|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-12 Upon sounding the fifth trumpet, a star fell from heaven to the earth. Having ceased to be a minister of Christ, he who is represented by this star becomes the minister of the devil; and lets loose the powers of hell against the churches of Christ. On the opening of the bottomless pit, there arose a great smoke. The devil carries on his designs by blinding the eyes of men, by putting out light and knowledge, and promoting ignorance and error. Out of this smoke there came a swarm of locusts, emblems of the devil's agents, who promote superstition, idolatry, error, and cruelty. The trees and the grass, the true believers, whether young or more advanced, should be untouched. But a secret poison and infection in the soul, should rob many others of purity, and afterwards of peace. The locusts had no power to hurt those who had the seal of God. God's all-powerful, distinguishing grace will keep his people from total and final apostacy. The power is limited to a short season; but it would be very sharp. In such events the faithful share the common calamity, but from the pestilence of error they might and would be safe. We collect from Scripture, that such errors were to try and prove the Christians, 1Co 11:19. And early writers plainly refer this to the first great host of corrupters who overspread the Christian church.
Verse 10. - And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and they have tails like unto scorpions, and stings (Revised Version). The next words are included in the following clause. Not that their tails possessed the appearance of scorpions (as Bengel, Hengstenberg, and others), but that their tails were like the tails of scorpions in respect of having stings in them. Cf. 2 Samuel 22:34; Psalm 18:33, "He maketh my feet like hands" (omit "feet"); also Revelation 13:11, "Two horns like a lamb" (see the description of the scorpion quoted above, under ver. 3). And their power was to hurt men five months; and in their tails is their power to hurt, etc. (Revised Version) (see the preceding clause). As no Greek manuscript gives the reading of the Textus Receptus followed by the Authorized Version, the probability is that this is an example of a passage in which the Greek of his edition was supplied by Erasmus, by the simple process of retranslating into Greek the Vulgate Version. By the possession of the noxious sting, the locusts here described are represented as being yet more terrible than the natural locusts. (See the description of the locusts given under ver. 3. For the signification of the "five months," see on ver. 5.) They limit the period of this judgment to the time of man's existence on this earth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they had tails like unto scorpions,.... Locusts are said to have the tail of a serpent, and of the vipers of the earth (u); See Gill on Revelation 9:3, Revelation 9:5. And there were stings in their tails; either in the baser sort of them, the Saracens and Papists; or in their doctrines, the prophet being the tail, Isaiah 9:15; with which both Mahomet, who set himself up for a prophet, and the Romish clergy, who set up their decrees and unwritten traditions above the word of God, have poisoned and destroyed multitudes of souls:
and their power was to hurt men five months; See Gill on Revelation 9:5.
(u) Scriptores Arab.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. tails like unto scorpions—like unto the tails of scorpions.
and there were stings—There is no oldest manuscript for this reading. A, B, Aleph, Syriac, and Coptic read, "and (they have) stings: and in their tails (is) their power (literally, 'authority': authorized power) to hurt."
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