Revelation 18:23
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: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) For thy merchants were the great . . .—The judgment does not fall because the merchants were great: it is the sorcery of the next clause which is the true cause of her fall: the merchants are those who traded with her, as well as those who dwelt in her: by “her sorceries” we must understand her artful policy, her attractiveness, and the seductions by which she drew into the meshes of her worldliness and sin the nations around. “In thy sorcery were all the nations led astray” (Revelation 13:14).

18:20-24 That which is matter of rejoicing to the servants of God on earth, is matter of rejoicing to the angels in heaven. The apostles, who are honoured and daily worshipped at Rome in an idolatrous manner, will rejoice in her fall. The fall of Babylon was an act of God's justice. And because it was a final ruin, this enemy should never molest them any more; of this they were assured by a sign. Let us take warning from the things which brought others to destruction, and let us set our affections on things above, when we consider the changeable nature of earthly things.And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee - Another image of desolation, as if every light were put out, and there were total darkness.

And the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee - The merry and cheerful voice of the marriage procession in the streets (notes on Matthew 25:1-7), or the cheerful, glad voice of the newly-married couple in their own dwelling (notes on John 3:29).

For thy merchants were the great men of the earth - Those who dealt with thee were the rich, and among them were even nobles and princes; and now that they trade with thee no more there is occasion for lamentation and sorrow. The contrast is great between the time when distinguished foreigners crowded thy marts, and now, when none of any kind come to traffic with thee. The origin of this representation is probably the description of Tyre in Ezekiel 27.

For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived - This is stated as a reason for the ruin that had come upon her. It is a common representation of papal Rome that she has deceived or deluded the nations of the earth (see the notes on Revelation 13:14), and no representation ever made accords more with facts as they have occurred. The word "sorceries" here refers to the various arts the tricks impostures, and false pretences by which this has been done. See the notes on Revelation 9:21.

23. What a blessed contrast is Re 22:5, respecting the city of God: "They need no candle (just as Babylon shall no more have the light of a candle, but for a widely different reason), for the Lord God giveth them light."

candle—Translate as Greek, "lamp."

bridegroom … bride … no more … in thee—Contrast the heavenly city, with its Bridegroom, Bride, and blessed marriage supper (Re 19:7, 9; 21:2, 9; Isa 62:4, 5).

thy merchants were—So most of the best authorities read. But A omits the Greek article before "merchants," and then translates, "The great men of … were thy merchants."

sorceries—Greek, "sorcery."

See Poole on "Revelation 18:22"

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee,.... Either for common use, or at feasts, or at marriages, which being kept at night, required candies, lamps, or torches; this shows that Babylon, or Rome, shall be deprived of everything, even of the least thing that is comfortable in life; see Jeremiah 25:10 this will be a just punishment upon her for her abuse of this blessing of life; so where wax candles in great numbers have been burning in the daytime, there will not be so much as a single candle to give light in the night; and where candles have been lighted up for the dead, there will not be one for the use of the living:

and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: there will be no marrying, nor giving in marriage; no procreation of children, or propagation of posterity, in this place; which denotes the utter extirpation of the inhabitants of it; the phrases are taken from Jeremiah 7:34 Jeremiah 25:10 and this will be in righteous retaliation for the prohibition of marriage; which God has instituted, and is honourable, 1 Timothy 4:2 the reasons of Babylon's destruction follow:

for thy merchants were the great men of the earth: in allusion to the merchants of Tyre, said to be princes, Isaiah 23:8 for by trading and dealing in the wares and merchandise of Rome, persons of mean extract, and of very low circumstances of life, have grown exceeding rich, and have equalled the princes of the earth; as for instance, Cardinal Wolsey here in England, a butcher's son at Ipswich; and on the other hand, the princes and great men of the earth have become Rome's merchants, and have thought it an high honour to get a cardinal's hat, as the Cardinals Albertus duke of Austria, Bourbon, Pool, and others, mentioned by Brightman:

for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived; meaning her false doctrines, traditions, idolatry, superstition, and will worship, with which, as another Jezebel, she has bewitched, allured, and deceived the nations of the empire, and the kings thereof, Revelation 18:3.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 18:23. Contrast the εὑρέθη of 24 with the εὑρήσουσιν of Revelation 18:14 which in its canonical position is an erratic boulder. φαρμακίᾳ, primarily in the figurative O.T. sense already noticed (harlotry and magic spells, as in Yasna ix. 32). But a literal allusion is not to be excluded, in view of the antipathy felt by pious Jews and early Christians to magic and sorcery. As Rome represented the existing authorities under whose aegis these black arts managed to flourish, and as they were generally bound up with religion, it would not be unnatural to charge the Empire with promoting sorcery (Weinel 10).—ἐπλαν. “Commerce, as having regard to purely worldly interests, is called harlotry” [Cheyne on Isaiah 23:17]. Sorcery, witchcraft, “fornication,” and the persecution of the righteous, are all manifestations of the lawlessness practised by Beliar working in men and kings (Asc. Isa. ii. 4, 5).

23. the voice of the bridegroom &c.] Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9.

for thy merchants &c.] Isaiah 23:8, of Tyre. Some read “for the great men of the earth were thy merchants”, which makes the resemblance less close, but does not forbid our seeing a reference.

by thy sorceries] Compare especially Nahum 3:4.

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. Revelation 18:23Bridegroom - bride

Compare Jeremiah 25:10.

Great men (μεγιστᾶνες)

Rev., princes. See on Revelation 6:15.

By thy sorceries (ἐν τῇ φαρμακείᾳ σου)

See on Revelation 9:21. Rev., more literally, with thy sorcery.

Were deceived (ἐπλανήθησαν)

Or led astray. See on Mark 12:24.

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