Revelation 9:5
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.

King James Bible
And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

Darby Bible Translation
and it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

World English Bible
They were given power not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a person.

Young's Literal Translation
and it was given to them that they may not kill them, but that they may be tormented five months, and their torment is as the torment of a scorpion, when it may strike a man;

Revelation 9:5 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And to them it was given - There is here the same indefiniteness as in the former verse, the impersonal verb being here also used. The writer does not say by whom this power was given, whether by God, or by the leader of the host. It may be admitted, however, that the most natural interpretation is to suppose that it was given them by God, and that this was the execution of his purpose in this case. Still it is remarkable that this is not directly affirmed, and that the language is so general as to admit of the other application. The fact that they did not kill them, but tormented them - if such a fact should be found to exist - would be in every sense a fulfillment of what is here said.

That they should not kill them - This is in accordance with the nature of the symbol. The locusts do not themselves destroy any living creature; and the sting of the scorpion, though exceedingly painful, is not usually fatal. The proper fulfillment of this would be found in what would not be generally fatal, but which would diffuse misery and wretchedness. (Compare Revelation 9:6.) Perhaps all that would be necessarily meant by this would be, not that individual people would not be killed, but that they would be sent to inflict plagues and torments rather than to take life, and that the characteristic effects of their appearing would be distress and suffering rather than death. There may be included in the fair interpretation of the words, "general distress" and "sorrow"; acts of oppression, cruelty, and violence; such a condition of public suffering that people would regard death as a relief if they could find it.

But that they should be tormented - That is, that they should be subjected to ills and troubles which might be properly compared with the sting of a scorpion.

Five months - So far as the words here are concerned this might be taken literally, denoting five months or one hundred and fifty days; or as a prophetic reckoning, where a day stands for a year. Compare the notes on Daniel 9:24 ff. The latter is undoubtedly the correct interpretation here, for it is the character of the book thus to reckon time. See the notes on Revelation 9:15. If this be the true method of reckoning here, then it will be necessary to find some events which will embrace about the period of one hundred and fifty years, during which this distress and sorrow would continue. The proper laws of interpretation demand that one or the other of these periods should be found - either that of five months literally, or that of 150 years. It may be true, as Prof. Stuart suggests (in loco), that "the usual time of locusts is from May to September inclusive - five months." It may be true, also, that this symbol was chosen partly because that was the fact, and they would, from that fact, be well adapted to symbolize a period that could be spoken of as "five months"; but still the meaning must be more than simply it was "a short period," as he supposes. The phrase a few months might designate such a period; but if that had been the writer's intention, he would not have selected the definite number five.

And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, ... - See the notes on Revelation 9:3. That is, it would be painful, severe, dangerous.

Revelation 9:5 Parallel Commentaries

Library
An American Reformer.
[Illustration: Chapter header.] An upright, honest-hearted farmer, who had been led to doubt the divine authority of the Scriptures, yet who sincerely desired to know the truth, was the man specially chosen of God to lead out in the proclamation of Christ's second coming. Like many other reformers, William Miller had in early life battled with poverty, and had thus learned the great lessons of energy and self-denial. The members of the family from which he sprung were characterized by an independent,
Ellen G. White—The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan

Triumph Over Death and the Grave
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. T he Christian soldier may with the greatest propriety, be said to war a good warfare (I Timothy 1:18) . He is engaged in a good cause. He fights under the eye of the Captain of his salvation. Though he be weak in himself, and though his enemies are many and mighty, he may do that which in other soldiers
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Cross References
2 Chronicles 10:11
Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'"

2 Chronicles 10:14
He spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions."

Ezekiel 2:6
"And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house.

Revelation 9:3
Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Revelation 9:10
They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.

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