5764. And ye shall be blameless. That this signifies that the rest shall be at their own disposal, because not sharing in the fault, is evident from the signification of "blameless" in regard to a servant, as being to be at his own disposal; because not sharing in the fault, follows. It was of old a custom among the Gentiles, when anyone sinned, to make his companions also guilty of the offense, and even to punish a whole house for the crime of one in it. But such a law is derived from hell, where all the companions conspire together for evil. The societies there are so constituted that they act together as one against good, and thus they are kept consociated, though they are in deadly hatred one against another. They are in the union and friendship of robbers. Hence because companions in hell conspire together for evil, when they do evil they are all punished. But to do so in the world is wholly contrary to the Divine order; for in the world the good are consociated with the evil, because one does not know what the interiors of another are, and for the most part does not care. Wherefore the Divine law for men is that everyone shall pay the penalty of his own iniquity; as is written in Moses:
The fathers shall not die for the sons, neither shall the sons die for the fathers; everyone shall be slain in his own sin (Deut. 24:16);
and in Ezekiel:
The soul that hath sinned, it shall die, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him (Ezek. 18:20).
From these passages it is plain how the case is with what the sons of Jacob said, "with whomsoever of thy servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be to my lord for servants." But he who was sent by Joseph changed this judgment, and said, "he with whom it is found shall be to me a servant, and ye shall be blameless;" in like manner further on where Judah says to Joseph, "Behold we are servants to my lord, both we and he also in whose hand the cup was found." And Joseph said, "Far be it from me to do this; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be to me a servant; and ye, go ye up in peace to your father" (verses 16, 17).