Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 37:23-30
AC 4739. Verses 23-30. And it came to pass when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of various colors that was on him, and they took him, and cast him into the pit; and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and saw, and behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spices and balsam and stacte, going to carry them down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What gain is it if we slay our brother, and cover up his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened unto him. And there passed by men, Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt. And Reuben returned unto the pit, and behold Joseph was not in the pit, and he rent his garments. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither do I come? "And it came to pass when Joseph was come unto his brethren," signifies when it was preached about; "that they stripped Joseph of his tunic," signifies that they dispelled and annihilated the appearances of truth; "the tunic of various colors that was on him," signifies the quality of the appearances as to truths from good; "and they took him and cast him into the pit," signifies among falsities; "and the pit was empty, there was no water in it," signifies that there was then nothing true; "and they sat down to eat bread," signifies appropriation of evil from falsity; "and they lifted up their eyes and saw," signifies further thought; "and behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead," signifies those who are in simple good, such as the Gentiles are in; "with their camels bearing spices and balsam and stacte," signifies interior natural truths; "going to carry them down to Egypt," signifies instruction from memory-knowledges; "and Judah said unto his brethren," signifies the depraved in the church who are against whatever is good; "What gain is it if we slay our brother and cover up his blood?" signifies that there would be nothing of profit or of eminence, if this should be wholly extinguished; "come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites," signifies that they acknowledge it who are in simple good; "and let not our hand be upon him," signifies that they may be without blame; "for he is our brother, our flesh," signifies because what is from them is accepted; "and his brethren hearkened unto him," signifies compliance; "and there passed by men, Midianites, merchantmen," signifies those who are in the truth of this good; "and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit," signifies aid from them that it might not be among falsities; "and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites,‘ signifies reception by those who are in simple good, and alienation on the part of those who are in faith separate; "for twenty pieces of silver," signifies estimation; "and they brought Joseph into Egypt," signifies consultation from memory-knowledges; "and Reuben returned unto the pit," signifies the faith of the church in general; "and behold Joseph was not in the pit," signifies that there was no longer any faith; "and he rent his garments," signifies mourning; "and he returned unto his brethren," signifies those who teach; "and said, The child is not," signifies that there was no faith in it; "and I, whither do I come?" signifies where now is the church?
AC 4740. And it came to pass when Joseph was come unto his brethren. That this signifies when it was preached about, is evident from the representation of Joseph, as being truth Divine, especially concerning the Lord’s Divine Human. When this is said to "come unto them," it means that it is preached to them; for his brethren represent the church which is in faith separate, to whom this is preached.
AC 4741. That they stripped Joseph of his tunic. That this signifies that they dispelled and annihilated the appearances of truth, is evident from the signification of "stripping," when predicated of Divine truth, which here is "Joseph," as being to dispel and also to annihilate; and from the signification of the "tunic," because it was of various colors, as being appearances of truth (n. 4677). The dispelling and annihilating of the appearances of truth takes place after truth itself has been rejected; for truth itself shines forth of itself in the mind, and however it may be extinguished, still appears, especially in those who are in good. This is also clearly seen by those who have annihilated truth in themselves, wherefore also they endeavor to dispel and to annihilate these appearances.
 Take as an example for the sake of illustration - who does not see that to will well and do well is the veriest Christian life? And if anyone is told that this is charity, he cannot but affirm it; and those who affirm it will even say that they know what this is, because this is of the life. But as regards thinking this or that to be true, even from confidence (as they are willing to do who are in faith separate), they will say that they do not know what it is, for they have no other perception of it than as of smoke which vanishes. As faith alone and the confidence from it appear of this character to everyone who thinks seriously about it, especially to the good, therefore such persons labor to dispel and annihilate even these appearances, by thus paring off whatever touches them more nearly, and whatever is round about this Divine truth. This is signified by stripping Joseph of the tunic that was on him.
 The same persons also believe that those are wiser than all others, who having once accepted a dogma, whatever it may be, can confirm it by various things, and by various reasonings make it appear like truth. But nothing could be less the part of a wise man; it is what everyone can do who possesses any ingenuity, and the evil more skilfully than the upright. For to do this is not the part of a rational man, inasmuch as a rational man can see, as from above, whether that which is confirmed is true or false; and because he sees this, he regards confirmations of falsity as of no account, and they appear to him as simply ludicrous and empty, no matter how much anyone else believes them to have been taken from the school of wisdom itself. In a word, nothing is less the part of a wise man, nay, nothing is less rational, than to be able to confirm falsities; for it is the part of a wise man and it is rational, first to see that a thing is true, and then to confirm it. In fact to see what is true is to see from the light of heaven, which is from the Lord; but to see what is false as true is to see from a fatuous light, which is from hell.
AC 4742. The tunic of various colors that was on him. That this signifies the quality of the appearances as to truths from good, is evident from the signification of a "tunic of various colors," as being the appearances of truth by which the spiritual of the natural is known and distinguished (n. 4677), here therefore the quality of the appearances; for which reason also a tunic is twice mentioned - "they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of various colors." That the quality of appearances is according to the truths from good, may be seen from the appearances of truth when presented to view in the light of heaven, that is, in the other life, where there is no other light than that which comes through heaven from the Lord, and which comes forth from His Divine truth; for this before the eyes of angels appears as light (n. 2776, 3190, 3195, 3222, 3339, 3340, 3636, 3643, 3993, 4302, 4413, 4415). This light is varied with everyone according to the reception. All the thought of the angels is effected through the variegation of this light, as also is the thought of man, although he is not aware of it; because with man this light falls into material images or ideas, which, being in his natural or external man, are from the light of the world. Thus the light of heaven is obscured in him to such a degree that he scarcely knows that his intellectual light and sight are from it. But in the other life, when the sight of the eye is no longer in the light of the world, but in the light of heaven, it becomes manifest that his thought is from this source.
 When this light passes from heaven into the world of spirits, it is there presented under the appearance of various colors, which in beauty, variety, and loveliness immeasurably surpass the colors which are from the light of the world. (n. 1053, 1624, 3993, 4530, 4677). As the colors in the other life are from this source, they are in their origin nothing else than appearances of truth from good. For truth does not shine from itself, because there is nothing flaming in it alone; but it shines from good, for good is like a flame which gives forth light. Such therefore as the good is, such does the truth from it appear; and such as the truth is, in such a manner does it shine from good. From this it is evident what is signified in the internal sense by the tunic of various colors, namely, the quality of appearances as to truths from good; for by Joseph to whom the tunic belonged, is represented Divine truth, as before shown.
AC 4743. And they took hid, and cast him into the pit. That this signifies among falsities, is evident from what has been said above (n. 4728, 4736), where similar words occur.
AC 4744. And the pit was empty, there was no water in it. That this signifies that there was then nothing true, is evident from the signification of a "pit," as being falsities (n. 4728); from the signification of "being empty, "as being where there is nothing true because nothing good; and from the signification of "water," as being truth (n. 680, 739, 2702, 3058, 3424). That "being empty" denotes where there is nothing true because nothing good, is evident from other passages in the Word, as in Jeremiah:--
Their great ones have sent their little ones for waters they came unto the pits, and found no waters; they returned with their vessels empty they were affected with shame and ignominy, and covered their head (Jer. 14:3);
where "empty vessels" denote truths in which there is no truth from good. Again:--
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath troubled me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up (Jer. 51:34);
where an "empty vessel" denotes where there is no truth; and "Babylon," those who vastate, that is, deprive others of truths (n. 1327). Again:--
I beheld the earth, and lo it was void and empty; and the heavens, and they had no light (Jer. 4:23).
The cormorant and the bittern shall possess it and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein and they shall stretch over it the line of a void, and the plummet of emptiness (Isa. 34:11).
The city of emptiness shall be broken; every house shall be shut up, that no one may come in. There is a cry in the streets upon the one, the joy of the land shall be exiled, what is left in the city shall be a waste (Isa. 24:10-12);
here "emptiness" is expressed by another word in the original tongue, which however involves a similar meaning. That "emptiness" is where there is no truth because no good, is evident in the internal sense from the particulars mentioned, as from the signification of a "city," of a "house," of a "cry," of "wine," and of "streets." In Ezekiel:--
Hath said the Lord Jehovih, Woe to the city of bloods I will also make the hearth great, setting the pot empty upon the coals that it may be hot, and the brass thereof may be heated, and that the uncleanness thereof may melt therein, the scum thereof be consumed (Ezek. 24:9, 11);
it is evident here what "being empty" signifies; an "empty pot" is that in which there is uncleanness and scum, that is, evil and falsity.
 So in Matthew:--
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, but findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and prepared for him. Then goeth he, and joineth to himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there (Matthew 12:43-45);
the "unclean spirit" denotes uncleanness of life in man, and also the unclean spirits with him, for unclean spirits dwell in the uncleanness of man‘s life; "dry places," or where there is no water, denote where there are no truths; the "empty house" denotes the interiors of man again filled with uncleanness, that is, with falsities from evil. In Luke:
God hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away (Luke 1:53);
"the rich" denote those who know many things; for "riches" in the spiritual sense are memory-knowledges, doctrinal things, and the knowledges of good and truth. They are called the "empty rich" who know these things, and do not do them; for truths to them are not truths, because without good (n. 4736).
AC 4745. And they sat down to eat bread. That this signifies the appropriation of evil from falsity, is evident from the signification of "eating," as being appropriation (n. 3168, 3513, 3596, 3832); and from the signification of "bread," as being the good of love (n. 276, 680, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217, 4735), and also in general all food (n. 2165). Here however "bread" signifies the contrary, namely, evil; for it is known that they who eat the bread in the Holy Supper unworthily, do not appropriate good to themselves, but evil; whence it is evident that in the contrary sense by "eating bread" is signified the appropriation of evil. It was a custom among the ancients to eat together when they had made an important decision which was confirmed by the rest, by which they signified their approbation, and thus that they made it their own; as in Ezekiel:--
Behold, the princes of Israel, everyone according to his arm, have been in thee and have shed blood; men of calumny have been in thee to shed blood; and in thee they have eaten at the mountains (Ezek. 22:6, 9).
Be it known further that there are in general two origins of evil, one from life, and the other from doctrine. The evil which is from the doctrine of falsity is called evil from falsity, and it is this evil which is here meant.
AC 4746. And they lifted up their eyes and saw. That this signifies further thought, is evident from the signification of "lifting up the eyes and seeing," as being intentness and thought, or intense thought (n. 2789, 2829, 3198, 3202, 4339). That here further thought is signified, is evident from the series.
AC 4747. And behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead. That this signifies those who are in simple good, such as the Gentiles are in, is evident from the representation of the Ishmaelites, as being those who are in simple good as to life, and thence in natural truth as to doctrine (n. 3263); and from the signification of "Gilead," as being exterior good, by which man is first initiated when he is being regenerated (n. 4117, 4124). From this it is evident that by a "company of Ishmaelites from Gilead" is signified such good as is with the Gentiles, that is, those who are in such simple good.
 How these things are circumstanced may be seen from what has been already said, and also from what follows. This only need now be said in advance: they who are within the church and have confirmed themselves against Divine truths, especially against these - that the Lord’s Human is Divine, and that the works of charity contribute to salvation - if they have confirmed themselves against them, not only by doctrine but also by life, they have reduced themselves to such a state as to their interiors that afterwards they cannot possibly be brought to receive them, for what is once confirmed by doctrine, and at the same time by life, remains to eternity. Those who do not know the interior state of man may suppose that anyone, no matter how he has confirmed himself against these truths, can yet easily accept them afterwards, provided he is convinced. But that this is impossible has been granted me to know by much experience in regard to such persons in the other life. For whatever is confirmed by doctrine is absorbed by the intellectual part, and what is confirmed by life is absorbed by the will part; and that which is inrooted in both man‘s lives, the life of his understanding and the life of his will, cannot be rooted out. The very soul of man which lives after death is formed thereby, and is of such a nature that it never recedes therefrom. This is also the reason why the lot of those within the church with whom this is the case, is worse than the lot of those who are out of the church; for those who are out of the church, who are called Gentiles, have not confirmed themselves against these truths, because they have not known them; and therefore such of them as have lived in mutual charity, easily receive Divine truths, if not in the world, yet in the other life. See what was adduced from experience in regard to the state and lot of the Gentiles and other peoples in the other life, (n. 2589-2604).
 For this reason when any new church is being set up by the Lord, it is not set up with those who are within the church, but with those who are without, that is, with the Gentiles. These things are often treated of in the Word. This much is premised in order that it may be known what is involved in Joseph’s being cast into the pit by his brethren, and in his being drawn out thence by the Midianites, and sold to the Ishmaelites. For by Joseph‘s brethren are represented those within the church who have confirmed themselves against Divine truth, especially against the two truths, that the Lord’s Human is Divine, and that works of charity contribute to salvation, and this not only by doctrine, but also by life; while by the Ishmaelites are represented those who are in simple good, and by the Midianites those who are in the truth of this good. It is related of the latter that they drew Joseph out of the pit; and of the former that they bought him. But what is signified by their bringing him into Egypt, and their selling him to Potiphar Pharaoh‘s chamberlain, will be shown in what follows.
AC 4748. With their camels bearing spices and balsam and stacte. That this signifies interior natural truths, is evident from the signification of "camels," as being in general those things of the natural man that serve the spiritual, and specifically general memory-knowledges in the natural man (n. 3048, 3071, 3114, 3143, 3145, 4156); and from the signification of "spices, balsam, and stacte," as being interior natural truths conjoined with good in the natural man. In the holy worship of the ancients use was made of sweet-smelling and fragrant things, among which were their frankincense and incenses; and the like things were also mixed with the oils with which they were anointed. But the origin of this practice is at this day unknown, because it is entirely unknown that the things which were used in the worship of the ancients originated in spiritual and celestial things which are in the heavens, and corresponded to them. Man has so far removed himself from the things of heaven, and plunged into natural, worldly, and bodily things, that he is in obscurity, and many are in the negative, as to the existence of anything spiritual or celestial.
 The reason why frankincense and incenses were used in sacred rites among the ancients, is that odor corresponds to perception, and a fragrant odor, such as that of spices of various kinds, to a grateful and pleasing perception, such as is that of truth from good, or of faith from charity. Indeed the correspondence is such that in the other life, whenever it is the good pleasure of the Lord, perceptions themselves are changed into odors (n. 925, 1514, 1517-1519, 3577, 4624-4634). What is here signified in detail by "spices, balsam, and stacte," may be seen from other passages in which they are mentioned. In general they signify interior truths in the natural, but such as are from good therein; for truths by themselves do not make the natural, but good by truths. Hence its varieties are according to the quality of the truth conjoined with good, consequently according to the quality of the good; for good has its quality from truths.
 As by "Gilead" is signified exterior good such as is of the senses and is called pleasure (n. 4117, 4124), and as by "Egypt" in a good sense are signified memory-knowledges which are the external truths of the natural man corresponding to this good, or agreeing with it (n. 1462), therefore by Ishmaelites from Gilead carrying on camels those spices down to Egypt, is signified that they carried their interior truths from their own memory-knowledges, to the memory-knowledges signified by Egypt. Interior truths are conclusions from exterior truths, or from memory-knowledges; for the memory-knowledges of the natural man serve as a means for drawing conclusions about, and thus viewing, interior things; in like manner as anyone views the mind of another in his countenance, in the vibration of the light in his eyes, and in the life of the tone of his voice, and in that of his gesture and action.
 As it is by such truths that man’s natural is perfected and also amended, healing is therefore ascribed to spices of this kind - as to balsam in Jeremiah:--
Is there no balsamic gum in Gilead? is there no physician there? Why then doth not the health of My people go up? (Jer. 8:22).
Go up into Gilead, and take balsam, O virgin daughter of Egypt; in vain hast thou multiplied medicines there is no healing for thee (Jer. 46:11).
Babylon is suddenly fallen and shattered, howl upon her, take balsam for her pain, if so be she may be healed (Jer. 51:8).
 That such things have a spiritual signification is very evident in the Revelation:--
The merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over Babylon; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more; merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stone, and pearl, and fine linen, and crimson, and silk, and scarlet; and all thyine wood, and every vessel of ivory, and every vessel made of most precious wood, and brass, and iron, and marble; and cinnamon, and incense, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and bodies and souls of men (Rev. 18:11-13);
these things would never have been so specifically enumerated unless each one of them signified such things as are in the Lord‘s kingdom and in His church, for otherwise they would have been words without meaning. It is known that by "Babylon" are signified those who have turned aside all worship of the Lord to the worship of self, and who are thus in a profane internal while they are in a holy external, wherefore by their "merchandise" are signified the things which they have studiously and artfully invented for the sake of self-worship, and also doctrinal things and knowledges of good and truth from the Word which they have perverted in their own favor. Thus by the particulars here mentioned such things are specifically signified, and by "cinnamon," "incense," "ointment," and "frankincense," truths from good; but in relation to them truths perverted and falsities from evil.
 The same is true of what is related in Ezekiel of the merchandise of Tyre:--
Judah and the land of Israel were thy traders; in wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, in honey and oil, and balsam, they furnished thy trading (Ezek. 27:17);
here also by "balsam" is signified truth from good. To one who does not believe in the internal sense of the Word, all the foregoing expressions must be bare words, thus vessels containing nothing within; and yet Divine, celestial, and spiritual things are in them.
AC 4749. Going to carry them down to Egypt. That this signifies instruction in memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of "Egypt," as being memory-knowledges (n. 1164, 1165, 1462); and as by "spices, balsam, and stacte" are signified interior truths from the memory-knowledges of those who are in simple good, such as the Gentiles are in, therefore by "going to carry them down thither," is signified to be instructed. In regard to these things the case is this: the memory-knowledges which are signified by "Egypt" are those which conduce to spiritual life, and which correspond to spiritual truths; for formerly the Ancient Church was in Egypt also; but after it had been there turned into magic, the memory-knowledges which pervert spiritual things were signified by "Egypt." Thence it is that memory-knowledges in a good, and also in the opposite, sense, are signified in the Word by "Egypt" (n. 1164, 1165, 1462); and here in a good sense. The memory-knowledges from which are the interior truths signified by the Ishmaelites’ carrying on camels spices, balsam, and stacte, are not such as are of the church, but such as are with the Gentiles. The truths from these memory-knowledges cannot be corrected and made sound by any other means than by the memory-knowledges of the genuine church, thus by instruction in these. This is what is here signified.
AC 4750. And Judah said unto his brethren. That this signifies the depraved in the church who are against whatever is good, is evident from the representation of Judah, as being in a good sense the good of celestial love (n. 3654, 3881), but in the opposite sense to be against all good whatever; and from the signification of his "brethren," as being those in the church who are in faith separate. That by Judah are here represented those who are against all good whatever, is because in a good sense they who are in the good of celestial love are represented in the Word by him. Celestial love is love to the Lord and the derivative love toward the neighbor. They who are in this love are most closely conjoined with the Lord, and are therefore in the inmost heaven, where they are in a state of innocence, from which they appear to the rest as little children, and wholly as loves in form. Others are not able to go near them, and therefore when they are sent to others, they are encompassed by other angels, by whom the sphere of their love is tempered, which would otherwise throw into a swoon those to whom they are sent; for the sphere of their love penetrates even to the marrows.
 As this love or this good of love which is called celestial is represented by Judah in a good sense, so in the opposite sense is represented by him that which is contrary to celestial good, and thus contrary to all good whatever. Most things in the Word have a twofold sense, namely, a good sense and its opposite. From the good sense the quality of the opposite one is known; for whatever is contained in the opposite sense is diametrically opposed to what is contained in the good sense.
 The goods of love are in general two - the good of celestial love, and the good of spiritual love. Diametrically opposed to the good of celestial love, is the evil of the love of self; and diametrically opposed to the good of spiritual love, is the evil of the love of the world. They who are in the evil of the love of self are against all good whatever; but not so much so they who are in the evil of the love of the world. In the Word, by Judah in the opposite sense are represented those who are in the love of self; and by Israel they who are in the love of the world. The reason of this is that by Judah was represented the Lord‘s celestial kingdom, and by Israel His spiritual kingdom.
 The hells also are distinct according to these two loves. They who are in the love of self, being against all good whatever, are in the deepest and therefore the most grievous hells; but they who are in the love of the world, being not so much against all good whatever, are in hells not so deep, and therefore less grievous.
 The evil of the love of self is hot, as is generally thought, that external elation which is called pride; but it is hatred against the neighbor, and thence a burning desire for revenge, and delight in cruelty. These are the interiors of the love of self. Its exteriors are contempt for others in comparison with self, and an aversion to those who are in spiritual good, and this sometimes with manifest elation or pride, and sometimes without it; for one who holds the neighbor in such hatred, interiorly loves no one but himself and those whom he regards as making one with himself; thus he loves them in himself, and himself in them, for the sole end of self.
 Such is the quality of those who are represented by Judah in the opposite sense. The Jewish nation had been in such love even from the first, for they had looked upon all in the whole world as the vilest slaves, and as worthless in comparison with themselves, and had also held them in hatred; and what is more, when the love of self and of the world had not mutually conjoined them, they persecuted even their associates and brothers with similar hatred. This disposition still remains with that nation; but because they now dwell in foreign lands on sufferance, they keep it concealed.
AC 4751. What gain is it if we slay our brother, and cover up his blood? That this signifies that there would be nothing of profit or of eminence if this should be wholly extinguished, is evident from the signification of, "What gain is it?" as being that there would be nothing of profit, and also nothing of eminence; and from the signification of "slaying," as being to extinguish, here Divine truth, specifically that concerning the Lord’s Divine Human, which is meant by the "brother," that is, Joseph; and from the signification of "covering up blood," as being to entirely hide holy truth. "Blood" denotes holy truth may be seen above, (n. 4735). How the case is in regard to these things, is evident from what follows.
 That "gain" here signifies not only what is profitable but also eminence, or that, "What gain is it?" signifies that there would be nothing of profit or of eminence, is because this was said from cupidity and avarice; for the cupidity of gain and avarice has within it the desire not only to possess the whole world, but also to plunder and even to kill everyone for the sake of gain; indeed one impelled by such cupidity would commit murder for but little were not the laws a hindrance. Moreover such a man in his possession of gold and silver regards himself as the greatest in power, however in external appearance he may seem otherwise, which shows that there is in avarice not only the love of the world, but also the love of self, and indeed the filthiest love of self. For elation of mind, or pride, in those who are sordidly avaricious, is not so conspicuous outwardly, because it is sometimes unconcerned about wealth for the sake of display; nor is it that kind of the love of self which is usually conjoined with pleasures; for such have little concern about the body, and its food and clothing. But it is a love entirely earthly, having no other end than money, in the possession of which it believes itself, not actually but potentially, above all others. It is evident from this that in avarice there is the lowest and vilest love of self, for which reason in the other life the avaricious appear to themselves to be among swine (n. 939); and they above all others are against all good whatever. Consequently they are in such thick darkness that they are utterly unable to see what is good and what is true; they do not at all apprehend that there is any internal belonging to man which lives after death, and at heart they laugh at those who say so.
 The Jewish nation had been of such a nature from the beginning, and therefore it was impossible for anything internal to be opened plainly to them, as is evident from the Word of the Old Testament; and being rooted in this worst kind of the love of self, they would defile interior truths and goods, and would thus profane them more than all others, unless they were removed by avarice so far from internal things, and were thereby kept in thick darkness, for they cannot profane so long as they do not acknowledge (n. 1008, 1010, 1059, 2051, 3398, 3402, 3489, 3898, 4289, 4601). It is for this reason that the Lord says of them in John,
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44);
and of Judas Iscariot, who represented the Jewish Church, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70). By Judas also in that he sold the Lord, the like is represented as here by Judah, who said, "Come and let us sell Joseph."
AC 4752. Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites. That this signifies that those acknowledge it who are in simple good, is evident from the "selling" as being to alienate from themselves - thus to be received by others (n. 4098), which when predicated of truth, as here, denotes to be acknowledged by them; and from the representation of the Ishmaelites, as being those who are in simple good, of which above (n. 4747). That they who are in simple good acknowledge Divine truth, especially that concerning the Lord‘s Divine Human, has been shown above.
AC 4753. And let not our hand be upon him. That this signifies that they may be without blame, is evident from the signification of "not letting the hand be upon anyone," as being not to offer violence, as above (n. 4737); and because not to offer violence denotes that they may be without blame, this also is signified by these words.
AC 4754. For he is our brother, our flesh. That this signifies because what is from them is accepted, is evident from the signification of a "brother," as being consanguinity from good (n. 3815); and from the signification of "flesh," as being one’s own in both senses (n. 3813), thus that it was accepted, because from those who are of the church, and that it was accepted by these, because by those who are in simple good. For the Ishmaelites represent those who are in simple good, and Joseph‘s brethren represent the church which is in faith separate from charity. Those who are in simple good acknowledge that the Lord’s Human is Divine, and also that in order for man to be saved the works of charity ought to be done. Those who are in faith separate know this, and therefore they do not strongly insist on this faith before everyone, and scarcely at all before those who are in simple good; chiefly because they dare not speak contrary to common sense, and because they would thus detract from their own dignity and gain. For if they should deny these truths, those who are in simple good would say of them that they are foolish; for those who are in simple good know what love is, and what the works of love are; but what faith separate from them is they do not know. Arguments in favor of faith as opposed to works, and concerning the distinction between the Human and the Divine of the Lord, they would call sophisms which they do not comprehend. Wherefore in order that they may be accepted, and because what is from them is accepted, those who are in faith separate willingly make concessions; for if these truths were extinguished they would be without profit and eminence (n. 4751).
AC 4755. And his brethren hearkened unto him. That this signifies compliance, is evident without explication.
AC 4756. And there passed by, men, Midianites, merchantmen. That this signifies those who are in the truth of this good, is evident from the representation of the Midianites, as being those who are in the truth of simple good (n. 3242); and from the signification of "merchantmen," as being those who have the knowledges of good and truth; for these in the spiritual sense are "riches," "wealth," and "merchandise." Hence "to trade" is to procure and to communicate these knowledges (n. 2967, 4453). Here it is not the knowledges of good that are signified, but the knowledges of truth; for the "Midianites" are those who are in the truth of simple good, as before said; and from this also they are called "men (viri)," for those are so called who are in truth (n. 3134, 3309). From the historical series it is evident that Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, but that he was drawn out of the pit by the Midianites, and was also sold by the Midianites in Egypt to Potiphar, for in the last verse of this chapter it is said, "and the Midianites sold him to Egypt unto Potiphar, Pharaoh‘s chamberlain." It may be supposed that as Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, he was sold in Egypt by them, and not by the Midianites; but still this was brought to pass for the sake of the representation of the things in the internal sense; for Joseph (that is, Divine truth) cannot be sold by those who are in good, but by those who are in the truth of this good. The reason will be seen in the explication of the last verse of this chapter.
AC 4757. And the drew and lifted up Joseph out of pit. That this signifies aid from them that it might not be among falsities, is evident from the signification of "drawing and lifting up," as being to set free and thus to lend aid; and from the signification of a "pit," as being falsities (n. 4728), thus that it might not be among falsities. That drawing and lifting up here denotes lending aid, is because truth is what aids good; for power is ascribed to truth, because good exercises power by means of truth (n. 3091, 3563); and moreover it is truth by which falsity is known, thus by which anyone is aided so that he be not among falsities. Hence it is that the Midianites were those who drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and the Ishmaelites were those who bought him.
AC 4758. And sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites. That this signifies reception by those who are in simple good, and alienation from those who are in faith separate, is evident from the signification of "selling," as being to alienate in respect to those who are in faith separate, who here are Joseph’s brethren, for they sold him; and as being to be received in respect to those who are in simple good, who are here the Ishmaelites, for they bought him. The "Ishmaelites" are those who are in simple good, (n. 3263, 4747). On this subject see what was said before, n. 4756).
AC 4759. For twenty pieces of silver. That this signifies estimation, is evident from the signification of "twenty," as being the good and truth stored up by the Lord in the interior man, which are called remains (n. 2280), thus holy good or truth, here holy truth, because it is said "twenty pieces of silver;" for "silver" is truth (n. 1551, 2954). The same number signifies also what is not holy, because most of the expressions used in the Word have also an opposite sense; and here what is not holy in respect to those who alienated Divine truth, or sold Joseph (n. 4758), but what is holy in respect to those who received it, or bought him. Thus it denotes what is not holy in respect to Joseph‘s brethren, that is, to those in the church who are in faith separate, but what is holy in respect to the Ishmaelites, that is, to those who are in simple good. These are the things which are meant by estimation.
 That "twenty" signifies also what is not holy, is because "twenty" denotes remains, as before said. The holy in those who have no remains of good and truth in their interior man, but instead of them evil and falsity, is not holy, but is either filthy or profane, according to the kind of evil and falsity. That "twenty" denotes also what is not holy, is evident in Zechariah:--
I saw and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll the length thereof is twenty ells, and the breadth thereof ten ells. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth (Zech. 5:1-3).
When one came to the wine-press to draw out fifty out of the wine-press, there were twenty. I smote you with blasting, and with mildew, all the work of your hands (Haggai 2:16, 17).
 In Ezekiel:--
Thy food which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time even in time shalt thou eat it. And thou shalt eat it as a barley cake, and thou shalt make it in their eyes with dung that cometh out of man. For thus, Jehovah said, shall the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean among the nations (Ezek. 4:10, 12, 13).
In these passages "twenty" denotes that which is unholy, unclean, and profane. That all who were more than twenty years old should die in the wilderness (Num. 14:29; 32:11), represented also what is holy in respect to those who were under that number of years, and what is unholy in respect to those who were over it. All numbers in the Word signify things, (n. 482, 487, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 4264, 4495, 4670); and remains are good and truth stored up by the Lord in the interior man, (n. 468, 530, 560, 561, 576, 660, 798, 1050, 1738, 1906, 2284).
AC 4760. And they brought Joseph into Egypt. That this signifies consultation from memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of "Egypt," as being memory-knowledges (n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462); and when Divine truth is brought to these it is to consult them; for by Joseph as before shown is represented Divine truth. What is meant by consultation about Divine truth from memory-knowledges shall be briefly described. To consult memory-knowledges about Divine truth is to see from them whether it is so. But this is done in one way by those who are in the affirmative that truth is truth, and who when they consult memory-knowledges, confirm the truth by them, and thus strengthen their faith; and in another way by those who are in the negative, who when they consult memory-knowledges cast themselves still more into falsities; for with these the negative rules, but with the former the affirmative. Moreover this is according to the intellectual faculty of every man. If those who have not a higher, that is, an interior insight, consult memory-knowledges, they do not see the confirmation of truth in them, and they are therefore carried by the memory-knowledges into the negative; but those who have a higher, that is, an interior insight, see confirmations, and if in no other way, still by correspondences.
 Take for example the truth that man lives after death. When those who are in the negative as to this being true consult memory-knowledges, they confirm themselves against it by innumerable considerations, such as that brute animals equally live, have sensation, and act, and in many things more acutely than man; and that thought, which man has above the brutes, is a thing which he obtains by coming to maturity later; and that man is this kind of animal; and by a thousand other considerations. Thus it is evident that if those who are in the negative consult memory-knowledges, they cast themselves still more into falsities, so that at last they believe nothing whatever relating to eternal life.
 But when those who are in the affirmative as to the truth that man lives after death consult memory-knowledges, they confirm themselves by them, and this also by things innumerable; for they see that everything in nature is below man, and that the brute animal acts from instinct, while man acts from reason, and that brutes cannot but look downward, while man can look upward, and by thought comprehend the things of the spiritual world, and also be affected by them, and even by love be conjoined with God Himself, and thus appropriate to himself life from the Divine; and that it is in order that he may be led and elevated thither that he comes to maturity so late. Moreover man sees confirmations in everything else that belongs to nature, and at last sees in universal nature a representative of the heavenly kingdom.
 It is as is well known a common thing for the learned to have less belief in a life after death than the simple, and in general to see Divine truths less clearly than the simple. The reason of this is that they consult memory-knowledges (of which they possess a greater abundance than others) from a negative standpoint, and thereby destroy in themselves insight from what is higher or interior; and when this is destroyed, they no longer see anything from the light of heaven, but only from the light of the world; for memory-knowledges are in the light of the world, and if these are not illuminated by the light of heaven they induce darkness, however different it may appear to themselves. For this reason it was that the simple believed in the Lord, but not the scribes and Pharisees who were the learned in the Jewish nation, as is evident from these words in John:--
Many of the multitude when they heard these words said, This is truly the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ (Messias). The Pharisees answered them, Hath any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in Him? (John 7:40, 41, 47, 48).
And in Luke:--
Jesus said, I confess to Thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and intelligent, but hast revealed them unto babes (Luke 10:21);
"babes" denote the simple. Also in Matthew:--
Therefore speak I to them by parables because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand (Matthew 13:13).
AC 4761. And Reuben returned unto the pit. That this signifies the faith of the church in general, is evident from the representation of Reuben, as being the confession of the faith of the church in general (n. 4731, 4734); and from the signification of a "pit," as being falsities (n. 4728). Hence by Reuben’s returning to the pit is signified that the faith of the church in general came to view the falsities which belonged to faith separate.
AC 4762. And behold Joseph was not in the pit. That this signified that there was no longer any faith, is evident from the representation of Joseph, as being Divine truth; and when this appears among falsities, which are signified by the "pit" (n. 4728), there is no longer any faith.
AC 4763. And he rent his garments. That this signifies mourning, is evident from the signification of "rending the garments," as being mourning, namely, on account of truth having been destroyed, or because there was no faith. We often read in the Word, especially the historic, of persons rending their garments; but the origin of this is not known at the present day, and it is also unknown that it was representative of grief on account of truth being lost. This act became representative from the fact that "garments" signified truths, as before shown (n. 4545). Further on in this chapter it is also said that when Jacob recognized his son‘s tunic he rent his garments (verse 34), and by this is signified mourning for truth destroyed. So in other places in the Word, as when Rabshakeh, who was sent by Sennacherib the king of Assyria, spoke insults against Jerusalem; whereupon Eliakim who was over the King’s household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the recorder, rent their garments and told these things to King Hezekiah; and when the king heard it he also rent his garments, and covered himself with sackcloth (Isa. 36:22; 37:1; 2 Kings 18:37; 19:1). The insults which Rabshakeh spoke were against God, the King, and Jerusalem, thus against Divine truth, as is still plainer from the internal sense of the passage; hence the garments were rent because of mourning.
 When Jehudi had read before the king the roll of the book which Jeremiah wrote, it is said that the king cast it into the fire, and that the king and his servants, who heard all those words, did not rend their garments (Jer. 36:23, 24); their not rending their garments denoted that they did not mourn when Divine truth was not received. The rending of their garments by Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, when the spies brought an evil report of the land of Canaan, and their speaking against them (Num. 14:6), involves a similar meaning; for the land of Canaan signifies the Lord‘s kingdom, to speak against which is to speak falsity against Divine truth. When the ark of God was taken by the Philistines, and the two sons of Eli were slain, that there ran a man out of the army to Shiloh with his garments rent and dust upon his head (1 Sam. 4:11, 12), signified mourning over lost Divine truth and Divine good; for, as the ark represented the Lord’s kingdom, and in the supreme sense the Lord Himself, and hence the holy of the church, the rent garments signified mourning over lost Divine truth; and dust upon the head, over lost Divine good.
 We read of Samuel and Saul:--
As Samuel turned about to go away, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his tunic, and it was torn off. And Samuel said unto him, Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from upon thee this day, and hath given it to thy companion. I will not return with thee, for thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah, and Jehovah hath rejected thee from being king over Israel (1 Sam. 15:26-28);
Saul‘s tearing off the skirt of Samuel’s tunic represented what Samuel said - that the kingdom should be rent from him, and that he should no longer be king of Israel; for "kingdom" in the internal sense signifies Divine truth (n. 1672, 2547, 4691), as also do a "king" and "royalty" (n. 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581), and specifically the Kingdom and king of Israel, because by Israel was represented the Lord‘s royalty. So what is related of Jeroboam and the prophet Ahijah:--
When Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, and the prophet Ahijah found him in the way, when he had clad himself with a new garment, and they two were alone in the field, Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was upon him, and rent it in twelve pieces; and he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith Jehovah the God of Israel, Behold I rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee (1 Kings 11:29-31).
 The same is true of their rending their garments when Saul was slain in battle, as related in the second book of Samuel:--
After Saul had been slain in battle, on the third day a man came from the camp whose garments were rent; and when David heard of the death of Saul, David took hold of his garments and rent them; as did all his servants that were with him (2 Sam. 1:1, 2, 11);
by this also was represented mourning on account of Divine truth lost and thrown away by those who were in faith separate; for as before said Divine truth was signified by royalty, and they who were in faith separate were represented by the Philistines, by whom Saul was slain (n. 1197, 1198, 3412, 3413); as also is evident from David’s lament over him in the same chapter (2 Samuel 1:17-27).
 When Absalom had smitten his brother Amnon, and the tidings came to David that Absalom had smitten all the king‘s sons, David "rent his garments and lay on the earth, and all his servants stood by with their garments rent" (2 Sam. 13:28, 30, 31); this also was done for the sake of representing that truths from the Divine were destroyed, these being signified in the internal sense by the king’s sons. So when David fled before Absalom he was met by Hushai the Archite with his tunic rent (2 Sam. 15:32); for in the Word by a king, especially by David, is represented Divine truth. In like manner also when Elijah spoke to Ahab king of Israel the words of Jehovah, that he should be extirpated on account of the evil which he had done, Ahab rent his garments and put sackcloth upon his flesh (1 Kings 21:27).
 That the rending or tearing of garments represented mourning on account of lost truth, is further evident from the following passages:--
Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah; and Shaphan read it before king Josiah. And when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his garments (2 Kings 22:11);
manifestly on account of the Word (that is, Divine truth) having been so long lost, and obliterated in hearts and life. When the Lord confessed that He was the Christ the Son of God, that the high priest rent his garments, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy (Matt. 26:63-65; Mark 14:63, 64), signified that he had no other belief than that the Lord spoke against the Word, and thus against Divine truth.
 When Elijah went up in a whirlwind, and Elisha saw it, he took hold of his own garments, and rent them in two pieces; and he took up the tunic of Elijah that fell from upon him, and smote the waters, and they were parted hither and thither, and Elisha went over (2 Kings 2:11-14); that Elisha then rent his garments in two pieces was on account of mourning that the Word (that is, Divine truth) was lost; for by Elijah is represented the Lord as to the Word, that is, Divine truth (n. 2762). The tunic falling from Elijah, and being taken up by Elisha, represented that Elisha continued the representation. That a tunic is Divine truth may be seen above (n. 4677), wherefore also the garment which was rent in such mourning was the tunic, as is evident from some of the passages above cited. As a "garment" signified the truth of the church, and in the supreme sense Divine truth, it was therefore a disgrace to go with rent garments, except in such mourning - as is evident from what was done to the servants of David by Hanun the king of the sons of Ammon, in that he shaved off half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks; for which reason they were not admitted to David (2 Sam. 10:4, 5).
AC 4764. And he returned unto his brethren. That this signifies those who teach, is evident from the representation of Joseph‘s brethren, as being those who are of faith separate; and because they were shepherds, as being also those who teach from faith, as above (n. 4705).
AC 4765. And said, The child is not. That this signifies that there was no faith in it, is evident from the signification of a "child," as being the truth of faith, for truth is signified by a "son" (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704), thus by the "child," who here is Joseph, and who as already shown represents Divine truth. And as all truth is of faith - for what in the ancient churches was called true or truth, in the new church is called faith (n. 4690) - therefore, by that "the child is not," is signified that there was no faith in it.
AC 4766. And I whither do I come? That this signifies Where now is the church? is evident from the representation of Reuben as being the faith of the church in general (n. 4731, 4734, 4761); and as Reuben says of himself, "and I, whither do I come?" it signifies Where now is the faith of the church? or what is the same, Where now is the church? That there is no church where the heavenly Joseph is not (that is, the Lord as to Divine truth, specifically as to the Divine truth that the Lord’s Human is Divine, and that charity is the essential of the church and consequently the works of charity) may be seen from what has been shown in this chapter concerning both these truths.
 If this Divine truth, that the Lord‘s Human is Divine, is not received, it necessarily follows that a trine should be adored, and not one; and also that half of the Lord, namely, His Divine, should be adored, but not His Human; for who adores what is not Divine? And is the church anything where a trine is adored, one separately from another, or what is the same, where three are equally worshiped? For although the three are called one, still the thought distinguishes and makes three, and only the speech of the mouth says one. Let everyone consider in himself when he says that he acknowledges and believes in one God, whether he does not think of three; and when he says that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and these also distinct in persons, and distinct as to functions, whether he can think that there is one God, except in the way that three distinct from one another make one by harmony, and also by condescension in so far as one proceeds from another. When therefore three gods are adored, where is the church?
 But when the Lord only is adored, in whom there is a perfect trine, and who is in the Father and the Father in Him, as He Himself says: "Though ye believe not Me, believe the works; that ye may Know and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father" (John 10:38);
"he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; believest thou not Philip that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me" (John 14:9-11);
"He that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me" (John 7:45);
"All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine" (John 17:10),
then there is the Christian Church, as there is when the church abides in this that the Lord said: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God from all thy heart, and from all thy soul, and from all thy mind, and from all thy strength, this is the first commandment; and the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; there is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31). That the "Lord our God" is the Lord, may be seen in other places (Matt. 4:7, 10; 22:41-45; Luke 1:16, 17; John 20:28), as also that "Jehovah" in the Old Testament is called "Lord" in the New (n. 2921).
 If also this Divine truth is not received both in doctrine and in life - that love toward the neighbor, or charity, and hence the works of charity, are an essential of the church, it necessarily follows that it is of the church to think what is true, but not to think what is good; and thus that the thought of the man of the church may be in contradiction and opposition to itself; that is, may think what is evil and at the same time may think what is true; thus may by thinking evil be with the devil, and by thinking truth be with the Lord; when yet truth and evil do not at all agree, for "No servant can serve two lords, for either he will hate the one and love the other" (Luke 16:13). When faith separate establishes this, and also confirms it in life, no matter how it may speak of the fruits of faith, where then is the church?GENESIS 37:23-30 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|