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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Revelation 17

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Revelation 17:1. τὸ κρίμα) משפט, the account [reckoning], Revelation 17:16.— καὶ τῆς πόρνης, of the whore) Comp. Gloss, pp. 1195, 1440.


Verse 2

Revelation 17:2. ΄εθʼ ἧς, with whom) Tyre committed fornication with the kingdoms of the earth: Isaiah 23:17-18. Comp. Revelation 18:23.


Verse 3

Revelation 17:3. ἔρημον, wilderness) Europe, in particular Italy.— θηρίον κόκκινον, a scarlet-coloured beast) as the dragon was red. The Roman Ceremon. teaches this. The text speaks respecting the time of the woman sitting on the beast.


Verse 5

Revelation 17:5. μεγάλη, μήτηρ, κ. τ. λ., the great, the mother, etc.) Benedict XIII., above others, magnificently embellished the boastful name of Rome, in his Indiction for a universal jubilee, A. 1725. “To this holy city, illustrious with the memory of so many holy martyrs, and especially instructed in the doctrine of the blessed apostles, the princes of the Church, and hallowed with their glorious blood, flock together with religious eagerness of mind. Hasten to the place which the Lord hath chosen; ascend to this New Jerusalem, whence from the very beginning of the infant Church the law of the Lord and the light of evangelical truth has flowed forth to all nations. [Hasten to] a city honoured with so many and so great benefits, loaded with so many gifts, that it is most deservedly called the city of priests and kings, built for the pride of ages, the city of the Lord, the Sion of the Holy One of Israel. Here in truth make confession unto God in the great assembly, praise Him among much people. Inasmuch as this very Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church, constituted the head of the world by the sacred seat of the blessed Peter, is the mother of all believers, the faithful interpreter of the Divinity, and the mistress of all churches. Here the unsullied deposit of the faith, here the fountain of sacerdotal unity, here the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the supreme power of binding and loosing, here, finally, that inexhaustible treasure of the sacred indulgences of the Church, of which the Roman Pontiff is the dispenser, is guarded.” But John, in accordance with truth, παραφράζει and explains this boastful title: Babylon, etc.


Verse 6

Revelation 17:6. ΄εθύουσαν) ΄εθύω, I become intoxicated, or, I am intoxicated.


Verse 7

Revelation 17:7. τῆς γυναικὸςτοῦ θηρίου, of the woman—of the beast) There follows, by Chiasmus, a discussion concerning the beast, Revelation 17:8-14; and, with a repetition of the short preface, and he saith to me, a discussion concerning the woman, Revelation 17:15-18.


Verse 8

Revelation 17:8. ἦν, κ. τ. λ., was, etc.) There are three periods of the duration of the beast: the times of which are by conjecture related in the book, Erkl. Offenb. p. 1147, etc. But, (1.) To the problem there given there may be added a certain secondary course of the number of the beast, from the completion of his rising out of the sea, in the time of Alexander III., A. 1169, to A. 1836. (2.) That which I said above, on ch. Revelation 13:1, Proposition 10, Observ. 29, may be compared. (3.) The whole of that 10th Proposition may be reviewed to explain many parts of this 17th chapter.—(187) βλεπόντων(188)) The Genitive by itself put absolutely, as Luke 8:20, λεγόντων.— ὅτι, that) The point of view, by reason of which the inhabitants of the earth wonder at the beast: thus altogether, ὅτι, John 9:8.— καὶ παρέσται(189)) The ancient authorities, with the greatest agreement, have this reading: some, καὶ πάρεστιν. It is not so clear respecting M. and Pet. 3 only. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. Erasmus himself, if he were alive, would, as I think, yield the victory to so many MSS., which are now accessible, and would wonder at his followers, who so superstitiously preserve the readings formerly established by him with difficulty. When I deny, that the particle καίπερ is anywhere used by John, Wolf retorts, that not even the word παρέσται is used by John.(190) But the two cases are dissimilar. For no idiomatic usage excludes the verb παρέσται. The Hebrew usage, which John greatly follows, almost everywhere renders the particle although, by ו or καὶ, according to Noldii Concord, pp. 292, 293, not by καίπερ. Another argument is to be added, which plainly refutes the construction of Erasmus, καίπερ ἐστίν. For all the passages of the New Testament teach, that καίπερ is not construed with a verb, but with a participle: 2 Peter 1:12; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 7:5; Hebrews 12:17; and especially Philippians 3:4. And thus οἱ ἔξω. Demosth., ταῦτα ΄νη΄ονεύετε ῥηθέντα, καίπερ ὄντες οὐ δεινοὶ τοὺς ἀδικοῦντας ΄ε΄νῆσθαι. The same, ἕκαστον ὐ΄ῶν, καίπερ ἀκριβῶς εἰδότα, ὅ΄ως ὐπο΄νῆσαι βούλο΄αι. The same, δεῖ ΄ε, καίπερ οὐ φιλολοίδορον ὄντα φύσει, αὐτὰ τὰ ἀναγκαιότατα εἰπεῖν περὶ αὐτοῦ. Aristotle, ἀλλὰ καίπερ ὄντος τοιούτου τοῦ παρόντος λόγου, πειρατέον βοηθεῖν. Euripides, κἀγώ σʼ ἱκνοῦ΄αι, καὶ γυνή περ οὖσʼ ὅ΄ως, τοῖς δεο΄ένοισιν ὠφελεῖν, οἷός τε δʼ εἶ. Sophocles, γινώσκω σαφῶς, καίπερ σκοτεινὸς (that is, ὢν) τήν γε σὴν αὐδὴν ὅμως. Dion, τὰ τοῦ τιβερίου ἔργα, καίπερ (Xiphilinus, καὶ) χαλεπώτατα δόξαντα γεγονέναι, παρὰ τὰ γαΐου παρήνεγκαν. Zosimus, καίπερ ἐν τούτοις ὄντι τῷ στρατοπέδῳ, περὶ φιλίας ὅμως ἐποιοῦντο λόγους οἱ πέρσαι. Julian, καίπερ ταῦτα πολυπραγ΄ονῶν, ᾐδεῖτο τὸ ΄έγεθος αὐτοῦ τῆς ἀρετῆς. But if any one affirms that καίπερ is construed also with a verb, let him prove it by examples, and those too in which περ is not παρέλκον, as in Apollonius Rhodius, but signifies although. The nature of the particle does not permit it: for even the simple words, of which καίπερ is compounded, namely καὶ (for although) less frequently, and περ (in Devarius), never take a verb joined with them. A more weighty argument is, that the conjecture καίπερ takes away much from the sentiment: for the wonder of them that dwell on the earth is excited not so much by that, that the beast was and is not, as by this, that the beast παρέσται, will be present. Enough of criticism: but not however to no purpose. The passage is momentous. That tetragrammaton, יהוה, LORD, has a magnificent periphrasis, ὢν καὶ ἦν καὶ ἐρχόμενος, who is, and who was, and who is to come. But the dwellers on the earth wonder at the beast, as though a kind of antitetragrammaton; for he was, and is not, and will be present. The Lord is described as ἐρχόμενος, coming: the beast παρέσται, will be present, when that other king comes, Revelation 17:10; and that παρουσία (comp. altogether 2 Thessalonians 2) is by far the most destructive. To the Hebrew word, בוא, both ἔρχο΄αι and πάρει΄ι correspond in the LXX.; and in this place, καὶ παρέσται most appropriately accords with ἦν και οὐκ ἔστι, and it conveys a meaning something less, than if it were said, καὶ ἔρχεταὶ, or καὶ ἔσται.


Verse 9

Revelation 17:9. ὄρηβασιλεῖς, mountainskings) The seven mountains of Rome were formerly defended and adorned with seven citadels. Pacatus in Paneg.: “These things thou didst survey, O Rome, from thy hills; and, elevated with seven CITADELS, thou wast lifted up to a greater height through joy:” ch. 46. “These hills,” says G. Fabricius, in ch. 3 of his Rome, “Virgil in his Georgics, and Ausonius in his Epithalamium, on account of the royal dwellings which were at one time situated on them, called the seven Citadels.” Those seven mountains were the Palatine, the Capitoline, the Cælian, the Esquiline, the Viminal, the Quirinal, and the Aventine. But the prophecy regards the seven mountains according to the time of the beast, in which the Palatine is deserted, and the Vatican flourishes. The others are the same as they were of old. Nor indeed have the seven heads of the beast a double signification,—the one of the mountains separately, in a confused manner; the other of the kings separately, in a distinct manner: but they have one signification only, in such a way, however, that the thing signified is something compound, consisting of a mountain and a king. Some seek for the seven mountains at Jerusalem; but, as Wolf forcibly teaches, they do not make out their point. See Isaiah 10:32. But grant that there were formerly seven mountains there; there were never seven kings there also, much less were seven mountains joined with seven kings individually: the city itself was destroyed before John wrote; Jerusalem is never called Babylon, even when it is most blamed; and the order of the prophecy thrusts Babylon into much later times. All these things are in agreement with the city Rome. And the first head of the beast is the Cælian Mount, and on it the Lateran, with Gregory VII. and his successors: the second, the Vatican Mount, with the temple of St Peter, built by Boniface VIII.: the third, the Quirinal Mount, with the temple of St Mark, and with the Quirinal Palace, built by Paul II.: the fourth, the Esquiline Mount, with the temple of St Maria Maggiore, built by Paul V. Thus far the dwelling and the action of the Pontiffs perambulate these mountains; and that in such a manner, that to the first head there is added a second, but not so that the first immediately falls to decay; to these two a third; to the three a fourth; and afterwards to the four a fifth, until the five kings, and all things that have been established by them on the five mountains, fall. Turn over the Bullarium in order: you will observe four times from Gregory VII., in the first of which almost all the Bulls, given in the city, are dated from the Lateran; in the second, at St Peter’s; in the third, at St Mark’s and from the Quirinal; in the fourth, at St Maria Maggiore. No fifth, and undoubtedly no sixth or seventh mount, is seen to have been thus honoured by the Popes: and this very fact tends to prove the truth of this interpretation. The seven mountains will be distinctly seen, when the seventh is honoured.— ὅπουἐπʼ αὐτῶν) for ἐφʼ ὧν. Hebr. אשר עליהם.


Verse 10

Revelation 17:10. οἱ πέντε, εἷς, ἄλλος) The Article has a force relative to those seven, who are distributed into five, and one, and the other.— ὀλίγον, a short space) This extends as far as the hour, in which not the other by himself, but the ten kings reign with the beast, Revelation 17:12. The German Exegesis of the Apocalypse, and the Order of the times, contain a particular consideration of the times, but I wished to omit it in the Gnomon: and yet that theory so recurs that it even becomes wearisome. But if mathematicians, musicians, painters, and all artists, bestow pains upon the smallest subjects, and seek elegance in the smallest matters IN PARTICULAR, why should we not comply with prophecy showing itself most admirable in the smallest calculations? With respect to this also the works of THE LORD are exquisite [“sought out,” Engl. Vers.] דרושים, Psalms 111:2. But no μικρολογία and curiosity of man can exceed or come up to their minute nicety. In Erkl. Offenb. p. 1072, we made a kind of experiment in attempting to arrange the times of the woman with wings and of the beast; and those times are now much more plainly consolidated, reference being repeatedly made to Daniel. Wherefore to those things which I have said in reply to D. Lange, on ch. Revelation 13:1, Proposition 10, Observ. 29, I wish the following remarks to be added, without infringing that modesty and sobriety which I have often premised, until the event itself shall explain things which are still future.

Table:

The Termini.

A. Anno

1058. d. 2 Sept. fer. 4, The Woman obtains wings.

B.

1077. d. 1 Sept. fer. 6, The Beast out of the sea.

C.

1143. d. 25 Sept. fer. 7, Commencement of the xlii. months.

D.

1810. d. 21 Mai. (new style 1 Jun.) fer. 7, End of the xlii. months.

E.

1832. d. 14 Oct. fer. 2, Beast out of the bottomless pit; one hour.

F.

1832. d. 22 Oct. fer. 3, Beast increased with the kingdom of the ten horns.

G.

1836. d. 18 Jun. fer. 1, Beast vanquished.

Intervals.

The terminus, from which the particulars begin, being included and that which is subsequent being excluded:

Days

and

hours

or

weeks

and

days

A.

6938,

12.

991:

1½.

B.

24130,

31/7 8/7 9/7.

3447:

1 full.

C.

243495,

precisely.

34785:

0.

D.

8170,

22 2/7 1/7 8/7.

1167:

2.

E.

7,

22 3/7 7/7 0/7.

1:

1 nearly.

F.

1335.

190:

5.

There are, altogether, 284,077½ days: there are 40,582½ weeks: there are 5797½ square weeks: there are 777 7/9 years: there are precisely 686 monads of Daniel (of which we shall speak presently).

First we will explain the Intervals, in the abstract; and afterwards the Termini, in the concrete.

Explanation of the Intervals.

The Interval A

comprises 19

years, wanting 1 day.

B

66 66/999

years, precisely.

The Interval C

comprises 666 666/999

years, precisely.

D

22 123/333

years, fully.

E

22/999

of a year, as nearly as possible.

F

3 218/333

years, fully.

ADEF

conjointly 45 45/999

years, precisely.

ABDEF

111 1/9

precisely.

ABCDEF

777 7/9

precisely.

The seventy weeks of Daniel contain 490 monads, which conjointly are 555 5/9 years, as we have shown in the Order of the Times, ch. 10. The same Intervals are in a remarkable manner transfused into monads and weeks of the same kind.

The Interval C contains precisely 588 monads of the same kind, which are 12 square weeks.

B and D, conjointly, contain 78 monads, without the excess of a day.

BCD are 666 monads (or 275,795 5/14 days, which do not run out 17 hours beyond the appendices of the days of the interval BCD), by a wonderful harmony. For the number of the beast is said to be 666, in that mode of expression, by which that number is taken not in one way only. See Erkl. Offenb. p. 742. Thus the number 666 comprises the first and the second Portion of the duration of the beast.

AEF, conjointly, are 20 monads, without the defect of a day.

ABDEF are 98 monads, which are two square weeks.

ABCDEF, conjointly, are precisely 686 monads, or two CUBE WEEKS.

The numbers, and periods, which are equal under the enigma of different numbers, in Daniel and in the Apocalypse, are wonderfully ductile and versatile, so that they are interchanged with one another in the most connected and easy manner, which is a strong argument of the truth.

Explanation of the Termini.

A. The woman becomes possessed of wings: the beginning of the 3½ times. See Erkl. Offenb. p. 646.

B. Of the ascent of the beast out of the sea, and of the very day, Sept. 1, we have treated at ch. Revelation 13:1, especially in Proposition 9. From that day is the previous flowing of the 666 2/3 years (see Erkl. Offenb. p. 1069), and that now hastening to its close. Before the completion of 5684 years from the creation of the world (see Ord. Temp. p. 300 [Ed. ii. p. 256]), or of 116 square weeks of years, there will be a possibility of estimating what must be expected before that close.

C. Of the power given to the beast for 42 months, and of the beginning of the months, we have treated at ch. Revelation 13:18, § 12. The same is the number of the beast, 666.

D. When the 42 months have elapsed, it does not therefore immediately follow that the beast is not; for even before those months he was. But yet under the vial of the fifth angel the kingdom of the beast becomes so obscured, that it is in greater difficulty than it was before the beginning of the 42 months. Therefore we shall have to notice, at the proper time, whether at the close of the 42 months that angel is then at length about to pour forth his vial upon the throne of the beast, or whether the beast is even forthwith about to carry the whore, while he himself is not. This Interval, in which the beast is not, is properly added to the Half-time [Semitempusculum], of which the Ordo Temp, treats, p. 318. [Ed. ii. p. 271.]

E. The one hour, during which the ten horns receive the kingdom together with the beast, we interpret as a prophetical hour, for this reason, because it precedes the thousand years, so called in their ordinary signification; but it may also be taken to signify the ordinary, natural hour, because, although it falls as yet upon the gloomy times of the beast, yet it falls immediately after the number of the beast. The matter is for the most part in uncertainty. See Erkl. Offenb. Ed. ii. pp. 146, 147, 889.

F. The ten kings, and the beast, as soon as they shall have given the kingdom to him, shall harass the whore. Rome was founded Anno 3960 Per. Jul. d. 29 Oct. (as Des-Vignoles teaches in his Chronology at the close), feriâ 2. From that time to Ann. Dion. 1832, Per. Jul. 6545 d. 20 Oct. fer. 1, the excess of the Julian year being taken away, there are precisely 2585 years, or 134,878 weeks and about 6 days, from that feria 2 to this feria 1. Or, Anno 3960 Per. Jul. d. 29 Oct. is feria 2. From that time to A.D. 1834 P.I. 6547 d. 20 Oct. fer. 3, the excess of the Julian year being taken away, there are 2587 years precisely, or 134,981 weeks, 1 day, 8. 2′0. 2″4 from that feria 2 to the end of feria 3 (of March). Comp. Zeugniss der Wahrheit, p. 207, etc. What Rome is about to experience on her birth-day after 90 years, they who shall then be alive may notice.

These two intervals, E and F, are most closely connected. The saints shall be given into the hands of the single horn, or, as those of Zurich interpret it, the appointing of times and of laws (so parallel are the words of Psalms 31:15) [shall be given into his hands], until A TIME AND TIMES AND A HALF-TIME [“the dividing of time”]: Daniel 7:25. The other king, when he is come, must continue A SHORT SPACE (Revelation 17:10). Concerning each passage we have conjectured many things in the treatise, Erkl. Offenb. p. 883. But a third passage assists us. The ten horns receive power as kings ONE HOUR with the beast, Revelation 17:12. The short space is the interval EF conjointly; for it comprises the whole continuance of the other king, in the third Portion of the time of the beast: E is the one hour: F has the residue of the former intervals, that is, 1335 days, and those ordinary days. These are immediately followed by the 1335 prophetical days of Daniel (which the Ordo Temp. p. 379 [Ed. ii. pp. 326, 327], proves to be the thousand years which are promised, Daniel 12:12); so that 1335 ordinary, wretched days, of waiting, i.e. of endurance, require to be understood; and 1335 prophetical, happy days, to be attained [ to be “come to,” Daniel 12:12], are expressed. The words, who waiteth, and shall attain to, the thousand days, have great force from the accents. The time, and times, and half a time of Daniel, coincide with the interval F, if they do not complete it: and I assent to Lange, that they are 31/2 years, but amounting to 1278 days, in accordance with the natural truth, and not to 1260 days, as he takes them, and that they are not 1333 1/3 days, which might have come into the mind. Now, by what means also are the 1278 days and the 1335 reconciled? I will not say that either number of days is 3 years, with פלג part or half, and not four years; inasmuch as even the interval F, either apart from, or with the addition of the interval E, agrees with the ancient Tradition which represents Antichrist as about torage 31/2 years. But in Daniel the action of the beast out of the bottomless pit seems to be beheld in the land of Israel: in the Apocalypse the beast out of the bottomless pit has first something to occupy him out of that land also.

My Table may be considered doubtful in some particular article: but within its own limits it is throughout corroborated by strong exegetical and historical arguments. Those things contained in the period of the six intervals which are less clearly defined from the Apocalypse, are defined from Daniel, as the being of the beast before the 42 months, and the non-being of the same, and the short space of the other king; and the 3½ times, which in Daniel were plainly expressed, the Apocalypse shuts up into that short space; again, that which had been represented in Daniel by the enigma of 1335 days, the Apocalypse declares in the plain words of the expression, a thousand years. Are all these things by chance? We do not affirm all things with equal confidence: but still we put forward all things, that posterity may have something to notice, and, in accordance with the result, may partly correct, and partly approve of them.


Verse 11

Revelation 17:11. καὶ αὐτὸς ὄγδοός ἐστι, καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά ἐστι, is both himself eighth, and is of the seven) καὶ, καὶ, is equivalent to both, and. ὄγδοος is a part the predicate, therefore it is put without the article: the pronoun, αὐτὸς, cohering with it, is also a part of the predicate, adding emphasis to the eighth, in so far as he himself is contradistinguished from the seven. The eighth, and the seven, are masculines, so that the noun king or kings is to be understood.

There is here an intimation of that long celebrated and great Adversary, whom all antiquity and the whole Church of Rome regard as one individual and extraordinary man. Bernard, who is called the last of the Fathers, has hit the matter closely enough. For in his late age, in his sixth discourse on the psalm, Qui habitat [Psalms 111], after bitter lamentations concerning the corrupt state of the Church and its ministers, he says, “It remains that the Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition, the demon, not only of the day, but even of the mid-day, which is not only transformed into an angel of light, but is also exalted above everything which is called God, or which is worshipped.” Of the Reformers, who in other respects had their attention especially fixed upon their own times, and not without reason, Francis Lambert acknowledged, that one remarkable adversary, the Son of Perdition, was hereafter to come and he mournfully described that calamity.—Exeg. Apoc. pp. 183, 193, 215, 265. Among the Propositions of Hier. Zanch was this: Although the kingdom of Antichrist has long ago been revealed; and he who holds the primacy in it, and reigns, is the true Antichrist; yet it is not in opposition to the Sacred Writings, to say, that just before the end of the world there shall come one of remarkable character, and outstripping all men in iniquity, the true and perfect Antichrist, who may even work miracles. For in a pre-lection at Argentina on the end of the world, he had discoursed to this purpose, and was blamed on that account by others. The Divines of Heidelberg, A. 1561, approved of this Proposition, and those of Zurich even confirmed it, in these words besides others: “Since wickedness becomes greater from day to day, and is increased without measure, there is no reason why there should not at last arise some one κατʼ ἐξοχὴν [by pre-eminence], who may very far outstrip in his impiety the other enemies of the Gospel, and whom the Lord may altogether destroy with the breath of His mouth.” see Zanch Misc. Theol. pp. 1, 18, 21, 44, 48. And in no other way, on this subject at least, Jo. Brent replied in the same year to Jo. Marpach: “I should be unwilling odiously to contend about Antichrist; we know that the Papacy is antichristianity. But it may perhaps happen, that among the Popes there may arise one, who may surpass all the rest in impiety, craft, deceits, cruelty, and tyranny, and may give occasion to the Son of God to hasten His coming for the complete destruction of the Papacy, and the judgment of the quick and dead. The Lord will take care concerning this matter: we will perform our own duty, and will wait for the coming of the Lord.” Compare the Epistle of Lud. Crocius, inserted among those of Voss; Heding. on 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Weismann’s Inst. p. 1121, lin. 5, 6; the Patmos of H. Horchius, p. 70; C. B. Michaëlis on Dan. pp. 247, 248. “What if we should concede to the Papists,” says Bailly, “and in this the orthodox ARE NOT OBSTINATE, that in the long series of Romish antichrists there should at the end of the world arise one more wicked than his brethren, though they are most wicked, by a kind of ἐξοχῇ [pre-eminence] of wickedness,—one who should closely resemble the days of Antiochus: they themselves would gain nothing by this concession.”—Op. Hist. et Chron. f. 244. Vitringa says appropriately to this passage: That the beast itself is also the eighth king, according to the order of his predecessors. Thus it can without any difficulty be imagined, that after these kings of mystic Babylon one is still to be expected just before the close of the power of Antichrist, who shall slay the witnesses of Christ, and rage against the Church above all others; and of him the Spirit had especially prophesied under the name of the Beast: ch. Revelation 11:7. And all at the present day, who take the prophetic times, and among these the 42 months of the beast, in their ordinary signification, agree, namely, in ascribing so short a power to the one king. I am not accustomed to rely on testimonies of human authority: the truth has no need of them; but when there is a possibility of its being supposed that any doctrine is paradoxical, it is expedient to collect the anticipations of the truth which lie concealed in the minds of men. This one, last king, will differ most widely from all his predecessors, as in malignity, so in the manner of his destruction. They for the most part die by a natural death; he shall be given alive to eternal torment: ch. Revelation 19:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.— ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ, of the seven) Primasius admirably says, LEST you should esteem this one, whom, he calls eighth, OF ANOTHER RACE, he has subjoined, He is of the seven.


Verse 12

Revelation 17:12. τὰ δέκα κέρατα, the ten horns) The ten horns correspond with the ten toes of the kingly image: Daniel 2:41-42; Daniel 7:7; Daniel 7:20; Daniel 7:24; and since each of the feet has five toes, we must wait to see whether the ten kings are about to be divided by any means into two quinaries.— οὐκ ἔλαβονλαμβάνουσιἔχουσιδιδόασιν(191)πολεμήσουσι, they have not received: they receive, have, give: they shall make war) The past, the present, the future. They have not received, because they gave [their kingdom] to the beast: Revelation 17:17. Objection: The order of the text is thus changed. Answer: Let the Chiasmus lately noticed be weighed: in accordance with which, even in Revelation 17:18, present things are put before the future things noticed in Revelation 17:14; and, independently of that verse, even before the future things of Revelation 17:16, the slaughter of the kings is also mentioned immediately before the destruction of the beast, Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:14.— ὡς βασιλεῖς, as kings) Having not received the kingdom until now.— μίαν ὥραν, one hour) comp. Revelation 17:10, note. It is not said, in one hour, as ch. Revelation 18:10; but for one hour. A similar use of the accusative occurs, ch. Revelation 20:2.— μετὰ τοῦ θηρίου, with the beast) The beast has his followers, ten kings: antithetical to (Revelation 17:14.) with Him, the Lamb, who also has His followers.


Verse 13

Revelation 17:13. ΄ίαν γνώμην, one mind) Great agreement of opinion is not always characteristic of a good cause.— διδόασιν, give) for [his] conflict with the Lamb.


Verse 14

Revelation 17:14. κλητοὶ καὶ ἐκλεκτοὶ καὶ πιστοὶ, called and chosen and faithful) The companions of the Conqueror are described. They are here called κλητοὶ: at ch. Revelation 19:9, κεκλημένοι. Each word is used once only in this book, as also ἐκλεκτοί. Comp. 1 Kings 1:41, καὶ πάντες οἱ κλητοὶ οἱ μετʼ αὐτοῦ.


Verse 16

Revelation 17:16. κέρατα, horns) The mention of the ten horns before the beast teaches, that the prevailing party in this most hostile laying waste of the harlot shall be parts of the horns: for even αὐτῶν, of them, Revelation 17:17. has reference to the horns rather than to the beast.— καὶ τὸ θηρίον(192)) Erasmus edited, ἐπὶ τὸ θηρίω, and the editors who usually follow him, follow him here also; although Andreas of Cæsareia even by himself refutes this reading, which is made up from Latin copies of an inferior character. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. This sentence indeed,—And the ten horns which thou sawest, καὶ, and [not ἐπὶ, upon, as in Engl. Vers.], the beast, these shall hate the whore,—is very plain, comprising, as it does, the horns and the beast by the word οὗτοι, these; and it is most accommodated to that most weighty sense, which it and it alone conveys, namely, that not only the ten horns, but even the beast himself (by which view Protestants are freed from the most invidious suspicion of sounding the trumpet against Rome), are about to hate the whore. It was provided by Divine government, that the Apocalypse should be published at Complutum, in the midst of Spain, before the Reformation, in a very genuine form, especially in the strictures, which attack Rome. And in this passage the Complutensian Edition both exhibits the reading, καὶ τὸ θηρίον, and marks it with a point, as a sign of approbation. And almost all the copies agree. The collation of so many MSS. would be useless, if the true reading even of such passages were indefinitely postponed, or at least left in doubt. By this one thing Wolf confirms my opinion in almost all the passages, in which he dissents from me.— τὴν πόρνην, the whore) A question arises, whether the beast, ascending out of the bottomless pit, first carries on war against the two witnesses (comp. Erkl. Offenb. p. 546), or lays waste Babylon. He first, as it seems, destroys Babylon, when the kingdom has as yet scarcely been given to him by the ten horns; then, having left that station, he pours out his whole fury upon the sacred city, and soon afterwards with his followers incurs final destruction. For both upon the ascent of the two witnesses into heaven, when the multitude repented after the earthquake [ch. Revelation 11:13], the mystery of GOD is fulfilled: and the ten horns give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of GOD are fulfilled.— καὶ αὐτὴν, and herself) This is emphatic, in antithesis to the flesh, and the resources of the whore.


Verse 17

Revelation 17:17. τὴν γνώμην αὐτοῦ, his will) namely, of the beast. The expression, γνώμη θεοῦ, occurs Ezra 6:14; but here John expresses, τὴν γνώμην τοῦ θηρίου, the will of the beast, against the whore.— καὶ ποιῆσαι μίαν γνώμην) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage.(193) A twofold point of importance is recorded; first, that the ten horns fulfil the will of the beast; and secondly, that they in concert with one another fulfil one will, namely, concerning the delivering up of their kingdom to the beast alone.(194)

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-17.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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