Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 45:21-23
AC 5950. Verses 21-23. And the sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them carts, according to the mouth of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. And to all of them he gave each changes of garments; and to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of garments. And to his father he sent after this manner: ten asses carrying of the good of Egypt, and ten she-asses carrying grain and bread and nourishment for his father for the way. "And the sons of Israel did so," signifies the effect from spiritual truths in the natural; "and Joseph gave them carts, according to the mouth of Pharaoh," signifies that from the internal they had doctrinal things as was pleasing; "and gave them provision for the way," signifies support meanwhile from good and truth; "and to all of them he gave each changes of garments," signifies truths initiated in good; "and to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver," signifies that the intermediate had fullness of truth from good; "and five changes of garments," signifies much of truth from the natural; "and to his father he sent after this manner," signifies what was given gratuitously to spiritual good; "ten asses carrying of the good of Egypt," signifies better memory-knowledges with many things of service; "and ten she-asses carrying grain and bread," signifies the truth of good and the good of truth, also with many things of service; "and nourishment for his father for the way," signifies interior truth for spiritual good meanwhile.
AC 5951. And the sons of Israel did so. That this signifies the effect from spiritual truths in the natural, is evident from the signification of "did," as being the effect; and from the representation of the sons of Israel, as being spiritual truths in the natural (n. 5414, 5879). What spiritual truths in the natural are, must be told. Truths of faith outside of man, spirit, or angel, are not truths of faith, for they have not been applied to any subject, in which they become such. But when they are applied to man, spirit, or angel as a subject, they then become truths of faith, but with a difference according to the states of life of each one. With those who are learning them for the first time, they are only memory-knowledges. Afterward if these persons devoutly reverence them, the truths advance further, and become truths of the church; and when they are affected with them and live according to them, they then become spiritual truths; for the good of love and of charity, which is solely from the spiritual world, then fills them and causes them to live; for to be affected with them and to live according to them is from this good. The quality of the truths that are called truths of faith, with those who live according to them, and with those who do not live according to them, has been shown me. With those who do not live according to them, they appeared like white filaments; and with those who had these truths, but nothing of good, they appeared brittle; but with those who live according to them they appeared like fibers from the brain filled with spirit, and soft. Thus these latter truths were animate, but the former were inanimate. From this it may be known that the quality of truths with men is according to the state of life of each. The truths that are represented by the sons of Jacob are truths not yet spiritual, because not yet made of the life. But the truths that are represented by them as sons of Israel are spiritual, because from having been made of the life they have been filled with the good of love and of charity. These latter truths are here meant, because the subject treated of has been the initiation to conjunction of the truths in the natural (which are the sons of Jacob) with internal good (which is Joseph), through the intermediate (which is Benjamin), and also through spiritual good (which is Israel).
AC 5952. And (Joseph) gave them carts, according to the mouth of Pharaoh. That this signifies that from the internal they had doctrinal things as was pleasing, is evident from the representation of Joseph, who is he that "gave," as being internal good; from the signification of "carts," as being doctrinal things (n. 5945); and from the signification of "according to the mouth of Pharaoh," as being as was pleasing, namely, to spiritual truths, which are the sons of Israel; because these truths are in the natural which is represented by Pharaoh (n. 5160, 5799), and the carts, by which are signified doctrinal things, were placed at their disposal. It is said "as was pleasing," because the doctrinal things which are signified by the "carts of Egypt" are from the literal sense of the Word (n. 5945), which without the internal sense can be applied to any good whatever. For the Lord does not openly teach anyone truths, but through good leads to the thinking of what is true, and unknown to the man He also inspires the perception and consequent choice that such a thing is true because the Word so declares, and because it accords therewith. Thus the Lord adapts truths according to the reception of good by each person; and as this takes place according to each person‘s affection, thus in freedom, it is here said "as was pleasing."
AC 5953. And gave them provision for the way. That this signifies support meanwhile from good and truth, is evident from the signification of "provision," as being support from good and truth (n. 5490).
AC 5954. And to all of them he gave each changes of garments. That this signifies truths initiated in good, is evident from the signification of "garments" as being truths. Thus "changes of garments" are truths which are new; and truths become new when they are initiated in good, because they then receive life. For the subject treated of is the conjunction of the natural man with the spiritual, or of the external man with the internal. When the conjunction is being effected, then truths are changed and become new, for they receive life from the influx of good (n. 5951). To change the garments was representative of holy truths being put on, and hence came changes of garments, (n. 4545).
 That by "garments" in the Word are signified truths, is because truths clothe good almost as the vessels do the blood, and the fibers the (animal) spirit. That a "garment" is a significative of truth is because spirits and also angels appear clothed in garments, and each according to the truths appertaining to him. Those appear in white garments who are in the truths of faith through which is good, but those appear in bright shining garments who are in the truths of faith that are from good; for good shines through the truth, and gives the resplendence (n. 5248).
 That spirits and angels appear in garments can also be seen from the Word, where it is mentioned that angels were seen, as in Matthew:--
The appearance of the angel sitting at the Lord’s sepulchre was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow (Matthew 28:3).
Upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white garments (Rev. 4:4).
In the same:--
He that sat upon the white horse was clothed in a garment dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. His armies which are in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 19:11, 13, 14);
"garments white as snow," and "fine white linen," signify holy truths, for whiteness and shining white are predicated of truths (n. 3301, 3993, 4007, 5319), for the reason that they approach nearest to light, and the light which is from the Lord is Divine truth; and therefore when the Lord was transfigured, His garments appeared as the light, of which in Matthew:--
When Jesus was transfigured His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became as the light (Matthew 17:2).
That "light" is Divine truth is known in the church, and that it is compared to a "garment" is evident in David:--
Jehovah covereth Himself with light as with a garment (Ps. 104:2).
 That "garments" are truths is plain from many passages in the Word, as in Matthew:--
When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man not clad with a wedding garment; and he said to him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? wherefore he was cast out into the outer darkness (Matthew 22:11-13);
who are meant by "him not clad in a wedding-garment" may be seen at (n. 2132). In Isaiah:--
Wake up! wake up! put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of thine ornament, O Jerusalem, the city of holiness; because there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isa 52:1);
"garments of ornament" denote truths from good.
 In Ezekiel:--
I clothed thee with broidered work, and shod thee with badger (taxo), and I girded thee with fine linen, and covered thee with silk. Thy garments were of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, honey, and oil (Ezek. 16:10, 13);
speaking of Jerusalem, by which is there meant the Ancient spiritual Church which was set up by the Lord after the Most Ancient celestial Church had expired. The truths with which this church was endowed are described by the "garments;" "broidered work" is memory-knowledge, which when genuine also appears in the other life like broidered work, and like lace, as also it has been given to see; "fine linen and silk" are truths from good; but in heaven, being in the light there, these are intensely bright and are transparent.
 In the same:--
Fine linen in broidered work from Egypt was thy sail; blue and crimson from the isles of Elishah were thy covering (Ezek. 27:7);
speaking of Tyre, by which are represented the knowledges of truth and good (n. 1201), which when genuine are "fine linen in broidered work from Egypt;" the derivative good, or good of truth, is the "blue and crimson."
 In David:--
The king‘s daughter is all glorious; of inweavings of gold is her garment; in embroideries shall she be brought to the king (Ps. 45:13, 14);
the "king’s daughter" denotes the affection of truth; "of inweavings of gold is her garment" denotes the truths wherein is good; "embroideries" denote the lowest truths. In John:--
Thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white ones, because they are worthy. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments (Rev. 3:4, 5);
"not to defile the garments" denotes not to befoul truths with falsities.
 In the same:--
Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, that he walk not naked, and they see his shame (Rev. 16:15);
"garments" in like manner denote truths. It is the truths of faith from the Word which are properly signified by "garments." He who has not acquired these from that source, or he who has not acquired truths or semblances of truths from his religiosity, as the Gentiles, and applied them to life, is not in good, howsoever he supposes himself to be. For as he has no truths from the Word, or from his religiosity, he suffers himself to be led by means of reasonings equally by evil spirits as by good spirits, and thus cannot be defended by the angels. This is meant by the exhortation "to watch and to keep his garments, that he walk not naked and they see his shame."
 In Zechariah:--
Joshua was in defiled garments; thus be stood before the angel, who said to those who stood before him, Remove the defiled garments from before him. And unto him he said, See I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and am clothing thee with changes of garments (Zech. 3:3, 4);
"defiled garments" denote truths polluted by falsities which are from evil; wherefore when these garments are removed, and others are put on, it is said, "See, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee." Anyone can know that iniquity does not pass away by a change of garments, and hence also anyone can conclude that a change of garments was representative, as was also the washing of garments, which was commanded when the people were being purified, as when they came near unto Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:14), and when they were being cleansed from things impure (Lev. 11:25, 40; 14:8, 9; Num. 8:6, 7; 19:21; 31:19-24).
 For cleansings from things impure are effected through the truths of faith, because these teach what good is, what charity, what the neighbor, what faith, that there is a Lord, that there is a heaven, that there is eternal life. without truths which teach, it is not known what these things are, nor even that they are. Who from himself knows otherwise than that the good of the love of self and of the world is the only good appertaining to man;for both are the delight of his life? And who can know except from the truths of faith that there is another good which can be applied to man, namely, the good of love to God and the good of charity toward the neighbor, and that in these goods is heavenly life; and also that this good flows in through heaven from the Lord in so far as the man does not love himself more than others, and in so far as he does not love the world more than heaven? From all this it is evident that the purification which was represented by the washing of garments is effected through the truths of faith.
AC 5955. And to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver. That this signifies that the intermediate had fullness of truth from good, is evident from the representation of Benjamin, as being the intermediate (n. 5600, 5631, 5639, 5688, 5822); from the representation of Joseph, who "gave," as being internal good (n. 5826, 5827, 5869, 5877); from the signification of "three hundred," as being what is full; and from the signification of "silver," as being truth (n. 1551, 2954, 5658). From all this it is plain that by "he gave to Benjamin three hundred pieces of silver" is signified that he gave to the intermediate fullness of truth from good; for the intermediate which Benjamin represents is interior truth through influx from the internal celestial (n. 5600, 5631). That "three hundred" signifies what is full, is because this number arises from three and a hundred by multiplication, and "three" signifies what is full (n. 2788, 4495) and a "hundred" signifies much (n. 4400); for what compound numbers involve is seen from the simple numbers from which they are.
 "Three hundred" also involves a like meaning where it is mentioned elsewhere in the Word, as that The ark of Noah was three hundred cubits in length (Gen. 6:15); also that there were three hundred men through whom Gideon smote Midian, of whom it is written in the book of Judges:--
The number of them that lapped in their hand at their mouth, was three hundred men. Jehovah said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I give Midian into thine hand. Gideon divided the three hundred men into three troops, and he gave a trumpet into the had of each of them, and empty pitchers, and torches in the midst of the pitchers. When they sounded with the three hundred trumpets, Jehovah set every man‘s sword against his fellow, and against the whole camp (Judges 7:6, 7, 16, 22);
by the "three hundred men" here also is signified what is full, as also by the three troops into which these three hundred were divided; and by the "hundred" which was the number of each troop is signified much and enough, consequently that they would be sufficient against Midian. Moreover all these things were representative, namely, that those were taken who lapped water in the hand; that each one had a trumpet, and pitchers in which were torches; and this because by Midian, against whom they were going, was represented truth which was not truth, because there was no good of life. But each of these things will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be treated of elsewhere. That numbers also were representative, is evident from many other passages, as the number "seven" in Joshua, when they took Jericho; for it was then commanded that seven priests should bear seven jubilee trumpets before the ark, and that on the seventh day they should compass the city seven times (Joshua 6:4).
AC 5956. And five changes of garments. That this signifies much of truth from the natural, is evident from the signification of "five," as being much (n. 5708); and from the signification of "changes of garments," as being truths initiated in good. That it is from the natural, is because "garments" are predicated of the natural. That the intermediate which is represented by Benjamin had truth from the natural, is because in order to be an intermediate it partakes of the internal and of the external (n. 5822). That which is from the internal is meant by the intermediate having fullness of truth from good, which is signified by the "three hundred pieces of silver" (n. 5955). That which is from the external is meant by much of truth from the natural, which is signified by the "five changes of garments."
AC 5957. And to his father he sent after this manner. That this signifies what was given gratuitously to spiritual good, is evident from the representation of Israel, who is here the "father," as being spiritual good from the natural (n. 5801, 5803, 5807, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833); and from the signification of "sending," as being to give gratuitously. For everything that flows in from the Lord through the internal into the external, or into the natural (even what flows into spiritual good, which is "Israel," because this good is from the natural), is given gratuitously. The Lord does indeed demand humiliation, adoration, thanksgivings, and many other things from man, which appear like repayings, and thus not gratuitous; but the Lord does not demand these things for His own sake, for the Divine has no glory from man‘s humiliation, adoration, and thanksgiving. In the Divine, anything of the love of self is utterly inconceivable - that such things should be done for His own sake; but they are for the sake of the man himself; for when a man is in humiliation he can receive good from the Lord, because he has then been separated from the love of self and its evils, which are the obstacle; and therefore the Lord wills a state of humiliation in man for his own sake; because when he is in this state the Lord can flow in with heavenly good. The case is similar with adoration, and with thanksgiving.
AC 5958. Ten asses carrying of the good of Egypt. That this signifies (better) memory-knowledges with many things of service, is evident from the signification of "ten," as being much (n. 3107, 4638, 5708); from the signification of "asses," as being memory-knowledges (n. 5741), here the lowest memory-knowledges (n. 5934), which because they carry interior things are things of service; and from the signification of the "good of Egypt," as being memory-knowledges (n. 5942, 5949), but the memory-knowledges of the church, for these are properly signified by "Egypt" (n. 4749, 4964, 4966). That these are the "good of Egypt" is because they are sent by Joseph to Israel, that is, by the internal celestial to spiritual good.
AC 5959. And ten she-asses carrying grain and bread. That this signifies the truth of good and the good of truth, also with many things of service, is evident from the signification of "ten," as being much (n. 5958); from the signification of "she-asses," as being things of service (n. 5958); from the signification of "grain," as being the good of truth (n. 5295, 5410), but here the truth of good, because from the internal celestial which is "Joseph;" and from the signification of "bread," as being the good of this truth (n. 276, 680, 2165, 2177, 3478, 3735, 4211, 4217, 4735, 4976). In regard to "grain" signifying the truth of good, and in other places the good of truth, the case is this. The significations are different when the influx is from the internal celestial, from what they are when it is from the internal spiritual. That which flows in from the internal celestial is nothing but good, which indeed has truth within it, but this truth is good. But that which flows in from the internal spiritual is nothing but truth, which when it becomes of the life is called the "good of truth." Hence then it is that "grain" sometimes signifies the good of truth, and sometimes the truth of good, here the truth of good, because from the internal celestial which is "Joseph." That she-asses carried the grain and bread, and he-asses the good of Egypt, is because by "he-asses" are signified things of service in so far as they relate to truth, and by "she-asses" are signified things of service in so far as they relate to good. For this reason the he-asses carried such things as were suitable for them, and the she-asses such as were suitable for them. Unless this had been the case there would have been no need to mention that there were asses and she-asses, and what the one and the other carried.
AC 5960. And nourishment for his father for the way. That this signifies interior truth for spiritual good meanwhile, is evident from the signification of "nourishment," as being interior truth, for this comes forth from the truth of good and the good of truth, which are signified by "grain and bread" (n. 5959), and moreover interior truth is nourishment for spiritual good; from the representation of Israel who is here the "father," as being spiritual good (n. 5957); and from the signification of "for the way," as being meanwhile, namely, before it came, that is, before full conjunction was effected. GENESIS 45:21-23 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|