3160. And Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The word hath gone forth from Jehovah; we cannot speak unto thee evil or good. That this signifies acknowledgment that it was of the Lord alone, may be seen from the explication of the several words as to the internal sense; but that this is the conclusion from them, is evident without such explication. That "the word hath gone forth from Jehovah," signifies from the Lord, is evident; for by "Jehovah," so often named in the Old Testament, no other is ever meant than the Lord (see n. 1343, 1736, 1815, 2156, 2329, 3023, 3035). That these things involve arcana, is evident from the fact that here Laban made answer, who was a brother, and then Bethuel who was the father; but not the father and mother; and that the virgin did not answer till afterwards. The reason of this is that by Laban as a brother is represented the affection of good in the natural man (see n. 3129, 3130); and by Bethuel, the origin of the affection of good. The affection of good and the affection of truth in the natural man are as brother and sister; and the affection of truth called forth from the natural man into the rational and there conjoined with good, is as a married woman.
 The secret reason why Laban and Bethuel answered, that is, the brother first and then the father, is that while good from the rational man is flowing into the natural, it does not flow immediately into the truth there, but into the good there, and through the good into the truth; and unless there is this influx the affection of truth cannot come into actual being. The affection of good in the natural man is that which acknowledges, and thus is that which first consents; for there is an immediate communication between rational good and natural good, but not between rational good and natural truth (concerning the parallelism of these see above, n. 1831, 1832). Two ancient formulas of speech are found here, namely, "The word hath gone forth from Jehovah," meaning that it was done of Jehovah; and "We cannot speak unto thee evil or good," meaning that they neither dared to deny nor to affirm. Concerning the acknowledgment that it was of the Lord alone, see what now follows.