Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 40:5-8
AC 5090. Verses 5-8. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each his dream in one night, each according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were bound in the prison house. And Joseph came unto them in the morning, and saw them, and behold they were troubled. And he asked Pharaoh’s courtministers that were with him in the custody of his lord‘s house, saying, Wherefore are your faces evil to-day? And they said unto him, we have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell it me, I pray. "And they dreamed a dream both of them," signifies foresight concerning them; "each his dream in one night," signifies concerning the event which to them was in obscurity; "each according to the interpretation of his dream," signifies which they had in themselves; "the butler and the baker," signifies concerning the sensuous things of both kinds; "of the king of Egypt," signifies which were subordinate to the interior natural; "who were bound in the prison house," signifies which were among falsities; "and Joseph came unto them in the morning," signifies revealed and clear to the celestial of the natural; "and saw them," signifies perception; "and behold they were troubled," signifies that they were in a sad state; "and he asked Pharaoh’s courtministers," signifies the sensuous things in question; "that were with him in the custody of his lord‘s house," signifies which were rejected; "saying, Wherefore are your faces evil today?" signifies from what affection was this sadness; "and they said unto him," signifies perception concerning these things; "We have dreamed a dream," signifies prediction; "and there is no interpreter of it," signifies that no one knows what is in them; "and Joseph said unto them," signifies the celestial of the natural; "Do not interpretations belong to God?" signifies that the Divine is in these things; "tell it me, I pray," signifies that it should be known.
AC 5091. And they dreamed a dream both of them. That this signifies foresight concerning them, is evident from the signification of a "dream," as being foresight (n. 3698); "both of them," denotes the sensuous things of both kinds signified by "the butler and the baker." That the dreams were concerning these things is plain from the following verses. That a "dream" in the supreme sense denotes foresight, is because dreams which flow in immediately through heaven from the Lord foretell things to come. Such were the dreams of Joseph, the dreams of the butler and the baker, the dream of Pharaoh, the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and prophetic dreams in general. The things to come which are foretold by such dreams are from no other source than the Lord’s Divine foresight. Hence also it may be known that all things both in general and in particular are foreseen.
AC 5092. Each his dream in one night. That this signifies concerning the event which to them was in obscurity, is evident from the signification of a "dream," as being foresight, and hence prediction, and because it signifies prediction, it also signifies the event, for prediction is concerning the event; and from the signification of "night," as being obscurity. "Night" in the spiritual sense signifies a state of shade brought on by falsity from evil (n. 1712, 2353), thus also obscurity, namely, of the mind. The obscurity of night in the world is natural obscurity; but the obscurity of night in the other life is spiritual obscurity. The former arises from the absence of the sun of this world and the deprivation of light therefrom, but the latter from the absence of the sun of heaven which is the Lord, and the deprivation of light (that is, of intelligence) therefrom. This deprivation does not arise from the sun of heaven setting, like the sun of the world, but from a man or spirit being in falsity from evil, and removing himself, and thus bringing obscurity upon himself. from the mere idea of night and its obscurity in both senses, it is evident how the spiritual sense stands relatively to the natural sense of this same thing. Moreover spiritual obscurity is threefold, one kind being from the falsity of evil, the second from ignorance of truth, and the third is that of exterior things relatively to interior things, thus of the sensuous things of the external man relatively to the rational things of the internal man. All these kinds of obscurity however, arise from the fact that the light of heaven (or intelligence and wisdom from the Lord) is not received; for this light is continually flowing in, but it is rejected, suffocated, or perverted by the falsity of evil; is but little received by ignorance of truth; and is dulled by being made general by the sensuous things of the external man.
AC 5093. Each according to the interpretation of his dream. That this signifies which they had in themselves (namely, the event), is evident from the signification of the "interpretation of a dream," as being the unfolding of it, and hence the knowledge of the event, thus the event which they had in themselves. That a "dream" denotes the event may be seen just above (n. 5092).
AC 5094. The butler and the baker. That this signifies concerning the sensuous things of both kinds, is evident from the signification of a "butler," as being the sensuous subordinate to the intellectual part (n. 5077); and from the signification of a "baker," as being the sensuous subordinate to the will part (n. 5078). That these were rejected by the interior natural has been said above (n. 5083, 5089). Be it known however that it was not the sensuous things themselves--namely, those of the sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch--that were rejected, for from these the body lives; but it was the views or thoughts, and also the affections and desires, from them. Objects from the world enter into the external or natural memory of man through these sensuous things on the one hand, and objects through rational things on the other. These objects separate themselves in his memory. Those which have entered through rational things take a more interior place, but those which have entered through the sensuous things have a more exterior place; hence as before said the natural becomes twofold, interior and exterior.
 The interior natural is what is represented by Pharaoh the king of Egypt, but the exterior natural by the butler and the baker. What the difference is may be seen from their respective views of things, or thoughts, and the conclusions thence derived. One who thinks and concludes from the interior natural is so far rational as he imbibes what enters through the rational; but one who thinks and concludes from the exterior natural, is so far sensuous as he imbibes what enters from sensuous things. Such a man is also called a sensuous man, but the other a rational man. When a man dies he takes with him all the natural; and such as it has been formed with him in the world, such it remains; in so far as he has become imbued with what is from the rational, in so far he is rational; and in so far as he has become imbued with what is from the sensuous, so far he is sensuous. The difference is that in so far as the natural has drawn and appropriated to itself what is from the rational, so far it looks at as beneath itself the sensuous things of the exterior natural, and in so far it has dominion over them, deeming worthless and rejecting the fallacies thence derived; whereas in so far as the natural has drawn and appropriated to itself anything from the sensuous things of the body, so far it looks at rational things as beneath itself, deeming them worthless and rejecting them.
 For example, the rational natural man can comprehend that man does not live from himself, but by an influx of life through heaven from the Lord; but the sensuous man cannot comprehend this, for he says that he plainly feels and perceives that life is in himself, and that it is idle to speak contrary to the evidence of the senses. As another example: the rational natural man comprehends that there is a heaven and a bell, whereas the sensuous man denies this, because he does not apprehend that there is any purer world than that which he sees with his eyes. The rational natural man comprehends that there are spirits and angels who are unseen; but the sensuous man does not comprehend this, supposing that to be nothing which he does not see and touch.
 As still another example: the rational natural man comprehends that it is the part of an intelligent man to look at ends, and to foresee and to dispose the means to some ultimate end. When he looks at nature from the order of things, he sees that nature is a complex of means, and he then perceives that a Supreme Being of intelligence has disposed them; but to what ultimate end he does not see unless he becomes spiritual. On the other hand the sensuous man does not comprehend that there can be anything distinct from nature, thus neither that there can be any Entity which is above nature. What it is to understand, to be wise, to look at ends, and to dispose means, he does not apprehend unless it is called natural; and when it is called natural, he has an idea of these operations like that which an artificer has of an automaton. From these few instances it may be seen what is meant by the interior natural and the exterior natural, and also what by sensuous things being rejected; namely, not the rejection of the things of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, in the body, but of the conclusions therefrom concerning interior things.
AC 5095. Of the king of Egypt. That this signifies which were subordinate to the interior natural, is evident from the representation of Pharaoh or the king of Egypt in this chapter, as being a new state of the natural (n. 5079, 5080), consequently the interior natural, for this was made new. What the interior natural is, and what the exterior, may be seen just above (n. 5094). What is the nature of the internal sense in the historic and prophetic portions of the Word, must be briefly told. Where several persons are mentioned in the historic senses--as here Joseph, Pharaoh, the prince of the guards, the butler and the baker--in the internal sense they indeed signify various things; but only in one person. The reason is that names signify things, as for instance Joseph here represents the Lord as to the celestial spiritual from the rational and also in the natural, Pharaoh represents Him as to the new state of the natural or as to the interior natural, the butler and the baker represent Him as to those things which are of the exterior natural. Such is the internal sense; and it is the same in other places, as where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are mentioned. In the sense of the letter these are three persons, but in the supreme sense all three represent the Lord--Abraham the Divine Itself, Isaac the Divine intellectual, and Jacob His Divine natural. It is the same in the prophets, where sometimes the narration consists of mere names, such as those of persons, kingdoms, or cities, and yet in the internal sense these names together present and describe one thing. One who is not aware of this may easily be led away by the sense of the letter into thinking of a variety of things, and thus the idea of one thing is dissipated.
AC 5096. Who were bound in the prison house. That this signifies which were among falsities, is evident from the signification of "being bound in a prison house," as being to be among falsities (n. 4958, 5037, 5038, 5085). They who are in falsities, and still more they who are in evils, are said to be "bound," and in "prison"-not that they are in any bond, but for the reason that they are not in freedom, for those who are not in freedom are interiorly bound. For they who have confirmed themselves in falsity are no longer in any freedom to choose and receive truth; and they who have much confirmed themselves therein are not even in freedom to see truth, still less to acknowledge and believe it; for they are in the persuasion that falsity is truth, and truth falsity. This persuasion is such that it takes away all freedom to think anything else, and consequently holds the very thought in bonds and as it were in prison. This has become evident to me from much experience with those in the other life who have been in persuasion of falsity through confirmations in themselves.
 They are such as not at all to admit truths, but to reflect or strike them back again, and this with hardness according to the degree of the persuasion, especially when the falsity is from evil, or when evil has persuaded them. These are they who are meant in the Lord‘s parable in Matthew:--
Some seeds fell upon the hard way, and the birds came and devoured them (Matthew 13:4);
the "seeds" are Divine truths; the "hard rock" is persuasion; the "birds" are principles of falsity. They who are such do not even know that they are in bonds or in prison, for they are affected with their own falsity, and love it for the sake of the evil from which it springs; hence they suppose that they are in freedom, for whatever is of the affection or love appears free. But they who are not in confirmed falsity--that is, in the persuasion of falsity--easily admit truths, and see and choose them, and are affected with them, and afterward see falsities as it were beneath themselves, and also see how they who are in the persuasion of falsity are bound. These are in so much freedom that in view and thought they can as it were range through the whole heaven to innumerable truths; but no one can be in this freedom unless he is in good; for from good man is in heaven, and in heaven truths appear from good.
AC 5097. And Joseph came unto them in the morning. That this signifies revealed and clear to the celestial of the spiritual, is evident from the representation of Joseph, as being the celestial of the spiritual (n. 4286, 4592, 4963); and from the signification of "morning," as being a state of enlightenment, (n. 3458), thus what is revealed and clear. That "morning" has this signification is because all times of the day, like all times of the year, signify various states in accordance with the variations of the light of heaven. The variations of the light of heaven are not variations like those of the light of the world every day and every year, but are variations of intelligence and love; for the light of heaven is nothing else than Divine intelligence from the Lord, which is bright before the eyes; and the heat of this light is the Lord’s Divine love, which is warm to the sense. It is this light which gives man understanding, and this heat which gives him vital warmth and a will of good. Morning in heaven is a state of enlightenment as to those things which are of good and truth, which state exists when it is acknowledged, and still more when it is perceived, that good is good and that truth is truth. Perception is internal revelation; hence by the "morning" is signified what is revealed; and because then that becomes clear which before was obscure, by "morning" is also signified what is clear.
 Moreover by "morning" is signified in the supreme sense the Lord Himself, for the reason that the Lord is the Sun from which comes all the light in heaven, and He is always in the rising, thus in the morning. Moreover He is always rising with everyone who receives the truth which is of faith and the good which is of love, but He is setting with everyone who does not receive these-not that the Sun there sets, for as just said He is always in the rising; but that he who does not receive, causes Him as it were to set with himself. This may be compared in some degree to the changes of the sun of this world in respect to the inhabitants of the earth; for neither does this sun set, since it always remains in its place and is always shining thence; but it appears as if it set, because the earth rotates about its axis once every day, and at the same time removes its inhabitant from the sight of the sun (n. 5084); and therefore the setting is not in the sun, but in the removal of the inhabitant of the earth from its light. This comparison is illustrative; and because in every part of nature there is something representative of the Lord‘s kingdom, it also instructs us that the deprivation of the light of heaven- that is, of intelligence and wisdom-does not take place because the Lord, who is the Sun of intelligence and wisdom, sets with anyone, but because the inhabitant of His kingdom removes himself, that is, suffers himself to be led by the hell by which he is removed.
AC 5098. And saw them. That this signifies perception, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being to understand and perceive (n. 2150, 3764, 4567, 4723).
AC 5099. And behold they were troubled. That this signifies that they were in a sad state, is evident without explication.
AC 5100. And he asked Pharaoh’s courtministers. That this signifies the sensuous things in question, is evident from the signification of "Pharaoh‘s courtministers," as being the sensuous things of both kinds-those which are subordinate to the intellectual part, and those which are subordinate to the will part (n. 5081).
AC 5101. That were with him in the custody of his lord’s house. That this signifies which were rejected, is evident from the signification of "being given into custody," thus of "being in custody," as being to be in a state of rejection (n. 5083).
AC 5102. Saying, wherefore are your faces evil today? That this signifies from what affection was this sadness, is evident from the signification of "faces," as being the interiors (n. 358, 1999, 2434, 3527, 4066, 4796, 4797), thus the affections. For the interiors of man from which come the thoughts which are also interiors, are the affections; because as these are of his love, they are of his life. It is known that with those who are in innocence the affections are presented visibly in the face; and as the affections are so presented, so also are the thoughts in general, for these are the forms of the affections. Hence regarded in itself the face is nothing else than a representative image of the interiors. To the angels all faces appear thus, and not otherwise; for the angels do not see the faces of men in their material form, but in their spiritual form, that is, in the form which the affections and the derivative thoughts present. These are what make the very face of man, as may be known from the fact that when the face is deprived of them it is a mere dead thing, and that the face has life from them, and is pleasing according to them The sadness of the affection, or "from what affection is it," is signified by his saying "Wherefore are your faces evil today?"
AC 5103. And they said unto him. That this signifies perception concerning these things, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historic parts of the Word, as being perception.
AC 5104. We have dreamed a dream. That this signifies prediction, is evident from the signification of a "dream," as being foresight, and hence prediction (n. 5091).
AC 5105. And there is no interpreter of it. That this signifies that no one knows what is in them, is evident from the signification of an "interpretation," as being an unfolding of what there is within (n. 5093), thus of what is in them.
AC 5106. And Joseph said unto them. That this signifies the celestial of the natural, is evident from the representation of Joseph, as being the celestial of the natural (n. 5086).
AC 5107. Do not interpretations belong to God? That this signifies that the Divine is in these things, is evident from the signification of an "interpretation," when predicated of dreams, as being that which is in them (n. 5105). The Divine is signified by "God."
AC 5108. Tell it me I pray. That this signifies that it should be known, is evident from the signification of "tell it I pray," as involving that it be known; as is plain from the following verses. GENESIS 40:5-8 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|