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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Revelation 12



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Verse 1

Wonder ( σημεῖον )

Better, as Rev., sign. See on Matthew 24:24.

Clothed ( περιβεβλημένη )

Rev., better, arrayed. See on Revelation 3:5.

The moon under her feet

See Song of Solomon 6:10. The symbol is usually taken to represent the Church.

Verse 2

Travailing in birth ( ὠδίνουσα )

See on sorrows, Mark 13:9, and see on pains, Acts 2:24.

In pain ( βασανιζομένη )

Lit., being tormented. See on Revelation 11:10, and references. For the imagery compare Isaiah 66:7, Isaiah 66:8; John 16:21.

Verse 3

Red ( πυῤῥὸς )

See on Revelation 6:4.

Dragon ( δράκων )

Satan. See Revelation 12:9. The word is found only in Revelation. In the Septuagint, of the serpent into which Moses' rod was changed. In Isaiah 27:1; Ezekiel 29:3, of the crocodile or leviathan of Job 41:1. In Jeremiah 51:34, of a dragon.

Crowns ( διαδήματα )

The Kingly crown, not the chaplet ( στέφανος ). See on Revelation 2:10

Verse 4

Of the stars of heaven

Some expositors find an allusion to the fallen angels (Judges 1:6).

Did cast them to the earth

Compare Daniel 8:10.

To devour her child as soon as it was born ( ἵνα ὅταν τέκῃ τὸ τέκνον αὐτῆς καταφάγῃ )

Rev., more literally, that when she was delivered he might devour her child. Professor Milligan says: “In these words we have the dragon doing what Pharaoh did to Israel (Exodus 1:15-22), and again and again, in the Psalms and the Prophets, Pharaoh is spoken of as the dragon (Psalm 74:13; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3). Nor is it without interest to remember that Pharaoh's crown was wreathed with a dragon (the asp or serpent of Egypt), and that just as the eagle was the ensign of Rome, so the dragon was that of Egypt. Hence the significance of Moses' rod being turned into a serpent.”

Verse 5

A man-child ( υἱὸν ἄῤῥενα )

Lit., a son, a male. The correct reading is ἄρσεν , the neuter, not agreeing with the masculine individual ( υἱὸν son) but with the neuter of the genus. The object is to emphasize, not the sex, but the peculiar qualities of masculinity - power and vigor. Rev., a son, a man-child. Compare John 16:21; Jeremiah 20:15.

To rule ( ποιμαίνειν )

Lit., to shepherd or tend. See on Matthew 2:6.

A rod of iron

Compare Psalm 2:9, and see on Revelation 2:27.

Was caught up ( ἡρπάσθη )

See on Matthew 12:12. Compare Acts 23:10; Judges 1:23.

Verse 6

Of God ( ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ )

Lit., from God, the preposition marking the source from which the preparation came. For a similar use, see James 1:13, “tempted of God.”

Verse 7

There was ( ἐγένετο )

Lit., there arose.

War in heaven

Compare Job 1, Job href="/desk/?q=job+2:1-13&sr=1">Job 2:1-13; Zechariah 3:1-10; Luke 10:18.


See Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1; and see on Judges 1:9.

Fought ( ἐπολέμησαν )

The correct reading is τοῦ πολεμῆσαι tofight. So Rev., “going forth to war against the dragon ( κατὰ τοῦ δράκοντος ). The correct reading is μετά withi0.

Verse 8

Prevailed ( ἴσχυσαν )

See on Luke 14:30; see on Luke 16:3; see on James 5:16.

Verse 9

The great dragon ( ὁ δράκων ὁ μέγας )

Lit., the dragon, the great (dragon).

That old serpent ( ὁ ὄφις ὁ ἀρχαῖος )

Lit., the serpent, the old (serpent). For this habitual construction in John, see on 1 John 4:9. For ἀρχαῖος oldsee on 1 John 2:7, and compare “he was a murderer ἀπ ' ἀρχῆς fromthe beginning,” John 8:44; ἀρχή beginningbeing etymologically akin to ἀρχαῖος old The Devil

See on Matthew 4:1.


See on Luke 10:18.

The deceiver ( ὁ πλανῶν )

Lit., he that deceiveth. See on 1 John 1:8.

World ( οἰκουμένην )

See on Luke 2:1The world with all its inhabitants.

Down to ( εἰς )

Lit., into.

Verse 10

Saying in heaven ( λέγουσαν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ )

The correct reading joins in heaven with great voice. So Rev. I heard a great voice in heaven.

Now ( ἄρτι )

See on John 13:33.

Is come ( ἐγένετο )

Lit., came to pass. Alford says: “It is impossible in English to join to a particle of present time, such as ἄρτι nowa verb in aoristic time. We are driven to the perfect in such cases.”

Salvation, power, the kingdom

All have the article: the salvation, etc. So Rev. The phrase, now is come the salvation, etc., means that these are realized and established. Some, less correctly, render, now is the salvation, etc., become our God's. Compare Luke 3:6.

Power ( ἐξουσία )

See on Mark 2:10. Rev., authority.

The accuser of our brethren ( ὁ κατήγορος τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἡμῶν )

The correct form of the Greek for accuser is a transcript of the Rabbinical Hebrew, κατήγωρ . The Rabbins had a corresponding term συνήγωρ for Michael, as the advocate of God's people. The phrase is applied to Satan nowhere else in the New Testament.

Is cast down ( κατεβλήθη )

The aorist tense. Once and for all. Compare John 12:31; John 16:8, John 16:11.

Which accuseth ( ὁ κατηγορῶν )

Lit., the one. The article with the present participle expresses what is habitual.

Verse 11

Overcame ( ἐνίκησαν )

See on 1 John 2:13.

By the blood of the Lamb ( διὰ τὸ αἷμα τοῦ ἀρνίου )

The preposition διά with the accusative signifies on account of. Hence Rev., correctly, because of: in virtue of the shedding of that blood. Similarly in the succeeding clause, “because of the word of their testimony.” For lamb, see on Revelation 5:6.

Testimony ( μαρτυρίας )

See on John 1:7.

They loved not their life even unto death

Alford, correctly, “they carried their not-love of their life even unto death.”

Verse 12

Dwell ( σκηνοῦντες )

See on John 1:14. Compare Revelation 7:15; Revelation 13:6; Revelation 21:3.

To the inhabiters ( τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν )

Omit. Read, as Rev., woe for the earth and for the sea.

Wrath ( θυμὸν )

See on John 3:36.

Time ( καιρὸν )

See on Matthew 12:1; see on Mark 1:15; see on Acts 1:7.

Verse 14

Two wings

The definite article αἱ theshould be added: “the two wings.” Compare Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalm 36:7.

The great eagle

The article does not point to the eagle of Revelation 8:13, but is generic.

A time and times and half a time

Three years and a half. See on Revelation 11:2.

Verse 15

Cause her to be carried away of the flood ( παύτην ποταμοφόρητον ποιήσῃ )

Lit., might make her one carried away by the stream: a river-born one. The word occurs only here in the New Testament.

Verse 17

Jesus Christ

Omit Christ.

The best texts add to this chapter the opening words of ch. 13 (A.V.), “And I stood upon the sand of the sea.” Some, however, change ἐστάθην Istood, to ἐστάθη hestood, referring to the dragon. So Rev.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 12:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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