Chapter IX: Man Develops Spiritual Faculties
Genesis 30 Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 30:1-8. And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold, my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; that she may bear upon my knees, and I also may obtain children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. And Bilhah Rachel's handmaid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. And Rachel said, With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
Explain the relationship between Rachel and Bilhah. What is the fruit of receptivity?
Rachel and Bilhah represent soul attitudes. The name Rachel means "journeying," "migrating," which indicates a transitory state. In this instance Rachel was finding fault with Jacob (I AM). Such an attitude thwarts the inflow of Spirit. This is why Rachel had not conceived.
Bilhah was modest and teachable, consequently receptive to Spirit. This receptivity opens the door to spiritual inspiration, whose fruit is good judgment (Dan) and strength of character (Naphtali). That there is a close relation between the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of strength is shown by the fact that the back becomes tired when thoughts of the burdens of materiality are held. The realization that all strength is primarily spiritual relieves this condition, and strength is restored. ("Lo now, his strength is in his loins," says Job.) Man retards his spiritual growth by his material thinking and his mental clinging to the things of the world. The faculties of judgment and strength find expression in the physical or more outer consciousness of man, but their true origin is Spirit, and their spiritual nature and spiritual activity are in due time established. The higher expression of this faculty is symbolized by Jesus' apostle Andrew.
What plane of mental evolution is especially portrayed by Jacob's sons?
Jacob and his sons lived several hundred years before the time of Jesus, hence represent the eariler stages of man's development. They were natural men living by sense and emotion, yet possessing great spiritual possibilities. In the same way our faculties in the first stages of their unfoldment express themselves on the lower planes of sense. Like everything else with which we have to deal, they have a physical, a mental, and a spiritual side to bring into manifestation.
On what planes do the faculties of man evolve? How is the divine man developed?
The faculties evolve on three planes. Jacob being a type of the illumined mental, his sons especially portray ideals. By developing our ideals we may attain to a high degree of human perfection. But before we can
become anything more than human or mortal our faculties must be spiritualized and put to work on the heavenly plane. Just as the sense man has reached his present stage by the development of the senses, so the divine man must evolve by the development of his spiritual powers. The faculties involved are essentially the same, differing only as regards the plane on which they are expressed, since body, soul, and spirit are really one, and are separated only in consciousness.
Gen. 30:9-13. When Leah saw that she had left off bearing, she took Zilpah her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah's handmaid bare Jacob a son. And Leah said, Fortunate! and she called his name Gad. And Zilpah Leah's handmaid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I! for the daughters will call me happy: and she called his name Asher.
How does man attain power over his thoughts and ideas?
Leah's maid Zilpah (whose name means "distilling," "extracting an essence") was the mother of the next two sons, Gad and Asher. Gad symbolizes power, which at this stage of development is on the personal plane. Divine Mind gives man power over his thoughts and ideas and the forces of the soul. In the higher consciousness this power is exercised over the self and inner conditions rather than over other persons and the world without. The higher expression is shown by the apostle Philip.
Explain the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Asher symbolizes understanding, which corresponds to wisdom in the realm of Spirit (Thomas). Through his knowing faculty man acquires a body of knowledge by study and observation of the world without. Through the same faculty he acquires wisdom by being
receptive to the Spirit within. Tennyson brings out this difference clearly when he says, "Knowledge is earthly, of the mind; but wisdom is heavenly, of the soul."
Jacob now had eight sons, four by Leah, two by Bilhah, and two by Zilpah.
Gen. 30:14-21. And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken away my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son's mandrakes. And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob a fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, and bare a sixth son to Jacob. And Leah said, God hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
There is an interesting story in connection with the birth of the next son. In the Oriental household where there were several wives there were sure to be petty jealousies and naive intrigues. Jacob spent most of his time with Rachel since she was his favorite. To get his attention Leah bargained with Rachel to keep out of the way for a while, and as a reward gave her some mandrakes or "love apples" that her son Reuben had
brought in to her. Leah had great zeal and was never discouraged by her failure of her attempts to win Jacob's favor. When the child was born she called him Issachar, a name meaning "there is reward." Metaphysically he represents the faculty of zeal, active in substance and in the body consciousness.
To what faculty is zeal most closely related?
Zeal is a strong force, the urge behind all things and the impulse to every achievement. It sets in motion all the machinery of the universe to attain the object of its desire. It should be tempered with understanding and love, else it becomes a destructive force. Even a criminal may be zealous in his work.
The spiritual side of the zeal faculty is represented by the apostle Simon the Canaanite.
What phases of soul do Leah and Rachel represent? Why is it profitable to cultivate the faculty of order?
It is worthy of note that Leah--metaphysically the human soul as distinguished from the more advanced soul (Rachel)--was the mother of six or one half of Jacob's sons. The last one she brought forth was Bebulun (whose name means "habitation," "neighbor") and who symbolizes the faculty of order. Order is the first law of the universe. Indeed there could be no universe unless its various parts were kept in perfect harmony. In the sense mind there is disorder, manifest in confusion of thought and action, while in Divine Mind everything is perfect order. Therefore it is most important, if we are to survive at all, that our thoughts be put in order and kept in harmony with divine intelligence.
Even in the small details of life, such as dress, conversation, eating, sleeping, and working, system and order enables one to live a richer and fuller life. But only in divine order can be found the life abundant and eternal. This order is established in our body and
affairs when we live up to the higher convictions of our being under the guidance of spiritual understanding. No man-made law can be strong, true, or exact enough to insure perfect order. Only when man becomes conscious of who and what he is can he exercise his God-given dominion and bring his life into line with the principle of divine order, which is mind, idea, and manifestation. The apostle James, son of Alphaeus, symbolizes order on the spiritual plane.
The name Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, means "judged," "justified," "acquitted," "avenged." Dinah represents the soul side or feminine aspect of the judgment faculty in man; it might be called intuition, the intuition of the natural man.
Gen. 30:22-25. And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son: and said, God hath taken away my reproach: and she called his name Joseph, saying, Jehovah add to me another Son.
And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
Is the state of consciousness represented by Haran one to be desired? If so, why?
During all this time Jacob had been serving his father-in-law Laban in the country of Haran. This was a high or mountainous place and metaphysically denotes the high state of consciousness in which the individual is strengthened and given the determination to go forward to spiritual enlightenment and full development. Eleven of Jacob's sons were born in Haran, the last of whom was Joseph, the child of Rachel, the beloved. In the high state of spiritual consciousness man develops the faculties from the simple one of seeing
to that of imagination, the faculty represented by Joseph.
Gen. 30:26-43. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service wherewith I have served thee. And Laban said unto him, If now I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle have fared with me. For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it hath increased unto a multitude; and Jehovah hath blessed thee whithersoever I turned: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? And he said, What shall I give thee? and Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me aught: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed thy flock and keep it. I will pass through all thy flock to-day, removing from thence every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. So shall my righteousness answer for me hereafter, when thou shalt come concerning my hire that is before thee: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that, if found with me, shall be counted stolen. And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. And he removed that day the he-goats that were ringstreaked and spotted, and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons; and he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
And Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, and of the almond and of the plane-tree; and peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear
which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had peeled over against the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink; and they conceived when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstreaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and put them not unto Laban's flock. And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger of the flock did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods; but when the flock were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. And the man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, and maidservants and men-servants, and camels and asses.
This Scripture is quite symbolical of conditions within ourselves.
To what quality do we attribute Jacob's rapid increase in possessions? How can we use this quality in our own unfoldment?
One of the forces operative in the illumined intellect (Jacob) is the image-making faculty of the mind. In this Scripture the activity of this faculty is freely exemplified. The imagination has the ability and power to throw onto the screen of visibility in substance and life any idea that the mind conceives. This accounts for the rapid increase in Jacob's possessions.
Under what circumstances does the law of equilibrium adjust all conditions?
Jacob served Laban seven years thinking he would get Rachel (the spiritual soul) to wife only to find that Leah (the human soul) had been substituted. This would indicate that Laban in one aspect of his nature was something of a trickster. Jacob then had to work another seven years to pay for Rachel. However, there is only one presence, one power, one intelligence, and
one's own must come to him. When the soul looks steadily to Omnipresence, it finds that the law of equilibrium adjusts all conditions. For his hire Jacob was to take from Laban's flock all the ring-streaked and speckled and spotted cattle, all the black sheep, and all the speckled and spotted goats; which he removed some little distance. In addition to this he was to receive from the increase of Laban's flocks, which were free from these markings, all those animals which bore the same markings as Jacob's flocks.
When the strong, healthy herds were ready to conceive, Jacob placed in the gutters around the watering troughs where they came to drink rods of fresh poplar, and of almond, and of the plane tree, in which he had peeled white streaks; the flocks conceived before these rods, and they brought forth young that were ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted. When the weak flocks were ready to conceive and came to drink, he took away the rods in which he had peeled the white streaks. In the end Jacob had large, strong, healthy herds and Laban had small and weak herds.
Taking it all in all, the illumined intellect (Jacob) receives all that it deserves.
In what way was Jacob superior to others of the same stock, and what effect did this superiority have on his associates?
These passages in Genesis show the urge toward higher things on the part of those who received the quickening of the Spirit. Jacob, Laban, and Laban's family were of the same stock, but Jacob was more spiritually awakened, and because of his superior understanding all those with whom he was associated enjoyed increase of understanding and substance. Laban said to Jacob, "I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake." Separating the animals owned jointly by Laban and Jacob implies that the vital forces have
expanded to the point where finer types are possible. These types are represented as "ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted," and they fell to Jacob. Jacob also discovered that he could increase his "flocks" by using his image-making faculty, focusing the mind on a certain image when he was in creative consciousness. The sculptor makes a mental image of the thing he is carving and it appears under the impact of his hand.
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Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 247-253: Genesis 31 Mysteries of Genesis