Revelation 2:14
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.

New Living Translation
"But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin.

English Standard Version
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

New American Standard Bible
But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

King James Bible
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block in front of the Israelites: to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.

International Standard Version
But I have a few things against you: You have there some who hold to the teaching of Balaam, the one who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice immorality.

NET Bible
But I have a few things against you: You have some people there who follow the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel so they would eat food sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“But I have a few things against you, for you have there those who hold the doctrine of the Balaam, him who taught Balaq to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat sacrifices of idols and to commit fornication.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But I have a few things against you: You have among you those who follow what Balaam taught Balak. Balak trapped the people of Israel by [encouraging] them to eat food sacrificed to idols and to sin sexually.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But I have a few things against thee because thou hast there those that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication.

King James 2000 Bible
But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

American King James Version
But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.

American Standard Version
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But I have against thee a few things: because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat, and to commit fornication:

Darby Bible Translation
But I have a few things against thee: that thou hast there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a snare before the sons of Israel, to eat [of] idol sacrifices and commit fornication.

English Revised Version
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.

Webster's Bible Translation
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit lewdness.

Weymouth New Testament
Yet I have a few things against you, because you have with you some that cling to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling-block in the way of the descendants of Israel--to eat what had been sacrificed to idols, and commit fornication.

World English Bible
But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

Young's Literal Translation
'But I have against thee a few things: That thou hast there those holding the teaching of Balaam, who did teach Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the sons of Israel, to eat idol-sacrifices, and to commit whoredom;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:12-17 The word of God is a sword, able to slay both sin and sinners. It turns and cuts every way; but the believer need not fear this sword; yet this confidence cannot be supported without steady obedience. As our Lord notices all the advantages and opportunities we have for duty in the places where we dwell, so he notices our temptations and discouragements from the same causes. In a situation of trials, the church of Pergamos had not denied the faith, either by open apostacy, or by giving way so as to avoid the cross. Christ commends their stedfastness, but reproves their sinful failures. A wrong view of gospel doctrine and Christian liberty, was a root of bitterness from which evil practices grew. Repentance is the duty of churches and bodies of men, as well as of particular persons; those who sin together, should repent together. Here is the promise of favour to those that overcome. The influences and comforts of the Spirit of Christ, come down from heaven into the soul, for its support. This is hidden from the rest of the world. The new name is the name of adoption; when the Holy Spirit shows his own work in the believer's soul, this new name and its real import are understood by him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 14. - But I have a few things against thee. They are few in comparison with the things commended; but they are very serious; and there must be a sad want of care in the Church at Pergamum to allow such things. These corrupt teachers are alluded to in 2 Peter 2:15 and Jude 1:11. Like Balaam, they debased spiritual gifts to the vilest purposes, and thus became a σκάνδαλον, a snare or stumbling block, to ethers. Like the Nicolaitans, they held that the freedom of the gospel placed them above the moral Law, and conferred licence to commit the foulest sins. The liberty to eat meats which might have been offered to idols was made a plea for liberty to take part in idolatrous rites (1 Corinthians 8:10; Justin Martyr, 'Trypho,' 35; Irenaeus, I. 6:3), and for introducing heathen orgies into Christian ceremonies. The doctrine of these antinomian teachers was "the doctrine of Balaam," because, like him (Numbers 31:16; Josephus, 'Ant.,' 4:06. 6; Philo, 'Vita Mosis,' 1. p. 647), they prostituted their influence to the seducing of God's people into idolatry and impurity. The similarity of this doctrine with that of the Nicolaitans is obvious; but that Nicolaus (which is equivalent to "conquering the people") is intended as a translation of Balaam (which is possibly equivalent to "lord of the people") is mere conjecture. That there were two sects side by side at Pergamum is the natural meaning of this passage; and though their doctrines were alike in being autinomian in principle and licentious in result, yet there is no need to identify them. Among countless small improvements made by the Revisers, note that the remarkable word εἰδωλόθυτον, which in the Authorized Version is rendered in six different ways, is by them rendered consistently (Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 10; 1 Corinthians 10:19; Revelation 2:14, 20).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But I have a few things against thee,.... The members of this church before their open separation from the apostasy; who still continued in the communion of the corrupt church of Rome, though they remonstrated against the errors and evil practices that crept in; and so were a stumbling block, and a snare to others to join in their idolatry and superstition:

because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel,

to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication: which latter was in order to the former: the instruction Balaam gave to Balak, which is here called his doctrine, was, that Balak should get some of the most beautiful women in his kingdom to ply the men of Israel, and draw them into uncleanness, and so to idolatry; by which means, God being angry with them, he might get an advantage over them: that the Israelites did commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, and eat things sacrificed to idols, and bowed down to Baal Peor, is certain, Numbers 25:1; but that this was brought about through the counsel of Balaam is not so plainly expressed, though it is hinted at in Numbers 31:15; but the Jewish writers are very express about this matter. Jonathan ben Uzziel, one of their Targumists on Numbers 24:14, has these words of Balaam,

"Come, and I will counsel thee, (speaking to Balak,) go and set up inns, and place in them whorish women, to sell food and drink at a low price: and this people will come and eat and drink, and be drunken, and will lie with them, and deny their God; and they will be quickly delivered into thine hands, and many of them shall fall.

This now was the stumbling block he taught Balak to lay before them. And elsewhere (g) it is said,

"that Balaam, the wicked, gave counsel to Balak, the son of Zippor, to cause the Israelites to fall by the sword; he said to him, the God of this people hates whoredom, cause thy daughters to commit whoredom with them, and ye shall rule over them.

And then they go on to relate how they built shops, and placed an old woman without, and a young woman within; and when the Israelites came to buy, how well they used them, and what familiarity they admitted them to; how they made them drink of Ammonitish wine, which inclined to lust and when the signified their desire, oblige them to worship Baal Peor, and renounce the law of Moses. Both Philo (h) and Josephus (i) speak of this counsel of Balaam, much to the same purpose. The Samaritan Chronicle says (k) that this counsel pleased the king, and he sent into the camp of Israel, on a sabbath day, twenty four thousand young women, by whom the Israelites were so seduced, that they did everything they desired them, which was just the number of those that were slain, Numbers 25:9. By Balaam may be meant the pope of Rome, for that name signifies, "the lord of the people"; and is very appropriate to him, who in this interval took upon him to be universal bishop, and lorded it over both church and state, in a most haughty and tyrannical manner; and the Balaamites were those who submitted to his power and authority, and received his doctrines; and by Balak, king of Moab, may be intended the secular powers, the emperors, kings, and princes of the earth, who were instructed by the popes of Rome, to draw their subjects into idolatry, which is spiritual fornication, to eat the breaden God, to worship the host, images, and saints departed; and which proved a snare, and a stumbling to some of this church, as to the Israelites of old, to do the same things,

(g) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 28. 4. & Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 20. fol. 229. 1. Yalkut, par. 1. fol. 244. 3, 4. & par. 2. fol. 76. 4. (h) De Vita Mosis, l. 7. p. 647, 648. (i) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 6. sect. 6, 7, 8, 9. (k) Apud Hottinger. Exercit. Antimorin. p. 109.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

14. few—in comparison of the many tokens of thy faithfulness.

hold the doctrine of Balaam—"the teaching of Balaam," namely, that which he "taught Balak." Compare "the counsel of Balaam," Nu 31:16. "Balak" is dative in the Greek, whence Bengel translates, "taught (the Moabites) for (that is, to please) Balak." But though in Numbers it is not expressly said he taught Balak, yet there is nothing said inconsistent with his having done so; and Josephus [Antiquities,4. 6. 6], says he did so. The dative case is a Hebraism for the accusative case.

children—Greek, "sons of Israel."

stumbling-block—literally, that part of a trap on which the bait was laid, and which, when touched, caused the trap to close on its prey; then any entanglement to the foot [Trench].

eat things sacrificed unto idols—the act common to the Israelites of old, and the Nicolaitanes in John's day; he does not add what was peculiar to the Israelites, namely, that they sacrificed to idols. The temptation to eat idol-meats was a peculiarly strong one to the Gentile converts. For not to do so involved almost a withdrawal from partaking of any social meal with the heathen around. For idol-meats, after a part had been offered in sacrifice, were nearly sure to be on the heathen entertainer's table; so much so, that the Greek "to kill" (thuein) meant originally "to sacrifice." Hence arose the decree of the council of Jerusalem forbidding to eat such meats; subsequently some at Corinth ate unscrupulously and knowingly of such meats, on the ground that the idol is nothing; others needlessly tortured themselves with scruples, lest unknowingly they should eat of them when they got meat from the market or in a heathen friend's house. Paul handles the question in 1Co 8:1-13; 10:25-33.

fornication—often connected with idolatry.

Revelation 2:14 Additional Commentaries
Context
Message to the Church in Pergamum
13'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15'So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.…
Cross References
Numbers 25:1
While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women,

Numbers 31:16
"They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD's people.

Acts 15:20
Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

Acts 15:29
You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

1 Corinthians 10:20
No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

2 Peter 2:15
They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.

Jude 1:11
Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

Revelation 2:20
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
Treasury of Scripture

But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.

I have. See on ver.

Revelation 2:4,20 Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your …

Balaam.

Numbers 24:14 And now, behold, I go to my people: come therefore…

Numbers 25:1-3 And Israel stayed in Shittim, and the people began to commit prostitution …

Numbers 31:8,16 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were …

Joshua 24:9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against …

2 Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following …

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily …

a stumbling-block.

Isaiah 57:14 And shall say, Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up …

Jeremiah 6:21 Therefore thus said the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks …

Ezekiel 3:20 Again, When a righteous man does turn from his righteousness, and …

Ezekiel 44:12 Because they ministered to them before their idols, and caused the …

Matthew 18:7 Woe to the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses …

Romans 9:32 Why? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works …

Romans 11:9 And David said, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and …

Romans 14:13,21 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather…

1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and …

1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling …

1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which …

eat.

Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer …

Acts 15:20,21,29 But that we write to them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, …

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded …

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered …

1 Corinthians 10:18-31 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices …

to commit.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, …

Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, …

1 Corinthians 6:13-18 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy …

1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, …

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators …

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