Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 18:30
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AC 2274. Verse 30. And he said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure thirty shall be found there; and He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there. "And he said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak," signifies anxiety concerning the human race; peradventure thirty shall be found there," signifies somewhat of combat; "and He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there," signifies that these shall be saved.

AC 2275. And he said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak. That this signifies anxiety concerning the state of the human race, may be seen, not so much from the words, as from the affection that belongs to them. The internal sense of the Word contains within it two things, to wit, what is spiritual, and what is celestial. That which is spiritual consists in there being comprehended, abstractedly from the letter, actual thing’ to which the literal sense serves as an object, just as do those things which the eye sees, when they serve as objects for suggesting thought about matters of a more exalted nature. That which is celestial consists in there being solely perceived the affection that belongs to the actual things that are in the internal sense. In the former are the spiritual angels, in the latter are the celestial angels. They who are in the latter, that is, in the affection, perceive at once from the affection alone what the letter involves when it is being read by man, and from it they form for themselves celestial ideas, and this with endless variety, and in an ineffable manner, in accordance with the onflowing harmony of the celestial things of love that are in the affection. From this we may see what the Word of the Lord contains within its remote recesses. When therefore these words are read: "Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak," the celestial angels at once perceive a certain anxiety, and indeed the anxiety of love toward the human race and at the same time there are insinuated into them in numerable and ineffable things in regard to the anxiety of love which the Lord felt when He thought about the state of the human race.

AC 2276. Peradventure thirty shall be found. That this signifies somewhat of combat, is evident from the signification of the number thirty. That "thirty" signifies somewhat of combat, thus but a little of combat, comes from the fact that this number is compounded by the multiplication of five (by which is signified some little), and six (by which is signified labor or combat (n. 649, 720, 737, 900, 1709).

[2] Hence also this number, wherever read in the Word, signifies something that is relatively little; as in Zechariah:--

I said unto them, If it be good in your eyes, give me my hire and if not, forbear and they weighed my hire, thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price whereat I was valued by them and I took the thirty silver pieces, and cast it to the potter in the house of Jehovah (Zechariah 11:12, 13);

denoting that they valued so little the Lord‘s merit, and redemption and salvation by Him. The "potter" denotes reformation and regeneration.

[3] Hence the same thirty silver pieces are spoken of in Matthew:--

They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him whom they had bought from the sons of Israel, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me (Matthew 27:9, 10);

from which it is plainly evident that "thirty" here denotes the price of what is but little valued. The valuation of a servant who was held as being of little account, was thirty shekels; as is evident in Moses:--

If the ox gore a manservant, or a maidservant, he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver; and the ox shall be stoned (Exod. 21:32).

Of how little account a servant was held, is evident in the same chapter (Exodus 21:20, 21). In the internal sense a "servant" denotes labor.

[4] That the Levites were taken for the work of the ministerial office--which is described by the expression "one coming to exercise warfare, and to do the work in the tent"--from a "son of thirty years to one of fifty" (Num. 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43), was because "thirty" signified those who were being initiated, and who therefore could as yet exercise but little warfare as understood in the spiritual sense.

[5] So in other passages where "thirty" is named in the Word; as that they should offer "upon a son of an ox a meat-offering of three tenths" (Num. 15:9); which was because the sacrifice of an ox represented natural good (n. 2180); and natural good is but little in comparison with spiritual good, which was represented by the sacrifice of a ram; and still less in comparison with celestial good, which was represented by the sacrifice of a lamb; in connection with which there was another rate of tenths for the meat offering, as is evident in the same chapter (Numbers 15:4-6; 28:12, 13, 20, 21, 28, 29; 29:3, 4, 9, 10, 14, 15); which rates of tenths, or which proportions, would never have been commanded, unless they had involved heavenly arcana. In Mark also "thirty" denotes a little:--

The seed which fell into good ground yielded fruit growing up and increasing, and brought forth, one thirty, and another sixty, and another a hundred (Mark 4:8),

where "thirty" denotes a small growth, and that which has labored but little. These numbers would not have been marked out for use, unless they had contained within them the things which they signify.

AC 2277. He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there. That this signifies that these shall be saved, is evident from the series or connection of things in the internal sense, without any unfolding of the meaning.

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info