Revelation 16
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
Revelation 16:1. Τὰς ἑπτὰ φιάλας, the seven vials) The Epistles to the VII. Churches are distributed into III. and IV. The VII. Seals are divided into IV. and III., and likewise the VII. Trumpets, as we have seen: and now also the VII. Vials. The Trumpets have shaken the kingdom of the world in a long circuit; the vials with swift and sharp violence break to pieces the beast in particular, which had clothed himself with the kingdom of the world, and his followers and resources. Therefore the trumpets and the vials advance in the same order. The former set of four touch the earth, the sea, the rivers, and the sun: the remaining set of three fall in other quarters, and are much more violent.

And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
Revelation 16:2. Ὁ πρῶτος, the first) Thus, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, the seventh, without the noun angel.[177] The style expresses a very quick outpouring of the vials, of which quickness this also is a proof, that the vials have no periods of times expressed. These bear a great resemblance to the plagues of Egypt, which the Hebrews generally suppose to have been inflicted at intervals of months. See Meyer ad Seder Olam, p. 287. What if the same thing should be about to happen in the case of the vials? Their whole outpouring indeed is as yet among the things to come.—ἕλκος πονηρὸν, a grievous sore) Deuteronomy 28:35, בשחין רע, in the LXX. ἘΝ ἝΛΚΕΙ ΠΟΝΗΡῷ. [This, I believe, will be a new and hitherto unheard of plague.—V. g.]

[177] Rec. Text adds ἄγγελος in ver. 3, with B: ACh Vulg. oppose it. In ver. 4 also: ABCh Vulg. opposing it. In ver. 8, 10, 12 also, with h: ABC Vulg. opposing it. In ver. 17 also, with h: AB Vulg. and Syr. opposing it.—E.

And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
Revelation 16:5. [178] Ὁ ὢ καὶ ὁ ἦν, which art and which wast) See on ch. Revelation 11:17, and comp. D. Lang. Comm. Apoc. f. 188.—ὁ ὅσιος) Others put καὶ before , or for , or omit καὶ ὁ.[179] Sound exegesis often distinguishes the pearls of a genuine reading from the filth of various readings: and Wolf excellently compares with this the passage, ch. Revelation 1:8, ΚΎΡΙΟς Ὁ ΘΕῸς, Ὁ ὪΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ἮΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς, Ὁ ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ. It will also be profitable to have brought forward another, ch. Revelation 4:8 : ἍΓΙΟς, ἍΓΙΟς, ἍΓΙΟς, ΚΎΡΙΟς Ὁ ΘΕῸς Ὁ ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ, Ὁ ἮΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ὪΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς. There is a very great resemblance between those two passages and this passage, which is thus: ΔΊΚΑΙΟς ΕἾ, Ὁ ὪΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ἮΝ, Ὁ ὍΣΙΟς. The subject there is, ΚΎΡΙΟς Ὁ ΘΕῸς Ὁ ὪΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ἮΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς· here, in the vocative case, Ὁ ὪΝ ΚΑῚ Ὁ ἮΝ. The epithet belonging to the subject is there, Ὁ ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ· here, in the same case, Ὁ ὍΣΙΟς· in both places without the particle ΚΑῚ. The predicate there, ch. Revelation 4:8, is ἍΓΙΟς· here ΔΊΚΑΙΟς. For the sentence is not to be thus construed, ΔΊΚΑΙΟς ΚΑῚ ὍΣΙΟς since there are many intervening words in the text. At the commencement and at the close of the Apocalypse the Lord is called Ὁ ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ, the Almighty; here, where judgments show themselves, He is called ὁ ὅσιος, the Holy. First of all He is praised on account of His Might, lest in the time of His patience He should appear to have no strength, whereas in the end He is about to display enough of Might; afterwards He is praised for His Grace, when retribution commences. Might and Grace are alike assigned to the Lord in Psalm 62:11-12. The epithet ὅσιος answers to the Hebrew חסיד, and signifies gracious, in an active or a passive sense. God exhibits His own grace in all His works, and He receives gratitude [the attribution of grace] from all saints.

[178] τοῦ θηρίου, of the beast) Therefore the vial of the first angel will be the first mark [“character,” characterism] of the beast.—V. g.

[179] Engl. Vers, has “which art, and wast, and shalt be” (omitting ὅσιος, and substituting καὶ ὁ ἐσόμενος or ἐρχόμενος). ABC Vulg. support ὅσιος. h has et qui es pius. Rec. Text has καὶ ὁ ὅσιος.—E.

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
Revelation 16:6. Ἄξιοι εἰσὶ, are worthy) An abrupt sentence, with great force. So ch. Revelation 14:5, ἄμωμοι εἰσίν. Psalm 99:5, קדוש הוא.

And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
Revelation 16:7. Ἤκουσα τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου λέγοντος, I heard the altar saying) John heard the altar, where the cry arises and vengeance descends, or those who served at it, here not seen by John, so that the altar itself appeared to speak. Compare the phraseology, ch. Revelation 1:12, Revelation 9:13, Revelation 11:1. Such is the expression, χρόνος ἐστὶν ὁ λαλῶν, Job 32:7.

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
Revelation 16:9. Ἐβλασφήμησαν, they blasphemed) A dreadful sin, blasphemy: but yet even against the will of the wicked it turns out to the honour of GOD: for they confess, that they succumb.

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
Revelation 16:10. Ἐγένετο ἐσκοτωμένη) This has much greater emphasis, than if it were said ἐσκοτώθη or ἐσκοτίσθη, ch. Revelation 9:2, or, ἐπλήγη τὸ τρίτον, ch. Revelation 8:12. There is a similar expression, ch. Revelation 17:16, ἠρημωμένην ποιήσουσιν: ch. Revelation 1:18, ἐγενόμην νεκρὸς: Psalm 30:8, ἐγενήθην τεταραγμένος. The Arabic translates, ceased: but that is too strong.—τοῦ πόνου) כאב, LXX. πόνος, pain.

And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Revelation 16:12. Ἐπὶ) We render ἐπὶ upon, rather than in, because on account of the drying up of the waters no[180] mixture is here made, as in the case of the sea and the rivers, where the preposition εἰς was used. Marck.—ἐξήρανε, dried up) Thus Alex. Lat. It coheres with ἐξέχεε, and with συνήγαγεν, Revelation 16:16. Most editions read, ἐξηράνθη, either from the rhythm ἑτοιμασθῆ, or from habit.[181] For ἐξηράνθη often occurs in the New Testament, and here also it has been readily caught at by the copyists.—αὐτοῦ, of it) and so of those rivers also, which flow into the Euphrates. The Turks at the present day live near that river. Or if Mahometanism, as some think, is shortly about to receive some injury, it may however possibly happen, that the sixth angel will pour out his vial somewhat later.

[180] “Nulla” seems to be required by the sense here, in Bengel’s Latin.—E.

[181] The margin of the larger Edition assigns no value to the reading ἐξήρανε; Edit. 2nd gives it a moderate value; the Vers. Germ., agreeing with the Gnomon, a sure value.—E. B.

Vulg. has “siccavit aquam (other MSS. aqua) ejus.” But Lachm. and Tisch., with the greatest number of oldest authorities, read ἐξηράνθη.—E.

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Revelation 16:13. Ὡς βάτραχοι[182]) See App. on this passage. The nominative case has the same meaning, as Exodus 34:4, ΔΎΟ ΠΛΆΚΑς ΛΙΘΊΝΑς, ΚΑΘΆΤΕΡ ΑἹ ΤΡῶΤΑΙ.

[182] So AB. h Vulg. “in modum ranarum.” But Rec. Text, with inferior authorities, ὅμοια βατράχιος.—E.

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Revelation 16:14. Ἐκπορεύεσθαι) Many varieties of reading occur here, and among them, ἃ ἐκπορεύεται[183] is a specious one: but if this were the original reading, it would not have been altered in such a variety of ways, as the infinitive, ἐκπορεύεσθαι, which was not equally comprehended by the copyists on account of the parenthesis. But the sentence would be abrupt without the infinitive, εἶδον πνεύματα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος. For the mode of expression is not the beast out of the sea, out of the earth, out of the bottomless pit, but ascending out of the sea, etc. Nor does the other infinitive, συναγαγεῖν, subjoined without any con junction, cause any difficulty, as alleged by Wolf. For there is often an accumulation of infinitives: Luke 1:74-79; Ephesians 3:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:6 : and the sense is plain in this passage: I saw them go forth, that they might gather. There is a Simultaneum [See Append. Techn. Terms], concerning which see Erkl. Offenb. p. 84. Moreover two events are marked as occurring at the same time, either by a repetition of the same words, 2 Kings 2:14, or by an interruption of the construction, as here.

[183] Stephens’ Rec. Text has ἐκπορεύεσθαι: A has ἐκποοεύεται: B, ἐκποοευονται Vulg. has “precedent,” or, as other MSS. read, “procedunt.”—E.

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Revelation 16:15. Τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην) ערוה, the LXX. generally render ἀσχημοσύνη.

And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Revelation 16:16. Καὶ συνηγαγεν, and he gathered them together) We cannot here suppose that a singular verb is used for a plural (as the Syrian Version expresses it), because the neuter noun πνεύματα. precedes by so long an interval, Revelation 16:13-14; and in Revelation 16:14 itself, the plural verb εἰσὶ is used. Who was it therefore that gathered together the kings? The sixth angel. Throughout the whole of this chapter, the noun angel is often understood. Without inconvenience this verse is connected by a leap with Revelation 16:12. See Franc. Junius and E. Schmid.—Ἀρμαγεδὼν) Thus many MSS.;[184] but some few, Μαγεδὼν, which is also the reading of the Alex. MS. in 2 Chronicles 35:22, ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ Μαγεδών. Magedon or Megiddo was a city, of which there is frequent mention in the books of the Old Testament. The copyists, as it appears, had reference to these passages, who took away the first syllable from the word Ἀρμαγεδὼν in the Apocalypse: but on account of this very syllable, in particular, the word Ἑβραϊστὶ appears to be used. Armagedon signifies either ער, the city Megiddo, as Hiller teaches in Syntagmatis, p. 229, or הר, the mountain Megiddo. for where there is בקעה, a valley, as the valley of Megiddo, 2 Chronicles 35:22, there is also a mountain. We do not equally inquire, whence Megiddo itself is derived; for it is used as the proper name of a place in Palestine, very well known, on account of the great occurrences which had there taken place in ancient times. Nor, in a word, is it mentioned with this allusion on account of the mournful slaughter of Josiah, but on account of the slaughter of the Canaanite kings: Jdg 5:19.

[184] Rec. Text, with B, Syr. h read Ἁρμαγεδδων. A Vulg. Memph. read Αρμαγεδών. Fuld. (inferior to Amiat.) MS. of Vulg. has Magedon.—E.

And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Revelation 16:21. [186] Ὡς ΤΑΛΑΝΤΙΑΊΑ, as it were of the weight of a talent) Of many pounds singly. I take it in its proper sense, at the beginning of the Non-being of the beast.

[186] Ver. 19. ἡ πόλις ἡ μεγάλη, the great city) Jerusalem; ch. Revelation 11:8.—V. g.

Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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