7111. The taskmasters in the people, and their officers, saying. That this signifies those who most closely infest, and those who most closely receive, is evident from the signification of "taskmasters," as being those who compel to serve (see n. 6852), and as this is effected by means of infestations, by "taskmasters" are also signified those who infest, but who most closely infest (of whom below); and from the signification of "officers," as being those who most closely receive; for the officers were of the sons of Israel, and the taskmasters were of the Egyptians, as is evident from what follows. Thus in the internal sense the "officers" are they who most closely receive, and the "taskmasters" those who most closely infest.
 Who these are can be known from those in the other life who infest and inject falsities and evils, and from those who receive and communicate them. They who infest and inject falsities and evils are the hells, but in order that they may effect their purpose, they send forth from themselves emissaries, through whom they act. These appear not far from those who are being infested; and this is done in order that the thoughts and intentions of many may be concentrated, for otherwise they would be dispersed. These emissaries appear in certain fixed places of their own in the world of spirits, and from the very places where they appear it can be known from what hell they are; some appear above the head at various altitudes and in various directions; some near the head to the right or to the left, and also behind it; some below the head in various situations relatively to the body, in planes from the head down to the soles of the feet. They flow in with such things as are ejected from hell, and the spirit or the man does not perceive or know otherwise than that the things which flow in are in himself; that is, that he himself thinks and intends them. These emissaries are called "subjects" (of whom see what was shown above, from experience, n. 4403, 5856, 5983-5989). As these infest the most closely, they are signified by the "taskmasters;" but they who receive from them and communicate are the "officers," and are intermediate spirits; for as before said the officers were of the sons of Israel, but the taskmasters were of the Egyptians.
 Those were called "officers" among the Israelitish and Jewish people, who said what was to be done, and who gave commandment; wherefore they also sat in the gates with the judges and elders, and spoke to the people the sentences of judgment, and also the things commanded by the leader, as can be seen from the following passages in Moses:
Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, according to thy tribes, who shall judge the people with the judgment of justice (Deut. 16:18).
When they shall go forth to war, the priest shall speak to the people, and shall admonish them not to be afraid; afterward the officers shall say that he who has built a house shall return, and also the fearful (Deut. 20:3, 5, 8).
Joshua commanded the officers to say to the people that they should prepare provision for the journey, before they passed over Jordan (Josh. 1:10-11).
At the end of three days it came to pass, when the officers passed through the midst of the camp, they gave commandment that when they saw the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, they should also go forward (Josh. 3:2-3).
That the officers were governors of the people, distinct from their princes, see Deut. 1:15; also that they were distinct from the elders, Deut. 31:28; and from the judges, Joshua 8:33.