|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:14-20 Warnings and judgments not having produced reformation, the sins of the nations are filled up, and they become ripe for judgments, represented by a harvest, an emblem which is used to signify the gathering of the righteous, when ripe for heaven, by the mercy of God. The harvest time is when the corn is ripe; when the believers are ripe for heaven, then the wheat of the earth shall be gathered into Christ's garner. And by a vintage. The enemies of Christ and his church are not destroyed, till by their sin they are ripe for ruin, and then he will spare them no longer. The wine-press is the wrath of God, some terrible calamity, probably the sword, shedding the blood of the wicked. The patience of God towards sinners, is the greatest miracle in the world; but, though lasting, it will not be everlasting; and ripeness in sin is a sure proof of judgment at hand.
Verse 20. - And the wine press was trodden without the city. "The city" is Jerusalem (cf. ver. 1), that is, the Church of God; the idea thus being either
(1) that the wicked are punished in a place apart from the just (cf. Revelation 22:15); or
(2) that no unclean thing (e.g. the blood) can enter the city of the saints (cf. Revelation 21:27). And blood came out of the wine press, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs; as far as sixteen hundred stadia. The Greek stadium is rather less than an English furlong, being about six hundred and six English feet; it was the length of the race course at Olympia, and the eighth part of the Roman mile. The "blood," of which the juice of the grape is a type, depicts the punishment inflicted. Horses seem to be mentioned by proleipsis, in anticipation of Revelation 19:14. The description, of course, implies the terrific nature of the punishment - probably nothing more. In the same way the distance mentioned is no doubt intended to denote the extensive nature of the punishment, though why that particular number is chosen is not absolutely clear. Possibly it is derived from the square of 4 multiplied by the square of 10; four being significant of the created world (see on Revelation 4:6), and ten being the sign of completeness (see on Revelation 13:1); the number thus portraying completeness as regards the created world, and the inability of any one to escape God's judgment.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the winepress was trodden without the city,.... The beloved city, the new Jerusalem, into which none of the wicked will enter, and without which are dogs, &c. Revelation 20:9. The allusion may be, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, to the olive presses, which were without the city of Jerusalem, from whence Gethsemane had its name, whither our Lord went, and where his sorrows began the night he was betrayed: hell is sometimes expressed by outer darkness, and said to be far off from heaven, and between the one and the other a great gulf is fixed, the distance is considerable; hence men are said to go forth to behold the miseries of the wicked; see Matthew 22:13.
and blood came out of the winepress; alluding to the juice squeezed out of grapes, called the blood of grapes, Genesis 49:11.
Even unto the horses' bridles, for the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs; which is only an hyperbolical expression, setting forth the largeness and universality of the destruction of the wicked, and the impossibility of their escaping it. In like manner the Jews express a great slaughter of men; so of the slaughter at Bither, by Adrian, they say (e), they went on slaying , "until a horse plunged in blood up to his nostrils", and the blood ran four miles into the sea; which is not to be understood literally, but as expressing a prodigious effusion of blood: and as to
the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs, perhaps there may be an allusion to the measure of the land of Israel, and the common notion of it among the Jews, who make it to be the square of four hundred parsoe (f): hence they often speak of the land of Israel shaking and moving four hundred "parsoe", upon some extraordinary occasions (g); and a "parsa" contained four miles (h), so that four hundred "parsoe" made a thousand and six hundred miles; and if miles and furlongs are the same, in which sense only the land of Israel could be so large, here is the exact space; for Jerom (i), who was an inhabitant of it, says, it was scarce 160 miles in length, to which agrees R. Menachem (k); and it may be observed, that the Arabic version renders the words, "by the space of a thousand and six hundred miles". The Ethiopic version, very wrongly, reads, "sixteen furlongs".
(e) T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 69. 1.((f) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 28. 1. Gloss. in ib. (g) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 3. 1. & Bava Kama, fol. 82. 2. & Menachot, fol. 64. 2.((h) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 92. 2. Gloss. in ib. (i) Ad Dardanum, fol. 22. 1. Tom. 3.((k) In Gen. fol. 60.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. without the city—Jerusalem. The scene of the blood-shedding of Christ and His people shall be also the scene of God's vengeance on the Antichristian foe. Compare the "horsemen," Re 9:16, 17.
blood—answering to the red wine. The slaughter of the apostates is what is here spoken of, not their eternal punishment.
even unto the horse bridles—of the avenging "armies of heaven."
by the space of a thousand … six hundred furlongs—literally, "a thousand six hundred furlongs off" [W. Kelly]. Sixteen hundred is a square number; four by four by one hundred. The four quarters, north, south, east, and west, of the Holy Land, or else of the world (the completeness and universality of the world-wide destruction being hereby indicated). It does not exactly answer to the length of Palestine as given by Jerome, one hundred sixty Roman miles. Bengel thinks the valley of Kedron, between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, is meant, the torrent in that valley being about to be discolored with blood to the extent of sixteen hundred furlongs. This view accords with Joel's prophecy that the valley of Jehoshaphat is to be the scene of the overthrow of the Antichristian foes.
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