Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
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And them that commit adultery with her - Those who are seduced by her doctrines into this sin; either they who commit it with her literally, or who are led into the same kind of life.
Into great tribulation - Great suffering; disease of body or tortures of the soul. How often - how almost uniformly is this the case with those who thus live! Sooner or later, sorrow always comes upon the licentious; and God has evinced by some of his severest judgments, in forms of frightful disease, his displeasure at the violation of the laws of purity. There is no sin that produces a mere withering and desolating effect upon the soul than what is here referred to; none which is more certain to be followed with sorrow.
Except they repent of their deeds - It is only by repentance that we can avoid the consequences of sin. The word "repent" here evidently includes both sorrow for the past, and abandonment of the evil course of life.Isaiah 28:20; Job 33:19.
and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation: the kings of the earth, and their subjects, who have joined in the idolatries and corruptions of the Romish church, Revelation 17:2, which may be understood either of that distress and uneasiness the Reformation in some countries gave them; or those outward troubles, wars, and desolations they have been since attended with, particularly the empire of Germany; which has been in great tribulation, formerly by the Turks, and of late by internal broils among themselves, and by the armies of other princes entering into it; or it may regard that eternal vengeance that will be recompensed to all such persons:
except they repent of their deeds; their spiritual fornication or idolatry, and all the abominations the members of that apostate church are guilty of. There seems to be an allusion in this verse to Ahaziah and Joram, sons of Ahab and Jezebel, who followed their mother's idolatrous practices, and were cast upon a bed of sickness, 2 Kings 1:2.Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
I will—Greek present, "I cast her."
a bed—The place of her sin shall be the place of her punishment. The bed of her sin shall be her bed of sickness and anguish. Perhaps a pestilence was about to be sent. Or the bed of the grave, and of the hell beyond, where the worm dieth not.
them that commit adultery with her—spiritually; including both the eating of idol-meats and fornication. "With her," in the Greek, implies participation with her in her adulteries, namely, by suffering her (Re 2:20), or letting her alone, and so virtually encouraging her. Her punishment is distinct from theirs; she is to be cast into a bed, and her children to be killed; while those who make themselves partakers of her sin by tolerating her, are to be cast into great tribulation.
except they repent—Greek aorist, "repent" at once; shall have repented by the time limited in My purpose.
their deeds—Two of the oldest manuscripts and most ancient versions read "her." Thus, God's true servants, who by connivance, are incurring the guilt of her deeds, are distinguished from her. One oldest manuscript, Andreas, and Cyprian, support "their."Behold, I will cast her into a bed. Sickness and a bed are symbols of affliction and punishment.
And them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation. This is the term applied to idolatrous Israel (Jer 3:9 Eze 16:32). To practice the idolatrous rites of this faction would be spiritual adultery.Verse 22. - Behold! The exclamation "arrests attention, and prepares the way for something unexpected and terrible." It is one of the many differences between the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse, that in the former ἴδε is the dominant form, while in the latter ἰδού is the invariable form (καὶ ἴδε in Revelation 6:l, 5, 7 is a spurious addition); ἰδού is very rare in the Gospel; ἴδε is found nowhere in the Apocalypse. In the Epistles neither form occurs. I do cast her into a bed. Βάλλω, not βαλῶ, is the true reading; the future has been substituted for the present to match the futures in ver. 23. Forbearance having failed, God tries severity; and, as so often in his dealings with man, the instrument of wrong doing is made the instrument of punishment. The bed of sin becomes a bed of suffering. Compare "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine;" and "I will requite thee in this plat, saith the Lord" (1 Kings 21:19; 2 Kings 9:26). Βάλλω is one of many words which has become weakened in meaning in late Greek: it often means no more than "place" or "put" (John 5:7; John 12:6; John 13:2; John 18:11; John 20:25). In the passive it is rather common of being laid up in sickness (Matthew 8:6, 14; Matthew 9:2; Mark 7:30). But perhaps we should rather compare such expressions as "cast into prison, into the sea, into the fire, into Gehenna" (Matthew 18:30; Matthew 21:21; Matthew 18:8, 9). It may be doubted whether there is any significance in the fact that her sin is spoken of as πορνείνα (ver. 21), whereas those who sin with her are said μοιχεύειν. Idolatry is spoken of both as whoredom and as adultery. In the one case it is a contrast to the marriage tie between God and his faithful worshippers; in the other it is a violation of it. Jezebel anticipates the harlot of Revelation 17, as Balaam anticipates the false prophet of Revelation 13. The remarkable construction, "repent out of" (μετανοῆσαι ἐκ), is peculiar to this book (vers. 21, 22; 9:20, 21; 16:11; but in Acts 8:22 we have μετανόησον ἀπό, and in Hebrews 6:1 we have μετανοία ἀπό (compare the converse, μετανοία εἰς, Acts 20:21). "Her works" is to be preferred to "their works." Αὐτῆς might easily be changed to αὐτῶν, either accidentally, owing to the preceding ἔργων, or deliberately, because it seems strange to talk of repenting from the works of another person. But the point is that those who have become partakers in her sins have abandoned their own works for hers; and it is therefore from her works that they are bidden to repent (compare "my works" in ver. 26).
Of anguish. The scene of the sin is also the scene of the punishment.
Commit adultery (μοιχεύοντας)
With her (μετ' αὐτῆς)
Not with her as the conjux adulteri, but who share with her in her adulteries.
Of their deeds (ἐκ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῶν)
Read αὐτῆς her (deeds). Repent out of (ἐκ) as in Revelation 2:21.
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