9320. For destroying thou shalt destroy them. That this signifies that evils must be wholly removed, is evident from the signification of "destroying," when said of the evils and falsities which are signified by the nations of the land of Canaan and by their gods, as being to remove. That "to destroy" denotes to remove, is because those who are in good and truth never destroy those who are in evil and falsity, but only remove them; for the reason that they act from good, and not from evil; and good is from the Lord, who never destroys anyone. But those who are in evil and from it in falsity endeavor to destroy, and as far as they are able do destroy, those who are in good, for the reason that they act from evil. But because they then run counter to the good which is from the Lord, thus counter to the Divine, they destroy themselves, that is, they cast themselves headlong into damnation and into hell. Such is the law of order, as may be seen above (n. 4299, 7643, 7679, 7710, 7926, 7989, 8137, 8146, 8265, 8945, 8946).
 That the Israelites and the Jews destroyed the nations of the land of Canaan, was because the former represented spiritual and heavenly things, and the nations infernal and diabolical things, which cannot possibly be together; for they are opposites. The reason why the Israelites were permitted to destroy the nations, was that there was no church among the Israelites, but only the representative of a church, and consequently the Lord was not present with them except representatively (n. 4307); for they were in external things without anything internal; that is, they were in a worship representative of good and truth, but not in good and truth. Such people are permitted to destroy, to kill, to exterminate, and to devote to destruction; but this is not permitted to those who are in external things and at the same time in internal things, because these people must act from good, and good is from the Lord.
 That the Jews and Israelites were of such a character is openly declared by Moses:
Speak not thou in thine heart, after that Jehovah thy God hath thrust the nations out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness Jehovah hath brought me in to possess this land. Not for thy righteousness, and for the uprightness of thine heart; for thou art a stiffnecked people (Deut. 9:4-6).
They are a nation ruined in counsels, neither is there any understanding in them. Their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall; their clusters of bitterness; their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel gall of asps. Is not this hidden away with Me, sealed up in My treasuries (Deut. 32:28, 32-34);
in the internal sense "a vine" signifies the church (n. 1069, 5113, 6375, 6376, 9277); "grapes," and "clusters," signify the internal and external goods of that church (n. 1071, 5117, 6378); and "wine" signifies the internal truth of that church (n. 1071, 1798, 6377). From this it is plain what is signified by "their vine being of the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah," "their grapes, grapes of gall, and their clusters of bitterness," and "their wine the poison of dragons and the cruel gall of asps." That these things are known to Jehovah, that is, to the Lord, is signified by its being "hidden away with Him, and sealed up in His treasuries."
 In John:
Jesus said to the Jews, Ye are of your father the devil, and the desire of your father ye will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).
Consequently they are called "a depraved and adulterous generation" (Matt. 12:39); and also "an offspring of vipers" (Matt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7). That such was their nature was also described by the Lord in parables (Matt. 21:33-45; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 14:16-24; 20:9-19). (That that nation was the worst of all; that when in worship they were in external things without any internal; that there was no church among them, but only the representative of a church; and that nevertheless they could represent the internal things of the church, see n. 3398, 3479, 3480, 3732, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288-4290, 4293, 4307, 4314, 4316, 4317, 4429, 4433, 4444, 4500, 4503, 4680, 4815, 4818, 4820, 4825, 4832, 4837, 4844, 4847, 4865, 4868, 4874, 4899, 4903, 4911-4913, 5057, 5998, 6304, 6832, 6877, 7048, 7051, 7248, 7401, 7439, 8301, 8588, 8788, 8806, 8814, 8819, 8871, 8882, 9284.)