Chapter 9 – Man Develops Spiritual Faculties – Mysteries of Genesis

Chapter 9
GENESIS 29, 30 and 31

Charles Fillmore
Mysteries of Genesis
Chapter 9

AN ALLEGORY is a description of one thing under the image of another. It suggests but does not specifically state a meaning. A key to its interpretation is necessary, and this is usually given in the proper names that are used. By the employment of such symbols the Bible describes man in his wholeness, spirit, soul, and body. The names of men, places, tents, temples in every case have a meaning relative to the character of man. Mental states are thus described, and it is important that the individual who seeks spiritual wisdom for his regeneration shall be able to understand the allegory by use of the key hidden in the names.

An example of this is the name Jacob, which means “supplanter,” one who gradually supplants and takes the place of the natural man in the consciousness of the individual and of the race. To accomplish this great work it is necessary that the individualized I AM shall have certain experiences and develop certain faculties essential to the higher-type man that is to follow.

Mystics tell us that man passes through twelve stages in his spiritual development. Each of these is a particular state of consciousness developed by a presiding ego or faculty. The last and highest state of consciousness is that complete, twelve-sided spiritual character attained by Jesus. This final attainment of the twelvefold man reveals the spiritual man, the image and likeness created in the beginning. These states may all be active in the individual consciousness at the same time, but the dominant one will indicate the point the person has reached in his development.

Jacob was overdeveloped intellectually and robbed his body (Esau) of its rightful heritage of life. This wrong was atoned for when he divided his accumulated wealth with Esau. In the meantime he had developed the spiritual side of his life and had brought forth a number of faculties (sons).

Gen. 29:1-15. Then Jacob went on his journey; and came to the land of the children of the east. And he looked, and, behold, a well in the field, and, lo, three flocks of sheep lying there by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and the stone upon the well’s mouth was great. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in its place. And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence are ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is it well with him? And they said, It is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep. While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.

And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. And Laban said unto Jacob, because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

Metaphysically interpreted, Jacob’s journeying toward the east is a way of saying that the illumined intellect is penetrating deeper into the inner spiritual consciousness. The well of water symbolizes an innate spiritual life capacity in the body consciousness. The three flocks of sheep represent three states of physical existence, each on its own plane expressing the innocent, obedient activity of life. The people Jacob visits are living in Haran, the name of which means “strong,” “exalted,” “mountaineer”; the people being not necessarily spiritual but having high ideals. Their concepts are limited in expression (“they put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in its place”). Laban represents the unsophisticated natural man whose pure high ideals are expressed by Rachel and Leah (they shepherd his sheep or thoughts). Jacob (related through his mother to this divine-natural plane of consciousness) now makes a closer contact that brings about prosperity for all concerned.

Gen. 29:16-30. And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah’s eyes were tender; but Rachel was beautiful and well-favored. And Jacob loved Rachel; and he said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. And Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid. And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then has thou beguiled me? And Laban said, It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born. Fulfil the week of this one, and we will give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her handmaid. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

When unselfish love touches the heart, self drops out of the mind. Love in the heart lifts us out of the time limitations of sense consciousness into the joy of the eternal present. When we forget ourselves in the service of love, the selflessness of God takes possession of our being. Yet the selfless man is ever the self-possessed man, such is the paradox of spiritual law. The higher self in man loves the pure natural soul (Rachel) and works joyously to possess it. The higher self also loves the human part of the soul (Leah) with an objective love and feeds it with the enduring substance of true thought. Jacob was true to Leah. We can sustain the whole consciousness in health and unfailing strength by recognizing it as the essence of invisible substance.

The love story of Jacob and Rachel is one of the most beautiful in all literature. Jacob served her father seven years for her hand and was then disappointed because he had to marry her elder sister Leah. He then served seven more years for Rachel, which because of his great love for her seemed but a few days.

The name Bilhah means “bashfulness,” “timidity,” “tenderness.” Bilhah represents a tendency of the soul toward self-abasement.

The name Zilpah means “distilling,” “leaking.” Zilpah symbolizes the unfolding soul of man in which as yet too much of the human is in evidence.

Gen. 29:31-35. And Jehovah saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Because Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and said, Because Jehovah hath heard that I am hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. And he conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, This time will I praise Jehovah: therefore she called his name Judah; and she left off bearing.

The first child born to Leah was Reuben. At his birth she cried, “Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction.” The emphasis is on the word looked, and we find that the name Reuben means “a son seen,” “vision of the son.” Thus the mother revealed the character of the faculty represented by the child, and this is likewise true in the case of each of the sons.

The first faculty brought forth in man’s spiritual development is vision, the ability to discern the reality of Spirit that lies back of every form or symbol in the material world. Like Jacob all Truth seekers are anxious to develop faith (Benjamin) to remove mountains and imagination (Joseph) to mold substance to their desires, but also like Jacob they must bring forth the faculties of seeing, hearing, feeling, praise, judgment, strength, power, understanding, zeal, and order on the spiritual plane.

Simeon, the second son of Leah, represents hearing or, in a broader sense, receptivity. When man is receptive to the inflow of Spirit nothing can keep his good from him, and he is in a position to make rapid strides in his development.

When Levi, the third son, was born, Leah exclaimed, “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me.” The emphasis is on the word joined. Levi means “uniting,” which in the body is feeling, in the soul compassion, and in the spirit love. The faculty of love is the unifying principle in consciousness. It connects our forces with that on which we center our attention. When our attention is focused on Spirit, these faculties become spiritualized. When we elevate love (Levi) to the plane of Spirit (John), it draws to us all that the soul requires. When it is kept on the lower plane as feeling or emotion it often leads to selfishness, to indulgence, even to violence.

The fourth son of Jacob and Leah was Judah. In the Hebrew this name means “praise Jehovah.” In Spirit this is prayer and the faculty of accumulating spiritual substance. In sense consciousness this faculty becomes acquisitiveness, the desire to accumulate material things, and if the self is dominant the faculty “hath a devil” (Judas).

Gen. 30:1-8. And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold, my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; that she may bear upon my knees, and I also may obtain children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. And Bilhah Rachel’s handmaid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. And Rachel said, With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.

Rachel and Bilhah represent soul attitudes. The name Rachel means “journeying,” “migrating,” which indicates a transitory state. In this instance Rachel was finding fault with Jacob (I AM). Such an attitude thwarts the inflow of Spirit. This is why Rachel had not conceived.

Bilhah was modest and teachable, consequently receptive to Spirit. This receptivity opens the door to spiritual inspiration, whose fruit is good judgment (Dan) and strength of character (Naphtali). That there is a close relation between the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of strength is shown by the fact that the back becomes tired when thoughts of the burdens of materiality are held. The realization that all strength is primarily spiritual relieves this condition, and strength is restored. (“Lo now, his strength is in his loins,” says Job.) Man retards his spiritual growth by his material thinking and his mental clinging to the things of the world. The faculties of judgment and strength find expression in the physical or more outer consciousness of man, but their true origin is Spirit, and their spiritual nature and spiritual activity are in due time established. The higher expression of this faculty is symbolized by Jesus’ apostle Andrew.

Jacob and his sons lived several hundred years before the time of Jesus, hence represent the eariler stages of man’s development. They were natural men living by sense and emotion, yet possessing great spiritual possibilities. In the same way our faculties in the first stages of their unfoldment express themselves on the lower planes of sense. Like everything else with which we have to deal, they have a physical, a mental, and a spiritual side to bring into manifestation.

The faculties evolve on three planes. Jacob being a type of the illumined mental, his sons especially portray ideals. By developing our ideals we may attain to a high degree of human perfection. But before we can become anything more than human or mortal our faculties must be spiritualized and put to work on the heavenly plane. Just as the sense man has reached his present stage by the development of the senses, so the divine man must evolve by the development of his spiritual powers. The faculties involved are essentially the same, differing only as regards the plane on which they are expressed, since body, soul, and spirit are really one, and are separated only in consciousness.

Gen. 30:9-13. When Leah saw that she had left off bearing, she took Zilpah her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah’s handmaid bare Jacob a son. And Leah said, Fortunate! and she called his name Gad. And Zilpah Leah’s handmaid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I! for the daughters will call me happy: and she called his name Asher.

Leah’s maid Zilpah (whose name means “distilling,” “extracting an essence”) was the mother of the next two sons, Gad and Asher. Gad symbolizes power, which at this stage of development is on the personal plane. Divine Mind gives man power over his thoughts and ideas and the forces of the soul. In the higher consciousness this power is exercised over the self and inner conditions rather than over other persons and the world without. The higher expression is shown by the apostle Philip.

Asher symbolizes understanding, which corresponds to wisdom in the realm of Spirit (Thomas). Through his knowing faculty man acquires a body of knowledge by study and observation of the world without. Through the same faculty he acquires wisdom by being receptive to the Spirit within. Tennyson brings out this difference clearly when he says, “Knowledge is earthly, of the mind; but wisdom is heavenly, of the soul.”

Jacob now had eight sons, four by Leah, two by Bilhah, and two by Zilpah.

Gen. 30:14-21. And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes. And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken away my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son’s mandrakes. And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob a fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, and bare a sixth son to Jacob. And Leah said, God hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

There is an interesting story in connection with the birth of the next son. In the Oriental household where there were several wives there were sure to be petty jealousies and naive intrigues. Jacob spent most of his time with Rachel since she was his favorite. To get his attention Leah bargained with Rachel to keep out of the way for a while, and as a reward gave her some mandrakes or “love apples” that her son Reuben had brought in to her. Leah had great zeal and was never discouraged by her failure of her attempts to win Jacob’s favor. When the child was born she called him Issachar, a name meaning “there is reward.” Metaphysically he represents the faculty of zeal, active in substance and in the body consciousness.

Zeal is a strong force, the urge behind all things and the impulse to every achievement. It sets in motion all the machinery of the universe to attain the object of its desire. It should be tempered with understanding and love, else it becomes a destructive force. Even a criminal may be zealous in his work.

The spiritual side of the zeal faculty is represented by the apostle Simon the Canaanite.

It is worthy of note that Leah–metaphysically the human soul as distinguished from the more advanced soul (Rachel)–was the mother of six or one half of Jacob’s sons. The last one she brought forth was Bebulun (whose name means “habitation,” “neighbor”) and who symbolizes the faculty of order. Order is the first law of the universe. Indeed there could be no universe unless its various parts were kept in perfect harmony. In the sense mind there is disorder, manifest in confusion of thought and action, while in Divine Mind everything is perfect order. Therefore it is most important, if we are to survive at all, that our thoughts be put in order and kept in harmony with divine intelligence.

Even in the small details of life, such as dress, conversation, eating, sleeping, and working, system and order enables one to live a richer and fuller life. But only in divine order can be found the life abundant and eternal. This order is established in our body and affairs when we live up to the higher convictions of our being under the guidance of spiritual understanding. No man-made law can be strong, true, or exact enough to insure perfect order. Only when man becomes conscious of who and what he is can he exercise his God-given dominion and bring his life into line with the principle of divine order, which is mind, idea, and manifestation. The apostle James, son of Alphaeus, symbolizes order on the spiritual plane.

The name Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, means “judged,” “justified,” “acquitted,” “avenged.” Dinah represents the soul side or feminine aspect of the judgment faculty in man; it might be called intuition, the intuition of the natural man.

Gen. 30:22-25. And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son: and said, God hath taken away my reproach: and she called his name Joseph, saying, Jehovah add to me another Son.

And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.

During all this time Jacob had been serving his father-in-law Laban in the country of Haran. This was a high or mountainous place and metaphysically denotes the high state of consciousness in which the individual is strengthened and given the determination to go forward to spiritual enlightenment and full development. Eleven of Jacob’s sons were born in Haran, the last of whom was Joseph, the child of Rachel, the beloved. In the high state of spiritual consciousness man develops the faculties from the simple one of seeing to that of imagination, the faculty represented by Joseph.

Gen. 30:26-43. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service wherewith I have served thee. And Laban said unto him, If now I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle have fared with me. For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it hath increased unto a multitude; and Jehovah hath blessed thee whithersoever I turned: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? And he said, What shall I give thee? and Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me aught: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed thy flock and keep it. I will pass through all thy flock to-day, removing from thence every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. So shall my righteousness answer for me hereafter, when thou shalt come concerning my hire that is before thee: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that, if found with me, shall be counted stolen. And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. And he removed that day the he-goats that were ringstreaked and spotted, and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons; and he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

And Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, ??? of the almond and of the plane-tree; and peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had peeled over against the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink; and they conceived when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstreaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and put them not unto Laban’s flock. And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger of the flock did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods; but when the flock were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. And the man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, and maidservants and men-servants, and camels and asses.

This Scripture is quite symbolical of conditions within ourselves.

One of the forces operative in the illumined intellect (Jacob) is the image-making faculty of the mind. In this Scripture the activity of this faculty is freely exemplified. The imagination has the ability and power to throw onto the screen of visibility in substance and life any idea that the mind conceives. This accounts for the rapid increase in Jacob’s possessions.

Jacob served Laban seven years thinking he would get Rachel (the spiritual soul) to wife only to find that Leah (the human soul) had been substituted. This would indicate that Laban in one aspect of his nature was something of a trickster. Jacob then had to work another seven years to pay for Rachel. However, there is only one presence, one power, one intelligence, and one’s own must come to him. When the soul looks steadily to Omnipresence, it finds that the law of equilibrium adjusts all conditions. For his hire Jacob was to take from Laban’s flock all the ring-streaked and speckled and spotted cattle, all the black sheep, and all the speckled and spotted goats; which he removed some little distance. In addition to this he was to receive from the increase of Laban’s flocks, which were free from these markings, all those animals which bore the same markings as Jacob’s flocks.

When the strong, healthy herds were ready to conceive, Jacob placed in the gutters around the watering troughs where they came to drink rods of fresh poplar, and of almond, and of the plane tree, in which he had peeled white streaks; the flocks conceived before these rods, and they brought forth young that were ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted. When the weak flocks were ready to conceive and came to drink, he took away the rods in which he had peeled the white streaks. In the end Jacob had large, strong, healthy herds and Laban had small and weak herds.

Taking it all in all, the illumined intellect (Jacob) receives all that it deserves.

These passages in Genesis show the urge toward higher things on the part of those who received the quickening of the Spirit. Jacob, Laban, and Laban’s family were of the same stock, but Jacob was more spiritually awakened, and because of his superior understanding all those with whom he was associated enjoyed increase of understanding and substance. Laban said to Jacob, “I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake.” Separating the animals owned jointly by Laban and Jacob implies that the vital forces have expanded to the point where finer types are possible. These types are represented as “ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted,” and they fell to Jacob. Jacob also discovered that he could increase his “flocks” by using his image-making faculty, focusing the mind on a certain image when he was in creative consciousness. The sculptor makes a mental image of the thing he is carving and it appears under the impact of his hand.

Gen. 31:1-16. And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as beforetime. And Jehovah said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, and said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as beforetime; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the flock bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy wages; then bare all the flock ringstreaked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. And it came to pass at the time that the flock conceive, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the he-goats which leaped upon the flock were ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled. And the angel of God said unto me in the dream, Jacob: and I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see: all the he-goats which leap upon the flock are ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst a pillar, where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy nativity. And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? Are we not accounted by him as foreigners? for he hath sold us, and hath also quite devoured our money. For all the riches which God hath taken away from our father, that is ours and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.

Laban and his family represent the pure natural in man, to which Jacob (spiritual illumination) brings expansion. Laban acknowledged that Jacob had brought him prosperity. But the spiritually illumined intellect (Jacob) reaps a share of the increase, and to this the natural man objects when his sons or “afterthoughts” call his attention to it.

In his dream Jehovah showed Jacob (illumined intellect) that he had finished his work in Haran (a high exalted state of consciousness on the natural plane) and now must function in a more fertile, productive soil. He must return with his possessions to the land of his nativity.

The wives for whom Jacob had labored also had their substance share and inherited part of the increase. When the mind is spiritually quickened all the faculties respond, especially the imagination, as indicated by the “ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled” progeny.

Gen. 31:17, 18. Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon the camels; and he carried away all his cattle, and all his substance which he had gathered, the cattle of his getting, which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to Isaac his father unto the land of Canaan.

Jacob was moving from Haran all the possessions he had acquired in Paddan-aram (the place of substance in the organism) to Canaan (the state of consciousness that to the individual is the kingdom of heaven). He took away with him a great wealth of substance, including camels, cattle, sheep, gold, and silver, and even the teraphim (highest thoughts) of that land.

“I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst a pillar, where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy nativity.”

We recall that Bethel, “the house of God,” symbolizes the consciousness in which Jacob dwelt when he beheld the ladder reaching to heaven and exclaimed, “Surely Jehovah is in this place; and I knew it not.”

Gen. 31:19-21. Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father’s. And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.

Gilead represents a high state of consciousness, where Spirit reveals its discerning, judging power. In this state of consciousness man refuses to allow his high ideals to become subject to error reasonings. Thus his spiritual discernment is not clouded by mortal thinking.

Gen. 31:22-32. And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and he overtook him in the mountain of Gilead. And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night, and said unto him, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. And Laban came up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain: and Laban with his brethren encamped in the mountain of Gilead. And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters as captives of the sword? Wherefore didst thou flee secretly, and steal away from me, and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs, with tabret and with harp; and didst not suffer me to kiss my sons and my daughters? now hast thou done foolishly. It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Lest thou shouldest take thy daughters from me by force. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, he shall not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

The teraphim were household gods of the Eastern peoples. They were images, apparently human in form, that were used for purposes of worship in the homes of the people. They were supposed to bring prosperity and health and general domestic good. Even the Israelites used these images much of the time, though the practice was of heathen origin.

Metaphysically the teraphim represent thoughts tending to the outer only for supply, protection, and all good (givers of prosperity, guardians of comforts, nourishers, domestic idols); thoughts that imply trust in the many outer channels through which one’s good comes to one instead of faith in God as one’s sustenance and power of development; also the many thoughts and desires that man entertains and gives expression to in outer ways and that should first of all be centered in the one Presence within him.

Gen. 31:33-53. And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two maid-servants; but he found them not. And he went out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat upon them. And Laban felt all about the tent, but found them not. And she said to her father, Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee; for the manner of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the teraphim.

And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast hotly pursued after me? Whereas thou hast felt about all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us two. These twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she-goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flocks have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from mine eyes. These twenty years have I been in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy flock: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now hadst thou sent me away empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children whom they have borne? And now come, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made a heap: and they did eat there by the heap. And Laban called it Jegar-saha dutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. And Laban said, This heap is witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed: and Mispah, for he said, Jehovah watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives besides my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar, which I have set betwixt me and thee. This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac.

Man should remember always that he does not live by bread alone, by outer ways and means, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God: by the inner creative, sustaining, energizing life, love, power, strength, and intelligence of Spirit.

Laban symbolizes that which is pure and gentle. He was told in a dream what had happened, but God also revealed to him that he was not to speak good or bad to Jacob. However, he searched the tents for the teraphim without discovering them, as Rachel had placed them on the camel’s back under the saddle on which she was riding. A covenant was made between Jacob and Laban. They gathered stones in a heap and they ate there. Laban called the heap Jegar-sahadutha, the Aramaic name for Galeed. Galeed means “massive witness,” “heap of witnesses,” “rock of time,” “great endurance.” It was the heap of stones that Jacob and Laban gathered for a witness between them when Jacob with his wives, children, and possessions left Laban to return to Esau and to Jacob’s own country. It was also called Mizpah, “watchtower,” and thus signifies the watchtower of prayer, while Galeed signifies the witness that Spirit with man bears to Truth. By following the true Jehovah Spirit in ourselves we shall always deal justly with every phase of our consciousness and of our entire organism, as well as with persons. “This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.”

Gen. 31:54, 55. And Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mountain. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.

Jacob offered a sacrifice, and he and his brethren ate bread together. The sacrifice consisted of an animal slaughtered as an offering to the deity in man, symbolizing the surrender to Spirit of the animal forces that they may be transmuted into higher states of consciousness. Eating bread means joining in communion, partaking of spiritual substance. Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his sons and his daughters in token of affection. Then he invoked divine favor upon them and returned to his place.

Chapter 10

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Mysteries of Genesis
Table of Contents

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