7102. Lest He fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. That this signifies to avoid the damnation of evil and falsity, is evident from the signification of "lest He fall upon us," as being lest they should incur damnation; from the signification of "pestilence," as being the damnation of evil (of which below); and from the signification of "the sword," as being the vastation of truth, and also the punishment of falsity (see n. 2799), thus also damnation, for the punishment of falsity when truth is devastated, is damnation.  Mention is made in the Word of four kinds of vastations and punishments; namely, the Sword, Famine, the Evil Beast, and Pestilence; and by the "sword" is signified the vastation of truth and the punishment of falsity; by "famine," the vastation of good and the punishment of evil; by the "evil beast," the punishment of the evil from falsity; by "pestilence," the punishment of the evil not from falsity but from evil. And as punishment is signified, damnation is also signified, for this is the punishment of those who persevere in evil. Of these four kinds of punishments it is thus written in Ezekiel:
When I send upon Jerusalem My four evil judgments, the sword, and the famine, and the evil beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast (Ezek. 14:21).
I will send upon you famine, and the evil beast, and will make thee bereaved; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; especially will I bring the sword upon thee (Ezek. 5:17).
 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.
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."
 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 (Lev. 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 (that "cities" are truths, thus in the opposite sense falsities, see n. 402, 2268, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493).
 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.
 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.
 As these three follow in their order, therefore these three were proposed to David by the prophet Gad, namely, whether there should come seven years of famine; or he should flee three months before his enemies; or whether there should be three days' pestilence in the land (2 Sam. 24:13); "to flee before his enemies" stands for "the sword." In Amos:
I have sent among you the pestilence in the way of Egypt; I have slain your young men with the sword, with the captivity of your horses (Amos 4:10);
"the pestilence in the way of Egypt" denotes the vastation of good by means of falsities, which are "the way of Egypt;" "I have slain your young men with the sword, with the captivity of the horses," denotes the vastation of truth. (By "young men" are signified truths, and by "horses" things of the intellect, see n. 2761, 2762, 3217, 5321, 6534.)
 In Ezekiel:
Pestilence and blood shall pass through thee (Ezek. 5:17).
I will send unto her pestilence and blood in her streets (Ezek. 28:23);
where "pestilence" denotes adulterated good; and "blood," falsified truth. (That "blood" denotes falsified truth, see n. 4735, 6978).
 In David:
Thou shalt not be afraid for the dread of night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day; for the pestilence that creepeth in thick darkness, nor for the death that wasteth at noonday (Ps. 91:5-6).
Here the "dread of night" denotes the falsity which is in secret; the "arrow that flieth by day," the falsity which is in the open; the "pestilence that creepeth in thick darkness," the evil which is in secret; the "death that wasteth at noonday," the evil which is in the open. That "pestilence" denotes evil and the damnation of evil, is plain from death's being spoken of also, which is here distinguished from the pestilence merely by its being said of death that "it wasteth at noonday," and of the pestilence that "it creepeth in thick darkness." Again:
He directed the way of His anger; He forbade not their soul from death, and closed their life with the pestilence (Ps. 78:50);
speaking of the Egyptians; the "pestilence" denotes every kind of evil and its damnation.