Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 40:14-15
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AC 5129. Verses 14, 15. But remember me with thee when it as’ well with thee, and do mercy I pray with me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house. For being carried off by theft I was carried away out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the pit. "But remember me with thee," signifies the reception of faith; "when it is well with thee," signifies when there is correspondence; "and do mercy I pray with me," signifies the reception of charity; "and make mention of me unto Pharaoh," signifies communication with the interior natural; "and bring me out of this house," signifies deliverance from evils; "for being cared off by theft I was carried away," signifies that heavenly things were alienated by evil; "out of the land of the Hebrews," signifies from the church; "and here also have I done nothing," signifies innocence; "that they should put me into the pit," signifies rejection among falsities.

AC 5130. But remember me with thee. That this signifies the reception of faith, is evident from the representation of Joseph, who says these things of himself, as being the Lord as to the celestial in the natural (n. 5086, 5087, 5106); and from the signification of "remember me with thee," as being the reception of faith; for to remember and to be mindful of the Lord is from no other source than faith; hence "remember me with thee," denotes that he may receive faith. The case in regard to faith is this: he who receives and has faith is continually mindful of the Lord, even when he is thinking or speaking of other things, and also when he is discharging his public, private, or domestic duties, although he is not aware that he is then mindful of the Lord; for the remembrance of the Lord by those who are in faith reigns universally with them, and what reigns universally is not perceived, except while the thought is directed to it.

[2] This may be illustrated by various things with man. He who is in any love, whatever it may be, is continually thinking about whatever belongs to that love; and this although he is engaged in thought, in speech, or in action relative to other things. In the other life this is very evident from the spiritual spheres about everyone; for simply from these spheres it is known in what faith and in what love are all who are there, and this even though they are thinking and speaking of something entirely different (n. 1048, 1053, 1316, 1504-1520, 2489, 4464); for that which reigns universally in anyone produces a sphere of the same, and displays his life before others. From this may be seen what is meant when it is said that we must be constantly thinking about the Lord, salvation, and the life after death. All who are in faith from charity do this, and therefore they do not think ill of the neighbor, and they have justice and equity in every thing of their thought, speech, and action; for that which reigns universally flows into particulars and guides and governs them, because the Lord keeps the mind in such things as are of charity and the derivative faith and thus disposes every thing in conformity therewith. The sphere of faith from charity is the sphere which reigns in heaven; for the Lord flows in with love, and through love with charity, consequently with the truths which are of faith; and from this they who are in heaven are said to be in the Lord.

[3] In what now follows the subject treated of is the rebirth of the sensuous subject to the intellectual part, and which is represented by the butler; and because its rebirth is treated of, the reception of faith is also treated of. For the sensuous, like the rational, is born again by means of faith, but by the faith into which charity flows. Unless charity flows into faith and gives it life, faith cannot reign universally; for what a man loves reigns, and not what he merely knows and holds in his memory.

AC 5131. When it is well with thee. That this signifies when there is correspondence, is evident from the signification of its "being well with thee," when the rebirth or regeneration of the exterior natural or sensuous is treated of, as being correspondence; for it is not well with it until it corresponds. At the end of the different chapters it may be seen what correspondence is. There is a correspondence of sensuous with natural things, a correspondence of natural with spiritual things, a correspondence of spiritual with celestial things, and finally a correspondence of celestial things with the Divine of the Lord; thus there is a succession of correspondences from the Divine down to the ultimate natural.

[2] But as an idea of the nature of correspondences can with difficulty be formed by those who have never thought about then‘ before, it may be well to say a few words on the subject. It is known from philosophy that the end is the first of the cause, and that the cause is the first of the effect. That the end, the cause, and the effect may follow in order, and act as a one, it is needful that the effect should correspond to the cause, and the cause to the end. But still the end does not appear as the cause, nor the cause as the effect; for in order that the end may produce the cause, it must take to itself administrant means from the region where the cause is, by which means the end may produce the cause; and in order that the cause may produce the effect, it also must take to itself administrant means from the region where the effect is, by which means the cause may produce the effect. These administrant means are what correspond; and because they correspond, the end can be in the cause and can actuate the cause, and the cause can be in the effect and can actuate the effect; consequently the end through the cause can actuate the effect. It is otherwise when there is no correspondence; for then the end has no cause in which it may be, still less an effect in which it may be, but is changed and varied in the cause, and finally in the effect, according to the form made by the administrant means.

[3] All things in general and in particular in man, nay, all things in general and in particular in nature, succeed one another as end, cause, and effect; and when they thus correspond to one another, they act as a one; for then the end is the all in all things of the cause, and through the cause is the all in all things of the effect. As for example, when heavenly love is the end, the will the cause, and action the effect, if there is correspondence, then heavenly love flows into the will, and the will into the action, and they so act as a one that by means of the correspondence the action is as it were the love; or as when the faith of charity is the end, thought the cause, and speech the effect, then if there is correspondence, faith from charity flows into the thought, and this into the speech, and they so act as a one, that by means of the correspondence the speech is as it were the end. In order however that the end, which is love and faith, may produce the cause, which is will and thought, it must take to itself administrant means in the rational mind that will correspond; for without administrant means that correspond, the end, which is love or faith, cannot be received, however much it may flow in from the Word through heaven. From this it is plain that the interiors and the exteriors of man, that is, what is rational, natural, and sensuous in him, must be brought into correspondence, in order that he may receive the Divine influx, and consequently that he may be born again; and that it is not well with him till then. This is the reason why here by "when it is well with thee" is signified correspondence.

AC 5132. And do mercy I pray with me. That this signifies the reception of charity, is evident from the signification of "mercy," as being love (n. 3063, 3073, 3120, 5042); here love toward the neighbor, or charity, because the reception of faith was spoken of above (n. 5130); for faith and charity will make a one in the sensuous when this is being reborn. That "mercy" signifies charity is because all who are in charity are in mercy, or in other words all who love the neighbor are merciful to him; and therefore acts of charity are described in the Word by works of mercy; as in Matthew:--

I was hungry and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger and ye gathered Me; naked and ye clothed Me; I was sick and ye visited Me; I was in prison and ye came unto Me (Matthew 25:35, 36);

and in other places by benefiting the poor, the afflicted, the widows, and the fatherless.

[2] In its essence charity is to will well to the neighbor, to be affected with good, and to acknowledge good as the neighbor, consequently those who are in good, with a difference according to the degree of their good; and hence charity, because it is affected with good, is affected with mercy toward those who are in miseries. The good of charity has this within it because it descends from the Lord’s love toward the whole human race, which love is mercy because all the human race is settled in miseries. Mercy sometimes shows itself in the evil, who are in no charity; but this is grief on account of what they themselves suffer, for it is shown toward their friends who make one with them, and when their friends suffer, they suffer. This mercy is not the mercy of charity, but is the mercy of friendship for the sake of self, which regarded in itself is unmercifulness; for it despises or hates all others besides itself, thus besides the friends who make one with it.

AC 5133. And make mention of me unto Pharaoh. That this signifies communication with the interior natural, is evident from the signification of "making mention to" anyone, as being to communicate; and from the representation of Pharaoh, as being the interior natural (n. 5080, 5095). By "communication with the interior natural" is meant conjunction by correspondence. The interior natural is that which receives ideas of truth and good from the rational, and stores them up for use, consequently which communicates immediately with the rational; but the exterior natural is that which receives images and thence ideas of things from the world through the senses.

[2] These ideas, unless enlightened by those which are in the interior natural, present fallacies, which are called the fallacies of the senses. When man is in these fallacies, he believes nothing but what agrees with them, and what they confirm, as is the case if there is no correspondence; and there is no correspondence unless the man is imbued with charity, for charity is the uniting means, because in the good of it there is life from the Lord, which disposes truth into order, so that the form of charity, or charity in an image, may come into existence. This form appears visibly in the other life, and is the angelic form itself. Hence all the angels are forms of charity, the beauty of which is from the truths which are of faith, and the life of this beauty is from the good which is of charity

AC 5134. And bring me out of this house. That this signifies deliverance from evils, is evident from the signification of "bringing out," as being deliverance; and from the signification of a "house," as being good (n. 710, 1708, 2048, 2233, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4982); and therefore in the opposite sense, evil. Hence it is plain that deliverance from evils is signified by the words, "bring me out of this house," and this also follows in its order from the things which precede. When faith is received in the exterior natural which is here treated of, (n. 5130), correspondence is effected (n. 5131), and charity is received (n. 5132), and thus communication is effected with the interior natural (n. 5133), which is then delivered from the evils whereby the celestial represented by Joseph (n. 5086, 5087, 5106) was alienated; which alienation is signified by his being "carried off by theft," as presently follows. Moreover when the natural is being regenerated by means of charity and faith, it is delivered from evils; for evils are then separated, and are cast out from the center where they were before, to the circumferences, whither the light of truth from good does not reach. In this way are evils separated in man, and yet are retained, for they cannot be entirely destroyed. But with the Lord, who made the natural in Himself Divine, evils and falsities were utterly cast out and destroyed; for the Divine can have nothing in common with evils and falsities, nor be terminated in them, as is the case with man; for the Divine is the very being of good and of truth, which is infinitely removed from what is evil and false.

AC 5135. For in being carried off by theft I was carried away. That this signifies that celestial things were alienated by evil, is evident from the representation of Joseph, who says these things of himself, as being the celestial in the natural (n. 5086, 5087, 5106), consequently the celestial things therein; and from the signification of "being carried off by theft," as being to be alienated by evil; for "to steal" is to alienate, and "theft" is the evil which alienates, and also the evil which claims the celestial things that are in the natural. "Theft" signifies alienation in respect to the abode of which it takes possession, and from which it casts out goods and truths, and which it fills with evils and falsities; "theft" also signifies the claiming of what belongs to others when it attributes to itself and makes its own the goods and truths which are in that abode, and also when it applies them to evils and falsities. That it may be known what "theft" is in the spiritual sense, it is necessary to state how the case is with evils and falsities when they enter and take possession of the abode, and also when they claim the goods and truths which are there.

[2] From infancy until childhood, and sometimes till early manhood, by instruction from his parents and teachers a man is imbued with goods and truths; for he then learns them with avidity, and believes them in simplicity. The state of innocence favors them and adapts them to the memory, but places them only at the first threshold; for the innocence of infancy and childhood is not internal innocence which affects the rational, but is external innocence which affects only the exterior natural (n. 2306, 3183, 3494, 4563, 4797). But when the man grows older and begins to think from himself, and not as before from parents and teachers, he then takes up again and as it were ruminates the things which he had before learned and believed, and either confirms them, or doubts about them, or denies them. If he confirms them, it is a sign that he is in good; if he denies them, it is a sign that he is in evil; but if he doubts about them, it is a sign that in succeeding years he will accede either to the affirmative or to the negative.

[3] The things which man as a little child in its first age learns eagerly or believes, and which he afterward either confirms, or doubts about, or denies, are especially these: that there is a God, and that He is one; that He has created all things; that He rewards those who do well, and punishes those who do evil; that there is a life after death, in which the evil go to hell and the good to heaven, thus that there in a hell and a heaven, and that the life after death is eternal; also that he ought to pray daily, and this with humility; that the Sabbath day is to be kept holy; that parents are to be honored; and that no one must commit adultery, murder, or theft; with other like things. These things man imbibes and is imbued with from early childhood; but when he begins to think from himself and to lead himself, if he confirms such things in himself, and adds to them things which are still more interior, and lives according to them, then it is well with him; but if he begins to infringe these things, and at last to deny them, however much for the sake of civil laws and for the sake of society he may live in externals according to them, he is then in evil.

[4] This evil is what is signified by "theft," in so far as like a thief it takes possession of the abode in which good has been before, and in so far as with many it takes away the goods and truths which had been there before, and applies them to confirm evils and falsities. The Lord in so far as possible then removes from that abode the goods and truths of early childhood, and withdrawing them toward the interiors stores them up in the interior natural for use. These goods and truths stored up in the interior natural are signified in the Word by "remains" (n. 468, 530, 560, 561, 660, 661, 1050, 1738, 1906, 2284). But if evil steals the goods and truths there, and applies them to confirm evils and falsities, especially if it does this from deceit, then it consumes these remains; for it then mingles evils with goods and falsities with truths till they cannot be separated, and then it is all over with the man.

[5] That such things are signified by "theft," may be seen from the mere application of "theft" to the things of spiritual life. In spiritual life there are no other riches than the knowledges of good and truth, and no other possessions and inheritances than the felicities of life arising from goods and their truths As before said, to steal these things is "theft" in the spiritual sense; and therefore by "thefts," in the Word, nothing else is signified in the internal sense; as in Zechariah:--

I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, when behold a flying roll. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth upon the faces of the whole earth; for everyone that stealeth hence, like it is innocent; and everyone that sweareth, like it is innocent. I have cast it forth that it may enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth by My name for lying; and it shall pass the night in his house, and shall consume it and the wood thereof and the stones thereof (Zech. 5:1, 3, 4);

the evil which takes away the remains of good is signified by "him that stealeth," and by the "house of the thief;" and the falsity which takes away the remains of truth is signified by "him that sweareth," and by the "house of him that sweareth for lying;" the "faces of the whole earth" denote the universal church; therefore it is said that "the curse shall consume the house and the wood thereof and the stones thereof." The "house" is the natural mind or man as to this mind (n. 3128, 3538, 4973, 5023); "wood" is the goods therein (n. 2784, 2812, 3720, 4943); and the "stones" are truths (n. 643, 1298, 3720).

[6] Profanation and hence the taking away of good and truth are signified in the spiritual sense by the deed of Achan, who took of the accursed things a mantle of Shinar, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold, and hid them in the earth in the midst of his tent, and who therefore was stoned, and all the things were burned; as is related in Joshua:--

Jehovah said unto Joshua, Israel hath sinned, they have transgressed My covenant which I commanded them; and they have taken of the accursed thing, and have stolen, lied, and have put it among their vessels (Joshua 7:10, 11, 21, 25);

by "accursed things" were meant falsities and evils, which were in no wise to be mixed up with holy things; the "mantle of Shinar, shekels of silver, and wedge of gold" are in the spiritual sense species of falsity; "hiding them under the earth in the midst of the tent" signified a commixture with holy things. A "tent" denotes what is holy, (n. 414, 1102, 1566, 2145, 2152, 3312, 4128, 4391, 4599). These things were signified by Israel‘s "stealing, lying, and putting it among their vessels;" for "vessels" are holy truths (n. 3068, 3079, 3316, 3318).

[7] In Jeremiah:--

I will bring the issue of Esau upon him, the time that I shall visit him. If grape-gatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grape-gleanings? if thieves by night, would they not destroy a sufficiency? I will strip Esau, I will uncover his secret things, and he shall not be able to hide, his seed is devastated, and his brethren, and his neighbors, and he is not (Jer. 49:8-10);

where "Esau" denotes the evil of the love of self to which falsities are adjoined (n. 3322). That this evil consumes the remains of good and truth is signified by "thieves in the night destroying a sufficiency;" and by "his seed, his brethren, and his neighbors being devastated, and he is not." "Seed" denotes the truths which are of faith from charity (n. 1025, 1447, 1610, 1940, 2848, 3038, 3310, 3373); "brethren" denote the goods which are of charity (n. 367, 2360, 2508, 2524, 3160, 3303, 3459, 3815, 4121, 4191); "neighbors’ denote the adjoined and related truths and goods which belong to him.

[8] Something similar is said of Esau in Obadiah:--

If thieves come to thee, if overthrowers by night how wilt thou be cut off!) will they not steal till they have enough? if grape-gatherers come to thee, will they not leave some clusters? (Obadiah 1:5);

"grape-gatherers" denote falsities which are not from evil; by these falsities the goods and truths stored up by the Lord in man‘s interior natural (that is, remains) are not consumed, but by falsities derived from evils, which steal truths and goods and also by wrong applications employ them to confirm evils and falsities.

[9] In Joel:--

A great people and mighty, they shall run like heroes; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march everyone in his ways; they shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run on the wall; they shall climb up into the houses; they shall enter in through the windows like a thief (Joel 2:2, 7, 9);

a "great people and mighty" denotes falsities fighting against truths (n. 1259, 1260); and because they fight mightily in destroying truths, they are said to be "like heroes and men of war;" the "city" through which they are said to "run to and fro" denotes the doctrinals of truth (n. 402, 2268, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216); the "houses into which they shall climb" denote the goods which they destroy (n. 710, 1708, 2048, 2233, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4982); the "windows through which they shall enter in" denote things intellectual and the derivative reasonings (n. 655, 658, 3391); hence they are compared to a "thief," because they take possession of the abode previously occupied by truths and goods.

[10] In David:--

As thou hatest discipline, and castest My words behind thee; if thou seest a thief thou runnest with him, and thy part is with adulterers. Thou openest thy mouth for evil, and with thy tongue thou weavest deceit (Ps. 50:17-19);

speaking of a wicked person, "to run with a thief" denotes to alienate truth from himself by means of falsity.

[11] In the Revelation:--

They repented not of their murders, nor of their enchantments, nor of their whoredoms, nor of their thefts (Rev. 9:21);

"murders" denote evils which destroy goods; "enchantments," falsities therefrom which destroy truths; "whoredoms," truths falsified; "thefts," goods thus alienated.

[12] In John:--

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not through the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. I am the door; through Me if anyone enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and shall find pasture. The thief cometh not but to steal, and to murder, and to destroy (John 10:1, 2, 9, 10);

here again a "thief" denotes the evil of merit; for he who takes away from the Lord what is His, and claims it for himself, is called a "thief." As this evil closes the way and prevents good and truth from the Lord from flowing in, it is said "to murder" and "to destroy." The same is signified by the commandment in the Decalogue:--

Thou shalt not steal (Deut. 5:19);

(n. 4174). From all this it is evident what is signified by the laws enacted in the Jewish Church in regard to thefts (Exod. 21:16; 22:1-4; Deut. 24:7), for as all the laws in that church originated in the spiritual world, they correspond to the laws of order which are in heaven.

AC 5136. Out of the land of the Hebrews. That this signifies from the church, namely, that celestial things were alienated from it through evil, is evident from the signification of the "land of the Hebrews," as being the church. The "land of the Hebrews" here, is the land of Canaan; for Joseph was taken away from there. The reason why the land of Canaan in the Word signifies the church, is that the church has been there from the most ancient time: first the Most Ancient Church, which was before the flood; next the Ancient Church, which was after the flood; afterward the Second Ancient Church, which was called the Hebrew Church; and at last the Jewish Church. And in order that the Jewish Church might be instituted there, Abram was commanded to betake himself thither out of Syria, and it was there promised him that this land should be given to his posterity for an inheritance. This is the reason why "land" or "earth" in the Word signifies the church, and the "whole earth," as sometimes occurs, the universal church; and also the "new heaven and new earth," a new church internal and external.

[2] The reason why the church was continued there from the most ancient time, is that the man of the Most Ancient Church, who was celestial, was of such a character that in each and all things in the world and upon the earth he saw a representative of the Lord’s kingdom; the objects of the world and the earth being to him the means of thinking about heavenly things. This was the origin of all the representatives and significatives that were afterward known in the Ancient Church, for they were collected by those who are meant by "Enoch," and were preserved for the use of posterity (n. 519, 521, 2896). From this it came to pass that every place, and also every mountain and river, in the land of Canaan, where the most ancient people dwelt, and likewise all the kingdoms round about, became representative; and as the Word could not be written except by representatives and significatives, even of places, therefore for the sake of this end the church was successively preserved in the land of Canaan; but after the coming of the Lord it was transferred elsewhere, because representatives were then abolished.

[3] From the foregoing it is plain that by the land of Canaan which is here called the "land of the Hebrews," is signified the church; but see what has been previously adduced on these subjects; namely, that the Most Ancient Church, which was before the flood, was in the land of Canaan (n. 567, 3686, 4447, 4454); that part of the Ancient Church, which was after the flood, was there (n. 3686, 4447); also that a second Ancient Church, which was called the Hebrew Church, was there (n. 4516, 4517); that for the same reason Abram was commanded to go there, and that land was given to his posterity (n. 3686, 4447); that from this the land of Canaan represented the Lord‘s kingdom (n. 1607, 3038, 3481, 3705, 4240, 4447); and that it is for this reason that by "earth" or "land" in the Word is signified the church (n. 566, 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4447, 4535).

AC 5137. And here also have I done nothing. That this signifies innocence, is evident without explication; for not to do anything evil is the part of innocence.

AC 5138. That they should put me into the pit. That this signifies rejection among falsities, is evident from the signification of a "pit," as being falsity (n. 4728, 4744, 5038). Evil has been treated of above - that celestial things were alienated by it (n. 5134, 5135); but here falsity is treated of, for where the one is mentioned in the Word, the other is mentioned also, that is to say, where evil is mentioned, falsity also is mentioned; because where good is treated of, there also truth is treated of, in order that there may be a marriage in everything of the Word. For the heavenly marriage is that of good and truth, but the infernal marriage is that of evil and falsity; because where there is evil, there is also falsity, joining itself to evil as a wife to her husband; and where there is good there is also truth, because truth conjoins itself with good as a wife with her husband. Hence the quality of the faith may be known from the life; for good is of the life and truth is of the faith, and conversely it is the same with evil and falsity. There is a marriage in everything of the Word, (n. 683, 793, 801, 2173, 2516, 2712, 4137).

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info