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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Revelation 9



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Revelation 9. On the ordinary theory ch. 9 continues the account of the trumpets commenced in Revelation 8. But if we follow Charles in excising Revelation 8:7-12, there were originally not seven but three trumpets, an account of two of which forms the theme of ch. 9.

Verses 1-12

Revelation 9:1-12. The Fifth Trumpet or the First Woe.—The seer sees a star fallen on the earth. The star seems to represent a person, possibly Satan (cf. Luke 10:18).—abyss: the word properly means "bottomless," and is used in OT of the abode of the dead, e.g. Psalms 71:20. The abyss is approached by a "shaft" or "well," here translated "pit," which is closed and kept under lock and key.

Revelation 9:3. out of the smoke came . . . locusts: cf. Exodus 10:13 and Driver's quotation of the observations of a modern traveller: "we observed large dark clouds resembling smoke moving to and fro . . . One morning these clouds came down and proved to be locusts." (CB, Joel, p. 90).—power was given to them: these locusts were specially endowed with the scorpion-like power of tormenting men.

Revelation 9:4. not hurt the grass: this conflicts with Revelation 8:7, where, as the result of the first trumpet, "all green grass was burnt up."—seal of God: Revelation 7:3 ff*.

Revelation 9:5. five months: this is supposed to represent the ordinary duration of a plague of locusts. The object of the plague is not to kill, but to torture and torment.

Revelation 9:7. like unto horses: this description is taken from Joel 2:4.—crowns . . . men's faces: these two features seem to be peculiar to the locusts of the abyss; there is nothing about the ordinary locust to account for this description.

Revelation 9:11. They have . . . as king: In Proverbs 30:27 it is stated that locusts have no king, but these locusts belong to the abyss.—Abaddon: the word only occurs in what is known as the Wisdom Literature (Job 26:6; Job 28:22, Psalms 88:11, Proverbs 15:11*, etc.), where it means "ruin" or "destruction," either on earth or in Sheol. Here "Destruction" is personified.—Apollyon is the Greek equivalent for Abaddon.

Verses 13-21

Revelation 9:13-21. The Sixth Trumpet or the Second Woe.—The loosing of the four angels of death, and the slaughter of a third part of the human race.

Revelation 9:13. the horns: the corners.—the golden altar: cf. Revelation 8:3.

Revelation 9:14. Loose the four angels: these angels are kept bound in the river Euphrates (cf. Revelation 16:12) waiting for the day of vengeance. There is a striking parallel in a Syriac Apocalypse of Ezra, "Let these four kings be loosed which are bound near the great river Euphrates which shall destroy a third part of mankind." Many commentators see in this reference an expectation that the armies of Parthia were soon to be loosed on the Roman Empire.

Revelation 9:16. The figure 200,000,000 is probably derived from Psalms 68:17, "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands upon thousands."

Revelation 9:17. hyacinth is sometimes used as (a) the name of a precious stone (Revelation 21:20), (b) of a dye, i.e. blue. The breastplates appeared as flame-coloured, smoky blue, and yellow like sulphur.

[Revelation 9:19. their tails: The Parthians twisted their horses' tails to a point. There may be a further reference to their skill in shooting backwards.—A. J. G.]

Revelation 9:20. the rest of mankind, i.e. the two-thirds who were not killed.—worship devils: both in OT and NT the worship of the pagan world is said to be given to demons (cf. Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalms 106:37, 1 Corinthians 10:20).

Revelation 9:21. The four sins mentioned in this verse are the characteristic vices of the pagan world. For the connexion between idolatry and immorality cf. Romans 12:1-21.—[sorceries: the Gr. word means magic spells inciting to illicit lusts.—A. J. G.]


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Revelation 9:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

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Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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