Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 44:32-34
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AC 5838. Verses 32-34. For thy servant became surety for the boy from being with my father, saying, If I bring him not back unto thee I shall sin to my father all the days. And now I pray let thy servant remain instead of the boy a servant to my lord, and let the boy go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father and the boy he not with me? peradventure I shall see the evil that shall come upon my father. "For thy servant became surety for the boy from being with my father, saying," signifies adjunction to itself; "If I bring him not back unto thee," signifies unless it be conjoined with spiritual good; "I shall sin to my father all the days," signifies a turning away, and thus that there would be no good of the church; "and now I pray let thy servant remain instead of the boy a servant to my lord," signifies submission; "and let the boy go up with his brethren," signifies in order that interior truth may be conjoined with spiritual good; "for how shall I go up to my father and the boy he not with me?" signifies that spiritual good from the natural would he without interior truth; "peradventure I shall see the evil that shall come upon my father," signifies perception that it will perish.

AC 5839. For thy servant became surety for the boy from being with my father, saying. That this signifies adjunction, is evident from the signification of "becoming surety for" another, as being to adjoin him to one‘s self (n. 5609). For the truth which Benjamin represented, while it is not so much with spiritual good, which is the "father," may in the meantime be with the good of the external church which Judah represents; for this good and spiritual good act as one by correspondence.

AC 5840. If I bring him not back unto thee. That this signifies unless it be conjoined with spiritual good, is evident from the signification of "bringing back," as being to be conjoined again; and from the representation of Israel, as being spiritual good.

AC 5841. I shall sin to my father all the days. That this signifies a turning away, and thus that there would be no good of the church, is evident from the signification of "sinning," as being disjunction (n. 5229, 5474), thus a turning away; and if the good of the external church which Judah represents, averts itself from the good of the internal church represented by Israel, there is no longer any good of the church. The conjunction itself causes that there is good from which is the church. With these two goods, of the internal church and of the external, the case is this. The good of the internal church, or internal good, produces the good of the external church, or external good, by influx and because it is so, internal good elevates to itself external good in order that this may look to it, and through it upward toward the lord. This takes place when there is conjunction; but if there is disjunction, external good turns itself away, and looks downward, and thus perishes. It is this turning away which is signified by "I shall sin to my father all the days."

AC 5842. And now I pray let thy servant remain instead of the boy a servant to my lord. That this signifies submission, is evident from the fact that to offer one’s self as a servant in the place of another is to deprive one‘s self of freedom from one’s own, and to submit one‘s self altogether to the other. By these words is signified the submission of the natural or external man under the internal; for when the good there submits itself, the very truths there submit themselves, for truths are of good.

AC 5843. And let the boy go up with his brethren. That this signifies in order that interior truth may be conjoined with spiritual good, is evident from the representation of Benjamin, as being new truth (n. 5804, 5806, 5809, 5822), thus interior truth; and from the signification of "going up with his brethren," as being to be again conjoined with his father, that is, with the spiritual good which is represented by Israel. The interior truth which Benjamin here represents, is the new truth, for this is interior relatively to the truths which are below. For the truth which proceeds from good is interior truth; thus this truth is so because it proceeds from spiritual good, which is "Israel." The good of charity from the will, thus from affection, is internal good, or the good of the internal church; but the good of charity not from affection but from obedience, and not from the will but from doctrine, is external good, or the good of the external church; and it is the same with the truths which are from it.

AC 5844. For how shall I go up to my father, and the boy he not with me? That this signifies that spiritual good from the natural would be without interior truth, is evident from the representation of Israel, who here is the "father," as being spiritual good from the natural; and from the representation of Benjamin, who here is the "boy," as being interior truth (n. 5843).

AC 5845. Peradventure I shall see the evil that shall come upon my father. That this signifies a perception that it will perish, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being to understand (n. 2807, 3863, 4403-4421), and thence to perceive (n. 3764, 4567, 5400). That it will perish is signified by the "evil which shall come upon him," the same as by "making his gray hairs go down in evil to the grave" (n. 5832), also that if his father did not see him with his brethren, he "would die" (n. 5836). This is the evil that is signified. Spiritual good, which is "Israel," would perish if the truth which is "Benjamin" should depart, (n. 5832).


AC 5846. The influx from the spiritual world into man is in general of such a nature that man cannot think or will anything of himself, but everything flows in; good and truth from the Lord through heaven, thus through the angels who are with the man; evil and falsity from hell, thus through the evil spirits who are with the man; and this into the man’s thought and will. This I know will appear a very great paradox because it is contrary to the appearance; but experience itself shall declare how the matter stands.

AC 5847. No man, spirit, or angel ever has any life from himself, thus neither can he think and will from himself; because in thinking and willing is the life of man, and speaking and acting is the life thence derived. For there is one only life, that of the Lord, which flows into all, but is variously received, and indeed according to the quality which a man has induced on his soul by his life. Hence with the evil, goods and truths are turned into evils and falsities, but with the good they are received--goods as goods, and truths as truths. This may be compared to the light of the sun flowing into objects, which is modified and varied in them diversely according to the form of the parts, and thus is turned into colors, some sad and some cheerful. While a man lives in the world he induces a form on the purest substances of his interiors, so that it may be said that he forms his soul, that is, its quality; and according to this form is received the life of the Lord, which is the life of His love toward the universal human race. That there is one only life, and that men, spirits, and angels are recipients of life, see (n. 1954, 2021, 2706, 2886-2889, 2893, 3001, 3318, 3337, 3338, 3484, 3741-3743, 4151, 4249, 4318-4320, 4417, 4524, 4882).

AC 5848. In order that the life of the Lord may flow in and be received according to all law in man, there are continually with him angels and spirits--angels from heaven, and spirits from hell; and I have been informed that there are with everyone two spirits and two angels. That there are spirits from hell is because man of himself is continually in evil, for he is in the delight of the love of self and of the world, and in so far as man is in evil, or in this delight, so far angels from heaven cannot be present.

AC 5849. The two spirits adjoined to man cause him to be in communication with hell, and the two angels cause him to be in communication with heaven. Without communication with heaven and hell, man could not live even a moment. If these communications were taken away, the man would fall dead as a stock; for then would be taken away the connection with the First Esse, that is, with the Lord. This has also been shown me by much experience. The spirits with me were removed a little, and then as they were removed I began as it were to expire, and indeed should have expired if they had not been sent back. But I know that few will believe there is any spirit with them, nor even that there are any spirits; and this chiefly for the reason that at this day there is no faith, because no charity, and thus it is not believed that there is a hell, nor even that there is a heaven, nor consequently that there is any life after death. Another reason is that they do not see spirits with their eyes for they say, "If I should see, I would believe; what I see, this is; but what I do not see, I do not know whether it is." When yet they know, or might know, that man‘s eye is so dull and gross that it does not even see many things that exist in ultimate nature, as is evident from microscopes which make them visible. How then could it see what is within even purer nature, where spirits and angels are? These man cannot see except with the eye of his internal man, for this is accommodated to such vision. But the sight of this eye is not opened to man while he is in this world, for many reasons. From all this it is evident how far distant is the faith of this day from the faith of ancient times, when it was believed that every man had his angel with him.

AC 5850. The truth of the matter is this. From the Lord through the spiritual world into the subjects of the natural world there is a general influx and also a particular influx--a general influx into those things which are in order, a particular influx into those things which are not in order. Animals of every kind are in the order of their nature, and therefore into them there is general influx. That they are in the order of their nature is evident from the fact that they are born into all their faculties, and have no need to be introduced into them by any information. But men are not in their order, nor in any law of order, and therefore they receive particular influx; that is, there are with them angels and spirits through whom the influx comes. And unless these were with men, they would rush into every wickedness and would plunge in a moment into the deepest hell. Through these spirits and angels man is kept under the auspices and guidance of the Lord. The order into which man was created would be that he should love the neighbor as himself, and even more than himself. Thus do the angels. But man loves only himself and the world, and hates the neighbor, except in so far as he favors his commanding and possessing the world. Therefore as the life of man is altogether contrary to heavenly order, he is ruled by the Lord through separate spirits and angels.

AC 5851. The same spirits do not remain constantly with a man, but are changed according to the man’s states, that is, the states of his affection, or of his loves and ends, the former being removed and others succeeding. In general there are with man spirits of such a quality as is the man himself. If he is avaricious, there are spirits who are avaricious; if he is haughty, there are haughty spirits; if he is desirous of revenge, there are spirits of this character; if he is deceitful, there are the like spirits. Man summons to himself spirits from hell in accordance with his life. The hells are most exactly distinguished according to evils of cupidities, and according to all the differences of evil. Thus there is never any lack of spirits like himself to be called out and adjoined to a man who is in evil.

AC 5852. The evil spirits with man are indeed from the hells, but while they are with him they are not in hell, but taken out from thence. The place where they then are is midway between hell and heaven, and is called the WORLD OF SPIRITS, of which mention has often been made before. In this world called the world of spirits there are also good spirits who likewise are with man. Into that world also come men immediately after death, who after tarrying a while there, are either sent away into the lower earth, or are let down into hell, or taken up into heaven, each one according to his life. In that world the hells are terminated above, being there closed or opened at the good pleasure of the Lord; and in that world heaven is terminated below; thus it is an interval that distinguishes heaven from hell. From this it may now be known what the world of spirits is. When evil spirits who are with man are in that world, they are not in any infernal torment, but are in the delights of the love of self and of the world, as also of all the pleasures in which the man himself is; for they are in every thought and every affection of the man; but when they are sent back into their hell, they return into their former state.

AC 5853. The spirits who come to a man enter into all his memory and into all the memory-knowledges that he possesses. Thus they put on all things belonging to the man, insomuch that they know no otherwise than that these are their own. This is a prerogative that spirits have above man. Hence it is that all things which the man thinks they think, and all things which the man wills they will; and conversely, whatever the spirits think the man thinks, and whatever the spirits will the man wills; for they act as a one by conjunction. Yet on both sides it is supposed that such things are in and from themselves, both on the part of the spirits and on the part of the men. But this is a fallacy.

AC 5854. It is provided by the Lord that spirits should flow into what is thought and willed by man, but angels into his ends, and thus through the ends into all that follows from the ends. Angels also flow in through good spirits into the goods of life and truths of faith with man, by means of which they lead him away from evils and falsities as far as possible. This influx is tacit, imperceptible to the man, but still operating and efficient in secret. Especially do they avert evil ends and insinuate good ones. But in so far as they cannot do this, they withdraw, and flow in more remotely, and more absently, and then evil spirits come nearer; for angels cannot be present in evil ends, that is, in the loves of self and of the world, and yet they are present from afar.

[2] The Lord could through angels lead man into good ends by omnipotent force; but this would be to take away the man‘s life, for his life consists in entirely contrary loves. Therefore the Divine law is inviolable, that man shall be in freedom, and that good and truth, or charity and faith, shall be implanted in his freedom, and by no means in compulsion; because what is received in a state of compulsion does not remain, but is dissipated. For to compel a man is not to insinuate into his will, because it is then the will of another from which he acts; and therefore when he returns to his own will, that is, to his own freedom, this is rooted out. The Lord therefore rules man through his freedom, and as far as possible withholds him from the freedom of thinking and willing evil; for unless man were withheld by the Lord, he would be continually plunging into the deepest hell.

[3] It was said that the Lord could through angels lead man into good ends by omnipotent force; for evil spirits can be driven away in an instant, even if there should be myriads about a man, and this indeed by means of one angel; but then the man would come into such torment and into such a hell that he could not possibly endure it, for he would be miserably deprived of his life. For the life of man is from cupidities and phantasies against good and truth. If this life were not sustained through evil spirits and thus attended, or at least led, he would be reduced to nothing and would not survive a minute. For nothing else is seated in him than the love of self and of gain, and of reputation for their sake, thus whatever is contrary to order. Wherefore unless he should be reduced into order moderately and by degrees, through the leading of his freedom, he would at once expire.

AC 5855. Before the way was opened to me to speak with spirits, I was of the opinion that no spirit nor angel could ever know or perceive my thoughts, because they were within me, and known to God alone. And then it once happened that I observed that a certain spirit knew what I was thinking, for he spoke with me about what I was thinking of, in a few words, and gave an indication of his presence by a certain sign. At this I was astounded, chiefly because he knew my thoughts. From this it was evident how difficult it is for a man to believe that any spirit knows what he is thinking, when yet he knows not only the thoughts which the man himself knows, but also the least things of his thoughts and affections, which the man does not know--nay, such things as the man can never know during the life of the body. This I know from the continuous experience of many years.

AC 5856. Communications of societies with other societies are effected through spirits whom they send forth and through whom they speak. These spirits are called SUBJECTS. When any society was present with me, I could not know it until they sent forth a spirit, at the sending of whom communication was at once opened. This is a very familiar thing in the other life and is frequently done. From this it may be seen that the spirits and angels who are with man, are for the sake of communication with societies in hell and with societies in heaven.

AC 5857. I have sometimes spoken with spirits about the surpassing capacity they have above men for putting on at their first coming all things of the man’s memory; and though they had previously known nothing of the sciences, of the languages, and other things which the man has learned and imbued from childhood even to old age, they nevertheless come in a moment into possession of all; so that with the learned they are learned, with the ingenious they are ingenious, and with the prudent they are prudent. At these remarks, those spirits became elated, for they were not good, and therefore it was given to tell them further that with the ignorant they are ignorant, and with the stupid they are stupid, with the insane and foolish they are insane and foolish; for they put on all the interiors of the man with whom they are, thus also his fallacies, phantasies, and falsities, consequently his insanities and follies. But evil spirits cannot approach little children, because these have not yet in their memory anything that evil spirits can put on; and therefore with little children there are good spirits and angels.

AC 5858. From much experience it has been given me to know that whatever the spirits think and speak from the memory of a man, they suppose to be their own and in themselves. If they are told that this is not the case, they are highly indignant--such is the fallacy of sense that prevails with them. To convince them that such is not the case, they were asked whence they knew how to speak with me in my mother tongue, and yet they had known nothing at all of it during their life in the body, and how they knew the other languages in which I am skilled, although from themselves they did not know one; do they believe that these languages are theirs? Moreover I read the Hebrew language before them, and they understood it as much as I did,--even little children--but no further. All the knowledges also that are in my memory are in theirs. By this they were convinced that when they come to a man, they come into possession of all his knowledges, and that they are in falsity in believing them to be their own. They have also their own knowledges, but are not permitted to draw them out, to the end that they may serve man through his knowledges as well as for various other reasons, of which above (n. 2476, 2477, 2479), and because there would he the greatest confusion if spirits were to flow in from their own memory (n. 2478).

AC 5859. Some spirits came to me by ascending, and said that they had been with me from the beginning, knowing no otherwise. But when I showed them to the contrary, they at last confessed that they had now come for the first time, but because they had at once put on all things of my memory, they could know no otherwise. From this again it was evident that when spirits come to a man they instantly put on all the man‘s memory-knowledges as if they were their own; and also that when a number of spirits are present, they each of them put on these knowledges, and they each of them suppose that they are their own. Into this faculty comes man immediately after death. Hence also it is that when good spirits come into a heavenly society, they put on and possess all the wisdom of all in that society--for such is the communion--and this although in the life of the body they had known nothing whatever of such things as are said in the heavenly society. This is the case if when in the world they had lived in the good of charity, for this good is attended with the appropriation to itself of everything of wisdom, because this is secretly implanted in good itself; and it is from this that they know as it were from themselves things which in the bodily life had been incomprehensible and even unutterable.

AC 5860. The spirits who are with man also put on his persuasions, whatever these may be, as has been proved to me by much experience. Thus they put on man’s persuasions not only in civil and moral things, but also in the spiritual things of faith. From this it may be seen that the spirits with those who are in heresies, in fallacies and illusions as to the truths of faith, and in falsities, are in the like, with not the slightest difference. The reason of this is that man may be in his freedom, and not he disturbed by anything of the spirit‘s own.

AC 5861. From all this it is plain that during his life in the world a man is as to his interiors, thus as to his spirit, in company with other spirits, and is so adjoined to them that he cannot think anything or will anything except together with them, and that thereby there is a communication of his interiors with the spiritual world, and that in this way and not otherwise can he be led by the Lord. When a man comes into the other life he has with him his unbelief in there having been with him any spirit, especially any from hell. There is therefore shown him, if he desires it, the society of spirits in whose company he had been, and from which emissary spirits had been with him. And then after passing through some preliminary states, he at last returns to the same society, because this society has acted in unity with the love which had obtained the dominion with him. I have sometimes seen their societies shown to them.

AC 5862. It is not known to the spirits with man, but only to angels from the Lord, that they are with him, because they are adjoined to his soul or spirit, and not to his body. Those things which from the thoughts are determined into speech, and those which from the will are determined into acts in the body, flow in order into act by general influx, according to the correspondences with the Grand Man; and therefore the spirits who are with man have nothing in common with these things: thus they do not speak through man’s tongue, which would be obsession; nor see through his eyes, nor hear through his ears, what is in the world. It is otherwise with me, for the Lord has opened my interiors so that I might see the things in the other life: hence spirits have known that I was a man in the body, and opportunity has been given them of seeing through my eyes things in the world, and of hearing those speaking to me who were in my company.

AC 5863. If evil spirits perceived that they are with man, and that they are spirits separate from him, and if they could flow into what is of his body, they would try to destroy him in a thousand ways, for they hold man in deadly hatred. And as they knew that I was a man in the body, they were in a continual effort to destroy me, not only as to the body, but especially as to the soul; for to destroy man and any spirit is the very delight of life of all those who are in hell; but I have been continually protected by the Lord. From this it is evident how dangerous it is for man to be in living company with spirits, unless he is in the good of faith.

AC 5864. As evil spirits have heard that spirits are with man, they have supposed that so they might assail these spirits, and together with them man. They have also sought them a long time, but in vain. Their intention was to destroy them. For as the delight and bliss of heaven is to do good to man, and to promote his eternal welfare, so on the other hand the delight of hell is to do evil to man, and to contribute to his eternal ruin. In such opposition are they.

AC 5865. There was a certain spirit, not evil, to whom it was permitted to pass over to a certain man and speak with me from thence. When he came to the man he said that there appeared to him as it were a kind of black inanimate something, or as it were a black lifeless mass. This was the bodily life of the man, which he was permitted to view. It was said that the bodily life of a man who is in the good of faith appears, when one is permitted to view it, not black, but woody and of the color of wood. The same was given me to know by another experience. A certain evil spirit was let into the state of the body, by thinking from the sensuous things of the body, thus from the external memory. He then seemed to me as a black lifeless mass. When he was restored, he said that he had supposed he was in the life of the body. In other cases spirits are not allowed to look into the bodily things of man, for these are in the world and its light, and when spirits look at those things which are of the light of the world, these appear as mere darkness.

AC 5866. A continuation about the angels and spirits with man will be found at the end of the following chapter.