Revelation 17:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.

New Living Translation
The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality.

English Standard Version
The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.

New American Standard Bible
The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,

King James Bible
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her prostitution.

International Standard Version
The woman wore purple and scarlet clothes and was adorned with gold, gems, and pearls. In her hand she was holding a gold cup filled with detestable things and the impurities of her immorality.

NET Bible
Now the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet clothing, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held in her hand a golden cup filled with detestable things and unclean things from her sexual immorality.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And the woman was wearing purple and scarlet gilt with gold and precious stones and pearls and had a cup of gold in her hand, and it was full of abominations and the filth of her fornication.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The woman wore purple clothes, bright red clothes, gold jewelry, gems, and pearls. In her hand she was holding a gold cup filled with detestable and evil things from her sexual sins.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and of the filthiness of her fornication;

King James 2000 Bible
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

American King James Version
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

American Standard Version
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication,

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the woman was clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilt with gold, and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abomination and filthiness of her fornication.

Darby Bible Translation
And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and had ornaments of gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and the unclean things of her fornication;

English Revised Version
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication,

Webster's Bible Translation
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet-color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her lewdness:

Weymouth New Testament
The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and was brilliantly attired with gold and jewels and pearls. She held in her hand a cup of gold, full of abominations, and she gave filthy indications of her fornication.

World English Bible
The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of the sexual immorality of the earth.

Young's Literal Translation
and the woman was arrayed with purple and scarlet-colour, and gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom,
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 4. - And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour. These words, taken in connection with those that follow, seem to signify the worldly magnificence which may be the portion of the faithless Christian. Some writers see an allusion to the purple robe of Christ. (On the meaning of "scarlet," see on ver. 3.) And decked with gold and precious stones and pearls; gilded with, etc. Similar descriptions are given in Ezekiel 16:13 and Ezekiel 28:13. Compare the description in Revelation 21:11. This account is sufficiently characteristic of the world's attractions to need no comment. Having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication; full of abominations, even the unclean things of, etc. (Revised Version), the Authorized Version reading being placed in the margin. Another reference to Jeremiah 51:7 (cf. also Revelation 14:10). Abominations are all things that are displeasing to God. (On "fornication," see on Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 17:1, 2; it signifies unfaithfulness towards God.)

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour,.... Which may be expressive of her grandeur, authority, and power, sitting as a queen, and sovereign in the empire, ruling over kingdoms and nations in it; and also of her bloody disposition to the saints, with whose blood she is afterwards said to be drunk;

and decked with gold and precious stones, and pearls; which may denote her hypocrisy, she being gilded with these things, as the word signifies, when she was inwardly rotten, corrupt, and filthy; and may point out the things by which persons have been enticed into the communion of the church of Rome, and to comply with her idolatrous worship and practices; and may also respect the prodigious riches, which have, by various methods, been brought into the pope's coffers; these, with other things, are reckoned among the merchandise of Babylon, Revelation 18:12 and particularly this may have reference to the adorning of their temples, or churches, and the decking of their images, with those things; which gaudy pompous shows strike the minds of carnal men, amuse them, and engage their attention. So Philo (k) the Jew describes an whore as arrayed in purple, and adorned with gold and precious stones; see Proverbs 7:10.

Having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication; in allusion to Babylon, Jeremiah 51:7 and also to harlots, who give philters or love potions to men, to excite lust, and draw their affections to them; and this being a golden cup may design the external lustre and splendour of the worship of the church of Rome, by which many have been drawn into a compliance with it, which is attended with many abominable, filthy, and idolatrous practices: and perhaps some regard may be had to the golden chalice, in which, it is pretended, is the very blood of Christ, which the priests take as such, and worship and adore, and is no other than an abominable and filthy piece of idolatry; and such are the persons that partake of it; like the Pharisees of old, they make clean the outside of the cup and platter; glister, and make a great show of devotion, but within are full of extortion and excess.

(k) De Mercede Meretricis non recip. p. 861.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. The color scarlet, it is remarkable, is that reserved for popes and cardinals. Paul II made it penal for anyone but cardinals to wear hats of scarlet; compare Roman Ceremonial [3.5.5]. This book was compiled several centuries ago by Marcellus, a Romish archbishop, and dedicated to Leo X. In it are enumerated five different articles of dress of scarlet color. A vest is mentioned studded with pearls. The Pope's miter is of gold and precious stones. These are the very characteristics outwardly which Revelation thrice assigns to the harlot or Babylon. So Joachim an abbot from Calabria, about A.D. 1200, when asked by Richard of England, who had summoned him to Palestine, concerning Antichrist, replied that "he was born long ago at Rome, and is now exalting himself above all that is called God." Roger Hoveden [Annals, 1.2], and elsewhere, wrote, "The harlot arrayed in gold is the Church of Rome." Whenever and wherever (not in Rome alone) the Church, instead of being "clothed (as at first, Re 12:1) with the sun" of heaven, is arrayed in earthly meretricious gauds, compromising the truth of God through fear, or flattery, of the world's power, science, or wealth, she becomes the harlot seated on the beast, and doomed in righteous retribution to be judged by the beast (Re 17:16). Soon, like Rome, and like the Jews of Christ's and the apostles' time leagued with the heathen Rome, she will then become the persecutor of the saints (Re 17:6). Instead of drinking her Lord's "cup" of suffering, she has "a cup full of abominations and filthinesses." Rome, in her medals, represents herself holding a cup with the self-condemning inscription, "Sedet super universum." Meanwhile the world power gives up its hostility and accepts Christianity externally; the beast gives up its God-opposed character, the woman gives up her divine one. They meet halfway by mutual concessions; Christianity becomes worldly, the world becomes Christianized. The gainer is the world; the loser is the Church. The beast for a time receives a deadly wound (Re 13:3), but is not really transfigured; he will return worse than ever (Re 17:11-14). The Lord alone by His coming can make the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. The "purple" is the badge of empire; even as in mockery it was put on our Lord.

decked—literally, "gilded."

stones—Greek, "stone."

filthiness—A, B, and Andreas read, "the filthy (impure) things."

Revelation 17:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Woman on the Beast
3And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."…
Cross References
Jeremiah 51:7
Babylon was a gold cup in the LORD's hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad.

Ezekiel 28:13
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

Revelation 9:21
Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Revelation 14:8
A second angel followed and said, "'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,' which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."

Revelation 18:6
Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup.

Revelation 18:12
cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble;

Revelation 18:16
and cry out: "'Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!

Revelation 21:21
The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
Treasury of Scripture

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

arrayed.

Revelation 18:7,12,16 How much she has glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much …

decked. Gr. gilded.

Daniel 11:38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom …

golden.

Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, …

Revelation 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double to her double according …

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

Jeremiah 51:7 Babylon has been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the …

2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, …

abominations.

Deuteronomy 29:17 And you have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, …

1 Kings 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land…

2 Kings 21:2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the …

Isaiah 66:3 He that kills an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrifices a …

Ezekiel 20:30 Why say to the house of Israel, Thus said the Lord GOD; Are you polluted …

Hosea 9:10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers …

filthiness.

Ezra 9:11 Which you have commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, The …

Lamentations 1:9 Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembers not her last end; …

Ezekiel 24:11,13 Then set it empty on the coals thereof, that the brass of it may …

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: …

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