Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5628

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5628. 'And may God Shaddai' means the comfort that follows hardships. This is clear from the meaning of 'Shaddai' as temptation, also the comfort that follows temptation, dealt with in 1992, 4572, here therefore the comfort which followed all the hardships they experienced in Egypt. The meaning here - the comfort that follows severe sufferings - is also evident from the words 'grant you mercy before the man' which immediately follow. The reason why 'Shaddai' means temptation, also the comfort that follows temptation, is that the ancients gave the one and only God various illustrious names which were descriptive of the various things that came from Him; and because they believed that even temptations came from Him they called Him 'God Shaddai'. They did not understand some other God by this name but the one and only God so far as temptations were concerned. When however the Ancient Church went downhill they began to worship as many gods as there were names of the one and only God; indeed they increased the number of them with many more which they themselves invented. This trend continued until at length each family had its own god whom that family kept quite distinct and separate from all other gods worshipped by other families.

[2] The family of Terah, which Abraham came from, worshipped Shaddai as its particular god, see 1356, 1992, 2559, 3667. Consequently not only Abraham but Jacob too recognized Shaddai as their god; and they did so in the land of Canaan. But to avoid any compulsion of them to forsake the form of religion they had - for no one is compelled to forsake what for him is holy - they were allowed to keep to it. However, because the ancients had meant Jehovah Himself or the Lord by the name Shaddai, which they used when they underwent temptations, Jehovah or the Lord took this name in His dealings with Abraham, as is evident from Gen 17:1, and-also in His dealings with Jacob, Gen 35:11.

[3] The reason why not only temptation but also comfort is meant by 'Shaddai' is that comfort follows all spiritual temptations, as I have been allowed to know from experience in the next life. When anyone there is subjected to hardships at the hands of evil spirits, who attack him, incite him to evil practices, and persuade him to accept falsities, he is subsequently received by angels, once the evil spirits have been turned away, and he is brought into a state of consolation by means of some delight in keeping with his character.

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