Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 43:1-5
AC 5575. Verses 1-5. And the famine became grievous in the land. And it came to pass when they had finished the eating of the produce which they had brought from Egypt, and their father said unto them, Go back, buy us a little food. And Judah spake unto him, saying, Protesting the man did protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my faces except your brother be with you. If thou wilt send out brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food. And if thou wilt not send, we will not go down; for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my faces except your brother be with you. "And the famine became grievous," signifies desolation from want of spiritual things; "in the land," signifies about the things that were of the church; "and it came to pass," signifies what is new; "when they had finished the eating of the produce," signifies when truths failed; "which they had brought from Egypt," signifies which were from memory-knowledges; "and their father said unto them," signifies perception from the things of the church; "Go back, buy us a little food," signifies that in order to live they must procure for themselves the good of spiritual truth; "and Judah spake unto him," signifies the good of the church; "saying, Protesting the man did protest unto us," signifies that the spiritual derived from the internal was averse to them; " saying, Ye shall not see my faces," signifies that there will be no compassion; "except your brother be with you," signifies unless there is an intermediate for you; "if thou wilt send our brother with us," signifies that if it is so done by the church that adjunction shall take place, there must be an intermediate; "we will go down and buy thee food," signifies that then the good of truth will be procured there; "and if thou wilt not send him," signifies if not; "we will not go down," signifies that it cannot be procured; "for the man said unto us," signifies perception concerning the spiritual; "Ye shall not see my faces," signifies that there will be no compassion; "except your brother be with you," signifies unless there is an intermediate for you.
AC 5576. And the famine became grievous. That this signifies desolation from the want of spiritual things, is evident from the signification of "famine," as being a lack of the knowledges of good and truth (n. 3364, 5277, 5279, 5281, 5300), and hence desolation (n. 5360, 5376, 5415); and because desolation comes from a scarcity and consequent want of spiritual things, this also is signified by "famine."
 Hunger in the spiritual world or in heaven is not hunger for food, because the angels do not feed upon material food, which is for the body that man carries about in the world; but it is hunger for such food as nourishes their minds. This food, which is called spiritual food, is to understand truth and be wise in good; and wonderful to say the angels are nourished by this food; which has been made evident to me from the fact that after little children who die have been instructed in heaven in the truths of intelligence and the goods of wisdom, they no longer appear as little children, but as adults, and this according to their increase in good and truth; and also from the fact that the angels continually long for the things of intelligence and wisdom, and that when they are in the evening, that is, in a state in which these things fail, they are so far in what is relatively not happiness, and they then hunger and long for nothing more than that the morning may dawn for them afresh, and that they may return into their life of happiness, which is of intelligence and wisdom.
 That to understand truth and to will good is spiritual food, may also appear to everyone who reflects that when anyone is enjoying material food for the nourishment of the body, his food is more nourishing if he is at the same time in cheerful spirits and conversing on agreeable topics, which is a sign that there is a correspondence between spiritual food for the soul and material food for the body. And the same is further evident from the fact that when one who longs to imbue his mind with the things of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, is kept from them, he begins to be saddened and distressed, and like one who is famished longs to return to his spiritual food, and thereby to the nourishment of his soul.
 That there is spiritual food which nourishes the soul as material food nourishes the body, may also be seen from the Word, as in Moses:--
Man doth not live by bread only; but by every utterance of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4).
The "utterance of the mouth of Jehovah," is in general the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord, thus all truth of wisdom, specifically the Word, in which and from which are the things of wisdom. And in John:--
Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you (John 6:27);
that this meat is the truth of wisdom which proceeds from the Lord is evident.
 From this too it may be known what is meant by these words of the Lord in the same chapter:--
My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed (John 6:55);
namely, that the Lord‘s "flesh" is Divine good (n. 3813), and His "blood" Divine truth (n. 4735); for when the Lord made His whole Human Divine, then His flesh was nothing else than Divine good, and His blood Divine truth. It is evident that in the Divine nothing material is to be understood; and therefore "food" in the supreme sense, that is, when predicated of the Lord, is the good of the Divine love for saving the human race. This food is what is meant by the Lord’s words in John:--
Jesus said to the disciples, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to perfect His work (John 4:32, 34);
"to do the will of Him that sent Him, and to perfect His work" is to save the human race; the Divine from which this is done is the Divine love. From all this it is now plain what is meant in the spiritual sense by "famine."
AC 5577. In the land. That this signifies about the things that were of the church, is evident from the signification of "land" in the Word, as being the church, here therefore the things that are of the church, because anything that signifies the church, signifies also the things that are of the church; for these produce it. That in the Word "land" signifies the church is because the land of Canaan was the place where the church had been from most ancient times. So when "land" or "earth" is mentioned in the Word, the land of Canaan is meant; and when this is meant, the church is meant; for when a land is mentioned they who are in the spiritual world do not stay in the idea of the land, but in that of the nation which is there, nor in the idea of the nation, but in that of the quality of that nation; thus in the idea of the church when "land" is spoken of and the land of Canaan is meant. From this it is plain how deluded are they who believe that at the day of the last judgment a new earth and new heaven will come into existence, according to the prophecies in the Old Testament, and in John in the New (where however by the "new earth" nothing else is meant than a new external church, and by the "new heaven" a new internal church), and also they who believe that anything but the church is meant where the "whole earth" is mentioned in the Word. Hence it is plain how little they apprehend the Word who think there is no holier sense in it than that which shines forth from the letter alone. That the church was in the land of Canaan from the most ancient times may be seen above (n. 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517, 5136); that by "land" in the Word is signified the church (n. 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1413, 1607, 2928, 4447); and that by the "new heaven and new earth" is signified a new church internal and external (n. 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535).
AC 5578. And it came to pass. That this signifies what is new, is evident from the signification of "it was," or "it came to pass," as involving a new state (n. 4979, 4987, 4999, 5074, 5466). In the original tongue the meaning was not at first distinguished by punctuation, but the text was continuous, in imitation of heavenly speech; and instead of punctuation marks, "and" was used, and also "it was," or "it came to pass." This is the reason why these words occur so often, and why " it was," or "it came to pass," signifies something new.
AC 5579. When they had finished the eating of the produce. That this signifies when truths failed, is evident from the signification of "produce," as being truth (n. 5276, 5280, 5292, 5402); that truth failed is signified by their "finishing the eating of it." Those who are in the spiritual world are sated with things true and good, for these are their food (n. 5576); but when these have served their purpose, they come again into want. This is as with the nourishment of man by material food when this has fulfilled its use, hunger comes on again. The hunger that is a need of spiritual things, in the spiritual world is evening or the twilight of their day; but after it comes daybreak and morning. Thus there are alternations there, They come into that evening or into spiritual hunger, in order that they may feel hungry and long for truths and goods, which yield them more nourishment when they are hungry, just as does material food to one who is famishing. From all this it is evident what is meant by the need of spiritual things when truths failed.
AC 5580. Which they had brought from Egypt. That this signifies which were from memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of "Egypt," as being memory-knowledges (n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462); that they were "from these," is signified by their "bringing it thence." By "Egypt" in a good sense are signified the memory-knowledges of the church, namely, those which are of service for the form of the church (n. 4749, 4964, 4966). By means of such knowledges man is introduced into the truths of the church as through a court into a house; for these knowledges are what first strike the senses, and thereby open a way to interior things; for it is known that the outward things of sense are first opened in man, and then the inner things of sense, and at last the things of the understanding; and that when these last have been opened, they are represented in the former so as to be comprehended. The reason is that things of the understanding arise from those of sense by a sort of extraction, for things of the understanding are conclusions, which when formed are separated, and rise to a higher plane. This is brought about by the influx of spiritual things through heaven from the Lord. From all this it is plain how it is that truths are from memory-knowledges.
AC 5581. And their father said unto them. That this signifies perception from the things of the church, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word, as being perception; and from the representation of Israel, who here is the "father," as being the church. "Israel" is the internal spiritual church, and "Jacob" the external, (n. 4286, 4292, 4570). He is called "father" because by "father" in the Word is also signified the church, and likewise by "mother;" but by "mother" the church as to truth, and by "father" the church as to good. The reason of this is that the church is a spiritual marriage, which is from good as the father, and from truth as a mother.
AC 5582. Go back, buy us a little food. That this signifies that in order to live they must procure for themselves the good of spiritual truth, is evident from the signification of "buying," as being to procure for one‘s self and to appropriate (n. 4397, 5374, 5406, 5410, 5426); and from the signification of "food," as being the good of truth (n. 5340, 5342), here the good of spiritual truth, for it is this good that is treated of in what follows. That it means in order to live, follows,
AC 5583. And Judah shake unto him. That this signifies the good of the church, is evident from the representation of Judah, as being the good of the church (n. 3654). Judah’s now speaking about Benjamin, and Reuben‘s speaking about him before (Gen. 42:36, 37), is a secret which cannot be unfolded except from the internal sense. And so when Reuben spoke about Benjamin, Jacob was called "Jacob" (Gen. 42:36); while here when Judah speaks about him, Jacob is called "Israel" (verses 6, 8, 11). That there is something involved in this no one can deny; but what it is cannot be known from the historical sense of the letter, So too in other places where Jacob is now called "Jacob" and now "Israel" (n. 4286). The secret involved will of the Lord’s Divine mercy he told in the following pages. That Judah now speaks is because the subject treated of is the good of spiritual truth, that it is to be procured (n. 5582); and therefore Judah, who is the good of the church, speaks with Israel, who is the good of spiritual truth, and makes himself answerable for Benjamin, who is the intermediate; for the intermediate must be conjoined by means of good.
AC 5584. Saying, Protesting the man did protest unto us. That this signifies that the spiritual from the internal was averse to them, is evident from the signification of "protesting to protest," as being to be averse; for he protested that they should not see his faces unless their brother were with them; such protesting is of aversion, for by not seeing his faces is signified that there will be no compassion; and from the representation of Joseph, as being the Divine spiritual, or what is the same, truth from the Divine (n. 3969), who here, being called "the man," is the spiritual, or truth flowing in from the internal.
AC 5585. Saying, Ye shall not see my faces. That this signifies that there will be no compassion, is evident from the signification of" faces" when predicated of man, as being his interiors, that is, his affections and derivative thoughts (n. 358, 1999, 2434, 3527, 3573, 4066, 4796, 4797, 5102); but when predicated of the Lord, they denote mercy or compassion. Therefore "not to see his faces" means that there will be no mercy, or no compassion; for in the supreme sense the Lord is here represented by Joseph. Not that the Lord has no compassion, for He is mercy itself; but when there is no intermediate that conjoins, it appears to the man as if there were no compassion in the Lord. The reason is that if there is not a conjoining intermediate, there is no reception of good, and when there is no reception of good; there is evil in its stead. If the man then cries to the Lord, and because he cries from evil and thus for himself against all others, is not heard, it appears to him as if there were no compassion. That the "faces" of Jehovah or the Lord denote mercy, is evident from the Word; for the "face" of Jehovah or the Lord in the proper sense denotes the Divine love itself; and because it denotes the Divine love, it denotes what is of mercy, for this from love is shown toward the human race steeped in miseries so great.
 That the "face" of Jehovah or the Lord is the Divine love, is evident from the face of the Lord when He was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, that is, when He showed them His Divine; for then His face did shine as the sun (Matt. 17:2); that the "sun" is the Divine love may be seen shown above (n. 3038, 1521, 1529-1531, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4321, 4696). The Lord‘s Divine Itself never appeared in any face, but His Divine Human, and through this as in it the Divine love, or relatively to the human race, the Divine mercy. This Divine mercy in the Divine Human is called the "angel of faces," in Isaiah:--
I will make mention of the mercies of Jehovah. He will recompense them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His mercies, and He became for them a Saviour. And the angel of His faces saved them, for the sake of His love, and for the sake of His pity (Isaiah 63:7-9);
it is called an "angel" because "angels" in the internal sense of the Word signify something of the Lord (n. 1925, 2821, 4085), here His mercy and therefore it is said "the angel of His faces."
 That the "face" of Jehovah or the Lord is mercy, and also peace and good, because these are of mercy, may likewise be seen from the following passages. In the benediction:--
Jehovah make His faces to shine upon thee, and be merciful unto thee. Jehovah lift up His faces unto thee, and give thee peace (Num. 6:25, 26);
it is very evident that "to make the faces to shine" is to be merciful, and "to lift up the faces" is to give peace. In David:--
God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause His faces to shine upon us (Ps. 67:2);
the "faces" here again denote mercy. In the same:--
Bring us back O God, and cause Thy faces to shine, that we may be saved (Ps. 80:3, 7, 19);
with a similar meaning. Again:--
Deliver me from the hands of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make Thy faces to shine upon Thy servant (Ps. 31:15, 16; Ps. 119:134, 135).
Hear, O our God, the praying of Thy servant, and his prayers, and cause Thy faces to shine upon Thy sanctuary that Is desolate (Daniel 9:17);
"causing the faces to shine" denoting to be merciful.
 In David:--
There are many that say, Who will make us see good? Lift up the light of Thy faces upon us (Ps. 4:6, 7);
"lifting up the light of the faces" denotes to give good from mercy. In Hosea:--
Let them seek My faces when distress is theirs; in the morning let them seek Me (Hosea 5:15).
Again in David:--
Seek ye My faces; thy faces Jehovah will I seek (Ps. 27:8, 9).
Seek Jehovah and His strength; seek His faces continually (Ps. 105:4);
"to seek the faces of Jehovah" denotes to seek His mercy. Again:--
I shall see Thy faces in righteousness (Ps. 17:15);
and in Matthew:--
See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you that their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of My Father who is in the heavens (Matthew 18:10);
"to behold the face of God" denotes to enjoy peace and good from mercy.
 But the opposite is "to conceal," or " hide," and also "to turn away the faces" which signifies not to be merciful; as in Isaiah:--
In the overflowing of My anger I hid My faces from thee for a moment; but with mercy of eternity will I have mercy on thee (Isa. 54:8);
where the "overflowing of anger" denotes temptation, and because the Lord appears not to be merciful therein, it is said "I hid My faces from thee for a moment." In Ezekiel:--
I will turn away My faces from them (Ezek. 7:22).
How long wilt Thou forget me, O Jehovah? to eternity? How long wilt Thou hide Thy faces from me? (Ps. 13:1),
In the same:--
Hide not Thy faces from me; put not Thy servant away in anger (Ps. 27:9).
Wherefore Jehovah dost Thou forsake my soul? why hidest Thou Thy faces from me? (Ps. 88:14),
Make haste, answer me, O Jehovah; my spirit is consumed. Hide not Thy faces from me, lest I become like them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Thy mercy in the morning (Ps. 143:7, 8).
And in Moses:--
My anger shall wax not against this people in that day, so that I will forsake them; and I will hide My faces from them, whence it will be for consuming; I will surely hide My faces in that day for all the evil which they have done (Deut. 31:17, 18);
 "the anger waxing hot" denotes a turning away (n. 5034); and "hiding the faces" denotes not being merciful. These things are predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, although He is never angry, and never turns away or hides His faces; but it is so said from the appearance with the man who is in evil; for the man who is in evil turns himself away, and hides from himself the Lord’s faces, that is, removes His mercy from himself. That it is the evils in man that do this, may also be seen from the Word, as in Micah:--
Jehovah will hide His faces from them at that time, according as they have rendered their works evil (Micah 3:4).
Because they trespassed against Me, therefore I hid My faces from them. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions did I with them; and I hid My faces from them (Ezek. 39:23, 24).
And especially in Isaiah:--
It is your iniquities that separate between you and your God, and your sins do hide His faces from you (Isa. 59:2).
From these and many other passages the internal sense is plain, which here and there stands forth, and is found by him who seeks it.
AC 5586. Except your brother be with you. That this signifies unless there is an intermediate for you, is evident from the representation of Benjamin, as being an intermediate (n. 5411, 5413, 5443). The intermediate which Benjamin represents is the intermediate between the internal and the external, or between the spiritual and the natural man, and is the truth of good which proceeds from the truth from the Divine which is represented by Joseph. This truth of good is called the spiritual of the celestial, and that this is "Benjamin" may be seen above (n. 3969, 4592). Man‘s internal and external are most distinct from each other, for his internal is in the light of heaven, and his external in the light of the world; and because they are most distinct, they cannot be conjoined except by means of an intermediate that partakes of both.
AC 5587. If thou wilt send our brother with us. That this signifies that if it is so done by the church that adjunction shall take place, there must be an intermediate, is evident from the representation of Israel, who was to send, as being the church (n. 4286), and hence "if thou wilt send" denotes if it is so done by the church; and from the representation of Benjamin, who here is their "brother," as being an intermediate (n. 5586). From this it is plain that by "if thou wilt send our brother with us" is signified that if it is so done by the church that its external be adjoined to its internal, there must be an intermediate.
AC 5588. We will go down and buy thee food. That this signifies that then the good of truth will be procured, is evident from the signification of "buying," as being to procure and appropriate, and from the signification of "food," as being the good of truth (n. 5582).
AC 5589. But if thou wilt not send him. That this signifies if not, that is, if it be not of the church that adjunction shall take place, is plain from what was said just above (n. 5587).
AC 5590. We will not go down. That this signifies that it cannot be procured, is evident from what was said just above (n. 5588).
AC 5591. For the man said unto us. That this signifies perception concerning the spiritual, is evident from the signification of the "man," as being the spiritual from the internal (n. 5584); and from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word, as being perception.
AC 5592. Ye shall not see my faces. That this signifies that there will be no compassion, is evident from what was unfolded above (n. 5585), where the same words occur.
AC 5593. Except your brother be with you. That this signifies unless there is an intermediate for you, is evident from what was said above in regard to Benjamin, who is here the "brother," that he is an intermediate (n. 5586, 5587). GENESIS 43:1-5 - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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