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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 16

Verse 1

Revelation 16:1 . Τὰς ἑπτὰ φιάλας , the seven vials ) The Epistles to the VII. Churches are distributed into III. and IV. The VII. Seals are divided into IV. and III., and likewise the VII. Trumpets, as we have seen: and now also the VII. Vials. The Trumpets have shaken the kingdom of the world in a long circuit; the vials with swift and sharp violence break to pieces the beast in particular, which had clothed himself with the kingdom of the world, and his followers and resources. Therefore the trumpets and the vials advance in the same order. The former set of four touch the earth, the sea, the rivers , and the sun: the remaining set of three fall in other quarters, and are much more violent.

Verse 2

Revelation 16:2 . Ὁ πρῶτος , the first ) Thus, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, the seventh , without the noun angel . [177] The style expresses a very quick outpouring of the vials, of which quickness this also is a proof, that the vials have no periods of times expressed. These bear a great resemblance to the plagues of Egypt, which the Hebrews generally suppose to have been inflicted at intervals of months. See Meyer ad Seder Olam, p. 287. What if the same thing should be about to happen in the case of the vials? Their whole outpouring indeed is as yet among the things to come. ἕλκος πονηρὸν , a grievous sore ) Deuteronomy 28:35 , בשחין רע , in the LXX. ἘΝ ἝΛΚΕΙ ΠΟΝΗΡῷ . [This, I believe, will be a new and hitherto unheard of plague. V. g.]

[177] Rec. Text adds ἄγγελος in ver. 3, with B: AC h Vulg. oppose it. In ver. 4 also: ABC h Vulg. opposing it. In ver. 8, 10, 12 also, with h: ABC Vulg. opposing it. In ver. 17 also, with h: AB Vulg. and Syr. opposing it. E.

Verse 5

Revelation 16:5 . [178] Ὁ ὢ καὶἦν , which art and which wast ) See on ch. Revelation 11:17 , and comp. D. Lang. Comm. Apoc. f. 188. ὁ ὅσιος ) Others put καὶ before ὁ , or for ὁ , or omit καὶ ὁ . [179] Sound exegesis often distinguishes the pearls of a genuine reading from the filth of various readings: and Wolf excellently compares with this the passage, ch. Revelation 1:8 , ΚΎΡΙΟς ΘΕῸς , ὪΝ ΚΑῚ ἮΝ ΚΑῚ ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς , ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ . It will also be profitable to have brought forward another, ch. Revelation 4:8 : ἍΓΙΟς , ἍΓΙΟς , ἍΓΙΟς , ΚΎΡΙΟς ΘΕῸς ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ , ἮΝ ΚΑῚ ὪΝ ΚΑῚ ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς . There is a very great resemblance between those two passages and this passage, which is thus: ΔΊΚΑΙΟς ΕἾ , ὪΝ ΚΑῚ ἮΝ , ὍΣΙΟς . The subject there is, ΚΎΡΙΟς ΘΕῸς ὪΝ ΚΑῚ ἮΝ ΚΑῚ ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς · here, in the vocative case, ὪΝ ΚΑῚ ἮΝ . The epithet belonging to the subject is there, ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ · here, in the same case, ὍΣΙΟς · in both places without the particle ΚΑῚ . The predicate there, ch. Revelation 4:8 , is ἍΓΙΟς · here ΔΊΚΑΙΟς . For the sentence is not to be thus construed, ΔΊΚΑΙΟς ΚΑῚ ὍΣΙΟς since there are many intervening words in the text. At the commencement and at the close of the Apocalypse the Lord is called ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΆΤΩΡ , the Almighty; here, where judgments show themselves, He is called ὁ ὅσιος , the Holy. First of all He is praised on account of His Might , lest in the time of His patience He should appear to have no strength, whereas in the end He is about to display enough of Might; afterwards He is praised for His Grace , when retribution commences. Might and Grace are alike assigned to the Lord in Psalms 62:11-19.62.12 . The epithet ὅσιος answers to the Hebrew חסיד , and signifies gracious , in an active or a passive sense. God exhibits His own grace in all His works, and He receives gratitude [the attribution of grace ] from all saints.

[178] τοῦ θηρίου , of the beast ) Therefore the vial of the first angel will be the first mark [“character,” characterism] of the beast. V. g.

[179] Engl. Vers, has “which art, and wast, and shalt be ” (omitting ὅσιος , and substituting καὶἐσόμενος or ἐρχόμενος ). ABC Vulg. support ὅσιος . h has et qui es pius . Rec. Text has καὶὅσιος . E.

Verse 6

Revelation 16:6 . Ἄξιοι εἰσὶ , are worthy ) An abrupt sentence, with great force. So ch. Revelation 14:5 , ἄμωμοι εἰσίν . Psalms 99:5 , קדוש הוא .

Verse 7

Revelation 16:7 . Ἤκουσα τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου λέγοντος , I heard the altar saying ) John heard the altar , where the cry arises and vengeance descends, or those who served at it, here not seen by John, so that the altar itself appeared to speak. Compare the phraseology, ch. Revelation 1:12 , Revelation 9:13 , Revelation 11:1 . Such is the expression, χρόνος ἐστὶνλαλῶν , Job 32:7 .

Verse 9

Revelation 16:9 . Ἐβλασφήμησαν , they blasphemed ) A dreadful sin, blasphemy: but yet even against the will of the wicked it turns out to the honour of GOD: for they confess, that they succumb.

Verse 10

Revelation 16:10 . Ἐγένετο ἐσκοτωμένη ) This has much greater emphasis, than if it were said ἐσκοτώθη or ἐσκοτίσθη , ch. Revelation 9:2 , or, ἐπλήγη τὸ τρίτον , ch. Revelation 8:12 . There is a similar expression, ch. Revelation 17:16 , ἠρημωμένην ποιήσουσιν : ch. Revelation 1:18 , ἐγενόμην νεκρὸς : Psalms 30:8 , ἐγενήθην τεταραγμένος . The Arabic translates, ceased: but that is too strong. τοῦ πόνου ) כאב , LXX. πόνος , pain.

Verse 12

Revelation 16:12 . Ἐπὶ ) We render ἐπὶ upon, rather than in, because on account of the drying up of the waters no [180] mixture is here made, as in the case of the sea and the rivers, where the preposition εἰς was used. Marck . ἐξήρανε , dried up ) Thus Alex. Lat . It coheres with ἐξέχεε , and with συνήγαγεν , Revelation 16:16 . Most editions read, ἐξηράνθη , either from the rhythm ἑτοιμασθῆ , or from habit. [181] For ἐξηράνθη often occurs in the New Testament, and here also it has been readily caught at by the copyists. αὐτοῦ , of it ) and so of those rivers also, which flow into the Euphrates. The Turks at the present day live near that river. Or if Mahometanism, as some think, is shortly about to receive some injury, it may however possibly happen, that the sixth angel will pour out his vial somewhat later.

[180] “Nulla” seems to be required by the sense here, in Bengel’s Latin. E.

[181] The margin of the larger Edition assigns no value to the reading ἐξήρανε ; Edit. 2nd gives it a moderate value; the Vers. Germ., agreeing with the Gnomon, a sure value . E. B.

Vulg. has “siccavit aquam (other MSS. aqua ) ejus.” But Lachm. and Tisch., with the greatest number of oldest authorities, read ἐξηράνθη . E.

Verse 13

Revelation 16:13 . Ὡς βάτραχοι [182] ) See App. on this passage. The nominative case has the same meaning, as Exodus 34:4 , ΔΎΟ ΠΛΆΚΑς ΛΙΘΊΝΑς , ΚΑΘΆΤΕΡ ΑἹ ΤΡῶΤΑΙ .

[182] So AB. h Vulg. “in modum ranarum.” But Rec. Text, with inferior authorities, ὅμοια βατράχιος . E.

Verse 14

Revelation 16:14 . Ἐκπορεύεσθαι ) Many varieties of reading occur here, and among them, ἃ ἐκπορεύεται [183] is a specious one: but if this were the original reading, it would not have been altered in such a variety of ways, as the infinitive, ἐκπορεύεσθαι , which was not equally comprehended by the copyists on account of the parenthesis. But the sentence would be abrupt without the infinitive, εἶδον πνεύματα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος . For the mode of expression is not the beast out of the sea, out of the earth, out of the bottomless pit , but ascending out of the sea , etc. Nor does the other infinitive, συναγαγεῖν , subjoined without any con junction, cause any difficulty, as alleged by Wolf. For there is often an accumulation of infinitives: Luke 1:74-42.1.79 ; Ephesians 3:16-49.3.17 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-52.4.4 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:6 : and the sense is plain in this passage: I saw them go forth, that they might gather . There is a Simultaneum [See Append. Techn. Terms], concerning which see Erkl. Offenb . p. 84. Moreover two events are marked as occurring at the same time, either by a repetition of the same words, 2 Kings 2:14 , or by an interruption of the construction, as here.

[183] Stephens’ Rec. Text has ἐκπορεύεσθαι : A has ἐκποοεύεται : B, ἐκποοευονται Vulg. has “precedent,” or, as other MSS. read, “procedunt.” E.

Verse 15

Revelation 16:15 . Τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην ) ערוה , the LXX. generally render ἀσχημοσύνη .

Verse 16

Revelation 16:16 . Καὶ συνηγαγεν , and he gathered them together ) We cannot here suppose that a singular verb is used for a plural (as the Syrian Version expresses it), because the neuter noun πνεύματα . precedes by so long an interval, Revelation 16:13-66.16.14 ; and in Rev 16:14 itself, the plural verb εἰσὶ is used. Who was it therefore that gathered together the kings? The sixth angel. Throughout the whole of this chapter, the noun angel is often understood. Without inconvenience this verse is connected by a leap with Revelation 16:12 . See Franc. Junius and E. Schmid. Ἀρμαγεδὼν ) Thus many MSS.; [184] but some few, Μαγεδὼν , which is also the reading of the Alex . MS. in 2 Chronicles 35:22 , ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ Μαγεδών . Magedon or Megiddo was a city, of which there is frequent mention in the books of the Old Testament. The copyists, as it appears, had reference to these passages, who took away the first syllable from the word Ἀρμαγεδὼν in the Apocalypse: but on account of this very syllable, in particular, the word Ἑβραϊστὶ appears to be used. Armagedon signifies either ער , the city Megiddo , as Hiller teaches in Syntagmatis, p. 229, or הר , the mountain Megiddo . for where there is בקעה , a valley , as the valley of Megiddo , 2 Chronicles 35:22 , there is also a mountain. We do not equally inquire, whence Megiddo itself is derived; for it is used as the proper name of a place in Palestine, very well known, on account of the great occurrences which had there taken place in ancient times. Nor, in a word, is it mentioned with this allusion on account of the mournful slaughter of Josiah, but on account of the slaughter of the Canaanite kings: Judges 5:19 .

[184] Rec. Text, with B, Syr. h read Ἁρμαγεδδων . A Vulg. Memph. read Αρμαγεδών . Fuld. (inferior to Amiat.) MS. of Vulg. has Magedon. E.

Verse 21

Revelation 16:21 . [186] Ὡς ΤΑΛΑΝΤΙΑΊΑ , as it were of the weight of a talent ) Of many pounds singly. I take it in its proper sense, at the beginning of the Non-being of the beast.

[186] Ver. 19. ἡ πόλιςμεγάλη , the great city ) Jerusalem; ch. Revelation 11:8 . V. g.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 16". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.