Revelation 2:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
"But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman--that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet--to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols.

English Standard Version
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

New American Standard Bible
But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

King James Bible
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

International Standard Version
But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and who teaches and leads my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

NET Bible
But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and by her teaching deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“I have much against you, because you are tolerating your wife Jezebel who says about herself that she is a Prophetess, and teaches and seduces my Servants to commit fornication and to eat the sacrifices of idols.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But I have something against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. She teaches and misleads my servants to sin sexually and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel (who calls herself a prophetess) to teach and to seduce my slaves to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

King James 2000 Bible
Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

American King James Version
Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

American Standard Version
But I have this against thee, that thou sufferest the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess; and she teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But I have against thee a few things: because thou sufferest the woman Jezabel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to teach, and to seduce my servants, to commit fornication, and to eat of things sacrificed to idols.

Darby Bible Translation
But I have against thee that thou permittest the woman Jezebel, she who calls herself prophetess, and she teaches and leads astray my servants to commit fornication and eat of idol sacrifices.

English Revised Version
But I have this against thee, that thou sufferest the woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess; and she teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

Webster's Bible Translation
Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit lewdness, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

Weymouth New Testament
Yet I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and by her teaching leads astray My servants, so that they commit fornication and eat what has been sacrificed to idols.

World English Bible
But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

Young's Literal Translation
'But I have against thee a few things: That thou dost suffer the woman Jezebel, who is calling herself a prophetess, to teach, and to lead astray, my servants to commit whoredom, and idol-sacrifices to eat;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:18-29 Even when the Lord knows the works of his people to be wrought in love, faith, zeal, and patience; yet if his eyes, which are as a flame of fire, observe them committing or allowing what is evil, he will rebuke, correct, or punish them. Here is praise of the ministry and people of Thyatira, by One who knew the principles from which they acted. They grew wiser and better. All Christians should earnestly desire that their last works may be their best works. Yet this church connived at some wicked seducers. God is known by the judgments he executes; and by this upon seducers, he shows his certain knowledge of the hearts of men, of their principles, designs, frame, and temper. Encouragement is given to those who kept themselves pure and undefiled. It is dangerous to despise the mystery of God, and as dangerous to receive the mysteries of Satan. Let us beware of the depths of Satan, of which those who know the least are the most happy. How tender Christ is of his faithful servants! He lays nothing upon his servants but what is for their good. There is promise of an ample reward to the persevering, victorious believer; also knowledge and wisdom, suitable to their power and dominion. Christ brings day with him into the soul, the light of grace and of glory, in the presence and enjoyment of him their Lord and Saviour. After every victory let us follow up our advantage against the enemy, that we may overcome and keep the works of Christ to the end.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 20. - But I have against thee that thou sufferest. This is certainly fight. "A few things" (ὀλίγα) is an insertion in some inferior authorities. Others insert "many things" (πόλλα); the Sinaitic inserts "much" (πόλυ); while the best authorities have nothing between κατὰ σοῦ and ὅτι; and then ὅτι must be rendered "that" rather than "because." The construction is the same as in ver. 4. There is a right and a wrong suffering; and the Church in Thyatira exhibits both. The enduring of tribulation (ὑπομονή) is commended; the toleration of evil (ἀφεῖς) is rebuked. It is not said that Jezebel receives sympathy or encouragement, but merely that she is let alone; her wickedness is left unchecked, and that is sinful. For this use of ἀφίεναι, comp. John 11:48; John 12:7. It is difficult to decide between "the woman" (τὴν γυνααῖκα) and "thy wife" (τὴν γυναῖκα σοῦ), authorities being much divided; the balance seems in favour of the former. But even if "thy wife" be preferred, there is no need to understand Jezebel as indicating a distinct person. We are in the region of figures and metaphors. Perhaps all that is indicated is that the angel of the Church at Thyatira is suffering from the tolerated presence of a baneful influence, as did Ahab, "whom Jezebel his wife stirred up" (1 Kings 21:25). And if it is not certain that any individual false prophetess is signified, it is scarcely worth while to speculate as to who this individual is. Jezebel may be a person, or she may be a form of false doctrine personified. If the former, Jezebel is doubtless not her real name, but a symbolical name of reproach, and what her name and status were we have no means of knowing. In any case the error represented by the name is closely akin to that of the Nicolaitans and to "the doctrine of Balaam." Whatever differences of detail there may have been, all three made Christian liberty a plea for an antichristian licence which claimed to be above the moral Law. And she teacheth and seduceth. This is an independent statement, and must not, as in the Authorized Version, be made to depend upon "thou sufferest." For the construction τὴν γυναῖκα Ιεζαβήλ ἡ λέγουσα, compare τῆς καινῆς Ιερουσαλὴμ ἡ καταβαίνουσα (Revelation 3:12). The word for "seduce," or "lead astray" (πλανᾷν), in the active is frequent in St. John, especially in Revelation (Revelation 12:9 13:14; 19:20; 20:3, 8, 10; John 7:12; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:26; 1 John 3:7). A comparison of these passages will lead to the conclusion that the word implies seduction into error of a very grave kind. It is not clear whether "fornication" is to be understood literally, or, as often in the Old Testament, in the spiritual sense of idolatry. The former seems more probable. "My servants" means all Christians, as is clear from Revelation 7:3 and Revelation 22:3; it must not be limited to those in authority in the Church. (For "things sacrificed to idols," see notes on ver. 14.)

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee,.... By way of complaint; so the Arabic version renders it, "I have a certain complaint against thee". The impartiality of Christ may be observed in taking notice of the bad deeds, as well as of the good ones of his people, and his tenderness in representing them as few; and these things he had against them not in a judicial way to their condemnation, but in a providential way, in order to chastise them for them, for their good; and they are as follow:

because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel; or "thy wife Jezebel", as the Complutensian edition and Syriac version read; the name of King Ahab's wife, who seduced him, in the Hebrew language is "Izebel", but is read by the Septuagint in 1 Kings 16:31, Jezebel, as here; and by Josephus (a) Jezabela; she had her name from "Zebel", "dung", to which Elijah has reference in 2 Kings 9:37; the Ethiopic version calls her "Elzabel". By her is meant the apostate church of Rome, comparable to Jezebel, the wife of Ahab; as she was the daughter of an Heathen, so is Rome Papal the daughter of Rome Pagan; and as she was the wife of Ahab, and therefore a queen, so the whore of Babylon calls herself; and as Jezebel was famous for her paintings, so the church of Rome for her pretensions to religion and holiness, and for the gaudiness of her worship; and as she was remarkable for her idolatry, whoredoms, witchcrafts, and cruel persecution of the prophets of the Lord, and for murder, and innocent blood she shed; so the church of Rome, for her idolatrous worship of images, for her whoredoms, both in a literal and spiritual sense, and for the witchcrafts, magic, and devilish arts many of her popes have been addicted to, and especially for her barbarities and cruelties exercised upon the true professors of Christ, and for the blood of the martyrs, with which she has been drunk; and as Jezebel stirred up Ahab against good and faithful men, is has this church stirred up the secular powers, emperors, kings, and princes, against the true followers of Christ: and the end of both of them is much alike; as scarce anything was left of Jezebel, so Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, shall be cast into the sea, and be found no more at all: compare 2 Kings 9:7 with Revelation 17:1,

which calleth herself a prophetess; as perhaps Jezebel might do, since she was such a favourer of the prophets of Baal, and so familiarly conversed with them, and kept them, even a hundred of them, at her table: and certain it is, that the antitype of her pretends to an infallible interpretation of the Scriptures, and to have a bulk of unwritten traditions; and which interpretations and traditions are to be regarded as an infallible rule of faith and practice. Now what is complained of in the true members and followers of Christ is, that they suffered this woman

to teach; when it was insufferable for a woman to teach, and especially such a strumpet:

and to seduce my servants to commit fornication; to deceive such who called themselves the servants of Christ, and draw them into the commission of spiritual fornication, which is idolatry; as the idolatrous worship of the Mass, and of images and saints departed:

and to eat things sacrificed unto idols; as Balaam, or the pope, before had done, Revelation 2:14. This may have respect to the latter part of this period, when the eyes of many began to be opened to see these false doctrines and idolatrous practices, and yet had not courage enough to oppose them as they should,

(a) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 13. sect. 1. 4, 7.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. a few things—omitted in the three oldest manuscripts. Translate then, "I have against thee that," &c.

sufferest—The three oldest manuscripts read, "lettest alone."

that woman—Two oldest manuscripts read, "THY wife"; two omit it. Vulgate and most ancient versions read as English Version. The symbolical Jezebel was to the Church of Thyatira what Jezebel, Ahab's "wife," was to him. Some self-styled prophetess (or as the feminine in Hebrew is often used collectively to express a multitude, a set of false prophets), as closely attached to the Church of Thyatira as a wife is to a husband, and as powerfully influencing for evil that Church as Jezebel did Ahab. As Balaam, in Israel's early history, so Jezebel, daughter of Eth-baal, king of Sidon (1Ki 16:31, formerly priest of Astarte, and murderer of his predecessor on the throne, Josephus [Against Apion, 1.18]), was the great seducer to idolatry in Israel's later history. Like her father, she was swift to shed blood. Wholly given to Baal worship, like Eth-baal, whose name expresses his idolatry, she, with her strong will, seduced the weak Ahab and Israel beyond the calf-worship (which was a worship of the true God under the cherub-ox form, that is, a violation of the second commandment) to that of Baal (a violation of the first commandment also). She seems to have been herself a priestess and prophetess of Baal. Compare 2Ki 9:22, 30, "whoredoms of … Jezebel and her witchcrafts" (impurity was part of the worship of the Phoenician Astarte, or Venus). Her spiritual counterpart at Thyatira lured God's "servants" by pretended utterances of inspiration to the same libertinism, fornication, and eating of idol-meats, as the Balaamites and Nicolaitanes (Re 2:6, 14, 15). By a false spiritualism these seducers led their victims into the grossest carnality, as though things done in the flesh were outside the true man, and were, therefore, indifferent. "The deeper the Church penetrated into heathenism, the more she herself became heathenish; this prepares us for the expressions 'harlot' and 'Babylon,' applied to her afterwards" [Auberlen].

to teach and to seduce—The three oldest manuscripts read, "and she teaches and seduces," or "deceives." "Thyatira was just the reverse of Ephesus. There, much zeal for orthodoxy, but little love; here, activity of faith and love, but insufficient zeal for godly discipline and doctrine, a patience of error even where there was not a participation in it" [Trench].

Revelation 2:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
Message to the Church in Thyatira
19'I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21'I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.…
Cross References
1 Kings 16:31
He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.

1 Kings 21:25
(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife.

2 Kings 9:7
You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the LORD's servants shed by Jezebel.

2 Kings 9:22
When Joram saw Jehu he asked, "Have you come in peace, Jehu?" "How can there be peace," Jehu replied, "as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?"

Ezekiel 13:17
"Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them

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.

Revelation 2:14
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.
Treasury of Scripture

Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

I have. See on ver.

Revelation 2:4,14 Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your …

that woman.

1 Kings 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk …

1 Kings 17:4,13 And it shall be, that you shall drink of the brook; and I have commanded …

1 Kings 19:1,2 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and with how he had …

1 Kings 21:7-15,23-25 And Jezebel his wife said to him, Do you now govern the kingdom of …

2 Kings 9:7,30-37 And you shall smite the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge …

and to seduce.

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them …

Exodus 34:15 Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they …

Numbers 25:1,2 And Israel stayed in Shittim, and the people began to commit prostitution …

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

1 Corinthians 8:10-12 For if any man see you which have knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple…

1 Corinthians 10:18-21,28 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices …

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