Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Revelation 9:2. καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ὁ ἥλιος καὶ ὁ ἀὴφ, and the sun was darkened and the air) It is an instance of ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, as ch. Revelation 1:14, His head and His hair: ch. Revelation 19:16, His vesture and His thigh. The air was obscured, in so far as it is illuminated by the sun; the sun, in so far as it transmits its light through the air to men. Hence ἐσκοτίσθη is used, not ἐσκοτίσθησαν. Wherefore there is no need to inquire separately here, what the sun is, and its obscuring; what the air is, and its obscuring. The darkness, which arose to the Jews in Persia, is here pointed out. [Cent. vi.]
Revelation 9:5. ΄ῆνας πέντε) Some Lat. MSS. have six months. I was long ago, but easily added to V. The number five is repeated, Revelation 9:10. Five months in prophecy are 79 complete ordinary years, from A. 510 to 589. The men who were tormented were Israelites, who had not received the Divine seal: the locusts were Persians, who dreadfully harassed them.
Revelation 9:5; Revelation 9:10. βασανισθῶσι· ἀδικῆσαι) The one fact is expressed in a twofold manner, passively and actively. The locusts ἀδικοῦσι, hurt: men βασανίζονται, are tormented. So, to slay and to be slain, Revelation 9:15; Revelation 9:18; to have those who nourish, and to be nourished, ch. Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14.
Revelation 9:8. ὡς τρίχας γυναικῶν, as the hair of women) that is, hair growing long. Thus the Arabians in Pliny: and thus the Persians were in former times. Æschylus, according to Athenæus, l. xiv. f. 627, βαθυχαιτήεις μῆδος. The Persians were called by the Delphic oracle κομῆται.—Herodotus l. vi. f. 176. See altogether Thorn. Hyde Hist. Relig. of the ancient Persians, p. 369. The kingdom of the Persians, Daniel 7:5, is represented as a shaggy bear.
Revelation 9:9. τρεχόντων) That the construction may be plain, the ἅρματα ἵππων πολλῶν τρέχοντα εἰς πόλεμον have φωνὴν, a sound. Andreas here calls them ἅρματα πολεμικὰ. The running horses draw the chariot: but the chariots themselves in their course strictly and closely cause the noise (“sound”). See Joel 2:5.
Revelation 9:11. (95) ἀβαδδὼν— ἀπολλύων) The Septuagint renders Abaddon by ἀπώλεια: here it is put in the concrete, ἀπολλύων.— ἐν δὲ τῇ ἑλληνικῇ) The feminine, put for the neuter, by a Hebraism, as immediately afterwards ἡ οὐαὶ: or by ellipsis of the noun γλῶττα, of the omission of which by the Greeks, L. Bos notes down instances. By the Hebrew and Greek nomenclature of this angel, Patrick Forbes and James Durham acknowledge that the Jews and Greeks, harassed by the locusts, are pointed out.
Revelation 9:12. ἡ οὐαὶ ἡ μία) The feminine, as was just before noticed. We shall express the woe sometimes in the neuter gender, with the Latin translators, sometimes in the feminine; just as it shall tend to the perspicuity of my discourse. One woe, that is, the first.
Revelation 9:13. καὶ, and) The second woe relates to the Saracens.— ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων κεράτων) The ancients omit τεσσάρων:(96) the altar of incense had horns; in the writings of Moses it is not read of as having four horns.
Revelation 9:13-14. φωνὴν μίαν— λέγοντα) I regard this reading of the Alexandrian Manuscript as genuine. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. In the Cod. of Berlin, the masculine gender is transferred from the participle to the adjective, a stop being inserted between, vocem, unum,(97) etc.— ἐνώπιον—, before—) where the heavenly liturgy is performed.
Revelation 9:14. ὁ ἔχων(98)) See App. In what manner τῷ ἀγγέλῳ ὁ ἔχων is said, will be plain from the note on ch. Revelation 20:2.— ΄εγάλῳ) I have said that this frequent epithet of the Euphrates is more necessary at ch. Revelation 16:12 than at ch. Revelation 9:14. Wolf thinks that it is equally adapted to the two passages: but the greatness, or the width and depth of the river, certainly increases the miraculousness of its being dried up: Psalms 74:15. But here the same greatness of the river does not so greatly apply to the angels who are bound in the river: nay, it is even more inappropriate, if the angels were bound in that quarter, where that river is less; a matter which no one can either affirm or deny. However it is, the commentary of Apringius is added to the authorities which are without this adjective.(99) The great river Euphrates is also read, Deuteronomy 1:7; Joshua 1:4; but it is the river Euphrates, Deuteronomy 11:24, in the Hebrew: for in that place also in the Greek τοῦ μεγάλου is added. Nor is the article repeated without reason, τῷ ποταμῷ τῷ εὐφράτῃ; for thus we read, Genesis 19:9, τὸν ἀνδρὰ τὸν λώτ. In Ezek. it is often read, ἐπὶ τοῦ ποταμοῦ τοῦ χοβάρ. It is Apposition.
Revelation 9:15. τὴν) The article removes the distributive force, as E. Schmid teaches in his Notes on the New Testament, f. 806; wherefore it is not any hour, day, month, year, whatever that is meant, but a definite period of times; that is, a period of about 207 years, if it seem correct, from A. 629 to A. 836, or from A. 634 to A. 840, that is, from the last time of Abubeker(100) to the death of Motassem.(101) See especially the Saracenic Chronicle of Drechsler enlarged by Reiske, pp. 14–37, and Hottinger Eccl. Hist. Sec. vii. viii. and ix., and Comp. Theatr. Orient. Part i. ch. 3.
Revelation 9:16. δισμυριάδες μυριάδων) A chiliad is 1000; but a myriad, 10,000. Myriads (the plural number being taken in its strictest sense, for a twofold number, as ch. Revelation 12:14), 20,000. Therefore one chiliad of chiliads is 1,000,000; a chiliad of myriads is 10,000,000; a myriad of myriads, 100,000,000; myriads of myriads, 200,000,000. But what are δισμυριάδες μυριάδων, δὶς being added in the best copies(102) to the plural number of myriads? δισ΄ύριοι often occurs in the 2d Book of Maccabees. Thence δισ΄υριὰς (like δισχιλιὰς, the former part of the compound being unchangeable, as is the case with numerals), that is, a myriad doubled [400 millionen, auf das wenigste.—Not. Crit.]: such as also are those expressions, Genesis 32:2, two camps; Ecclesiastes 6:6, a thousand years twice (told); Psalms 68:17, two myriads, thousands upon thousands: Geier especially being the interpreter. Whoever translated it in Primasius, as 80,000, was neither a Grecian nor an arithmetician: and yet he also appears to have read δισμυριάδες μυριάδων, as others did in Primasius; and, unless I am deceived, he at first thought that myriads of myriads, which appeared to denote something squared, were four myriads, or 40,000: then having doubled this very sum, on account of the particle δὶς, he took it as 80,000, when there were in reality 400,000,000 horsemen. The Apocalypse expresses in a twofold manner several periods of times, especially under the first and third woe: but it marks the duration of the second woe once only, by an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year; and in turn under that woe, instead of a second indication of time, it indicates the number of equestrian armies, that is, of the horsemen. The second woe is a period of about 207 years of men: therefore for every year (if there arose other or fresh horsemen every year) the immense body of 2,000,000, or at least, if that δὶς is not satisfactory to any one, 1,000,000 horsemen, are collected. When John adds, that their number was heard by him, he hints, that the certain number specified, if it is put for an uncertain one, yet has not a wide uncertainty; and that the greatness of the number, however incredible it may appear, is still to be credited. At the last even a greater multitude springs forth: ch. Revelation 20:8.
Revelation 9:17. πυρίνους καὶ ὑακινθίνους καὶ θειώδεις, of fire, and of jacinth, and of brimstone) Lucretius joins together the same colours in another matter: lib. iv.—
Lutea russaque vela
(yellow, red, and black hangings). Ferruginea are the same as hyacinthina. Virgil says, ferrugineos hyacinthos; that is, according to Servius, of a dark colour. Wherefore in this passage, the breast-plates of jacinth and the smoke answer to one another; as the breast-plates of fire and the fire, and the breastplates of brimstone and the brimstone. Literal and figurative things are blended together in this and the following verses.
Revelation 9:19. αἱ γὰρ οὐραὶ αὐτῶν ὅμοιαι ὄφεσιν, ἔχουσαι κεφαλὰς, καὶ ἐι αὐταῖς ἀδικοῦσι, for their tails (are) like serpents, and have heads, and with them they do hurt) Such is the serpent, the amphisbœna, ἀμφικάρηνος, of which Pliny speaks, lib. viii. c. 23: The amphisbœna has a double head, that is, one from the tail also, as though it were not enough that poison should be poured from one mouth. Lucan: And the dreadful amphisbœna rising upon its double head. Solinus, ch. 30: The amphisbœna rises upon its two heads, of which the one is in its proper place, the other is in that part where the tail is; by which it is occasioned, that by the leaning of the head on both sides it creeps along in circular trails. Add Nicander, and Hesychius, who says that it is εἶδος ὄφεως— τὴν οὐρὰν κολοβὴν ἔχον, καὶ ταύτῃ πολλάκις τὴν πορείαν ποιούμενον, ὥστε τινὰς ἀμφισβητεῖν, μὴ δύο κεφαλὰς ἔχει. Of whatever kind the head in the tail of the amphisbœna is, it illustrates this picture in the Apocalypse.
Revelation 9:20-21. οὔτε— καὶ οὐ) A Predicate of two members—in Latin, neque, neque (neither, nor). There are similar particles, John 4:11; 3 John Revelation 9:10; Mark 5:3-4. [Their repentance had been the aim of the plagues.—V. g.]— τὰ εἴδωλα, idols) The worship of images was solemnly established in the East, A. 842.— τῆς πορνείας) The plural, πορνεῖαι, is used, 1 Corinthians 7:2; and yet in this place the singular number is placed between plurals. Other acts of wickedness are performed by men at intervals: there is one perpetual πορνεία in the case of those who are without purity of heart.
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