4317. That in the internal historical sense, by "because he touched in the hollow of Jacob's thigh the nerve of that which was displaced," is signified because they had a heredity which could not be eradicated by regeneration, because they would not allow this, is evident from the signification of the "thigh," as being conjugial love, and consequently every heavenly and spiritual love (see n. 4280); and because the "hollow of the thigh" is where there is the conjunction of conjugial love, and also of all heavenly and spiritual love, with natural good (n. 4277, 4280). Hence to "touch it," or to injure it so as to occasion halting, is to destroy the good which is of these loves, and as this happened to Jacob, it is signified that this nature passed from him to his posterity, and thus was hereditary. That the "nerve of that which was displaced" signifies falsity, may be seen above (n. 4303), here falsity from hereditary evil. It follows from this and from the series, that this heredity could not be eradicated from them by regeneration, because they would not allow this.
 That they had such a heredity and that they could not be regenerated, is very evident from all that is related of them in the Word, and particularly from these passages in Moses:
Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all things that Jehovah hath done in your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; and Jehovah hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, even unto this day (Deut. 29:2, 4).
In the same:
I know the figment of the people which they do at this day, before I bring them into the land which I sware (Deut. 31:21).
I will hide My faces from them, I will see what is the last of them; for they are a generation of perversities, sons in whom is no truth. I would exterminate them, I would cause their memory to cease from man, were it not that I feared the indignation of the enemy. For they are a nation that perisheth in counsels, and there is no intelligence in them; for their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and their grapes are of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are hemlock, the clusters are bitter to them. Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel head of asps. Is not this laid up in store with Me, sealed in My treasures? (Deut. 32:20, 26-34);
and in many other places, especially in Jeremiah.
 That this was signified by the "touch upon the hollow of Jacob's thigh," and his consequent lameness, is manifest in Hosea:
The controversy of Jehovah with Judah, to visit upon Jacob, according to his ways, and according to his works He will render to him; he supplanted his brother in the womb; in his grief he contended with God, and contended toward the angel, and prevailed; he wept and entreated him (Hos. 12:3-5).
where "to contend with God," in the internal historical sense, is to be urgent that the representative of a church should be with them (see n. 4290, 4293). From this it is evident that they had such a heredity from Jacob himself, and the same might be shown from many more passages which must be passed over for the present.
 As regards heredity specifically, it is believed in the church at this day that all hereditary evil is from the first parent, and that all are therefore condemned in regard thereto. But the case is not so. Hereditary evil derives its origin from everyone's parents and parents' parents, or from grandparents and ancestors successively. Every evil which they have acquired by actual life, even so that by frequent use or habit it has become like a nature, is derived into the children, and becomes hereditary to them, together with that which had been implanted in the parents from grandparents and ancestors. The hereditary evil from the father is more inward, and the hereditary evil from the mother is more outward. The former cannot be easily rooted out, but the latter can. When man is being regenerated, the hereditary evil inrooted from his nearest parents is plucked up by the roots; but with those who are not being regenerated, or who cannot be regenerated, it remains. This then is hereditary evil (see also n. 313, 494, 2122, 2910, 3518, 3701). This is also evident to everyone who reflects, and also from the fact that every family has some peculiar evil or good by which it is distinguished from other families; and that this is from parents and ancestors is known. It is similar with the Jewish nation remaining at this day, which is evidently distinct from other nations, and is known from them, not only by its peculiar genius, but also by manners, speech, and face.
 But what hereditary evil is, few know; it is believed to consist in doing evil; but it consists in willing and hence thinking evil; hereditary evil being in the will itself and in the thought thence derived; and being the very conatus or endeavor that is therein, and which adjoins itself even when the man is doing what is good. It is known by the delight that is felt when evil befalls another. This root lies deeply hidden, for the very inward form that receives from heaven (that is, through heaven from the Lord) what is good and true, is depraved, and so to speak, distorted; so that when good and truth flow in from the Lord, they are either reflected, or perverted, or suffocated. It is from this cause that no perception of good and truth exists at this day, but in place of it, with the regenerate, conscience, which acknowledges as good and true what is learned from parents and masters. It is from hereditary evil to love self more than others, to will evil to others if they do not honor us, to perceive delight in revenge, and also to love the world more than heaven; and from the same source come all the derivative cupidities or evil affections. Man is ignorant that such things are in hereditary evil, and still more that they are opposite to heavenly affections; and yet it is manifestly shown in the other life how much of evil from what is hereditary each one has drawn to himself by actual life, and also how far he has removed himself from heaven by evil affections from this source.
 That hereditary evil could not be eradicated from the posterity of Jacob by regeneration because they would not allow it, is likewise manifest from the historicals of the Word; for they gave way in all the temptations in the wilderness as recorded by Moses: and also afterwards in the land of Canaan, whenever they did not see miracles; and yet those temptations were outward but not inward or spiritual. In respect to spiritual things they could not be tempted, because as before shown they knew no internal truths, and had no internal good; and no one can be tempted except as to what he knows and what he has. Temptations are the veriest means of regeneration. These things are signified by their not allowing regeneration. As regards their state and lot in the other life, see above (n. 939-941, 3481).