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That by pestilence is signified the punishment of evil, and its damnation, is evident from the following passages. In Ezekiel:--

They who are in the waste places shall die by the sword, and he who is upon the faces of the field I will give to the wild beast to devour him, and they who are in the strongholds and caverns shall die with the pestilence (Ezek. 33:27);

to die by the sword in waste places denotes to be in the vastation of truth, and thence in the damnation of falsity; he who is upon the faces of the field being given to the wild beast to devour denotes the damnation of those who are in evil from falsity; they who are in strongholds and caverns dying with the pestilence denotes the damnation of evil which fortifies itself by falsity.

[4] Again:--

The sword is without, and the pestilence and famine within; he that is in the field shall die by the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him (Ezek. 7:15)

the sword here denotes the vastation of truth and the damnation of falsity; famine and pestilence, the vastation of good and the damnation of evil. The sword is said to be without, and famine and pestilence within, because the vastation of truth is without, but the vastation of good within; but when a man lives in accordance with falsity, damnation is signified by him who is in the field dying by the sword; and when he lives in evil which is defended by falsity, damnation is signified by famine and pestilence devouring him who is in the city.

[5] In Leviticus:--

I will bring upon you a sword avenging the vengeance of the covenant; where, if ye shall be gathered together into your cities, I will send the pestilence into the midst of you, and I will deliver you into the hand of the enemy, when I shall break the staff of your bread (Leviticus 26:25, 26);

where in like manner the sword denotes the vastation of truth and the damnation of falsity; the pestilence the damnation of evil; the vastation of good, which is signified by famine, is described by breaking the staff of their bread; by the cities into which they were to be gathered together, in like manner as above, are signified the falsities by which they defend evils. Cities are truths, thus in the opposite sense falsities, (AC 402, 2268, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493).

[6] In Ezekiel:--

In that thou hast defiled My sanctuary with all thine abominations, a third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee; a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and a third part I will scatter to every wind, and will draw out a sword after them (Ezek. 5:11, 12);

where famine denotes the damnation of evil; sword, the damnation of falsity; to scatter to every wind, and to draw out the sword after them denotes to dissipate truths and seize on falsities.

[7] In Jeremiah:--

If they shall offer burnt-offering or meat-offering, I will not approve them; but I will consume them with sword, and with famine, and with pestilence (Jer. 14:12).


I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they shall die of a great pestilence; afterward I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and those who are left in this city from the pestilence, and from the sword, and from the famine, Into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth out and falleth away to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his soul shall be unto him for a spoil (Jer. 21:6, 7, 9).


I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, till they be consumed from upon the earth (Jer. 24:10);

where also by the sword is signified the vastation of truth, by the famine the vastation of good, by the pestilence damnation. The like is signified by the sword, the famine, and the pestilence in the following passages, (Jer. 27:8; 29:17, 18; 32:24, 36; 34:17; 38:2; 42:17, 22; 44:13; Ezek. 12:16).

from AC 7102

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