Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6335

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

6335. 'And Jacob called his sons' means organizing the truths of faith and the forms of the good of love in the natural. This is clear from the meaning of 'calling' as arranging into order, for the reason why they were called together was so that the truths of faith and the forms of the good of charity might be set forth in that organized arrangement; and from the representation of 'Jacob' and 'his sons' as the truths of faith and the forms of the good of love in the natural, 'Jacob' being those truths and forms of good in general, see 3509, 3525, 3546, 3659, 3669, 3677, 3775, 3829, 4234, 4273, 4777, 5506, 5533, 5535, 6001, 6236, and 'his sons', or the tribes named after them, those truths and forms of good in particular, 3858, 3926, 3939, 4060. With regard to this organization of the truths of faith and the forms of the good of love that is meant here and is set forth in the internal sense of this chapter, it should be recognized that the twelve tribes of Israel represented in general all truths and forms of good in their entirety, thus all the truths and forms of good which come forth from the Lord, therefore those which exist in heaven and from which heaven exists. And since all in general are represented, so is each one specifically; for classes in general include all members specifically, just as general wholes do their individual parts.

[2] Forms of good and the truths deriving from them are what determine the varying intensity of light in heaven; and that varying intensity of light is what determines the varying states of intelligence and wisdom. This was how it came about that light glittered and flashed through the Urim and Thummim, doing so in varying ways in keeping with the state of the matter about which questions were being asked. This took place because the twelve tribes, by whom all truths and forms of good in general were meant, were designated in the breastplate or Urim and Thummim; for each precious stone stood for one particular tribe. The reason why they were precious stones was that spiritual and celestial truths are meant by them, 114, 3720, and good is meant by the 'gold' into which they had been set,a 113, 1551, 1552, 5658. This arcanum is what was meant by the Urim and Thummim.

[3] The fact that the twelve tribes meant such things is evident from places in the Word where they are mentioned by name, in particular from the inheritances of the tribes in the land of Canaan, which are dealt with in Joshua, and from their inheritances in the Lord's kingdom, which are dealt with in Ezekiel - in the final chapters, in which a new land, a new Jerusalem, and a new temple are described - and also in Revelation 7:4-8. That the twelve tribes meant such things is also evident from the order in which they were arranged when they pitched camp in the wilderness, an order which was such that it represented truths and forms of good in their right and proper order. This was the origin of the prophetic utterance made by Balaam,

When Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes, the Spirit of God came upon him and he delivered an utterance, and said, How good are your tabernacles, O Jacob; your dwelling-places, O Israel! Like valleys they are planted, like gardens beside a river, like aloes Jehovah has planted, like cedars beside the waters. Num 24:2, 3, 5, 6.

See also what has been shown regarding the tribes and organized arrangements of them in 2129, 3858, 3862, 3926, 3979, 4060, 4603.


a Reading cui inclusi (into which they had been set) for cui insculpti (for which they had been engraved).

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church