English Standard Version
and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:
King James Bible
And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
American Standard Version
and before the throne, as it were a sea of glass like a crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.
And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind.
English Revised Version
and before the throne, as it were a glassy sea like unto crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.
Webster's Bible Translation
And before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal: And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living beings full of eyes before and behind.
Weymouth New Testament
And in front of the throne there seemed to be a sea of glass, resembling crystal. And midway between the throne and the Elders, and surrounding the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind.
Revelation 4:6 Parallel
CommentaryVincent's Word Studies
Of glass (ὑαλίνη)
Rev., glassy, which describes the appearance not the material. The adjective, and the kindred noun ὕαλος glass occur only in Revelation. The etymology is uncertain; some maintaining an Egyptian origin, and others referring it to the Greek ὕω to rain, with the original signification of rain-drop. Originally, some kind of clear, transparent stone. Herodotus says that the Ethiopians place their dead bodies "in a crystal pillar which has been hollowed out to receive them, crystal being dug up in great abundance in their country, and of a kind very easy to work. You may see the corpse through the pillar within which it lies; and it neither gives out any unpleasant odor, nor is it in any respect unseemly: yet there is no part that is not as plainly visible as if the body were bare" (iii., 24). Glass is known to have been made in Egypt at least 3,800 years ago. The monuments show that the same glass bottles were used then as in later times; and glass blowing is represented in the paintings in the tombs. The Egyptians possessed the art of coloring it, and of introducing gold between two layers of glass. The ruins of glass-furnaces are still to be seen at the Natron Lakes. The glass of Egypt was long famous. It was much used at Rome for ornamental purposes, and a glass window has been discovered at Pompeii: Pliny speaks of glass being malleable.
Compare Ezekiel 1:22; Job 37:18; Exodus 24:10. The word is used in classical Greek for ice. Thucydides, describing the attempt of the Plataeans to break out from their city when besieged by the Peloponnesians and Boeotians, relates their climbing over the wall and crossing the ditch, but only after a hard struggle; "for the ice (κρύσταλλος) in it was not frozen hard enough to bear" (iii., 23). Crystal, regarded as a mineral, was originally held to be only pure water congealed, by great length of time, into ice harder than common. Hence it was believed that it could be produced only in regions of perpetual ice.
In the midst of - round about
Commonly explained as one in the midst of each of the four sides of the throne. "At the extremities of two diameters passing through the center of the round throne" (Milligan).
Rev., living creatures. Alford aptly remarks that beasts is the most unfortunate word that could be imagined. Beast is θηρίον. Ζῶον emphasizes the vital element, θηρίον the bestial.
Full of eyes before and behind
The four living beings are mainly identical with the cherubim of Ezekiel 1:5-10; Ezekiel 10:5-20; Isaiah 6:2, Isaiah 6:3; though with some differences of detail. For instance, Ezekiel's cherubim have four wings, while the six described here belong to the seraphim of Isaiah. So also the Trisagion (thrice holy) is from Isaiah. In Ezekiel's vision each living being has all four faces, whereas here, each of the four has one.
"There came close after them four animals,
Incoronate each one with verdant leaf,
Plumed with six wings was every one of them,
The plumage full of eyes; the eyes of Argus
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness,
And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.
Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads.
And their whole body, their rims, and their spokes, their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes all around--the wheels that the four of them had.
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.