LXXXIII. (233) Sihon, then, who destroys the sound rule of truth, and his seed also, shall both perish; and so shall Heshbon, namely, the sophistical riddles, as far as Debon; which, being interpreted, means adjudication. And very consistently with nature shall this be. For what is probable and plausible has not a positive knowledge respecting truth, but only a trial and controversy and a litigious contest and strife, and all such things as these. (234) But it was not sufficient for the mind to have its own peculiar evils, which were perceptible only to the intellect; but still the women burnt additional fire, that is to say, the outward senses excited a great conflagration to have an effect upon it. See, now, what the meaning is of what is here said. We who very often by night desist from energizing according to any one of the outward senses, receive absurd impressions respecting many different things, since our souls exist in a state of perpetual motion and are capable of an infinite variety of changes. There were, therefore, things quite sufficient for its destruction which it brought forth out of itself. (235) But now, as it is, the multitude of the outward senses has brought against it a most incalculable multitude of evils, partly from objects of sight and partly from sounds; and besides that, from flavours and from such essences as affect the sense of smell. And one may almost say that the flavour which arises from them has a more pernicious influence on the disposition of the soul than that which is engendered in the soul itself, without any co-operation or agency of the organs of sense.

LXXXIV. (236) One of these women is Pentepho’, the wife of Pharaoh’s chief Cook.{116}{genesis 39:1.} We must now consider how a man who was a eunuch can be represented as having a wife. For there will here be something which will seem to offer a reasonable ground for perplexity to those who do not take the expressions of the law in an allegorical sense. For the mind is really a eunuch, and really the chief of cooks, using not merely such pleasures as are simple, but those also which are superfluous, and is therefore called a eunuch and barren of all wisdom, being the eunuch and slave of no other master than of that squanderer of all good things, Pharaoh. On another principle, therefore, it might appear a most desirable thing to be a eunuch, if our soul, by that means escaping vice, might be able also to avoid all knowledge of passion. (237) On which account Joseph, that is to say, the disposition of continence, says to Pleasure, who accosts him with, “Lie with me, and being a man behave as a man, and enjoy the pleasant things which life can afford.” He, I say, refuses her, saying, “I shall be sinning against God, who loves virtue, if I become a votary of pleasure; for this is a wicked action.”