427. Verse 5. And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months, signifies that from the Divine providence of the Lord, they are not able to take away from those who are not in the faith of charity the faculty of understanding and willing what is true and good, but that they should only be able to induce stupor for a short time. By "its being given them," is signified that it is from the Divine providence of the Lord, as above; "not to be able to kill them," signifies not to be able to take away from those who are not in the faith of charity the faculty of understanding and willing what is true and good, for when this faculty is taken away, man is spiritually killed. By "tormenting them five months," is signified to induce stupor for a short time; "five" signifies a little, or a short time, and "to torment" signifies to induce stupor, because this is what is signified by "a scorpion" (n. 425); and by "the torment like that of a scorpion," as follows (n. 428). That the faculty of understanding truth and of willing it, or rationality and liberty, cannot be taken away from man, is amply shown in the Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Providence (n. 73, 74, 82-86, 92-99, 138-149, 322).
 That "five months" signify a little, and a short time, is because that is signified by "five;" for times, whether they be hours, days, weeks, months, or years, do not signify time but state; and the numbers determine its quality (n. 4, 10, 348, 947). That "five" signifies something, and also a little, may appear from these passages:
A thousand shall flee at the rebuke of five (Isa. 30:17).
Five shall pursue a hundred (Lev. 26:8).
Jesus said, The kingdom of the heavens is like unto ten virgins, of whom five were prudent and five were foolish (Matt. 25:1-2).
By "ten virgins" are signified all in the church; by "five" are signified a certain part or some of them. The like is signified by "ten" and "five" in the parable:
There were given unto the servants talents that they should trade, and one with his talent gained ten talents, and another five (Luke 19:13-20).
"Ten talents" signify much, and "five talents" a little. Besides other places (as in Isaiah 17:6; 19:18-19; Matthew 14:15-22).