And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
Verse 1. - And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven; after [omitting "and"]... coming down, etc. The usual form of introduction to a new vision (cf. Revelation 4:1; Revelation 7:1, etc.). The "mystery" of the beast and the harlot having been declared, the angel now describes the doom in store for them. The angel is from heaven, as carrying the news of the judgment which is sent from heaven (cf. Revelation 10:1; Revelation 19:6, 15, 17; Revelation 15:1, etc.). Having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. The great "authority" refers to the judgment which follows, which, however, is not acted out before the seer, but only described. The last clause records the visible manifestation of the great power (cf. the description in Ezekiel 43:2).
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Verse 2. - And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying; and he cried with a strong voice, saying. This "strong voice" is characteristic of the heavenly utterances (cf. Revelation 7:2; Revelation 14:7, etc.). Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. The event, though future, is described as past, being predetermined in the counsels of God. The words here are a reproduction of Isaiah 21:9. And is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird; a habitation... a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hated bird. "Devils" (Greek, δαιμόνια), inferior evil spirits. The three phrases express the same idea, viz. the loathsome and hateful state to which Babylon is reduced. The language is derived from the prophets (cf. Isaiah 13:21, 22; Isaiah 34:11-15; Jeremiah 1:39; 51:37). A hold (Greek, φυλακή, "a strong place"); the natural and fitting stronghold of the devils, rather than a place to which they are involuntarily confined.
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Verse 3. - For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. "The wine" is omitted in A, C, but it is inserted in א, B, and retained in the Revised Version. "The wrath" is omitted (cf. the expression in Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 17:2). And the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. (On the figure employed, as well as the identical language, see Revelation 17:2.) And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. The "abundance" (Greek, δύναμις, which Vitringa renders by copia, referring to Job 31:25; Ezekiel 28:4, LXX.). "Delicacies." (Greek, στρῆνος, occurs in the New Testament only here, and as a verb in vers. 7, 9, and (compounded) in 1 Timothy 5:11. It signifies overweening pride and insolence and wantonness, arising from superfluity of wealth and gifts. Cf. the warning to the Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:17).
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Verse 4. - And I heard another voice from heaven, saying. Probably the voice of another angel in succession to the one mentioned in ver. 1. Another angel takes up the theme, because the message is now directly addressed to Christians. Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. The angel says, "my people," because he is representing God. These words, resembling Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:l; Jeremiah 1:8; and especially Jeremiah 51:6 (cf. also ver. 8), 45, recall also the warning of our Lord in Matthew 24:16 (cf. also Genesis 19:22, "I cannot do anything till thou be come thither"). Since the harlot, who is identical with Babylon, is representative of the faithless part of the Church of God, these words form a direct warning to Christians. The departure which is commanded is not necessarily a literal, visible one; but the command implies a dissociation from, and condemnation of, the works of Babylon. Lot's wife literally departed from Sodom, but was overtaken with punishment, because her heart was not dissevered from the wickedness of the city.
For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Verse 5. - For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. That is, the accumulation of sin is so great as to reach up to the heaven. Exactly the description of the judgment of Babylon given in Jeremiah 51:9, "Forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country; for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies." The last part of the verse is a repetition of Revelation 16:19.
Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
Verse 6. - Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. "You" is omitted in all the best manuscripts. The second "unto her," though supported by P, Syriac, Coptic, is omitted in א, A, B, C, etc.: Render to her as she also rendered, and double the doubled things according to her works, etc. The description of God's judgment is still founded on the denunciations against Babylon in Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 1:5-29; 51:24; 16:18; cf. also Isaiah 61:7; Zechariah 9:12; and the legal retribution ordered in Exodus 22:4-7). The cup which she hath filled is that containing "the wine of her fornication (cf. ver. 3); she is now to receive a double measure of the cup of God's wrath (cf. ver. 3).
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Verse 7. - How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her. (For "lived deliciously," see on "delicacies," ver. 3.) The words are a re-echo and expansion of those in ver. 6 (cf. Luke 16:25). For she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow; because she saith, etc.; and contact with the succeeding verse. The prophetical writers still supply the imagery (cf. Isaiah 47:8, "I shall not sit as a widow;" see also Lamentations 1:1).
Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Verse 8. - Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine. This is the retribution for her boasting in ver. 7 (cf. Isaiah 47:9, "These two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day," etc.). Alford says, "death, for her scorn of the prospect of widowhood; mourning, for her inordinate revelling; famine, for her abundance" (cf. ver. 3). The description is not to be taken literally, but is typical of a sudden and overwhelming reverse, viz. that which will occur at the last judgment day (cf. the words of our Lord in Matthew 24:37-42). Some writers see here an allusion to the second, third, and fourth seals (see Revelation 6.). And she shall he utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. Who judged her; κρίνας is found in א, A, B, C, P, and others. This is the fulfilment of the predicted punishment of the harlot (Revelation 17:16). The last clause replies, as it were, to the boast in ver. 7, "I sit as a queen," etc.
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
Verse 9. - And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning; and the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and revelled with her, shall weep and wait over her, when they see, etc. It is noteworthy that this sentence is in the future tense; that in ver. 11 in the present; that in vers. 17, 18 in the past. (On "committed fornication," see ver. 3; Revelation 14:4, 8; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 17:2. On "lived deliciously," see vers. 3, 7.) "Lament" is the same word used in Revelation 1:7, "All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." Cf. the description of the fall of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:16). (On "smoke," see on Revelation 9:2.)
Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Verse 10. - Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying. Unconsciously acting upon the command in ver. 4, "Come out of her .... that ye receive not of her plagues." Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come; Woe, woe, the great city (cf. the previous declaration of woe in Revelation 8:13). In one hour (cf. ver. 8). Some writers understand the "one hour" to refer to the space of time during which the kings rule (see Revelation 17:12); but a comparison with ver. 8 leads to the conclusion that the meaning is "suddenly;" the contrast in a short time between the two positions of Babylon enhancing the fearfulness of the visitation.
And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
Verse 11. - And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her. Weep and mourn; the historical present (see on ver. 9). The kings have been mentioned; the merchants and next the seamen are referred to, showing the wide distribution of "Babylon," and forbidding the application to a single state or city. The description which follows is analogous to that in Ezekiel 27; Isaiah 23. For no man buyeth their merchandise any more; their cargo. We are naturally reminded of the action of the second beast in forbidding to buy and sell (Revelation 13:17). Alford here recognizes the difficulty in applying the prophecy to Rome, either pagan or papal, and adds, "I leave this difficulty unsolved .... The details of this mercantile lamentation far more nearly suit London than Rome." (See the interpretation given of the harlot and Babylon on Revelation 17:1.)
The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
Verse 12. - The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet. (On "precious stone" and" linen," see on Revelation 15:6.) Such was the attire of the harlot (Revelation 17:4). Writers have endeavoured to classify in various ways the articles mentioned, in order to obtain some signification from the numbers used. Thus Hengstenberg sees four hard and then four soft articles mentioned, and he reminds us that the number four is symbolical of the world: but this does not carry him beyond ver. 12. The articles enumerated seem naturally to fall into six classes (from which we can gather no information, unless we look upon six as typifying the world, as in Revelation 13:18). First, articles of personal adornment; second, articles used for furniture, etc.; third, objects of sensual gratification - smell, etc.; fourth, articles of food; fifth, animate possessions; sixth, souls of men. These certainly seem to be arranged in a kind of progressive order of importance. All the articles mentioned in the text above were of the highest value. Purple and scarlet (see Revelation 17:3) were the prerogative of kings; silk was so scarce, that its use was forbidden in the reign of Tiberius. And all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; and every ivory vessel, and every vessel, etc. Thyine wood is "that of the Thuya articulata, Desfont., the Callitris quadrivalvis of present botanists. This tree was much prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans, on account of the beauty of its wood for various ornamental purposes. By the Romans the tree was called citrus, the wood citrum. It is a native of Barbary, and grows to the height of fifteen to twenty-five feet" (Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible '). In this passage the accusative case is used; the preceding nouns are in the genitive.
And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
Verse 13. - And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense; and cinnamon, and amomon, and incense, and ointment, and frankincense. These constitute the third class (see on ver. 12). Cinnamon, an Indian tree, was in use in the Levitical ritual (Exodus 30:23). It is referred to as a perfume in Proverbs 7:17. Amomon, which is emitted in the Textus Receptus, is found in א, A, C. P, etc. It is rendered in the Revised Version by "spice." Its use was similar to that of cinnamon. Its seeds are used under the name "cardamoms." And wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat. These form the fourth class (see on ver. 12; cf. Leviticus 2:1, 2). And beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves; and cattle, etc. The word rendered "slaves" is σωμάτων, "bodies," i.e. slaves. At the word "horses" the nouns are again placed in the genitive (see on ver. 12). These form the fifth class (see on ver. 12). "Chariots," δέδη, is not the word used in Revelation 9:9. It is a word probably of Gaulish origin. And souls of men. The accusative again. Not in the ordinary acceptation of the word "souls," but rather "lives of men," as the Revised Version margin; that is, "living men." It is probable that the two expressions, "bodies" (vide supra) and "souls of men," refer to two classes of slaves.
And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
Verse 14. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all; all things that were dainty and splendid are perished from thee, and [men] shall find, etc. The Textus Receptus reads ἀπῆλθεν, "are gone," as in 1; ἀπώλοντο is found in א, 7, and about twelve other cursives; ἀπώλετο is supported by A, R, C, P, and others, besides many versions and Fathers. This verse, containing a direct address to Babylon. has been thought by Vitringa and others to be misplaced; but this is unnecessary (cf. the similar circumstance in vers. 21-24).
The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
Verse 15. - The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her (cf. ver. 11), shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment. The future tense is now used (see on ver. 9); cf. ver. 10, where the same thing is related of' the kings. Weeping and wailing (cf. ver. 9, where, however, we have κόψονται, "wail," instead of, as here, πενθοῦντες, "mourn:" cf. also ver. 11).
And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Verse 16. - And saying, Alas, alas that great city! Most authorities omit "and." Woe, woe, the great city! (nominative case); exactly as in ver. 10. That was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls. She that was clothed, etc. Decked; "gilded," as in the Revised Version margin, as in Revelation 17:4. The identity of description of the woman and Babylon is another proof of the essentially identical nature of the two (see on Revelation 17:1; cf. also ver. 12).
For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
Verse 17. - For in one hour so great riches is come to nought; because (ὅτι) in one hour was made desolate that so great wealth. This is given as the reason of the "Woe, woe!" of ver. 16, and is to be connected with the preceding clauses. (On "one hour," see ver. 10, where the same reason is given as in this verse.) And every shipmaster; pilot; found only here and in Acts 27:11. And all the company in ships; and every one who saileth to a place. Such is probably the correct text, though there are several small variations. The Authorized Version has little support. The Revised Version renders, And every one that saileth anywhither. And sailors, and as many as trade by sea; as many as work the sea; i.e. gain their living by means of the sea. Thus are enumerated all who are connected with the sea in any capacity (cf. Ezekiel 27:27). Stood afar off. Like the kings (ver. 10) and the merchants (ver. 15), and doubtless for the same reason; viz. to avoid being overwhelmed in the destruction of the city.
And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
Verse 18. - And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying. The same description as in ver. 9 (which see). What city is like unto this great city! (cf. Ezekiel 27:32, "And lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?").
And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Verse 19. - And they cast dust on their heads. This continues the description as given in Ezekiel 27:30, "Shall cast up dust upon their heads." And cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city! Weeping and mourning, saying, Woe, woe! etc.; an exact repetition of vers. 15, 16. Wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness. Like the merchants, the men here described regret the loss of their wealth (cf. vers. 11, 15, 16). So in Ezekiel 27:33, "When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise." For in one hour is she made desolate. Exactly as in ver. 17; and similarly to ver. 10.
Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
Verse 20. - Rejoice over her, thou heaven. These words are best understood as being uttered by the writer, as in Revelation 12:12 (see on Revelation 12:10). And ye holy apostles and prophets; and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye prophets, is read in א, A, B, P, etc., and adopted by the Revisers. The Authorized Version reading is found in C, 1, 17. Not only the heavenly inhabitants are to rejoice, but also those on earth who have been persecuted by her, as mentioned in ver. 24. The time is again described which has been already referred to in former parts of the book, and especially in Revelation 11:18. Some authors have held this verse to prove that the writer of the Apocalypse was not the Apostle John; either because
(1) he speaks as if he were not an apostle, or
(2) because they assume that all the apostles are here referred to, and that they are in heaven.
There is no ground for either presumption:
(1) A rhapsodical utterance of this nature cannot be interpreted literally;
(2) the word "apostles" cannot be limited to the twelve;
(3) as Dusterdieck justly observes, one might as well argue that the writer was not a prophet.
By the "prophets "are primarily intended, perhaps, the Christian prophets (cf. Ephesians 3:5); but if Babylon is typical of the hostile world power, and the harlot of the faithless, worldly portion of God's Church, as we have seen them to be, the words are applicable to the Church of God in all ages. For God hath avenged you on her; for God hath judged your judgment on her. The answer to the prayer of the martyrs in Revelation 6:10. The words, "your judgment," probably mean "that judgment which is her due for her treatment of you," as in the Authorized Version. Hengstenberg gives "the doom which she pronounced upon you." Wordsworth, laying stress upon ἐξ, "out of," makes the words mean, "He has taken your cause out of her hands into his own."
And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Verse 21. - And a mighty angel took up a stone like a groat millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying; add one strong angel (cf. the "mighty voice" in ver. 2; also Revelation 10:1, and elsewhere). The adjective, of course, refers to the mightiness of the deed wrought (cf. Jeremiah 51:61-64, "Thou shall bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates; and thou shall say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise," etc.). The sea may be typical of the nations of the earth (see Revelation 13:1). Thus with violence shall that groat city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all; Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, etc. (Revised Version). Alford translates "with a rush;" ὅρμημα is peculiar to this passage. The complete nature of this extinction is indicated by the frequency of the words, "no more at all," in vers. 21-23.
And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
Verse 22. - And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; harpers and minstrels and flute players, etc. (Revised Version). Cf. the description of the desolation of Tyre in Ezekiel 26:13 and Isaiah 24:8. And no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee. "Every craft" is omitted in א, A. (On the last phrase, see on ver. 21.) And the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee. This passage, together with the following verse, is founded on Jeremiah 25:10.
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Verse 23. - And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee; of a lamp (cf. Jeremiah 25:10, "I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle"). For thy merchants were the great men of the earth; were the princes. The cause of this overthrow is thus again stated. It is a repetition of the idea in vers. 7, 15, 19, "I sit a queen;" "The merchants which were made rich by her;" "That great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea" (cf. Isaiah 23:8, "Whose merchants were princes;" also Ezekiel 27:20-22). For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. The judgment is the result of the non-repentance of Revelation 9:21.
And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Verse 24. - And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. At first sight it seems difficult to understand that these words are spoken not only of Babylon, but of the faithless portion of the Church, symbolized by the harlot. But we must remember
(1) that he who is guilty in respect of one commandment, is guilty of the whole Law;
(2) similar words are addressed by Jeremiah to Judah (Jeremiah 2:34): "Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents" (see on Revelation 17:1). Auberlen remarks, "Wherever true, faithful Christians are neglected and oppressed by the rulers of the Church, from avowed or secret antipathy to God's truth; where a false theology and science robs youth of its faith; where a pastor neglects, and keeps at a distance, the true living Christians in his flock, on account of the signum crucis which they bear; wherever we refuse or are ashamed to bear the reproach of Jesus Christ, our heavenly Master, even as he bore it, there we commit murder against the saints of God." Here is concluded the pronouncement of the judgment of Babylon; which may be said to answer the prayer in Revelation 6:10; and which forms the conclusion of the revelation commencing at Revelation 17.