5800. My lord asked his servants, saying. That this signifies perception of their thought, is evident from the signification of "asking," as being to perceive another's thought (see n. 5597). That "asking" signifies this, is because in the spiritual world or in heaven no one has need to ask another what he thinks about such things as are of his affection, because the one perceives the other's thought which is thence derived; and moreover the internal which Joseph represents does not ask the external which Jacob's sons represent, for the external has its all from the internal. Hence it is plain that by "asking" is signified the perception of the thought. We occasionally read in the Word that Jehovah asks man, when yet He knows all and everything that man thinks; but this is so said because man believes that his thought is concealed from everyone because it is within him. The asking is in consequence of this appearance and the derivative belief.