9024. And when men shall dispute. That this signifies contention among themselves about truths, is evident from the signification of "disputing," as being to contend (of which below) and from the signification of "men" [viri], as being those who are intelligent and who are in truths, and in the abstract sense things intellectual and truths (see n. 3134, 9007); consequently "the disputing of men" signifies contention about truths among those who are of the church, and in the abstract sense about truths among themselves. For in the spiritual sense "to dispute" denotes to contend about such things as are of the church, consequently such as are of faith. Nothing else is meant in the Word by "disputing," for the Word is spiritual and treats of spiritual things, that is, of those things which belong to the Lord, His kingdom in heaven, and His kingdom on the earth, that is, the church. That in the Word "to dispute" signifies contention about truths, and in general in favor of truths against falsities, likewise also defense and liberation from falsities, is plain from the following passages.
 In Jeremiah:
A tumult is come even to the end of the earth; for Jehovah hath a dispute against the nations, He will enter into judgment with all flesh; He will deliver the wicked to the sword. Behold evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest shall be raised up from the sides of the earth (Jer. 25:31, 32).
Thus is prophetically described the perverted state of the church; "a tumult" denotes contention in favor of falsities against truths, and in favor of evils against goods; "the earth" denotes the church; "the dispute of Jehovah against the nations" denotes the contention of the Lord in favor of truths against falsities, and in favor of goods against evils, thus also defense; "the nations" denote falsities and evils; "a sword" denotes falsity fighting and conquering; "a great tempest" denotes falsity ruling; "the sides of the earth" denotes where falsities burst forth from evil.
 In the same:
Jehovah shall dispute their dispute; that He may give rest to the earth (Jer. 50:34)
"To dispute the dispute" denotes to defend truths against falsities and to liberate; "the earth" denotes the church, which has "rest" when it is in good, and consequently in truths. In the same:
O Lord, Thou hast disputed the disputes of my soul; Thou hast liberated my life (Lam. 3:58).
"To dispute the disputes of the soul" denotes to defend and liberate from falsities. In David:
Dispute Thou my dispute, and redeem me; vivify me according to Thy word (Ps. 119:154).
"To dispute the dispute" here also denotes to liberate from falsities. In Micah:
Dispute Thou with the mountains, and let the hills hear Thy voice (Mic. 6:1).
"To dispute with the mountains" denotes to contend and defend against the exalted ones, and also against the evils of the love of self; "the hills which are to hear His voice" denote the humble, and those who are in charity. In Isaiah:
I will not eternally dispute, and I will not be wroth forever (Isa. 57:16).
"To dispute" denotes to contend against falsities. In Hosea:
Jehovah hath a dispute with Judah (Hos. 12:2);
where the meaning is similar. Besides other passages.