a Son of Jacob, elder of the two borne to him by Rachel. "And she called his name Joseph, saying, Jehovah add to me another son" (Gen. 30:24; see also Genesis 37, 39, 41, 42, 46 to 50). Jacob's blessing of Joseph was (Gen. 49:22-26): "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 fatherHave prevailed above the blessings of my progenitorsUnto 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 separate from his brethren."And Moses blessed the tribe of Joseph, through his two sons, as follows (Deut. 33:13-17):"Blessed of Jehovah be his land,For the precious things of heaven, for the dew,And for the deep that coucheth beneath,And for the precious things of the fruits of the sun,And for the precious things of the growth of the moons,And for the chief things of the ancient mountains,And for the precious things of the everlasting hills,And for the precious things of the earth and the fulness thereof,And the good will of him that dwelt in the bush.Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph,And upon the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.The firstling of his herd, majesty is his;And his horns are the horns of the wild-ox:With them he shall push the peoples all of them, even the ends of the earth:And they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,And they are the thousands of Manasseh." In both Jacob's and Moses' blessings upon Joseph, where the text says, "that was separate from his brethren," the margin gives, "that is prince among" his brethren. h A follower of the Christian doctrine, surnamed Barnabas by the apostles. He was a companion of Paul's in many missionary journeys (Acts 4:36). c Husband of Mary the mother of Jesus (Matt. 1:19). d Joseph of Arimathæa, a rich man and disciple of Jesus, who begged Jesus' body from Pilate and buried it in his own tomb (Matt. 27:57-60). e Joseph called Barsabbas, one of the two who were chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot, but the lot fell to Matthias and not to Joseph Barsabbas (Acts 1:23).
Meta. The state of consciousness in which we increase in character along all lines; we not only grow into a broader understanding but there is an increase of vitality and substance. Joseph is especially representative of the realm of forms. He was clothed with a coat of many colors; he was a dreamer and interpreter of dreams; the phenomenal was his field of action. Among the primal faculties of the mind Joseph represents imagination. This faculty has the power to throw onto the screen of visibility in substance and life forms every idea that the mind may conceive. While the imagination is a very necessary faculty and is powerful and productive, yet it is belittled and often derided and scorned by the other faculties of the mind while they are unawakened spiritually, while they are functioning in intellectual consciousness instead of true spiritual understanding (Joseph's brothers persecuted him).
Joseph in Egypt symbolizes the word of the imagination in subconsciousness, or the involution of a high spiritual idea. Joseph in Egypt could be said to represent also our highest perception of Truth, dealing with the realm of forms and bringing it into a more orderly state.
Joseph, our high ideal of Truth, comes down into the Egyptian darkness of sense consciousness, and under the law will finally raise it into spiritual light. In the process Joseph seems to die, but his "bones" remain. The substance of Truth is an abiding presence, though its form may be lost to sight.
How often we hear people say that they do not now seem to realize such uplift as came to them when they first began to understand Truth ! Then they were so enthusiastic that they could think and talk of nothing else. They say that they even demonstrated for themselves and for others more easily than they demonstrate now. They think that they have somehow lost their grasp of Truth, because carnality seems so real to them. They are right in the place that was occupied by the Israelites after Joseph died. Truth, as a thing apart, a personality named Joseph, has disappeared, but it lives in his progeny in the land of Egypt, and these descendants are oppressed by Egyptians. We might say that the ideas that make up the statements of Truth that you have received have percolated through your mind; but the sense consciousness is ruling in you, and these "children of Israel" are oppressed. Instead of siding with Spirit in every thought, you side with the carnal, and you build up a ruling state of thought that remembers not the inspiring Truth. "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph" (Exod. 1:8).
But Truth cannot be destroyed, nor can true words and true thoughts ever be effaced from the mind that has willingly received them. The Children of Israel multiplied in the land of Egypt in spite of oppression; their power became a great source of concern to the Egyptians, who "made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and in brick" (material ways).
The several visits of Joseph's brothers to Egypt for corn, the bringing of Jacob and all the brothers of Joseph with their families and flocks down into Egypt, and the final reconciliation are a symbolical representation of the manner in which we make connection with the obscured vitality within the organism and bring all our faculties into conjunction with it. This symbolism depicts also the unification of the I AM (Jacob) with all the faculties of the mind, with the life energies, and with the substance of the whole man. They dwelt in the "land of Goshen" (unity). See Genesis 46 and 47.
Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, represent wisdom and love, which have been ideas in mind but are now to bring forth a manifestation in substance (Luke 2:4, 5). Joseph might also be said to represent the Son of man and Mary the divine motherhood (Luke 2:40-52).
Joseph was merely betrothed to Mary, vet she was "great with child"; so Joseph "was minded to put her away privily." This means that we do not in the first stages of the birth of Christ in us understand the process, and sometimes are moved to put it away from us. The soul is heavily charged with divine life, and so full that it cannot express itself intelligently, because no union has yet taken place between it and the understanding (Joseph).