Revelation 12:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.

New Living Translation
His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.

English Standard Version
His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

New American Standard Bible
And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

King James Bible
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
His tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth he might devour her child.

International Standard Version
Its tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky and knocked them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth so that it could devour her child when it was born.

NET Bible
Now the dragon's tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And its tail dragged the third of the stars that are in the Heavens and cast them upon The Earth; and the Dragon was standing before the woman who was ready to give birth, that when she had delivered, it would devour her Son.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Its tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky and threw them down to earth. The serpent stood in front of the woman who was going to give birth so that it could devour her child when it was born.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth; and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born.

King James 2000 Bible
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born.

American King James Version
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

American Standard Version
And his tail draweth the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon standeth before the woman that is about to be delivered, that when she is delivered he may devour her child.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son.

Darby Bible Translation
and his tail draws the third part of the stars of the heaven; and he cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, in order that when she brought forth he might devour her child.

English Revised Version
And his tail draweth the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was about to be delivered, that when she was delivered he might devour her child.

Webster's Bible Translation
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Weymouth New Testament
His tail was drawing after it a third part of the stars of Heaven, and it dashed them to the ground. And in front of the woman who was about to become a mother, the Dragon was standing in order to devour the child as soon as it was born.

World English Bible
His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

Young's Literal Translation
and his tail doth draw the third of the stars of the heaven, and he did cast them to the earth; and the dragon did stand before the woman who is about to bring forth, that when she may bring forth, her child he may devour;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

12:1-6 The church, under the emblem of a woman, the mother of believers, was seen by the apostle in vision, in heaven. She was clothed with the sun, justified, sanctified, and shining by union with Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. The moon was under her feet; she was superior to the reflected and feebler light of the revelation made by Moses. Having on her head a crown of twelve stars; the doctrine of the gospel, preached by the twelve apostles, is a crown of glory to all true believers. As in pain to bring forth a holy family; desirous that the conviction of sinners might end in their conversion. A dragon is a known emblem of Satan, and his chief agents, or those who govern for him on earth, at that time the pagan empire of Rome, the city built upon seven hills. As having ten horns, divided into ten kingdoms. Having seven crowns, representing seven forms of government. As drawing with his tail a third part of the stars in heaven, and casting them down to the earth; persecuting and seducing the ministers and teachers. As watchful to crush the Christian religion; but in spite of the opposition of enemies, the church brought forth a manly issue of true and faithful professors, in whom Christ was truly formed anew; even the mystery of Christ, that Son of God who should rule the nations, and in whose right his members partake the same glory. This blessed offspring was protected of God.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth; draweth (Revised Version). Not the stars with which the woman is crowned (see ver. 1), but other stars. In describing the vast power of the devil, St. John seems to allude to the tremendous result of his rebellious conduct in heaven, in effecting the fall of other angels with himself (Jude 1:6). The seer does not here interrupt his narrative to explain the point, but returns to it after ver. 6, and there describes briefly the origin and cause of the enmity of the devil towards God. The third part (as in Revelation 8:7, et seq.) signifies a considerable number, but not the larger part. And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born; which was about to be delivered, that when she was delivered, he might devour her child (Revised Version). A graphic picture of what is true of Christ himself of the Church, both Jewish and Christian, and of every individual member of the Church. This is another example of the personal history of Christ being repeated in the history of his Church. The devil, in the person of Herod, attempts to prevent the salvation of the world; through Pharaoh he endeavours to crush the chosen people of God, through whom the Messiah was to bless all the earth; by means of the power of Rome he labours to exterminate the infant Church of Christ.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth,.... So Solinus (e) speaks of dragons that have power not only in their teeth, but in their tails, and do more hurt by striking than by biting; and the great serpent, which Attilius Regulus and his army fought with, not only destroyed many of his soldiers with its vast mouth, but dashed many to pieces with its tail (f); which serpent, Pliny (g) says, was a hundred and twenty foot long: this is said in allusion to Antiochus Epiphanes, in Daniel 8:10; and designs either the subduing of the third part of the principalities, states, and kingdoms of the known world, to the Roman empire, through its great power and strength; which lay in its tail, in its train of armies which attended it, whereby such a number of nations were drawn into subjection to it, insomuch that the empire was called all the world, Luke 2:1; or else the influence the dragon should have upon the ministers of the word, who are compared to stars, Revelation 1:20; by causing them to relinquish their ministry, and drop their heavenly employment, and fall from that high and honourable state in which they were, into a carnal, earthly, and worldly religion; and that either through policy, cunning, and flattery, or through sorcery, magic art, lying oracles, and prophecy; see Isaiah 9:15; or through the violence of persecution they had not power to withstand; of which falling stars there are many instances, as the ecclesiastical histories of those times show:

and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born; just as the dragon Pharaoh lay in the midst of his rivers, in the river Nile, Ezekiel 29:3; to slay the male children of Israel as soon as born; and as the dragon Herod sought to take away the life of Jesus quickly after his birth; and as Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, so the Pagan empire, or the Pagan emperors, took every opportunity to stifle the kingdom of Christ in embryo, and to prevent the bringing forth of any illustrious person; and sought to destroy him as soon as he appeared, who might be thought, or suspected to be an instrument of encouraging and establishing the kingdom of Christ in the empire: the instances Brightman produces are appropriate, and to the purpose; as of Maximinus destroying Alexander the son of Mammea, who he saw was inclined to the Christians; and of Decius taking off the two Philips, father and son, who were favourable to their cause; but especially the watchfulness of the dragon to destroy the man child was very manifest in the Roman emperors towards Constantine; Dioclesian and Galerius, observing his virtuous disposition in his youth, left nothing unattempted to cut him off privately; he was sent against the Sarmatians, a cruel and savage people, in hopes he would have been destroyed by them; and was set to fight with a lion in the theatre, under a pretence of exercising and showing his valour; and many other methods were used to take away his life, but none succeeded.

(e) Polyhist. c. 43. (f) Valer. Maxim. l. 1. c. 8. (g) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 14.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. drew—Greek, present tense, "draweth," "drags down." His dragging down the stars with his tail (lashed back and forward in his fury) implies his persuading to apostatize, like himself, and to become earthy, those angels and also once eminent human teachers who had formerly been heavenly (compare Re 12:1; 1:20; Isa 14:12).

stood—"stands" [Alford]: perfect tense, Greek, "hesteken."

ready to be delivered—"about to bring forth."

for to devour, &c.—"that when she brought forth, he might devour her child." So the dragon, represented by his agent Pharaoh (a name common to all the Egyptian kings, and meaning, according to some, crocodile, a reptile like the dragon, and made an Egyptian idol), was ready to devour Israel's males at the birth of the nation. Antitypically the true Israel, Jesus, when born, was sought for destruction by Herod, who slew all the males in and around Bethlehem.

Revelation 12:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Woman and the Dragon
3Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.…
Cross References
Isaiah 27:1
In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword-- his fierce, great and powerful sword-- Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.

Daniel 8:10
It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.

Matthew 2:16
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Revelation 8:7
The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Revelation 8:8
The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood,

Revelation 8:9
a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Revelation 8:10
The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water--

Revelation 8:11
the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

Revelation 8:12
The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

Revelation 12:3
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.

Revelation 12:7
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

Revelation 13:2
The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

Revelation 13:4
People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?"

Revelation 16:13
Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Revelation 20:2
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
Treasury of Scripture

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

his tail.

Revelation 9:10,19 And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their …

Daniel 8:9-12 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding …

of the.

Revelation 17:18 And the woman which you saw is that great city, which reigns over …

the dragon.

Revelation 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

Exodus 1:16 And he said, When you do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, …

Matthew 2:3-16 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and …

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you …

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring …

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