Revelation 18:2
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) And he cried . . .—We must omit “mightily,” and render, And he cried in a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become an habitation of demons, and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hated bird. Those who walk in darkness, and whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded through their lusts, look only on the material side, upon prosperous times, large revenues, rapidly developing resources. The great city of the world looks fair and glorious in their eyes, and even the godly are dazzled by her beauty; but when the light of heaven shines, her fall is seen to be inevitable, for she is seen to be hateful; her palaces are seen to be prisons, her highest wisdom little more than low cunning, her most exalted intelligence base-born, her sweetest songs discordant cries; the evil spirit, welcomed back, has come in seven-fold power; for the dry places afford no rest to those who still love sin and the pleasures of sin. The description in this verse is drawn largely from Isaiah 13:21-22; it is a picture of desolation and degradation, but it has its moral counterpart.

Revelation 18:2-3. And he cried mightily with a strong voice — Proclaimed aloud with triumphant joy, in the words of Isaiah 21:9, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen — As if he had said, What was prophesied formerly concerning the celebrated seat of the Chaldean empire, shall presently be verified in this mystical Babylon. Her fall was announced before, chap. Revelation 14:8, but is now declared at large; and is become a habitation of devils, &c. — Here it is foretold, that after her fall she should be made a scene of desolation, as the ancient Babylon was, according to the predictions of the prophet respecting ancient Babylon, Isaiah 13:19, Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah; it shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. Neither shall the Arabian pitch his tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there; but wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there; where the word שׂעורים, which we translate satyrs, the LXX. render διαμονια, demons, or devils, who were supposed sometimes to take the shape of goats, or satyrs: and to haunt forlorn and desolate places; and it is from the translation of the LXX. that the apostle hath borrowed his images and expressions. According to this prediction, how horrid were the inhabitants of desolate Babylon to be as long as the world shall stand! Of invisible beings, devils and unclean spirits; of visible beings, every unclean beast, every filthy and hateful bird. Suppose then Babylon to mean here heathen Rome, and the fall predicted in this chapter to have been effected by Totilas, king of the Ostrogoths, as Grotius would persuade us, or by Alaric, king of the Visigoths, as the bishop of Meaux contends, how can Rome be said ever since to have been the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird, unless they will allow the popes and cardinals to merit these appellations? For all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication, &c. — She hath not only been guilty of idolatry herself, and with great wrath persecuted the true Christian faith, worship, and practice, but hath also corrupted the princes and nations of the earth, as if she had given them a cup of poisonous composition, to disorder their reason and inflame them into rage and fury, having prevailed upon them to commit the same sins of which she was guilty, and to propagate her corruptions by ambitious views, incitements to luxury, and prospects of gain. And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies — “The Romish clergy,” says Daubuz, “by trading in spiritual matters, have gotten vast wealth; these are the merchants of the earth, who by their Popish tricks and trinkets have gotten a good part of the wealth of the world into their hands. In short, Rome is a great mart; the Romish clergy are the merchants and factors; the secular, inferior clergy, the monks and friars, are the pedlers and hawkers which retail the merchandise. As for the luxury of Rome, procured by this trade, it needs no proof.18:1-8 The downfal and destruction of the mystical Babylon are determined in the counsels of God. Another angel comes from heaven. This seems to be Christ himself, coming to destroy his enemies, and to shed abroad the light of his gospel through all nations. The wickedness of this Babylon was very great; she had forsaken the true God, and set up idols, and had drawn all sorts of men into spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury kept them in her interest. The spiritual merchandise, by which multitudes have wickedly lived in wealth, by the sins and follies of mankind, seems principally intended. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of this Babylon, but assist in her destruction. God may have a people even in Babylon. But God's people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually, while those that partake with wicked men in their sins, must receive of their plagues.And he cried mightily - Literally, "he cried with a strong great voice." See Revelation 10:3.

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen - See the notes on Revelation 14:8. The proclamation here is substantially the same as in that place, and no doubt the same thing is referred to.

And is become the habitation of devils - Of demons - in allusion to the common opinion that the demons inhabited abandoned cities, old ruins, and deserts. See the notes on Matthew 12:43-45. The language here is taken from the description of Babylon in Isaiah 13:20-22; and for a full illustration of the meaning, see the notes on that passage.

And the hold of every foul spirit - φυλακὴ phulakē. A watch-post, station, haunt of such spirits - That is, they, as it were, kept guard there; were stationed there; haunted the place.

And a cage of every unclean and hateful bird - That is, they would resort there, and abide there as in a cage. The word translated "cage" is the same which is rendered "hold" - φυλακὴ phulakē. In Isaiah 13:21, it is said, "and owls shall dwell there"; and in Isaiah 14:23, it is said that it would be a "possession for the bittern." The idea is that of utter desolation; and the meaning here is, that spiritual Babylon - papal Rome Revelation 14:8 - will be reduced to a state of utter desolation resembling that of the real Babylon. It is not necessary to suppose this of the city of Rome itself - for that is not the object of the representation. It is the papacy, represented under the image of the city, and having its seat there. That is to be destroyed as utterly as was Babylon of old; that will become as odious, and loathsome, and detestable as the literal Babylon, the abode of monsters is.

2. mightily … strong—not supported by manuscripts. But A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, "with (literally, 'in') a mighty voice."

is fallen, is fallen—so A, Vulgate, Syriac, and Andreas. But B and Coptic omit the second "is fallen" (Isa 21:9; Jer 51:8). This phrase is here prophetical of her fall, still future, as Re 18:4 proves.

devils—Greek, "demons."

the hold—a keep or prison.

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen: whoever was meant by the angel whom John saw, Revelation 18:1, his business was to give warning to the whole world, (therefore he crieth with a strong voice, ) that Rome, the great city, the mother of spiritual harlots, should fall. This angel was a prophet, and the messenger of him who calls the things that are not as if they were; and therefore he speaks in a Divine, prophetic style: the prophets (ordinarily) speaking of things to come as past, or present, to denote the certain futurity of them, and doubling their words to assure us of it; for this, is fallen, is; expounded by shall be thrown down, Revelation 18:21. We read of this angel, Revelation 14:8; but it is ordinary with prophets to repeat the same things, and it is done as to the Chaldean Babylon, the type to this antitype, both Isaiah and Jeremiah declared in more than one sermon its certain approaching ruin. These words are taken from Isaiah 21:9, where the word fallen is doubled, as here. They are found also, Jeremiah 51:8. God here explaineth what he had said before, Revelation 14:8.

And is become the habitation of devils, &c.: the words are such as might signify a sinful fall, or apostacy; and what is here, is true of it in that sense; idols in Scripture being ordinarily called devils: but they seem rather to be understood of a penal fall, for such is that spoken of Isaiah 21:9, after which it should become a habitation of devils, and a cage of unclean birds. See the like spoken of literal Babylon, Isaiah 13:19-21; wild beasts and hateful birds usually frequenting desolate places. And he cried mightily with a strong voice,.... Which shows not only the vehemence and affection of the ministers of the word, who will publish what follows, but the greatness and importance of it; and this loud voice may be, as for the sake of the whole church in general, that all may bear, so for the sake of those of the Lord's people in particular, that will be in Babylon at this time; and it may have regard to that deep sleep and spirit of slumber that Babylon itself will be in, which, notwithstanding this loud cry, will remain insensible of its ruin till it comes upon her, as was the case of old Babylon, Jeremiah 51:39,

saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen: the whole world is not designed by Babylon, for it is distinguished from all nations in the following verse; nor Babylon in Chaldea, which was fallen long before John saw this vision, but Rome Papal; See Gill on Revelation 14:8 so the woman is called in Revelation 17:5 who sits on seven mountains, and is that great city, the city of Rome, that reigns over the kings of the earth, Revelation 18:9 this is said to be fallen, because, in a very little time after this declaration, it will fall; for as yet it was not destroyed, since after this the Lord's people are called upon to come out of her, and are bid to reward her double; and it is declared, that her plagues, should come in one day, and she should be burnt with fire; and an angel after this throws a millstone into the sea, saying, that so should Babylon be thrown down, Revelation 18:4 and it is repeated to denote the certainty and utter destruction of her: and which is more fully expressed by what follows,

and is become the habitation of devils; as old Babylon was of satyrs, Isaiah 13:21 demons, which appeared in a hairy form, like goats, and the word is rendered devils in Leviticus 17:7 and the inhabitants of Rome now are no other; the pope and his cardinals, the priests, Jesuits, monks, and friars, are the spirits of devils, and their doctrines the doctrines of devils; see Revelation 16:14

and the hold of every foul spirit: devils are frequently called unclean spirits, and these appear in desert and desolate places, Matthew 12:43 where they are either of choice, or rather are obliged to it; and so the word translated "hold" signifies a prison, or place of confinement; and such as are comparable to unclean spirits now haunt and abound in Rome, and its territories; see Revelation 16:13

and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird; such, as vultures, kites, owls, &c. which generally reside in desolate and uninhabited places; the Alexandrian copy, the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, add, "and the hold", or "seat of every unclean and hateful beast"; and so the desolation of old Babylon is described by wild beasts and doleful creatures dwelling in it, Isaiah 13:21. Some consider all this as a reason of the destruction of Babylon or Rome, because it now is the residence of persons comparable to devils, foul spirits, hateful birds, and beasts of prey; but this account rather describes its state and case in which it will be after its ruin, being never more to be inhabited by men, in allusion to old Babylon, Isaiah 13:19.

{3} And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

(3) The prediction of her ruin, containing both the fall of Babylon, in this verse, and the cause of it uttered by way of allegory concerning her spiritual and carnal wickedness, that is, her most great impiety and injustice, in Re 18:3. Her fall is first declared by the angel, and then the greatness of it is shown here, by the events when he says it shall be the seat and habitation of devils, of wild beasts, and of cursed souls, as in Isa 13:21 and often elsewhere.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. mightily with a strong voice] We should read, with a mighty voice.

Babylon … is fallen] Revelation 14:8; Isaiah 21:9.

the habitation of devils] Better, an habitation. Similar vengeance is denounced on the literal Babylon, Isaiah 13:21-22, and on Edom, id. Isaiah 34:13-15. It is not quite certain which of the words used in those passages are names of demons or goblins, and which of terrestrial birds and beasts: but there is little doubt that Isaiah, like St John, means to describe both as occupying the desolated city.

the hold] Probably a prison, not a fortress. It is the same word that is translated “cage” in the next clause, and “prison” in 1 St Peter Ephesians 3:19.Revelation 18:2. Καὶ ἔκραξεν ἰσχύϊ φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγων) A noun of cognate signification is often added to a verb, for the sake of emphasis, in the Dative case, by the LXX. Ἀληθείᾳ ταπεινοῦν, βίᾳ ἀχθῆναι, βρώσει φαγεῖν, δάκρυσι κλαίειν, δεήσει λαλεῖν, θανάτῳ τελευτᾷν, θυμῷ ὀργίζεσθαι, ὀργῇ θυμοῦσθαι, μέτρῳ λαμβάνειν, σοφίᾳ ἀριθμεῖν, τόλμῃ ἐπικεῖσθαι, ὓβρει τρέχειν, ὕβρει φέρεσθαι, ὑπερόψει ὑπεριδεῖν, φόβῳ δειλιᾷν, φυγῇ πορεὑεσθαι, φωνῇ καλεῖν. See also Acts 2:30; Ephesians 3:16; Php 1:18; 1 John 3:18. So here κράζειν ἰσχύϊ, and Revelation 18:21, ὁρμήματι βληθῆναι. Ἰσχύϊ itself is used absolutely, 2 Chronicles 28:6, ἀνδρῶν δυνατῶν ἰσχύϊ.—ἔπεσεν ἔπεσε, is fallen, is fallen) Some MSS. and translators, ch. Revelation 14:8, and here, put ἔπεσε, is fallen, once only[195]: and the one of these passages may appear to have been moulded so as to be in conformity with the other. Sometimes Epizeuxis (Append.) increases the emphasis; but Babylon is fallen, is fallen, is said in Isaiah 21:9, long before its fall; nay, even before its flourishing condition: Babylon is suddenly fallen, Jeremiah 51:8, not long before its very overthrow. Therefore, if one reading is not to be followed in both passages of the Apocalypse, I would read it twice in the first passage, and once only in the second; almost in the same manner in which there are at first set forth three woes, afterwards two, and lastly one: so that, is fallen, is fallen, expresses an overthrow gradually coming on; is fallen, expresses an overthrow sudden, total, and final. For once for all [at once] is often the same as entirely: Numbers 20:8; 1 Samuel 26:8. But the copyists not unfrequently wrote once only words which ought to have been written twice: and ἔπεσεν ἔπεσε is found in many copies at ch. Revelation 16:8, and ch. Revelation 18:2. It is plain, that the actual overthrow is not now to be here understood, but that it is a prophecy respecting the overthrow which is certainly and quickly about to follow; for in Revelation 18:4, and not until then, the people of God are commanded to go forth. But the people of God are not those whose pastor is the Roman Pontiff, as some one has wished to wrest the Apocalypse. It is said, My people, not the people of the Roman Pontiff; as Acts 18:10, the Lord is said to have much people in the city of Corinth, without any particular reference to Paul or any other pastor there.[196]

[195] B and Memph. omit the second ἔπεσεν. But A Vulg. and Rec. Text retain it: so Lachm. and Tisch.—E.

[196] Κατοικητήριον the habitation) This had not yet been added, ch. Revelation 14:8.—V. g.Verse 2. - And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying; and he cried with a strong voice, saying. This "strong voice" is characteristic of the heavenly utterances (cf. Revelation 7:2; Revelation 14:7, etc.). Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. The event, though future, is described as past, being predetermined in the counsels of God. The words here are a reproduction of Isaiah 21:9. And is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird; a habitation... a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hated bird. "Devils" (Greek, δαιμόνια), inferior evil spirits. The three phrases express the same idea, viz. the loathsome and hateful state to which Babylon is reduced. The language is derived from the prophets (cf. Isaiah 13:21, 22; Isaiah 34:11-15; Jeremiah 1:39; 51:37). A hold (Greek, φυλακή, "a strong place"); the natural and fitting stronghold of the devils, rather than a place to which they are involuntarily confined. Mightily with a strong voice (ἐν ἰσχύΐ́ φωνῇ μεγὰλῃ)

Lit., in strength with a great voice. Omit μεγάλῃ great, and read ἰσχυρᾷ φωνῇ with a mighty voice. So Rev.

Babylon - is fallen

The Rev. improves on the A.V. by placing fallen in the emphatic position of the Greek: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon." Compare Isaiah 21:9.

Is become (ἐγένετο)

Lit., became.

Devils (δαιμόνων)

Properly, demons, which Rev., strangely commits to the margin. See on Mark 1:34. See Isaiah 13:20-22; Isaiah 34:13-15. Also on Luke 11:24.

Hold (φυλακὴ)

See on 1 Peter 3:19, and see on Acts 5:21. Rev., in margin, prison.

Cage (φυλακὴ)

The word rendered above hold. Rev., hold. Some, however, explain it, not as a cage where they are kept, but as a place of safety to which they resort.

Bird (ὀρνέου)

Only in Revelation, here, Revelation 19:17, Revelation 19:21. Compare Jeremiah 50:39.

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