Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 18:24
AC 2251. Verse 24. Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the midst of the city; wilt Thou also destroy and not scare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous that are in the midst of it? "Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the midst of the city," signifies that possibly the truths may be full of goods; "wilt Thou also destroy and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous that are in the midst of it?" signifies intercession from love, that in such case they should not perish.
AC 2252. Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the midst of the city. That this signifies that the truths may possibly be full of goods, is evident from the signification of "fifty," as being what is full; from the signification of righteous" as being good (n. 612, 2235); from that of the "midst," as being what is within (n. 1074); and from that of "city," as being truth (n. 402). Thus "fifty righteous in the midst of the city," means in the internal sense that truths may possibly be full of goods within. That there is this meaning in these words cannot be seen from the letter, for the historicals of the literal sense lead the mind in quite a different direction, that is, to different thoughts and yet that these words are so perceived by those who are in the internal sense, I know of a certainty. The numbers themselves also, as here "fifty," and in what follows "forty-five," " forty," "thirty," "twenty," and "ten," are by no means perceived as numbers by those who are in the internal sense, but as real things or states (n. 482, 487, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 2075).
 For the ancients marked the states of their church--in one way by numbers; and the nature of their computation in so doing is evident from the signification of the numbers in the places just referred to. They had the signification of numbers from the representatives which exist in the world of spirits, where, when anything appears as numbered, it does not signify anything that is determined by the numbers, but the thing or state itself; as is evident from the things that have been adduced (n. 2129, 2130, 2089), concerning "twelve," as meaning all the things of faith. It is similar with the numbers which now follow. This shows what is the nature of the Word in the internal sense.
 That "fifty" signifies what is full, comes from its following next after the product of seven into seven, or forty-nine, so that it is the impletion of this number, on which account there was in the Representative Church the festival of the Seven Sabbaths on the fiftieth day, and the Jubilee in the fiftieth year. As regards the festival of the seven sabbaths we read in Moses:--
Ye shall count unto you from the morrow of the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering, seven entire sabbaths shall there be, even unto the morrow of the seventh sabbath shall ye count fifty days, and ye shall offer a new offering unto Jehovah (Lev. 23:15).
And concerning the Jubilee:--
Thou shalt count for thee seven sabbaths of years, seven years seven times, and they shall be to thee seven sabbaths of years, nine and forty years, and ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty in the land to all the inhabitants thereof it shall be a jubilee unto you (Lev. 25:8, 10),
which shows that the fiftieth is what is full in relation to sad baths.
 Moreover, wherever " fifty" is mentioned in the Word, it signifies what is full; as when it is said that The Levites were numbered from a son of thirty years and upward, even unto a son of fifty years (Num. 4:23, 35, 39, 43, 47; 8:25); meaning the full or final state of discharging the ministry. That a man lying with a damsel, a virgin, shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty pieces of silver, and she should be to him for a wife, nor could be put her away (Deut. 22:29), which denotes a full fine and full restitution. David‘s giving to Araunah for the threshing-floor where he built the altar to Jehovah, fifty shekels of silver (2 Sam. 24:24), denotes a full price and a full purchase. Absalom’s preparing for himself a chariot and horses, and having fifty men running before him (2 Sam. 15:1), and in like manner Adonijah‘s having chariots and horsemen, and fifty men running before him (1 Kings 1:5), denotes full excellence and greatness. For they had from the ancients certain representative and significative numbers, which they observed, and which were also commanded in their rites; but most of them did not know what they signified.
 And in the same way, as "fifty" signifies what is full, and as this number was also representatives--already said--the same thing is signified by it in the Lord’s parable of the steward, who said to him that owed the oil:--
How much owest thou unto my lord? and he said, a hundred baths of oil. And he said unto him, take thy bond, and sit down quickly, and write fifty (Luke 16:6);
"fifty" denoting full payment. As fifty is a number, it indeed appears to involve nothing beyond the number; whereas in the internal sense what is full is everywhere meant by it, as in Haggai:--
One came to the wine-press to draw out fifty out of the wine-press; there were twenty (Haggai 2:16),
that is, instead of fullness there was not much. "Fifty" could not have been mentioned here in the Prophet unless it had been significative.
AC 2253. Wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous that are in the midst of it? That this signifies intercession from love--that they should not perish--is evident from the signification of "fifty," and of righteous," as also of "the midst of it," that is, of the city (n. 2252), all of which thing involve intercession from love, and that they should not perish. Regarding intercession see (n. 2250). That it was from love is also manifest. With the Lord, when He was in the world, there was no other life than the life of love toward the universal human race, which He ardently desired to eternally save. This is the veriest celestial life, by which He united Himself to the Divine, and the Divine to Himself--for Esse itself, or Jehovah, is nothing else than Mercy, which is of love to the universal human race--and that life was one of pure love, which is never possible with any man. They who do not know what life is, and that the life is such as the love, do not comprehend this. This shows that in so far as anyone loves his neighbor, in so far he partakes of the Lord‘s life. GENESIS 18:24 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|