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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Revelation 16



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Verse 1

A great voice (μεγαλης πωνηςmegalēs phōnēs). Not an angel as in Revelation 5:2; Revelation 7:2; Revelation 10:3; Revelation 14:7, Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:15, Revelation 14:18, but of God as Revelation 15:8 shows, since no one could enter the ναοςnaos out (εκχεετεekcheete). Second aorist active imperative of εκχεωekcheō (same form as present active imperative). Blass would change to εκχεατεekcheate (clearly aorist) as in Revelation 16:6.

The seven bowls (τας επτα πιαλαςtas hepta phialas). The article points to Revelation 16:7.

Verse 2

Went and poured out (απηλτεν και εχεχεενapēlthen kai execheen). Second aorist active indicative of απερχομαιaperchomai (redundant use like υπαγετεhupagete with εκχεετεekcheete “go and pour out,” in Revelation 16:1) and of εκχεωekcheō Each angel “went off” to perform his task. For εχεχεενexecheen see it repeated in Revelation 16:3, Revelation 16:4, Revelation 16:8, Revelation 16:10, Revelation 16:12, Revelation 16:17.

Into the earth (εις την γηνeis tēn gēn). This same use of ειςeis after εχεχεενexecheen in Revelation 16:3, Revelation 16:4.

It became (εγενετοegeneto). “There came” (second aorist middle indicative of γινομαιginomai).

A noisome and grievous sore (ελκος κακον και πονηρονhelkos kakon kai ponēron). “Bad and malignant sore.” ελκοςHelkos is old word for a suppurated wound (Latin ulcus), here, Revelation 16:11; Luke 16:21. See the sixth Egyptian plague (Exodus 9:10; Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:35) and Job 2:7. The magicians were attacked in Egypt and the worshippers of Caesar here (Revelation 13:17; Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11; Revelation 19:20).

Verse 3

Into the sea (εις την ταλασσανeis tēn thalassan). Like the first Egyptian plague (Exodus 7:12 -41) though only the Nile affected then.

Blood as of a dead man (αιμα ως νεκρουhaima hōs nekrou). At the trumpet (Revelation 8:11) the water becomes wormwood. Here ως νεκρουhōs nekrou is added to Exodus 7:14-24, “the picture of a murdered man weltering in his blood” (Swete). “Coagulated blood, fatal to animal life” (Moffatt).

Every living soul (πασα πσυχη ζωηςpāsa psuchē zōēs). “Every soul of life” (Hebraism, Genesis 1:21, marked by life).

Even the things that were in the sea (τα εν τηι ταλασσηιta en tēi thalassēi). “The things in the sea,” in apposition with πσυχηpsuchē Complete destruction, not partial as in Revelation 8:9.

Verse 4

Into the rivers and the fountains of waters (εις τους ποταμους και τας πηγας των υδατωνeis tous potamous kai tas pēgas tōn hudatōn). See Revelation 8:10 for this phrase. Contamination of the fresh-water supply by blood follows that of the sea. Complete again.

Verse 5

The angel of the waters (του αγγελου τον υδατωνtou aggelou ton hudatōn). Genitive case object of ηκουσαēkousa See Revelation 7:1 for the four angels in control of the winds and Revelation 14:18 for the angel with power over fire. The rabbis spoke also of an angel with power over the earth and another over the sea.

Which art and which wast (ο ων και ο ηνho ōn kai ho ēn). See this peculiar idiom for God‘s eternity with οho as relative before ηνēn in Revelation 1:4, Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8, but without ο ερχομενοςho erchomenos (the coming on, the one who is to be) there for the future as in Revelation 11:17.

Thou Holy One (ο οσιοςho hosios). Nominative form, but vocative case, as often. Note both δικαιοςdikaios and οσιοςhosios applied to God as in Revelation 3:1; Revelation 15:3.

Because thou didst thus judge (οτι ταυτα εκριναςhoti tauta ekrinas). Reason for calling God δικαιοςdikaios and οσιοςhosios The punishment on the waters is deserved. First aorist active indicative of κρινωkrinō to judge.

Verse 6

For (οτιhoti). Second causal conjunction (οτιhoti) explanatory of the first οτιhoti like the two cases of οτιhoti in Revelation 15:4.

They poured out (εχεχεανexechean). Second aorist active indicative of εκχεωekcheō with αν̇an instead of ον̇on hast thou given them to drink (αιμα αυτοις δεδωκας πεινhaima autois dedōkas pein). αιμαHaima (blood) is the emphatic word, measure for measure for shedding the blood of saints and prophets (Revelation 11:18; Revelation 18:24). Perfect active indicative of διδωμιdidōmi and so a permanent and just punishment. ΠεινPein is the abbreviated second aorist active infinitive of πινωpinō for πιεινpiein (επιονepion). It is the epexegetical infinitive after δεδωκαςdedōkas There was no more drinking-water, but only this coagulated blood.

They are worthy (αχιοι εισινaxioi eisin). “Terrible antithesis” (Swete) to Revelation 3:4. The asyndeton adds to it (Alford).

Verse 7

O Lord God, the Almighty (Κυριε ο τεος ο παντοκρατωρKurie ho theos ho pantokratōr). Just as in Revelation 15:3 in the Song of Moses and of the Lamb, vocative with the article οho “Judgments” (κρισειςkriseis) here instead of “ways” (οδοιhodoi) there, and with the order of the adjectives reversed (αλητιναι και δικαιαιalēthinai kai dikaiai true and righteous).

Verse 8

Upon the sun (επι τον ηλιονepi ton hēlion). Not ειςeis (into) as in Revelation 16:2, Revelation 16:3, Revelation 16:4. The fourth trumpet (Revelation 8:12) affected a third of the sun, moon, and stars with a plague of darkness, but here it is a plague of extreme heat.

To scorch with fire (καυματισαι εν πυριkaumatisai en puri). First aorist active infinitive of καυματιζωkaumatizō late (Plutarch, Epictetus) causative verb (from καυμαkauma heat), in N.T. only here and Revelation 16:9; Matthew 13:6; Mark 4:6. The addition of εν πυριen puri (in fire, with fire) intensifies the picture.

Verse 9

Were scorched (εκαυματιστησανekaumatisthēsan). First aorist passive indicative of same verb.

With great heat (καυμα μεγαkauma mega). Cognate accusative retained with the passive verb. Old word (from καιωkaiō to burn), in N.T. only Revelation 7:16 and here. For blaspheming the name of God see Revelation 13:6; James 2:7; Romans 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:1. They blamed God for the plagues.

They repented not (ου μετενοησανou metenoēsan). This solemn negative aorist of μετανοεωmetanoeō is a refrain like a funeral dirge (Revelation 9:20.; Revelation 16:11). In Revelation 11:13 some did repent because of the earthquake. Even deserved punishment may harden the heart.

To give him glory (δουναι αυτωι δοχανdounai autōi doxan). Second aorist active infinitive of διδωμιdidōmi almost result. For the phrase see Revelation 11:13; Revelation 14:7; Revelation 19:7.

Verse 10

Upon the throne of the beast (επι τον τρονον του τηριουepi ton thronon tou thēriou). That is Rome (Revelation 13:2). The dragon gave the beast his throne (Revelation 2:13).

Was darkened (εγενετο εσκοτωμενηegeneto eskotōmenē). Periphrastic past perfect passive with γινομαιginomai and σκοτοωskotoō (Revelation 9:2). Like the darkness of the Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:22) and worse, for the effects of the previous plagues continue.

They gnawed their tongues (εμασωντο τας γλωσσας αυτωνemasōnto tas glōssas autōn). Imperfect middle of μασαομαιmasaomai old verb (to chew), from μαωmaō (to knead), only here in N.T.

For pain (εκ του πονουek tou ponou). “Out of distress” (cf. εκek in Revelation 8:13), rare sense of old word (from πενομαιpenomai to work for one‘s living), in N.T. only here, Revelation 21:4; Colossians 4:13. See Matthew 8:12.

Verse 11

They blasphemed (εβλασπημησανeblasphēmēsan) and they repented not (και ου μετενοησανkai ou metenoēsan). Precisely as in Revelation 16:9, which see. Not just because of the supernatural darkness, but also “because of their pains” (εκ των πονων αυτωνek tōn ponōn autōn plural here and same use of εκek) and their sores (και εκ των ελκων αυτωνkai ek tōn helkōn autōn as in Revelation 16:2, only plural, and same use of εκek).

Of their works (εκ των εργων αυτωνek tōn ergōn autōn). “Out of their deeds,” and addition to Revelation 16:9.

The God of heaven (τον τεον του ουρανουton theon tou ouranou). As in Daniel 2:44. Like the pride of Nebuchadrezzar against Jehovah.

Verse 12

Upon the great river, the river Euphrates (επι τον ποταμον τον μεγαν τον Ευπρατηνepi ton potamon ton megan ton Euphratēn). The sixth trumpet brings up the river Euphrates also (Revelation 9:14), only there επιepi with the locative, while here επιepi with the accusative. Note triple use of the article τονton here.

Was dried up (εχηραντηexēranthē). First aorist (prophetic) passive of χηραινωxērainō (Revelation 14:15). Cf. Zechariah 10:11.

That may be made ready (ινα ετοιμαστηιhina hetoimasthēi). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the first aorist passive of ετοιμαζωhetoimazō Common verb in Rev (Revelation 8:6; Revelation 9:7, Revelation 9:15; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2).

The way for the kings (η οδος των βασιλεωνhē hodos tōn basileōn). Objective genitive βασιλεωνbasileōn come from the sunrising (των απο ανατολης ελιουtōn apo anatolēs heliou). “Those from the rising of the sun,” the kings from the east (cf. Matthew 2:2) in their march against Rome. Parthia in particular resisted Rome before Trajan‘s day.

Verse 13

Coming out of (εκek alone, no participle ερχομεναerchomena).

Of the dragon (του δρακοντοςtou drakontos). That is Satan (Revelation 12:3, Revelation 12:9).

Of the beast (του τηριουtou thēriou). The first beast (Revelation 13:1, Revelation 13:12) and then just the beast (Revelation 13:14.; Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2, Revelation 16:10), the brute force of the World-power represented by the Roman Empire” (Swete).

Of the false prophet (του πσευδοπροπητουtou pseudoprophētou). Cf. Matthew 7:15; Acts 13:6; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7. Identified with the second beast (Revelation 13:11-14) in Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10. So the sixth bowl introduces the dragon and his two subalterns of chapters Rev 12; 13 (the two beasts).

Three unclean spirits (πνευματα τρια ακαταρταpneumata tria akatharta). Out of the mouths of each of the three evil powers (the dragon and the two beasts) comes an evil spirit. See the use of mouth in Revelation 1:16 (Revelation 9:17.; Revelation 11:5; Revelation 12:15; Revelation 19:15, Revelation 19:21) as a chief seat of influence. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8 we have “the breath of his mouth” (the other sense of πνευμαpneuma). For ακαταρτονakatharton (unclean) with πνευμαpneuma see Mark 1:23.; Mark 3:11; Mark 5:2.; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7. Christ expelled unclean spirits, but His enemies send them forth” (Swete). See Zechariah 13:2 “the false prophets and the unclean spirits.”

As it were frogs (ως βατραχοιhōs batrachoi). Cf. Exodus 8:5; Leviticus 11:10. Old word, here alone in N.T. Like loathsome frogs in form.

Verse 14

Spirits of devils (πνευματα δαιμονιωνpneumata daimoniōn). “Spirits of demons.” Explanation of the simile ως βατραχοιhōs batrachoi See 1 Timothy 4:1 about “deceiving spirits and teachings of demons.”

Working signs (ποιουντα σημειαpoiounta sēmeia). “Doing signs” (present active participle of ποιεωpoieō). The Egyptian magicians wrought “signs” (tricks), as did Simon Magus and later Apollonius of Tyana. Houdini claimed that he could reproduce every trick of the spiritualistic mediums.

Which go forth (α εκπορευεταιha ekporeuetai). Singular verb with neuter plural (collective) subject.

Unto the kings (επι τους βασιλειςepi tous basileis). The three evil spirits (dragon and the two beasts) spur on the kings of the whole world to a real world war. “There have been times when nations have been seized by a passion for war which the historian can but imperfectly explain” (Swete).

To gather them together (συναγαγεινsunagagein). Second aorist active infinitive of συναγωsunagō to express purpose (that of the unclean spirits).

Unto the war of the great day of God, the Almighty (εις τον πολεμον της ημερας της μεγαλης του τεου του παντοκρατοροςeis ton polemon tēs hēmeras tēs megalēs tou theou tou pantokratoros). Some take this to be war between nations, like Mark 13:8, but it is more likely war against God (Psalm 2:2) and probably the battle pictured in Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:19. Cf. 2 Peter 3:12, “the day of God,” his reckoning with the nations. See Joel 2:11; Joel 3:4. Paul uses “that day” for the day of the Lord Jesus (the Parousia) as in 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philemon 1:6; Philemon 2:16; 2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8.

Verse 15

Behold, I come as a thief (ιδου ερχομαι ως κλεπτηςidou erchomai hōs kleptēs). The voice of Christ breaks in with the same metaphor as in Revelation 3:3, which see. There comes one of seven beatitudes in Rev (Revelation 1:3; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14). For γρηγορωνgrēgorōn (watching) see Revelation 3:2, and for τηρωνtērōn (keeping), Revelation 1:3.

Lest he walk naked (ινα μη γυμνος περιπατηιhina mē gumnos peripatēi). Negative purpose clause with ινα μηhina mē and the present active subjunctive of περιπατεωperipateō and note predicate nominative γυμνοςgumnos (naked).

And they see his shame (και βλεπωσιν την ασχημοσυνην αυτουkai blepōsin tēn aschēmosunēn autou). Continuation of the final clause with present active subjunctive of βλεπωblepō ΑσχημοσυνηνAschēmosunēn is old word (from ασχημωνaschēmōn indecent, 1 Corinthians 12:23), in N.T. only here and Romans 1:27, a euphemism for την αισχυνηνtēn aischunēn (Revelation 3:18).

Verse 16

They gathered (συνηγαγενsunēgagen). Second aorist active indicative of συναγωsunagō singular (the three unclean spirits), like εκπορευεταιekporeuetai in Revelation 16:14.

Har-Magedon (αρΜαγεδωνHaṙMagedōn). John proceeds now after the interruption in Revelation 16:15. Perhaps “the mountains of Megiddo” though not certain. Megiddo is in the valley of Esdraelon, and by the waters of Megiddo (the Kishon) Israel gained a decisive victory over Sisera (Judges 5:19), celebrated in Deborah‘s song. See also Revelation 20:8. and Ezekiel 39:2, Ezekiel 39:4.

Verse 17

Upon the air (επι τον αεραepi ton aera). All men breathe the air and this is worse than the smiting of the earth (Revelation 16:2), the sea (Revelation 16:3), the fresh waters (Revelation 16:4), the sun (Revelation 16:8).

A great voice (πωνη μεγαληphōnē megalē). The voice of God as in Revelation 16:1.

It is done (ΓεγονενGegonen). Perfect active indicative of γινομαιginomai Like ΓεγονανGegonan in Revelation 21:6. The whole series of plagues is now complete.

Verse 18

And there were (και εγενοντοkai egenonto). “And there came” (same verb σεισμος μεγαςginomai). See Revelation 8:5; Revelation 11:19 for this list of terrible sounds and lightnings, and for the great earthquake (οιος ουκ εγενετοseismos megas) see Revelation 6:12; Revelation 11:13 (cf. Luke 21:11).

Such as was not (γινομαιhoios ouk egeneto). Qualitative relative with απ ου αντρωποι εγενοντοginomai again, “such as came not.”

Since there were men (χρονουaph' hou anthrōpoi egenonto). “Since which time (τηλικουτος σεισμος ουτω μεγαςchronou understood) men came.”

So great an earthquake, so mighty (τηλικουτοςtēlikoutos seismos houtō megas). Quantitative correlative τοιουτοςtēlikoutos rather than the qualitative οιοςtoioutos to correspond with οσοςhoios (not ουτω μεγαςhosos). And then τηλικουτοςhoutō megas repeats (redundant) οιατοιαυτηtēlikoutos Cf. Mark 13:19 for τλιπσιςhoia- toiautē about like tribulation (thlipsis).

Verse 19

Was divided into three parts (εγενετο εις τρια μερηegeneto eis tria merē). “Came into three parts” (γινομαιginomai again). In Revelation 11:3 a tenth part of the city fell. Babylon (Rome) is meant (Revelation 17:18).

Fell (επεσανepesan). Second aorist active indicative of πιπτωpiptō (αν̇an form in place of ον̇on).

Was remembered (εμνηστηemnēsthē). First aorist (prophetic) passive indicative of μιμνησκωmimnēskō Babylon (Rome) had not been overlooked. God was simply biding his time with Rome.

To give unto her (δουναι αυτηιdounai autēi). Second aorist active infinitive of διδωμιdidōmi epexegetic use as in Revelation 11:18; Revelation 16:9.

The cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath (το ποτηριον του οινου του τυμου της οργης αυτουto potērion tou oinou tou thumou tēs orgēs autou). “The cup of the wine of the wrath of his anger,” using both τυμοςthumos (boiling rage) and οργηorgē (settled anger). See both in Jeremiah 30:24.

Verse 20

Fled (επυγενephugen). Second aorist active indicative of πευγωpheugō Islands sometimes sink in the sea in earthquakes (Revelation 6:14).

Were not found (ουχ ευρετησανouch heurethēsan). First aorist passive indicative of ευρισκωheuriskō See Revelation 20:11 for the same idea.

Verse 21

Hail (χαλαζαchalaza). As in Revelation 8:7; Revelation 11:19.

Every stone about the weight of a talent (ως ταλαντιαιαhōs talantiaia). Old adjective (from ταλαντονtalanton), here only in N.T., but in Polybius and Josephus. See Exodus 9:24 for the great hail in Egypt and also Joshua 10:11; Isaiah 28:2; Ezekiel 38:22 for hail as the symbol of God‘s wrath. In the lxx a ταλαντονtalanton ranged in weight from 108 to 130 pounds.

Because of the plague of hail (εκ της πληγης της χαλαζηςek tēs plēgēs tēs chalazēs). “As a result of the plague of hail.” This punishment had the same effect as in Revelation 16:9, Revelation 16:11.

Exceeding great (ΜεγαλησπροδραMegalē- sphrodra). Emphatic positions at ends of the clause (great - exceedingly).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 16:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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