4968. Of the hand of the Ishmaelites. That this signifies from simple good, is evident from the representation of the Ishmaelites, as being those who are in simple good (see n. 3263, 4747), here therefore the natural truth which is from simple good. In chapter 37, verse 36, it is so said that the Midianites sold Joseph into Egypt unto Potiphar, Pharaoh's chamberlain, prince of the guards; but here it is said that Potiphar, Pharaoh's chamberlain, prince of the guards, bought him of the hand of the Ishmaelites, who had brought him down thither. This way of speaking is used for the sake of the internal sense; for in the first instance the alienation of Divine truth is treated of, which is not wrought by those who are in simple good, but by those who are in simple truth, who are represented by the Midianites (see n. 4788); but here it treats of the acquisition or attainment of memory-knowledges, and of the natural truth which is from simple good; and therefore it is said "of the Ishmaelites," for these represent those who are in simple good. From this it is plain that it is so said for the sake of the internal sense. Nor is there any contradiction in the historical narrative; for it is said of the Midianites that they drew Joseph out of the pit, and consequently that they delivered him to the Ishmaelites, by whom he was brought down into Egypt; thus that as the Midianites delivered him up to the Ishmaelites who were going to Egypt, they sold him into Egypt.