4857. Behold thy father-in-law goeth up to Timnah to shear his flock. That this signifies that the Jewish Church wished to take counsel for itself, is evident from the representation of Judah, as being the church that was with the nation descended from Jacob, specifically with Judah (see n. 4815, 4842, 4852), who is here called "father-in-law" because there was something of communication with a church representative of spiritual and celestial things, which is here the "daughter-in-law;" and from the signification of "going up," as being some elevation, of which just above (n. 4853); and from the signification of "shearing the flock," as being to consult for the church, of which above (n. 4853)-the state of taking counsel for it being "Timnah" (n. 4855).
 That this internal sense is contained in these words can by no means appear from the letter, for when they are read the mind thinks of Judah, Timnah, and the shearing of a flock, and not of spiritual things, which are separate from person, place, and worldly use. And yet angels, because they are in spiritual things, perceive nothing else by these words than such things as have been told; for when the literal sense passes into the spiritual, such things perish as relate to person, place, and the world; and those take their place that relate to the church, its state, and use therein.
 It indeed appears incredible that it should be so, but this is because so long as man lives in the world he thinks from the natural and worldly things which are there, and not from spiritual and celestial things; and they who are immersed in bodily and earthly things do not know that there is anything spiritual and celestial, and still less that spiritual and celestial things are distinct from worldly and natural things, when yet they are distinct as the spirit of man is distinct from his body. Neither do they know that the spiritual sense lives in the literal sense as the spirit of man in his body, and also that the spiritual sense in like manner survives when the literal sense perishes; whence the internal sense may be called the soul of the Word.