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The Fall of Babylon
In the last c., the fall of Rome, and the manner of its fall, were prophetically announced. In this c., the greatness of the tragedy is shown by songs of thanksgiving and of lamentation which it calls forth.
As was suggested on Revelation 17, we may believe that the songs of the joy of angels over sinners that repent have taken the place of these songs. Yet they serve their purpose in encouraging God’s people to faith and endurance when at any time wickedness and worldliness seem to be triumphant.
The language of the prophets of the OT. is freely used. From the human side, we may say that the mind of the writer was so saturated with the old Scriptures that he naturally employed their language. From the divine side, we are to learn that ’no prophecy.. is of any private interpretation,’ 2 Peter 1:20, and that God looks on worldly wickedness at any time according to the same principles with which he regarded Babylon and Tyre of old.
1-3. Proclamation of the Fall of Rome.
2. Fallen] cp. Revelation 14:8; Isaiah 21:9. Habitation] cp. Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:13. Cage] RV ’hold,’ i.e. prison.
3. RV ’For by the wine of all the nations are fallen’: cp. Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:2. Abundance of her delicacies] RV ’power of her wantonness.’
4-8. God’s people are commanded to come out of Babylon as, before, they were warned to quit Jerusalem: cp. Jeremiah 51:45; Matthew 24:16. So, spiritually, God’s people are to take care that the pleasures of wickedness do not entice them to have fellowship with it.
5. Remembered] cp. Revelation 16:19.
6. Reward her] RV ’Render unto her’: a command to the ministers of God’s wrath. Rewarded you] RV ’rendered’: cp. Psalms 137:8. Double] i.e. very great sin calls forth very great punishment: cp. Jeremiah 16:18.
7. Lived deliciously] RV ’waxed wanton.’ Saith] cp. Isaiah 47:5.
9-20. Dirge of those who loved the wicked city. The writer evidently had in his mind Ezekiel 26. (of Tyre). The dirge is suddenly overmastered (Revelation 18:20) by the exultation of those she has oppressed.
9. Deliciously] RV ’wantonly.’
11. Rome was not a trading city, but must have been a great buyer of luxuries.
12. Thyine wood] a very hard, fragrant wood, specially valued by the Greeks and Romans as a material for tables (HDB.).
13. Cinnamon] RV ’cinnamon, and spice.’ Odours] RV’ incense.’ Beasts] RV’ cattle.’
14. Goodly] RV ’sumptuous.’
20. Ye holy apostles] RV ’ye saints, and ye apostles,’—SS. Peter and Paul were put to death at Rome.
Avenged you] RV ’judged your judgment.’
21-24. An angel compares the casting down of Babylon to the casting down of a millstone into the sea, i.e. it shall be sudden, and ’with no restoration in the future’ (Benson).
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent