Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 43:6-10
AC 5594. Verses 6-10. And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye ill with me, to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? And they said, Asking the man asked unto us, and unto our birth, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye a brother? and we told him according to the mouth of these words. Knowing could we know that he would say, Bring your brother down? And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go; and we will live, and not die, both we and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him; if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, and I shall sin to thee all the days; for except we had lingered, surely we had now returned these two times. "And Israel said," signifies perception from spiritual good; "Wherefore dealt ye ill with me to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?" signifies that they separated from them the truth of good, to conjoin it with the spiritual from the internal; "and they said, Asking the man asked unto us," signifies that it clearly perceived the things in the natural; "and unto our birth," signifies concerning the truths of faith there; "saying, Is your father yet alive?" signifies and concerning the spiritual good from which they were; "have ye a brother?" signifies concerning interior truth; "and we told him according to the mouth of these words," signifies that he perceived them conformably; "knowing could we know that he would say, Bring your brother down?" signifies that we did not believe that he wished the truth of good to be conjoined with him; "and Judah said unto Israel his father," signifies perception from the good of the church concerning those things; "Send the boy with me," signifies that he should be adjoined to him; "and we will arise and go; and we will live, and not die," signifies spiritual life according to degrees; "both we," signifies the external of the church; "and thou," signifies its internal; "and also our little ones," signifies the things which are still more interior; "I will be surety for him," signifies that in the meantime it will be adjoined to itself; "of my hand shalt thou require him," signifies that it shall not he torn away in so far as lies in its power; "if I bring him not unto thee, and set him be. fore thee," signifies unless he is quite restored to the church; "and I shall sin to thee all the days," signifies that the good of the church will no longer he; "for except we had lingered," signifies tarrying in a state of doubt; "surely we had now returned these two times," signifies that there would have been spiritual life both exterior and interior.
AC 5595. And Israel said. That this signifies perception from spiritual good, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive; and from the representation of Israel, as being spiritual good (n. 3654, 4598); and because Israel is spiritual good, he is also the internal spiritual church (n. 3305, 4286), for this church is a church from spiritual good. Spiritual good is truth that has become good; for truth becomes good when the man lives according to it, for it then passes into the will, and from the will into act, and becomes of the life; and when it becomes of the life it is no longer called truth but good. But the will which transforms truth into good is the new will in the intellectual part; it is this good that is called spiritual good. Spiritual good is distinguished from celestial good in that celestial good is implanted in man’s will part itself; but this subject has often been treated of before.
 That Jacob is not now called "Jacob," as in the previous chapter (Gen. 42:36), but "Israel," is because good is the subject treated of in this chapter, and truth in the preceding; wherefore in that chapter Reuben was the one to speak, by whom is represented the truth of doctrine of the church (n. 3861, 3866, 4731, 4734, 4761, 5542), while in this chapter it is Judah who speaks, by whom is represented the good of the church (n. 3654, 5583). That good is now treated of is because this time the conjunction between the internal, which is Joseph, and the external, which is the ten sons of Jacob, is effected by means of the intermediate which is Benjamin; and the conjunction of the internal with the external is effected by means of good.
AC 5596. Wherefore dealt ye ill with me, to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? That this signifies that they separated from them the truth of good, to conjoin it with the spiritual from the internal, is evident from the signification of "dealing ill," as being to separate, for it is their separating Benjamin from him that he calls "dealing ill;" and from the signification of "telling," as being to give something for another to think and reflect upon (n. 2862, 5508), consequently to communicate (n. 4856), thus also to conjoin; for when anything passes into the will of another, conjunction is effected by what is communicated, as when Joseph heard that Benjamin was still living and with his father, he wanted him to come to him, and then to be alone with him, conjoined with him, as is plain from the historicals that follow; and from the representation of Joseph, as being the Divine spiritual, and as being, when called "the man," the spiritual from the internal (n. 5584); and from the representation of Benjamin, who is here their brother of whom they told, as being the truth of good (n. 5586). From all this it is plain that by "Wherefore dealt ye ill with me to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?" is signified that they separated from them the truth of good, to conjoin it with the spiritual from the internal.
AC 5597. And they said, Asking the man asked unto us. That this signifies that it clearly perceived the things in the natural, is evident from the signification of "asking," as being to perceive another‘s thought; and from the representation of the ten sons of Jacob, who are here meant by "us," as being the things of the church which are in the natural (n. 5403, 5419, 5427, 5458, 5512). That by "asking" is meant perceiving another’s thought, is because in heaven there is a communication of all thoughts, so that no one has need to ask another what he is thinking. Hence it is that "asking" signifies perceiving another‘s thought; for in the internal sense the quality of a thing on earth is its quality in heaven.
AC 5598. And unto our birth. That this signifies concerning the truths of faith there, is evident from the signification of "birth," as being the birth of truth from good, or of faith from charity (n. 1145, 1255, 4070, 4668). That "birth" in the internal sense denotes this is because in heaven no other birth is understood than that which is called regeneration, which is effected by means of the truth of faith and the good of charity. By this birth, from being sons of man men become sons of the Lord; these are they who are said to be "born of God" (John 1:13). According to the varieties of good from truth and of truth from good in this birth are the brotherhoods or relationships by blood and by marriage in heaven; for in heaven there are perpetual varieties, but the varieties are so disposed by the Lord as to represent families in which are brothers, sisters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandsons, granddaughters, and so on. In general however all are disposed in such a form that together they make a one, as is the case with the varieties in the human body, where no member is exactly like another, nor indeed any part in one member the same as another part, and yet all the various parts are disposed in such a form that they act as a one, and each concurs intimately or remotely with the action of every other. Such being the form in man, it may be inferred what the form in heaven must be, with which all the things in man have correspondence that it must be most perfect.
AC 5599. Saying, Is your father yet alive? That this signifies and concerning the spiritual good from which they were, is evident from the representation of Israel, who is the "father" here, as being spiritual good (n. 3654, 4598, 5595). It is said "from which they were" because from this good, as from a father, the truths of faith come down (n. 5598).
AC 5600. Have ye a brother? That this signifies concerning interior truth, is evident from the representation of Benjamin, as being the spiritual of the celestial, or what is the same, the truth of good, or interior truth. "Benjamin" is truth in which is good, or the spiritual of the celestial, (n. 3969, 4592). This interior truth is the intermediate between truth from the Divine and truth in the natural.
AC 5601. And we told him according to the month of these words. That this signifies that he perceived them conformably, is evident from the signification of "telling," as being to perceive (n. 3608), for in the spiritual world or in heaven they have no need to tell what they think, there being a communication of all thoughts (n. 5597), and therefore in the spiritual sense "telling" signifies perceiving; and from the signification of "according to these words," as being conformably; for they are the things he desired to perceive.
AC 5602. Knowing could we know that he would say, Bring your brother down? That this signifies that we did not believe that he desired the truth of good to be conjoined with himself, is evident from the signification of "knowing could we know that he would say," as being not to believe; and from the representation of Benjamin, who is here the "brother," as being the truth of good (n. 5600). That this was to be conjoined with him is signified by their "bringing him down," as is plain from what was said above (n. 5596).
AC 5603. And Judah said unto Israel his father. That this signifies perception from the good of the church concerning these things, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word, as being to perceive; from the representation of Judah, as being the good of the church (n. 5583); and from the representation of Israel, as being the internal spiritual church (n. 3305, 4286). From this it is plain that by "Judah’s saying to Israel his father" is signified the perception of the church from its good.
AC 5604. Send the boy with me. That this signifies that he should be adjoined to him, namely, to the good of the church which is represented by Judah, is evident from the signification of "sending with him," as being to be adjoined to him, and not to the others; for it is said in what follows "I will be surety for him, of my hand shalt thou require him;" and from the representation of Benjamin, who is here the "boy," as being interior truth (n. 5600). This is called the "boy," because that which is interior is in the Word called relatively a "boy," for the reason that there is more innocence in the interior than in the exterior, and innocence is signified by an "infant," and also by a "boy" (n. 5236).
AC 5605. And we will arise and go, and we will live, and not die. That this signifies spiritual life according to degrees, is evident from the signification of "arising," as being elevation to higher or interior things, consequently to the things of spiritual life (n. 2401, 2785, 2912, 2927, 3171, 4103, 4881); from the signification of "going," as being to live (n. 3335, 3690, 4882, 5493), and as the words follow "and we will live," "going" signifies the first spiritual life; from the signification of "living," as being spiritual life, for no other life is meant in the internal sense of the Word; and from the signification of "not dying," as being no longer to be damned, that is, to be out of a state of damnation, for in the internal sense of the Word no other than spiritual death is meant, which is damnation. From this it is plain that by "we will arise and go, and we will live and not die" is signified life according to degrees; namely, introduction into life by "arising," the first of life by "going," life itself by "living," and being led out from the things of no life by "not dying."
 That "to go" in the internal sense is to live, seems strange to him who knows nothing about spiritual life; but it is like "journeying," which denotes the order of life and what is successive of life (n. 1293, 4375, 4554, 4585), and like "sojourning," which denotes to be instructed and to live accordingly (n. 1463, 2025, 3672). The reason why "going," "journeying," and "sojourning" have these significations might indeed be told, but the reason is of such a nature as could scarcely be accepted by those who are ignorant of the nature of movements in the other life. Moments and progressions there are nothing else because from no other source than changes of the state of life. These changes appear in externals exactly like progressions from place to place. That this is so can be confirmed by much experience in the other life; for I have walked there in spirit with them and among them, through many of their abode., and this though in body I remained in the same place. I have also talked with them as to how this could be, and have been informed that it is the changes of the state of life that make progressions in the spiritual world.
 This was also confirmed by the fact that by means of changes induced on their states, spirits can appear on high, and then in a moment beneath, or now far to the west, and in a moment to the east, and so on. But as before said this cannot but seem strange to him who knows nothing about life in the spiritual world; for there are no spaces or times there, but states of life instead. These states produce in externals a most living appearance of progressions and motions. The appearance is as living and real as that life itself is in us and therefore our own; when yet life flows in from the Lord, who is the fountain of all life (n. 2021, 2658, 2706, 2886-2888, 3001, 3318, 3337, 3338, 3484, 3619, 3741-3743, 4151, 4249, 4318-4320, 4417, 4523, 4524, 4882). As "going" and "moving" signify living, it was therefore said by the ancients, that "in God we move, live, and have our being" (Acts 17:28); and by "moving" they meant the external of life, by "living" its internal, and by "being" its inmost.
AC 5606. Both we. That this signifies the external of the church, is manifest from the representation of the ten sons of Jacob, who here are "we," as being the external of the church (n. 5469).
AC 5607. And thou. That this signifies its internal, is evident from the representation of Israel, who here is "thou," as being the internal of the church (n. 4286, 4292, 4570).
AC 5608. And also our little ones. That this signifies the things still more interior, is evident from the signification of "little ones," as being the things which are interior (n. 5604). That more interior things are signified by "little children‘ and by "boys," is because innocence is signified by both, and innocence is what is inmost. In the heavens the inmost or third heaven consists of those who are in innocence, for they are in love to the Lord; and because the Lord is innocence itself, therefore they who are there, being in love to Him, are in innocence. These, although they are the wisest of all in the heavens, yet appear to others like little children. It is for this reason, and also because little children are in innocence, that by "little children" in the Word is signified innocence.
 As the inmost of the heavens is innocence, therefore that which is interior with all in the heavens must be innocence. This is like successive things in relation to those which exist together, or like the things which are distinct from one another by degrees in relation to those which exist from them; for all that which exists simultaneously, springs from that which is successive. When the former exists from the latter, the parts place themselves in the same order as that in which they had before been distinguished by degrees; as, by way of illustration, end, cause, and effect are in succession and distinct from one another; and when they exist together they place themselves in the same order, the end as inmost, the cause next, and the effect last. The effect is coexisting, and is such that unless there is in it a cause, and in the cause an end, there is no effect, because if from the effect you remove the cause you destroy the effect, and still more if from the cause you remove the end; for from the end the cause has what makes it a cause, and from the cause the effect has what makes it an effect.
 So also it is in the spiritual world: just as the end, cause, and effect are distinct from one another, so in the spiritual world are love to the Lord, charity toward the neighbor, and the works of charity. When these three become one or exist together, the first must be in the second, and the second in the third. And also as in the works of charity: unless charity from affection or the heart is within them, they are not works of charity; and unless love to God is within charity, it is not charity. Therefore if you take away that which is interior, the exterior falls; for the exterior comes into existence and subsists from its interiors in order. So is it with innocence. This makes one with love to the Lord, and unless it is within charity it is not charity; consequently unless charity in which there is innocence is within the works of charity they are not works of charity. Hence it is that innocence must be within all who are in the heavens.
 That this is so, and that innocence is signified by "little children," is evident in Mark:--
Jesus said to the disciples, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And taking them up in His arms, he put His hand upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:14-16; Luke 18:15-17; Matt. 18:3).
It is evident that by "little children" is here signified innocence, because with little children there is innocence, and because those who are innocent appear in heaven as little children.
 No one can enter heaven unless he has some what of innocence (n. 4797); and moreover little children suffer themselves to be governed by angels who are forms of innocence, and not as yet by what is their own, as is the case with and who govern themselves by their own judgment and will. That little children suffer themselves to be governed by angels is evident from the Lord’s words in Matthew,
See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of My Father (Matthew 18:10);
no one can "see the face" of God except from innocence.
 In the following passages also innocence is signified by "infants" or "little children." In Matthew:--
Out of the mouth of babes and suckling, Thou hast perfected praise (Matthew 21:16; Ps. 8:2).
Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the intelligent, and hast revealed them unto babes (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21);
for innocence, which is signified by "babes," is wisdom itself, because genuine innocence dwells in wisdom (n. 2305, 2306, 4797). For this reason it is said, "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise," and also that such things have been "revealed unto babes."
. In Isaiah:--
The cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together, and the suckling shall play on the hole of the viper (Isa. 11:7, 8);
speaking of the Lord‘s kingdom, and specifically of the state of peace or innocence therein. A "suckling" denotes innocence; that nothing of evil can befall those who are in innocence is signified by a "suckling playing on the hole of a viper;" "vipers" are they who are most crafty. This chapter plainly relates to the Lord. In Joel:--
Sound the trumpet in Lion, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the babes and those that suck the breasts (Joel 2:15, 16);
"elders" denotes the wise; "babes and those that such the breasts," the innocent.
 In the following passages also by "infants" is meant innocence, but in these that it was destroyed. In Jeremiah:--
Wherefore commit ye great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and suckling, out of the midst of Judah, so that I shall leave you no remains? (Jer. 44:7).
Lift up thy hands to Him upon the soul of thy little children, that faint for hunger in the head of all the streets (Lam. 2:10).
Pass through Jerusalem, and smite, let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity, the old man, the young man, and the maiden, and the little child (Ezek. 9:5, 6).
The women of My people ye drive out of everyone’s house of delights, from the babes thereof they take away Mine honor forever (Micah 2:9).
 As regards the innocence of little children however, it is only external and not internal; and because it is not internal it cannot be conjoined with any wisdom. But the innocence of the angels, especially those of the third heaven, is internal innocence, and thus conjoined with wisdom (n. 2305, 2306, 3494, 4563, 4797). Man is so created that when he grows old and becomes like a little child, the innocence of wisdom conjoins itself with the innocence of ignorance which he had in infancy, and so he passes into the other life as a true infant.
AC 5609. And I wilt be surety for him. That this signifies that in the meantime it will be adjoined to itself, is evident from the signification of "being surety for" anyone, as being to be instead of him, as is plain from what now follows, especially from what Judah said to Joseph about his being surety (Gen. 44:32, 33); and as to be surety for anyone denotes to be instead of him, it also denotes that while in the way it is adjoined to itself.
AC 5610. Of my hand shalt thou require him. That this signifies that it shall not be torn away in so far as lies in its power, is evident from the signification of the "hand," as being power (n. 878, 3387, 4931-4937, 5327, 5328, 5544), and that it denotes in so far as lies in its power, is because surety or guarantee goes no further (the internal sense here sets forth the truth and the nature of it); and from the signification of "requiring him from him," as being not to be torn away; for one who is required of another must be adjoined to him and not be torn from him.
AC 5611. If I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee. That this signifies unless he is quite restored to the church, is evident from the signification of "bringing to him and setting before him," as being to completely restore; and from the representation of Israel, to whom he was to be restored, as being the church (n. 3305, 4286, 5595).
AC 5612. And I shall sin to thee all the days. That this signifies that the good of the church will no longer be, is evident from the representation of Judah, who says this of himself, as being the good of the church (n. 5583, 5603); and from the signification of "sinning," as being disjunction (n. 5229, 5474), thus that it will not be, for anything that is disjoined from another is not with it any longer; and from the signification of "all the days," as being forever, thus no longer. These things are said because the good of the church is impossible without the intermediate between the internal and the external which is represented by Benjamin; for both the good and the truth of the church flow from the internal through the intermediate into the external, and consequently in the degree that it is important to have the good of the church, in the same degree it is important to have the intermediate. It is for this reason that Judah makes himself surety for Benjamin. That the good of the church is not possible without the intermediate, is signified by these words of Judah, and that the truth of the church is not possible, by Reuben‘s words (n. 5542).
AC 5613. For except we had lingered. That this signifies tarrying in a state of doubt, is evident from the signification of "lingering," as being a state of doubt; for as "going," "advancing," "journeying," and "sojourning" signify states of life (n. 5605), so "lingering" signifies a state of doubt, because when the state of life is in a state of doubt, then the external is in a state of lingering. Moreover this is to be seen in man himself; for when his mind hangs in any doubt, he halts and deliberates. The reason is that doubt makes the state of life hesitating and wavering, and consequently the outward progression, which is the effect. Hence it is plain that tarrying in a state of doubt is signified by "except we had lingered."
AC 5614. Surely we had now returned these two times. That this signifies that there would have been spiritual life both exterior and interior, is evident from the signification of "going," as being to live (n. 5605); and therefore "returning" is living therefrom, for they went thither to procure corn, and by "corn" is signified the good of truth from which is spiritual life; and from the signification of "these two times," which, as it relates to life, denotes life exterior and interior, for by the "produce" they got the first time was signified life that is exterior or in the natural, for the reason that they were without an intermediate (as explained in the preceding chapter); while by the "corn" they get this time is signified interior life, because they were now with Benjamin, who is the intermediate, as explained in this and in the following chapter. Hence it is that by "surely we had now returned these two times," is signified spiritual life both exterior and interior.
 That this is the signification cannot but seem strange, especially to one who knows nothing about what is spiritual; for it seems as if "returning these two times" has nothing in common with the spiritual life that is signified; but still this is the internal sense of the words. If you will believe it, the interior thought itself of the man who is in good apprehends this, because this thought is in the internal sense, although while in the body the man is deeply ignorant of it; for unknown to him the internal sense, that is, the spiritual sense, which is of the interior thought, falls into material and sensuous ideas that partake of time and space and of such things as are in the world, and therefore it does not appear that his interior thought is of such a nature; for his interior thought is like that of the angels, his spirit being in company with them.
 That the thought of the man who is in good is according to the internal sense, may be seen from the fact that when after death he comes into heaven, he at once without any information is in the internal sense, and this could not be unless as to his interior thought he had been in this sense while in the world. The reason of his being in this internal sense is that there is a correspondence between spiritual and natural things so complete that there is not the smallest thing that has not its correspondence; and therefore because the interior or rational mind of the man who is in good is in the spiritual world, and his exterior or natural mind in the natural world, it must needs be that both minds think (the interior mind spiritually, and the exterior naturally), and that the spiritual falls into the natural, and they act as a one by correspondence.
 That man’s interior mind, the ideas of thought of which are called intellectual and are said to be immaterial, does not think from the words of any language, nor consequently from natural forms, can be seen by him who is able to reflect on these things, for he can think in a moment what he can scarcely utter in an hour, and he does so by universals which comprise in them very many particulars. These ideas of thought are spiritual, and when the Word is being read are no other than as the internal sense is; although the man does not know this, because as before said these spiritual ideas, by influx into what is natural, present natural ideas, so that the spiritual ideas do not appear; insomuch that unless he has been instructed the man believes that there is no spiritual unless it is like the natural, and even that he does not think otherwise in spirit than as he speaks in the body. In such a manner does the natural cast a shade over the spiritual.GENESIS 43:6-10 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|