Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 44:6-10
AC 5750. Verses 6-10. And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these words. And they said unto him, Wherefore speaketh my lord according to these words? Far be it from thy servants to do according to this word. Behold, the silver which we found in our bag’s mouth we brought back to thee out of the land of Canaan; and how should we steal out of thy lord‘s house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be to my lord for servants. And he said, Now also according to your words so be it; he with whom it is found shall be to me a servant, and ye shall be blameless. "And he overtook them," signifies mediate adjunction; "and he spake unto them these words," signifies the influx of this thing; "and they said unto him," signifies perception; "therefore speaketh my lord according to these words?" signifies reflection why such a thing flows in; "far be it from thy servants to do according to this word," signifies when it is not from the will; "behold the silver which we fold in our bags’ mouth," signifies when truth was bestowed gratuitously; "we brought back to thee out of the land of Canaan," signifies submitted from a principle of religion; "and how should we steal out of thy lord‘s house silver or gold?" signifies why then shall we claim to ourselves truth and good, which are from the Divine celestial; "with whomsoever of thy servants it be found, let him die," signifies that he is damned who does so; "and we also will be to my lord for servants," signifies that they will be associates forever without freedom from their own; "and be said, Now also according to your words," signifies that indeed it would be so from justice; "so be it," signifies a milder sentence; "he with whom it is found shall be to me a servant," signifies that he with whom it is shall be forever without freedom of his own; "and ye shall be blameless," signifies that the rest shall be at their own disposal, because not sharing in the fault.
AC 5751. And he overtook them. That this signifies mediate adjunction, is evident from what was said above (n. 5745).
AC 5752. And he spake unto them these words. That this signifies the influx of this thing, is evident from the signification of "speaking," as being influx (n. 2951, 3037, 5481); and from the signification of "words," as being things. A "thing" and a "word" are expressed in the original language by the same term.
AC 5753. And they said unto him. That this signifies perception, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word, as being perception.
AC 5754. Wherefore speaketh my lord such words as these? That this signifies reflection why such a thing flows in, is evident from the signification of "speaking," as being to flow in; and from the signification of "such words as these," as being this thing or such a thing (n. 5752). Reflection is involved in the word "wherefore," which is a word of questioning with one’s self.
AC 5755. Far be it from thy servants to do according to this word. That this signifies when it is not from the will, namely of claiming truth to themselves, is evident from the signification of "doing," as being to will; for all deed is of the will. The deed itself is natural, and the will is the spiritual source of it. Its not being from the will is signified by "far be it from thy servants."
AC 5756. Behold the silver which we found in our bags‘ mouth. That this signifies when truth was bestowed gratuitously, is evident from the signification of "silver," as being truth (n. 1551, 2954, 5658); and from the signification of "we found," as being bestowed gratuitously, for everyone’s grain silver was returned to him, thus was bestowed gratuitously (n. 5530, 5624); and from the signification of the "bags‘ mouth," as being the threshold of the exterior natural (n. 5497).
AC 5757. We brought back to thee out of the land of Canaan. That this signifies submitted from a principle of religion, is evident from the signification of "bringing back," as being to submit (n. 5624); and from the signification of the "land of Canaan," as being what is religious. The "land of Canaan" signifies various things, for the reason that it signifies that which includes very many things; for it signifies the Lord’s kingdom, the church, and consequently the man of the church, because he is a church; and as it signifies these, it signifies also the celestial which is of the church, namely, the good of love; and also its spiritual, which is the truth of faith, and so on; here therefore it signifies the religious principle which is of the church; for it is of the religious principle of the church that no one ought to claim truth and good to himself. From these things it is plain why the same expression sometimes signifies a number of things; for when it involves several things in the complex, it also signifies those which it involves, according to the series of things in the internal sense. That the "land of Canaan" is the Lord‘s kingdom, see (n. 1413, 1437, 1607, 3038, 3481, 3705); and also the church, (n. 3686, 3705, 4447). From these flow its other significations.
AC 5758. And how should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold? That this signifies why then shall we claim to ourselves truth and good, which are from the Divine celestial, is evident from the signification of "stealing," as being in the spiritual sense to claim to one‘s self that which belongs to the Lord (n. 5749); from the signification of "silver," as being truth (n. 1551, 2954, 5658); and from the signification of "gold," as being good (n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658). In this whole chapter spiritual theft is treated of, which is the claiming to one’s self of the good and truth that are from the Lord. This is a matter of so great moment that a man after death cannot be admitted into heaven until he acknowledges at heart that nothing of good or truth is from himself, but all from the Lord, and that whatever is from himself is nothing but evil. The fact that this is so, is shown to man after death by many experiences. The angels in heaven plainly perceive that all good and truth are from the Lord; and moreover that by the Lord they are withheld from evil and kept in good and so in truth, and this by a mighty force.
 It has been given me plainly to perceive this now for many years, and also that in so far as I have been left to my own or to myself, I have been inundated with evils, and so far as I have been withheld therefrom by the Lord, I have been lifted up from evil into good. Therefore to claim truth and good to one‘s self is contrary to the universal that reigns in heaven, as well as contrary to the acknowledgment that all salvation is of mercy, that is, that man of himself is in hell, but is of mercy drawn out thence by the Lord. Man cannot be in humiliation, nor consequently can he receive the Lord’s mercy (for this flows in only in humiliation or into a humble heart), unless he acknowledges that there is nothing but evil from himself, and that all good is from the Lord. Without this acknowledgment a man attributes to himself as merit, and at length as righteousness, whatever he does; for to claim to himself the truth and good which are from the Lord is to make himself righteous. This is the source of many evils; for he then regards self in everything that he does for the neighbor, and when he does this he loves himself above all others, whom he then despises, if not in word, yet in heart.
AC 5759. With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, let him die. That this signifies that he is damned who does so, is evident from the signification of "dying," as being to be damned for spiritual death is nothing else than damnation. It is plain from what was said just above (n. 5758), that they who claim to themselves the truth and good which are of the Lord, cannot be in heaven, but are outside of it; and they who are outside of heaven are damned. But this law is one of judgment from truth; whereas when judgment is made at the same time from good, then they who do what is true and good, and from ignorance or simplicity attribute these to themselves, are not damned, but in the other life are set free by a method of vastation. Moreover everyone ought to do what is true and good as of himself, yet believing that it is from the Lord (n. 2882, 2883, 2891); and when he does so, then as he grows up and increases in intelligence and faith he puts off that fallacy, and at last acknowledges at heart that his every effort of doing good and thinking truth was and is from the Lord. Wherefore he that was sent by Joseph, though he indeed confirms, yet presently rejects, the judgment that he should die with whom the cup was found; for he says, "Now also according to your words so be it; he with whom it is found shall be to me a servant, and ye shall be blameless," words which convey a milder sentence. But it is otherwise with those who do so, not from ignorance and simplicity, but from principles which they have confirmed in their faith, and also in life. Yet because they do what is good, the Lord from mercy preserves in them something of ignorance and simplicity.
AC 5760. And we also will be to my lord for servants. That this signifies that they will be associates forever without freedom from their own, is evident from the signification of "we also," as being associates; and from the signification of "being servants," as being to be without freedom from their own; for one who is a servant has no freedom from his own, but is dependent on the own and freedom of his master. What it is to be without freedom from one‘s own, will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be told in the following pages.
AC 5761. And he said, Now also according to your words. That this signifies that it would indeed be so from justice, is evident from what has been explained just above (n. 5758, 5759). Its being from justice that he who did this should die is signified by, "now also according to your words;" but a milder sentence now follows.
AC 5762. So be it. That this signifies a milder sentence, is evident from the words that follow, in which this milder sentence is given.
AC 5763. He with whom it is found shall be to me a servant. That this signifies that he with whom it is, shall be forever without his own freedom, is evident from the signification of a "servant," as being to be without one‘s own freedom (n. 5760). The case is this. Joseph’s silver cup, placed by his order with Benjamin, signifies interior truth (n. 5736, 5747). He who is in interior truth knows that all truth and good are from the Lord, and also that all freedom from his own, or from the man himself, is infernal; for when a man thinks or does anything from his own freedom, he thinks and does nothing but evil. In consequence he is a servant of the devil, for all evil flows in from hell. He also feels delight in such freedom, because it agrees with the evil in which he is, and into which he was born. Wherefore this freedom from one‘s own must be put off, and heavenly freedom must be put on instead, which consists in willing what is good and thence doing it, and in desiring what is true and thence thinking it. When a man receives this freedom he is a servant of the Lord, and is then in freedom itself, and not in the bondage in which he was before, and which appeared like freedom. This then is what is meant by being forever without one’s own freedom. The nature and source of freedom may be seen in (n. 2870-2893); and that freedom itself is to be led by the Lord, (n. 2890).
AC 5764. And ye shall be blameless. That this signifies that the rest shall be at their own disposal, because not sharing in the fault, is evident from the signification of "blameless" in regard to a servant, as being to be at his own disposal; because not sharing in the fault, follows. It was of old a custom among the Gentiles, when anyone sinned, to make his companions also guilty of the offence, and even to punish a whole house for the crime of one in it. But such a law is derived from hell, where all the companions conspire together for evil. The societies there are so constituted that they act together as one against good, and thus they are kept consociated, though they are in deadly hatred one against another. They are in the union and friendship of robbers. Hence because companions in hell conspire together for evil, when they do evil they are all punished. But to do so in the world is wholly contrary to the Divine order; for in the world the good are consociated with the evil, because one does not know what the interiors of another are, and for the most part does not care. Wherefore the Divine law for men is that everyone shall pay the penalty of his own iniquity; as is written in Moses:--
The fathers shall not die for the sons, neither shall the sons die for the fathers; everyone shall be slain in his own sin (Deut. 24:16);
and in Ezekiel:--
The soul that hath sinned, it shall die, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him (Ezek. 18:20).
From these passages it is plain how the case is with what the sons of Jacob said, "with whomsoever of thy servants it he found, let him die, and we also will be to my lord for servants." But he who was sent by Joseph changed this judgment, and said, "he with whom it is found shall be to me a servant, and ye shall be blameless;" in like manner further on where Judah says to Joseph, "Behold we are servants to my lord, both we and he also in whose hand the cup was found." And Joseph 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" (verses 16, 17).GENESIS 44:6-10 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|