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.