Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 41:14
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AC 5243. Verse 14. And Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the pit; and he shaved, and changed his garments, and came unto Pharaoh. "And Pharaoh sent," signifies the inclination of the new natural; "and called Joseph," signifies to receive the celestial of the spiritual; "and they brought him hastily out of the pit," signifies a speedy rejection of such things as from the state of temptation were a hindrance, and thereby a change; "and he shaved," signifies rejection and change as to what is of the exterior natural; "and changed his garments," signifies as to what is of the interior natural, by putting on what is suitable; "and came unto Pharaoh," signifies communication thereby with the new natural.

AC 5244. And Pharaoh sent. That this signifies the inclination of the new natural, is evident from the representation of Pharaoh, as being the new natural man (n. 5079, 5080). The inclination to receive the celestial of the spiritual is signified by his "sending and calling Joseph." The very inclination is plain from what is said farther on--that he set him over his house and over all the land of Egypt and said that upon his mouth all his people should kiss (verses 40-43). In regard to this the case is that when the state is full, that is, when all things have been prepared in the natural for receiving influx from the interior or higher degree, and for applying to itself what flows in, then the natural has an inclination, that is, has an affection, for receiving. In this way the one is accommodated to the other when the man is being made new by the Lord.

AC 5245. And called Joseph. That this signifies for receiving the celestial of the spiritual, is evident from the representation of Joseph, as being the celestial of the spiritual (n. 4286, 4585, 4592, 4594, 4963). That receiving this is signified by his "calling," may be seen just above (n. 5244).

AC 5246. And they brought him hastily out of the pit. That this signifies a speedy rejection of such things as from the state of temptation were a hindrance; and thereby a change, is evident from the signification of a "pit," as being a state of vastation and also of temptation (n. 4728, 4744, 5038); and from the signification of "bringing him hastily out of it," as being a speedy rejection of such things as are from it, that is, from a state of temptation. For when a "pit" denotes a state of temptation, "to bring anyone hastily out of it" denotes to remove such things as are from that state, and consequently to reject them, as is plain also from what follows; for he rejected what was of the pit, inasmuch as he shaved himself and changed his garments.

[2] A state of temptation in respect to the state after it is also like the condition of a pit or prison--squalid and unclean; for when man is being tempted, unclean spirits are near him, and surround him, and excite the evils and falsities with him, and also hold him in them and exaggerate them, even to despair. Hence it is that the man is then in squalor and uncleanness. Moreover when this state is presented to view in the other life (for all spiritual states can there be presented to the sight) it appears like a thick mist exhaled from unclean places, and a stench from it is also perceived. Such is the appearance of the sphere that encompasses one who is in temptation, and also in vastation, that is, who is in a pit in the lower earth (n. 4728).

[3] But when the state of temptation ceases, the mist is dispersed, and the sky clears. The reason of this is that by means of temptation the falsities and evils with man are laid open and removed; when they are laid open that mist appears, but when they are removed the clear sky appears. The change of this state is also signified by Joseph‘s "shaving himself and changing his garments."

[4] Moreover a state of temptation may be compared to the state of a man when among robbers; on escaping from which his hair is disheveled, his countenance wild, and his clothing torn. If he yields in temptation, he remains in a state like this; but if he conquers in temptation, then after he has composed his face, combed his hair, and changed his clothing, he comes into a cheerful and serene state. Moreover there are infernal spirits and genii, who like robbers surround and attack the man at these times, and bring on the temptations. From this it is now plain that by their "bringing him hastily out of the pit" is signified a speedy rejection of such things as from the state of temptation were a hindrance, and thereby a change.

AC 5247. And he shaved. That this signifies rejection and change as to what is of the exterior natural, is evident from the signification of "shaving the head and the beard," as being to reject such things as are of the exterior natural; for the "hair" that was shaved off signifies this natural (n. 3301). The hair both of the head and of the beard corresponds in the Grand Man to the exterior natural; and therefore sensuous men (that is, they who have believed nothing but what is natural, and have not been willing to understand that there is anything more interior or purer than what they could apprehend by the senses) in the other life when in the light of heaven, they appear hairy, so much so that the face is scarcely anything but beard. Such hairy faces have often been seen by me. But they who have been rational, that is, spiritual men, in whom the natural has been rightly subordinated, appear becomingly furnished with hair. Nay, from the hair in the other life may be known the quality of spirits in respect to the natural. The reason why spirits appear with hair is that in the other life spirits appear altogether as do men on earth. Hence it is that the angels spoken of in the Word as being seen are sometimes described even in respect to their hair.

[2] From what has now been said it is evident what is signified by "shaving," as in Ezekiel:--

The priests the Levites the sons of Zadok shall put off their garments wherein they minister and lay them in the bedchambers of holiness, and they shall put on other garments, neither shall they sanctify the people in their garments, and they shall not shave their heads and let down their hair, in polling they shall poll their heads (Ezek. 44:19, 20);

this is said of the new temple and the new priesthood, that is, of the new church; and the "putting on of other garments" signifies holy truths; their "not shaving their heads nor letting down their hair, but in polling to poll their heads," signifies not rejecting the natural, but accommodating it so that it may be in accord, thus making it subordinate. Everyone who believes the Word to be holy can see that these and the rest of the things said in the prophet about the new earth, the new city, the new temple, and new priesthood, will not be at all as is stated in the letter there; as that the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, will minister therein, and will then put off the garments of their ministry and put on other garments, and will poll their heads; but that all and everyone of these things signify such things as belong to a new church.

[3] Neither would the statutes have been commanded in regard to the high priest, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, in the following passages from Moses, if they had not contained holy things within:--

The priest chief of his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil has been poured, and he hath filled his hand to put on the garments, shall not shave his head, and shall not unrip his garments (Lev. 21:10).

The sons of Aaron shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave the corner of their beard; they shall be holy to their God, and not profane the name of their God (Lev. 21:5, 6).

Thus shalt thou purify the Levites. Sprinkle the waters of expiration upon them, and they shall make to pass a razor over their flesh, and they shall wash their garments; and they shall be pure (Num. 8:7).

What is there that is holy or that is of the church in these things--that the high priest should not shave his head nor unrip his garments; that the sons of Aaron should not make baldness upon their head nor shave the corner of their beard, and that the Levites when being purified should be shaved with a razor upon their flesh? But to have the external or natural man subordinate to the internal or spiritual, and thus to have both subordinate to the Divine, this is a holy thing, and is what the angels perceive when these passages of the Word are being read by man.

[4] So also it was with the Nazirite, who was holy unto Jehovah:--

If any man should by chance die very suddenly beside him, and he hath defiled the head of his Naziriteship; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. And when the days of his Naziriteship are fulfilled, the Nazirite shall shave the head of his Naziriteship at the door of the tent of meeting; and shall take the hair of his head and put it on the fire that is under the sacrifice of peace-offerings (Num. 6:9, 13, 18);

what the Nazirite was, and what holiness he represented, may be seen above (n. 3301). That holiness should abide in his hair can never be comprehended unless it is known what "hair" is by correspondence, thus to what holiness the hair of the Nazirite corresponded. In like manner it cannot be comprehended how Samson had strength from his hair, of which he speaks thus to Delilah:--

There hath not come up a razor upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite of God from my mother’s womb; if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And Delilah called a man, who shaved off the seven locks of his head and his strength went from upon him. And afterward when the hair of his head began to grow after it was shaved off, strength returned to him (Judges 16:17, 19, 22);

who without knowledge derived from correspondence can know that the Lord as to the Divine natural was represented by the Nazirite, and that the Naziriteship had no other meaning, and that Samson‘s strength was from this representative?

[5] One who does not know, and especially who does not believe, that there is an internal sense in the Word, and that the sense of the letter is representative of the things in the internal sense, will scarcely acknowledge that there is anything holy in these things; when yet that which is most holy is in them. If a man does not know, and especially if he does not believe, that the Word possesses an internal sense which is holy, neither can he know what the following passages bear in their bosom, as in Jeremiah:--

Truth is perished and is cut off from their mouth. Cut off the hair of thy Naziriteship, and cast it away (Jer. 7:28, 29).

In Isaiah:--

In that day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired in the passages of the river, through the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and shall also consume the beard (Isa. 7:20).

In Micah:--

Make thee bald, and shave thee on account of the sons of thy deliciousnesses, enlarge thy baldness as the eagle, because they have migrated from thee (Micah 1:16).

Nor can he know what holiness is involved in that which is related of Elijah, in that he was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of skin about his loins (2 Kings 1:8); nor why the children who called Elisha bald were torn by she-bears out of the wood (2 Kings 2:23, 24).

[6] By Elijah and by Elisha was represented the Lord as to the Word, thus by them was represented the Word, specifically the prophetic Word, (n. 2135A, 2762). The "hairiness" and the "girdle of skin" signified the literal sense, a "hairy man" this sense in respect to truths, and a "girdle of skin" about the loins this sense in respect to goods. For the literal sense of the Word is its natural sense, because it is from the things in the world; and the internal sense is the spiritual sense, because it is from the things in heaven. These two senses are circumstanced as are the internal and external of man; and because there is no internal without an external, for the external is the ultimate of order in which the internal subsists, therefore it was a reproach against the Word to call Elisha bald, implying that it is devoid of an external, thus that the Word has no sense that is adapted to the apprehension of man.

[7] From all this it is evident that all the details of the Word are holy; but the holiness therein is not apparent to the understanding, except that of one who knows its internal sense; nevertheless by influx from heaven it comes to the perception of him who believes the Word to be holy. This influx is effected through the internal sense in which the angels are; and although this sense is not understood by the man, still it affects him, because the affection of the angels who are in it is communicated. From this it is plain also that the Word has been given to man in order that he may have communication with heaven, and that the Divine truth which is in heaven may affect him by means of the influx.

AC 5248. And changed his garments. That this signifies as to what is of the interior natural, by putting on what is suitable, is evident from the signification of "changing," as being to remove and reject; and from the signification of "garments," as being what is of the interior natural; hence it follows that what was suitable (signified by the new "garments") was put on. "Garments" are often mentioned in the Word, and thereby are meant things beneath or without, and that cover things above or within; and therefore by "garments" are signified man’s external, consequently his natural, because this covers his internal and spiritual. Specifically by "garments" are signified truths that are of faith, because these cover the goods that are of charity. This signification has its origin from the garments in which spirits and angels appear clothed. Spirits appear in garments devoid of brightness, but angels in garments that are bright and are as it were made of brightness, for the very brightness around them appears as a garment, as appeared the raiment of the Lord when He was transfigured, which was "as the light" (Matt. 17:2), and was "white and flashing" (Luke 9:29). From their garments also the quality of spirits and angels can be known in respect to the truths of faith, because these are represented by garments, but truths of faith such as they are in the natural; for such as they are in the rational appears from the face and its beauty. The brightness of their garments comes from the good of love and of charity, which by shining through causes the brightness. From all this it is evident what is represented in the spiritual world by the garments, and consequently what is meant by "garments" in the spiritual sense. But the garments that Joseph changed, that is, put off, were the garments of the pit or prison, and by these are signified things fallacious and false, which in a state of temptations are excited by evil genii and spirits; and therefore by his "changing his garments" is signified rejection and change in respect to what is of the interior natural, and the garments he put on denoted such things as would be suitable, and therefore the putting on of things suitable is signified. See what has before been said and shown concerning garments: that what is celestial is not clothed, but what is spiritual and natural (n. 297): that "garments" denote truths relatively lower (n. 1073, 2576): that changing the garments was a representative of holy truths being put on, whence also came the changes of garments (n. 4545): that rending the garments was representative of mourning over truth lost and destroyed (n. 4763): and what is signified by him that came in, not having on a wedding garment (n. 2132).

AC 5249. And came unto Pharaoh. That this signifies communication with the new natural, is evident from the signification of "coming," as here being communication by influx; and from the representation of Pharaoh, as being the new natural (n. 5079, 5080, 5244). What the words in this verse involve is manifest from what has been unfolded, for they treat of Joseph, how he was freed from the pit and came unto Pharaoh. By Joseph in the internal sense is represented the Lord as to the celestial of the spiritual, and by Pharaoh is represented the natural or external man; by the pit in which Joseph was is represented the state of the Lord‘s temptation as to the celestial of the spiritual; and by his being called from the pit by Pharaoh is signified the state of deliverance from temptations, and further, the subsequent state of influx and communication with the new natural. From this it is plain that in the internal sense is here described how the Lord made His natural new, and at last Divine.

[2] These are the things the celestial angels think when this history is being read by man, moreover to think such things is to them most delightful, for they are in the Lord’s Divine sphere, thus as it were in the Lord, and in a perception of inmost joy when thinking of the Lord and of the salvation of the human race by the Lord‘s making Divine the Human in Him; and in order that the angels might be kept in this most heavenly joy, and at the same time in wisdom, that Divine process is fully described in the internal sense of the Word, and at the same time therein the process of man’s regeneration; for the regeneration of man is an image of the Lord‘s glorification (n. 3138, 3212, 3296, 3490, 4402). Some may possibly wonder what the angels converse together about, and consequently what men who become angels converse about after death; but be it known to them that it is about such things as are contained in the internal sense of the Word, namely, about the Lord’s glorification, His kingdom, the church, the regeneration of man through the good of love and the truth of faith; but they speak about these things by means of secret things that are for the most part inexpressible.

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