Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 41:1-4
AC 5193. Verses 1-4. And it came to pass from the end of two years of days and Pharaoh dreamed, and behold he stood by the river. And behold out of the river there came up seven kine, beautiful in look and fat in flesh; and they fed in the sedge. And behold seven other kine come up after them out of the river, evil in look and thin in flesh; and stood by the kine upon the bank of the river. And the kine evil in look and thin in flesh did eat up the seven kine beautiful in look and fat. And Pharaoh awoke. "And it came to pass from the end of two years of days," signifies after a state of conjunction; "and Pharaoh dreamed," signifies what was provided in regard to the natural; "and behold he stood by the river," signifies from boundary to boundary; "and behold out of the river," signifies the in the boundary; "there came up seven kine," signifies were truths of the natural; "beautiful in look," signifies that were of faith; "and fat in flesh," signifies that were of charity; "and they fed in the sedge," signifies instruction; "and behold seven other kine came up after them out of the river," signifies falsities that were of the natural also in the boundary; "evil in look," signifies that were not of faith; "and thin in flesh," signifies nor of charity; "and stood by the kine upon the bank of the river," signifies that they were in the boundaries where truths were; "and the kine evil in look and thin in flesh did eat up," signifies that the falsities which were not of faith nor of charity banished; "the seven kine beautiful in look and fat," signifies the truths of the natural that were of faith and of charity; "and Pharaoh awoke," signifies a state of enlightenment.
AC 5194. And it came to pass from the end of two years of days. That this signifies after a state of conjunction of the sensuous things of the exterior natural with things of the interior natural, which has been treated of in the preceding chapter, is evident from the signification of "two years of days," or of the time of two years, as being states of conjunction; for "two" signifies conjunction (n. 1686, 3519), and "years," as also "days," signify states. "Years" have this signification, (n. 487, 488, 493, 893); and also "days," (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 2788, 3462, 3785, 4850). That "two" signifies conjunction is because all things in general and in particular in the spiritual world, and consequently in the natural world, have reference to two things, namely, good and truth--to good as what acts and flows in, and to truth as what suffers and receives; and because they have reference to these two, and nothing is produced unless the two make a one by a certain image of marriage, therefore conjunction is signified by "two."
 Such an image of marriage is in all and each of the things of nature and its three kingdoms, and without it nothing whatever comes forth; for in order that anything may come forth in nature, there must be heat and light--heat in the natural world corresponding to the good of love in the spiritual world, and light corresponding to the truth of faith. These two, heat and light, must act as a one if anything is to be produced; and if they do not act as a one, as in winter time, nothing at all is produced. That this is also true spiritually, is very plain in the case of man. Man has two faculties, the will and the understanding, the will being formed to receive spiritual heat, that is, the good of love and of charity, and the understanding to receive spiritual light, that is, the truth of faith. Unless these two make a one in man nothing is produced; for the good of love without the truth of faith does not determine or qualify anything, and the truth of faith without the good of love does not effect anything; and therefore in order that the heavenly marriage may be in a man, or that he may be in the heavenly marriage, these two must make a one in him. For this reason the ancients compared to marriages one and all of the things in the world, and also in man (n. 54, 55, 568, 718, 747, 917, 1432, 2173, 2516, 2731, 2739, 2758, 3132, 4434, 4823, 5138). From this it is evident why "two" signifies conjunction.
AC 5195. And Pharaoh dreamed. That this signifies what was provided in regard to the natural, is evident from the representation of Pharaoh, as being the natural (n. 5079, 5080, 5095, 5160); and from the signification of "dreaming," as being a prediction of things to come, thus in the supreme sense foresight (n. 3698, 4682, 5091, 5092, 5104); and because it is foresight, or what is foreseen, it is also providence or what is provided, as the one does not exist without the other. For providence has regard to the state in its successions to eternity, which cannot be provided for unless foreseen. To make provision for what is present, and not at the same time to foresee what is to come, and so not to make provision for the future during the present, would he without end, without order, and consequently without wisdom and intelligence, thus not from the Divine. Providence is predicated of good, and foresight of what is not good (n. 5155). Foresight cannot be predicated of good, because good is in the Divine, and comes into existence from the Divine Itself and according to it; but it can be predicated of what is not good and what is evil; for this comes into existence outside of the Divine, and is from others who are contrary to the Divine. Thus as providence is said of good, it is said also of the conjunction of the natural with the celestial of the spiritual, which conjunction is treated of in this chapter; and therefore by "dreaming" is here signified what is provided.
AC 5196. And behold he stood by the river. That this signifies from boundary to boundary, is evident from the signification of a "river," here the river of Egypt or the Nile, as being a boundary. A "river" signifies a boundary because the great rivers--the Euphrates, the Jordan, and the Nile--and withal the sea, were the farthest boundaries of the land of Canaan; and as the land of Canaan itself represented the Lord’s kingdom, and hence all the places in it represented various things in this kingdom, the rivers consequently represented the farthest limits or boundaries of it (n. 1866, 4116, 4240). The Nile, or river of Egypt, represented the sensuous things subject to the intellectual part, thus the memory-knowledges derived from them; for these are the ultimates of the spiritual things of the Lord‘s kingdom. That from boundary to boundary is signified here, is because it is said of Pharaoh that he "stood by the river;" for by Pharaoh is represented the natural in general (n. 5160). To view anything from what is interior down to the ultimate is represented by standing beside the ultimate, as is the case in the spiritual world; and because there is then a view from boundary to boundary, therefore in the internal sense this is what is signified by these words.
AC 5197. And behold out of the river. That this signifies that in the boundary, is evident from the signification of a "river," as being a boundary (n. 5196). That "out of the river" denotes in the boundary is because they there appeared.
AC 5198. There came up seven kine. That this signifies were truths of the natural, is evident from the signification of "kine," as being truths of the natural. That there were seven, is because "seven" signifies what is holy (n. 395, 433, 716), and hence this number adds holiness to the subject (n. 881). Moreover the subject here treated of is holy, for it is the further rebirth of the natural by its conjunction with the celestial of the spiritual. That "kine" or "heifers" signify truths of the natural may be seen from the fact that "oxen" and "bullocks" signify goods of the natural (n. 2180, 2566, 2781, 2830); for wherever in the Word the male signifies good, the female signifies truth; and on the other hand where the male signifies truth, the female signifies good. Hence it is that a "cow" signifies the truth of the natural, for an "ox" signifies its good.
 All beasts whatever mentioned in the Word signify affections-evil and useless beasts evil affections, but gentle and useful ones good affections, (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 719, 776, 1823, 2179, 2180, 3218, 3519). The cause of this signification is from representatives in the world of spirits for when those in heaven are speaking about affections, in the world of spirits are represented beasts corresponding to that kind of affections. This has often been given me to see, and I have sometimes wondered why it was; but I perceived that the lives of beasts are nothing but affections, for they follow their affection from instinct without reason, and so are carried along each to its own use. To these affections without reason no other bodily forms are suitable than such as those in which beasts appear upon the earth. Hence it is that when there is discourse about affections only, ultimate forms of these affections appear that are similar to the bodily forms of such beasts; for these affections cannot be clothed with any other forms than those which correspond to them. I have also seen strange beasts which exist nowhere in the world, and which were the forms of unknown and of mixed affections.
 This then is the reason why in the Word by "beasts" are signified affections; but what affections are signified appears only from the internal sense. That by "oxen" is signified the good of the natural may be seen in the passages cited above, and that by "kine" are signified truths of the natural may be seen from the passages in which they are mentioned (Isaiah 11:7; Hosea 4:16; Amos 4:1); and also from the water of separation wherewith the sons of Israel were to be made clean, which was prepared from a red cow burned to ashes outside the camp, and with which cedar wood, hyssop, and double-dyed scarlet were mingled (Num. 19:2-11). When the meaning of this proceeding is disclosed by means of the internal sense, it is seen that by a "red cow" is signified truth of the natural that was unclean, and was made clean by the burning and also by means of such things as are signified by "cedar wood," "hyssop," and "double-dyed scarlet;" the "water" therefrom representing the means of purification.
AC 5199. Beautiful in look. That this signifies that were of faith, is evident from the signification of "beauty" and of "look." Spiritual beauty is the affection of interior truth, and spiritual look is faith; hence by "beautiful in look" is signified the affection of the truth of faith (n. 553, 3080, 3821, 4985). That spiritual beauty is the affection of interior truth, is because truth is the form of good. Good itself which is from the Divine in heaven is that from which angels have life; but the form of their life is given by means of the truths which are from this good. And yet beauty is not produced by the truth of faith, but by the affection itself within the truths of faith, which is from good. Beauty that is from the truth of faith alone is like that of a painted or sculptured face; but beauty from the affection of truth, which is from good, is like that of a living face animated by heavenly love; for such as is the love or affection that beams from the form of the face, such is the beauty. From this it is that the angels appear in ineffable beauty; from their faces beams forth the good of love through the truth of faith, which not only appear before the sight, but are also perceived from the spheres coming from them. The reason why they have beauty from this is that the universal heaven is a Grand Man, and corresponds to all things in man both in general and in particular; and therefore the man who is in the good of love, and hence in the truth of faith, is in the form of heaven, and consequently is in the beauty in which heaven is, where the Divine from the Lord is all in all. It is for this reason also that they who are in hell, being against good and truth, are horribly ugly; and that in the light of heaven they appear not as men, but as monsters. The reason why spiritual looking is faith, is that in the internal sense "to look" and "to see" are to understand, and in a still more interior sense are to have faith (n. 897, 2150, 2325, 2807, 3863, 3869, 4403-4421).
AC 5200. And fat in flesh. That this signifies that were of charity, is evident from the signification of "fat," or "fatness," as being what is celestial and as being predicated of the good which is of love and charity (n. 353); and from the signification of "flesh," as being the will vivified by good from the Lord (n. 148, 149, 780, 999, 3812, 3813), thus also the good which is of love and charity. From this it follows that by "fat in flesh" is signified that were of charity, because by "beautiful in look" is signified that were of faith. In this way the truths of the natural, signified by "kine," are described by their form and by their essence--their form consisting of the things of faith, and their essence of those of charity. That this is so does not appear from the literal sense.
AC 5201. And they fed in the sedge. That this signifies instruction, is evident from the signification of "feeding" (that is, "pasturing") as being to be instructed; and from the signification of "sedge," or the larger grass that grows near rivers, as being the memory-knowledges of the natural man. That "grass" or "herbage" denotes these knowledges is clear from the Word. To "feed in the sedge" therefore, is to be instructed in memory-knowledges, and by means of these knowledges to learn about truths and good; for memory-knowledges are means, and as it were mirrors, in which an image of interior things shows itself; and in this image, as again in a mirror, are reflected and represented the truths and goods of faith, and consequently the things which are of heaven and are called spiritual; but this image, being more interior, does not appear to any but those who are in faith from charity. This is what is signified in the genuine sense by "feeding in the sedge."
 That "to feed" denotes to be instructed is plain from those places in the Word where we read of it, as in Isaiah:--
Then shall He give the rain of thy seed, wherewith thou sowest the land, and bread of the increase of the land, and it shall be fat and rich; in that day shall thy cattle feed in a broad meadow (Isa. 30:23);
where "cattle" denote those who are in good and truth; "feeding in a broad meadow" denotes being abundantly instructed.
 In the same:--
I have given Thee for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to distribute the wasted heritages, to say to the bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Be ye revealed. They shall feed upon the ways, and on all hillsides shall be their pasture (Isa. 49:8, 9);
this is said of the coming of the Lord, "feeding upon the ways" denotes being instructed in truths. "ways" are truths, (n. 627, 2333); "pasture" denotes the instruction itself. In Jeremiah:--
Woe unto the shepherds that destroy and scatter the flock of My pasture! Therefore hath said Jehovah the God of Israel against the shepherds that feed My people (Jer. 23:1, 2);
"shepherds" denote those who instruct, and the "flock" those who are instructed (n. 343, 3795); thus "feeding" denotes instructing.
 As it has become customary to call teachers "pastors," and learners a "flock," it has also become common to speak of "feeding" when speaking of preaching, or of instruction from doctrine from the Word; but this is done by way of comparison, and not from the signification, as in the Word. The reason why "feeding" is spoken of in the Word from its signification, is that when instruction or doctrine from the Word is spoken of in heaven, then in the world of spirits, where spiritual things appear naturally, there are represented to the sight meadows green with grass, herbage, and flowers, with flocks therein; and this with all variety, according to what is being said in heaven about instruction and doctrine.
 In the same:--
I will bring back Israel to his habitation, that he may feed on Carmel and Bashan; and his soul shall be sated upon the mountain of Ephraim and in Gilead (Jer. 50:19);
"to feed on Carmel and Bashan" denotes to be instructed in the goods of faith and of charity. Again:--
From the daughter of Zion all her honor is gone forth, her princes are become like harts, they have not found pasture (Lam. 1:6).
I will feed them in a good pasture, and on the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be, and they shall lie down in a good fold, and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel (Ezek. 34:14).
 In Hosea:--
Now will Jehovah feed them as a sheep in the breadth (Hosea 4:16);
"to feed them in the breadth" denotes to instruct in truths. "Breadth" is truth, (n. 1613, 3433, 3434, 4482). In Micah:--
Thou Bethlehem Ephratah, out of thee shall He come forth unto Me who shall be ruler in Israel. He shall stand and shall feed in the strength of Jehovah (Micah 5:2, 4).
Feed Thy people with Thy rod, the flock of Thy heritage dwelling alone, let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of an age (Micah 7:14).
The remains of Israel shall feed and be at rest, none making afraid (Zephaniah 3:13).
 In David:--
Jehovah is my shepherd, in pastures of herb He will make me lie down, to the waters of rest He will lead me (Ps. 23:1, 2).
It is He that hath made us, and not we, His people, and the flock of His pastures; (or according to another reading) therefore we are His, His people, and the flock of His pasture (Ps. 100:3).
In the Revelation:--
The Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters (Rev. 7:17).
I am the door; by Me if anyone enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and shall find pasture (John 10:9).
Jesus said to Peter, Feed My lambs; and a second time, Feed My sheep; and a third time, Feed My sheep (John 21:15-17).
AC 5202. And behold seven other kine came up after them out of the river. That this signifies falsities that were of the natural, also in the boundary, is evident from the signification of "kine" as being truths of the natural (n. 5198), whence it is that "kine" in the opposite sense are falsities (for most of the expressions in the Word have an opposite sense, which is known from the genuine sense, and therefore as in the genuine sense "kine" are truths of the natural, in the opposite sense they are falsities of the same kind, thus falsities in the natural); and from the signification of a "river," as being a boundary (n. 5196, 5197). That they were in the boundary is plain also from their being said to have "come up out of the river;" for "to come up" is predicated of progression from what is exterior toward things interior (n. 3084, 4539, 4969).
 It will be necessary to state how the case is with this matter, because this is the subject treated of in what follows. In the preceding chapter the subject treated of was the exterior natural, and the things in it which belonged to the class of the intellect, and those which belonged to the class of the will--that the former were received, and the latter rejected. Those belonging to the class of the intellect were represented by the butler, and those belonging to the class of the will by the baker; and because those belonging to the class of the intellect were received, they were also made subordinate to the interior natural. These were treated of in the previous chapter, and this was the first of the rebirth of the natural.
 In the present chapter however the subject treated of is the influx of the celestial of the spiritual into those things of the natural which were retained, namely, those in it that were of the intellectual part, and that are signified by "kine beautiful in look and fat in flesh." But as the natural cannot be reborn as to intellectual things alone, there were also things of the will; for in every thing there must be something of the intellect and at the same time something of the will in order that it may be anything; and as the former will had been rejected, therefore a new one must flow in, in its place. This new will is from the celestial of the spiritual, which together with its influx into the natural, is treated of in this chapter. How the case is with the natural in this state is described in the internal sense that the truths in it were banished through falsities, the natural being thus left to the celestial of the spiritual, which is signified by the good kine being eaten up by the evil kine, and by the full ears of corn being swallowed up by the empty ones, and afterward by Joseph’s making provision for all Egypt; but of the Lord‘s Divine mercy more will be said on these subjects in the following pages.
 They are moreover of such a nature as to come with difficulty into the light of the human understanding; for they are secret things of regeneration, of which though in themselves innumerable, man knows scarcely anything. From his early infancy to the last of his life in the world and thereafter to eternity, the man who is in good is being born again every moment, not only as to interiors, but also as to exteriors, and this by amazing processes. It is these processes that for the most part constitute angelic wisdom, which is known to be ineffable, and to contain such things as ear has not heard, nor eye seen, neither have entered into the thought of man. The internal sense of the Word treats of things like these, and thus is adapted to angelic wisdom; and when it flows from this wisdom into the sense of the letter it becomes adapted to human wisdom, and thereby in a hidden way affects those who are in the desire from good of knowing truths from the Word.
AC 5203. Evil in look. That this signifies that were not of faith, is evident from the signification of "beautiful in look," as being that were of faith (n. 5199); hence in this passage "evil in look" denotes that were not of faith.
AC 5204. And thin in flesh. That this signifies nor of charity, is evident from the signification of "fat in flesh," as being that were of charity (n. 5200); hence in this passage "thin in flesh" denotes that were not of charity, for they are in the opposite.
AC 5205. And stood by the kine upon the bank of the river. That this signifies that they were in the boundaries where truths were, is evident from the signification of "standing by upon the bank of the river," as being in the boundaries. A "river" is a boundary, (n. 5196, 5197); and from the signification of "kine," as being truths of the natural (n. 5198). How the case herein is, that falsities stood in the boundaries where truths were, will appear from what follows, specifically when we come to unfold what is signified in the internal sense by the seven years of famine in the land of Egypt, predicted and signified by the seven kine evil in look and thin in flesh, and also by the seven ears of corn thin and blasted with the east wind.
AC 5206. And the kine evil in look and thin in flesh did eat up. That this signifies that the falsities that were not of faith nor of charity banished, is evident from the signification of "eating up," as being to consume (n. 5149, 5157), but here to banish, because until the truths in the natural have been made alive and consequently regenerate by the celestial of the spiritual, they are as it were banished by falsities; and from the signification of "kine evil in look," as being that were not of faith (n. 5203); and from the signification of "thin in flesh," as being that were not of charity (n. 5204).
AC 5207. The seven kine beautiful in look and fat. That this signifies the truths of the natural that were of faith and of charity, is evident from the signification of "kine," as being truths of the natural (n. 5198); and from the signification of "beautiful in look," as being that were of faith (n. 5199); and from the signification of "fat," as being that were of charity (n. 5200). As regards the matter itself, that truths were banished from the natural by falsities in the boundaries, be it known that this takes place at the beginning in all regeneration; for the truths that are insinuated into a man, in the beginning, are indeed in themselves truths; but they are not truths in him until good is joined to them. The good when joined causes the truths to be truths. Good is the essential, and truths are its forms; and therefore in the beginning falsities are near truths; that is to say, in the boundaries where truths are there also are falsities; but as fast as good is conjoined with the truths, the falsities take flight. This also actually takes place in the other life, where the sphere of falsity applies itself to truths according to the influx of good into the truths: when only a little good flows in, the sphere of falsity is near; when more good flows in, the sphere of falsity withdraws; and when good is entirely joined to truths, the sphere of falsity is also entirely dispelled. then the sphere of falsity is near, as is the case in the beginning, as just said, then truths seem to be banished; but they are laid by for a while in the interior where they are filled with good, and from thence are let back in succession. This is what is signified by the "seven kine" and the "seven ears of corn," and further on by the "seven years of great plenty" and the "seven years of famine;" but one who knows nothing about regeneration, and nothing about man’s internal state, cannot comprehend these things.
AC 5208. And Pharaoh awoke. That this signifies a state of enlightenment, is evident from the signification of "awakening," as being to be enlightened (n. 3715); and from the representation of Pharaoh, as being the natural. from this it is plain that by "Pharaoh awoke" is signified a state of enlightenment in the natural. By enlightenment is meant here general enlightenment from the celestial of the spiritual, thus from within. The enlightenment that comes or flows in from within is general in the lower part of the mind, but becomes successively less general, and at last particular, as truths from good are insinuated into it; for every truth from good shines, and also enlightens. This then is the reason why as said just above (n. 5206), truths are banished from the natural, which is done in order that the natural may be enlightened in a general manner from within, and that afterward in this general enlightenment or general light, truths may be replaced there in their order, whereby the natural is enlightened in a particular manner.
 The correspondence between the spiritual and the natural in man, or between his internal and his external, is effected in this way; for truths are first procured, next are as if banished, yet they are not banished, but are stored away; and then what is lower is enlightened in a general manner by what is higher, or what is exterior by what is interior; and in this light the truths are replaced in their order; whereby all the truths there become images of their general, and correspond. Moreover in all and each of the things that take place in both the spiritual world and the natural, what is general comes first; and afterward things less general, and finally particulars, are inserted therein in succession. Without such an insertion or fitting-in, nothing at all would inhere; for whatever is not in some general thing, and does not depend upon it, is dissipated (n. 917, 3057, 4269, 4325, 4329, 4345, 4383).GENESIS 41:1-4 - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|