|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-8 The downfal and destruction of the mystical Babylon are determined in the counsels of God. Another angel comes from heaven. This seems to be Christ himself, coming to destroy his enemies, and to shed abroad the light of his gospel through all nations. The wickedness of this Babylon was very great; she had forsaken the true God, and set up idols, and had drawn all sorts of men into spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury kept them in her interest. The spiritual merchandise, by which multitudes have wickedly lived in wealth, by the sins and follies of mankind, seems principally intended. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of this Babylon, but assist in her destruction. God may have a people even in Babylon. But God's people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually, while those that partake with wicked men in their sins, must receive of their plagues.
Verse 6. - Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. "You" is omitted in all the best manuscripts. The second "unto her," though supported by P, Syriac, Coptic, is omitted in א, A, B, C, etc.: Render to her as she also rendered, and double the doubled things according to her works, etc. The description of God's judgment is still founded on the denunciations against Babylon in Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 1:5-29; 51:24; 16:18; cf. also Isaiah 61:7; Zechariah 9:12; and the legal retribution ordered in Exodus 22:4-7). The cup which she hath filled is that containing "the wine of her fornication (cf. ver. 3); she is now to receive a double measure of the cup of God's wrath (cf. ver. 3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Reward her even as she rewarded you,.... This is spoken to the people of God, who are before called out of Babylon; and the chief of them are the seven angels with the seven last plagues of the wrath of God, and the same with the ten kings that will burn the whore with fire; these are called upon to take vengeance, by way of retaliation, for what she had done to them, in allusion to what is said of old Babylon, Jeremiah 1:15 and must be understood not of what she will have done to them personally, but to their predecessors in the faith of Christ in former ages; that as she had hated them, and made war with them, so now they should hate her, and make war with her; and as she had stripped them naked of their clothes, and spoiled them of their worldly goods and substance, so now they should strip her naked of her harlot's attire, of her gold, silver, and precious stones, and make her and her territories desolate; and as she has burnt many of the precious saints in the flames, as here in England, and elsewhere, so now they shall utterly burn her with fire; and as she has shed the blood of the righteous, and drank it, and been drunk with it, they shall give her blood to drink; and as she hath killed multitudes with the sword, so now shall they kill her and her children; see Revelation 13:12 nor is this contrary to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, and the spirit of Christianity, which will not admit of revenge, Matthew 5:38 Romans 12:17 since this will not be private, but public revenge, inflicted by Christian princes and magistrates, who are ministers of God, and revengers to execute wrath on them that do evil:
and double unto her double according to her works: the meaning is not to inflict upon her a punishment doubly greater than her sins, for this would be contrary to the justice of God; nor does ever God punish men in this life more, but less, than their iniquities deserve; nor can any temporal punishment be doubly greater than sin, which deserves eternal death; and with this she will be punished hereafter, and therefore will not have her full punishment now, and much less a greater than her sins required; to which may be added, that this will be according to her works, her wicked works, and therefore will not exceed the demerit of her sins: but the sense is, that if it was possible to be done, they should use her with double severity to that she had used them with; seeing her sins deserved a severer treatment than even they had had from her; the phrase signifies an abundant and utter destruction, a punishment which was suitable and sufficient; see Isaiah 40:2 and it suggests that they should not spare her, nor pity her, but use her with the greatest severity imaginable, it being not possible to exceed her due deserts, or what her works required:
in the cup which he hath filled, fill to her double: not in the cup of her abominations, her errors, idolatries, and wickedness; but in the cup of afflictions and trouble, which she wrung out to the people of God, in that give her double portion: the sense is the same as before.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. Addressed to the executioners of God's wrath.
she rewarded—English Version reading adds "you" with none of the oldest manuscripts. But A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic omit it. She had not rewarded or repaid the world power for some injury which the world power had inflicted on her; but she had given the world power that which was its due, namely, spiritual delusions, because it did not like to retain God in its knowledge; the unfaithful Church's principle was, "Populus vult decipi, et decipiatur." "The people like to be deceived, and let them be deceived."
double—of sorrow. Contrast with this the double of joy which Jerusalem shall receive for her past suffering (Isa 61:7; Zec 9:12); even as she has received double punishment for her sins (Isa 40:2).
unto her—So Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas. A, B, and C omit it.
in the cup—(Re 18:3; Re 14:8; 17:4).
fill to her double—of the Lord's cup of wrath.
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