Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 44:3-5
AC 5739. Verses 3-5. The morning grew light, and the men were sent away, they and their asses. They were gone out of the city, not yet far off, and Joseph said unto him that was over his house, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore do ye return evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and in which divining he divineth? Ye have done evil in so doing. "The morning grew light," signifies a state of enlightenment at that time; "and the men were sent away, they and their asses," signifies that the external natural man was removed some what with its truths and memory-knowledges; "they were gone out of the city, not yet far off," signifies the amount of removal; "and Joseph said unto him that was over his house," signifies perception and influx anew; "Up, follow after the men," signifies that it should now adjoin them to itself; "and when thou dost overtake them," signifies mediate adjunction; "say unto them, Wherefore do ye return evil for good?" signifies why is there a turning away; "is not this it in which my lord drinketh? " signifies that there was interior truth with them received from the celestial; "and in which divining he divineth?" signifies that the celestial knows hidden things from its Divine; "ye have done evil in so doing," signifies that it is contrary to Divine law to claim it to themselves.
AC 5740. The morning grew light. That this signifies a state of enlightenment at that time, is evident from the signification of "morning" and "growing light," as being a state of enlightenment. "Morning" in the supreme sense is the Lord (n. 2405, 2780); and therefore when it is said "the morning grew light," it signifies a state of enlightenment, for all enlightenment is from the Lord. "Rising in the morning" also means a state of enlightenment, (n. 3458, 3723).
AC 5741. And the men were sent away, they and their asses. That this signifies that the external natural man was removed somewhat with its truths and memory-knowledges, is evident from the representation of Jacob’s sons, who are here the "men," as being the truths of the church in the natural (n. 5403, 5419, 5427, 5458, 5512), and therefore the external natural man (n. 5680); from the signification of "asses," as being memory-knowledges (n. 5492); and from the signification of "sent away, and not far off," as being that it--the external natural man--was removed somewhat. From this it is plain that by "the men were sent away, they and their asses, not far off," is signified the external natural man, removed somewhat with its truths and memory-knowledges, namely, from the internal celestial which is represented by Joseph.
 As regards the signification of "asses," be it known that they signified one thing when they were used for riding, and another when they served for carrying burdens; for judges, kings, and their sons rode upon he-asses, she-asses, and also upon mules, and these then signified rational, and also natural, truth and good (n. 2781); for which reason when the Lord as Judge and King entered Jerusalem, He rode upon an ass with a colt; for this was the mark of judgeship, and also of royalty. But when asses served for carrying burdens, as here, then they signified memory-knowledges. for is the case different with these knowledges. One who in thinking of man‘s interior things advances no further than to the knowledges that are of the memory, supposes that everything of man consists in these knowledges, not being aware that memory-knowledges are the lowest things in man, and such as for the most part are put away when the body dies (n. 2475-2480); but the things that are in them, namely truth and good together with their affections, remain; and also with the evil there remain falsity and evil together with their affections; memory-knowledges being as it were the body of these. So long as a man lives in the world, he has truth and good, or falsity and evil, in the memory-knowledges, for these are what contain them; and because memory-knowledges contain, and therefore as it were carry, interior things, they are signified by the asses which serve for carrying burdens.
AC 5742. They were gone out of the city, not yet far off. That this signifies the amount of removal, may be seen from what has gone before.
AC 5743. And Joseph said unto him that was over his house. That this signifies perception and influx anew, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word, as being to perceive; and because it is perception in respect to him who hears and receives, it is influx in respect to him who says; for they mutually answer to each other. His "commanding him that was over his house" denotes influx from himself, (n. 5732).
AC 5744. Up, follow after the men. That this signifies that it ought now to adjoin them to itself, is evident from the signification of "following after the men and overtaking them," as being to adjoin; for "to follow" denotes a disposition to adjoin, and "to overtake" denotes adjunction. In the rest of this chapter is described the return of Jacob’s sons, and in the following chapter the manifestation of Joseph, by which is signified the conjunction of the celestial of the spiritual with truths in the natural. Hence it is plain that by "follow after the men" is signified that it ought now to adjoin them to itself.
AC 5745. And when thou dost overtake them. That this signifies mediate adjunction, is evident from the signification of their being overtaken by him that was over Joseph‘s house, as being mediate adjunction.
AC 5746. Say unto them, Wherefore do ye return evil for good? That this signifies why is there a turning away? is evident from the signification of "returning evil for good," as being to turn away, for evil is nothing else than a turning away from good; for they who are in evil spurn good, that is, spiritual good, which is of charity and faith. That "evil" is a turning away, is very evident from the evil in the other life; for they appear in the light of heaven with the feet upward and the head downward (n. 3641), thus wholly inverted, and consequently turned away.
AC 5747. Is not this it in which my lord drinketh? That this signifies that the interior truth with them was received from the celestial, is evident from the signification of a "cup," which is meant by "this in which my lord drinketh," as being interior truth (n. 5736); and from the representation of Joseph, who is here "my lord," as being the celestial of the spiritual (n. 5307, 5331, 5332), here the celestial, because interior truth is treated of, which is spiritual and proceeds from the celestial. That it was received is signified by the cup being placed at Joseph’s command in the mouth of Benjamin‘s bag.
 They are accused as if they had taken the cup. The reason why they were so accused, although the cup had been placed there, is plain from the internal sense, which is this. The truth which is bestowed by the Lord is first received as if it were not bestowed; for before regeneration the man supposes that he procures truth for himself, and so long as he supposes this he is in spiritual theft. To claim good and truth to one’s self, and to attribute them to one‘s self for righteousness and merit, is to take away from the Lord that which is His (n. 2609, 4174, 5135). It was in order that this might be represented, that this thing was done by Joseph; but still their being accused of theft was in order that conjunction might be effected, for until man has been regenerated he cannot but so believe. He does indeed say with his lips from doctrine that all the truth of faith and good of charity are from the Lord, yet he does not believe it until faith has been implanted in good, when for the first time he acknowledges it from the heart.
 Confession from doctrine is quite another thing than confession from faith. Many, even those who are not in good, can confess from doctrine, for doctrine to them is merely knowledge; but none can confess from faith except those who are in spiritual good, that is, in charity toward the neighbor. That they were accused of theft in order to bring about conjunction, is plain also from the fact that Joseph thereby brought them back to him, and kept them awhile in thought about what they had done, and that he then manifested, that is conjoined, himself to them.
AC 5748. And in which divining he divineth? That this signifies that the celestial knows hidden things from its Divine, is evident from the signification of "divining," as being to know hidden things. That it is from the Divine, is because the celestial of the spiritual, which is "Joseph," represents truth from the Divine, or truth in which is the Divine (n. 5703)
AC 5749. Ye have done evil in so doing. That this signifies that it is contrary to Divine law to claim it to themselves, is evident from the signification of "theft," which is meant here by the "evil which they did," as being to claim to one’s self that which belongs to the Lord, namely, the truth which is signified by Joseph‘s silver cup (n. 5747). That this is contrary to the Divine law is manifest (n. 2609). The reason why man ought not to claim to himself anything that is from the Lord, thus not truth and good, is that he may be in the truth; and in so far as he is in the truth, so far he is in the light in which angels are in heaven; and in so far as he is in this light, so far he is in intelligence and wisdom; and in so far as he is in intelligence and wisdom, so far he is in happiness. This is the reason why man ought to acknowledge from the faith of the heart that nothing of truth and good is from himself, but all from the Lord, and this because it is so. GENESIS 44:3-5 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|