4756. And there passed by, men, Midianites, merchantmen. That this signifies those who are in the truth of this good, is evident from the representation of the Midianites, as being those who are in the truth of simple good (see n. 3242); and from the signification of "merchantmen," as being those who have the knowledges of good and truth; for these in the spiritual sense are "riches," "wealth," and "merchandise." Hence "to trade" is to procure and to communicate these knowledges (n. 2967, 4453). Here it is not the knowledges of good that are signified, but the knowledges of truth; for the "Midianites" are those who are in the truth of simple good, as before said; and from this also they are called "men" [viri], for those are so called who are in truth (n. 3134, 3309). From the historical series it is evident that Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, but that he was drawn out of the pit by the Midianites, and was also sold by the Midianites in Egypt to Potiphar, for in the last verse of this chapter it is said, "and the Midianites sold him to Egypt unto Potiphar, Pharaoh's chamberlain." It may be supposed that as Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, he was sold in Egypt by them, and not by the Midianites; but still this was brought to pass for the sake of the representation of the things in the internal sense; for Joseph (that is, Divine truth) cannot be sold by those who are in good, but by those who are in the truth of this good. The reason will be seen in the explication of the last verse of this chapter.