Revelation 18:13
And cinnamon, and odors, 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.
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18:9-19 The mourners had shared Babylon's sensual pleasures, and gained by her wealth and trade. The kings of the earth, whom she flattered into idolatry, allowing them to be tyrannical over their subjects, while obedient to her; and the merchants, those who trafficked for her indulgences, pardons, and honours; these mourn. Babylon's friends partook her sinful pleasures and profits, but are not willing to share her plagues. The spirit of antichrist is a worldly spirit, and that sorrow is a mere worldly sorrow; they do not lament for the anger of God, but for the loss of outward comforts. The magnificence and riches of the ungodly will avail them nothing, but will render the vengeance harder to be borne. The spiritual merchandise is here alluded to, when not only slaves, but the souls of men, are mentioned as articles of commerce, to the destroying the souls of millions. Nor has this been peculiar to the Roman antichrist, and only her guilt. But let prosperous traders learn, with all their gains, to get the unsearchable riches of Christ; otherwise; even in this life, they may have to mourn that riches make to themselves wings and fly away, and that all the fruits their souls lusted after, are departed from them. Death, at any rate, will soon end their commerce, and all the riches of the ungodly will be exchanged, not only for the coffin and the worm, but for the fire that cannot be quenched.And cinnamon - Cinnamon is the aromatic bark of the Laurus Cinnamomam, which grows in Arabia, India, and especially in the island of Ceylon. It was formerly, as it is now, a valuable article in the Oriental trade.

And odours - Aromatics employed in religious worship, and for making perfumes. Mr. Gibbon (vol. i. p. 34) mentions, among the articles of commerce and luxury, in the age of the Antonines, "a variety of aromatics that were consumed in religious worship and the pomp of funerals." It is unnecessary to say that the use of such odors has been always common at Rome.

And ointments - Unguents - as spikenard, etc. These were in common use among the ancients. See the Matthew 14:7 note; Mark 14:3 note.

And frankincense - See the notes on Matthew 2:11. It is unnecessary to say that incense has been always much used in public worship in Rome, and that it has been, therefore, a valuable article of commerce there.

And wine - An article of commerce and luxury in all ages.

And oil - That is, olive oil. This, in ancient times, and in Oriental countries particularly, was an important article of commerce.

And fine flour - The word here means the best and finest kind of flour.

And beasts, and sheep, and horses - Also important articles of merchandise.

And chariots - The word used here - ῥεδῶν redōn - means, properly a carriage with four wheels, or a carriage drawn by mules (Prof. Stuart). It was properly a traveling carriage. The word is of Gallic origin (Quinctil. 1:9; Cic. Mil. 10; Att. v. 17; 6:1. See Adam's Rom. Ant. p. 525). It was an article of luxury.

And slaves - The Greek here is σωμάτων sōmatōn - "of bodies." Prof. Stuart renders it "grooms," and supposes that it refers to a particular kind of slaves who were employed in taking care of horses and carriages. The word properly denotes body - an animal body - whether of the human body, living or dead, or the body of a beast; and then the external man - the person, the individual. In later usage, it comes to denote a slave (see Robinson, Lexicon), and in this sense it is used here. The traffic in slaves was common in ancient times, as it is now. We know that this traffic was carried on to a large extent in ancient Rome, the city which John probably had in his eye in this description. See Gibbon, Dec. and Fall, vol. 1, pp. 25, 26. Athenaeus, as quoted by Mr. Gibbon (p. 26), says that "he knew very many Romans who possessed, not for use, but for ostentation, ten, and even twenty thousand slaves." It should be said here, however, that although this refers evidently to traffic in slaves, it is not necessary to suppose that it would be literally characteristic of papal Rome. All this is symbolical, designed to exhibit the papacy under the image of a great city, with what was customary in such a city, or with what most naturally presented itself to the imagination of John as found in such a city; and it is no more necessary to suppose that the papacy would be engaged in the traffic of slaves, than in the traffic of cinnamon, or fine flour, or sheep and horses.

And souls of men - The word used and rendered "souls" - ψυχὰς psuchas - though commonly denoting the "soul" (properly the "breath" or "vital principle"), is also employed to denote the living thing - the animal - in which the soul or vital principle resides; and hence may denote a person or a man. Under this form it is used to denote a "servant" or "slave." See Robinson, Lexicon. Prof. Robinson supposes that the word here means "female slaves," in distinction from those designated by the previous word. Prof. Stuart (in loco) supposes that the previous word denotes a particular kind of slaves - those who had the care of horses - and that the word here is used in a generic sense, denoting slaves in general. This kind of traffic in the "persons" or souls of people is mentioned as characterizing ancient Tyre, in Ezekiel 27:13; "Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants; they traded in the persons of men." It is not quite clear why, in the passage before us, this traffic is mentioned in two forms, as that of the bodies and the souls of people but it would seem most probable that the writer meant to designate all that would properly come under this traffic, whether male or female slaves were bought and sold; whether they were for servitude, or for the gladiatorial sports (see Wetstein, in loco); whatever might be the kind of servitude that they might be employed in, and whatever might be their condition in life. The use of the two words would include all that is implied in the traffic, for, in most important senses, it extends to the body and the soul. In slavery both are purchased; both are supposed, so far as he can avail himself of them, to become the property of the master.

13. cinnamon—designed by God for better purposes: being an ingredient in the holy anointing oil, and a plant in the garden of the Beloved (So 4:14); but desecrated to vile uses by the adulteress (Pr 7:17).

odours—of incense. A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac prefix "and amomium" (a precious hair ointment made from an Asiatic shrub). English Version reading is supported by Coptic and Andreas, but not oldest manuscripts.

ointments—Greek, "ointment."

frankincense—Contrast the true "incense" which God loves (Ps 141:2; Mal 1:11).

fine flour—the similago of the Latins [Alford].

beasts—of burden: cattle.

slaves—Greek, "bodies."

souls of men—(Eze 27:13). Said of slaves. Appropriate to the spiritual harlot, apostate Christendom, especially Rome, which has so often enslaved both bodies and souls of men. Though the New Testament does not directly forbid slavery, which would, in the then state of the world, have incited a slave revolt, it virtually condemns it, as here. Popery has derived its greatest gains from the sale of masses for the souls of men after death, and of indulgences purchased from the Papal chancery by rich merchants in various countries, to be retailed at a profit [Mosheim, III, 95, 96].

See Poole on "Revelation 18:12" And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense,.... Things for delight and pleasure, for the gratifying of the senses; cinnamon, and odours were used for perfuming, Proverbs 7:17 anointing with oil was used at feasts, Psalm 23:5 and "frankincense", or censings, at banquets, and for the regaling of persons after food (k): these customs obtained among the eastern people. Tyre had its merchants for these things, Ezekiel 27:19 and Mr. Brightman thinks Italy is Rome's merchant in these, which it fetches from Greece, Arabia, and Egypt; it may be these rather respect the ecclesiastical use of them; "cinnamon, odours", and "frankincense", may signify the perfumings and censings used in churches, or the burning incense in imitation of the sweet incense under the law; and "ointments" may denote their chrism, or anointing with oil at baptism, imagining that Christ was anointed with material oil at his baptism, whereas it was with the Holy Ghost: moreover, these things may be mystically understood, "cinnamon" being used by harlots in perfuming their bed, Proverbs 7:17 may intend the stews and brothel houses erected at Rome, and licensed by authority, each whore paying so much per week; the revenues of which would sometimes yearly amount to twenty thousand ducats: "ointments" may be understood of chrism in baptism, and extreme unction at death: "odours" and "frankincense" may mean their prayers and pater nosters, their prayers for the dead, which were never made without the pence; hence that proverbial expression, no pence, no pater noster.

And wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep: things for civil use; these are things which belong to food, to eating and drinking, and are the most material and necessary things of life, Psalm 4:7. Tyre had her merchants for these, Ezekiel 27:17 and Mr. Brightman will have Italy to be Rome's merchant for wine and oil; Sardinia and Sicily her merchants for fine flour and wheat; Germany for beasts, and England for sheep: and with respect to the ecclesiastical use of these things, wine is for the chalice, used in daily Masses, and drank only by the priests; "oil" for chrism at baptism, and for the extreme unction: "fine flour" for the Mass, or to make their breaden god of; and "wheat, beasts, and sheep" for tithes for the clergy:

and horses, and chariots, and slaves; things for splendour, equipage, and attendance; horses and chariots for the popes, cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, to ride in state and grandeur, and slaves to wait upon them. Tyre had her merchants for these Ezekiel 27:14 and Mr. Brightman's opinion is, that the French are Rome's merchants for horses and chariots, and the Swiss for slaves, or "bodies", as the word may be rendered, who live by exercising their bodies, and hiring them out in war; and who are many of them the guards of the person of the pope of Rome: and last of all it is added,

and souls of men; still in allusion to the merchandise of Tyre, some of whose merchants are said to trade in the persons of men, Ezekiel 27:13 which the Targum and Septuagint render, in the souls of men; the popes have some of them sold their own souls to the devil, to get into the chair, and, when in, have been the means of destroying of thousands of others; they assume a power over the souls of men, of binding and loosing the consciences of men, imposing new laws upon them, and freeing them from obligation to the laws of God and men, to the ruin of their souls; and it has been said by their sycophants, that if the pope should send thousands of men to hell, no one should say to him, what dost thou? The Romish priests pretend to redeem souls out of purgatory for such a sum of money, and sell pardons and indulgences, say Mass, and promise heaven itself for money; and this they get at the expense of men's souls, by their false doctrine and superstitious worship, and so make merchandise of them, as is said of the false teachers, 2 Peter 2:3 moreover, as by "slaves", or bodies, in the preceding clause, are meant such who serve with their bodies, either by way of attendance, or in unnatural lust; so by "souls" of men may be meant men of soul, of great natural wit and understanding, of great parts, abilities, and learning, with which they serve the man of sin, and his interest, such as Bellarmine, and others.

(k) Misn. Beracot, c. 6. sect. 6.

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.
Revelation 18:13. “Cinnamon,” an aromatic spice (the inner bark of the tree) exported from E. Asia and S. China; ἄμωμον, aromatic balsam for the hair, made from the seeds of some Fastern shrub (Verg. Ecl. iv. 25, “assyrium uolgo nascetur amomum; from Harran, Jos. Ant. xx. 2, 2)—for the form, cf. Levy’s die Semit. Fremdwörter im Griech. (1895), p. 37; θυμιάματα, “incense,” in its ingredients of aromatic spices; λίβανον = “frankincense,” a fragrant gum-resin exported from S. Arabia (Isaiah 60:6, Jeremiah 6:20); enormous quantities of perfume were employed by the Romans, chiefly in the care of the body, but also to mix with wine at their banquets (e.g., Juv. vi. 303, etc.; E. Bi. 5320); σεμίδαλιν = “fine flour,” wheaten meal (LXX for סלת, cf. Deuteronomy 32:14; Psalm 81:16) of the choicest kind; wine, flour, and incense were all used in sacrifices. ῥεδῶν, a Gallic word = four-wheeled “carriages” used by the well-to-do (cf. Jerome on Isaiah 66). σωμάτων = “slaves” (later Greek, dropping the qualifying adj. δούλων or οἰκετικῶν, cf. Deissm. 160, Dittenberger’s Sylloge,2 845, etc.). καὶ ψυχὰς (reverting awkwardly to accus.) ἀνθρώπων = “and souls of men” (from Ezekiel 27:13, “they traded the persons of men for thy merchandise”: ἐνεπορεύοντό σοι ἐν ψυχαῖς ἀνθρώπων, LXX, cf. 1 Chronicles 5:21). The double expression is strange. If καὶ is not to be taken as “even,” identifying both, we must suppose that some distinction is intended, and that of the two σωμάτων is the more specific. Prostitutes, or female slaves, or gladiators, or even grooms and drivers (ἵπποι καὶ ἱππεῖς, Ezekiel 27:14) have been more or less convincingly suggested as its meaning. Slave-dealing (Friedländer, iii. 87 f.; Dobschütz, 266–269) was a lucrative trade under the empire, with Delos as its centre, and Asiatic youths especially were in large demand as pages, musicians, and court-attendants. Thousands of captives, after the siege of Jerusalem, were sent into slavery by the Roman government; and early Christians at this period (Clem. Rom. lv.) voluntarily went into slavery either as substitutes for others or “that with the price got for themselves they might furnish others with food”.13. and cinnamon] Add “and amomum,”—a precious oriental ointment. The word was accidentally omitted by copyists, from its likeness to the latter part of the preceding one.

and horses] Lit., of horses,—the genitive dependent on “merchandise” is resumed.

chariots] Not war-chariots like those mentioned in the O. T., but luxurious carriages.

slaves] Comparing Ezekiel 27:14, perhaps we are to understand grooms or coachmen, attached to the horses and chariots. The word means literally bodies, but the sense “slaves” was recognised in Greek, though not strictly classical.

souls of men] Ezekiel 27:13. As “horses and chariots and bodies” are genitives, and “souls” accusative, we can hardly connect the last two words, “bodies and souls of men.” But while we never find in the Bible an Englishman’s horror of slavery as an institution, we are no doubt to understand that St John—perhaps even that Ezekiel—felt it to be cruel and unnatural to regard human beings as mere merchandise.Revelation 18:13. Ἄμωμον, amomum) A kind of shrub, the wood of which affords a sweet odour. [This reading is not to be omitted. Amomum is pleasing to the people of Italy.[202]—Not. Crit.]— καὶ κτήνη, καὶ πρόβατα, and beasts of burden, and sheep) These kinds differ, as בקר and צאן among the Hebrews. Thus צאן ובקר, Jeremiah 31 (Gr. 38) 12, ΚΑῚ ΚΤΗΝῶΝ ΚΑῚ ΠΡΟΒΆΤΩΝ. One of the LXX., or, as the Talmudical treatise respecting the scribes teaches, according to the number or the books of Moses, one of the five, translators has plainly expressed the passage of Genesis 46:34, ἐρεῖτε, ἄνδρες κτηνοτρόφοι ἐσμὲνβδέλυγμα γὰρ ἐστιν Αἰγυπτίοις πᾶς ποιμὴν προβάτων.—ῥεδῶν) Vulg. rhedarum. רכב, LXX., ἍΡΜΑ, which noun is found also, ch. Revelation 11:9. עגלה is rendered by LXX. often, ἍΜΑΞΑ. But ῬΈΔΗ is to be found in no writer, who wrote in Greek before John. Nor does the particular object itself appear to have been known to the Greeks: for different nations delight in different forms of vehicles. Neither is rheda, or, according to Isidore, reda, a Greek word, as Andreas of Cæsareia sufficiently teaches on this passage, explaining ῬΈΔΑΝ, for the sake of the Greeks, by ὌΧΗΜΑ, as Theophylact does ΚΟΥΣΤΩΔΊΑΝ, by ΦΥΛΑΚῊΝ, Matthew 27:65. Nor did rheda sound with less novelty among the Greeks, than that word ὄχημα would sound in the Latin language. It is owing to this that the Greek copyists wrote in this place ῥεδῶν with such variations.[203] The modern Greek version, ἀμάξια. Many Gallic words prevailed, as rheda, which Cicero uses, says Quintil. l. i. c. 5; but Isidore: the reda is a kind of four-wheeled carriage; these the ancients called retæ, because they had rotæ [wheels]: l. xx. 12. The Arabian version, better acquainted with Greek than with Latin, substituted of mules and camels. The word thus introduced into the Latin state, and therefore become Latin, is not without design used in this passage. This stricture indeed attacks Rome, and the luxury which is peculiar to Rome. Jerome on Isaiah 66 : With Gallic waggon, and war-chariots, and horses of Cappadocia and Spain; and carriages of Italy [REDIS ITALIÆ], etc. On the Hebrews, meant by the use of Hebrew words, comp. note on ch. Revelation 7:4.— καὶ σωμάτων, καὶ ψυχὰς ἀνθρώπων) The Greeks often say σώματα instead of slaves: Tob 10:10 (11), σώματα καὶ κτήνη καὶ ἀργύριον: and thus LXX., Genesis 36:6, πάντα τὰ σώματα τοῦ οἴκου αὐτοῦ. The same again, Ezekiel 27:13, ἐνεμπορεύονταί σοι ἐν ψυχαῖς ἀνθρώπων. In both these passages נפש and אדם נפש are the words in the Hebrew. Ψυχαὶ ἀνθρώπων are used for carcases, the dead, Numbers 9:6; Numbers 19:11, but also for the living, Leviticus 24:17, especially captives or slaves, Numbers 31:35; Numbers 31:40; Numbers 31:46. In this passage, where merchants are introduced complaining, the bodies are slaves, used for carrying merchandise or their masters: the souls of men are slaves, in so far as they are in themselves counted as merchandise.

[202] AC Vulg. Syr. read ἄμωμον. B Memph. h omit it.—E.

[203] Many wrote it ῥαιδῶν. But ABC ῥεδῶν.—E.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. Cinnamon (κινάμωμον)

Mentioned as one of the ingredients of the holy oil for anointing (Exodus 30:23), and as a perfume for the bed (Proverbs 7:17).

And spice (καὶ ἄμωμον)

These words are added by the best texts. A fragrant Indian plant, with seed in grape-like clusters, from which ointment was made. Preparations for the hair were made from it. Virgil, describing the coming golden age, says: "The Assyrian amomum shall spring up as a common plant" ("Eclogue" iv., 25; Compare "Eclogue" iii., 89). Forbiger (Virgil) says that the best was raised in Armenia, a poorer quality in Media and Pontus.

Fine flour (σεμίδαλιν)

Only here in the New Testament.

Cattle (κτήνη)

See on Luke 10:34.

Merchandise of horses

Merchandise is not in the text. It resumes the construction of γόμον merchandise with the genitive in Revelation 18:12.

Chariots (ῥεδῶν)

A Latin word though of Gallic origin, rheda. It had four wheels.

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