Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 44:13-17
AC 5772. Verses 13-17. And they rent their garments, and laded everyone his ass, and returned to the city. And Judah and his brethren entered Joseph’s house, and he was yet there; and they fell before him to the earth. And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? Knew ye not that such a man as I divining divineth? And Judah said, What shall we say to my lord? what shall we speak? and how shall we be justified? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants; behold we are servants to my lord, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup was found. And he said, Far be it from me to do this; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be to me a servant; and ye, go ye up in peace to your father. "And they rent their garments," signifies mourning; "and laded everyone his ass, and returned to the city," signifies that truths were brought back from things of sense to memory-knowledges; "and Judah and his brethren entered," signifies the good of the church with its truths; "Joseph‘s house," signifies communication with the internal; "and he was yet there," signifies foresight; "and they fell before him to the earth," signifies humiliation; "and Joseph said unto them," signifies their perception then; "What deed is this that ye have done?" signifies that to claim to themselves what is not theirs is an enormous evil; "knew ye not that such a man as I divining divineth?" signifies that it cannot be concealed from Him who sees future and hidden things; "and Judah said," signifies perception given to the good of the church in the natural; "What shall we say to my lord? what shall we speak?" signifies a wavering; "and how shall we be justified?" signifies that we are guilty; "God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants," signifies confession; "behold we are servants to my lord," signifies that they are forever to be deprived of freedom of their own; "both we," signifies the associates; "and he also in whose hand the cup was found," signifies as well as he with whom there is interior truth from the Divine celestial; "and he said, Far he it from me to do this," signifies that it should by no means he so; "the man in whose hand the cup was found," signifies but that he with whom is interior truth received from the Divine; "he shall be to me a servant," signifies that he will be forever subject; "and ye, go ye up in peace to your father," signifies that the associates, with whom there is not that truth, are to return to the former state.
AC 5773. And they rent their garments. That this signifies mourning, is evident from the signification of "rending the garments," as being mourning on account of truth being lost (n. 4763), here on account of truths from their own which they could no longer claim to themselves, because they had offered themselves as servants both in the presence of him that was over Joseph’s house (verse 9), and in the presence of Joseph himself (verse 16), whereby is signified that they would be without freedom from their own, thus without truths from themselves. As regards mourning on account of truths from their own, which is signified by their "rending their garments and offering themselves as servants," be it known that a turning about takes place with those who are being regenerated, namely, that they are led to good by means of truth, and afterward from good they are led to truth. When this turning about takes place, or when the state is changed and becomes the inverse of the former one, there is mourning; for they are then let into temptation, whereby what is of their own is weakened and broken down, and good is insinuated, and with good a new will, and with this a new freedom, thus a new own This is represented by Joseph‘s brethren returning in despair to Joseph, and offering themselves to him as servants, and their being kept in that state for some time, and by Joseph’s not manifesting himself until after the temptation; for when the temptation is over, the Lord shines on them with comfort.
AC 5774. And laded everyone his ass, and returned to the city. That this signifies that truths were brought back from things of sense into memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of an "ass," as being memory-knowledge (n. 5492), that "lading the ass" means bringing back from things of sense, is because by "making their bags come down to the earth" is signified bringing what was in the natural down to things of sense (n. 5767), and raising it from them is therefore here meant by "lading;" and from the signification of a "city," as being doctrinal truth (n. 402, 2449, 2943, 3216).
 What it is to bring back truths from things of sense into memory-knowledges must be briefly explained. Things of sense are one thing, memory-knowledges another, and truths another. They succeed one another in turn; for memory-knowledges come forth from things of sense, and truths from memory-knowledges; for the things which enter by the senses are laid up in the memory, and from them the man concludes memory-knowledge, or perceives from them memory-knowledge which he learns; from the memory-knowledges he then concludes truths, or perceives from them truth which he learns. Every man so progresses as he grows up from childhood. When he is a child he thinks and apprehends things from things of sense; when older he thinks and apprehends things from memory-knowledges; and afterward from truths. This is the way to the judgment into which man grows with age.
 From this it may be seen that things of sense, memory-knowledges, and truths, are distinct, and even remain distinct--so much so that a man is sometimes in things of sense, as when he thinks only of what meets the senses; sometimes in memory-knowledges, as when he elevates his mind out of things of sense, and thinks interiorly; and sometimes in truths which have been concluded from memory-knowledges, as in the case when he thinks more interiorly. Everyone who reflects upon it can know these things from himself. Man can also bring truths down into memory-knowledges, and see them in these, and he can also bring memory-knowledges down into things of sense, and contemplate them therein; as well as the converse. From this it is now plain what is meant by bringing what is in the natural down to things of sense, and by bringing truths back from things of sense into memory-knowledges.
AC 5775. And Judah and his brethren entered. That this signifies the good of the church with its truths, is evident from the representation of Judah, as being the good of the church (n. 5583, 5603) and from the representation of his brethren, as being truths in the natural. That Judah entered and spoke with Joseph, and not Reuben the firstborn, or any other of them, is because Judah chiefly represented good; and it is good that communicates with the celestial from the Divine, and not truths, because truths have no communication with the Divine except through good. This is the reason why Judah alone spoke.
AC 5776. Joseph‘s house. That this signifies communication with the internal, is evident from the signification of "entering the house," as being communication; and from the representation of Joseph, as being the internal (n. 5469). That "entering a house" denotes communication, is because by a "house" is signified the man himself (n. 3128, 5023), thus what makes the man, namely his mind with truth and good (n. 3538, 4973, 5023); and therefore when "entering a house" is spoken of, it means entering into his mind, thus to have communication.
AC 5777. And he was yet there. That this signifies foresight, may be seen from the fact that it was foreseen by Joseph that they would return, and he therefore stayed at home in order to manifest himself to Benjamin and consequently to the others; and in the internal sense that conjunction might be effected of the truths in the natural with the Divine celestial. It is called "foresight," because in the supreme sense it treats of the Lord who in this sense is "Joseph."
AC 5778. And they fell before him to the earth. That this signifies humiliation, is evident without explication.
AC 5779. And Joseph said unto them. That this signifies their perception then, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being perception. That it is their perception, is because it is said by Joseph, and by Joseph is represented the internal; and from the internal, that is, through the internal from the Lord, comes all perception. From no other source does perception come, nor even sensation. It appears as if sensation, as also perception, come by influx from the external; but this is a fallacy, for it is the internal that feels through the external. The senses placed in the body are nothing but organs or instruments that are of service to the internal man in order that it may be sensible of what is in the world; wherefore the internal flows into the external, causing it to feel, to the end that it may thereby perceive and be perfected; but not the reverse.
AC 5780. What deed is this that ye have done? That this signifies that to claim to themselves what is not theirs is an enormous evil, is evident from the signification of the theft of which they were accused, as being to claim to themselves the truth and good that belong to the Lord: this is the "deed" that is meant in the internal sense. What this evil is, see (n. 5749, 5758).
AC 5781. Knew ye not that such a man as I divining divineth? That this signifies that it cannot be concealed from Him who sees future and hidden things, is evident from the signification of "divining," as being to know from His Divinity things that are hid (n. 5748), and also future things, because it is predicated of the Lord, who is "Joseph" in the supreme sense. That it cannot be concealed is plain from the very words.
AC 5782. And Judah said. That this signifies perception given to the good of the church in the natural, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word, as being perception; that it is "given" is because all perception comes from the internal, that is, flows in through the internal from the Lord (n. 5779); and from the representation of Judah, as being the good of the church (n. 5583, 5603, 5775). As regards the representation of Judah, he it known that in the supreme sense he represents the Lord as to the Divine love, and in the internal sense His celestial kingdom (n. 3654, 3881), thus the celestial of love there; here therefore Judah represents the good of love in the church in the natural, because he is now among those who represent the things that are in the natural which are to be conjoined with the internal.
AC 5783. What shall we say to my lord? what shall we speak? That this signifies a wavering, is evident from the feeling expressed in these words, as being a wavering.
AC 5784. And how shall we be justified? That this signifies that we are guilty, is evident from the signification of "how shall we be justified?" (that is, that they cannot he justified), as being that they are guilty; for he who cannot be justified is guilty. Their acknowledging themselves to be guilty is plain from their offering themselves as servants to Joseph.
AC 5785. God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants. That this signifies confession, namely of their having done wrong, here in their having sold Joseph, and in the internal sense in their having estranged themselves from truth and good, and thereby separated themselves from the internal, is evident without explication.
AC 5786. Behold we are servants to my lord. That this signifies that they are forever to be deprived of freedom of their own, is evident from the signification of "servants," as being to be without freedom from their own (n. 5760, 5763). What it is to be deprived of freedom from their own has also been told in the numbers cited; but as this is a matter of the greatest moment, it shall be stated again. There is an external man, and there is an internal; the external man is that through which the internal acts; for the external is only an organ or instrument of the internal. This being so, the external must be wholly subordinate and subject to the internal; and when it is subject, heaven acts through the internal into the external, and disposes it according to such things as are of heaven.
 The contrary takes place when the external is not subject, but rules, as it does when the man has as his end the pleasures of the body and of the senses, especially those of the love of self and the world, and not those of heaven. To have as the end is to love the one and not the other; for when a man has such things as the end, he no longer believes that there is any internal man, nor that there is anything in himself which is to live when the body dies. For his internal, not having rule, merely serves the external to enable it to think and reason against good and truth, because in this case no other influx through the internal is open. For this reason it is that such persons wholly despise, and even turn away from, the things that are of heaven. From these things it is clear that the external man, which is the same as the natural man, ought to be entirely subject to the internal which is spiritual, and consequently to be without freedom from its own.
 Freedom from one’s own is to indulge in pleasures of every kind, to despise others in comparison with one‘s self, to subject them to one’s self as servants, or else to persecute and hate them, to delight in evils that befall them, and more so in those which the man himself brings on them purposely or deceitfully, and to desire their death. Such are the results of freedom from one‘s own. It is plain therefore what a man is when he is in this freedom, namely, a devil in human form. But when he loses this freedom, he then receives from the Lord heavenly freedom, which is utterly unknown to those who are in freedom from their own. These suppose that if the latter freedom were taken away from them, they would have no life left; when in fact life itself then begins; and joy, bliss, happiness, with wisdom, then come, because this freedom is from the Lord.
AC 5787. Both we. That this signifies the associates, is evident from the signification of "both we," as being the associates (n. 5760).
AC 5788. And he also in whose hand the cup was found. That this signifies as well he with whom there is interior truth from the Divine celestial, is evident from the signification of "in whose hand," as being with whom; from the signification of the "cup," as being interior truth (n. 5736); and from the representation of Joseph, as being the Divine celestial.
AC 5789. And he said, Far be it from me to do this. That this signifies that it should by no means be so, is evident without explication.
AC 5790. The man in whose hand the cup was found. That this signifies that he with whom is interior truth received from the Divine, is evident from what was said just above (n. 5788).
AC 5791. And he shall be to me a servant. That this signifies that he will be forever subject, is evident from the signification of a "servant," as being to be forever without freedom from one’s own (n. 5786), thus to be forever subject.
AC 5792. And ye, go ye up in peace to your father. That this signifies that the associates, with whom there is not that truth, are to return to the former state, is evident from the representation of Jacob‘s ten sons, as being the associates with whom the cup was not found--that is, the interior truth which is signified by the "cup" (n. 5736, 5788, 5790); and from the signification of "go ye up in peace to your father," as being to return to the former state; for when they are not accepted by the internal, which is "Joseph," the former state then awaits them. GENESIS 44:13-17 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|