Arcana Coelestia #3795

Door Emanuel Swedenborg

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3795. 'For she was a shepherdess' or one who feeds the flock means that the affection for interior truth contained in the Word is that which teaches. This is clear from the meaning of 'a shepherd' or one who feeds the flock 1 as one who leads and teaches, dealt with in 343, and from the representation of Rachel, to whom 'she' refers here, as the affection for interior truth, dealt with just above in 3793. The reason why interior truth is said to come from the Word is that it was the well to which Rachel came with the flock - 'a well' meaning the Word, see 3765. What is more, it is the affection for interior truth that teaches, for it is by virtue of that affection that the Church is the Church and a shepherd or pastor is a pastor. The reason 'a shepherd' and one who feeds the flock means in the Word those who lead and teach is that 'the flock' means those who are led and taught, and therefore means Churches and also the doctrines which a Church teaches, 3767, 3768, 3783. The fact that shepherd or pastor and flock have these meanings is very well known in the Christian world, for these are the terms used for those who teach and those who learn. It is therefore superfluous to confirm these points from the Word.


1. The Latin word pastor, translated shepherdess above, is used of anyone - male or female - who tends a flock or herd. But in the original Hebrew the word is taken to be feminine.

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