Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 45:3-5
AC 5876. Verses 3-5. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were in consternation before him. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come ye near to me I pray. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. And now be not grieved, neither let there be anger in your eyes, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to make to live. "And Joseph said unto his brethren," signifies that the internal celestial gave the faculty of perception to truths in the natural; "I am Joseph," signifies manifestation; "doth my father yet live," signifies the presence of spiritual good from the natural; "and his brethren could not answer him," signifies that truths in the natural were not yet in a state to speak; "for they were in consternation before him," signifies commotion among them; "and Joseph said unto his brethren," signifies the perception of the new natural; "Come ye near to me I pray," signifies interior communication; "and they came near," signifies the effect; "and he said, I am Joseph your brother," signifies manifestation by means of influx; "whom ye sold into Egypt," signifies the internal which they had alienated; "and now he not grieved," signifies anxiety of the heart or of the will; "neither let there be anger in your eyes," signifies sadness of the spirit or of the understanding; "that ye sold me hither," signifies that they had alienated to the lowest things; "for God did send me before you to make to live," signifies spiritual life thence imparted to them of Providence.
AC 5877. And Joseph said unto his brethren. That this signifies that the internal celestial gave the faculty of perception to truths in the natural, is evident from the signification of "saying," in the historicals of the Word, as being perception (n. 1898, 1919, 2080, 2619, 2862, 3395, 3509, 5687, 5743), here to give the faculty of perception from the representation of Joseph, as being the internal celestial (n. 5869); and from the representation of the ten sons of Jacob, who are here the "brethren," as being truths in the natural (n. 5403, 5419, 5458, 5512). Thus the internal sense is that the internal celestial gave the faculty of perception to truths in the natural. By "saying" is here signified to give the faculty of perception, because in what now follows the subject treated of is the conjunction of the internal celestial, which is "Joseph," with truths in the natural, which are the "sons of Jacob," and when there is conjunction there is given the faculty of perceiving, namely, through the affection of truth, and thus of good.
AC 5878. I am Joseph, signifies manifestation, as is evident without explication.
AC 5879. Doth my father yet live? That this signifies the presence of spiritual good from the natural, is evident from the representation of Israel, who here is the "father," as being spiritual good from the natural (n. 5801, 5803, 5807, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833), that it is from the natural see (n. 4286); and from the signification of "doth he yet live," as being the presence thereof. For Joseph‘s first thought when he manifested himself was about his father, whom he knew to be living. Wherefore Israel was first present in thought, and also continuously afterward while Joseph spoke to his brethren. The reason is that the conjunction of the internal celestial, which is "Joseph," cannot be effected with the truths in the natural, which are the "sons of Jacob," except through spiritual good from the natural, which is "Israel." And when conjunction is effected, then they are no longer the sons of Jacob, but the sons of Israel, for the "sons of Israel" are spiritual truths in the natural.
AC 5880. And his brethren could not answer him. That this signifies that truths in the natural were not yet in a state to speak, is evident from the representation of the sons of Jacob, who are here Joseph’s "brethren," as being truths in the natural (n. 5877); and from the signification of "not being able to answer," as being to be not yet in a state to speak, namely, from the truths with the internal. The case herein is this. When the internal is being conjoined with the external, or good with truth, there is then for the first time effected a communication on the part of the internal with the external; but the communication is not yet reciprocal. When it is reciprocal, there is conjunction. Wherefore after Joseph had wept upon Benjamin‘s necks, and had kissed all his brethren, it is said that then for the first time his brethren talked with him (verse 15), whereby is signified that after conjunction was effected, there took place a reciprocal communication by virtue of reception.
AC 5881. For they were in consternation before him. That this signifies commotion among them, is evident from the signification of "being in consternation," as being commotion, consternation being nothing else. By commotion is meant a new disposition and setting in order of truths in the natural, concerning which setting in order be it known that the order in which memory-knowledges and truths are arranged in man’s memory is unknown to man, but when it pleases the Lord it is known to angels. For it is a wonderful order. They cohere as in little bundles, and the little bundles themselves cohere together, and this according to the connection of things which the man had conceived. These coherences are more wonderful than any man can ever believe. In the other life they are sometimes presented to view, for in the light of heaven which is spiritual such things can be exhibited to the sight of the eye, but not at all in the light of the world. The memory-knowledges and truths are arranged into these fascicular forms solely by the man‘s loves--into infernal forms by the loves of self and of the world, but into heavenly forms by love toward the neighbor and love to God. Wherefore while the man is being regenerated, and conjunction is being effected of the good of the internal man with the truths of the external, a commotion takes place among the truths, for they then undergo a different arrangement. It is this commotion which is here meant, and is signified by their "being in consternation." The commotion then made, manifests itself by an anxiety arising from the change of the former state, namely, from a privation of the delight which had been in that state. This commotion also manifests itself by anxiety concerning the past life--that internal good and the internal itself had been relegated to the lowest place-- which anxiety is treated of in what follows.
AC 5882. And Joseph said unto his brethren. That this signifies the perception of the new natural, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being perception (n. 5877); and from the representation of the sons of Jacob, as being truths in the natural (n. 5877), here the natural; for they who represent truths in the natural, represent also the natural itself--as Pharaoh, who, as he represents memory-knowledges in general, because he was king of Egypt, also represents the natural itself in general (n. 5160, 5799). The truths in the natural, and the natural itself, or the natural man himself, act as a one, for truths are the contents, and the natural is the containant; and therefore in the internal sense the containant is now signified, and now the content, according to the series of the things. The reason why the sons of Jacob here represent the new natural is that in the internal sense is here described the act of conjunction, which--to speak generally--is in accordance with the thing that are contained in the general explication; namely, that when there takes place a conjunction of the internal with the external, or of good with truth, there is first bestowed a capacity of perception that the man is affected with truth and thus with good, and that then a commotion is felt; next that an interior communication is given by means of influx; and so on. From this it is plain that the natural which the sons of Jacob here represent is the new natural, for its former state has been changed (n. 5881).
AC 5883. Come ye near to me I pray. That this signifies interior communication, is evident from the signification of "coming near," as being to communicate more closely, which when predicated of the external relatively to the internal is to communicate more interiorly. A man knows not that communication with the natural or exterior man is interior and exterior, for the reason that he has not formed for himself any idea of the internal man, and of its life being distinct from the life of the external man. Of the internal man he has no other idea than that it is within, not at all distinct from the external, when yet they are so distinct that the internal can be separated from the external, and can live the life which it lived before, but purer, which also actually takes place when the man dies, for then the internal is separated from the external, and the internal which lives after the separation is what is then called the spirit. But this is the very man himself who lived in the body, and also appears to himself and to others in the other life like a man in this world, having his whole form, from the head to the heel. And he is also endowed with the same faculties with which a man in the world is endowed, namely, of feeling when he is touched, of smelling, of seeing, of hearing, of speaking, and of thinking; insomuch that when he does not reflect upon the fact that he is in the other life, he supposes that he is in his body in the world, as I have some times heard said by spirits. From these things it is plain what man’s internal and external are. If an idea be thus formed concerning them, the things which have so often been said in the explications about the internal and the external man will become somewhat clearer, as well as what is meant by the interior communication which is here signified by "Come ye near to me I pray."
AC 5884. And they came near. That this signifies the effect, namely, that a more interior communication was effected, is evident without explication.
AC 5885. And he said, I am Joseph your brother. That this signifies manifestation by means of influx, is evident from the signification of "saying, I am Joseph your brother," as being manifestation (n. 5878). That it was by means of influx, follows, because the internal acts in no other way into the external, and now the more when a more interior communication has been effected (n. 5883). Manifestation by means of influx is, in respect to good, the noticing thereof through the affection of truth, and is charity; but in respect to truth, it is the acknowledgment thereof, and is faith.
AC 5886. Whom ye sold into Egypt. That this signifies the internal which they had alienated, is evident from the representation of Joseph, who is "he whom they sold" as being the internal (n. 5805, 5826, 5827);and from the signification of "selling," as being to alienate (n. 4752, 4758). By "Egypt" is here signified things lowest (n. 5889); for to account anything among memory-knowledges without acknowledgment is to cast it out to the sides, thus to ultimate or lowest things. This also is the case with man‘s internal at this day. This is indeed one of the memory-knowledges, because it is known from doctrine that there is an internal man, but it has been rejected to lowest things, because it is not acknowledged and believed; so that it has been alienated, not indeed from the memory, but from faith. That in the internal sense "to sell" is to alienate the things of faith and charity, consequently those which make a man of the internal church, may be seen from the fact that in the spiritual world there is no buying or selling such as there is on earth, but the appropriation of good and truth which is signified by "buying," and the alienation of them which is signified by "selling." By "selling" is also signified the communication of the knowledges of good and of truth, for the reason that by "trading" is signified the procuring and communication of these knowledges (n. 2967, 4453), but in this case the selling is said to be "not by silver."
 That "to sell" denotes alienation is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:--
Thus hath said Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have sent away? or who is there of My usurers to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your sins ye have been sold, and for your transgressions has your mother been sent away (Isa. 50:1);
"mother" denotes the church; and "selling," to alienate. In Ezekiel:--
The time is come, the day is come near; let not the buyer be glad, and let not the seller mourn; for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof. For the seller shall not return to the thing that is sold, though their life be yet among the living (Ezek. 7:12, 13);
speaking of the "land of Israel," which is the spiritual church; the "seller" denotes him who had alienated truths and had insinuated falsities.
 In Joel:--
The sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem have ye sold to the sons of the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their borders. Behold I will stir them up out of the place whither ye have sold them, and I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, who shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off (Joel 3:6-8);
speaking of Tyre and Sidon; "to sell" here also denotes to alienate. In Moses:--
Their Rock hath sold them, and Jehovah hath shut them up (Deut. 32:30);
"to sell" plainly denotes to alienate; "rock" in the supreme sense is the Lord as to truth, in the representative sense it is faith; "Jehovah" is the Lord as to good.
 As in the spiritual sense "to buy" is to procure for one‘s self, and "to sell" is to alienate, therefore the kingdom of heaven is compared by the Lord to one who sells and buys, in Matthew:--
The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which when found, a man hideth, and in his joy he goeth away and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like unto a merchant man seeking beauteous pearls; who when he had found one precious pearl, went away and sold all that he had, and bought it (Matthew 13:44-46);
"the kingdom of the heavens" denotes the good and the truth with man, thus heaven with him; "field" denotes good; and "pearl," truth; "to buy" denotes to procure and appropriate these to himself; "to sell all that he hath," denotes to alienate his own which he had before, thus evils and falsities, for these are of one’s own.
 In Luke:--
Jesus said unto the young prince, Yet lackest thou one thing; sell all that thou hast, and distribute to the poor, then wilt thou have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me (Luke 18:22);
in the internal sense by these words is meant that all things of his own, which are nothing but evils and falsities, must be alienated, for these things are "all that he hath;" and that he should then receive goods and truths from the Lord, which are "treasure in heaven."
 In like manner what is said in the same:--
Sell your means, and give alms; make you purses that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not (Luke 12:33);
everyone sees that there is another sense in these words, because for anyone to sell his means would be at this day to make himself a beggar, and to deprive himself of all capacity any longer to exercise charity, besides being unable to avoid placing merit therein; and it is an established truth that there are rich in heaven as well as poor. The other sense which is within these words is that which was told just above.
 As "to sell" signified to alienate the things of the church, it was therefore the law that:--
A wife married from the female captives, if she did not please, should be sent away whither she would, but should not in any case be sold for silver, and no profit be made of her, because he had afflicted her (Deut. 21:14);
a "wife from the female captives" denotes alien truth not from a genuine stock, but which may be adjoined in some way with the good of the church appertaining to man; yet this truth if in some respects not in agreement may be removed, but not alienated, because it has been in some measure conjoined. This is the spiritual meaning of this law.
 So with the following law:--
If a man be found who hath stolen a soul of his brethren of the sons of Israel, and hath made gain therein, and hath sold him, the thief shall be killed, that thou mayest put away the evil from the midst of thee (Deut. 24:7);
"thieves of the sons of Israel" denote those who acquire for themselves the truths of the church, not with the end of living according to them, and thus teaching them from the heart, but of making profit for themselves thereby: that such a thief is damned is signified by its being said that "he shall die."
AC 5887. And now be not grieved. That this signifies anxiety of the heart or will, is evident from the signification of "grief," as being anxiety, and indeed of the heart or will; for by the words, "Neither let there be anger in your eyes," which immediately follow, is signified sadness of the spirit or understanding. It is said of the heart or will, and of the spirit or understanding, for the reason that the heart by correspondence has relation to the things of the will, for it has relation to what is celestial or to the good of love, and the spirit, which is of the lungs, has relation to the things of the understanding, for it has relation to what is spiritual or to the truth of faith (n. 3635, 3883-3896).
AC 5888. Neither let there be anger in your eyes. That this signifies sadness of the spirit or understanding, is evident from the signification of "anger," as here being sadness, because like a repetition of a similar thing, it follows the words "Be not grieved," whereby is signified anxiety of the heart or will; for where in the Word there appears as it were a repetition, one expression relates to the will and the other to the understanding, or what is the same, one relates to the good of love and the other to the truth of faith, and this on account of the heavenly marriage, which is that of good and truth, in every detail of the Word (n. 683, 793, 801, 2173, 2516, 2712, 5502); and from the signification of "eyes," as being the understanding (n. 2701, 4403-4421, 4523-4534).
AC 5889. That ye sold me hither. That this signifies that they had alienated to the lowest things, is evident from what was unfolded above (n. 5886).
AC 5890. For God did send me before you to make to live. That this signifies spiritual life imparted to them of Providence, is evident from the signification of "making to live," as being spiritual life; and from the signification of "God did send me before you," as being of Providence. That it was of Providence is evident from Joseph‘s dreams, in which it was foretold that his brethren should bow themselves down to him, and also his father, which would not have been foreseen unless it had been provided. That by "making to live" is signified spiritual life, or new life through regeneration, may be seen from this alone--that the spiritual of the Word cannot be anything else. There is natural life and there is spiritual life. Natural life is meant in the literal sense of the Word, but spiritual life in the internal sense; and moreover in many passages by "to make to live," and by "life," is meant in the literal sense spiritual life itself; as in Ezekiel:--
When I shall say to the wicked, Dying thou shalt die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to dissuade the wicked from his evil way, to make him live (Ezek. 3:18).
Ye have profaned Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die and to make live the souls that should not live. Ye strengthen the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his evil way, by making him live (Ezek. 13:19, 22).
After two days Jehovah will make us live; and in the third day He will set us up, that we may live before Him (Hosea 6:2).
Unless I had believed to see good in the land of life (Ps. 27:13).
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7).
In John the Evangelist:--
As the Father raiseth up the dead and maketh them live, even so the Son also maketh live whom He will (John 5:21).
It is the spirit that maketh to live; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you are spirit, and are life (John 6:63).
In these passages "to make to live," and "life," manifestly denote spiritual life, which is life in heaven, and which is also called simply "life," as in Matthew:--
Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14);
"to enter into life" denotes to enter into heaven (Matt. 18:8, 9; 19:17; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; John 5:24).GENESIS 45:3-5 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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