7102. 'Lest perhaps He fall on us with pestilence and sword' means to avoid the damnation of evil and falsity. This is clear from the meaning of 'lest perhaps He fall on' as lest they run into - into damnation; from the meaning of 'pestilence' as the damnation of evil, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'sword' as the vastation of truth, and also the punishment of falsity, dealt with in 2799, and so also as damnation, since the punishment of falsity, when truth has been devasted, is damnation.
 The Word mentions four kinds of vastation and punishment - sword, famine, evil wild animal, and pestilence. 'Sword' means the vastation of truth and the punishment of falsity; 'famine' the vastation of good and the punishment of evil; 'evil wild animal' the punishment of evil that arises out of falsity; and 'pestilence' the punishment of evil that does not arise out of falsity but out of evil. And since punishment is meant, damnation is meant also, since damnation is the punishment suffered by those who persist in evil. Those four kinds of punishment are referred to as follows in Ezekiel,
. . . when I shall send My four severe 1
judgements - sword, and famine, and evil wild animal, and pestilence - onto Jerusalem, to cut off man and beast from it. Ezekiel 14:21.
In the same prophet,
I will send famine and evil wild animals upon you, and I will make you bereft. And pestilence and blood will pass through you; in particular I will bring the sword upon you. Ezekiel 5:17.
 The meaning of 'pestilence' as the punishment of evil and its damnation is evident from the following places: In Ezekiel,
Those in waste places will die by the sword, and the one who is in the open field 2
I will give to the wild animals to devour him, and those who are in fortifications and caverns will die from pestilence. Ezekiel 33:27.
'In waste places dying by the sword' stands for suffering the vastation of truth and consequently the damnation of falsity. 'The one who is in the open field being given to the wild animals to devour him' stands for the damnation of those ruled by evil arising out of falsity. 'Those who are in fortifications and caverns, dying from pestilence' stands for the damnation of evil which uses falsity to fortify itself.
 In the same prophet,
The sword is without, and pestilence and famine within; he that is in the field will die by the sword, but him that is in the city famine and pestilence will devour. Ezekiel 7:15.
'The sword' stands for the vastation of truth and the damnation of falsity; 'famine' and 'pestilence' stand for 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 takes place externally but the vastation of good internally. When however a person leads a life that rests on falsity, damnation is meant by the words 'he that is in the field will die by the sword'; and when a person leads a life ruled by evil which he defends by the use of falsity, damnation is meant by the words 'him that is in the city famine and pestilence will devour'.
 In Leviticus,
I will bring upon you a sword executing the vengeance of the covenant; wherever you are gathered into your cities, I will send pestilence into the midst of you, and you will be delivered 3
into the hand of the enemy. When I have cut off your supply of bread 4
... Leviticus 26:25-26.
Here in a similar way 'a sword' stands for the vastation of truth and the damnation of falsity, 'pestilence' for the damnation of evil. The vastation of good, meant by 'famine', is described when [the Lord] speaks of cutting off their supply of bread. 'Cities' into which they would be gathered has the same meaning as 'the city' just above - falsities that are used to defend evils. For the meaning of 'cities' as truths, and so in the contrary sense as falsities, see 402, 2268, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493.
Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493)
 In Ezekiel,
Therefore because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your abominations, a third part of you will die from pestilence, and be annihilated [by famine] in your midst; then a third will fall by the sword around you; finally I will scatter a third to every wind, so that I will draw out a sword after them. Ezekiel 5:11-12.
'Famine' stands for the damnation of evil, 'sword' for the damnation of falsity. 'Scattering to every wind' and 'drawing out a sword after them' stand for getting rid of truths and seizing on falsities.
 In Jeremiah,
If they offer burnt offering or minchah, I am not accepting those things, but I will consume those people by sword, famine, and pestilence. Jeremiah 14:12.
In the same prophet,
I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they will die from a great pestilence. Afterwards I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and those in this city left from the pestilence, and from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. He who remains in this city will die by the sword, and by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans besieging you will live, and his soul will become spoil to him. Jeremiah 21:6-7, 9.
In the same prophet,
I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, till they are consumed from upon the earth. Jeremiah 24:10.
Here also 'sword' means the vastation of truth, 'famine' the vastation of good, and 'pestilence' damnation; and 'sword', 'famine', and 'pestilence' have the same meanings in the following places as well: Jeremiah 27:8; 29:17-18; 32:24, 36; 34:17; 38:2; 42:17, 22; 44:13; Ezekiel 12:16.
 Since those three scourges follow in their own particular order [of severity], David was presented by the prophet Gad with the three. He had to choose between the coming of seven years of famine, fleeing three months before his enemies, or three days of pestilence in the land, 2 Samuel 24:13. ('Fleeing before his enemies' implies 'the sword'.) In Amos,
I have sent the pestilence upon you in the way of Egypt, I have killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. 5
'The pestilence in the way of Egypt' stands for the vastation of good by means of falsities, which are 'the way of Egypt'. 'Killing young men with the sword, along with captured horses' stands for the vastation of truth, truths being meant by 'young men' and intellectual concepts by 'horses', 5
2761, 2762, 3217, 5321, 6534.
Arcana Coelestia 2761-2762)
 In Ezekiel,
Pestilence and blood will pass through you. Ezekiel 5:17.
In the same prophet,
I will send upon her pestilence and blood in her streets. Ezekiel 28:27.
Here 'pestilence' stands for good that has been adulterated, and 'blood' for truth that has been falsified. For the meaning of 'blood' as falsified truth, see 4735, 6978.
 In David,
You will not be afraid of the terror of the night, of the arrow that flies by day, of the pestilence that creeps in thick darkness, of death that lays waste at noonday. Psalms 91:5-6.
'The terror of the night' stands for falsity which lies concealed; 'the arrow that flies by day' for falsity which is out in the open; 'the pestilence that creeps in thick darkness' for evil which lies concealed; 'death which lays waste at noonday' for evil which is out in the open. The fact that 'pestilence' means evil and the damnation of evil is evident from the use of the word 'death', which is distinguished here from pestilence solely by its being said of death that it 'lays waste at noonday' but of pestilence that it 'creeps in thick darkness'. In the same author,
He opened a way for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, and He subjected their life to pestilence. Psalms 78:50.
This refers to the Egyptians, 'pestilence' standing for every kind of evil and its damnation.
1. literally, evil
2. literally, upon the face of the field
3. The Latin means I will deliver you but the Hebrew means you will be delivered.
4. literally, While I am about to break the staff of bread for you
5. literally, the captivity of your horses