Jehovah is called the God of the Hebrews: Thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Jehovah the God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee (Exod. 7:16). Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith Jehovah the God of the Hebrews (Exod. 9:1, 13). And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah the God of the Hebrews (Exod. 10:3). And in Jonah: I am a Hebrew; and I fear Jehovah the God of the heavens (Jonah 1:9). And also in Samuel: The Philistines heard the voice of the shouting, and said, What meaneth the voice of this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews? And they knew that the ark of Jehovah was come into the camp. And the Philistines said, Woe unto us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these august gods? These are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness. Be like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews (1 Sam. 4:6, 8-9). Here also it is evident that the nations were distinguished by the gods on whose name they called, and the Hebrew nation by Jehovah.  That the second essential of the worship of the Hebrew nation consisted in sacrifices, is also evident from passages cited above (Exod. 3:18, 5:2, 3); as well as from the fact that the Egyptians abominated the Hebrew nation on account of this worship, as is evident from these words in Moses: Moses said, It is not right so to do, for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to Jehovah our God; lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? (Exod. 8:26). For this reason the Egyptians so abominated the Hebrew nation that they would not eat bread with them (Gen. 43:32). It is also evident from all this that the posterity of Jacob was not the only Hebrew nation, but all who had such worship; and therefore in Joseph's time the land of Canaan was called the land of the Hebrews: Joseph said, I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews (Gen. 40:15).  That there were sacrifices among the idolaters in the land of Canaan, may be seen from many passages, for they sacrificed to their gods-to the Baals and others; and moreover Balaam, who was from Syria where Eber dwelt and whence the Hebrew nation came, not only offered sacrifices before the descendants of Jacob came into the land of Canaan, but also called Jehovah his God. That Balaam was from Syria, whence came the Hebrew nation, see Numbers 23:7; that he offered sacrifices, 22:39-40; 23:1-3, 14, 29; that he called Jehovah his God, 22:18, and throughout the chapter. What is said of Noah (Gen. 8:20), that he offered burnt-offerings to Jehovah, is not true history, but is history so made up, because by burnt-offerings there is signified the holy of worship, as may there be seen. From all this it is now evident what is signified by "Ber," or by the Hebrew nation.1344.
Verse 15. And Shelah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Shelah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years," signifies the duration and state; "Shelah" here, as before, signifies that which pertains to memory-knowledge; "Eber" here, as before, signifies the worship of this church in general; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies the doctrinal things.1345.
Verse 16. And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg. "And Eber lived four and thirty years," signifies the beginning of the fourth state of this church; "Eber" here, as before, signifies the worship of this church in general; "and begat Peleg," signifies a derivation from it. "Peleg" was a nation so called from him as its father, whereby there is signified external worship. That "Peleg" here signifies external worship, follows from the series of the derivations of worship, and thus from his derivation. In the preceding chapter, verse 25, there is another meaning from the signification of this name, that "in his days the earth was divided," and because there he together with his brother Joktan represented that Second Ancient Church.1346.
Verse 17. And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years," signifies the duration and state; "Eber" and "Peleg" signify the same here as before; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies doctrinal things which are rituals.1347.
Verse 18. And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu. "And Peleg lived thirty years," signifies the beginning of the fifth state; "Peleg" signifies the same here as before; "and begat Reu," signifies a derivation therefrom. Reu was a nation so named from him as its father, whereby there is signified a worship still more external.1348.
Verse 19. And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years," signifies the duration and state; "Peleg" and "Reu" signify the same here as before; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies rituals.1349.
Verse 20. And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug. "And Reu lived two and thirty years," signifies the beginning of the sixth state; "Reu" signifies the same here as before; "and begat Serug," signifies a derivation therefrom. Serug was a nation so named from him as its father, by which is signified worship in externals.1350.
Verse 21. And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. "And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years," signifies the duration and state; "Reu" and "Serug" signify the same here as before; "and begat sons and daughters," signifies the rituals of such worship.
1326-1 In the original Latin "Babel" and "Babylon" are the same, namely, "Babel." "Babylon" is the Greek form of the word. [Reviser.]