Die Bibel

Genesis 33

English: Darby Version

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1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and with him four hundred men. And he distributed the children to Leah, and to Rachel, and to the two maidservants:

2 and he put the maidservants and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindmost.

3 And he passed on before them, and bowed to the earth seven times, until he came near to his brother.

4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept.

5 And he lifted up his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, Who are these with thee? And he said, The children that God has graciously given thy servant.

6 And the maidservants drew near, they and their children, and they bowed.

7 And Leah also, with her children, drew near, and they bowed. And lastly Joseph drew near, and Rachel, and they bowed.

8 And he said, What [meanest] thou by all the drove which I met? And he said, To find favour in the eyes of my lord.

9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; let what thou hast be thine.

10 And Jacob said, No, I pray thee; if now I have found favour in thine eyes, then receive my gift from my hand; for therefore have I seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou hast received me with pleasure.

11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing which has been brought to thee; because God has been gracious to me, and because I have everything. And he urged him, and he took [it].

12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and go on, and I will go before thee.

13 And he said to him, My lord knows that the children are tender, and the suckling sheep and kine are with me; and if they should overdrive them only one day, all the flock would die.

14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass on before his servant, and I will drive on at my ease according to the pace of the cattle that is before me, and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord, to Seir.

15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee [some] of the people that are with me. And he said, What need? Let me find favour in the eyes of my lord.

16 And Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.

17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house, and for his cattle he made booths. Therefore the name of the place was called Succoth.

18 And Jacob came safely [to the] city Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-Aram; and he encamped before the city.

19 And he bought the portion of the field where he had spread his tent, of the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred kesitahs.

20 And there he set up an altar, and called it El-Elohe-Israel.

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Word/Phrase Explanations

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

Esau
Esau (Gen. 28:5, etc.) signifies the truth of good in the natural principle. Esau (Gen. 32:3) signifies celestial good in the natural principle.

four
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

Four hundred
Four hundred signifies vastation, temptations, and the duration thereof.

hundred
It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

men
"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...

children
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....

Rachel
'Rachel' denotes the affection of interior truth.

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Joseph
'The tribe of Zebulon' signifies the conjunction of people in the third heaven with the Lord, 'the tribe of Joseph,' the conjunction of people in...

Passed
'Passed' or 'expired' denotes the conclusion of whatever state is being discussed.

bowed
To bow in prayer is common in most religious practices, so it's not surprising that “to bow” in the Bible represents humility and worship in...

Seven
The number 'seven' was considered holy, as is well known, because of the six days of creation, and the seventh, which is the celestial self,...

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

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

fell
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

Neck
'The neck' signifies influx and the communication of interior and exterior levels and the following conjunction. The inmost or third heaven has reference to the...

wept
'Weeping with a loud voice' signifies the ultimate of grief.

women
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

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...

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...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

met
In natural language, to "meet" someone can be positive or negative: it can be a welcoming and greeting, or it can be "meeting" them in...

Find
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

my lord
Characters in the Bible will often address others using the term “my lord,” and it seems to be no more than an expression of respect....

Enough
'Sufficiency' relates to the reception of good, because good is the spiritual nourishment of the soul, as natural food is the nourishment of the body.

Gift
The gift which Abraham gave to the sons of the concubines which he had, as in Genesis 25:6, signifies lots in the Lord's spiritual kingdom....

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

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...

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...

pleasure
'To be satisfied with favor' signifies being filled with the good of love, and 'to be full with the blessings of the Lord' signifies being...

Blessing
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

urged
These verbs in the Bible indicate a conflict between two spiritual states, and the effort it takes to attain the higher state. It's easy to...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

Journey
'To journey' signifies the institutes and order of life.

go
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...

go before
To "go before" in the Bible means either to lead or to prepare, depending on context. When it is said of the Lord or things...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

knows
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

tender
'Weak eyed' relates to the understanding.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

Flock
A flock, as in Genesis 26, denotes interior or rational good. A flock signifies those who are in spiritual good. A flock signifies natural interior...

die
'To perish,' or 'die,' relates to damnation, or the state in hell.

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

Seir
'Seir,' as in Genesis 33:14, signifies the conjunction of spiritual and celestial things in the natural level, that is, the truth of faith with the...

Leave with thee
'Leave with thee,' as in Genesis 33:15, signifies joining together.

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...

Succoth
'Succoth,' as in Genesis 33:17, and Psalms 60:6-7 and 108:7-8, signifies the quality of the holy state of truth from good, because 'Succoth' signifies tents,...

built
To build something generally means to put together a variety of simpler pieces to make a useful and more complex structure, as to build a...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

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...

Place
'A dry place,' as in Luke 11:24, signifies states of evil and falsity which are in the life of someone who does the work of...

called
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...

City
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

Shechem
In Genesis 12:6, 'Abram’s passing through the land unto the place Shechem' signifies a new state of the Lord when the celestial aspects of love...

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.

Land of Canaan
The land of Canaan' in the Word, means love, and consequently, the will of the celestial self.

Canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

Padan-Aram
'Padan Aram,' as in Genesis 28:2, signifies the exterior knowledges of good and truth.

tent
'The sanctuary and habitation' together signify heaven and the church, 'sanctuary' regarding the good of love, and 'tabernacle' regarding truths of that good, because the...

Sons
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

Hamor
'Hamor, the father of Schechem,' represents the truth of the church among the ancients. 'Hamor, the father of Schechem,' signifies the good of the church...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

altar
The first altar mentioned in the Word was built by Noah after he came out of the ark. On that altar, he sacrificed clean animals...

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

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.


 Jacob and Esau
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Jacob Returns Home - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Jacob and Esau's meeting, make a paper plate mobile of the Lord's face smiling at us, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jacob Returns Home - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Jacob and Esau's meeting, make a diorama of their reunion, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jacob Returns Home - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: read about the appearance of angels and devils and draw cartoons depicting their spiritual qualities, map activity on Canaan's compass, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Jacob Returns Home - Level D
Complete lesson with activity choices: create ink blot pictures as the start of a discussion about seeing the face of God in other people, read about the appearance of angels and devils and draw cartoons depicting their spiritual qualities, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 15 - 17

 Jacob’s Return
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Overview of Jacob and Esau Levels A B C D for ages 3-18
An overview of the Youth Journey Program "Jacob and Esau", Levels A, B, D, and D, for ages 3-18.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 18

 The Happy Meeting of Jacob and Esau
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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6306. 'Which I took out of the hand of the Amorite' means because of the victory over evil. This is clear from the representation of 'the Amorite' as evil, dealt with in 1857; and from the meaning of 'taking out of the hand' as acquiring through victory. As regards 'the Amorites', it should be recognized that they mean evil, just as 'the Canaanites' and all the other nations in the land that are mentioned in the Word mean various kinds of evil and also of falsity. Such things were represented by the nations when the children of Israel were taking possession of the land of Canaan. The reason for this was that whenever the children of Israel represented the things of heaven those nations represented the things of hell; thus the land of Canaan represented every state that exists in the next life. Also, because the nations represented the things of hell they were utterly destroyed; and entrance into any treaty with those who might remain was forbidden.

(Verweise: Exodus 34:12)


[2] The action of the children of Israel, of their taking possession of and dwelling in the land of those who represented the hells, was representative. It represented what happened around the time of the Lord's Coming, when spirits from hell had possession of a large part of heaven but He, by coming into the world and making the human within Himself Divine, cast them out of there and down into hell, and thereby delivered heaven from them, which He then gave as an inheritance to those who belonged to His spiritual kingdom.

[3] The representation of the Amorite nation as evil in general is evident from the places where it is referred to, as in Ezekiel, Thus said the Lord Jehovih to Jerusalem, 1 Your tradings and your births are of the land of the Canaanite. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. Ezekiel 16:3, 45.

'Father' in the internal sense means the Church's good, or in the contrary sense evil, and 'mother' means the Church's truth, or in the contrary sense falsity; and this is why it is said, 'Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite'.

[4] In Amos,

I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and whose strength was like the oaks. I led you in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. Amos 2:9-10.

Here also 'the Amorite' stands for evil, for the evil of self-love is described by 'the height of the cedars' and 'the strength of an oak'. The reason why 'the Amorite' means evil in general is that the entire land of Canaan was called 'the land of the Amorite'; for it says, 'I led you in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite'. In addition the second Book of Kings says,

Manasseh king of Judah did what was evil, greater than all the evil which the Amorites did, who were before him. 2 Kings 21:11.

[5] 'With my sword' means through truth engaged in conflict. This is clear from the meaning of 'sword' as truth engaged in conflict, dealt with in 2799, 4499.

'And my bow' means received from doctrine. This is clear from the meaning of 'bow' as doctrine, dealt with in 2686, 2709.

[6] The words used here, 'the portion which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow' were, it is quite evident, uttered by Israel on account of the internal sense; for Jacob did not take that portion from the Amorite with sword or bow. He bought it from the sons of Hamor, as is evident from Genesis 33, where these words occur, Jacob came to Salem, the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, as he was coming from Paddan Aram; and he encamped towards the face of the city. And he bought the portion of the field where he had stretched his tent, from the hand of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred kesitahs. Genesis 33:18-19.

The fact that this field was the portion he gave to Joseph is clear in Joshua,

The bones of Joseph which the children of Israel caused to be brought up out of Egypt they buried in Shechem, in the part of the field which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred kesitahs; and they had become an inheritance for the children of Joseph. Joshua 24:32.

From this it is evident that the portion had been bought, and that this is what was given to Joseph. Nor was the city of Shechem nearby meant, the city in which Simeon and Levi killed every male and which they took with the sword, Genesis 34. This is made clear by the fact that Jacob detested what they did and for that reason cursed Simeon and Levi, completely dissociating himself from the crime. He said,

Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of violence are their swords. Into their secret place let my soul not come; in their congregation let not my glory be united; for in their anger they killed a man, and in their pleasure they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was hard. 2 I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Genesis 49:5-7.

From all this it may now be seen that the words 'the portion which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow' were uttered by him, when the spirit of prophecy rested on him, for the sake of the internal sense.

-----
Footnotes:

1. The Latin means O Jerusalem but the Hebrew means to Jerusalem, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse (and possibly in his rough draft here).

2. i.e. cruel

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 6859, 8054, 8588, 8886, 9164, 9193, 9316, 9327, 9348, 9741, 9780, 10483, 10529, 10559, 10638

The White Horse 9

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248, 258


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 175, 433


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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