Revelation 18:17
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,
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THE LAMENT OF THE SHIPMASTERS (Revelation 18:17-19).—On the whole passage read Ezekiel 27:32, &c.

(17, 18) And every shipmaster. . . .—Or, better, And every shipmaster, and every one who sails for a place, and sailors, and all who work the sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, Who is like the great city? With this expression compare the similar one applied to the beast (Revelation 13:4). It is the outcry of those who call to mind, with pain, a glory that was great, but now is gone. It is not to be taken as meaning “what city has suffered as she has?” but rather is it the recollection of her former splendour—“how great she was.” This lingering of the mind over delights now vanished is one subtle element of misery. So the hapless Francesca thought—

“There is no greater woe,

Than to remember days of happiness

Amid affliction.” Inf. v. 121-3.

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.For in one hour - In a very brief period - so short, that it seemed to them to be but one hour. In the prediction Revelation 18:8, it is said that it would be "in one day" (see the notes on that place); here it is said that, to the on-lookers, it seemed to be but an hour. There is no inconsistency, therefore, between the two statements.

So great riches is come to nought - All the accumulated wealth of so great and rich a city. This should have been united with Revelation 18:16, as it is a part of the lamentation of the merchants, and as the lamentation of the mariners commences in the other part of the verse. It is so divided in the Greek Testaments.

And every ship-master - This introduces the lamentation of the mariners, who would, of course, be deeply interested in the destruction of a city with which they had been accustomed to trade, and by carrying merchandise to which they had been enriched. The word "ship-master" - κυβερνήτης kubernētēs - means, properly, a "governor"; then a governor of a ship - the "steersman" or "pilot," Acts 27:11.

And all the company in ships - Prof. Stuart renders this "coasters." There is here, however, an important difference in the reading of the text. The commonly received text is, πᾶς ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων ὁ ὅμιλος pas epi tōn ploiōn ho homilos - "the whole company in ships," as in our common version; the reading which is now commonly adopted, and which is found in Griesbach, Hahn, and Tittmann, is ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων ho epi topon pleōn - "he who sails to a place"; that is, he who sails from one place to another along the coast, or who does not venture out far to sea; and thus the phrase would denote a secondary class of sea-captains or officers - those less venturesome, or experienced, or bold than others. There can be little doubt that this is the correct reading (compare Wetatein, in loco); and hence the class of seamen here referred to is "coasters." Such seamen would naturally be employed where there was a great and luxurious maritime city, and would have a deep interest in its fall.

And sailors - Common seamen.

And as many as trade by sea - In any kind of craft, whether employed in a near or a remote trade.

Stood afar off - notes on Revelation 18:10.

17. is come to naught—Greek, "is desolated."

shipmaster—Greek, "steersman," or "pilot."

all the company in ships—A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac read, "Every one who saileth to a place" (B has "… to the place"), every voyager. Vessels were freighted with pilgrims to various shrines, so that in one month (A.D. 1300) two hundred thousand pilgrims were counted in Rome [D'Aaubigne, Histoire de la Reformation]: a source of gain, not only to the Papal see, but to shipmasters, merchants, pilots, &c. These latter, however, are not restricted to those literally "shipmasters," &c., but mainly refer, in the mystical sense, to all who share in the spiritual traffic of apostate Christendom.

In one hour; that is, suddenly. The term denotes rather the surprisal of this judgment, than the short space of time within which it should be effected.

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought,.... That is, in a very short time, expressing the suddenness and speediness of Rome's destruction, the quick dispatch and expedition that will be made in it, by the instruments of it, as in Revelation 18:10. Rome was always famous for its great wealth and riches; the Jews have a saying (l), that if ten kabs of riches descend into the world, the ancient Romans take nine of them, and the other the whole world:

and every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off; the lamentation of the kings and merchants of the earth being ended, masters of ships, sailors, and seafaring men begin theirs: by "ships" are meant dioceses, abbeys, priories, and monasteries; and by the masters, or governors of them, bishops, abbots, priors, the heads of monasteries, and of the several orders of the Franciscans, Dominicans, &c. and by "all the company in ships", or "every shipmate", the fellows that belong to every religious house and order; and by "sailors" and "traders at sea", all such who compass sea and land to make proselytes to the Romish religion, like the Pharisees of old, and who, as they, make them two fold more the children of hell than themselves; and, in general, these traders abroad may design the pope's legates, sent by him into various parts, to collect his revenues, and the Jesuits, who are everywhere sent abroad to sow sedition and false doctrine, and the priests that travel about to sell pardons and indulgences: these

stood afar off; as the kings and merchants before, for fear of sharing in the condemnation and punishment of Babylon; knowing full well that they deserved it, having been associates with her in her crimes.

(l) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 49. 2.

{11} 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,

(11) The manner of mourning used by them that trade by sea.

Revelation 18:17-19. The lament of the shipmasters, which likewise contains the three points of Revelation 18:9 sq. and Revelation 18:11-16 : the standing afar off of those lamenting, the remembrance of the city’s former glory, and the cry of woe over its destruction.

On the preterite forms of statement (ἔστησαν, Revelation 18:17, ἔκραζον, Revelation 18:18-19), from which, however, according to the plan of the entire description, ch. 18. it is not to be inferred that John actually beheld the fall of the city, cf. on Revelation 18:11, and the preliminary note on ch. 18.

All classes of mariners are mentioned, just as, Revelation 18:11 sqq., all classes of merchants were indicated: “pilots,” and πᾶς ὁ ἑπὶ τόπον πλέων, i.e., not exactly the “coasters,”[3990] but those who regularly sailed to a definite harbor;[3991] and ναῦται, i.e., “mariners” in general; and, as it is finally said, “as many as work the sea,” i.e., all those for whom the sea is the sphere of their calling and the source of livelihood; fishermen also belong to this category. On the expression common in the classics, τὴν θάλ. ἐργάζεσθαι, “to work the sea,” cf. many examples in Wetst.

καπνὸν τ. πυρ. Cf. Revelation 18:9.

The question of lamentation, τίς ὁμοία τῇ πόλει τῇ μεγάλῃ; is likewise a sarcastic allusion to the former self-deification of the metropolis of the empire.[3992]

ἔβαλον χοῦν, κ.τ.λ. Cf. Ezekiel 27:30. Concerning this sign of grief, cf. Winer, Rwb., on the word.

ἐν ᾖ ἐπλούτησαν, κ.τ.λ. The city was the place where all mariners with their manifold wares had found a rich and productive market; for, because of its precious treasures,[3993] the city was able to become the source of wealth to all dealers. (ἐπλούτ.

ἐκ τῆς τιμιότητος αὐτ. Cf. Revelation 18:3.

ἠρημώθη.) Cf. Revelation 17:3. [See Note LXXXIII., p. 449.]

[3990] De Wette.

[3991] Beng., Hengstenb., etc. Cf. Acts 27:2.

[3992] Cf. Revelation 13:4.

[3993] Cf. Revelation 18:16.

Revelation 18:17. ἐργάζονται κ.τ.λ. = “whose business is on the sea”. The passage reflects the importance of Rome especially for the trade of the Levant. Pliny (H. N. vi. 101, xii. 84) gives the large figures of Oriental imports and their cost, adding sarcastically tanti nobis deliciae et feminae constant (Friedländer, iii. 48–51). The regret of the mariners for the grandeur that was Rome passes rapidly into a sense of commercial loss.

17. is come to nought] Lit., is made desolate.

all the company in ships] Read with R. V., and everyone that saileth any whither. The words will probably stand for the merchants travelling in ships with their own goods, which they intend to sell on arriving at their destination—Lat. vectores.

sailors] Cf. Ezekiel 27:29 sqq.

trade by sea] Lit., work the sea. The sense is more general than the A. V.: it will include all three classes, shipmasters, sailing merchants, and sailors.

Revelation 18:17. Πᾶς ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων) I was not right, I think, in disparaging this reading in my Apparatus.[204] It is supported by the best copies, and denotes indeed a class of men differing from pilots, to whom however it is subjoined, and from sailors, and from all, who trade by sea. Therefore ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων must be he, who repeatedly directs his ship to one place, mart, or country. Others read, Πᾶς Ὁ ἘΠῚ ΤῶΝ ΠΛΟΊΩΝ ΠΛΈΩΝ; others, Πᾶς ἘΠῚ ΤῶΝ ΠΛΟΊΩΝ Ὁ ὍΜΙΛΟς. The former reading arose from haste, as it seems; the latter from a paraphrase of the genuine reading.—ΚΑῚ ὍΣΟΙ ΤῊΝ ΘΆΛΑΣΣΑΝ ἘΡΓΆΖΟΝΤΑΙ) ἘΡΓΆΖΕΣΘΑΙ is not only to effect anything by labour, but also, which is the meaning here, to be engaged upon, to have to do with. Thus LXX., ἐργάζεσθαι γῆν, παράδεισον, ἀμπελῶνα, πόλιν, χρυσίον, κ.τ.λ.

[204] Therefore it is preferred in the margin of Ed. II. and in Vers. Germ.—E. B.

ABCh Vulg. read ὁ ἐπὶ (τὸν, B) τόπον πλέων. Rec. Text, without good authority, ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων ὁ ὅμιλος.—E.

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. Revelation 18:17Shipmaster (κυβερνήτης)

From κυβερνάω to govern. Strictly, steersman. Only here and Acts 27:11.

All the company in ships (πᾶς ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων ὁ ὅμιλος)

The best texts substitute ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων, that saileth anywhere, lit., saileth to a place. So Rev.

Trade by sea (τὴν θάλασσαν ἐργάζονται)

Lit., work the sea, like the Latin mare exercent, live by seafaring. Rev., gain their living by sea.

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