Revelation 18:9
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall mourn her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) And the kings of the earth. . . .—Read, And there shall weep and mourn over her the kings of the earth, who with her committed fornication and luxuriated, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off because of the fear of her torment, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon the strong city; because in one hour is come thy judgment. Kings, merchants (Revelation 18:11-17), shippers (Revelation 18:17-19) join in lamenting the overthrow of the great city; all stand afar off, as though fearing to be involved in her ruin; all cry, “Woe” (or, Alas!) at the beginning of their lament; and at the close the words, “in one hour,” telling the suddenness of the great city’s overthrow, recur (Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:17; Revelation 18:19) with the monotony of a passing bell heard at intervals amid the strains of sad music. The parallel passages in Ezekiel 26:15-16; Ezekiel 27:35, should be compared. The grief described is the result of fear mingled with selfishness; the mourners remember with a regret, only tempered with terror, the voluptuous life, the quick-growing profits, and the varied commercial advantages which they have lost in her overthrow.

THE LAMENT OF THE MERCHANTS (Revelation 18:11-17).—The lament proper, that is, the actual words put in the mouths of the merchants, is contained in Revelation 18:16-17. The immediately preceding verses describe the various kinds of merchandise which were dealt in.

Revelation 18:9-11. And the kings of the earth, &c. — Even the chief rulers and great powers of the world, who were formerly in league with her, and supported her in her corruptions, practised her idolatries, and lived deliciously with her — Shared in the pomp and luxury of her prosperous state; shall bewail her, &c. — Shall not be able to afford her any support or defence, or to do any more than fruitlessly condole with her, and lament her sad condition, when they shall behold all these calamities come suddenly upon her. Saying, Alas, alas! — Only expressing their astonishment at so great and wonderful a revolution, so little expected, so little thought of; that great city, that mighty city — Rome was anciently termed by its inhabitants, Valentia, that is, strong; and the word Rome itself, in Greek, signifies strength. This name was given to it by the Greek strangers. For in one hour is thy judgment come — How strange, how awful, that so great and mighty a city should be so suddenly, so utterly destroyed! And the merchants of the earth — Her men of business, and those skilled in the affairs of life, who gained so much by her preferments, and by employments under her; the men of riches and credit in the several nations which she had corrupted, and who were supported in their pride and luxury by her means, shall not be able to help in this hour of her distress, any more than the kings of the earth; they can only weep and mourn for her misery, and for their own loss in her destruction. Now all commerce with her shall be utterly cut off; and no man by her means shall obtain wealth, credit, or power, any more.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 the kings of the earth - This verse commences the description of the lamentation over the fall of the mystical Babylon (see the Analysis of the chapter).

Who have committed fornication - That is, who have been seduced by her from the true God, and have been led into practical idolatry. See the notes on Revelation 14:8. The kings of the earth seem to be represented as among the chief mourners, because they had derived important aid from the power which was now to be reduced to ruin. As a matter of fact, the kings of Europe have owed much of their influence and power to the support which has been derived from the papacy, and when that power shall fall, there will fall much that has contributed to sustain oppressive and arbitrary governments, and that has prevented the extension of popular liberty. In fact, Europe might have been long since free, if it had not been for the support which despotic governments have derived from the papacy.

And lived deliciously with her - In the same kind of luxury and dissoluteness of manners. See Revelation 18:3, Revelation 18:7. The courts of Europe, under the papacy, have had the same general character for dissoluteness and licentiousness as Rome itself. The same views of religion produce the same effects everywhere.

Shall bewail her, and lament for her - Because their ally is destroyed, and the source of their power is taken away. The fall of the papacy will be the signal for a general overturning of the thrones of Europe.

When they shall see the smoke of her burning - When they shall see her on fire, and her smoke ascending toward heaven. See the notes on Revelation 14:11.

9. lived deliciously—Greek, "luxuriated." The faithless Church, instead of reproving, connived at the self-indulgent luxury of the great men of this world, and sanctioned it by her own practice. Contrast the world's rejoicing over the dead bodies of the two witnesses (Re 11:10) who had tormented it by their faithfulness, with its lamentations over the harlot who had made the way to heaven smooth, and had been found a useful tool in keeping subjects in abject tyranny. Men's carnal mind relishes a religion like that of the apostate Church, which gives an opiate to conscience, while leaving the sinner license to indulge his lusts.

bewail her—A, B, C, Syriac, Coptic, and Cyprian omit "her."

Not all of them, for some of them shall help to burn her, Revelation 17:16; but such as God had left to their hardness of heart, that they still live in her fellowship and communion: or, if others also, it must proceed from their humanity, not being able to see so splendid a city, as that of Rome, ruined, and so many ruined as will perish by her fall, without the moving of their bowels by some pity and commiseration. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication,.... Idolatry, Revelation 17:2

and lived deliciously with her; Revelation 18:3 joining with her in her sensual, as well as in her idolatrous practices:

shall bewail her, and lament for her: shall mourn inwardly, and by various gestures outwardly express their sorrow at her desolation; see Ezekiel 27:30 these will not be the ten kings who will burn the whore with fire, and then repent of what they have done, and weep over her, as Titus did at the destruction of Jerusalem, as some Popish writers have fancied, for they will hate the whore, and eat her flesh; but earthly and idolatrous kings, who will be in the communion of the church of Rome:

when they shall see the smoke of her burning: as Abraham saw the smoke of Sodom and Gomorrah go up like the smoke of a furnace; by which they will perceive that her judgment is come, and her ruin begun.

And {8} 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,

(8) The circumstances following the fall of Babylon, or the consequences of it (as I distinguished them in) see Geneva Re 18:4 are two. Namely the lamentation of the wicked to Re 18:5-19 and the rejoicing of the godly in Re 18:20. This sorrowful lamentation, according to those that lament, has three parts: the first of which is the mourning of the kings and mighty men of the earth, Re 18:9,10: The second is, the lamentation of the merchants that trade by land, to the sixteenth verse: Re 18:11-16. The third is, the wailing of those that trade by sea, in Re 18:16-18. In each of those the cause and manner of their mourning is described in order, according to the condition of those that mourn, with observation of that which best agrees to them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 18:9 sq. The lament of the kings of the earth.[3955] Cf. Revelation 14:11. The βασανισμός of the city, through which they are affected by the judgment, is its actual πυρῶσις.[3956] Accordingly the lamenting kings stand at a distance: they dread the conflagration in which the city perishes.[3957]

Οὐαί, οὐαί. With the διπλώσατε, Revelation 18:6, the repetition of the cry of woe, which corresponds only to the extremity of the pain,[3958] has nothing to do.[3959]

ἡ πόλις ἡ μεγάλη, κ.τ.λ. The allusion to the greatness and power of the city[3960] makes still more forcible the impression of its destruction, which is expressly designated as the reason for the lamentation (ὅτι, κ.τ.λ.).

[3955] Cf. Revelation 17:2.

[3956] Cf. Revelation 1:15.

[3957] Cf. Revelation 18:15.

[3958] Cf. Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:19.

[3959] Against Hengstenb.

[3960] Cf. Revelation 18:11 sqq., Revelation 19:21 sq.

Revelation 18:9-20. Now the kings and other inhabitants of the earth lament for the rash pride of the great city, whereby they also are painfully affected.[3954] Yet in Revelation 18:11; Revelation 18:17, a similar change in form of statement occurs, as in Revelation 11:11 compared with Revelation 11:7.

[3954] Cf. Ezekiel 27.Revelation 18:9-20 : the wailing on earth, by kings (Revelation 18:9-10), merchants (at length, 11–16), and seafaring men (Revelation 18:17-20), imitated from the finer and more elaborate passages in Ezekiel 26-28, where kings (Ezekiel 26:15-18), traders (very briefly and indirectly, Ezekiel 27:36), and mariners (Ezekiel 27:29-36) are all introduced in the lament over Tyre’s downfall. Contrast the joy of the three classes in Revelation 18:20. A triple rhythm pervades (cf. Revelation 18:2-3; Revelation 18:6; Revelation 18:8; Revelation 18:14; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:19) but does not dominate this grim doom-song, somewhat after the well-known structure of the Semitic elegy. But the three laments are all characteristic. The kings are saddened by the swift overthrow of power (10), and the reverse of fortune; the merchants (Revelation 18:11; Revelation 18:16) by the loss of a profitable market, the mariners by the sudden blow inflicted on the shipping trade (Revelation 18:19).The Lamentation over them on Earth, Revelation 18:9-199. the kings of the earth] Who bore a more or less immediately active part in her destruction, Revelation 17:16 : see note there.

shall bewail her] Read simply, shall weep.

the smoke of her burning] Cf. Genesis 19:28.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.)
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