(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 4013

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4013. And Jacob took him a fresh rod of poplar. That this signifies the power proper to natural good, is evident from the signification of a "rod," as being power; and from the signification of "poplar," as being the good of the natural (concerning which below). A "rod" is frequently mentioned in the Word, and everywhere signifies power, both from its being used by shepherds for exercising power over their flocks, and from its serving for the support of the body, and as it were for the right hand; for by the "hand" is signified power (n. 878, 3387). And as this was the signification of a "rod," rods were in ancient times used by kings, and hence the royal badge was a short staff, and also a scepter. Nor were rods used by kings only, but also by priests and prophets, that they also might by their rods signify the power that belonged to them, as for instance did Aaron and Moses. This was the reason why Moses was so frequently commanded to stretch out his rod, and at other times his hand, when miracles were being performed; for Divine power was signified by the "rod;" and by the "hand." It was because a "rod" signifies power that the Egyptian magi made use of it when they performed their magical miracles; and it is from this that magicians are now represented with rods in their hands. All this shows that "rods" signify power.
[2] But in the original language the rods used by shepherds, and also by kings, as well as those of priests and prophets, are expressed by another word; here, by a word that denotes a traveler's staff, and also a shepherd's rod, as may be seen from other passages (Gen. 32:10; Exod. 12:11; 1 Sam. 17:40, 43; Zech. 11:7, 10). In the present case the rod is not spoken of as supporting the hand, but as a stick cut from a tree, namely, from a poplar, a hazel, and a plane-tree, to set in the watering-troughs before the faces of the flock; but still it has the same signification, for by it is described in the internal sense the power of natural good, and derivatively of natural truths.
[3] As regards the poplar, of which the rod was made, be it known that trees in general signify perceptions and knowledges, perceptions when predicated of the celestial man, but knowledges when predicated of the spiritual man (see n. 103, 2163, 2682, 2722, 2972). Hence trees specifically signify goods and truths, for these pertain to perceptions and knowledges. Some kinds of trees, such as olives and vines, signify the interior goods and truths that are of the spiritual man; and some kinds, such as the poplar, hazel, and plane, signify the exterior goods and truths that are of the natural man. And as in ancient times each tree signified some particular kind of good and truth, the worship held in groves was in accordance with the kinds of trees (n. 2722). The poplar here mentioned is the white poplar, so called from its whiteness from which comes its name. For this reason the "poplar" signified the good that is from truth; or what is the same, the good of truth; as also in Hosea 4:13; but there falsified.


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