9013. 'To kill him with guile' means consequent malice intent on depriving the neighbour of eternal life. This is clear from the meaning of 'killing' as taking faith and charity away from one's neighbour and so depriving him of spiritual life, which is eternal life, dealt with in 6767, 8902; and from the meaning of 'guile' as malice owing to prior thought or premeditation by the will, that is, owing to set purpose. Evil deeds are performed as a result either of enmity, or of hatred, or of vengeance; and they are performed with guile or without guile. But those performed with guile are the worst because guile is like a poison which is infectious and destroys with hellish consumption; for it spreads through the entire mind, right through to its inmost recesses. The reason why is that a person full of guile has his mind on evil. He feeds and delights his understanding with it, and in so doing he destroys everything which is human, that is, which composes life belonging to the good of faith and of charity.
 Those who use guile while in the world to ensnare their neighbour in regard to worldly and earthly affairs use guile in the next life to ensnare their neighbour in regard to spiritual and celestial matters. And because they do it in a secret way they are banished to the hells behind the back, to a depth in keeping with the malevolence and harmfulness of their guile, and so are separated from those who are in front. These in front are called spirits, but those behind the back are called genii, 5035, 5977, 8593, 8622, 8625. Genii are not allowed near men as spirits are. For they enter affections belonging to the will, by acting in opposition to the good of love and charity, in so surreptitious a manner that it cannot possibly be detected; and in that way they destroy the truth of faith. In their own hells they place themselves out of sight to their companions; for those who have acted in concealment in the world can place themselves out of sight in the next life. When they make their appearance they look to one another like human beings; but when angels examine them they look like serpents. For they have the nature of serpents, and what goes out of them is like poison, indeed is spiritual poison.
 For this reason 'poison' in the Word means guile, and 'poisonous serpents', such as asps, adders, or vipers, means people full of guile, as in David,
In heart you work perversities. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent, like that of the deaf asp. Psalms 58:2, 4.
In the same author,
They think evil things in their heart. They make their tongue sharp, like a serpent; the poison of an asp is under their lips. Psalms 140:2-3.
They lay eggs of the asp, and weave spider's webs; he who eats from their eggs dies, and when anyone presses it out a viper is hatched. Isaiah 59:5.
He will suck the poison of asps, the tongue of a viper will kill him. Job 20:16.
Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel gall of asps. Deuteronomy 32:33.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! How, O serpents, brood of vipers, will you escape the judgement of Gehenna? Matthew 23:29, 33.
Acts of the Apostles 20:16; Matthew 22:29, 22:33)
 Guile is called hypocrisy when people speak in godly ways but are ungodly at heart, or when they have charity on their lips but hatred in their heart, or when they express innocence on their face and in their gestures but have cruelty in their soul and breast; consequently they are those who use innocence, charity, or godliness to deceive. It is they who are meant in the internal sense by 'serpents' and 'vipers', because when such people, as stated above, are examined in the light of heaven by angels they look like serpents and also vipers. They are those who conceal evils under truths, that is, who with guile twist truths in order to perform evil deeds; for they hide poison under their teeth, so to speak, and kill by means of it.
 But those who are led by the Lord, believing what is true and leading a good life, cannot suffer injury from their poisons, since they live in light received from the Lord, and in that light those full of guile are seen as serpents and their guile as poison. Their preservation by the Lord is meant by the Lord's words to His disciples,
Behold, I give you the power to trample on serpents and scorpions. Luke 10:19.
These signs will follow believers: They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly it will not hurt them. Mark 16:17-18.
And in Isaiah,
A suckling will play over the viper's hole. Isaiah 11:8.
 People inwardly corrupted with spiritual guile, that is, with hypocrisy, are the ones who are meant by those speaking against the Holy Spirit, for whom there is no forgiveness, in Matthew,
I say to you, Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy of the Spirit will not be forgiven people. Indeed if anyone speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come. Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad. O brood of vipers, how can you speak good when you are evil? Matthew 12:31-34.
'Speaking a word against the Holy Spirit' means speaking well of things that belong to the Lord, to His kingdom and Church, and also to the Word, but thinking ill of them; and doing well in respect of them while desiring what is ill. For falsity then lies hidden within the truths they speak, and evil in the good deeds they perform, which is the hidden poison. This is why they are called 'a brood of vipers'.
 In the next life an evil person is allowed to speak what is evil and also false, but not what is good and true, because all there are impelled to speak from the heart and not to have a divided mind. Those who do other than that are separated from the rest and hidden away in hells from which they can never come out. The fact that people such as these are meant by those speaking a word against the Holy Spirit is clear from the Lord's words there, 'Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad. How can you speak good when you are evil?' The Holy Spirit is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, thus that which is holy and Divine, which is thereby blasphemed and profaned on an inward level.
 The reason why such blasphemy is not forgiven them is that hypocrisy or guile involving things that are holy and Divine corrupts a person inwardly and destroys everything of spiritual life with him, as stated above, at length so completely that there is no soundness anywhere in him. For the forgiveness of sins consists in evil being separated from good and cast away to the sides, 8393. But this cannot be done for someone with whom all good has been destroyed; and this is why it says, 'It will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come'. These are also the kind of people who are meant by the one who was not wearing a wedding garment, who was bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness, Matthew 22:11-13; see 2132.
 The fact that 'guile' in the Word is hypocrisy is clear from the following places: In Jeremiah,
Take heed, a man of his companion, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother supplants wholly. They deceive, a man with his companion, and do not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak a lie. Your habitation is in the midst of guile; on account of guile they have refused to know Me, said Jehovah. Jeremiah 9:4-6.
You will destroy those speaking a lie; Jehovah abhors the man of blood 1
and guile. Psalms 5:6.
In the same author,
Blessed is the person to whom Jehovah does not impute iniquity; only let there be no guile in his spirit. Psalms 32:2.
In the same author,
Deliver my soul from lying lips, from a guileful tongue. 2
Like examples occur in Psalms 52:4; Psalms 109:2.
1. literally, bloods
2. literally, from the lip of the lie, from the tongue of guile