Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:6-7
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AC 2355. Verses 6, 7. And Lot went out unto them to the door (janua), and shut the door (ostium) behind him. And he said, I pray you my brethren do not wickedly. "Lot went out unto them to the door," signifies that he applied himself prudently; "and shut the door behind him," signifies lest they should do violence to the good of charity, and also deny the Lord’s Divine Human and Holy proceeding; "and he said," signifies exhortation; "I pray you my brethren do not wickedly," signifies that they should not do violence to them. He calls them "brethren," because it is from good that he exhorts them.

AC 2356. And Lot went out unto them to the door. That this signifies that he applied himself prudently, is evident from the interior sense of the expression "door," and of "going out to the door." In the Word a "door" signifies that which introduces or gives admission either to truth, to good, or to the Lord. Hence it is that a "door" signifies truth itself, good itself, and also the Lord Himself; for truth leads to good, and good to the Lord. Such things were represented by the door and veils of the Tent, and also of the Temple (n. 2145, 2152, 2576).

[2] That this is the signification of a "door," is evident from the Lord‘s words in John:--

He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber; but he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep; to him the porter openeth. I am the door of the sheep; by Me if anyone enter in, he shall be saved (John 10:1-3, 7, 9).

Here the "door" denotes truth and good, and therefore the Lord, who is truth itself and good itself. From this it is evident what is signified by being admitted into heaven through the door, and consequently what is signified by the keys with which the door is opened.

[3] But in the present case by the "door" is signified some good adapted to the character of those who beset the house; for the "door (janua)" is here distinguished from the "door (ostium)," and was at the front of the house (as is evident from the fact that Lot went out and closed the door behind him) and from what immediately follows it is evident that the good in question was a blessedness of life by which he would persuade those who were in falsity and evil; for such do not suffer themselves to be persuaded by the veriest good itself, but reject it. From all which it is evident that by "going out to the door" is here signified that he applied himself prudently.

AC 2357. And shut the door behind him. That this signifies lest they should do violence to the good of charity and should also deny the Lord’s Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from what has been already said. In the present case to "shut the door" denotes lest they should enter into the good signified by the "house," and therefore to the Lord‘s Divine and Holy.

[2] These things involve still deeper arcana, into the sense and idea of which the angels come when these words are being read, namely, that they who are in a life of evil are admitted no further than to the knowledge of good and of the Lord, but not into the veriest acknowledgment and faith; for the reason that so long as they are in evil they cannot be at the same time in good. No one can at the same time serve two masters. When a man who once acknowledges and believes returns to a life of evil, he profanes what is good and holy; but he who does not acknowledge and believe, cannot profane. Care is therefore taken by the Lord’s Divine Providence lest a man be admitted further into the very acknowledgment and faith of the heart than he can afterwards be kept; and this on account of the punishment of profanation, which is the most grievous in hell.

[3] This is the reason why at the present day it is vouchsafed to so few, to believe from the heart that the good of love and charity are heaven in man, and that all the Divine is in the Lord; for at the present day men are in a life of evil. This then is what is more interiorly signified by Lot‘s shutting the door behind him; for this door was an inner door, through which there was admission into the house itself where the angels were; that is, into the good in which is the Lord.

AC 2358. And he said. That this signifies exhortation, is evident from what now follows, thus without further explication.

AC 2359. I Pray you my brethren do not wickedly. That this signifies that they should not do violence to them, namely, to the good of charity and the Lord’s Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from the signification of "doing wickedly," as being to do violence. From all this it is evident that those are treated of who are within the church, and that it is they who are meant by the "men of Sodom;" for no one can do violence to these holy things except one who is in possession of the Word. That these things are most holy can be seen from the fact that no one can be admitted into the Lord‘s kingdom (that is, into heaven) unless he is in the good of love and of charity; and no one can be in the good of love and of charity, unless he acknowledges the Lord’s Divine and Holy; for this good flows in from Him alone, and indeed into the good itself which is from Him. The Divine cannot flow in except into the Divine, nor be communicated to man except through the Lord‘s Divine Human and His Holy thence derived. From this we can understand how it is that the Lord is the all in all of His kingdom; and also that nothing of the good that is with man is man’s, but is the Lord‘s.

AC 2360. That Lot calls them "brethren" because it is from good that he exhorts them, is evident from the signification of a "brother." In the Word "brother" signifies the same as "neighbor," for the reason that every one ought to love his neighbor as himself; thus brethren were so called from love; or what is the same, from good. This manner of naming and addressing the neighbor comes from the fact that in heaven the Lord is the Father of all and loves all as His children; and thus that love is spiritual conjunction. From this the universal heaven resembles as it were one family derived from love and charity (n. 685, 917).

[2] Therefore as all the sons of Israel represented the Lord’s heavenly kingdom, that is, the kingdom of love and charity; among each other they were called "brethren," and also "companions;" but the latter, that is, "companions," not from the good of love, but from the truth of faith; as in Isaiah:--

They help every man his companion, and he saith to his brother, Be of good courage (Isaiah 41:6).

In Jeremiah:--

Thus shall ye say every man to his companion, and every man to his brother, What hath Jehovah answered? and what hath Jehovah spoken? (Jeremiah 23:35).

In David:--

For my brethren and companions‘ sakes I will say, Peace be within thee (Ps. 122:8).

In Moses:--

He shall not press upon his companion or his brother, because the release of Jehovah hath been proclaimed (Deut. 15:2, 3).

In Isaiah:--

I will confound Egypt with Egypt, and they shall fight every man against his brother, and every man against his companion (Isaiah 19:2).

In Jeremiah:--

Beware every man of his companion, and trust ye not in any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every companion will slander (Jeremiah 9:4).

[3] That all who were of that church were called by the one name "brethren," see in Isaiah:--

They shall bring all your brethren out of all the nations for an offering unto Jehovah, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to the mountain of My holiness, Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:20).

They who know nothing beyond the sense of the letter, as was the case with the Jews, believe that no others are signified than the posterity of Jacob; thus that they will be brought back to Jerusalem upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, by those whom they call the Gentiles. But by the "brethren" are meant all who are in good; and by the "horses," " chariots," and "litters," the things which are of truth and good; and by "Jerusalem" the Lord’s kingdom.

[4] In Moses:--

When there shall be among thee a needy one of one of thy brethren, in one of thy gates, thou shalt not harden thy heart, and shalt not shut thy hand from thy needy brother (Deut. 15:7, 11).


From among thy brethren thou shalt set a King over thee; thou mayest not put over thee a foreigner, who is not thy brother, and his heart shall not be lifted up above his brethren (Deut. 17:15, 20).


A prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee; him shall ye obey (Deut. 18:15, 18).

[5] From all this it is evident that the Jews and Israelites all called one another brethren; but those united by covenant they called companions. Yet as they understood nothing beyond the historical and worldly things of the Word, they believed that they called one another brethren because they were all sons of one father, or of Abraham; yet they were not called "brethren" in the Word from this circumstance, but from the good which they represented. "Abraham" also, in the internal sense, denotes nothing else than love itself, that is, the Lord (n. 1893, 1965, 1989, 2011), whose sons, consequently those who are "brethren," are those who are in good, in fact all those who are called the neighbor; as the Lord teaches in Matthew:--

One is your Master, Christ; all ye are brethren (Matthew 23:8).

[6] Again:--

Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. If thou offer a gift upon the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother (Matthew 5:22-24).


Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother‘s eye? how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye (Matthew 7:2-4).


If thy brother sin against thee, go and show him his fault between thee and him alone if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother (Matthew 18:15).


Peter coming to Him said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him I (Matthew 18:21).


So also will My heavenly Father do unto you, if ye from the heart forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (Matthew 18:35).

[7] It is clear from these teachings that all in the universe who are the neighbor are called "brethren," and this because every one ought to love his neighbor as himself, thus they are so called from love or good. And as the Lord is good itself, and regards all from good, and is Himself the Neighbor in the highest sense, He also calls them "brethren," as in John:--

Jesus said to Mary, Go to My brethren (John 20:17).

And in Matthew:--

The King answering shall say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me (Matthew 25:40).

Thus it is evident that "brother" is a term of love.

GENESIS 19:6-7    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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