Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
Some are reduced into a state of tranquillity, as it were a kind of sleep; and they then seem to themselves to be building small cities, and in the midst of them to hide some secret thing which they wish to preserve from violence. They give these cities to others, with entreaties not to do violence to the secret thing in the midst of them. Innocence is thus insinuated into them, and also charity, together with the idea that the secret thing is concerning the Lord. They are kept in this state a considerable time. It is a state of ignorance in which there is innocence. They are guarded by little children, lest anyone should do them harm. I have spoken with them, and have been much affected by their state of innocence and charity, and also by the solicitude with which they hide the secret, and by the holy fear lest it should be violated.2602.
There is one nation (I was told that it is from the Indies) which makes it their religion to worship the Greatest God with the following rite. When they are adoring Him they first magnify themselves, but soon prostrate themselves as worms; and at the same time they hold, that above the universe, which they believe to be whirling around, is that Greatest God, looking down on what they are doing. As they have had such religious observances, in the other life they are brought back into them; and I have spoken with them while they imagined such things. They are for the most part modest, obedient, and simple in heart. They are by successive steps freed by the angels from this phantasy; for they are instructed, in accordance with their religion, that the Greatest God is the Lord; and that they can indeed magnify themselves on account of their being able to adore Him; and that nevertheless they are like little worms; and that the Lord from on high sees each and all things. In this manner, by means of their own religion, they are brought into the knowledges of good and truth.2603.
There are some Gentiles from those regions where they are black, who bring with them from their life in the world a wish to be treated severely; believing that no one can come into heaven except through punishments and afflictions, and that they will afterwards receive more gladsome things, which they call paradisal. As they have such ideas from their religion they are at first treated severely in the other life by some whom they call devils, and are afterwards taken to the paradises already described (n. 1622). But they are instructed by the angels that their punishments and afflictions are turned by the Lord into what is good for them, as with those who are in temptations; also that paradisal things are not heaven, but that heaven is the affection of the celestial and spiritual things that are in them; and that they have been in a certain way of truth, although in the shade of ignorance. They spoke with me a long time. While in their state of affliction their speech was attended with a kind of collision; thus was distinct from that of others; but after their afflictions were over, and they were taken up to the paradises, they no longer had such a speech, but one that was almost angelic. From their religion they have that they believe, and desire to have interior things. They said that whenever they are treated severely they are black; but that they shortly put off the blackness, and put on whiteness; knowing that their souls are white, but their bodies black.2604.
It is usual for Gentiles who adore any god under an image or statue, or any carved thing, to be introduced, on coming into the other life, to certain ones who are in the place of their gods or idols, in order that they may put away their phantasies; and when they have been with these for some days, they are taken away from such persons. They who have adored men are also sometimes introduced to them, or to others in their stead; as many of the Jews are to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David; but when they perceive that these have the same kind of human nature as others have, and can afford them no help, they become ashamed, and are taken to their own places in accordance with their life. Among the Gentiles in the other life the Africans are the most beloved, because they receive the goods and truths of heaven more easily than others. They especially desire to be called the obedient, but not the faithful. They say that Christians can be called faithful, because they have the doctrine of faith; but not they, unless they receive it, or as they say, are able to receive it.2605.
I have spoken with some who were in the Ancient Church, and who then knew concerning the Lord that He was to come, and who had been imbued with the goods of faith, but yet fell away and became idolaters. They were in front, toward the left, in a darksome place, and in a miserable state. Their speech was like the sound of a fife, of one tone, almost devoid of rationality of thought. They said that they had been there for many ages, and that they are sometimes taken out thence to serve others for some uses, which are vile. From these it was given me to think about many Christians, who are idolaters not exteriorly but interiorly, and who at heart deny the Lord, and thereby also the truths of faith; and to reflect upon what kind of a lot must await them in the other life.2606.
CHAPTER 21 The Word of the Old Testament was formerly called the "Law and the Prophets." By the "Law" were meant all the historical books, which are the five books of Moses, and those of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings: by the "Prophets" were meant all the prophetical books, which are those of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zephaniah, Malachi; and also the Psalms of David. The historical books of the Word are also called "Moses;" hence it is occasionally said, "Moses and the Prophets," instead of the "Law and the Prophets;" and the prophetical books are called "Elias" (see the preface to the eighteenth chapter of Genesis).2607.
As regards the historicals they are all historically true, except those in the first chapters of Genesis, which are made up history, as shown in volume 1. Yet although they are historically true, they nevertheless have an internal sense; and in that sense, like the propheticals, treat solely of the Lord. They do indeed treat of heaven and the church, and of what belongs to heaven and the church, but as these are of the Lord, through these the historicals look to the Lord, and therefore are the Word. The historic events are all representative, and every word by which they are described is significative. That the historic events are representative is evident from what has been unfolded thus far concerning Abraham, and will be further evident from what of the Lord's Divine mercy is to be explained concerning Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve sons; concerning Egypt, the sojourning of the people in the wilderness, their entrance into the land of Canaan, etc.  That every word by which these historicals are described is significative, is also evident from what has been shown for instance in regard to the names as signifying actual things; thus "Egypt" signifies memory-knowledge, "Asshur" the rational, "Ephraim" the intellectual, "Tyre" knowledges, "Zion" the celestial church, "Jerusalem" the spiritual church, and so on. The same has been shown in regard to the words; as that "king" signifies truth, "priest" good, and that all other words have their respective internal significance; such as "kingdom," "city," "house," "nation," "people," "garden," "vineyard," "oliveyard," "gold," "silver," "brass," "iron," "birds," "beasts," "bread," "wine," "oil," "morning," "day," "light;" and this uniformly in both the historical and the prophetical books, although they were written by various individuals, and at different times-a uniformity that would not be possible unless the Word had come down from heaven. From this it may be known that there is an internal sense in the Word; as well as from the fact that the Divine Word cannot treat of mere men, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their posterity (which was the worst of nations); of their kings, their wives, sons, and daughters; of harlots, plunderings, and such things, which, considered in themselves, are not worthy to be even mentioned in the Word, unless by them are represented and signified such things as are in the Lord's kingdom: it is these things that are worthy of the Word.2608.
Similar to these also are very many things in the Prophets, such as those adduced above (n. 1888); and also the following in Isaiah: Moab shall howl, all Moab shall howl, for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn howbeit ye have been bruised; for the fields of Heshbon have failed, the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations break down the shoots, they reached even unto Jazer, they wandered in the wilderness, her offshoots have been torn away; they have passed over the sea. Therefore with weeping will I weep for Jazer, for the vine of Sibmah; I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for upon thy vintage and upon thy harvest the shout is fallen (Isa. 16:7-9). In Jeremiah: The voice of a cry from Horonaim, wasting and great destruction, Moab is broken to pieces, her little ones have caused a cry to be heard; for by the ascent of Luhith with weeping a weeping goeth up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of a breaking to pieces. Judgment is come unto the land of the plain, unto Holon, and unto Jahzah, and unto Mephaath, and upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon Beth-diblathaim, and upon Kiriathaim, and upon Beth-gamul, and upon Beth-meon, and upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah (Jer. 48:3-5, 21-24). Such in very many places is the character of the propheticals of the Word, which would be of no use unless they had an internal sense; and yet the Word, being Divine, must needs contain within itself the laws of that Heavenly Kingdom into which man is to come.2609.
But as regards the Precepts of Life, such as all things in the Decalogue, and many in the Law and the Prophets-these, being of service to man's very life, are of use in both senses, both the literal and the internal. The things contained in the literal sense were for the people and peoples of that period, who did not apprehend internal things; and the things contained in the internal sense were for the angels, who have no care for external things. Unless the precepts of the Decalogue contained internal things also, they would never have been promulgated on Mount Sinai with so great a miracle; for such things as it contains, such as that parents are to be honored, that men must not steal, must not kill, must not commit adultery, must not covet what is another's, are things which the Gentiles also know and have prescribed in their laws; and which the sons of Israel as men must have been well acquainted with, without such a promulgation. But as those precepts were for the service of life, in both senses, and were as external forms produced from internal, that corresponded to each other-this was the reason why they came down out of heaven upon Mount Sinai with so great a miracle, and in their internal sense were uttered and heard in heaven, while in their external sense they were uttered and heard on earth.  Take as an example the promise that they who honor their parents shall have their days prolonged upon the land: by "parents" the angels in heaven perceived the Lord; by the "land," His kingdom, which those who worship Him from love and faith should eternally possess as sons and heirs; whereas by "parents" men on earth understood parents; by "land," the land of Canaan; by the "prolongation of their days," the years of their life. Take again the precept that men must not steal: by this the angels who were in heaven perceived that they should take nothing away from the Lord, and should not claim anything of righteousness and merit for themselves; whereas men on earth understood that they must not steal; from which we can see that these precepts are true in both senses. Take again the precept that men must not kill: by this the angels in heaven perceived that they should not hate anyone, and should not extinguish anything of good and truth with anyone; whereas men on earth understood that their friends must not be killed. The case is the same with all the other precepts. GENESIS 21 1. And Jehovah visited Sarah, as He had said; and Jehovah did unto Sarah as He had spoken. 2. And Sarah conceived and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the appointed time, as God had spoken with him. 3. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4. And Abraham circumcised Isaac his son, a son of eight days, as God had commanded him. 5. And Abraham was a son of a hundred years when Isaac his son was born unto him. 6. And Sarah said, God hath made laughter for me, everyone that heareth will laugh with me. 7. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, Sarah shall suckle sons? For I have borne a son to his old age. 8. And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast, on the day when he weaned Isaac. 9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, mocking. 10. And she said unto Abraham, Cast out this handmaid and her son; for the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac. 11. And the word was evil exceedingly in the eyes of Abraham, on account of his son. 12. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be evil in thine eyes because of the boy, and because of thine handmaid; all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice, for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13. And also the son of the handmaid I will make a nation, because he is thy seed. 14. And Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave to Hagar, and put them on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she went and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15. And the water was spent out of the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16. And she went and sat by herself over against him, withdrawing about a bowshot; for she said, Let me not see the death of the child; and she sat over against him; and she lifted up her voice, and wept. 17. And God heard the voice of the child, and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the child where he is. 18. Arise, lift up the child, and strengthen thy hand in him, for I will make him a great nation. 19. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water, and she went and filled the bottle with water, and gave the child drink. 20. And God was with the child, and he grew, and he dwelt in the wilderness, and became a shooter of the bow. 21. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. 22. And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his army said unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest. 23. And now swear unto me here by God, that thou wilt not be false to me, nor to my son, nor to my son's son; according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. 24. And Abraham said, I will swear. 25. And Abraham reproved Abimelech, because of the well of water which Abimelech's servants had taken away. 26. And Abimelech said, I know not who hath done this word, neither didst thou tell me, neither heard I of it, but today. 27. And Abraham took flock and herd, and gave to Abimelech, and they two struck a covenant. 28. And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What are these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? 30. And he said, Because these seven ewe lambs thou shalt take from my hand, that it may be a witness unto me that I have digged this well. 31. Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because there they sware both of them. 32. And they struck a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech rose up, and Phicol the captain of his army, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. 33. And he planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the God of eternity. 34. And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days.2610.
THE CONTENTS. In the internal sense of this chapter the Lord's Divine Rational is first treated of, which is represented by "Isaac" (verses 1-8).2611.
Next the merely human rational, which was then separated, and which is the "son of Hagar the Egyptian" (verses 9-12).2612.
After this had been separated, the spiritual church is represented by the same, namely, by Hagar's son, as well as by his mother; which church and its state are treated of in verses 13-21.2613.
Concerning the human rational things that were adjoined to the doctrine of faith, which in itself is Divine (verses 22-34).2614.
This doctrine together with those things adjoined is "Beersheba" (verses 14, 31, 33).2615.
THE INTERNAL SENSE Verse 1. And Jehovah visited Sarah, as he had said; and Jehovah did unto Sarah as He had spoken. "Jehovah visited Sarah," signifies the presence of the Divine celestial in the Divine spiritual; "as He had said," signifies as He had perceived; "and Jehovah did unto Sarah," signifies the state of unition; "as He had spoken" signifies as He had thought.2616.
Jehovah visited Sarah. That this signifies the presence of the Divine celestial in the Divine spiritual, is evident from the signification of "Jehovah," as being the Divine celestial, that is, the Divine Good, or Esse (Being) itself, which, because it is of love and mercy, is Good itself; from the signification of "visiting," as meaning to be present; and from the signification of "Sarah," as being the Divine spiritual, that is, Divine truth (see n. 1468, 1901, 2063, 2065, 2507).2617.
As He had said. That this signifies as He had perceived, is evident from the signification in the historical parts of the Word of "saying," as meaning to perceive (see n. 2238, 2260, 2552).2618.
And Jehovah did unto Sarah. That this signifies the state of unition, namely, of the Lord's Divine spiritual in His Divine celestial, is evident from the signification of "doing," when predicated of the Lord's Divine, as being the sum total of the effect, consequently the state; and from the signification of "Jehovah," and also of "Sarah" (concerning which see above, n. 2616). As regards the state of unition of the Lord's Divine spiritual in His Divine celestial, this is the very marriage itself of good and truth, from which comes the heavenly marriage; and this marriage is the Lord's kingdom in the heavens and on earth. For this reason the Lord's kingdom is so frequently in the Word called a "marriage," and is compared to a marriage. The reason (a secret one) is that all conjugial love (and through this all celestial and spiritual love) comes from the marriage of Divine good and truth, and of Divine truth and good, in the Lord. What further arcana are enfolded in these words: that "Jehovah visited Sarah as He had said," and that "Jehovah did unto Sarah as He had spoken," cannot be declared, because they are inexpressible; for they comprise the very state itself of the unition of the Lord's Divine with His Human. Appearances of this are presented by the Lord before the angels by means of heavenly lights, and are illustrated by means of ineffable representations; but they cannot be presented before men, because it would have to be done by means of such things as belong to the light of the world, into which such arcana do not fall; nay, by a description based on such things they become more obscure.2619.
As He had spoken. That this signifies as He had thought, is evident from the signification of "speaking," as being to think (see n. 2271, 2287). The perception which is signified by "Jehovah said" was from the Divine celestial; but the thought which is signified by "Jehovah spoke" was from the Divine celestial through the Divine spiritual; and there is therefore an apparent repetition in the sense of the letter, namely, "as He said," and "as He spake." But what it is to perceive from the Divine celestial and to think from the Divine celestial through the Divine spiritual, does not fall into even the most enlightened apprehension by means of things that belong to the light of the world. This shows how infinite the rest of the Word may be. (That thought is from perception may be seen above, n. 1919, 2515.) With man the case is this: it is good from which he perceives, but it is truth by means of which he thinks. Good is of love and its affections, consequently from it is perception; but truth is of faith, consequently this is of thought. The former is signified in the historic parts of the Word by "saying," but the latter by "speaking." But when "saying" is found alone, it then sometimes signifies perceiving, and sometimes thinking; because "saying" involves both.2620.
Verse 2. And Sarah conceived and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the appointed time, as God had spoken with him. She "conceived and bare," signifies that it was and came forth; "Sarah bare Abraham," signifies from the unition of the Lord's Divine spiritual with His Divine celestial; "a son" signifies the Divine rational; "in his old age," signifies when the days were fulfilled that He should put off the human; "at the appointed time," signifies when the rational was such as to receive; "as God had spoken with him," signifies as He had willed.2621.
That "conceived and bare" signifies that it Was and Came forth, namely (as follows) the Divine rational, from the unition of the Lord's Divine spiritual with His Divine celestial, is evident from the signification of "conceiving and bearing." That in the internal sense of the Word no other conceptions and bearings are meant than those which are spiritual and celestial, may be seen above (n. 2584); but here those which were Divine, because the subject here treated of is the Lord's rational made Divine; and of Him, namely, the Lord, Being and Coming forth [Esse et Existere] are chiefly predicated; for He alone Is and Comes forth. As regards Being and Coming forth (Esse et Existere) we may add that they seem as if they were nearly the same, but are not the same. Every person and every thing, has its Being from conception, but its Coming forth from birth; and thus, as conception is prior to birth, so Being is prior to Coming forth.  The soul is the Being itself of man, and the sensitive or corporeal faculty is its Coming forth, for the former comes forth in the latter. Celestial and spiritual love are the very Being of the man who is being regenerated; and the rational and sensitive faculties, when imbued with that love, are his Coming forth. And so it is with each and all things in the universe; for there is nothing whatever which has not its conception that it may Be, and its birth that it may Come forth; which may also be illustrated in the terms of philosophy by saying that every effect has its cause, and every cause has its end. The end is the Being of the cause, and the cause is the Coming forth of the end. In the same way, the cause is the Being of the effect, and the effect is the Coming forth of the cause.2622.
Sarah to Abraham. That this signifies from the unition of the Divine spiritual with the Divine celestial, is evident from the representation of Sarah, as being the Divine spiritual, or Divine Truth (see n. 1468, 1901, 2063, 2065, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507); and from the representation of Abraham, as being the Divine celestial, or Divine Good (see n. 1989, 2011, 2172, 2198, 2501). (Concerning the unition of the Divine spiritual with the Divine celestial, see what was said above, n. 2618.)2623.
A son. That this signifies the Divine rational is evident from the signification of a "son." In the internal sense of the Word a "son" signifies truth (n. 489, 491, 533); and as truth is the chief thing in the rational (n. 2072, 2189), the rational is also signified by a "son;" but here the Divine rational, in which principally there is good, which Isaac, who is the "son," also represents (concerning which hereafter).2624.
In his old age. That this signifies when the days were fulfilled that the human should be put off, is evident from the signification of "old age," as being the state when the human should be put off and the Divine put on (see n. 2198); for Abraham was at that time a hundred years old; and by this number is signified a full state of unition, as will be seen in the explication at verse 5.2625.
At the appointed time. That this signifies when the rational was such as to receive, is evident from the signification of "time." There are two things which while man lives in the world appear to be essential, because they are proper to nature, namely, space and time. Hence to live in space and time is to live in the world or in nature. But in the other life these two things are of no consequence. In the world of spirits indeed they do appear to be of some consequence, for the reason that spirits fresh from the body still retain the idea of natural things; yet it is not long before they perceive that there is no space and time there, but state instead; and that in the other life states correspond to spaces and times in nature; to spaces states as to Being [esse], and to times states as to Coming forth [existere]. (In regard to space or place see above, n. 1274, 1379, 1380, 1382.)  From this anyone can see what kind of an idea a man may have, while in the world or in nature, respecting the things of the other life and many arcana of faith; namely, that he is not willing to believe them until he apprehends them by means of the things in the world, nay, by sensuous things; for he must needs suppose that if he were to put off the idea of space and time, and still more space and time themselves, he would become absolutely nothing; and thus that he would have nothing left from which he could feel and think, except something confused and incomprehensible; when yet the case is exactly the reverse. Angelic life is of such a nature as to be the wisest and happiest of all.  This is the reason why in the Word "ages" in the internal sense do not signify ages, but states; so that in this verse "old age" does not mean old age. And in the same way the numbers do not signify numbers, but some specific state, as for instance the number a hundred years, concerning which hereafter. From this we can now see that by the "appointed time" is signified the state when the rational was such as to receive.  In regard to the specific matter here treated of, namely, that the Divine rational was and came forth from the unition of the Divine spiritual with the Divine celestial of the Lord, when the days were fulfilled for the human to be put off, and when the rational was such as to receive (all of which is signified in the internal sense by Sarah's conceiving and bearing to Abraham a son to his old age at the appointed time), be it known that the human begins in the inmost of the rational (see n. 2106, 2194); and that the Lord advanced successively to the union of the Human Essence with the Divine Essence, and of the Divine Essence with the Human Essence (n. 1864, 2033, 2523); and this by His own power (n. 1921, 2025, 2026, 2083), by continual temptations and victories (n. 1737, 1813, 1690), and by continual revelations from His Divine (n. 1616, 2500); and this until at length He had expelled all the maternal human (n. 1414, 1444, 2574); and thus had made His Human Divine in respect to the rational, according to the things contained in this verse. Hence it is manifest what is to be understood by the days being fulfilled for the human to be put off, and by the rational being such as to receive.  Some idea of this may be formed from what takes place in those who are being regenerated. The celestial things of love and the spiritual things of faith are not at once implanted in them by the Lord, but successively; and when by means of them the man's rational has become such that it can receive, then for the first time is he becoming regenerate, for the most part by means of temptations in which he conquers. When these things take place, the days are fulfilled for him to put off the old man, and to put on the new. (Concerning man's regeneration, see above, n. 677, 679, 711, 848, 986, 1555, 2475.)2626.
As God had spoken with him. That this signifies as He had willed, is evident from the signification of "speaking," as being to think (see n. 2271, 2287, 2619); but that here it means to will is because it is said, "as God had spoken;" since for the Divine to think is to will.2627.
Verse 3. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. "Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him," signifies the quality of the rational as being Divine; "whom Sarah bare to him," signifies that it was and came forth from the Divine spiritual united to the Divine celestial; "Isaac" signifies the Divine rational.2628.
Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him. That this signifies the quality of the rational as being Divine, is evident from the representation of Abraham, as being the Lord as to the Divine celestial, or the Divine Good, treated of many times before; and from the signification of "calling a name," as being the quality (see n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009); and from the signification of his "son," as being the rational (see n. 2623); and also from the signification of his being "born unto him," as being to come forth from the Divine. Hence it is evident that "Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him," signifies the quality of the rational as being Divine. From these few words three arcana shine forth for those who are in the internal sense: First, that the Lord's Divine Human came forth [exstiterit] from the Divine Itself; which is further treated of in this verse. Second, that the Lord's Divine Human was not only conceived, but also born, of Jehovah, and hence the Lord as to His Divine Human is called the "Son of God," and the "Only-begotten" (John 1:14, 18, 50; 3:16, 18, 35-36; 5:19-27; 6:69; 9:35; 10:36; 11:27; 14:13-14; 17:1; 20:31; and in like manner in the other Evangelists). Third, that the Lord's Divine Human is the "name" of Jehovah, that is, His quality (see John 12:28).2629.
Whom Sarah bare to him. That this signifies being and coming forth from the Divine spiritual united to the Divine celestial is evident from the signification of "bearing," as being to come forth [existere] (see n. 2621); and as birth involves conception, and the birth or coming forth is from the Divine spiritual, and the conception, or being, from the Divine celestial, which two have now been united, hence "bearing" here signifies both being and coming forth; and also from the representation of Sarah, as being the Divine spiritual united to the Divine celestial (see n. 1468, 1901, 2063, 2065, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507). These things are arcana too deep to be described, or indeed to be illustrated by anything in this world. They are for angelic minds, to whom they are presented in the light of heaven by means of things ineffable.2630.
Isaac. That this signifies the Divine Rational, is evident from what has been said before concerning Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (n. 1893, 2066, 2083), namely, that Abraham represents the supreme Divine, Isaac the Divine rational, and Jacob His Divine natural; as will also be seen hereafter, where Isaac is treated of.2631.
Verse 4. And Abraham circumcised Isaac his son, a son of eight days, as God commanded him. "Abraham circumcised Isaac his son," signifies the purification of the rational; "a son of eight days," signifies a beginning and continuance; "as God had commanded him," signifies according to Divine order.2632.
Abraham circumcised Isaac his son. That this signifies the purification of the rational, is evident from the signification of "being circumcised," which is to be purified (see n. 2039); and from the representation of "Isaac," as being the Divine rational (see n. 2630).  That the Lord's first rational was born as with others, namely, by means of knowledges [scientifica et cognitiones], has been stated before, where Ishmael was treated of, by whom that rational is represented. As this was born by means of knowledges, thus by the external way, which is that of the senses, and as with others, it could not but have in itself many things from the outward world, for from them are the ideas of the rational procured; and this the more because it had its hereditary from the mother. It was these worldly things and this hereditary which the Lord successively expelled from His rational, and this until it was such as to be able to receive the Divine (n. 2624, 2625). The Lord's Divine rational was then born, which is represented by Isaac (n. 2630); not however by the external way, which is that of the senses, as the former rational was; but by the internal way from the Divine Itself (n. 2628, 2629). As this was not done at once, but successively (n. 1690, 2033), it was purified, and this continually; which is signified by "Abraham's circumcising his son, a son of eight days." That the Lord made His rational Divine by successive steps, and continually purified it, is evident also in John: Jesus said, Father, glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven: I have both glorified, and will glorify again (John 12:28). That to "glorify" is to make Divine, may be seen above (n. 1603, 1999).  In the Ancient Church nothing else was represented and signified by circumcision than that a man should be purified from the loves of self and of the world, and this also by successive steps and continually (see n. 2039, 2046 at the end, 2049, 2056); especially when he has been born a new man, that is, when he has been regenerated; for the Lord then flows in by the internal way, that is, by the good of conscience, and successively and continually separates the things which adhere both from hereditary and from actual evil.2633.
A son of eight days. That this signifies a beginning and continuance, is evident from the signification of the "eighth day," on which they were circumcised, as being any beginning, and thus continuance (see n. 2044).2634.
As God had commanded him. That this signifies according to Divine order, is evident from the signification of "God commanding," or of His precepts. God's precepts, or the things which God has commanded, are all things that are of Divine order both in general and in particular; so that Divine order is nothing but the perpetual precept of God; and therefore to live according to the precepts of God, and to live in the precepts of God, is to live according to Divine order and in Divine order. Hence it is that by "as God commanded," is signified according to Divine order. It was according to Divine order that every male should be circumcised on the eighth day from his birth; not that circumcision was of any avail, or that they who were circumcised would enter into the kingdom of God before the uncircumcised; but because in the representative church such a rite corresponded to the purification of the heart; which correspondence will of the Lord's Divine mercy be spoken of elsewhere. It is of Divine order that the heart, that is, man's interiors, should be purified gradually and continually from the evils of cupidities, and from the falsities of the phantasies thence derived. The precepts relating to the purification of the heart are all things of Divine order both in general and in particular. Insofar therefore as a man lives in those precepts, so far he lives in Divine order; and insofar as he lives in this, so far all things in him, both of reason and memory, are disposed by the Lord according to the order which is from Him in the heavens. Hence the man becomes a little heaven corresponding to the greatest.2635.
Verse 5. And Abraham was a son of a hundred years when Isaac his son was born unto him. "Abraham was a son of a hundred years," signifies a full state of unition; "when Isaac his son was born unto him," signifies when the Lord's rational was made Divine.2636.
Abraham was a son of a hundred years. That this signifies a full state of unition, is evident from the signification of a "hundred," as being what is full (concerning which presently); and from the signification of "years," as being state (see n. 482, 487, 488, 493, 893); here, a state of unition. What a full state of unition of the Lord's Divine with His Human is, or what is the same, with His rational (for the human begins in the inmost of the rational, n. 2106, 2194), cannot so well be told to the apprehension, but still can be illustrated by what is called with man a full state when he is being reformed and regenerated.  It is known that a man cannot be regenerated until adult age, because he then for the first time has the full exercise of reason and judgment, and thus can receive good and truth from the Lord. Before he comes into this state he is being prepared by the Lord by such things being insinuated into him as may serve him as ground for receiving the seeds of good and truth; which are the many states of innocence and charity, and also the knowledges of good and truth, and the thoughts derived from them. This preparation is going on for some years before his regeneration commences. When the man has been imbued with these things, and is thus prepared, his state is then said to be full; for his interiors are then disposed for receiving. All those things with which a man is endowed by the Lord before regeneration, and by means of which he is regenerated, are called remains, which are signified in the Word by the number "ten" (n. 576, 1738, 2284); and also by a "hundred," when the state for regeneration is full (n. 1988).  These things may serve for illustration as to what is signified by a full state of unition of the Human with the Divine in the Lord, namely, when from His own power, by means of the combats of temptations and by victories, and by the powers of the Divine wisdom and intelligence, He had procured to Himself so much of the Divine in His Human, that is, in His rational, as to be able to unite the Divine Itself to the Divine acquired in the rational. That this state might be represented, it was brought to pass that, although Abraham had dwelt for many years in the land of Canaan, Isaac was not born to him until he was a hundred years old. These are the arcana contained in the number a "hundred years," which was Abraham's age.  That the number a "hundred" signifies what is full, is evident from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah: There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled His days; for the child shall die a son of a hundred years, and the sinner a son of a hundred years shall be accursed (Isa. 65:20); where a "hundred" manifestly denotes what is full; for it is said, there shall be no more an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days, and a child and a sinner of a hundred years; that is, when his state is full.  In Matthew: Everyone that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:29; Mark 10:29-30); where a "hundredfold" denotes what is full; or "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over" (Luke 6:38).  And in Luke: And other seed fell upon the good earth and having sprung up it brought forth fruit a hundredfold (Luke 8:8; Matt. 13:8, 23; Mark 4:20); where also a "hundred" denotes what is full, which number would not have been mentioned unless it had signified that. The same is true where the Lord speaks by parable concerning the debtors, that one owed "a hundred baths of oil," and the other "a hundred cors of wheat" (Luke 16:5-7). So also in other places where a "hundred" is mentioned. The case is similar with a "thousand," respecting which number, see above (n. 2575).2637.
When Isaac his son was born unto him. That this signifies when the Lord's rational was made Divine, is evident from the signification of "being born," which is to come forth [existere] (see n. 2584, 2621, 2629) and from the representation of "Isaac," as being the Divine rational (see n. 2630). This is said to be "born to Abraham," when made Divine; as also above, verse 3: "Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him" (see n. 2628).2638.
Verses 6, 7. And Sarah said, God hath made laughter for me; everyone that heareth will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, Sarah shall suckle sons? For I have borne a son to his old age. "Sarah said" signifies perception from the Divine spiritual; "God hath made laughter for me," signifies the affection of celestial truth; "everyone that heareth will laugh with me," signifies that all things in it will have this affection; "and she said," signifies thought; "who would have said unto Abraham, Sarah shall suckle sons?" signifies that the Lord implanted the Human in the Divine by His own power; "for I have borne a son to his old age," signifies that this was done when the days were fulfilled.2639.
Sarah said. That this signifies perception from the Divine spiritual, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive (as has been often shown); and from the representation of Sarah, as being the Divine spiritual, or Divine truth (see n. 2622).2640.
God hath made laughter for me. That this signifies the affection of celestial truth, is evident from the signification of "laughter," as being the affection of truth (see n. 2072, 2216); and from the expression "God making," as denoting the celestial from which it is.2641.
Everyone that heareth will laugh with me. That this signifies that all things in it will have this affection, is evident from the signification of "hearing" and "laughing." In the Word to "hear" is predicated of what is of affection, but to "see" of what is of thought; which is evident from a great many passages in the Word, as also from the correspondences (see n. 2542). As the affection of celestial truth is here treated of, it is said, "Everyone that heareth," by which are signified all things that are of affection. (That to "laugh" denotes to be affected by truth, that is, to have the affection of truth, see above, n. 2072, 2216, 2640.)2642.
And she said. That this signifies thought, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive, and also to think (as explained very often, see n. 2619 at the end).2643.
Who would have said unto Abraham, Sarah shall suckle sons? That this signifies that the Lord implanted the Human in the Divine by His own power, is evident from the representation of Abraham, and also of Sarah, and from the signification of "suckling" and of "sons." That Abraham represents Divine good, and Sarah Divine truth, has been shown before. That "milk" denotes what is spiritual from a celestial origin, or truth from good, may be seen above (n. 2184); and thus to "suckle" is to implant it. That "sons" are truths, here those that are in the rational, is evident from the signification of "sons" (n. 489, 490, 491, 533). That these things signify in the internal sense that the Lord implanted the Human in the Divine by His own power, is because the Divine truth is the same as the Divine Human; and when it is said of this that it "suckles sons to Abraham," the signification is that it has implanted the Human in the Divine; and as it was the Human, He did it from His own power. But these things can with difficulty be explained more clearly to the understanding. If many words be used, the sense will become still more obscure; for these are Divine things, which can only be presented before angels by things celestial and spiritual; and if they were presented before man in any more elevated style, they would fall into the material and corporeal ideas which man has.  It is further to be known that the Lord's Divine rational is described as to its quality when it was first born in the words, "God hath made laughter for me; everyone that heareth will laugh with me; and she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, Sarah shall suckle sons?" For it was according to ancient custom, that when a child was born, a name was given significative of the state; and that the state also was then described; as when Cain was born to Eve and Adam (Gen. 4:1); when Sheth was born to them (Gen. 4:25); when Noah was born to Lamech (Gen. 5:29); when Esau and Jacob were born to Isaac (Gen. 25:25-26); when the twelve sons were born to Jacob (Gen. 29:32-35; 30:6, 8, 11, 13, 18, 20, 24; 35:18); when Perez and Zerah were born to Tamar (Gen. 38:29-30); when Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph (Gen. 41:51, 52); when Gershom and Eliezer were born to Moses (Exod. 2:22; 18:4). What all these represent, and what they signify in the internal sense, was involved in the descriptions added to the names which were given; thus here what Isaac represents. What is involved is manifest in some degree from this brief explication, but deeper arcana yet are hidden within; for they are Divine things, which can be expressed by no forms or formulas of expression.2644.
For I have borne a son to his old age. That this signifies that this was done when the days were fulfilled, is evident from the explication of nearly the same words in the second verse (as to which see n. 2621-2624).2645.
Verse 8. And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day when he weaned Isaac. "The child grew," signifies the further perfecting of the Lord's rational; "and was weaned," signifies the separation of the merely human rational; "Abraham made a great feast," signifies dwelling together and union; "on the day when he weaned Isaac," signifies the state of separation.2646.
The child grew. That this signifies the further perfecting of the Lord's rational, is evident from the signification of "growing," as being to be perfected; and from the signification of the "child" or "son," as being the Lord's Divine rational (see n. 2623).2647.
And was weaned. That this signifies the separation of the merely human rational, is evident from the signification of "being weaned," as being to be separated, like infants from their mothers' breasts. That the merely human rational was separated, is further described in this chapter, and is represented by Hagar's son, in his being cast out of the house.2648.
Abraham made a great feast. That this signifies dwelling together and union, is evident from the signification of a "feast," as being a dwelling together (see n. 2341); here union also, because the Lord is treated of, whose Human was united to His Divine, and the Divine to the Human; and because this union is treated of, it is said a "great feast."2649.
On the day when he weaned Isaac. That this signifies the state of separation, is evident from the signification of "day," as being state (see n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893); and from the signification of "being weaned," as being to be separated (see n. 2647). From the first verse of this chapter the uniting of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence has been treated of, in this order: The presence of the Divine in the Human for the sake of unition (verse 1). The presence of the Human in the Divine, and thus a reciprocal unition (see n. 2004) (verse 2). From this unition the Human was made Divine (verse 3). And this successively and continually while the Lord lived in the world (verse 4). And this commenced when the rational was in a state to receive (verse 5). The state of the unition is described as to its quality, with its arcana (verses 6, 7). Now follows the separation of the maternal human, and this is continued down to verse 12; which separation is signified in this verse by the weaning of Isaac, and is represented in the following verses by Hagar's son being sent away out of the house. And as the union of the Lord's Divine with His Human and of His Human with His Divine is the very marriage of good and truth, and from it is the heavenly marriage, which is the same as the Lord's kingdom, therefore a great feast is mentioned which Abraham made when he weaned Isaac, by which the beginning of marriage or the first union is signified; which feast and weaning, but for the signification, would never have been mentioned.  As the separation of the first human, which the Lord had from the mother, now follows, and at length the full removal of it, it is to be known that the Lord gradually and continually, even to the last of His life when He was glorified, separated from Himself and put off that which was merely human, namely, that which He derived from the mother, until at length He was no longer her son, but the Son of God, not only as to conception but also as to birth, and thus was one with the Father, and was Jehovah Himself. That He separated from Himself and put off all the human from the mother, so that He was no longer her son, is manifest from His words in John: When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said unto Him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what [belongs] to Me and to thee ? (John 2:3, 4). In Matthew: One said, Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, seeking to speak to Thee. But Jesus answering said unto him that told Him, Who is My mother? and who are My brethren? And stretching forth His hand toward His disciples, He said, Behold My mother, and My brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of My Father who is in the heavens, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother (Matt. 12:47-50; Mark 3:2-35; Luke 8:20, 21). In Luke: A certain woman out of the multitude lifting up her voice, said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the breasts which Thou didst suck. But Jesus said, Blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it (Luke 11:27, 28).  Here, when the woman spoke of His mother, the Lord spoke of those described above, namely, "Whoever shall do the will of My Father, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother;" which is the same as this, "Blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it." In John: Jesus seeing His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing by, said unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then said He to the disciple, Behold thy mother. Therefore from that hour the disciple took her to his own home (John 19:26, 27). From these words it is manifest that the Lord spoke to her according to her thought when she saw Him on the cross, and even then not calling her mother, but "woman;" and that He transferred the name of mother to those who are signified by the disciple; on which account He said to the disciple, "Behold thy mother." Still more manifest is this from the Lord's own words, in Matthew: Jesus asked the Pharisees, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is He? They say unto Him, David's. He saith unto them, How then doth David in the spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy foot stool? If David therefore call Him Lord, how is He his Son ? And no one was able to answer Him a word (Matt. 22:41-46 Mark 12:35-37 Luke 20:42-44). Thus He was no longer the Son of David as to the flesh.  And further, in regard to the separation and putting off of the maternal human those do not comprehend this who have merely corporeal ideas respecting the Lord's Human, and think of it as of the human of any other man; hence to such these things are stumbling-blocks. They do not know that such as the life is such is the man, and that the Divine Esse [Being] of life, or Jehovah, was in the Lord from conception, and that a similar Esse of life came forth in His Human by means of the union.2650.
Verse 9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, mocking. "Sarah saw," signifies the Lord's insight from the Divine spiritual; "the son of Hagar the Egyptian," signifies into the merely human rational; "Hagar the Egyptian" is the affection of memory-knowledges, of which as a mother that rational was born; "whom she had borne unto Abraham," signifies that it came forth from the Divine celestial as a father; "mocking" signifies not in agreement with or favoring the Divine rational.