Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 39:7-9
AC 4986. Verses 7-9. And it came to pass after these words that his lord‘s wife lifted up her eyes to Joseph, and she said, Lie with me. And he refused, and said unto his lord’s wife, Behold, my lord knoweth not what is with me in the house, and all that he hath he hath given into my hand. He is not greater in this house than 1; and he hath not withheld from me anything but thee, because thou art his wife; and how shall I do this great evil, and sin to God? "And it came to pass after these words," signifies a third state; "that his lord‘s wife lifted up her eyes to Joseph," signifies truth natural not spiritual adjoined to natural good, and its perception; "and she said, Lie with me," signifies that it desired conjunction; "and he refused," signifies aversion; "and said unto his lord’s wife," signifies perception concerning this truth; "Behold, my lord knoweth not what is with me in the house," signifies that natural good did not desire even appropriation; "and all that he hath he hath given into my hand," signifies that all was in its power; "he is not greater in this house than I," signifies that that good was prior in time, not in state; "and he hath not withheld from me anything but thee," signifies that to be conjoined with the truth of that good was forbidden; "because thou art his wife," signifies because it was not to be conjoined with another good; "and how shall I do this great evil, and sin to God?" signifies that thus there would be disjunction, and no conjunction.
AC 4987. And it came to pass after these words. That this signifies a third state, is evident from the signification of "it came to pass," or "it was," as involving something new (n. 4979), here consequently a third state; and from the signification of "after these words," as being after these things were transacted. In the original language one series is not distinguished from another by intervening marks, as in other languages; but the text appears to be as it were continuous from beginning to end. The things in the internal sense are also in like manner continuous and Bowing from one state of a thing into another; but when one state terminates, and another of importance succeeds, this is indicated by "it was" or "it came to pass;" and a change of state less important by "and." This is the reason why these expressions so frequently occur. This state, which is the third, and which is now treated of, is more interior than the former.
AC 4988. That his lord‘s wife lifted up her eyes to Joseph. That this signifies truth natural not spiritual adjoined to natural good, and its perception, is evident from the signification of a "wife," as being truth adjoined to good (n. 1468, 2517, 3236, 4510, 4823), here truth natural not spiritual adjoined to natural good, because this truth and this good are treated of, that good to which this truth is conjoined being here the "lord" (n. 4973); and from the signification of "lifting up the eyes," as being thought, intention, and also perception (n. 2789, 2829, 3198, 3202, 4339).
 By the "wife" is here signified truth natural, but not truth spiritual natural; and by the husband, who is here the "lord," is signified good natural, but not good spiritual natural. It must therefore be explained what is meant by good and truth natural not spiritual, and good and truth spiritual natural. Good in man is from a twofold source- from what is hereditary and hence adventitious, and also from the doctrine of faith and of charity, or with the Gentiles from their religiosity. Good from the former origin is good natural not spiritual, while good from the latter origin is good spiritual natural. From a like origin is truth, because all good has its own truth adjoined to it.
 Good natural from the former origin, that is, from what is hereditary and hence adventitious, has much that is akin to good natural from the second origin, that is, from the doctrine of faith and charity, or from some religiosity, but only in the external form, being entirely different in the internal form. Good natural from the former origin may be compared to the good that exists with gentle animals; but good natural from the second origin is proper to the man who acts from reason, and consequently knows how to dispense what is good in various ways in accordance with uses. This dispensing of what is good is taught by the doctrine of what is just and fair, and in a higher degree by the doctrine of faith and charity, and with those who are truly rational is also confirmed in many ways by reason.
 They who do good from the former origin are borne blindly along as it were by instinct into the exercise of charity; but they who perform what is good from the second origin are borne along by an internal obligation, and as it were with their eyes open. In a word, they who do what is good from the former origin, do it from no conscience of what is just and fair, still less from any conscience of spiritual truth and good; whereas they who do what is good from the second origin, do it from conscience. (n. 3040, 3470, 3471, 3518, 4992), But how the case is with these things can by no means be explained to the apprehension; for everyone who is not spiritual, or who has not been regenerated, sees good from its external form, and this for the reason that he does not know what charity is, or what the neighbor is; and the reason why he does not know these things is that he has no doctrinals of charity. In the light of heaven these things appear most distinctly, and hence they appear distinctly also with the spiritual or regenerate, because these are in the light of heaven.
AC 4989. And she said, Lie with me. That this signifies that it desired conjunction, is evident from the signification of "lying with me," as being conjunction (that is, of good spiritual natural, which now is "Joseph," with truth natural not spiritual, which is his "lord’s wife"), but unlawful conjunction. The conjunctions of good with truth, and of truth with good, are described in the Word by marriages (n. 2727-2759, 3132, 3665, 4434, 4837); and hence unlawful conjunctions are described by harlotries. And so here the conjunction of truth natural not spiritual with good spiritual natural is described by his lord‘s wife being desirous to lie with Joseph. Between these no conjunction is possible in internals, but only in externals, in which there is an apparent conjunction, but it is only an affinity. For this reason also she caught him by his garment, and he left the garment in her hand; for by "garment" in the internal sense is signified what is external, by which there is an apparent conjunction, or by which there is an affinity, as will be seen below at (verses 12, 13).
 That these things are signified cannot be seen so long as the mind or thought is kept in the historicals; for then nothing is thought of but Joseph, Potiphar’s wife, and the Sight of Joseph when he had left his garment. But if the mind or thought were kept in those things which are signified by Joseph, by Potiphar‘s wife, and by a garment, it would then be perceived that some unlawful spiritual conjunction is here described; and the mind or thought can be kept in the things which are signified, provided it is believed that the historic Word is Divine, not from the mere history, but from the fact that within the history there is what is spiritual and Divine; and if this were believed, it would be known that the spiritual and Divine therein are concerning the good and truth of the Lord’s church and kingdom, and in the supreme sense concerning the Lord Himself. When a man comes into the other life, as he does immediately after death, if he is one of those who are taken up into heaven, he will then know that he retains nothing of the historicals of the Word, and indeed knows nothing about Joseph, nor about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; but only about the spiritual and Divine things which he had learnt from the Word and had applied to his life. Such things therefore are what are inwardly contained in the Word, and are called its internal sense.
AC 4990. And he refused. That this signifies aversion, is evident from the signification of refusing," as being to be averse, namely, to the conjunction in question; for he who refuses, even to fleeing away, is averse.
AC 4991. And said unto his lord‘s wife. That this signifies perception concerning this truth, is evident from the signification of "saying," in the historicals of the Word, as being to perceive; and from the signification of "his lord’s wife," as being truth natural not spiritual adjoined to natural good (n. 4988).
AC 4992. Behold, my lord knoweth not what is with me in the house. That this signifies that natural good did not desire even appropriation, is evident from the signification of his "lord," as being natural good (n. 4973); and from the signification of "not knowing what is with me in the house," as being not to desire appropriation. That this is the meaning cannot be seen except from the series of things in the internal sense; for a third state is now treated of, in which the celestial of the spiritual was in the natural: in this state the good and truth natural which is spiritual, is separate from the good and truth natural which is not spiritual; and consequently by "not knowing what is in the house" is signified that there is no desire for appropriation. But these things, being arcana, cannot be made clear except by examples. Let the following example therefore serve for illustration. To be conjoined with one‘s wife from lust alone, this is natural not spiritual; but to be conjoined with one’s wife from conjugial love, this is spiritual natural; and when the husband is afterward conjoined from lust alone, he believes that he transgresses, as one who does what is lascivious, and therefore he no longer desires that this should be appropriated to him. Let this also serve as an example. To benefit a friend, no matter what his quality, provided he is a friend, is natural not spiritual; but to benefit a friend for the sake of the good that is in him, and still more to hold good itself as the friend which is to be benefitted, this is spiritual natural; and when anyone is in this, he knows that he transgresses if he benefits a friend who is evil, for then through him he injures others. When he is in this state, he holds in aversion the appropriation of good natural not spiritual, in which good he was before. And so it is with everything else.
AC 4993. And all that he hath he hath given into my hand. That this signifies that all was in its power, is evident from what was said above (n. 4978), where similar words occur. But there is this difference, that the subject there treated of was the second state in which was the celestial of the spiritual in the natural; for then natural good applied itself, and appropriated to itself truth (n. 4976, 4977); in which state good had the dominion actually, but truth apparently; and therefore these words then signified that its all was as it were in its power. But here the subject treated of is the third state in which is the celestial of the spiritual, when it has become spiritual in the natural; and as in this state there is no appropriation, therefore by these words is signified that all was in its power.
AC 4994. He is not greater in this house than I. That this signifies that that good was prior in time, not in state, is evident from the signification of "not being greater in this house than I" as being that the dominions were on an equality, consequently that both of them are prior. From the series in the internal sense it is plain that good natural not spiritual is prior in time, and that good spiritual natural is prior in state (n. 4992). To be prior in state is to be more eminent as to quality.
AC 4995. And he hath not withheld from me anything but thee. That this signifies that to be conjoined with the truth of that good was forbidden, is evident from the signification of "withholding from him," as being to be forbidden; and from the signification of a "wife," who is the one withheld, and is here meant by "thee," as being truth natural not spiritual (n. 4988).
AC 4996. Because thou art his wife. That this signifies because it was not to be conjoined with another good, is evident from the signification of "wife," as being truth adjoined to its good (n. 1468, 2517, 3236, 4510, 4823), here truth natural not spiritual to good natural not spiritual (n. 4988).
AC 4997. And how shall I do this great evil, and sin to God? That this signifies that thus there would be disjunction and no conjunction, is evident from the signification of "evil," and also of "sin," as being disjunction and no conjunction, namely, when good spiritual natural is conjoined with truth natural not spiritual; for they are unlike and unsuited, and tear themselves away from each other. It is said "to do evil and sin to God," because regarded in itself, evil, and also sin, is nothing else than disjunction from good. Moreover evil itself consists in disunion. This is plain from good, for good is conjunction, because all good is of love to the Lord and of love toward the neighbor. The good of love to the Lord conjoins the man with the Lord, and consequently with all the good which proceeds from Him; and the good of love toward the neighbor conjoins him with heaven, and the societies there; and therefore by this love also the man is conjoined with the Lord; for heaven properly so called is the Lord, because He is the all in all there.
 But with evil the reverse is the case. Evil is of the love of self and of the love of the world. The evil of the love of self disjoins the man not only from the Lord, but also from heaven; for he loves no one but himself, others only so far as he regards them in himself, or so far as they make one with him. Hence he diverts to himself the attention of all, and entirely averts it from others, most especially from the Lord; and when many in a society do this, it follows that all are disjoined, and at heart each regards the others as enemies, and if anyone does aught against him, he holds him in hatred, and takes delight in his destruction. Nor is it different with the evil of the love of the world, for this covets the wealth and goods of others, and desires to possess all that belongs to them; whence also arise enmities and hatreds, but in a less degree. In order for anyone to know what evil is, and consequently what sin is, let him merely study to know what the love of self and of the world is; and in order to know what good is, let him merely study to know what love to God and love toward the neighbor is. In this way he will know what evil is, and consequently what falsity is; and from this he will know what good is, and consequently what truth is.GENESIS 39:7-9 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|