3249. Eastward to the land of the east. That this signifies to the good of faith, is evident from the signification of "the east" and the "land of the east," which will be treated of in what follows. The good of faith which is signified by the "land of the east," is no other than that which in the Word is called charity toward the neighbor; and charity toward the neighbor is nothing else than a life according to the Lord's commandments. That this is signified by the "land of the east" may be seen above (n. 1250); therefore they who were in the knowledges of the good of faith were called "sons of the east." The land of the sons of the east was Aram of Syria. (That Aram or Syria represents the knowledges of good, may be seen above, n. 1232, 1234; and that Aram Naharaim, or Syria of the rivers, represents the knowledges of truth, n. 3051.) And as by the "Syrians" or "sons of the east" were signified those who were in the knowledges of good and truth, they were preeminently called the "wise," as in the first book of Kings, where it is said of Solomon:
The wisdom of Solomon was multiplied above the wisdom of all the sons of the east (1 Kings 4:30);
and as in Matthew, where it is said of those who came to Jesus when He was born:
Wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him (Matt. 2:1-2).
For in Syria were the last remains of the Ancient Church, and therefore in that land there still remained the knowledges of good and truth, as can also be seen from Balaam, who not only adored Jehovah, but also prophesied concerning the Lord, and called Him the "Star out of Jacob, and the Scepter out of Israel" (Num. 24:17). That Balaam was of the sons of the east in Syria is manifest, for he says this of himself when he utters the declaration:
From Syria hath Balak brought me, the king of Moab, from the mountains of the east (Num. 33:7).
That it was Aram or Syria where the sons of the east dwelt, is evident from the fact that when Jacob went into Syria he is said to have gone "to the land of the sons of the east" (Gen. 29:1).