Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:13
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AC 2394. Verse 13. For we will destroy this place, because their cry is become great before Jehovah, and Jehovah hath sent us to destroy it. "For we will destroy this place," signifies that the state of evil in which they were would condemn them; "because their cry is become great before Jehovah," signifies because the falsity from evil is so great; "and Jehovah hath sent us to destroy it," signifies that they cannot but perish.

AC 2395. For we will destroy this place. That this signifies that the state of evil in which they were would condemn them, is evident from the meaning of "destroying," when predicated of the Lord, as being in the internal significance to perish by evil, that is, to be condemned; and also from the signification of "this place," as being a state of evil (n. 2393). It is frequently said in the word that Jehovah "destroys;" but in the internal sense it is meant that man destroys himself; for Jehovah or the Lord destroys no one. But as from the fact of His seeing and regulating all things in both general and particular it appears as if the destruction came from Jehovah or the Lord, it is so expressed in many places in the Word, to the end that men may thereby be kept in a most general idea that all things are under the Lord’s eyes, and all things under His auspices; for if at first they are kept in this idea, they can afterwards be easily instructed. For the explications of the Word as to the internal sense are nothing but particulars that elucidate a general idea.

[2] Another reason why it is so expressed is that they who are in no love are kept in fear, and thereby stand in awe of the Lord, and flee to Him for the sake of deliverance. This shows that it does no harm to believe the sense of the letter, even though the internal sense teaches something else, provided that it is done from a simple heart. But these things will be treated of more fully in what follows, at (verse 24) (n. 2447), where it is said that Jehovah caused it to rain brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels, being in the internal sense, are so far from thinking that Jehovah destroys anyone, that they cannot endure even the idea of such a thing; and therefore when these and other such things are read in the Word by man, the sense of the letter is cast away as it were to the back, and at last passes into this: that evil itself is what destroys man, and that the Lord destroys no one (n. 1875).

AC 2396. Because their cry is become great before Jehovah. That this signifies because the falsity from evil is so great, is evident from the signification of a "cry" (n. 2240), as being predicated of falsity; and here of falsity from evil (n. 2351).

AC 2397. And Jehovah hath sent us to destroy it. That this signifies that they cannot but perish, is to be understood in the same way as the signification given just above (n. 2395). That "us" (that is, the "men" or "angels") denotes the Lord‘s Divine Human and Holy proceeding, has been shown above. Through these were the good saved, and the evil destroyed; and yet the latter by the law that evil itself destroyed them. And because they perished in this way, and this through the Lord’s advent into the world, it is said according to the appearance, that they " were sent to destroy them."

[2] It is some times said of the Lord in the Word, that He was "sent by the Father," as it is said here, " Jehovah hath sent us;" but in the internal sense by being "sent" is everywhere signified to go forth, as in John:--

They have received, and have known of a truth that I came forth from The, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me (John 17:8).

So in other places, as in the same:--

God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him may be saved (John 3:17).


He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father who hath sent Him (John 5:23).

Besides many other passages (Matt. 10:40; 15:24; John 3:34; 4:34; 5:30, 36-38; 6:29, 39, 40, 44, 57; 7:16, 18, 28, 29; 8:16, 18, 29, 42; 9:4; 10:36; 11:41, 42; 12:44, 45, 49; 13:20; 14:24; 17:18; 20:21; Luke 4:43; 9:48; 10:16; Mark 9:37; Isa. 61:1).

[3] In the same way it is said of the Holy Spirit, that it was "sent," that is, that it goes forth from the Lord‘s Divine, as in John:--

Jesus said, When the Comforter shall come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth which goeth forth from the Father, He shall testify of Me (John 15:26).


If I go away, I will send the Comforter unto you (John 16:5, 7).

Hence the prophets were said to be "sent," because the words which they spoke came forth from the Holy of the Lord’s Spirit. And because all Divine Truth comes forth from Divine Good, the expression "to be sent" is properly predicated of Divine Truth. But what "to go forth" means, is also evident, namely, that he who goes forth, or that which goes forth, is of him from whom it goes forth.

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