Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 4430

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4430. 'And Shechem saw her' means truth. This is clear from the representation of 'Shechem' as truth, in this case the truth received by the Church from ancient times. The reason why 'Shechem' has this representation is that remnants of the Church still existed with the nation to which Shechem belonged. The fact that his nation was one of the upright nations is evident from the genuineness behind the things that Hamor and Shechem said to Jacob and his sons, verses 8-12, and from the deference that was shown by them in order that Shechem might marry Dinah, verses 18-24, on account of which they represented the truth of the Church. Furthermore the city of Shechem was Abram's first stopping-place when he came from Syria into the land of Canaan, Gen 12:6, and was now also Jacob's first stopping-place when he too came from Syria, where he stretched his tent, made booths, and set up an altar, Gen 33:17-20. It has been shown frequently that the journeys or wanderings of Abraham and Jacob represented advances into the truths of faith and the goods of love - in the highest sense, the Lord's own advances, and in the relative sense those made by the person who is being regenerated by the Lord. Hence 'Shechem' meant the first degree of light, 1440, 1441, and therefore interior truth since this is the first degree of light.

[2] But in the present chapter the subject in the internal sense is the way in which the descendants of Jacob annihilated this first degree of light or interior truth residing with them. In this sense, which is the internal historical sense, 'the sons of Jacob' means all his descendants, for the internal sense of the Word deals solely with the things that belong to the Lord's kingdom, and so those that belong to His Church. Jacob's actual sons did not constitute any Church but their descendants did, though not until after they had come out of Egypt, and in actual fact not until they entered the land of Canaan.

[3] Furthermore regarding this city named after Shechem, it was called Salem in ancient times, as is clear in the previous chapter,

Jacob came to Salem, the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan. Gen 33:18.

'Salem' means serenity, and 'the city of Shechem' the interior truths of faith; and a person comes into a state of serenity when he arrives at those truths, see 4393. But later on the same city was called Shechem, as may be seen 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. Josh 24:32.

And in the Book of Judges,

Gaal the son of Ebed said to the citizens of Shechem, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal. and Zebul is his commander? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; and why shall we serve him? Judg 9:28.

[4] The same city after that was called 'Sychar', as is evident in John,

Jesus came into a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to Joseph his son; Jacob's well was there. John 4:5, 6.

From these places, as well as from others where it is mentioned, it is evident that this city means interior truth. It is also clear in Hosea,

Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity; it is stained with blood; and as troops wait for a man so the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem, for they have committed villainy. In the house of Israel I have seen a foul thing. Hosea 6:8-10.

Here 'they murder on the way to Shechem' means that they annihilate truths, including interior ones, and so annihilate all truths. The annihilation of interior truth is also meant by the reference to Abimelech's destruction of that city and sowing it with salt, Judg 9:45.

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