Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 45:16-20
AC 5932. Verses 16-20. And the voice was heard in Pharaoh‘s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren have come; and it was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, come ye into the land of Canaan; and take your father and your households, and come unto me; and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. And now commanded, this do ye: take you out of the land of Egypt carts for your babes, and for your women, and bring your father, and come. And let not your eye be sparing upon your stuff; because the good of the whole land of Egypt, this is for you. "And the voice was heard in Pharaoh‘s house," signifies that this filled the universal natural; "saying, Joseph’s brethren have come," signifies perception that the truths of the church are present in the natural; "and it was good in the eyes of Pharaoh," signifies joy therein throughout; "and in the eyes of his servants," signifies even to the lowest things there; "and Pharaoh said unto Joseph," signifies the perception of the natural from the internal celestial; "Say unto thy brethren," signifies about the truths of the church in the natural; "This do ye; lade your beasts," signifies that they should fill up every truth with good; "and go, come ye into the land of Canaan," signifies their dwelling-place; "and take your father and your households, and come unto me," signifies the approach of spiritual good and of the truths of the church to the memory-knowledges of the natural; "and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt," signifies the possession of memory-knowledges; "and ye shall eat the fat of the land," signifies the appropriation of good there; "and now commanded, this do ye," signifies the will; "take you out of the land of Egypt carts," signifies the doctrinal things of memory-knowledges; "for your babes, and for your women," signifies for those who do not yet know; "and bring your father, and come," signifies their service and approach; "and let not your eye be sparing upon your stuff," signifies that things instrumental are not to be cared for; "because the good of the whole land of Egypt, this is for you," signifies that they have what is primary in the natural mind.
AC 5933. And the voice was heard in Pharaoh‘s house. That it signifies that this filled the universal natural, is evident from the signification of a "voice" which is heard elsewhere and at a distance, when predicated of influx, as being to be filled; for as a voice that is heard fills, so does that which flows in; and from the signification of "Pharaoh’s house," as being the universal natural, for by Pharaoh is represented the natural in general (n. 5160, 5799).
AC 5934. Saying, Joseph‘s brethren have come. That this signifies a perception that the truths of the church are present in the natural, is evident from the signification of "to have come," as being presence; and from the representation of the sons of Jacob, or of Joseph’s brethren, as being the truths of the church in the natural (n. 5403, 5419, 5458, 5512). In the natural there are memory-knowledges of various kinds: there are memory-knowledges about earthly, bodily, and worldly things, which are the lowest, for these are immediately from the things of the external senses, or of the body; there are memory-knowledges about the civil state, its government, statutes, and laws, which are a little more interior; there are memory-knowledges about the things of moral life, which are more interior still. But the memory-knowledges which belong to spiritual life are more interior than all the former. These latter are truths of the church, which in so far as they are only from doctrine with a man, are nothing but memory-knowledges; but when they are from the good of love, they then rise above memory-knowledges, for they are then in spiritual light, from which they look at memory-knowledges in their order beneath them. By means of such degrees of memory-knowledges a man mounts to intelligence, for by means of these degrees memory-knowledges open the mind so that light from the spiritual world can flow in. From all this it is now evident what is meant by the presence of truths in the natural.
AC 5935. And it was good in the eyes of Pharaoh. That this signifies joy there throughout, namely in the natural, is evident from the signification of "to be good in the eyes of" anyone, as being to be a joy to him; and from the representation of Pharaoh, as being the natural in general (n. 5933).
AC 5936. And in the eyes of his servants. That this signifies even to the lowest things there, is evident from the signification of "servants," as being lower things (n. 2541, 5161, 5164, 5305), thus also lowest things. What memory-knowledges in the natural are lower, and what are lowest, may be seen just above (n. 5934).
AC 5937. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph. That this signifies the perception of the natural from the internal celestial, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word, as being perception; from the representation of Pharaoh, as being the natural in general (n. 5160, 5799); and from the representation of Joseph, as being the internal celestial (n. 5869, 5877). As the celestial which Joseph represents is internal, and the natural which Pharaoh represents is external, therefore the perception is of the natural from the internal celestial, for all perception is from within, and in no case is there any perception of what is interior from without; for whence the influx, thence the perception.
 What the perception is that is so often mentioned shall here be briefly stated. There is with every man a capacity of perceiving whether a thing is so or is not so. The capacity of drawing a conclusion within himself, or in his own mind, causes a thing to be perceived. This capacity is utterly impossible unless there is influx from the spiritual world. In this gift one man excels another. They who excel less are they who within themselves or in their own mind conclude and thus perceive but little; but say that a thing is so because others in whom they have faith have said so. But they who excel more are they who see, not from others, but from themselves, that the thing is so; for in very deed the perception which exists with every man is one in worldly things, but not at the present day with anyone in spiritual things. The reason is that the spiritual which flows in and causes perception has been obscured and almost extinguished by the delights of the love of the world and of self; and therefore neither do they care for spiritual things, except in so far as is of duty and of custom; and if fear from duty, and delight from custom, were taken away, they would spurn, feel aversion for, and even deny them.
 He who would have perception in spiritual things must be in the affection of truth from good, and must continually long to know truths. Thereby his intellectual is enlightened, and when the intellectual has been enlightened, then it is given him to perceive something inwardly within himself. But he who is not in the affection of truth, knows that which he knows to be so, from the teaching of the church to which he joins his faith, and because a priest, presbyter, or monk has said so. From all this it is evident what perception is, and that it exists in worldly things, but not in spiritual things; as is further evident from the fact that everyone remains in the doctrine in which he was born, even they who were born Jews, and also they who are outside the church, although they live within it. Moreover they who are in any heresy, if told the veriest truths, and if these were also confirmed, they would nevertheless perceive not one whit of their truth: they would appear to them as falsities.
AC 5938. Say unto thy brethren. That this signifies about the truths of the church in the natural (namely, that there is perception about them), is evident from the representation of Joseph‘s brethren, as being the truths of the church in the natural (n. 5403, 5419, 5458, 5512). Pharaoh here invites the sons of Jacob to come into Egypt with their babes and women, and to bring their father with them; for Pharaoh says: "Say unto thy brethren, This do ye, and take your father, and take you out of the land of Egypt carts for your babes and for your women, and bring your father, and come." Joseph, however, just above invites his father, and his brethren no otherwise than as his father’s sons, for he says: "Go up to my father, and say unto him, Come down unto me, tarry not; and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy sons, and thy sons‘ sons, and all that thou hast; haste ye and bring down my father hither." The reason why Pharaoh invited the sons of Jacob, and Joseph his father, is not plain except from the internal sense, which is, that the natural in general, which is represented by Pharaoh, has immediate communication with the truths of the church in the natural, which are represented by the sons of Jacob; and hence it is that Pharaoh speaks of them. But the internal celestial, which is represented by Joseph, has no immediate communication with the truths of the church in the natural, which are the sons of Jacob; but it has communication through spiritual good, which is Israel their father. This is the reason why Joseph speaks of his father.
AC 5939. This do ye; lade your beasts. That this signifies that they should fill up every truth with good, is evident from the signification of "lading beasts," as being to fill truths full; and from the signification of the grain with which the beasts were to be laden, as being the good of truth (n. 5295, 5410). The reason why "beasts" here are truths, is that they were asses (Gen. 42:26, 27; 43:18, 24; 44:3), by which are signified memory-knowledges (n. 5741). And as by "asses" are signified memory-knowledges, and conjunction had now been effected with internal good through the intermediate, they are truths of memory-knowledge, and therefore instead of "asses" they are here called "beasts of burden (jumenta)."
AC 5940. And go, come ye into the land of Canaan. That this signifies their dwelling-place, namely, that of the truths of the church in the natural, is evident from the signification of the "land of Canaan," as being the dwelling-place of those who had been of the church (n. 3686, 3705, 4447, 4454, 4517, 5136), thus the dwelling-place of the truths of the church with good, because these constitute the church.
AC 5941. And take your father and your households, and come unto me. That this signifies the approach of spiritual good and of the truths of the church to the memory-knowledges of the natural, is evident from the representation of Israel, who is here the "father," as being spiritual good (n. 5801, 5803, 5807, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833); and from the representative of his sons, as being the truths of the church in the natural (n. 5414, 5879), all things of which are their "households;" from the signification of "coming," as being to approach; and from the representation of Pharaoh, who is the "me" to whom they were to come, as being the memory-knowledge of the natural in general. From all this it is evident that by "take your father, and your households, and come unto me," is signified the approach of spiritual good, and of the truths of the church, to the memory-knowledges of the natural.
AC 5942. And I will give you the good of the land of Egypt. That this signifies the possession of memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of the "land of Egypt," as being memory-knowledges (n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 4749, 4964, 4966, 5700); and from the signification of his "giving the good of the land," as being possession, for he who gives possession gives the good thereof; and the converse.
AC 5943. And ye shall eat the fat of the land. That this signifies the appropriation of good there, is evident from the signification of "eating," as being to be communicated, conjoined, and appropriated (n. 2187, 2343, 3168, 3513, 3832, 4745); and from the signification of the "fat," or "fatness," "of the land," namely, of Egypt, as being good in the natural. That "fat" denotes the celestial, or good, is evident from many passages in the Word; not only the fat that is in the animal, but also the fat that is from elsewhere, such as butter and oil. And whatever at all partakes of fatness, does in the same proportion signify what is of good, such as milk, sweets (mella), gums.
 That fatness was a representative of celestial good, thus of the love which is from the Lord, is evident from the burnt-offerings and sacrifices, in which all the fat was burnt upon the altar, the odor from it being an "odor of rest to Jehovah;" also that on this account the sons of Israel were forbidden to eat the fat; from which, as from everything else, it may be seen that the things instituted among the Israelites were representative of heavenly and spiritual things, and thus that they involved holy things. Otherwise there would not have been anything of a Divine reason for all the fat of the animal being sacrificed, and its being an odor of rest to Jehovah; and also for the eating of it being forbidden, like the eating of the blood. Surely it would be a very gross way of thinking about the Divine, if it were believed that the fat was delightful, and that Jehovah made an ordinance that had nothing stored up within it; and even man would be too earthly and corporeal if he cared naught for a knowledge of what was signified by such things; a sign that he had no affection of knowing the things of the Word and of eternal life.
 Concerning "fat" we read in Moses:--
Thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul upon the liver, and the fat upon the kidneys, and shalt burn it upon the altar (Exod. 29:13, 22; Lev. 3:4, 5, 9, 10, 14, 15; 4:8, 9, 19, 26, 31, 35; 7:3, 4).
The fat of the breast was also to be sacrificed (Lev. 7:30, 31). That it was an "odor of rest to Jehovah," thus:--
This is the bread of the fire-offering to Jehovah for an odor of rest (Lev. 3:16).
The priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of Jehovah, and shall offer the fat for an odor of rest to Jehovah (Lev. 17:6).
The fat of the firstling of an ox, and of a sheep, shall be burnt upon the altar, for an odor of rest to Jehovah (Num. 18:17);
an "odor of rest" signifies what is grateful from the good of love.
 That the fat was not to be eaten by the sons of Israel:--
Let all the fat be Jehovah’s. Therefore it is a statute of eternity for your generations in all your dwellings; ye shall not eat any fat or any blood (Lev. 3:16, 17).
Speak unto the sons of Israel, saying, Ye shall not eat any fat, whether of ox, or of sheep, or of goat; everyone who eateth the fat of the beast of which is an offering made by fire to Jehovah, the soul that eateth shall be cut off from his peoples; nor shall ye eat any blood (Lev. 7:23, 25, 26).
 Burnt-offerings and sacrifices constituted the chief part of Divine worship with that people (n. 923, 2180), and therefore by burn-offerings and sacrifices in general is signified worship, and by the things sacrificed, and also by the whole process of sacrificing, is signified the quality of the worship, and by the fat and the burning thereof is signified the veriest Divine celestial, which is the good of love from the Lord, as appears also from these passages. In Isaiah:--
O Jacob, thou hast not bought Me sweet cane with silver, and with the fat of thy sacrifices thou hast not filled Me; only thou hast made Me serve through thy sins (Isa. 43:24);
"thou hast not bought sweet cane with silver" denotes thou hast not procured for thyself the truths of faith; "and with the fat of thy sacrifices thou hast not filled Me" denotes that the good of love has not been procured.
 In David:--
I will offer unto Thee burn-offerings of fatlings, with the incense of rams (Ps. 66:15);
"burnt-offerings of fatlings" denote worship from love. In Moses:--
When it shall be said, Where are their gods, the rock in which they trusted; that did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offering? (Deut. 32:37, 38);
this might be said by the Gentiles, who supposed that gods are fed, especially with such things; being quite unaware that the fat of sacrifices was the celestial, or the good of love, in worship; and that the wine of the drink-offering was the truth of faith thence derived, which things affected the angels when the sacrifice was made, and which were on this account commanded, in order that heaven might be near man by means of representatives and correspondences.
 In David:--
Jehovah will remember all thine offerings, and make fat thy burnt-offering (Ps. 20:3);
"to make fat the burnt-offering" denotes to render the worship good. In Isaiah:--
In this mountain shall Jehovah Zebaoth make to all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of lees, of fat things full of marrow, of lees well refined; He will swallow up death eternally; and the Lord Jehovih will wipe away the tear from upon all faces (Isa. 25:6, 8);
a "feast" denotes heaven and conjunction there with the angels through love and charity (n. 3596, 3832, 5161); "fat things" are the goods of love and of charity. In the same:--
Wherefore do ye spend silver for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? attend ye in attending unto Me, and eat ye what is good, and let your soul be deliciated in fatness (Isa. 55:2).
 And in Jeremiah:--
I will turn their mourning into joy; and will comfort them, and make them glad from their sorrow; and I will fill the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be sated with My good (Jer. 31:13, 14);
"fatness" manifestly denotes good, for it is said that "their soul shall be sated;" and it is called "Jehovah‘s good," which is nothing else than the celestial that is from Him. In David:--
My soul shall be sated as with fatness and fat, and my mouth shall praise with lips of songs (Ps. 63:5);
where the meaning is similar. Again:--
Thou hast crowned the year of Thy goodness, and Thy paths drop with fatness (Ps. 65:11).
The sons of man confide in the shadow of Thy wings; they are filled with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou makest them drink of the stream of delights (Ps. 36:7, 8).
Then shall Jehovah give the rain of thy seed, wherewith thou shalt sow the land; and bread of the increase of the land, and it shall be fat and rich (Isa. 30:23).
 In John:--
All things fat and splendid have gone away, and thou shalt find them no more (Rev. 18:14);
speaking of Babylon; "all things fat and splendid have gone away" denotes that all the goods of love and truths of faith have done so. In Moses:--
He made him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flint of the rock; butter of the herd, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs, and of rams the sons of Bashan, and of he-goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and of the blood of the grape thou drinkest pure wine (Deut. 32:13, 14);
speaking of the Ancient spiritual Church, whose various goods are recounted and signified by "honey," "oil," "butter," "milk," and "fat."
 As "fat" denoted good, it is also adjoined to such things as are not fat in themselves, yet still signify goods. Thus "fat" and "good" were as it were the same thing, as in the passage quoted," the fat of wheat." In like manner in David:--
I would feed them with the fat of wheat (Ps. 81:16)
Who setteth thy border peace, and sateth thee with the fat of wheat (Ps. 147:14).
Also in Moses:--
All the fat of the pure oil, and all the fat of the new wine, and of the grain, which are the firstfruits, because they were Jehovah’s were given unto Aaron (Num. 18:12).
AC 5944. And now commanded this do ye. That this signifies the will, is evident without explication.
AC 5945. Take you out of the land of Egypt carts. That this signifies the doctrinal things of memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of the "land of Egypt," as being memory-knowledges; and from the signification of "carts," as being doctrinal things. In the Word, where Egypt is treated of, mention is here and there made of chariots and horses, and by "chariots," are there meant doctrinal things, sometimes false and sometimes true, and by "horses" are meant intellectual things, also in both senses. That "chariots" are doctrinal things may be seen above (n. 5321). In like manner "carts" there, but by these are signified the doctrinal things of memory-knowledges. The doctrinal things of memory-knowledges are doctrinal things from the literal sense of the Word, and are especially serviceable to those who are being initiated for the first time into more interior truths of the church, such as that widows, orphans, and the poor in the streets are the especial objects of beneficence; and also the precepts of the Decalogue. These and more are doctrinal things of memory-knowledges, and are signified by the "carts of Egypt." Such doctrinal things, being the first that a man learns, afterward serve him as an ultimate plane; for when progress is being made to more internal things, they become ultimates. Moreover celestial and spiritual things actually terminate in these, for they as it were stand and rest upon them; because the spiritual world has as it were its feet and soles of the feet in the natural world, and with man in respect to his spiritual life has them in the doctrinal things of memory-knowledges, in like manner as the internal sense of the Word has them in its literal sense. The "carts" by which these doctrinal things are signified, are not mentioned in the Word except in a few passages. A "cart" is mentioned by this word in the original tongue, where it speaks of the ark being laid on such a vehicle (1 Sam. 6:7, 8; 2 Sam. 6:3), and also when the tabernacle was sanctified (Num. 7:3). The reason is that the ark represented heaven (n. 3478), which as before said stands and rests upon the doctrinal things of memory-knowledges.
AC 5946. For your babes, and for your women. That this signifies for those who do not yet know, namely, the more interior things of the church, is evident from the signification of "babes," as being those who do not yet know these things; and from the signification of "women" as being affections of truth. For when "men (viri)" signify truths, as here the sons of Jacob, then their "women" signify the affections of truth; and on the other hand when "men (viri)" signify goods, their "women" signify truths, but in this case the men are called "husbands" (n. 3236, 4510, 4823). Neither do the affections of truth, which here are the "women," know the more interior things of the church, except by means of truths, which are the "men." Affections without these are like the will without what is of the understanding. The will, in order to see or know anything, must do it through the understanding: there is its sight or eye.
AC 5947. And bring your father, and come. That this signifies their service and approach, is evident from the signification of "bringing their father," as being service; and from the signification of "coming," as being approach (n. 5941). In regard to the service which is signified by "bringing their father," the case is this. Lower things ought to serve interior ones. The lower things are the truths of the church in the natural, which are represented by the sons of Jacob; but that which is interior is spiritual good, which is represented by Israel their father. This being more interior, or what is the same, higher, ought to be served by exterior or lower things. For lower things are formed for nothing else than to be things of service, for they are formed for the interior to live and act in them and through them, and indeed so that if the interior is taken away from them, they are nothing but vessels without life and action, thus altogether dead. This is the case with the body relatively to its spirit, and therefore when the spirit with draws, the body at once dies. Such also is the case with the external man relatively to the internal, and also with the internal man relatively to the Lord; for the internal man has been formed to receive life from the Lord, and is nothing else than an organ of His life. Consequently it is formed to serve the Lord for all the uses that love to Him and charity toward the neighbor demand, first in the natural world, and afterward in the spiritual world.
AC 5948. Also let not your eye be sparing upon your stuff. That this signifies that things instrumental are not to be cared for, is evident from the signification of "stuff" or "vessels," as being things instrumental. That these are not to be cared for is signified by "let not your eye be sparing." There are things essential, and things instrumental. For an essential to work an effect anywhere, it must have an instrumental whereby to act; for just as an instrumental has been formed, so it acts. For example, the body is the instrumental of its spirit; the external man is the instrumental of the internal; memory-knowledge is the instrumental of truth; and truth is the instrumental of good (n. 3068, 3079); and so on.
 In the Word things instrumental are called "vessels;" in the present case "stuff," because they are said of the migration, thus of the things in the houses But essential things are called in the Word "things," and are those which act by means of instrumental things. Thus as interior things act through exterior things, they are relatively essential. By instrumental things not being to be cared for, is meant that these must not be regarded as the end, but essential things; for in so far as instrumental things are regarded as the end, so far essential things withdraw themselves and vanish. Thus if memory-knowledge is regarded as the end, and truths are not cared for, truths at last so vanish away that it cannot be perceived whether there are any truths. Also if truths are regarded as the end, and good is not cared for, good at last so vanishes as not to be. Furthermore, with those who have earthly, or bodily, or worldly things as the end, so that these are their only care, and not heavenly things, heavenly things so vanish away that at last scarcely anything is acknowledged. These and similar things are what are signified by "let not your eye be sparing upon your stuff."
 But be it known that "essential" and "instrumental" are relative terms; that is, that an essential is so called because it acts by means of another thing as by its instrument or organ. But when another thing acts by means of that which was essential, then this becomes instrumental; and so on. Moreover in the created universe there is not anything essential in itself; this exists solely in the Highest, that is, in the Lord, who, because He is Esse or the Essential in itself, is called "Jehovah" from esse (being). All other things are only instrumental. From all this then it follows that because as before said essential things must be regarded as the end, and not instrumental things, the Lord alone must be so regarded.
AC 5949. Because the good of the whole land of Egypt, this is for you. That this signifies that they have what is primary in the natural mind, is evident from the signification of the "land of Egypt," as being the natural mind (n. 5276, 5278, 5280, 5288, 5301): by the "good of the whole of this land" is signified what is primary. By these words is also meant that if essential and not instrumental things are cared for, they shall have instrumental things in abundance. For example: if truths are cared for, they shall have memory-knowledges in abundance, which are the "good of the land of Egypt." In like manner if good is cared for, they shall have truths in abundance. Memory-knowledges, and also truths, must be cared for, but men must regard good as the end. If the eye is upon good as in the end, the man is then in full view of the consequent things, or in the perception of such as are derived from it, which perception is never possible unless good is the end, that is, unless it reigns universally in each and all things.
 The case herein is like the body and its soul. A man must by all means care for his body, as that it may be nourished, and clothed, and may enjoy the delights of the world; but all these not for the sake of the body, but for the sake of the soul, namely, that the soul may act in a sound body correspondently and rightly, and may have the body as an organ entirely compliant to it. Thus the soul must be the end. Yet neither must the soul be the end, but only a mediate end, for which the man must care, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the uses which it must perform in both worlds; and when a man has uses as the end, he has the Lord as the end, for the Lord makes disposition for uses, and disposes the uses themselves.
 As few know what it is to have as the end, this also shall be told. To have as the end is to love above all other things, for what a man loves, this he has as the end. That which a man has as the end is plainly discerned, for it reigns universally in him; and thus is continually present even at those times when he seems to himself not to be thinking at all about it, for it is seated within and makes his interior life, and thus secretly rules each and all things. As for example, with him who from the heart honors his parents, this honor is present in each and all things that he does in their presence and that he thinks in their absence, and it is also perceived from his gestures and speech. So with him who from the heart fears and honors God, this fear and honor are present in everything that he thinks, and speaks, and does, because it is in him even when it does not seem to be present, as when he is engaged in business that seems to be far from it; for it reigns universally; thus in every detail. That which reigns in man is plainly perceived in the other life, for the sphere of his whole life which exhales from him is thence derived.
 From all this it is evident how it is to be understood that God must be always kept before the eyes; not that He must be constantly thought about, but that the fear or the love of Him must reign universally, in which case God is kept before the eyes in every detail. When this is the case the man does not think, speak, or do what is against Him and displeasing to Him; or if he does, that which universally reigns, and lies hidden within, manifests itself and admonishes him.GENESIS 45:16-20 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|