Genesis 16

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1 Now Sarai the wife of Abram, had brought forth no children; having a handmaid, an Egyptian, named Agar,

2 She said to her husband: Behold, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: go in unto my handmaid, it may be I may have children of her at least. And when he agreed to her request,

3 She took Agar the Egyptian her handmaid, ten years after they first dwelt in the land of Chanaan, and gave her to her husband to wife.

4 And he went in to her. But she, perceiving that she was with child, despised her mistress.

5 And Sarai said to Abram: Thou dost unjustly with me: I gave my handmaid into thy bosom, and she perceiving herself to be with child, despiseth me. The Lord judge between me and thee.

6 And Abram made answer, and said to her: Behold thy handmaid is in thy own hand, use her its it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai afflicted her, she ran away.

7 And the angel of the Lord having found her, by a fountain of water in the wilderness, which is in the way to Sur in the desert,

8 He said to her: Agar, handmaid of Sarai, whence comest thou? and whither goest thou? And she answered: I flee from the face of Sarai, my mistress.

9 And the angel of the Lord said to her: Return to thy mistress, and humble thyself under her hand.

10 And again he said: I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, and it shall not be numbered for multitude.

11 And again: Behold, said he, thou art with child, and thou shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Ismael, because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.

12 He shall be a wild man: his hand will be against all men, and all men's hands against him: and he shall pitch his tents over against all his brethren.

13 And she called the name of the Lord that spoke unto her: Thou the God who hast seen me. For she said: Verily here have I seen the hinder parts of him that seeth me.

14 Therefore she called that well, The well of him that liveth and seeth me. The same is between Cades and Bared.

15 And Agar brought forth a son to Abram: who called his name Ismael.

16 Abram was fourscore and six years old when Agar brought him forth Ismael.

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Haupterklärung(en) aus den Werken Swedenborgs:

Arcana Coelestia 1890, 1891, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, ...

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 417


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Arcana Coelestia 340, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, ...

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Word/Phrase Explanations

wife
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Abram
Abram and Nahor taking to themselves wives, Sarah and Milcah (Gen 11:29), signifies marriages of evil with falsity in idolatrous worship. Abram, Nahor, and Haran,...

handmaid
'A handmaid' signifies the affection of rational and scientific things. 'A handmaid,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:3, signifies the affirming medium of conjoining inner truths...

Egyptian
In the Bible, Egypt means knowledge and the love of knowledge. In a good sense that means knowledge of truth from the Lord through the...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

husband
In general, men are driven by intellect and women by affections, and because of this men in the Bible generally represent knowledge and truth and...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

bearing
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

ten
Most places in Swedenborg identify “ten” as representing “all,” or in some cases “many” or “much.” The Ten Commandments represent all the guidance we get...

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

with child
To be with child, (Gen. 38:24), signifies to produce something.

child
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Mistress
'Mistress,' as in Genesis 16:9, signifies the affection for interior truth.

bosom
"Bosom" in general terms means the chest, but more as the seat of the emotions than simply as part of the body. You'd think of...

judge
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

angel
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

Fountain
A fountain signifies the Lord and the Word. A fountain signifies superior truth, and well, inferior truth. A fountain, as in Psalm 104:10, denotes knowledges....

water
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

comest
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

goest
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Flee
To flee signifies to escape, and be rescued. To flee signifies to be overcome.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

Multitude
'A multitude' relates to truths.

son
Marriages in the Bible represent the union we all can have between the desire for good and the understanding of truth (or an understanding of...

call
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

Affliction
An affliction "such as was not from the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be", mentioned in Matte 24:21, means the infestation from...

man
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

Pitch
'To pitch a tent,' as in Genesis 8:18, denotes conjunction.

Tents
'Ohalim' or 'tabernacles' signify the holy part of what is good.

over
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

Brethren
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

spoke
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

well
A pit,' or 'well which has no water,' as in Jeremiah 2:13, signifies doctrines which have no truths.

Bared
Bared, as in Gen 16:14, signifies what is beneath, consequently, scientific truth, from which also the rational principle is derived

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 Abraham and Ishmael
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Abraham and Lot
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Questions Asked by God
Article | Ages over 15

 Questions from the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Bodies of Spirits
The Old and New testaments give examples of people seeing angels in human form. These stories confirm that after resurrection a person will have a spiritual body like the natural body--but more perfect.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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