Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 18:31
AC 2278. Verse 31. And he said, Behold I pray I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord: peradventure twenty shall be found there; and He said, I will not destroy it for twenty‘s sake. "He said, Behold I pray I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord," signifies here as before the humiliation of the human before the Divine; "peradventure twenty shall be found there," signifies if there be not anything of combat, but still there be good "and He said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake," signifies that they will be saved.
AC 2279. He said, Behold I pray I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord. That this signifies the humiliation of the human before the Divine, is evident from what was said above (n. 2265), where are the same words.
AC 2280. Peradventure twenty shall be found there. That this signifies if there be not anything of combat, but still there be good, is evident from the signification of "twenty." As all the numbers that are mentioned in the Word signify actual things, and states (n. 2252), so also does "twenty;" and what it signifies can be seen from its derivation, namely, from twice ten. "Ten" in the Word, as also "tenths," signify remains, by which is meant everything good and true that the Lord insinuates into man from infancy even to the end of his life, and which are treated of in the following verse. Twice ten, or double tenths, that is, twenty, signify the same, but in a higher degree, namely, good.
 Goods of three kinds are signified by remains, namely, the goods of infancy, the goods of ignorance, and the goods of intelligence. The goods of infancy are those which are insinuated into man from his very birth up to the age in which he is beginning to be instructed and to know something. The goods of ignorance are what are insinuated when he is being instructed and is beginning to know something. The goods of intelligence are what are insinuated when he is able to reflect upon what is good and what is true. The good of infancy exists from the man‘s infancy up to the tenth year of his age; the good of ignorance, from this age up to his twentieth year. From this year the man begins to become rational, and to have the faculty of reflecting upon good and truth, and to procure for himself the good of intelligence.
 The good of ignorance is that which is signified by "twenty," because those who are in the good of ignorance do not come into any temptation for no one is tempted before he is able to reflect, and in his own way to perceive the nature of good and truth. Those who have received goods by means of temptations have been treated of in the two immediately preceding verses; those who have not been in temptations, and yet have good, are now treated of in this verse.
 As those who have this good, which is called the good of ignorance, are signified by "twenty," all those who went forth from Egypt were reckoned from "a son of twenty years" and upward; or as it is expressed, " every one going forth into the army," by whom are meant those who were no longer in the good of ignorance, concerning whom we read in (Numbers 1:20, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 38, 40, 42, 45; 26:4); and also that all those who were more than twenty years old died in the wilderness (Numbers 32:10, 11), because evil could be imputed to them, and they represented those who yield in temptations; as well as that the valuing made of a male, from "a son of five years" to "a son of twenty years" was "twenty shekels" (Lev. 27:5); and another valuing from "a son of twenty years" old to one of sixty was fifty shekels (Leviticus 27:3).
 As regards the before-mentioned goods, namely those of infancy, of ignorance, and of intelligence, the case is this. The good of intelligence is the best, for this is of wisdom the good which precedes it, namely that of ignorance, is indeed good, but as there is but little of intelligence in it, it cannot be called the good of wisdom; and as for the good of infancy, it is indeed good in itself, but still it is less good than the other two; for as yet there is not any truth of intelligence adjoined to it, and thus it has not become any good of wisdom, but it is only a plane for being able to become so; for it is the knowledges of good and truth that cause a man to be wise as a man. Infancy itself, by which is signified innocence, does not belong to infancy, but to wisdom; as can be better seen from what will be said about little children in the other life, at the end of this chapter.
 By "twenty," in this verse, as has been said, there is signified no other good than the good of ignorance which good is not only declared to be with those who are under their twentieth year, as already said, but also with all who are in the good of charity and at the same time in ignorance of truth, as are those within the church who are in the good of charity, but from whatever cause, do not know what the truth of faith is; as is the case with very many of those who think devoutly about God and kindly about the neighbor; and as is also the case with all outside the church, who are called Gentiles, and who in like manner live in the good of charity. Both the latter and the former, although not in the truths of faith, yet being in good, are in the faculty of receiving the truths of faith in the other life equally as are little children; for their understanding has not as yet been tainted with principles of falsity, nor their will so confirmed in a life of evil, because they are ignorant of its being falsity and evil; and the life of charity is attended with this: that the falsity and evil of ignorance may be easily bent to truth and good. Not so is it with those who have confirmed themselves in things contrary to the truth, and at the same time have lived a life in things contrary to good.
 In other cases by "two tenths" in the Word is signified good both celestial and spiritual, good celestial and thence spiritual by the two tenths of which every loaf of the shewbread or bread of faces was prepared (Lev. 24:5), and spiritual good by the two tenths of the meat offering with the sacrifice of the ram (Num. 15:6; 28:12, 20, 28; 29:3, 9, 14), concerning which, of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere.
AC 2281. And He said I will not destroy it for twenty‘s sake. That this signifies that they will be saved, is evident from the series of things in the internal sense, and thus without any unfolding of the meaning. GENESIS 18:31 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|