Chapter X: The Spiritual Gains Precedence of the Mental
Genesis 35 Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 35:1-7. And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, who appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hand, and the rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and a terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan (the same is Beth-el), he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el; because there God was revealed unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
God commanded Jacob to arise and go unto Beth-el. What does this mean?
God commanded Jacob to arise (lift up his thoughts) and go unto Beth-el ("house of God"). After a progressive soul has passed through such an experience as the one recorded in the preceding chapter, this soul feels the need of and affirms the cleansing, purifying, and uplifting power of the word and resolves to keep its face turned more steadfastly toward the light. The foreign gods here referred to supposedly are little images (made of a material substance such as clay or iron) representing ideas. The rings symbolize ornaments in which a vain and frivolous soul delights.
All these relics of the country they were leaving were now to be cast out of the conscious mind. The change of garments represents a change of thoughts.
The name Luz means "turning away," "departing," "a shrub bearing nuts." Luz indicates separation. It also carries with it the idea of substance and strength ("a shrub bearing nuts") of a more or less material character. When Jacob realized the omnipresence of God he changed the name of Luz to Beth-el ("house of God"). (See interpretation of Gen. 28:18-22.)
Why did Jacob change the name of Beth-el to El-beth-el?
On the occasion of this, Jacob's second journey to Luz, he set up an altar and called the place El-beth-el, which means "toward Beth-el; strength of the house of God." It symbolizes the revelation from within that the true origin of man is spiritual, that God dwells in man and reveals Himself when man comes to the place in consciousness where he is willing to give up the lower for the higher (builds an altar to Jehovah). Man is the house (temple) of God, and he is greatly strengthened when he perceives this truth.
Gen. 35:8. And Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried below Beth-el under the oak; and the name of it was called Allon-bacuth.
What does the death of Deborah represent?
Rebekah represents the soul's natural delight in the beautiful. The name of Deborah means "a bee." The name Allon-bacuth means "oak of weeping." Weeping is an expression of emotion, a negative condition, a letting go throughout the organism. Rebekah's nurse Deborah represents the quality of the soul by virtue of which it serves instinctively and is guided by discrimination and judgment. In mixed states of consciousness, where error seems strongest, Spirit can lead by following the guidance of instinct. Deborah was buried below Bethel ("house of God") under the oak (the protection of Spirit).
Allon-bacuth ("oak of weeping") represents the inner strengthening of the true man that comes when, in trying to serve, he lets go of the outer personal activities and goes within to the source of all strength and true energy (the oak) and rests there in God.
Gen. 35:9-15. And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. And God went up from him in the place where he spake with him. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he spake with him, a pillar of stone: and he poured out a drink-offering thereon, and poured oil thereon. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Beth-el.
The foregoing incident left an idelible impression on Jacob's mind, and he counted it as a great spiritual experience and set up a stone as a pillar in commemoration of it.
The name Aram means "high," "exalted," and Aram denotes the intellect. The name Paddan means "field," "tableland." Paddan-aram represents substance lifted to a broad, level place in the intellectual thought of the individual. This incident in the life of Jacob has much in common with an earlier one. (See interpretation of Gen. 28:18-22).
Gen. 35:16-21. And they journeyed from Beth-el; and there was still some distance to come to
Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; for now thou shalt have another son. And it came to pass, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Beth-lehem). And Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave: the same is the Pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Eder.
What state of consciousness does Ephrath symbolize?
Ephrath is the original name of the town of Bethlehem. Ephrath represents a realization of abundant substance, this increase of substance ideas in consciousness bringing about a corresponding fruitfulness, abundance, throughout one's life and affairs.
Explain metaphysically the death of Rachel and the birth of Benjamin.
The last of the sons of Jacob was born after his return to Canaan. The death of Rachel and birth of Benjamin represent the transition of a potential soul quality from the subjective to the objective plane of consciousness. Rachel ("ewe," "lamb") represents the pure, innocent, potentially spiritual soul that is a composite of faith, love, power, and the like. It is through Jacob (the intellect) that these qualities are made objective, and when this comes to pass there is temporary sorrow ("son of my sorrow"), followed by rejoicing at the realization of the birth of the new power that has come through the transition ("son of my right hand"). "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world."
What soul activity is indicated by Jacob's spreading his tent "beyond . . . Eder"?
The name Eder means "troop," "flock." The tower called Eder, beyond which Israel (Jacob) journeyed and spread his tent, symbolizes the gathering of thoughts of dominion and rulership (Israel means "rulership with God") and the raising of them to a higher degree of understanding; lifting them to a spiritual level by realizing that power and dominion come from God.
Gen. 35:22. And it came to pass, while Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard of it.
What does Reuben's union with Bilhah denote?
All these illustrations show that the divine law must be observed in developing the faculties. Reuben's laying with Bilhah evidently symbolizes an abortive attempt of man's perception of Truth (Reuben) to develop them through an illegitimate union with a negative element (Bilhah: "bashfulness," "timidity"). That there is no record of any progeny from this union indicates that it was not in divine order.
Gen. 35:23-26. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: the sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob's first-born, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun; the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid: Dan and Naphtali; and the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaind: Gad and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, that were born to him in Paddan-aram.
Leah ("weary," "exhausted") represents the human soul. She became the mother of six sons:
Reuben, whose name means "behold a son," "vision of the son," represents faith in its aspect of discernment, of sight in the outer. Reuben like Simeon bespeaks understanding.
Simeon, whose name means "hearkening," "obeying," represents the bringing forth of hearing; receptivity.
Levi, whose name signifies "joining," "clinging," represents the love faculty in human consciousness.
The name Judah means "praise Jehovah." Judah symbolizes the prayer and praise faculty in consciousness.
The name Issachar means "he will bring reward," "who brings recompense." Issachar represents active zeal.
The name Zebulun means "habitation," "dwelling." Zebulun represents the order faculty.
Rachel ("ewe," "lamb") symbolizes the spiritual soul. She became the mother of Joseph and Benjamin.
The name Joseph means "Jehovah shall increase." Joseph represents the imagination.
The name Benjamin means "son of good fortune." Benjamin represents an active, accomplishing faith.
Bilhah ("bashfulness," "timidity") represents a tendency toward self-abasement. She bore Jacob two sons, Dan and Naphtali:
Dan ("a judge") symbolizes the faculty of judgment.
Naphtali ("my wrestling") represents the power of elimination.
Zilpah ("distilling," "dropping," "leaking") represents the unfolding soul of man in the phase of its awakening to spiritual thought, marked by hesitation and lack of perseverance; too much of the human is expressed and much of the good is dissipated (leaking). Zipah's two sons were Gad and Asher.
Gad ("fortunate," "good fortune") represents the
faculty of power, but still mostly on the personal plane.
Asher ("straightforward") symbolizes the faculty of understanding.
Gen. 35:27, 28. And Jacob came unto Isaac his father to Mamre, to Kiriath-arba (the same is Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
And the days of Isaac were a hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave of the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, old and full of days: and Esau and Jacob his sons buried him.
Kiriath-arba ("city of Arba") represents the tendency of the sense mind to attribute strength, power, knowledge, and greatness to the outer formed world rather than to Spirit. Kiriath-arba was the old name of Hebron, which represents an association of ideas.
Mamre signifies a consciousness of substance and riches.
The death of Isaac represents the passing or giving up of that phase of the individual consciousness which has to do with the pleasures of the natural man; or its sinking back into the subconsciousness (giving up of the ghost).
Preceding Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 267-269: Genesis 34 Mysteries of Genesis
Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 277-292: Genesis 36 Mysteries of Genesis