Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 39:21-23
AC 5040. Verses 21-23. And Jehovah was with Joseph, and inclined mercy unto him, and gave him grace in the eyes of the prince of the prison house. And the prince of the prison house gave into Joseph’s hand all the bound ones that were in the prison house; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer. The prince of the prison house saw naught of anything that was in his hand, because Jehovah was with him; and that which he did, Jehovah made it to prosper. "And Jehovah was with Joseph," signifies that the Divine was in Him; "and inclined mercy unto him," signifies the Divine love in everything; "and gave him grace in the eyes of the prince of the prison house," signifies relief in consequence; "and the prince of the prison house," signifies truth governing in a state of temptations; "gave into Joseph‘s hand all the bound ones that were in the prison house," signifies from Himself over all falsities; "and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer," signifies absolute power; "the prince of the prison house saw naught of anything that was in his hand," signifies that He Himself governed truth; "because Jehovah was with him," signifies from the Divine which was in Him; "and that which he did, Jehovah made it to prosper," signifies that the Divine providence was from Himself.
AC 5041. And Jehovah was with Joseph. That this signifies that the Divine was in Him, that is, in the Lord (who in the supreme sense is represented by Joseph), here the Divine in temptations, which are here treated of, is evident; for the Divine Itself is Jehovah; and that He was in the Lord, or within Him, is signified by "Jehovah was with Joseph." As in the sense of the letter Joseph is treated of, it is said with him; but in the internal sense, where the Lord is treated of, it is in Him. That the Divine was in Him, may be seen by everyone within the church from the fact that He was conceived of Jehovah, for which reason He so frequently calls Him His "Father." The very being of a man, and hence the inmost of his life, is from the father; the clothings or exteriors are from the mother; therefore the Lord’s being, and hence the inmost of His life, was Divine, because it was Jehovah Himself; and the clothings or exteriors made the human which He took from the mother by birth. This human was such that it could he tempted, for it was polluted with hereditary evil from the mother; but because the inmost was Divine, He was able by His own power to cast out that evil heredity from the mother; which was done successively by means of temptations, and finally by the last, that of the cross, when He fully glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine. From this it may be seen what is meant by the statement that the Divine was in Him.
AC 5042. And inclined mercy unto him. That this signifies the Divine love in everything, is evident from the signification of "mercy," as being in the supreme sense the Divine love (n. 1735, 3063, 3073, 3120, 3875). The Divine being itself, understood in the supreme sense, is love utterly incomprehensible to man; and from this love through truth all things come forth and subsist, both those which have life and those which have not. This Divine love from the very being through the inmost of life in the Lord, flowed into everything He did from the human taken from the mother, and directed all to ends, and these ends to the ultimate end that mankind might be saved. And because the Lord, from the Divine Itself in Him, saw the nature of His human, that it was hereditarily in evil, therefore it is said that "Jehovah inclined mercy unto him;" and by this in the supreme sense is meant the Divine love in everything. For the Divine mercy is nothing else than the Divine love toward those who are immersed in miseries (n. 1049, 3063, 3875), that is, toward those who are in temptations; for these are in miseries, and are chiefly meant in the Word by the "miserable."
AC 5043. And gave him grace in the eyes of the prince of the prison house. That this signifies relief in consequence, is evident from the signification of "giving grace," as being relief, for "to give grace" in temptations is to comfort and relieve with hope; and from the signification of a "prince," as being primary truth (n. 5044); and from the signification of a "prison house," as being the vastation of falsity, and consequently temptation (n. 5038, 5039).
AC 5044. And the prince of the prison house. That this signifies truth governing in a state of temptations, is evident from the signification of a "prince," as being primary truth, thus the governing truth, of which presently; and from the signification of a "prison house" as being the vastation of falsity, and consequently temptation (n. 5038, 5039, 5043). What is meant by truth governing in a state of temptations must first be told. With all who are in temptations there flows in truth from the Lord, which rules and governs the thoughts and raises up the sufferers whenever they fall into doubts and even into despair. This governing truth is that truth and such truth as they have learned from the Word or from doctrine, and have confirmed in themselves. Other truths are indeed at such times also called to mind, but they do not govern the interiors. Sometimes the truth which governs is not presented visibly before the understanding, but lies hid in obscurity, yet it still governs; for the Divine of the Lord flows into it, and thus keeps the interiors of the mind in it, and therefore when it comes into light, the person who is in temptation receives consolation and is relieved.
 It is not this truth itself, but the affection of it, by which the Lord governs those who are in temptations; for the Divine flows only into those things which are of the affection. The truth which is implanted and rooted in a man‘s interiors is implanted and rooted by affection, and not at all without affection; and the truth which has been implanted and rooted by affection, clings there, and is recalled by affection; and when this truth is so recalled, it presents the affection that is conjoined with it, which is the man’s reciprocal affection. As such is the case with the man who is in temptations, therefore no one is admitted into any spiritual temptation until he reaches adult age, and has thus become imbued with some truth by which he can be governed; otherwise he sinks under the temptation, and then his latter state is worse than the first. From these things it may be seen what is meant by truth governing in a state of temptations, which is signified by the "prince of the prison house."
 That a "prince" denotes primary truth, is because a "king" in the internal sense signifies truth itself (n. 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4789, 4966); hence "princes," because they are the sons of a king, signify the primary things of that truth. That "princes" have this signification may be seen above in (n. 1482, 2089), but as this was not there proved from many other passages in the Word, some may be cited here. In Isaiah:--
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the principality shall be upon His shoulder--the Prince of peace. Of the multiplying of His principality and peace there shall be no end (Isa. 9:6, 7);
which is said of the Lord. The "principality upon the shoulder" is all Divine truth in the heavens from Him; for the heavens are distinguished into principalities according to truths from good, whence also the angels are called "principalities." Peace is a state of blessedness in the heavens, affecting with good and truth from the inmosts (n. 3780); hence the Lord is called the "Prince of peace," and it is said that "of the multiplying of His principality and peace there shall be no end."
 Again in the same prophet:--
The princes of Zoan are foolish, the wise, the counselors of Pharaoh. How say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of the kings of antiquity? The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; and they have seduced Egypt, the corner stone of the tribes (Isa. 19:11, 13);
treating of Egypt, by which is signified the memory-knowledge of the church (n. 4749), thus natural truth, which is the ultimate of order; wherefore also Egypt is here called the "corner stone of the tribes," for the "tribes" are all things of truth in one complex (n. 3858, 3862, 3926, 3939, 4060). But in this passage "Egypt" is the memory-knowledge which perverts the truths of the church, thus truths in the ultimate of order falsified, which are the "princes of Zoan" and the "princes of Noph." He calls himself the "son of the kings of antiquity," because the memory-knowledges in Egypt were from the truths of the Ancient Church. The truths themselves are signified by "kings," as was shown above, and the truths of the Ancient Church are signified by the "kings of antiquity."
Asshur thinketh not right, and his heart doth not meditate right; for his heart is to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few. For he saith Are not my princes kings? (Isa. 10:7, 8);
"Asshur" denotes reasoning about Divine truths, from which come falsities, thus perverse reasoning (n. 1186). The truths thus falsified, or falsities, which are produced by reasoning and which appear as the veriest truths, are signified by his saying, "Are not my princes kings?" That "Asshur" is reasoning, and that his "princes who are kings" are primary falsities which are believed to be the veriest truths, cannot be seen and thence believed so long as the mind is kept in the historic sense of the letter, and still less if it is in the negative as to there being anything more holy and more universal in the Divine Word than what appears in the letter; and yet in the internal sense by "Asshur" nothing else than reason and reasoning is understood in the Word, and by "kings" truths themselves, and by "princes" the primary things of truth. Nothing is known in heaven of Asshur, and the angels also reject from themselves the idea of a king and a prince; and when they perceive it in man, they transfer it to the Lord, and perceive that which proceeds from the Lord and is the Lord‘s in heaven, namely, the Divine truth from His Divine good.
Asshur shall fall with the sword, not of a man; and the sword, not of a man, shall devour him; his rock shall also pass away by reason of dread, but his princes shall be dismayed by the ensign (Isa. 31:8, 9);
also said of Egypt, which is the memory-knowledge of the church perverted. Reasoning from memory-knowledges about Divine truths, from which come perversion and falsification, is "Asshur," these truths perverted and falsified are the "princes," the "sword with which Asshur shall fall" is falsity battling with and vastating truth (n. 2799, 4499). Again:--
The strength of Pharaoh shall become to you for a shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt for a reproach, when his princes shall be in Zoan (Isa. 30:3, 4);
the "princes in Zoan" denote truths falsified, thus falsities, as above.
The pelican and the bittern shall possess it; and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein; he shall stretch over it the line of emptiness, and the plummet of a waste. The nobles thereof are not there, they shall call a kingdom, and all her princes shall be nothing (Isa. 34:11, 12);
the "pelican," the " bittern," the "owl," and the "raven," denote the different kinds of falsity which come into existence when the Divine truths that are in the Word become of no account. The desolation and vastation of truth are signified by the "line of emptiness, and the plummet of a waste;" and the falsities, which to them are primary truths, are signified by "princes." Again:--
I will render profane the princes of holiness, and I will give Jacob for a curse, and Israel for reproaches (Isa. 43:28);
"to profane the princes of holiness" denotes to profane holy truths; the extirpation of the truth of the external and the internal church is signified by "giving Jacob for a curse, and Israel for reproaches;" that "Jacob" is the external church, and "Israel" the internal, may be seen above (n. 4286).
 In Jeremiah:
There shall enter in by the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariot and on horses, they and their princes (Jeremiah 17:25);
one who here understands the Word in the historic sense, cannot be aware that the words store within them anything more deep and holy than that kings and princes would enter in by the gates of the city in chariots and on horses, and he gathers from it that the duration of the kingdom is referred to; but he who knows what a "city," "kings," "princes," the "throne of David," and "riding in chariot and on horses" signify in the internal sense, sees there things more deep and holy; for the "city" or Jerusalem signifies the spiritual kingdom of the Lord (n. 2117, 3654); "kings" signify Divine truths; "princes," the primary things of truth; the "throne of David," the heaven of the Lord (n. 1888); "riding in chariot and on horses," the spiritual understanding of the church (n. 2760, 2761, 3217).
O sword against the Chaldeans, and against the inhabitants of Babylon, and against her princes and against her wise men. O sword against the liars. O sword against her horses and against her chariots (Jer. 50:35-37);
a "sword" denotes truth fighting against falsity, and falsity fighting against truth and vastating it (n. 2799, 4499); the "Chaldeans" denote those who profane truths; and the "inhabitants of Babylon," those who profane good (n. 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, 1327); "princes" denote the falsities which to such are primary truths; "horses," the intellectual of the church, and "chariots," its doctrine, the vastation of which is signified by a "sword against the horses and against the chariots."
How doth the Lord in His anger cloud over the daughter of Zion The Lord hath swallowed up, He hath not spared, all the habitations of Jacob; He hath destroyed in His wrath the stronghold of the daughter of Judah; He hath cast them forth to the earth; He hath profaned the kingdom and the princes thereof; the gates have sunk into the earth, and He hath broken the bars in pieces; the king and the princes are among the nations (Lam. 2:1, 2, 9);
the "daughter of Zion and of Judah" denotes the celestial church, here this church destroyed; the "kingdom," the truths of doctrine therein (n. 2547, 4691); the "king," the truth itself, and the "princes," its primaries.
Our skins have been blackened like an oven, because of the storms of famine. They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah, the princes were hanged up by their hand (Lam. 5:10-12);
"the princes being hanged up by their hand" denotes that truths are profaned, for hanging represented the damnation of profanation; and because of this representation, it was also commanded when the people committed whoredom after Baal-peor and worshiped their gods, that the princes should be hanged up before the sun (Num. 25:1-4); for to commit whoredom after Baal-peor, and to worship their gods, was to profane worship. In Ezekiel:--
The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with astonishment, and the hands of the people of the land shall be terrified; I will deal with them after their way (Ezek. 7:27);
where the "king" in like manner denotes truth in general, and the "prince," its primaries.
The prince that is in the midst of them shall be borne upon the shoulder in the dark, and shall go forth; they shall dig through the wall to bring out through it; he will veil over his faces that he see not the earth at his eye (Ezek. 12:12);
that a "prince" here does not mean a prince, but the truth of the church, is very manifest; and when it is said of this that it shall be "borne on the shoulder in the dark," it means that with all their might it should be conveyed down among falsities, for "darkness" is falsities; "to veil over the faces" denotes that truth should not be seen at all; his "not seeing the earth at his eye," means that nothing of the church would be seen. The "earth" is the church, (n. 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535). In Hosea:--
The sons of Israel shall sit many days, there is no king, and no prince, and no sacrifice, and no pillar, and no ephod, and no teraphim (Hosea 3:4).
 And in David:--
The king’s daughter is all glorious within; and of inweavings of gold is her garment, in needlework shall she be brought to the king; instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons, thou shalt set them for princes in the whole earth (Ps. 45:13-16);
the "king‘s daughter" is the Lord’s spiritual kingdom, which is called His spiritual kingdom from the Lord‘s Divine truth, here described by her garment of inweavings of gold and of needlework; "sons" are the truths of that kingdom which are from the Lord’s Divine, which must be "princes," that is, primary truths. The "prince" who together with his possessions in the New Jerusalem and in the new earth is described in (Ezekiel 44:3; 45:7, 8, 17; 46:8, 10, 12, 16, 18; 48:21), signifies in general the truth which is from the Lord‘s Divine; for by the "New Jerusalem," the "new temple," and the "new earth" there, is meant the Lord’s kingdom in heaven and on earth, which is there described by representatives such as are found in other parts of the Word.
AC 5045. Gave into Joseph‘s hand all the bound ones that were in the prison house. That this signifies from Himself over all falsities, namely, truth governing in a state of temptations, is evident from the signification of "giving into Joseph’s hand," as being into his power, the "hand" being power (n. 5008); thus meaning that it was from Himself, for what is effected from His power is effected from Himself--by "Joseph" being meant in the internal sense the Lord, as often shown above; and from the signification of the "bound ones in the prison house," as being falsities (n. 5037, 5038). Thus by "the prince of the prison gave into Joseph‘s hand all the bound ones that were in the prison house," is signified truth governing in a state of temptations from Himself over all falsities; that is, that the truth by which He governed falsities in a state of temptations was from Himself. Here, and in what follows to the end of this chapter, in the internal sense the subject treated of is the Lord, how He from His own power governed in a state of temptations, that is, overcame the hells, which were in evils and falsities and were continually pouring them into mankind. That the Lord by His own power overcame and subdued the hells, and thus glorified or made Divine the Human in Himself, may be seen above (n. 1616, 1749, 1755, 1813, 1904, 1914, 1921, 1935, 2025, 2026, 2083, 2159, 2574, 2786, 2795, 3036, 3381, 3382, 4075, 4286, 5005). This is evident from many passages in the Word, as from this in John:--
I lay down My soul, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again (John 10:17, 18).
That the passion of the cross was the last of the temptations, and that by it the Lord fully glorified the Human in Himself, that is, made it Divine, is also plain from many passages in the Word, as in (John 13:31, 32; 17:1, 5; Luke 24:26).
AC 5046. And whatsoever they did there, he was the doer. That this signifies absolute power, may be seen without explication, for the words involve that all things were from Himself, thus that He had the absolute power of doing and of leaving undone.
AC 5047. The prince of the prison house saw naught of anything that was in his hand. That this signifies that He Himself governed truth, is evident from the signification of the "prince of the prison house," as being truth governing in a state of temptations (n. 5044); and from the signification of "not seeing anything that was in his hand," as being that it is from Himself, thus from absolute power (n. 5045, 5046).
AC 5048. Because Jehovah was with him. That this signifies from the Divine which was in Him, is evident from what was said above (n. 5041).
AC 5049. And that which he did, Jehovah made it to prosper. That this signifies that the Divine providence was from Himself, is evident from the signification of "making to prosper," as being providence (n. 4972, 4975); that it is Divine is meant by "Jehovah," and that it was from Himself, by "that which he did." That "making to prosper," in the supreme sense, is providence, is because everything prosperous which appears in the ultimates of nature is in its origin from the Divine providence of the Lord. That this is so, and also that everything which is said to be of fortune is therefrom, will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be shown elsewhere from experiences in the spiritual world.