Mysteries of Genesis
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[Mysteries of Genesis]
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The Blessing of the Faculties
Genesis 47, 48, 49, and 50
JOSEPH IS A SUBLIME IDEA of Truth that goes down into the
darkened sense consciousness, and under the law finally
raises it up and out of sense and into Spirit. He was
seemingly forced there by his brothers, yet he was sent by
the Lord to prepare for the maintenance of Jacob's family
through the period of dearth that later came to Canaan. The
Truth he represents, when taken down into the sense
consciousness, establishes there a new realization of life
that will result in the regeneration of the entire man. We
must often go consciously into every part of our body and
build it up in Truth with new ideas of life and substance.
Gen. 47:1-12. Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and
said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and
their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the
land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of
Goshen. And from among his brethren he took five men, and
presented them unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto his
brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto
Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and our
fathers. And they said unto Pharaoh, To sojourn in the land
are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants'
flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now
therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land
of Goshen. And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy
father and thy brethren are come
unto thee: the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of
the land make thy father and thy brethren to dwell; in the
land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any able
men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. And
Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before
Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto
Jacob, How many are the days of the years of thy life? And
Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my
pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years: few and evil
have been the days of the years of my life, and they have
not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my
fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed
Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. And
Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a
possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land,
in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And
Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his
father's household, with bread, according to their families.
Joseph's brothers had been shepherds in Canaan. It is the
business of our mind faculties (Jacob's sons) to tend those
thought aggregations (flocks, herds) that pertain to our
vitality. There were no sheep in Egypt, but Pharaoh made
them "rulers" over his cattle. Cattle represent physical
strength, which like all the powers of man on the natural
plane, must be spiritualized. The faculties, having come
down into a more material state of consciousness (Egypt),
take dominion over and lift up the animal thoughts and
tendencies in the body and unify them with Spirit. This is
done by a transmutation of quality and is attained by right
thinking, by putting the "cattle" under the control of the
thoughts of reality or Spirit, represented by the
Joseph brought his father to the ruler, and Jacob blessed
Pharaoh. This shows that the power that rules the body,
under the material regime, rules in obscurity or is without
spiritual understanding. When imagination (Joseph) brings
the higher understanding (Jacob) to the body consciousness
(Pharaoh), the higher blesses the lower.
Thus, the father and the brothers of Joseph took up their
abode in the land of Egypt, and Joseph nourished them
there. The imagination, which is our faculty of increase,
when established in Truth, prepares the way for us. It
inspires, encourages, and sustains the other faculties in
us when they fall into a seemingly material phase of being,
and ultimately brings about the spiritualization of the
whole organism, mind, soul, and body.
It is thought that Rameses is the same name as Raamses,
which means "son of Ra," "son of the sun," "sun's
emanation." Rameses represents a consciousness of substance
in the domain of the physical ego (Pharaoh). This "sun" or
"light" consciousness, which in Pharaoh and Egypt is
obscured or veiled by the life on the lower sense plane,
works in conjunction with the higher religious thoughts
(Hebrews) that are in servitude to the darkened sense
consciousness symbolized by Egypt, and so this reserve
substance (Rameses) is built up in Egypt.
Gen. 47:13-26. And there was no bread in all the land; for
the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and the
land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph
gathered up all the money that was found in the land of
Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they
bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house.
And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt, and
in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph,
and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy
presence? for our money faileth. And Joseph said, Give your
cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
And they brought their cattle unto Joseph; and Joseph gave
them bread in exchange for the horses, and for the flocks,
and for the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with
bread in exchange for all their cattle for that year. And
when that year was ended, they came unto him the second
year, and said unto him, We will not hide from my lord, how
that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my
lord's; there is nought left in the sight of my lord, but
our bodies, and our lands: wherefore should we die before
thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for
bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh:
and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, and that
the land be not desolate.
So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the
Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine was
sore upon them: and the land became Pharaoh's. And as for
the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of
the border of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Only the
land of the priests bought he not: for the priests had a
portion from Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which
Pharaoh gave them; wherefore they sold not their land. Then
Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this
day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you,
and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass at the
ingatherings, that ye shall give a fifth unto Pharaoh, and
four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and
for your food, and for them of your households, and for
food for your little ones. And they said, Thou
hast saved our lives: let us find favor in the sight of my
lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants. And Joseph made it
a statute concerning the land of Egypt unto this day, that
Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests
alone became not Pharaoh's.
In the early stages of regeneration there are times when
the developing soul has exhausted its resources and the
outer world no longer satisfies. When it reaches this point
man has to turn within and appropriate from the higher
principles that which they have to give. The center of the
great solar plexus (Pharaoh) is also the conservator of
substance and life in the organism. When man is spiritually
famished and feels the lack he is eager regardless of cost
to go to the inner reservoirs of stored-up substance for
sustenance. First he gives up to the higher principles the
power and strength of the natural man (symbolized by money
and cattle), then he draws on the fixed forces, the land
(representing the body), until it is finally realized that
the higher principles really are in authority. In the last
analysis the "sun" (solar plexus) consciousness is actually
the great distributor. The men (thought forces) were given
seed to sow the land, and Pharaoh (the great distributing
ego) permitted them to have four fifths of the harvest for
sustenance, while retaining one fifth (in the subconscious)
to meet any usual demands. The man now becomes aware of the
presence of this subconscious ego that, when spiritually
instructed by the imagination (Joseph), will handle all the
processes of rebuilding the body. Finally this becomes an
established law. The priests, representing the higher
spiritual life, are not subject to this law.
Gen. 47:27-31. And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in
the land of Goshen; and they gat them possessions therein,
and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly. And Jacob
lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the days of
Jacob, the years of his life, were a hundred forty and
seven years. And the time drew near that Israel must die:
and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I
have found favor in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand
under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me: bury me
not, I pray thee, in Egypt; but when I sleep with my
fathers, thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in
their burying-place. And he said, I will do as thou hast
said. And he said, Swear unto me: and he sware unto him.
And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.
The central thought in this Scripture is that Jacob is
giving up old ideas and taking on new. The life of Jacob in
a certain unfoldment was drawing to a close, and his desire
was that his body be buried with his fathers in the cave of
Machpelah. This indicates that a certain phase of the
illumined intellect is sinking back into the
subconsciousness (Macpelah). All experiences in life that
have spiritual qualities and all realities gained in the
land of unity (Goshen) are preserved in the
subconsciousness. Joseph's placing his hand under the thigh
of Jacob symbolizes the truth that the illumined intellect
needs the encouragement and support and power of the
imagination in order to effect spiritually the change that
is about to take place. When this is granted, Jacob bows
down in gratitude and thanksgiving to the Holy One and
rests in the realization that all is well. "And Israel
bowed himself upon the bed's head."
Jacob's age is significant. The number seven symbolizes
fullness in the world of phenomena. It is so universally
used as a mystical number that its basis must be in some
fundamental arrangement of the natural world.
(For significance of the oath see interpretation of Gen.
Gen. 48:1-4. And it came to pass after these things, that
one said to Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took
with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And one told
Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee:
and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And
Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at
Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto
me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee,
and I will make of thee a company of peoples, and will give
this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting
In this Scripture the I AM functioning in the illumined
intellect (Jacob) is taking cognizance of its abilities and
possessions before it sinks back into the subconsciousness
for a season of rest. The I AM faculty of imagination
(Joseph) is quick to discern what is taking place and
brings the will and the understanding, the yes and the no
of the mind (Ephraim and Manasseh), to the I AM for a final
blessing. (The will and the understanding are the powers
that say yes and no to your thoughts.)
The Lord had blessed Jacob (the I AM) at Luz. One
interpretation of Luz is "separation," but under the light
of Spirit we find that that which we conceive to be apart
from God (Luz) is in truth His abode (Bethel, house of
God). Therefore this Luz state of consciousness belongs
eternally to the I AM and its
faculties will (Ephraim) and understanding (Manasseh),
which faculties are to multiply and bring forth fruit
Gen. 48:5, 6. And now thy two sons, who were born unto thee
in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt,
are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon,
shall be mine. And thy issue, that thou begettest after
them, shall be thine; they shall be called after the name
of their brethren in their inheritance.
The I AM (Jacob) here claims Joseph's two sons Ephraim and
Manasseh (fruit of the imagination) as his own. The primal
faculties of will (Ephraim) and understanding (Manasseh) or
of affirmation and denial now come under the dominion of
the I AM, symbolized by Jacob. The secondary issues come
under the imagination (Joseph).
Gen. 48:7. And as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel
died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was
still some distance to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her
there in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem).
When an important ego is about to change its plane of
expression, a memory of past experiences, especially of
those which are dear to the heart, flashes into the mind.
Spiritually that which is good in the experiences is
retained and that which is not good is cast aside. In soul
consciousness the soul intuitively rejects the error and
claims the good. It is an occasion where denial and
affirmation play an important part.
Jacob had been on his way from Paddan (a place of substance
in the consciousness and body organism of the individual)
and was yet some distance from Ephrath
(realization of abundance); that is, the illumined I AM
(Jacob) had been passing from a lower plane of substance to
a higher plane. During this period of transition the
consciousness of love for material substance (Rachel) died,
or sank back into the subconscious, there to become the
foundation of a more spiritual love. Now through
introspection Jacob was eliminating the error and affirming
Gen. 48:8-22. And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said,
Who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my
sons, whom God hath given me here. And he said, Bring them,
I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Now the eyes
of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And
he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and
embraced them. And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not
thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath let me see thy
seed also. And Joseph brought them out from between his
knees; and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. And
Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward
Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward
Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him. And
Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon
Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon
Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh
was the first-born. And he blessed Joseph, and said, The
God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the
God who hath fed me all my life long unto this day, the
angel who hath redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads;
and let my name be named on them, and the name of my
fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a
multitude in the midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw
that his father laid his right hand upon the head of
Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's
hand, to remove it from
Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. And Joseph said unto
his father, Not so, my father; for this is the first-born;
put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused,
and said, I know it, my son, I know it; he also shall
become a people, and he also shall be great; howbeit his
younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed
shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them
that day, saying, In thee will Israel bless, saying, God
make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim
before Manasseh. And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I
die: but God will be with you, and bring you again unto the
land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to thee one
portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of
the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.
When Joseph came to visit his father in the land of Goshen,
he brought his two sons with him. Hearing that they were
coming, "Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the
bed." Thus understanding (Manasseh) and will (Ephraim)
bring strength when weakness appears. Job says, "When they
cast thee down, thou shalt say, There is lifting up."
Jacob blessed his grandsons, and his blessing is
significant. Manasseh, being the first-born (under divine
law understanding precedes will), would be entitled to the
chief blessing, but Jacob laid his right hand upon the head
of Ephraim and his left hand upon the head of Manasseh
instead of the reverse, which was the customary way of
blessing. Joseph, thinking his aged father's dim eyesight
responsible for this seeming error, called his attention to
it. Jacob replied that he knew what he was doing and that
although the older son was to become great and important,
Ephraim (will) would take precedence under the natural law
they were both to be subjected.
That certain laws in race evolution are involved in the
blessing by Jacob of Joseph's two sons, also that a special
spiritual dispensation to the Hebrews, to Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, and Joseph, was instituted must be admitted by those
who believe that this Scripture is inspired. But this
dependence on the Lord for guidance could not go on
forever; the highest test of character is the self-made
man. Man must develop from within, and the time comes to
every soul when it must glow with its own inner light,
regardless of the mistakes it may make.
Jacob saw that the time had come for Ephraim and Manasseh
to act on their own initiative, and he knew what he was
doing when he gave Ephraim (the will) first place. In the
free, full development of man the will and ambition to
achieve leap ahead of the understanding. This has been and
still is the experience of the human race, and it will
continue to be until man in his freedom willingly accepts
divine guidance. Then Manasseh (the understanding) will
come into his own and assume first place in consciousness.
The blunders of man will then be corrected and a mutual
understanding be restored to the whole world.
Up to this time the faculties symbolized by Ephraim and
Manasseh had been under the inspiration of the imagination
(Joseph). Joseph's taking his sons from between his knees
and handing them over to Jacob for the final blessing
symbolizes the restoration of the faculties to their
natural estate. The dying of Jacob represents the
withdrawal of the activity of this special spiritual
inspiration imparted through the I AM.
The final blessing of the I AM on the imagination
(Joseph) promised that it would be taken back or
"reincarnated" in the land of the fathers. The one extra
portion that Jacob gave to Joseph, which he "took out of
the hand of the Amorite" (a race inheritance) with his
sword (power of the word) and bow (directive power), is an
amorous force that finds expression on the generative plane
but which eventually must be elevated to spiritual
consciousness. The exercise of any faculty to the best of
one's ability is appreciated by the Lord (law), and we get
an extra portion, a "free gift of God." We receive a
certain return for our mental effort although we may not
always directly recognize God as the source.
Gen. 49:1, 2. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said:
Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which
shall befall you in the latter days.
Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob;
And hearken unto Israel your father.
A blessing signifies the imparting of spiritual good, which
the recipient may receive or reject according to his mental
attitude. The blessing by Jacob of his twelve sons
symbolizes the sowing of seed in consciousness for a future
harvest. Through the power of his word Jacob was raising
the consciousness of his primal ideas. In effect he was
proclaiming: "You represent the A B C of man's life, and I
am revealing to you in symbols the foundation you have
laid, what you will have to contend with in the future, and
what you can attain. You stand for the foundation faculties
that constitute the coming ideal man. The true seed idea of
this ideal man is implanted within each of you and will
eventually become manifest. This process of manifestation
covers your history up to the time of the appearance of the
man that God imaged in the beginning, even Jesus Christ."
Gen. 49:3, 4.
Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the
beginning of my strength;
The pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence
Boiling over as water, thou shalt not have the pre-eminence;
Because thou wentest up to thy father's bed;
Then defilest thou it; he went up to my couch.
Reuben, the first-born, symbolizes the faith of man in his
ability as expressed through his animal nature. Here we see
the vigor and vitality of the functioning of man's
elemental life, which boils over "as water," loses command.
Reuben is represented as the natural man giving way to his
passions and appetites before he has developed spiritual
Gen. 49:5, 7.
Simeon and Levi are brethren;
Weapons of violence are their swords.
O my soul, come not thou into their council;
Unto their assembly, my glory, be not thou united;
For in their anger they slew a man,
And in their self-will they hocked an ox.
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
And their wrath, for it was cruel:
I will divide them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel.
Simeon represents receptivity (feeling) and Levi love
(sensation). The faculties of feeling and sensation in
human consciousness have been debased on the mortal plane.
Simeon, the obedient one, one who is easily influenced,
falls under the sway of physical sensation.
In Simeon and Levi we also have an exhibition of animal
love and of its vengefulness as exemplified in their
treacherous attempt to right the wrong committed against
their sister Dinah.
Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise:
Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies;
Thy father's sons shall bow down before thee.
Judah is a lion's whelp;
From the prey, my son, thou art gone up:
He stooped down, he couched as a lion,
And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up?
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
Until Shiloh come;
And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.
Binding his foal unto the vine,
And his ass's colt unto the choice vine;
He hath washed his garments in wine,
And his vesture in the blood of the grapes:
His eyes shall be red with wine,
And his teeth white with milk.
Jacob's blessing on Judah was the most significant. Judah
was to conquer all his enemies:
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh come;
And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.
Shiloh signifies peace of mind, wholeness, completion or
fullness, and represents the Prince of Peace, the Messiah
or Savior. Jesus was a direct descendant of Judah, as is
shown in the 1st chapter of Matthew. The name Judah applies
to only one of the twelve tribes, but is often used to
designate the Jewish nation as a whole. This would indicate
that praise is
such an active principle in spiritual thought that it is
deserving of first place. The power of the word of praise
shall be felt until the coming of the Prince of Peace.
Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea;
And he shall be for a haven of ships;
And his border shall be upon Sidon.
Zebulun represents the law that relates man to the
universal cosmos. He dwells under the law of protection and
safety (refuge), yet has a realization of the universal
Mind (sea). Zebulun is that in us which is concerned with
the maintenance of our individual importance regardless of
the immensity of the universal. Those who are in
personality will find refuge in this state of
consciousness. We lose consciousness of our spiritual
importance by looking out into the universe but can retain
our identity as children of God through realizing that
Spirit is individualized in us.
Gen. 49:14, 15.
Issachar is a strong ass,
Couching down between the sheepfolds:
And he saw a resting-place that it was good,
And the land that it was pleasant;
And he bowed his shoulder to bear,
And became a servant under taskwork.
Issachar symbolizes the inner latent powers in man. He
represents that side of the natural man which accepts
conditions as they appear to be and bears the burdens of
life without question, as exemplified by the patient ass.
Dan shall judge his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
An adder in the path,
That biteth the horse's heels,
So that his rider falleth backward.
I have waited for thy salvation, O Jehovah.
Dan represents discrimination or judgment, a choosing
between good and evil. The serpent is used as a symbol of
subtlety. "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast
of the field." Jesus advised His followers to be "wise as
serpents, and harmless as doves." Sensation rushes through
the organism like a race horse, but judgment "bites at the
heels" to restrain the headlong flight.
Gad, a troop shall press upon him;
But he shall press upon their heel.
Gad represents latent spiritual power, which like an army
is always ready to do a mighty work. Science tells of an
omnipresent ether that presses upon us in the invisible
from every direction. One scientist says that the atomic
energy in a pea would propel a large seagoing vessel from
America to England and return. This ether has its analogy
in Spirit, which continually inspires us when we give it
our attention. Our mind is in direct contact with this
spiritual power, and our word puts it into action.
Out of Asher his bread shall be fat,
And he shall yield royal dainties.
Asher represents the understanding mind and its ability to
manipulate universal substance (bread) and make it manifest
richly. The bread or divine substance is susceptible of
infinite adaptation. Those who think about it as limited in
its expression manifest limited supply, while those who
follow Jesus and realize the richness of this substance
manifest it abundantly, being able even to transform it
into loaves and fishes to feed the multitude.
Naphtali is a hind let loose:
He giveth goodly words.
The Hebrew meaning of the name Naphtali is "my wrestling,"
"wrestling of Jehovah." Naphtali represents the activity of
strength in man's consciousness. Jacob's blessing on
Naphtali was that he might have the strength and speed of
the deer and the power of the word to increase strength.
Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a fountain;
His branches run over the wall.
The archers have sorely grieved him,
And shot at him, and persecuted him:
But his bow abode in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong,
By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee,
And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee,
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that coucheth beneath,
Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
The blessings of thy father
Have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills:
They shall be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him that was separated from
Joseph, representing the imagination, is at all times very
close to divine inspiration. If man would curb his will and
keep it in abeyance he would not "imagine vain things."
Notwithstanding the destructive power of the personal will
("archers") with which he is associated his directive power
is victorious. Joseph's persecution and sale into Egypt by
his willful brothers and his demonstration of superiority
to his fate illustrate the victory of an inspired
imagination. The whole story of Joseph is an example of the
successful functioning of man's imaging faculty when he
keeps contact with Jehovah.
Gen. 49:27, 28.
Benjamin is a wolf that raveneth:
In the morning he shall devour the prey,
And at even he shall divide the spoil.
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it
that their father spake unto them and blessed them; every
one according to his blessing he blessed them.
Benjamin (faith) in his hunger after righteousness is
compared to a famished wolf. In the morning or beginning he
appropriates understanding to the full, which he divides or
imparts freely at the evening or end of the period.
Gen. 49:29-33. And he charged them, and said unto them, I
am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers
in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in
the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before
Mamre, in the land of
Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the
Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. There they
buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac
and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah--the field
and the cave that is therein, which was purchased from the
children of Heth. And when Jacob made an end of charging
his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded
up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
In the Scripture allegories the various individuals
represent the different phases of character through which
one man passes in his spiritual unfoldment. As these follow
in a series, gradually reaching greater heights, the old
phases of character are left behind to be replaced by new
ones. Thus the Biblical characters are said to "die" and to
be "gathered unto their fathers." Tennyson was inspired to
express a great truth, as poets often are, when he wrote,
"Men may rise on steppingstones
Of their dead selves to higher things."
So each of the great Bible personalities is gradually
replaced in the mind of him who is in the narrow way. When
a great change takes place, some old phase of consciousness
has lost its hold, and we read that Jacob or Joseph or
another character "dies." This does not mean that there has
been any loss or that anything has "gone away" but that
certain states of mind have fulfilled their regenerative
work and have been succeeded by others.
(For Ephron, Machpelah, and Mamre see interpretation of
Gen. 50:1-13. And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and
wept upon him, and kissed him. And
Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his
father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days
were fulfilled for him, for so are fulfilled the days of
embalming: and the Egyptians wept for him threescore and
And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph
spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have
found favor in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of
Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I
die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of
Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go
up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.
And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as
he made thee swear. And Joseph went up to bury his father;
and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the
elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of
Egypt, and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and
his father's house: only their little ones, and their
flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.
And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and
it was a very great company. And they came to the
threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and
there they lamented with a very great and sore lamentation:
and he made a mourning for his father seven days. And when
the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the
mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a
grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of
it was called Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan. And
his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: for
his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried
him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham
bought with the field, for a possession of a burying place,
of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.
Whenever the I AM withdraws, no matter in what state of
consciousness it has been functioning, there is a
great shock to the soul, and all the forces of the natural
man are filled with grief and consternation. "And he made a
mourning for his father seven days." The imagination
(Joseph), favorite faculty (son) of the illumined intellect
(Jacob), mourned greatly, not fully understanding that the
withdrawal of the I AM eventually would culminate in good.
The name Atad means "bramble," "thornbush," "a thorn." It
was on the threshing floor of Atad that Joseph and his
brethren mourned seven days for their father Jacob. A
threshing floor may be thought of as a place of judgment or
separation, of letting go of that which is no longer
needful to be expressed in consciousness. Atad represents
the belief that vexations, trials, and sorrows are real. It
is this unredeemed thought or belief in man that causes him
to experience deep grief and tribulation at giving up his
personal hold on old ideas and objects which are due to be
released from his mind and affairs. This unredeemed belief
is concerned with and dwells on the trial side of the
process rather than on the blessing side of it.
The Canaanites symbolize the semispiritual in man. They
changed the name (or character) of Atad. "And when the
inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning
on the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous
mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was
called Abel-mizraim." The Egyptians symbolize materiality.
Abel-mizraim ("mourning of Egypt or Egyptians," "mourning
or meadow of distress") represents the feeling of sorrow
and loss in the sense man that often accompanies the
letting go of some good idea in consciousness after it has
finished its work. Man's tendency
is to cling to the old ideas that have been helpful to him.
But when their work is done in the individual for the time
being, these old ideas, no matter how well they have
served, must be released from consciousness so that other
and higher ideas may take their place. This is a process of
judgment, a sifting of ideas and thoughts, a letting go of
the chaff and a laying hold of the wheat (on the threshing
The Jordan represents a stream of thought, good, bad, and
indifferent, flowing through the subconscious.
Machpelah refers to the subconscious body substance.
Ephron the Hittite symbolizes a phase of thought that is
quick to change its thinking base. The word Hittite denotes
thoughts belonging to the carnal consciousness of man.
Mamre suggests strength, vigor; it also represents the seat
of the conscious mind.
(For further discussion of these names see interpretation
of Gen. 23:3-20.)
This closing chapter of Genesis is an allegorical account
of the end of the work of Jacob and his family in Egypt.
The descent of Joseph (the illumined imagination) into
Egypt paved the way for Jacob (the spiritually illumined
ego) and his kin to make contact with subconscious
substance. These pioneers of Jehovah accomplished their
work, and their leader Jacob "died" or withdrew from
consciousness. That the whole man, including the physical,
was helped by Jacob is evidenced by the interest the
Egyptians took in the funeral of Jacob and the great
company that went up to Canaan with the Children of Israel.
Gen. 50:14-21. And Joseph returned into Egypt,
he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury
his father, after he had buried his father.
And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead,
they said, It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will
fully requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And
they sent a message unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did
command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto
Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the transgression of thy
brethren, and their sin, for that they did unto thee evil.
And now, we pray thee, forgive the transgression of the
servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when
they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell
down before his face; and they said, Behold, we are thy
servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in
the place of God? And as for you, ye meant evil against me;
but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this
day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not:
I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted
them, and spake kindly unto them.
The imagination returning to the body consciousness (Egypt)
again takes up the work of redeeming it.
The confession of the brothers of Joseph to their crime
against him and his loving forgiveness both point to the
spiritual uplift that has taken place in soul evolution.
"Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your
little ones" signifies that the imagination in its divine
purity and holiness is one of the sources of good to the
whole man. What you mold in your mind under the spiritual
law is formed in your affairs and thus is the source of
Gen. 50:22-26. And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his
father's house: and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years.
And Joseph saw Ephraim's children
of the third generation: the children also of Machir the
son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph's knees. And Joseph
said unto his brethren, I die; but God will surely visit
you, and bring you up out of this land unto the land which
he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph
took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will
surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from
hence. And Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old:
and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Joseph also died in Egypt but not until he had lived among
the children of Ephraim unto "the third generation." This
means that the Joseph qualities of mind are developing a
deeper understanding of spiritual things. Machir, the name
of a son of Manasseh (understanding), means "acquired,"
"purchased." The children of Machir that were "born upon
Joseph's knees" represent the balance and poise that must
actively exist in us if we are abidingly to possess true
understanding. The Joseph characteristics gradually become
a part of the whole body consciousness.
The insistence by all these patriarchs that their bones be
taken to Canaan for burial is emblematic of the truth that
the substance of them and what they represent is to be
restored to its source, Spirit. Although Joseph died and
was embalmed and put in a coffin in Egypt, his bones were
finally brought to Canaan, as stated in the last chapter of
the Book of Joshua.
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