Revelation 17:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters.

New Living Translation
One of the seven angels who had poured out the seven bowls came over and spoke to me. "Come with me," he said, "and I will show you the judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute, who rules over many waters.

English Standard Version
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters,

New American Standard Bible
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,

King James Bible
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me: "Come, I will show you the judgment of the notorious prostitute who sits on many waters.

International Standard Version
Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls came and told me, "Come, I will show you how the notorious prostitute who sits on many waters will be judged.

NET Bible
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke to me. "Come," he said, "I will show you the condemnation and punishment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And one of the seven Angels who had with them the seven vessels, came and spoke with me saying, “Follow me; I shall show you the judgment of The Harlot who sits on many waters,”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
One of the seven angels who held the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of that notorious prostitute who sits on raging waters.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven vials and talked with me, saying unto me, Come here; I will show unto thee the condemnation of the great whore that sits upon many waters,

King James 2000 Bible
And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come here; I will show unto you the judgment of the great harlot that sits upon many waters:

American King James Version
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters:

American Standard Version
And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls, and spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters;

Douay-Rheims Bible
And there came one of the seven angels, who had the seven vials, and spoke with me, saying: Come, I will shew thee the condemnation of the great harlot, who sitteth upon many waters,

Darby Bible Translation
And one of the seven angels, which had the seven bowls, came and spoke with me, saying, Come here, I will shew thee the sentence of the great harlot who sits upon the many waters;

English Revised Version
And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls, and spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the judgment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters;

Webster's Bible Translation
And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, Come hither; I will show to thee the judgment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters;

Weymouth New Testament
Then one of the seven angels who were carrying the seven bowls came and spoke to me. "Come with me," he said, "and I will show you the doom of the great Harlot who sits upon many waters.

World English Bible
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters,

Young's Literal Translation
And there came one of the seven messengers, who were having the seven vials, and he spake with me, saying to me, 'Come, I will shew to thee the judgment of the great whore, who is sitting upon the many waters,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

17:1-6 Rome clearly appears to be meant in this chapter. Pagan Rome subdued and ruled with military power, not by art and flatteries. She left the nations in general to their ancient usages and worship. But it is well known that by crafty and politic management, with all kinds of deceit of unrighteousness, papal Rome has obtained and kept her rule over kings and nations. Here were allurements of worldly honour and riches, pomp and pride, suited to sensual and worldly minds. Prosperity, pomp, and splendour, feed the pride and lusts of the human heart, but are no security against the Divine vengeance. The golden cup represents the allurements, and delusions, by which this mystical Babylon has obtained and kept her influence, and seduced others to join her abominations. She is named, from her infamous practices, a mother of harlots; training them up to idolatry and all sorts of wickedness. She filled herself with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. She intoxicated herself with it; and it was so pleasant to her, that she never was satisfied. We cannot but wonder at the oceans of Christian blood shed by men called Christians; yet when we consider these prophecies, these awful deeds testify to the truth of the gospel. And let all beware of a splendid, gainful, or fashionable religion. Let us avoid the mysteries of iniquity, and study diligently the great mystery of godliness, that we may learn humility and gratitude from the example of Christ. The more we seek to resemble him, the less we shall be liable to be deceived by antichrist.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1. - And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me; and spake with me, saying. Omit "unto me." This and the following chapters (to Revelation 19:21) consist of visions which are really included under the seventh vial, but which, on account of their length and elaboration, may be considered apart from the other judgments of that vial. In the preceding chapters we have had placed before us a conspectus of three classes of ungodly people, and the three principles of evil in their abstract form, as represented by the world (the first beast), the flesh (the second beast), and the devil (the dragon). The personal final overthrow of the devil is described in Revelation 20:10; Revelation 17. and 18, are devoted to the description of the judgments of the two former - the world, in its character of the openly hostile persecutor of the Church of God; and the other portion of the ungodly who, while still professing Christianity, find excuses for conforming to the worship of the image of the beast. The first beast is, therefore, identical with Babylon, and represents, as we have seen, the openly hostile and persecuting world power of all ages, of which, in St. John's time, Rome was the foremost embodiment. The second beast is identical with the harlot, and represents faithless Christians, the apostate portion of the Church. The very raison d'etre of the Apocalypse is to deal with these two forms of evil; to declare the overthrow of the one, and to warn and, if possible, reclaim those under the influence of the other. In the latter case, the warning consists in setting forth the judgment in store for faithless Christians; and as this is the course pursued with the former also, the two merge into one, and indeed are declared to be one. The apostle in substance declares that, though there is a prima facie difference between the two forms of ungodliness, there is in reality no distinction to be made, but both are involved in one common final judgment. He thus twice solemnly asserts that the harlot is Babylon (vers. 5 and 18). The comments upon the following chapters will be based upon this hypothesis, the reasons for which will be brought out more clearly as we proceed. The opening words of this chapter leave no doubt that the visions which follow are connected with the vial judgments. The "one of the seven angels" may be the seventh angel, to whom it pertained to unfold the circumstances connected with the last judgment. Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment. Hither, δεῦρο, without the verb, as in Revelation 21:9 and John 11:43. Though this particular narration necessarily takes place after the account of the vials, yet we are not to understand that the events here related are subsequent to these related in the concluding verses of the previous chapter. Note the remarkable similarity between these words and these of Revelation 21:9, and the contrast between the bride, the wife of the Lamb, and the harlot who is connected with the beast. Wordsworth carries the comparison even to the form of words, thus -

The harlot and the beast.
Η πόρνη καὶ τὸ θηρίον
Η νύμφη καὶ τὸ ἀρνίον
The bride and the Lamb. Of the great whore; harlot (Revised Version). There seems no doubt that this figure describes the degenerate portion of the Church of God.

(1) As we have already seen, this symbolism is made use of by St. John to portray the faithlessness of those who are professedly servants of God (see Revelation 2:20; Revelation 14:4), and in this sense it is applied in the great majority of passages of Scripture where it occurs (cf. Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 16; Ezekiel 23; Hosea 2:5; Hosea 3:3; Hosea 4:15; Micah 1:7). In Isaiah 23, and Nahum 3:14 the term refers to Tyre and Nineveh respectively.

(2) There is an intended contrast between the bride and the Lamb, and the harlot who allies herself with the beast (vide supra).

(3) A contrast is also probably intended between the woman clothed with the sun (Revelation 12.), bringing forth the man child, Christ Jesus the Saviour - the representation of the pure Church - and the harlot clothed in scarlet, the mother of harlots and abominations - the representation of the faithless part of the Church.

(4) Both the woman of Revelation 12. and the harlot of this chapter reside in the wilderness, that is, this world (see on Revelation 12:14); indeed, they are to men sometimes indistinguishable (cf. the parable of the wheat and tares).

(5) The faithful Church, the bride, is called a city (Revelation 21:2, 9, 10); so the faithless portion of the Church, the harlot, is identified with the city Babylon (Revelation 11:8; Revelation 17:4, 5). Other coincidences will be noted as we proceed. But it seems equally impossible to accept the view that this faithless portion of the Church refers to papal Rome, and none other. We must include all the faithless of God's Church in all time. If the fulfilment is to be limited at all, it seems more reasonable to suppose that the first reference of St. John was to the faithless members of the seven Churches to which he addresses the Apocalypse. But we are, no doubt, intended to see here a picture of the position of the unfaithful part of the Church wherever it exists, at any time, and which men are certainly not able always to specify and judge. On this point see Professor Milligan's 'Baird Lectures' for 1885, on "The Revelation of St. John." In lect. 5. he says, "But Babylon is not the Church of Rome in particular. Deeply, no doubt, that Church has sinned. ... Yet the interpretation is false .... Babylon cannot be Christian Rome; and nothing has been more injurious to the Protestant Churches than the impression that the two were identical, and that, by withdrawing from communion with the pope, they wholly freed themselves from alliance with the spiritual harlot. Babylon embraces much more than Rome, and illustrations of what she is lie nearer our own door. Wherever professedly Christian men have thought the world's favour better than its reproach; wherever they have esteemed its honours a more desirable possession than its shame; wherever they have courted ease rather than welcomed suffering, have loved self indulgence rather than self sacrifice, and have substituted covetousness in grasping for generosity in distributing what they had, - there the spirit of Babylon has been manifested. In short, we have in the great harlot city neither the Christian Church as a whole, nor the Romish Church in particular, but all who anywhere within the Church profess to be Christ's 'little flock' and are not, denying in their lives the main characteristic by which they ought to be distinguished - that they 'follow' Christ." (For the distinction between the harlot and Babylon, see above.) That sitteth upon many waters. "The" is inserted in B and other manuscripts, probably on account of the reference in ver. 15, but is omitted in א, A, P, and others. This is the description of Babylon in Jeremiah 51:13, whence, doubtless, the expression is derived. In the place quoted, the sentence refers to the many canals of Babylon; but the interpretation of this passage is given in ver. 15, where the waters are stated to be "peoples." This fact sufficiently demonstrates that, though the imagery of the Apocalypse be taken from the Old Testament, it is not always safe to insist on an exactly similar interpretation; the symbols employed may be applied in an independent manner. That the harlot sits on many waters therefore shows us that the faithless portion of the Church is to be found distributed amongst "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven vials,.... It may be the first of them, since one of the four beasts designs the first of them, in Revelation 6:1 though Brightman thinks the fifth angel is meant, because he poured out his vial on the seat of the beast, who is by this angel described; but rather this is the seventh and last angel, concerned in the utter destruction of antichrist: and therefore proposes to John to show him the judgment of the great whore:

and talked with me, saying unto me, come hither: he conversed with him in a friendly manner, see Zechariah 1:9 and desires him to come nearer to him, and go along with him, adding,

I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore; that noted and famous one, known before to John by the names of Jezabel and Babylon, who taught and caused many to commit fornication, Revelation 2:20 Revelation 14:8 and is no other than Rome Papal; for that a city or state is meant is clear from Revelation 17:18 and it is usual for idolatrous or apostate cities to be called whores or harlots, see Isaiah 1:21 Ezekiel 23:2 and she is called a "great" one, because of the largeness of the Papal see; and because of the multitude of persons, the kings of the earth, and the inhabitants of it, with whom the Romish antichrist has committed spiritual fornication, or idolatry: her "judgment" signifies either her sin and wickedness; in which sense the word is used in Romans 5:16 and which is exposed, Revelation 17:5 namely, her idolatry and cruelty; or else her condemnation, and the execution of it, suggested in Revelation 17:8 and more largely described in the following chapter:

that sitteth upon many waters; which in Revelation 17:15 are interpreted of people, multitudes, nations, and tongues, subject to the jurisdiction of Rome; and so several antichristian states are in the preceding chapter signified by the sea, and by rivers and fountains of water: and this is said in reference to Babylon, an emblem of the Romish harlot, which was situated upon the river Euphrates, and is therefore said to dwell upon many waters, Jeremiah 51:13 her sitting here may be in allusion to the posture of harlots plying of men; or may denote her ease, rest, and grandeur, sitting as a queen; and is chiefly expressive of her power and dominion over the kings and nations of the earth, Revelation 17:18.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

CHAPTER 17

Re 17:1-18. The Harlot Babylon's Gaud: The Beast on Which She Rides, Having Seven Heads and Ten Horns, Shall Be the Instrument of Judgment on Her.

As Re 16:12 stated generally the vial judgment about to be poured on the harlot, Babylon's power, as the seventeenth and eighteen chapters give the same in detail, so the nineteenth chapter gives in detail the judgment on the beast and the false prophet, summarily alluded to in Re 16:13-15, in connection with the Lord's coming.

1. unto me—A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic omit.

many—So A. But B, "the many waters" (Jer 51:13); Re 17:15, below, explains the sense. The whore is the apostate Church, just as "the woman" (Re 12:1-6) is the Church while faithful. Satan having failed by violence, tries too successfully to seduce her by the allurements of the world; unlike her Lord, she was overcome by this temptation; hence she is seen sitting on the scarlet-colored beast, no longer the wife, but the harlot; no longer Jerusalem, but spiritually Sodom (Re 11:8).

Revelation 17:1 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Woman on the Beast
1Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality."…
Cross References
Isaiah 1:21
See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her-- but now murderers!

Jeremiah 2:20
"Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.

Jeremiah 51:13
You who live by many waters and are rich in treasures, your end has come, the time for you to be destroyed.

Ezekiel 31:4
The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field.

Nahum 3:4
all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.

Revelation 1:1
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

Revelation 15:1
I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues--last, because with them God's wrath is completed.

Revelation 15:7
Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.

Revelation 16:19
The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.

Revelation 17:5
The name written on her forehead was a mystery: babylon the great the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth.

Revelation 17:15
Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.

Revelation 18:1
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.

Revelation 19:2
for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants."

Revelation 19:9
Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, "These are the true words of God."

Revelation 21:9
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
Treasury of Scripture

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters:

one.

Revelation 15:1,6 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels …

Revelation 17:1-17 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, …

Revelation 21:9 And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven …

talked.

Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven…

Revelation 21:15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, …

Luke 9:30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while …

I will.

Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of …

Revelation 18:16-19 And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine …

the great.

Revelation 17:4,5,15,16 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked …

Revelation 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he has judged the great …

Isaiah 57:3 But draw near here, you sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer …

Nahum 3:4,5 Because of the multitude of the prostitutions of the well favored …

that sitteth.

Revelation 17:15 And he said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, …

Jeremiah 51:13 O you that dwell on many waters, abundant in treasures, your end …

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