Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 39:16-18
AC 5021. Verses 16-18. And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came to his house. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant whom thou hast brought unto us came unto me to mock me; and it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled out. "And she laid up his garment by her," signifies that it retained ultimate truth; "until his lord came to his house," signifies that it might communicate with natural good; "and she spake unto him according to these words," signifies false speaking; "saying, The Hebrew servant whom thou hast brought unto us, came unto me," signifies that servant; "to mock me," signifies that it rose up; "and it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried," signifies when great aversion was perceived; "that he left his garment by me," signifies testification; "and fled out," signifies that then it separated itself.
AC 5022. And she laid up his garment by her. That this signifies that it retained ultimate truth, is evident from the signification of "laying up by her," as being to retain; and from the signification of a "garment," as being ultimate truth (n. 5006, 5008), which truth being taken away, the spiritual man has no longer anything with which to defend himself against those who are merely natural (n. 5008, 5009), and in this event injury is done to him; for whatever the spiritual man then speaks, merely natural men say that they do not perceive, and also that it is not so. And if what is internal or spiritual is but mentioned, they either ridicule it or call it mystical; wherefore all conjunction between them is then broken, and when this is broken, the spiritual man suffers hard things among the merely natural, which is represented by Joseph’s being cast into prison, after the wife had testified by the garment in the presence of her husband.
AC 5023. Until his lord came to his house. That this signifies that it might communicate with natural good, is evident from the signification of the "lord," as being good natural not spiritual (n. 4973, 4988). A "house" in the internal sense is the natural mind, for the natural mind, as also the rational mind, is like a house: the husband therein is good, the wife is truth, the daughters and sons are affections of good and truth, and also goods and truth derived from the former as parents; the maidservants and menservants are the pleasures and memory-knowledges which minister and confirm. Here therefore by "until his lord came to his house" is signified until natural good came to its dwelling place, where there is also truth conjoined with it; but here falsity persuading good that it is truth, for good natural not spiritual is easily persuaded that falsity is truth, and that truth is falsity. It is said "his lord," because the natural not spiritual considers the spiritual as a servant (n. 5013).
 That the natural and the rational mind of man are called a "house," is evident from the following passages:--
When the unclean spirit is gone out from a man, he wandereth through dry places, seeking rest; and if he findeth it not, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And if on coming he findeth it swept and garnished, he then goeth away and taketh to him seven other spirits worse than himself; and they enter in and dwell there (Luke 11:24-26);
the "house" here denotes the natural mind, which is called a "house that is empty and swept" when there are within it no goods and truths, which are the husband and wife; no affections of good and truth, which are the daughters and sons; nor such things as confirm, which are the maidservants and menservants. The man himself is the "house," because the rational and the natural mind make the man; and without these things, that is, without goods and truths and their affections and the ministry of these affections, he is not a man, but a brute.
 The mind of man is also meant by a "house" in the same evangelist:--
Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and house falleth upon house (Luke 11:17);
And in Mark:--
If a kingdom be divided against itself, this Kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, this house cannot stand. No one can pillage the vessels of a strong man after entering into his house, unless he first bind the strong man; and then he pillages his house (Mark 3:24, 25, 27);
by "kingdom" is signified truth (n. 1672, 2547, 4691), and by "house," good (n. 2233, 2234, 3720, 4982); "house" signifies good in an eminent sense.
 In Luke:--
If the master of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would at least have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through (Luke 12:39).
From henceforth there shall be five in one house (divided), three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother (Luke 12:52, 53);
where the subject treated of is the spiritual combats into which those who are of the church will come, after the internal or spiritual things of the Word have been opened. The "house" denotes man, or his mind; "father," "mother," "son," and "daughter" are goods and truths with their affections, and in the opposite sense evils and falsities with their affections, from which and with which there is combat.
 The Lord‘s command to His disciples:--
Into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house; and if a son of peace he there, your peace shall rest upon it; but if not, it shall return upon you; but remain in the same house; eat and drink what they have; pass not from house to house (Luke 10:5-7);
represented that they should abide in good itself, that is, in the good of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, and not pass into any other. Man or his mind is a "house", (n. 3538, 4973).
AC 5024. And she spake unto him according to these words. That this signifies false speaking, is evident from what follows; for the things which she told her husband are falsities.
AC 5025. Saying, The Hebrew servant whom thou hast brought unto us, came unto me. That this signifies that servant, is evident from what was said above (n. 5013); here by that servant is meant spiritual truth and good, which here is "Joseph," and which appears to the natural not spiritual as a servant. For example, spiritual truth and good desire that a man should not take pleasure in dignities or in any pre-eminence over others, but in services rendered to his country, and to societies in general and in particular, and thus should take pleasure in the use of dignities. The merely natural man is wholly ignorant what this pleasure is, and denies its existence; and although he too can hypocritically say the same thing, he nevertheless makes pleasure from dignities for the sake of self the lord, and pleasure from dignities for the sake of societies, in general and particular, the servant; for he regards himself in everything he does, and societies after himself, favoring them only in so far as they favor him.
 Let us take another example. If it is said that the use and the end make a thing spiritual or not spiritual--use and end for the common good, the church, and the kingdom of God, making it to be spiritual, but use and end for the sake of self and one’s own prevailing over the former use and end, making it to be not spiritual--this indeed the natural man can acknowledge with the mouth, but not with the heart; with the mouth from an instructed understanding, not with the heart from an understanding destroyed by evil affections. From this latter he makes use and end for the sake of self a lord, and use and end for the sake of the common good, of the church, and of the kingdom of God, a servant; nay, he says in his heart, who can ever be otherwise?
 In a word, the natural man regards as utterly worthless and rejects whatever he regards as separate from himself, and he values and accepts whatever he regards as conjoined with himself--not knowing nor wishing to know that it is spiritual to regard everyone as conjoined with himself who is in good, whether he is unknown or known; and to regard everyone as separate from himself who is in evil, whether he is known or unknown; for he is then conjoined with those who are in heaven, and disjoined from those who are in hell. But because the natural man feels no pleasure from this (for he receives no spiritual influx), he therefore regards it as utterly vile and servile, and thus as of no account in comparison with the pleasure he feels that flows in through the senses of the body and through the evil affections of the love of self and of the world; yet this pleasure is dead because it is from hell, whereas the pleasure from spiritual influx is living because it is from the Lord through heaven.
AC 5026. To mock me. That this signifies that it rose up, is evident from the signification of "mocking," as being to rise up (n. 5014).
AC 5027. And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried. That this signifies when great aversion was perceived, is evident from the signification of "lifting up the voice and crying," as being great aversion (n. 5018).
AC 5028. That he left his garment by me. That this signifies testification, is evident from the signification of "leaving his garment by her," that is to say, as a witness that it made an approach (n. 5019). A "garment" in the internal sense signifies truth, and "leaving the garment," taking away ultimate truth (n. 5008). That it here signifies a witness or testification that it made an approach, is because ultimate truth, when it is left or taken away, is a witness to the natural man against the spiritual. That the natural man is as it were conjoined with the spiritual man by ultimate truth, but still is not conjoined, may be seen above (n. 5009); for when the spiritual man unfolds this truth, the dissimilarity becomes apparent.
 The examples adduced above (n. 5008), may serve for illustration. The spiritual man as well as the natural says that aid should be given to the poor, to widows, and to orphans; but the spiritual man thinks that aid should not be given to the poor, to widows, and to orphans who are evil, and who call themselves needy and yet are rich, for in this way they would deceive by mere names; and so he concludes that by the "poor," the "widows," and the "orphans" in the Word, are meant those who are spiritually so. But the natural man thinks that aid should be given to the poor, widows, and orphans who are so called, and that these and no others are meant in the Word; neither does he care whether they are evil or good, not knowing nor wishing to know what it is to be so spiritually. It is plain from this that the ultimate truth, that aid should be given to the poor, widows, and orphans, appears similar to both; but when unfolded, it is dissimilar; and when it becomes dissimilar and causes disjunction, it serves the natural man as a witness or testification that the spiritual man had made an approach; hence he speaks what is false against the spiritual man, who no longer has anything by which to defend himself. So it is clear whence and in what respect a "garment" signifies also a witness or testification.
 Let us take also this example. The spiritual man as well as the natural man says that aid should be given to the neighbor, and he also says that everyone is the neighbor; but he thinks that one person is the neighbor in a different respect and degree than another, and that to give aid to an evil person because he calls himself neighbor, is to do harm to the neighbor. The natural man conjoins himself with the spiritual in the ultimate truth that aid should be given to the neighbor, and also in this, that every man is the neighbor; but he thinks that he who favors him is the neighbor, not caring whether he is good or evil. From this too it is plain that in this ultimate truth they are apparently conjoined, but that nevertheless there is no conjunction; and that as soon as the matter is explained, there is disjunction. And then this ultimate truth serves the natural man as a witness against the spiritual man for as it were mocking at him. So in all other cases.
AC 5029. And fled out. That this signifies that then it separated itself, is evident from the signification of "fleeing out," as being to separate itself (n. 5020); and consequently that it had no truth whereby to defend itself (n. 5009). GENESIS 39:16-18 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|