1984. Chapter 17
Few persons can bring themselves to believe that the Word has within it an internal sense that from the letter is not apparent, because it is so remote from the sense of the letter that it is as it were distant from it as heaven is from earth. But that the sense of the letter contains such things within itself, and that it is representative and significative of arcana that no one sees except the Lord, and angels from Him, is evident from what has been stated in various places in the first Part of this work. The sense of the letter bears a relation to the internal sense like that of the human body to the soul. While a man is in the body, and thinks from bodily things, he knows almost nothing about the soul; for the functions of the body are different from those of the soul, so different that if the functions of the soul were disclosed, they would not be acknowledged as such. The case is the same with the internals of the Word: its soul, that is, its life, is in its internals, and these have regard solely to the Lord, His kingdom, the church, and to those things in man that belong to His kingdom and church; and when these are regarded, it is the Word of the Lord, for in this case there is life itself therein. That this is really the case has been confirmed by many things in the first Part, and has been given me to know as a certainty; for no ideas concerning bodily and worldly things can by any possibility pass to the angels, but they are put off and altogether removed at the first threshold, as they leave man; as may be seen in the first Part, from experience itself (n. 1769-1772 inclusive), and also how they are changed (n. 1872-1876).
 This may also be sufficiently evident from very many things in the Word that are not at all intelligible in the sense of the letter, and that would not be acknowledged as the Word of the Lord if there were not such a soul and life in them; nor would they appear as Divine to anyone who has not been imbued from infancy with the belief that the Word is inspired and thereby holy. Who would know from the sense of the letter what those things signify which Jacob spoke to his sons just before his death (Gen. 49):
That Dan shall be a serpent upon the way, an adder upon the path, biting the horse's heels, and his rider shall fall backward (verse 17); that a troop shall ravage Gad, and he shall ravage the heel (verse 19); that Naphtali is a hind let loose, giving discourses of elegance (verse 21); that Judah shall bind his young ass to the vine, and the son of his she-ass to the noble vine; he shall wash his garment in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes; his eyes are redder than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk (Gen. 49:11-12);
and the case is the same with very many passages in the Prophets. But what these things signify cannot possibly appear except in the internal sense, in which all things both in general and in particular are coherent in the most beauty order.
 The case is the same again with all that the Lord said concerning the last times:
In the consummation of the age, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man, and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail (Matt. 24:29-30).
These words by no means signify the darkening of the sun and moon, nor the falling of the stars from heaven, nor the wailing of the tribes; but they signify charity and faith, for in the internal sense these are "the sun and the moon," and these will be darkened; and they also signify the knowledges of good and truth, for these are "the stars," which are here called "the powers of the heavens," and which will thus fall down and vanish; and that so also will all things of faith, which are "the tribes of the earth." This was shown also in Part First (n. 31, 32, 1053, 1529-1531, 1808). From these few things the nature of the internal sense of the Word may be seen, and also that it is remote, and in some places very remote, from the sense of the letter. But still the sense of the letter represents truths; and sets forth appearances of truth, in which a man can be when not in the light of truth.
1. And Abram was a son of ninety years and nine years; and Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Shaddai; walk thou before Me, and be thou perfect.
2. And I will give My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee very exceedingly.
3. And Abram fell upon his faces; and God spoke with him saying:
4. I, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be for a father of a multitude of nations.
5. And thy name shall no more be called Abram; and thy name shall be Abraham, for a father of a multitude of nations have I made thee.
6. And I will make thee fruitful very exceedingly, and I will make thee nations, and kings shall go forth from thee.
7. And I will set up My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee, unto their generations, for an eternal covenant, to be to thee for God, and to thy seed after thee.
8. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be to them for God.
9. And God said unto Abraham, And thou shalt keep My covenant, thou and thy seed after thee, unto their generations.
10. This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee, that every male be circumcised unto you.
11. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and you.
12. And a son of eight days shall be circumcised unto you, every male in your generations, he that is born in the house, and he that is bought with silver from every son that is a stranger, who is not of thy seed.
13. Circumcising he shall be circumcised that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy silver; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an eternal covenant.
14. And the uncircumcised male, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his peoples, he hath made vain My covenant.
15. And God said unto Abraham, Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, for Sarah is her name.
16. And I will bless her, and will also give thee a son from her; and I will bless her, and she shall be for nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.
17. And Abraham fell upon his faces, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall there be born to a son of a hundred years? And shall Sarah, that is a daughter of ninety years, bear?
18. And Abraham said unto God, Would that Ishmael might live before Thee!
19. And God said, Truly Sarah, thy wife, shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will set up My covenant with him for an eternal covenant, to his seed after him.
20. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; behold I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him very exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
21. And My covenant will I set up with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the following year.
22. And He left off speaking with him; and God went up from over Abraham.
23. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his silver, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God spoke with him.
24. And Abraham was a son of ninety and nine years, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
25. And Ishmael his son was a son of thirteen years, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
26. In the self-same day was Abraham circumcised, and
Ishmael his son.
27. And all the men of his house, he that was born in the house, and he that was bought with silver from the stranger, were circumcised with him.