Arcana Coelestia #3160

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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3160. 'And Laban answered, then Bethuel, and they said, From Jehovah has this thing come; we cannot speak to you bad or good' means acknowledgement that it was the Lord's alone. This could be shown by an explanation of the internal sense of all the individual words; yet the inference to be drawn is evident without any such explanation. 'From Jehovah has this thing come' clearly means that it is from the Lord, because the name 'Jehovah' mentioned so many times in the Old Testament is used to mean no one other than the Lord, see 1343, 1736, 1815, 2156, 2329, 2921, 3023, 3035. The embodiment of arcana within these words may be known from the consideration that here it was Laban - the brother - who answered, and then Bethuel - the father - not the father and the mother; and that the virgin herself did not answer until after that. The reason for this is that Laban as her brother represents the affection for good in the natural man, 3129, 3130, and Bethuel the origin of the affection for good. The affection for good and the affection for truth in the natural man are related to each other as brother and sister. But the affection for truth once summoned from the natural man into the rational man and joined to good there is as a married woman.

[2] The arcanum embodied here in Laban and Bethuel's manner of reply - that is, in the brother speaking first, then the father - is that when good from the rational man flows into the natural man, it does not flow directly into the truth there but into the good, and then by way of the good into the truth. Unless that good flows in as described, the affection for truth cannot come into being. The affection for good in the natural man is that which acknowledges, and so is the first to consent, for a direct communication exists between rational good and natural good, but no direct communication between rational good and natural truth. Regarding the parallelism that exists between them, see 1831, 1832. Here two ancient customary sayings occur - 'from Jehovah has the thing come' meaning that it was done by Jehovah, and also 'we cannot speak to you bad or good' meaning that people did not dare either to deny or to affirm. Reference to the acknowledgement being the Lord's alone follows next.

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