Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:20
AC 2427. Verse 20. Behold I pray this city is near to flee thither, and it is a little one; let me I pray escape thither-is it not a little one?-and my soul shall live. "Behold I pray this city is near to flee thither," signifies that he might be permitted (to think and act) from the truth of faith; "and it is a little one," signifies from the little truth that he had; "let me I pray escape thither," signifies that from this small amount of truth it might be permissible to have regard to good; "is it not a little one?" signifies might he not have some little truth; "and my soul may live," signifies that so perchance be might be saved.
AC 2428. Behold I pray this city is near to flee thither. That this signifies that he might be permitted (to think and act) from the truth of faith, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being what is of doctrine, thus the truth of faith (n. 402, 2268). It is said to be "near," because truth is nearly related to good; on which account to "flee thither" signifies that he might be permitted [to think and act] from truth, seeing that he could not do so from good (n. 2422).
AC 2429. It is a little one. That this signifies from the little truth that he had, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being truth, concerning which just above. Its being "little" signifies that there was little of truth; here, from the little that he had, as is evident from what precedes and what follows.
 As regards the thing itself, namely, that they who are in the affection of truth have little truth in comparison with those who are in the affection of good, this is evident from the fact that it is from the meager and obscure good appertaining to them that they regard truth. The truth in a man is exactly according to the good that is in him. Where there is little good, there is little truth. They are in a like ratio and in a like degree, or, as we say, they march with even step. This indeed may seem a paradox, but still the case is so. Good is the very essence of truth, and truth without its essence is not truth, although it appears as if it were; it is merely a sounding brass, and is like an empty vessel.
 In order that anyone may have truth in himself, he must not only know it, but also acknowledge it, and have faith in it; he then for the first time has truth, because it then affects him, and remains. It is otherwise when he only knows truth, and does not acknowledge it, and have faith in it; for in this case he has not the truth in himself. This is the case with many who are in evil: they are able to know truths, sometimes more than other men; but still they have not the truth; nay, they have it so much the less, because at heart they deny it.
 It is provided by the Lord that no one should have (that is, acknowledge and believe) more truth than he receives of good. Hence it is here said of the city, by which truth is signified, that it is a "little one," and again in this verse, "Is it not a little one?" also in (verse 22), that he called the name of the city "Zoar," which in the original language means "little;" for the reason that those are here treated of who are in the affection of truth, and not so much in the affection of good.
AC 2430. Let me I pray escape thither. That this signifies that from this small amount of truth it might be permissible to have regard to good, is evident from what precedes and what follows. It was said that he should "escape to the mountain," by which is signified the good of love and of charity (n. 2419); but it was answered that he could not do this, but could escape to the city, by which is signified the truth of faith (n. 2428); thus that he could regard good from truth, or what is the same, charity from faith. Moreover that city was situated at the foot of the mountain; and from it he afterwards went up and dwelt on the mountain, but in a cave (verse 30).
AC 2431. Is it not a little one? That this signifies might he not have some little truth, is evident from what was said above (n. 2429), thus without further explication. This question is asked for the reason that the Lord alone knows how much good there is in the truth, and thus how much truth there is in a man.
AC 2432. And my soul shall live. That this signifies that so perchance he might be saved, is likewise evident without explication That he also was saved, because there was good in his truth, is evident from what follows, namely, from the answer, "Behold, I have accepted thy face as to this word also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken" (verse 21); and afterwards, "The sun was gone forth upon the earth, and Lot came unto Zoar" (verse 23); by which is meant that they who are in the affection of truth, that is, who are in faith, are saved, provided it is the faith of good. GENESIS 19:20 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|