Genesis 45

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1 And Joseph could not hold·​·himself·​·back before all who were standing by him; and he called, Cause every man to go·​·out from by me! And there stood not a man with him while Joseph made· himself ·known to his brothers.

2 And he gave·​·over his voice in weeping; and the Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard.

3 And Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph; does my father yet live? And his brothers could not answer him; for they were vexed before him.

4 And Joseph said to his brothers, Approach me, I pray. And they approached. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

5 And now be· not ·grieved, neither be·​·incensed in your eyes, that you sold me hither; for God sent me before you for keeping·​·alive.

6 For this two·​·years the famine is in the midst of the land; and there are still five years wherein there will be no plowing and harvest.

7 And God sent me before you to set for you a residue in the land, and to make· you ·live for a great deliverance.

8 And now it is not you who have sent me hither, but God; and He set me for a father to Pharaoh, and for a lord to all his house, and I rule in all the land of Egypt.

9 Hasten ye and go·​·up to my father, and say to him, Thus has said thy son Joseph, God has set me for lord to all Egypt; come·​·down to me, stand not back;

10 and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near to me, thou, and thy sons, and thy sons’ sons, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast;

11 and I will sustain thee there; for there are still five years of famine; lest thou be dispossessed, thou, and thy house, and all that thou hast.

12 And behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that with my mouth I am speaking to you.

13 And you shall tell my father all my glory in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and hasten ye and bring·​·down my father hither.

14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s necks and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his necks.*

15 And he kissed all his brothers, and wept upon them; and afterwards his brothers spoke with him.

16 And the voice was heard in the house of Pharaoh, saying, The brothers of Joseph have come; and it was·​·good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants.

17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Say to thy brothers, This do ye; pack your beasts, and go, go·​·into the land of Canaan;

18 and take your father, and your houses*, and come to me; and I will give you the goodness of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land.

19 And now commanded, this do; take for yourselves from the land of Egypt carts for your infants, and for your women, and take·​·up your father, and come.

20 And let not your eye be sparing upon your vessels; for the goodness of the all the land of Egypt, it is for you.

21 And the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them carts, by the mouth of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way.

22 And to all of them he gave to a man changes of raiment; and to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment.

23 And to his father he sent according·​·to this manner: ten donkeys bearing what was from the goodness of Egypt, and ten she·​·donkeys bearing grain and bread and nourishment for his father for the way.

24 And he sent his brothers, and they went; and he said to them, Contend not in the way.

25 And they went·​·up out·​·of Egypt, and came·​·into the land of Canaan to Jacob their father.

26 And they told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is ruler in all the land of Egypt. And his heart failed, because he believed them not.

27 And they spoke to him all the words of Joseph, which he spoke to them; and he saw the carts which Joseph had sent to bear him, and the spirit of Jacob their father lived;

28 and Israel said, It is much; Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Genesis 45      

Napsal(a) Helen Kennedy

Genesis 45

In this chapter, we have a story that tells us about the way that our inner self can get to be "at one" again with our more external self.

1. Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, “Make everyone go from me. So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

In Verse 1, Joseph represents the innermost heavenly part of us. See Arcana Coelestia 5868. “Could not refrain himself,” shows the desire and urgency that our inner spirit has to flow into the external or most troubled parts of us. When Joseph cries out for everyone to leave the room, it shows how all non-essential things are banished to the sidelines.

In Verse 2, Joseph weeps aloud. This is a metaphor that shows the great joy that the inmost heavenly part of our mind experiences when it is conjoined with our outer self. This strong emotion shows the depth of the Lord's merciful love, and the house of Pharaoh hearing it shows that it is felt throughout the whole of the natural mind.

In Verse 3, when Joseph says to his brothers, "I am Joseph; is my father still alive?", they can't answer him. They're troubled. Why? Our natural self perceives the movement of the inner spiritual self, but instead of being filled with joy, it experiences turmoil and confusion. This new opening to deeper things is going to change things; our natural self is going to be ashamed of the way it has been treating spiritual things.

When, in Verse 4, Joseph asks his brothers to come closer to him, this symbolizes our inner spirit becoming more apparent to the external or natural part of us. The brothers go closer, indicating that the natural is starting to better grasp the new situation.

It's the affection of truth which allows us to love others. The brothers, when they sold Joseph into Egypt as a slave, showed how our outermost mind starts with little or no affection or love for inner spiritual things.

But the Lord works with us. Our inner spiritual mind gets sent to Egypt, but Providence is working all the time, long before we are aware of it. In Verse 5, Joseph urges his brothers not to worry. Our inner spirit does not want us to have anxiety in our hearts about this past alienation.

The famine in the land indicates the severe lack of good in the natural or outer self. There are still five years to go, which shows the length of time before the remnants of good and truth the Lord has instilled in us while we were young will be able to shine forth. Still, at this point, two years in, something is happening. Those remnants are starting to be taken out from our innermost recesses of mind, where they have been stored.

In Verse 7, that "God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth," is the inner self assuring our natural self that Providence is taking care of things, that the stored remnants of good and truth are enough to seed the future.

Before the deepest spiritual levels can reveal themselves as part of our lives, we need to be instructed in factual knowledge and other natural truths, all represented by the Pharoah and Egypt. However, these naturals truths depend on spiritual truths for their existence. That's what is meant in Verse 8, when it says that Joseph was “a father to Pharoah.”

In Verse 9, hastening or hurrying shows a joyful desire for connection. For the brothers to go back to their father and tel him about Joseph shows how a deeper, inner level that we thought was long lost can speak to us again.

“Come down to me; and do not tarry,” again shows the enthusiasm and happiness of the inner spirit at the possibility of being joined with the natural, outer self. “God has made me lord of all Egypt” emphasizes that our natural selves need to act in accordance with the more profound, inner things.

Dwelling together in the land of Goshen, in Verse 10, with the children and grandchildren, illustrates that in this new state, the spiritual and natural will be joined together forever and not separated again.

In Verse 11, we're given an image of how the spiritual always provides for and nourishes life on the natural level.

Verse 12 is a reassurance that what Joseph is saying is true. Joseph emphasizes it by saying, “And the eyes of my brother, Benjamin”. Benjamin signifies an intermediary between the deepest levels meant by Joseph and the outermost levels meant by Joseph’s brothers.

In Verse 13, the reference to glory is made, because when the natural level perceives something from the spiritual level it comes with light, brilliance and radiance. Joseph's urging his brothers to bring their father to him is another example of how, with love and emotion, the spiritual within us can barely contain its joy.

In verses 14 and, 15, Joseph and Benjamin weeping while holding one another gives a profound image of how deeply and completely the Lord desires to be united with us. Joseph’s brothers being able to talk with him comes in the aftermath of the outer or natural’s acceptance of deeper truths and realities, and there being a communication between inner and outer things.

In Verse 16, it says that the report of these events "was heard in Pharoah’s house, saying, Joseph’s brothers have come: so it pleased Pharoah and his servants well." The deeper truths have infilled the natural and there is joy everywhere, even down to the lowest things, meant here by Pharoah’s servants.

In Verse 17, Pharaoh says to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and depart; go to the land of Canaan. The phrase “Pharoah said,” means that it was done. Factual knowledges or outward truths, which are vessels for inner truths, were being filled with good or affection, which is represented by loading the animals.

In Verse 18, Joseph tells his brothers to bring their father and their households to him. This shows how inner truths are drawing closer to outward or factual knowledge. For example, a person may know the fact that life continues after death. By the brothers bringing their father and their households, the person becomes aware of that reality and rejoices that it’s true. “Eating the fat of the land” signifies a person making that truth their own or really believing it.

Being commanded, in Verse 19, means that a person needs to will this, do this, believe this. The truths that infill our natural facts are described as ‘doctrines’ which will teach the “little ones, and your wives,” or people who do not already know of these truths and their inner realities. “Bringing Joseph’s father” completes the reality because he represents the spiritual good which the truths must look towards.

Verse 20 is an admonition for us to let go of our former things, the things we thought were important in our lives. The best of all of Egypt will be given to us, and instead of just empty, factual knowledge, our knowledges will be filled with inner, deeper truths that look to good as their end. For example, instead of knowing we need to be kind to others, we will actually hold charitable thoughts and intend kind and good things towards others.

In Verse 21, when we obey and start the journey, we put things into effect; spiritual things can start flowing into the natural. We receive truths that are pleasing to use, and the support we need to use the newer truths in their lives.

22 He gave to all of them, to each man, changes of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of garments.

In Verse 22, the garments, like the provisions for the journey, show that Joseph provided all the things the brothers might need to make their journey. Clothes here mean truths which are new or enlivened by good. The love which Joseph has for Benjamin serves as an intermediary; the truth represented by the silver is a more interior conjunction. Anything with the number three, or a combination of it, means what is complete.

In Verse 23, these gifts which were freely given represent the things that flow freely from the Lord through the spirit into our natural minds. The things of Egypt are factual knowledges that serve our spiritual life. The male and female donkeys represent truths and goods, respectively.

In Verse 24, when Joseph sends his brothers away, it means that our inner life passes through changes - this time referring to a state when it becomes less apparent and seemingly concealed from us. “See that you do not become troubled along the way” shows the desire of the inner spirit for our natural self to not be disturbed or troubled when this happens. It seems like the Lord is saying to us here, that even though we can’t see Him, we can remain peaceful because He really is still there.

In Verse 25, the brothers leave Egypt. They return to Jacob, who represents natural, but not spiritual good. (When Jacob's name is changed to "Israel", this represents a change of state from the natural to the spiritual.)

When, in Verse 26, the brothers tell Jacob that Joseph is still alive, it represents that natural part of us being told that spiritual states, or more inward things, are real or alive. That Joseph is governor of Egypt shows that inner spiritual things have power over outer, natural ones. Jacob's disbelief and fainting shows a lack of understanding in out natural minds, about how all this could be so.

The natural mind comes around. In Verse 27, being told “all the words of Joseph” shows an influx of inner spiritual things into the natural. Seeing “the wagons which Joseph had sent” shows a dawning awareness. Being revived shows that our natural mind begins to be able to experience a new goodness of life.

In Verse 28, Israel (not Jacob!) says, "It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive: I will go and see him before I die."

The use of the name Israel shows that now good from the inner states is being made a part of our lives. Our joy comes from learning that spiritual things which were concealed were not really lost. “I will go and see him” being said shows an immediate willingness and eagerness to experience the deeper, inner things of our spiritual life.

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Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.


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