|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-7 We are to pray that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Here is a succession of terrible judgments of Providence; and there seems to be an allusion to several of the plagues of Egypt. The sins were alike, and so were the punishments. The vials refer to the seven trumpets, which represented the rise of antichrist; and the fall of the enemies of the church shall bear some resemblance to their rise. All things throughout their earth, their air, their sea, their rivers, their cities, all are condemned to ruin, all accursed for the wickedness of that people. No wonder that angels, who witness or execute the Divine vengeance on the obstinate haters of God, of Christ, and of holiness, praise his justice and truth; and adore his awful judgments, when he brings upon cruel persecutors the tortures they made his saints and prophets suffer.
Verse 3. - And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea. Omit "angel," which is not found in the best manuscripts, though it is understood. "Into the sea," as in ver. 2. The sea is also the object of the second trumpet plague (see on ver. 1). And it became as the blood of a dead man; became blood as of a dead man. Almost an exact reproduction of the second trumpet, and of the first of the Egyptian plagues. The last clause intensifies the horrible nature of the judgment, and thus in some degree increases the severity of this plague over that of the trumpets. And every living soul died in the sea; and every soul of life died, [even] the things in the sea, though living soul (ζῶσα) is found in א, B, P, some cursives, versions, and Fathers. Not merely human lives. The things, τὰ, is omitted in א, B, P, and others. In Revelation 8:9 we have, "Even the creatures that were in the sea." The interpretations are as numerous as in the case of the second trumpet (see on Revelation 8:9). It is most probable that the sea is here mentioned as part of creation (another part of which is mentioned in the following verse), the whole of which suffers for the sin of man, and the whole of which, intended for his benefit, becomes a source of affliction and woe to him through sin.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea,.... Not literally; and so does not design the stagnation of it, which it is thought will be before the general conflagration; see Amos 7:4 nor is it to be understood of the sea of this world, and the men of it, who are like a troubled sea; but rather of Popish doctrines and councils, which are a sea of errors, and will now be confuted and put an end to. Brightman applies it to the council of Trent, and makes this angel to be Chemnitius, a German divine, who wrote a confutation of it; but as the sea is a collection of many waters, and many waters in this book signify the people and nations under the Romish yoke, sea here may design the whole jurisdiction of Rome, or mystical Babylon; see Jeremiah 51:36 and particularly its maritime powers, Spain and Portugal: and as the second trumpet affected the sea, Revelation 8:8 and brought the Vandals into Spain and Portugal, so this second vial affects the sea, and brings great wars, slaughter, and bloodshed into these parts, when they also will be reformed from Popery:
and it became as the blood of a dead man; thick, clotted together, and putrid, and so never to be returned to their former state:
and every living soul died in the sea: those, that are not reformed will either die by the sword, or fly into other parts; for there will be no comfortable living for the Popish party in those countries where now they live in power, ease, and affluence. This, and the following vial, are referred by Mr. Daubuz, the one to the first crusades, or holy wars, for the regaining of the holy land, and the other to the latter of them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. angel—So B and Andreas. But A, C, and Vulgate omit it.
became as … blood—answering to another Egyptian plague.
of a dead man—putrefying.
living soul—So B and Andreas. But A, C, and Syriac, "soul of life" (compare Ge 1:30; 7:21, 22).
in the sea—So B and Andreas. But A, C, and Syriac read, "(as respects) the things in the sea."
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