And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
The words "he causeth" clearly ascribe this operation to the second beast. If it had been the first we might imagine that some outward mark or sign was meant, for that beast deals with the visible and outward. But this one stamps an image on the souls of men; this writes a name on all their inward thoughts, which afterwards expresses itself in their common daily acts. Men fancy, when they read and talk of some great tyrant-power which has established itself in their country or their age, that they are reading and talking of something which is far off from them. They can comment upon it, measure its effects, calculate the chances of its continuance or of its fall. If any complain of it as bad in its origin or immoral in its practices, wise persons will whisper, "But it does not hurt you. You can buy and sell happily under the shadow of it. Your gains are not seriously lessened. You incur no great risks of loss." And all the time these wise persons are not aware that they themselves, as well as those with whom they are conversing, have received the mark of this power on their foreheads and their right hands; that the image of it is graven in their hearts; that they are showing in these very discourses of theirs that they bear the name and character of that which they are excusing.
(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: