1. So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his Father Isaac.
“Israel took his journey” tells us that he was starting out in the direction of being joined with his son, Joseph. Because this is moving towards a heavenly connection, Beersheba has a good meaning: charity and faith. By practicing charity, or kindness towards others in our thoughts and actions, and believing in God, we are worshiping Him, which is the inner meaning of offering sacrifices. (See Secrets of Heaven 5995)
2. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!” And he said, “Here I am.”
When God speaks to Israel at night, it connotes darkness, or that Jacob is in a state of obscurity about God, perhaps not really sure of his visions. This can further be seen by God calling him “Jacob” which denotes natural truth, or God’s way as seen in natural truths. When Jacob says, “Here I am”, it shows that he was starting to understand the things of God.
3. And He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.
Because Jacob is starting to understand, “the God of your father” denotes that divine intelligence is flowing into the truths that Jacob is seeing, in a natural way. “Not fearing to go down to Egypt” shows us, in our natural way, that we shouldn’t fear learning about God’s ways for us, but should instead feel confident that the Lord will guide us. This can be seen in what follows immediately—the great nation that the Lord will make from Jacob means that the truths will turn out good, or that we will be led to good things because of the truths we learn.
4. “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.”
We are assured of the Lord’s presence with us, because He tells Jacob, “I will go down with you to Egypt,” and then He will “surely bring you up again.” The mention of Joseph means that there will be truths from the deeper, inmost parts of us that will come and put a “hand on your eyes,” or help Jacob to see things in a deeper, more inward way (Secrets of Heaven 6008). This is the Lord saying that he will help all of us who believe in Him and live in charity to see truths with more detail and clarity.
5. Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives in the carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
Being enlightened by natural truths is meant by Jacob arising from Beersheba (Secrets of Heaven 6009).
His sons carrying him can mean that truths from a more spiritual origin cause the natural truth to enlighten our minds (see below for the meanings of the names of Jacob’s sons.) “Their little ones” brings to mind the innocence in this, especially since the children are named before “their wives,” which denote aspects of charity.
Jacob being put into the carts sent by Pharaoh shows that this further progression is enlightening things obtained from factual knowledge meant by Pharaoh (Secrets of Heaven 6009).
6. So they took their livestock and their goods which they had acquired in the land of Canaan and went to Egypt, Jacob and his descendants with him.
Taking their livestock and goods which they already possessed denotes the things of good and truth which a person already has before starting on the journey -- things of faith and natural truths. Faith belonging to natural truths is how we follow the commandments literally, without any sense of a deeper meaning. For example, if we do not commit murder but don't also understand that to hate another person is, in our spirits, also to commit murder. (Again, refer to Secrets of Heaven 6009).
7. His sons and his son’s sons, his daughters and his sons’ daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.
“Sons” in the Word symbolize truths and “daughters” goods, so daughters of his sons would mean good things that spring from truths already known.
8. Now these were the names of the children of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt: Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn.
In the Word “names” indicate “qualities,” so the listing of all the names of the sons of Jacob plus their offspring indicates spiritual qualities which the Lord is providing for us as He takes us on the journey of being made spiritual. Reuben means faith in the understanding, so it occupies first place.
To understand the complexity of the things the Lord is doing for us, it helps to know the meanings of the names of Jacob’s descendants:
9. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
Reuben’s sons mean teachings about faith (Secrets of Heaven 6024).
10. The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.
The sons of Simeon mean faith in the will, or a willingness to do the things that faith teaches.
11. The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
Levi represents spiritual love, which is why his descendants were priests, meaning they represent teachings about spiritual things.
12. The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zehar (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
Judah means celestial or the innermost love, so his sons indicate teachings regarding it. For example, a spiritual love is to love others as ourselves, but a celestial or innermost love it to love others more than ourselves.
13. The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puvah, Job and Shimron.
Since Issachar represents heavenly married love (conjugial love), his sons indicate true teachings about married love.
14. The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon and Jahleel.
Zebulun and his sons mean the heavenly marriage and teachings regarding it. By the heavenly marriage is meant the joining of love and wisdom, or good and truth together in a marriage, meaning that wisdom gives guidance to our love, and love motivates our wisdom.
15. These were the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Padan Aram, with his daughter Dinah. All the persons, his sons and his daughters, were thirty-three.
“Leah” being female represents an affection or love, here the spiritual affection flowing into the natural part of us. “Padam Aram” means that we “must be born anew or made spiritual,” (Secrets of Heaven 6025) and that process begins with knowing things, or having knowledges, about it.
That all of Jacob’s sons so far were born there represents new births or new insights into this process.
16. The sons of Gad were Ziphon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.
They represent the good actions which are the result of us having faith, and the teachings from it.
17. The sons of Asher were Jimnah, Ishuah, Isui, Beriah and Serah, their sister. And the sons of Beriah were Heber and Malchiel.
These mean the happiness of eternal life, the delight of it, and teachings about it.
18. These were the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob: sixteen persons.
Gad and Asher, being born of Zilpah, a handmaid of Leah and not a wife, shows that they represent outer or external qualities or things in the natural part of us. Doing the things faith teaches us needs to occur in our natural life, while thinking of the happiness and delight of living forever is a truth that buoys us up. With this truth we are inspired to continue living the life of being born anew (Secrets of Heaven 6024).
19. The sons of Rachel, Jacob’s wife, were Joseph and Benjamin.
Contrasted with the sons of Zilpah, who represent outer or external qualities, the sons of Rachel represent inner or spiritual qualities, Joseph representing good of our inner life and Benjamin, the truth of it.
20. And to Joseph in the land of Egypt there were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah, priest of On, bore to him.
To Joseph in the land of Egypt means that inmost and inner heavenly qualities are flowing down into the natural part of us. Asenath, who was married to Joseph, was a priest’s daughter, and their marriage must represent a quality of the marriage of good and truth. The priest was Egyptian, and Egypt represents truths in the natural needed to receive the inner good represented by Joseph. Joseph’s children, Manasseh and Ephraim, symbolize a new area of the will and a new associated area of the understanding which the Lord is creating in those being prepared for heaven.
21. “The sons of Benjamin were Belah, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard.
The sons of Benjamin represent the deeper spiritual part of us, and teachings regarding it.
22. These were the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob: fourteen persons in all.
Mentioning that these were the descendants of Rachel shows that they were born from affection — Rachel, a female, representing a love within us. Since she is Joseph’s mother, her name represents a love for the innermost, or celestial qualities.
23. The son of Dan was Hushim.
We are up a level, again, here, to the sons of Jacob, Dan and Naphtali.
Dan represents the first state of a person who is about to be regenerated, but in the outer, or most external part of him or her (Secrets of Heaven 3923).
Dan’s son, Hushim, means the holiness of faith and the good of life, and teachings regarding them. When we believe right things, then they show us how to live a better life.
24. The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.
Naphtali represents victory over these temptations, and also a perception of usefulness after temptation (Apocalypse Revealed 354).
Naphtali’s sons represent temptations in which victory is won, and teachings regarding them. As soon as we start to live a better life, thoughts and desires wanting to lead us astray are not far behind.
25. These were the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel, his daughter, and she bore these to Jacob seven persons in all.
Bilhah was a handmaid of Rachel’s, so she signifies things which belong to Rachel, which are a love for the deepest or innermost qualities God opens up in us. The seven in “Seven persons in all” shows us a completion as these states flow into us from the Lord. This is further shown by the next sentence, which is a short summation of this.
26. All the persons who went with Jacob to Egypt, who came from his body, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, were sixty-six persons in all.
The people going with Jacob to Egypt represent all the truths and forms of good introduced into the natural or external part of us. Those who didn’t come from Jacob, his sons’ wives” represent things that aren’t really serving good things of love coming from the Lord into our natural life (Secrets of Heaven 6024).
27. And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt were two persons. All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy.
The sons of Joseph born in Egypt signify innermost heavenly, and inner spiritual qualities flowing down into the natural part of us, as in verse 20 where it says they were born to Joseph. That they were “two persons” means that new areas of the will and understanding were opening up. “Seventy” means all and in its proper order (Secrets of Heaven 6024).
28. Then he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out before him the way to Goshen. And they came to the land of Goshen.
Judah going before Joseph means forms of good that are intermediary, or in the middle between the good in innermost parts of us (Joseph) and the good in outermost or natural (Joseph). “Goshen,” the land they were going to, signifies inner things within our natural person.
29. So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while.
Chariots always signify doctrinal teachings, so Joseph making his chariot ready means teachings about innermost things, like loving the Lord about all or not looking for personal credit when doing something good. Joseph presenting himself to his father, Israel, tells us there is an inflowing from deeper things, and our outer self is perceiving it. “Falling on his neck” symbolizes our innermost and outermost things joined. Joseph weeping means this conjoining is through mercy. Weeping for a good while represents mercy or the depth that this affection coming from the Lord has for our natural or external selves (Refer to Secrets of Heaven 6026).
30. And Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive.”
“Israel said to Joseph” indicates a spiritual good that is present within our natural selves. “Now let me die” means an old way of life is ending and a new way of life is beginning. “Now that I have seen your face,” means that mercy has been discerned in the outermost parts. “Because you are still alive” shows that the outer parts discern there are much better things flowing in now, showing better ways to live.
31. Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, “My brothers and those of my father’s house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me.
Joseph speaking to his brothers indicates that the natural understands some of the inner things represented by Joseph. “His father’s household” means the natural understands by the forms or in the way that it can. Joseph going up to Pharaoh indicates there is communication even to the point where innermost things are flowing into our factual knowledges about the life we must live to be in heaven. Joseph’s brothers and his father’s house coming to him means all the truths and forms of good that we have are going to be infilled with the deeper, celestial love that Joseph brings.
32. And the men are shepherds, for their occupation has been to feed livestock; and they have brought their flocks, their herds and all that they have.’
“The men are shepherds” means that the truths represented by his brothers leads to good. That all their flocks and herds are with them shows that good things of the interior and the exterior, and whatever is dependent on them, are all present. An example of this is that we are supposed to do useful things for one another. The innermost or celestial person does good things because they love the Lord; the spiritual or inner person because they love the neighbor; and the outermost or natural person does good things for others out of obedience.
33. “So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, “What is your occupation?”
“When Pharaoh calls you,” represents the natural part of us where factual knowledge about heavenly things resides. “What is your occupation?” shows the natural is interested and wants to know about the good that will be flowing into it.
34. “That you shall say, ‘Your servants’ occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,’ that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.
This verse shows that truths leading to good have been present and are present now. “That you may dwell in the land of Goshen” shows that spiritual truths will be in the center of natural things from now on, and since they’re in Egypt it shows they will be inflowing into the factual knowledge that teaches about a heavenly life.
“Every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians,” signifies the separation between false outer, factual knowledge (the Egyptians) and the factual knowledge telling of inner or spiritual truths that lead us to heaven, are meant by Joseph’s brothers (Secrets of Heaven 6039).