Chapter VIII: The Mental Supplants the Physical
Genesis 24 Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 24:1-9. And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and Jehovah had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: and I will make thee swear by Jehovah, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou wilt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. Jehovah, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my nativity, and who spake unto me, and who sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he will send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife for my son from thence. And if the woman be not willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath; only thou shalt not bring my son thither again. And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning this matter.
The progenitor of the house of Abraham (primitive faith) is Spirit. Abraham desired to perpetuate the spiritual trend of consciousness. The "servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had" (representing the personal ego that rules over the body or "house" consciousness), obeyed every injunction of his. Abraham (the progressive mind) desires Isaac (his happy, joyous thoughts) to unite in marriage with one of his kindred (Rebekah: high ideals) in the land of Haran (exalted state of mind). Abraham (progressive faith) then requires his obedient servant (the personal ego ruling over the body consciousness) to take an oath or affirm, with his hand (power) on Abraham's thigh, that this shall be accomplished.
Explain the symbology of putting the hand "under my thigh" and swearing.
Yarek, the Hebrew word translated "thigh," comes from a little used root and is sometimes used euphemistically to designate the genitals. This oath was not taken on the thigh but on the genital organs, a practice not peculiar to the Hebrews but known to many other primitive people. Such a custom hints at phallicism or the worship of the physical source of life. As our courts impress on the witness the sacredness of his oath by having him place his hand on the Bible while making it, so these people used the source of physical life to enforce the sanctity of an oath.
Spiritually interpreted, why did Abraham want Isaac to marry a daughter of his own people?
Spiritual light comes through the activity of pioneering faith. Abraham realized that through his struggles for a higher state of consciousness (Haran) his soul had become rooted and grounded in the fundamental principles of Truth. Therefore he desired his happy, joyous thoughts (Isaac) to unite with a feminine soul force that had sprung from the original root of Spirit (his own kindred).
Gen. 24:10-62. And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master, and departed, having all goodly things of his master's in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made the camels to kneel down without the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water. And he said, O Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, send me, I pray thee, good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the fountain of water; and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water: and let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master. And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the fountain, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Give me to drink, I pray thee, a little water from thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand,
and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw, and drew for all his camels. And the man looked stedfastly on her, holding his peace, to know whether Jehovah had made his journey prosperous or not. And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold, and said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee. Is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in? And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bare unto Nahor. She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. And the man bowed his head, and worshipped Jehovah. And he said, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, who hath not forsaken his loving-kindness and his truth toward my master: as for me, Jehovah hath led me in the way to the house of my master's brethren.
And the damsel ran, and told her mother's house according to these words. And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the fountain. And it came to pass, when he saw the ring, and the bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he was standing by the camels at the fountain. And he said, Come in, thou blessed of Jehovah; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. And the man came into the house, and he ungirded the camels; and he gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men that were with him. And there was set food before him to
eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on. And he said, I am Abraham's servant. And Jehovah hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great; and he hath given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and men-servants and maid-servants, and camels and asses. And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath. And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son. And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. And he said unto me, Jehovah, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house: then shalt thou be clear from my oath, when thou comest to thy kindred; and if they give her not to thee, thou shalt be clear from my oath. And I came this day unto the fountain, and said, O Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: behold, I am standing by the fountain of water; and let it come to pass, that the maiden that cometh forth to draw, to whom I shall say, Give me, I pray thee, a little water from thy pitcher to drink; and she shall say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom Jehovah hath appointed for my master's son. And before I had done speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the fountain, and drew: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art
thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the ring upon her nose, and the bracelets upon her hands. And I bowed my head, and worshipped Jehovah, and blessed Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter for his son. And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.
Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from Jehovah: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as Jehovah hath spoken. And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth unto Jehovah. And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at least ten; after that she shall go. And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing Jehovah hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them.
And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and
the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. And Isaac came up from the way of Beer-lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the land of the South.
Is a declaration of Truth always demonstrated? What quality of mind serves as a complement to this demonstration?
A declaration of Truth is always demonstrated in mind and body. Paul says the man is not without the woman in the Lord (I Cor. 11:11). In the above Scripture the law is in process of being fulfilled (the oath or affirmation made by Abraham's servant is here being demonstrated.
Abraham's servant journeyed into the land of Mesopotamia in search of a wife for Abraham's son Isaac and was led by Jehovah to the city of Nahor, where he found Rebekah.
Is there any inner significance in the state of consciousness represented by Mesopotamia?
The state of consciousness represented by Mesopotamia lies close to the spiritual, at least close enough to be open to the divine urge for light and higher attainment ("country between," "middle region," "middle land"). Otherwise it could not have been the home of Rebekah and her brother Laban, nor of Abraham at the time when he received from God the revelation directing him to come out from his people into another country (to enter into a higher and more spiritual state of mind) that he might possess his divine inheritance.
Nahor denotes the arousing of a more lofty desire in man through the activity of faith (Abraham). These greater aspirations pierce the darkness of materiality and aid in bringing about a new trend of thought ("eager," "piercing," "slaying").
Bethuel, father of Rebekah, represents conscious unity with Spirit. Milcah, mother of Rebekah, represents wisdom and good judgment through the intuitional or feminine nature.
What soul phase does Rebekah symbolize?
The name Rebekah means "tying firmly," "noosed cord," "beauty that ensnares." Rebekah represents the soul's natural delight in beauty. This essence of the soul is continually going forth and making contact with the harmonious and the beautiful.
Abraham's servant adorned Rebekah with rings and bracelets of gold, which appealed to her love of the beautiful. This no doubt influenced her in her decision to make the journey to the house of Abraham. Metaphysically Rebekah's taking this step represents an esthetic feminine force within the soul penetrating down into the subconscious and there making union with life and substance. The servant (personal ego) guided Rebekah into Beer-lahai-roi, in the "land of the South" (the subconscious), where Isaac dwelt.
(For further interpretation of Beer-lahai-roi see comments on Gen. 16:1-15.)
"Let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them." Explain.
Through the inherent love of the harmonious thousands are blessed and many hearts of "hate" are directed into other channels of expression ("let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them").
Gen. 24:63-67. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel. And she said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant said, It is my master: and she took her veil, and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
Explain the Scripture "And Isaac went out to meditate ... and he lifted up his eyes, and saw ... And Rebekah lifted up her eyes ... and he loved her."
The happy Isaac consciousness claimed its counterpart in Rebekah. Faith and obedience (Abraham) bring forth joy, and joy (Isaac) is linked with the beauty of nature without. The devout, joyous soul readily makes union with the natural, harmonious expression of Spirit, and in the joy of spiritual realization the thoughts are lifted up in exaltation and praise. "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw ... And Rebekah lifted up her eyes ... and he loved her." Thus is portrayed the union of the devout, joyous nature with the soul of love.
The joyous soul, when established in spiritual faith and poise, is screened from contact with inharmonies: "and she took her veil, and covered herself."
What is represented by Rebekah's journey to the house of Abraham and her union with Isaac?
Isaac led Rebekah into his mother Sarah's tent. This signifies that the soul powers symbolized by Isaac and Rebekah are ever penetrating into the physical, here represented by the tent.
Preceding Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 190-193: Genesis 23 Mysteries of Genesis
Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 202-212: Genesis 25 Mysteries of Genesis