Revelation 2:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

New Living Translation
"I know about your suffering and your poverty--but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan.

English Standard Version
“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

New American Standard Bible
'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

King James Bible
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I know your affliction and poverty, yet you are rich. I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

International Standard Version
I know your suffering and your poverty—though you are rich—and the slander committed by those who claim to be Jews but are not. They are the synagogue of Satan.

NET Bible
I know the distress you are suffering and your poverty (but you are rich). I also know the slander against you by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“I know your suffering and your poverty (but you are rich ) and the blasphemy of those who call themselves Jews of the Judeans, when they are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I know how you are suffering, how poor you are-but you are rich. I also know that those who claim to be Jews slander you. They are the synagogue of Satan.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I know thy works and tribulation and poverty, (but thou art rich), and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

King James 2000 Bible
I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

American King James Version
I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

American Standard Version
I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they art not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich: and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Darby Bible Translation
I know thy tribulation and thy poverty; but thou art rich; and the railing of those who say that they themselves are Jews, and are not, but a synagogue of Satan.

English Revised Version
I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Webster's Bible Translation
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Weymouth New Testament
Your sufferings I know, and your poverty--but you are rich--and the evil name given you by those who say that they themselves are Jews, and are not, but are Satan's synagogue.

World English Bible
"I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Young's Literal Translation
I have known thy works, and tribulation, and poverty -- yet thou art rich -- and the evil-speaking of those saying themselves to be Jews, and are not, but are a synagogue of the Adversary.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:8-11 Our Lord Jesus is the First, for by him were all things made; he was before all things, with God, and is God himself. He is the Last, for he will be the Judge of all. As this First and Last, who was dead and is alive, is the believer's Brother and Friend, he must be rich in the deepest poverty, honourable amidst the lowest abasement, and happy under the heaviest tribulation, like the church of Smyrna. Many who are rich as to this world, are poor as to the next; and some who are poor outwardly, are inwardly rich; rich in faith, in good works, rich in privileges, rich in gifts, rich in hope. Where there is spiritual plenty, outward poverty may be well borne; and when God's people are made poor as to this life, for the sake of Christ and a good conscience, he makes all up to them in spiritual riches. Christ arms against coming troubles. Fear none of these things; not only forbid slavish fear, but subdue it, furnishing the soul with strength and courage. It should be to try them, not to destroy them. Observe, the sureness of the reward; I will give thee: they shall have the reward from Christ's own hand. Also, how suitable it is; a crown of life: the life worn out in his service, or laid down in his cause, shall be rewarded with a much better life, which shall be eternal. The second death is unspeakably worse than the first death, both in the agonies of it, and as it is eternal death: it is indeed awful to die, and to be always dying. If a man is kept from the second death and wrath to come, he may patiently endure whatever he meets with in this world.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9. - I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty. "Thy works" has been inserted here and in ver. 13 in order to make the opening of all seven epistles alike. The uncials A, C, P, and the Vulgate, Coptic, and AEthiopic Versions omit the words in each place. The Sinaiticus inserts them here and omits them in ver. 13, where they are plainly awkward in construction. Like all wealthy cities, Smyrna showed the extremes of wealth and poverty side by side. It would be among the poor that Christians would in the first instance be found, and their Christianity would lead to their spoliation; in this much of their "tribulation" would consist. But thou art rich (compare the close parallel, 2 Corinthians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 8:2; Matthew 6:20). And the blasphemy from them which say they are Jews, and they are not. We have here strong evidence of the early date of the Apocalypse. Throughout this book "Jew" is an honourable name for the worshippers of the Christ; "Gentiles," a name of reproach for those who oppose the Christ (Revelation 2:9; Revelation 3:9; Revelation 11:2, 18; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 18:3, 23; Revelation 19:15, etc.). These persecutors of the Church of Smyrna are Jews in name, but in reality are rather Gentiles - opponents, and not worshippers of the Messiah. The view taken in the Fourth Gospel is utterly different. There "the Jews" are almost invariably the opponents of Christ; the word occurs about seventy times, and nearly always with this shade of meaning. Assume that the Gospel was written a quarter of a century later than the Apocalypse, and there is nothing strange in this. Long experience of Jewish malignity in opposing the gospel has changed the apostle's views respecting his countrymen. He has become fully convinced of the inveterate and widespread character of the national apostasy. To him "the Jews" have become synonymous with the enemies of the cross of Christ. Assume that the Apocalypse was written about the same time as the Gospel, and how shall we account for this utter difference of view in the two books? Assume that the Gospel was written long before the Apocalypse, and how shall we explain the fact that experience of Jewish hostility has turned the apostle's abhorrence of "the Jews" into such admiration that to him a Jew has become synonymous with a believer in Jesus Christ? It is remarkable that, in the 'Martyrdom of St. Polycarp,' the Jews are said to have been present in great numbers, and to have been foremost (μάλιστα Ιουδαίους προθύμως) in collecting wood with which to burn him alive. A synagogue of Satan (comp. Revelation 3:9; John 8:44). This is in marked contrast to "the synagogue of the Lord" (Numbers 16:3; Numbers 20:4; Numbers 31:16). With the exception of James 2:2, συναγωγή is, in the New Testament, always used of Jewish assemblies, never of Christian. This usage soon became habitual in the Church (see Trench, 'Synonyms of the New Testament,' p. 4).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I know thy works,.... Good works, as before in Revelation 2:2,

and tribulation; this is Christ's legacy to his people, and which lies in their way to heaven; and never was the way of any to heaven more strewed with it than was the way of the saints in this period. But Christ took notice of it, and of them in it; he knew their souls in adversity, and remarked their patience under it, and their constancy, and close adherence to him:

and poverty; which was true in a literal sense, through the spoiling of their goods, to which they were exposed for the profession of Christ: nothing is more contemptible among men than poverty, yet Christ takes notice of it, and owns his people in it; for this poverty came not by sin, but by sufferings for his sake:

but thou art rich; they were rich, in faith, and heirs of a kingdom, though poor in this world; they were rich with the riches of Christ, with the blessings of the covenant, with the graces of the Spirit, and in good works; they were kings and priests unto God, had a kingdom of grace here, and a right to the kingdom of glory hereafter; and were heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,

And I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not; who asserted themselves to be the true Israel of God, Jews that were so inwardly, regenerate persons, or truly Christians; for the Christians, baptized persons (m), were by the Heathens called Jews; but these were not, they professed Christianity in words, but in works denied it; they were men of bad principles and practices, and both blasphemed the ways and doctrines of Christ themselves, and caused them to be blasphemed by others also; they were false Christians, nominal professors, and shunned persecution for the Gospel; who were not what they would be thought to be: these were the broachers of heresies in this period of time, in which there was a multitude of them, and which chiefly respected the doctrine of the Trinity, and the person of Christ; and they were introducers of Pagan and Jewish rites into the church, and were men of flagitious lives and conversations, and paved the way for the man of sin:

but are the synagogue of Satan: were the children of the devil, imitated him, and were influenced by him, and were the forerunners of antichrist, whose coming was after the working of Satan,

(m) Vid. Arrian. Epictet. l. 2. c. 9.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. thy works, and—omitted in two oldest manuscripts, Vulgate, and Coptic. Supported by one oldest manuscript.

tribulation—owing to persecution.

poverty—owing to "the spoiling of their goods."

but thou art rich—in grace. Contrast Laodicea, rich in the world's eyes and her own, poor before God. "There are both poor rich-men, and rich poor-men in God's sight" [Trench].

blasphemy of them—blasphemous calumny of thee on the part of (or arising from) them.

say they are Jews, and are not—Jews by national descent, but not spiritually of "the true circumcision." The Jews blaspheme Christ as "the hanged one." As elsewhere, so at Smyrna they bitterly opposed Christianity; and at Polycarp's martyrdom they joined the heathens in clamoring for his being cast to the lions; and when there was an obstacle to this, for his being burnt alive; and with their own hands they carried logs for the pile.

synagogue of Satan—Only once is the term "synagogue" in the New Testament used of the Christian assembly, and that by the apostle who longest maintained the union of the Church and Jewish Synagogue. As the Jews more and more opposed Christianity, and it more and more rooted itself in the Gentile world, the term "synagogue" was left altogether to the former, and Christians appropriated exclusively the honorable term "Church"; contrast an earlier time when the Jewish theocracy is called "the Church in the wilderness." Compare Nu 16:3; 20:4, "congregation of the Lord." Even in Jas 2:2 it is "your (not the Lord's) assembly." The Jews, who might have been "the Church of God," had now, by their opposition and unbelief, become the synagogue of Satan. So "the throne of Satan" (Re 2:13) represents the heathens' opposition to Christianity; "the depths of Satan" (Re 2:24), the opposition of heretics.

Revelation 2:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
Message to the Church in Smyrna
8"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: 9'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.…
Cross References
Matthew 4:10
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

2 Corinthians 6:10
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

James 2:5
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

Revelation 1:9
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Revelation 2:13
I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives.

Revelation 2:24
Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets, 'I will not impose any other burden on you,

Revelation 3:9
I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
Treasury of Scripture

I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

know. See on ver.

Revelation 2:2 I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you …

tribulation.

Revelation 7:14 And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they …

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. …

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue …

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that …

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, …

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

1 Thessalonians 3:4 For truly, when we were with you, we told you before that we should …

2 Thessalonians 1:6,7 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation …

poverty.

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach …

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be …

2 Corinthians 8:2,9 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy …

James 2:5,6 Listen, my beloved brothers, Has not God chosen the poor of this …

thou art.

Revelation 3:17,18 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need …

Luke 12:21 So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

2 Corinthians 6:10 As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; …

1 Timothy 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, …

James 2:5,6 Listen, my beloved brothers, Has not God chosen the poor of this …

the blasphemy.

Luke 22:65 And many other things blasphemously spoke they against him.

Acts 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to …

1 Timothy 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but …

which.

Romans 2:17,28,29 Behold, you are called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God…

Romans 9:6 Not as though the word of God has taken none effect. For they are …

the synagogue.

Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they …

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