1856. In the fourth generation they shall return hither. That this signifies the time and state of restoration, is evident from the signification of "the fourth generation." "The fourth generation" signifies the same as "forty" and as "four hundred;" namely, the duration and the state of temptation, spoken of at verse 13; it is a sort of diminutive from these. Whether a number be larger or smaller, provided it be of the same stock, it involves the same; as has already been stated several times. That "the fourth generation" does not signify any generation from Abram, or from Isaac, or from Jacob, is evident from the historicals of the Word; for there were more generations, and these people were very different from their fathers when they returned. "The fourth generation" is an expression that occurs likewise in other places, yet in the internal sense it never signifies any generation; and here it signifies the time and state of restoration, because it signifies the end of those things which are signified by "forty" or by "four hundred" (see n. 862, 1847).