Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 11:9

Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Burial;   Martyrdom;   Vision;   The Topic Concordance - Witness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Day of the lord;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Grave;   Restore, Renew;   Zechariah, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gentiles;   Judah, Kingdom of;   Number;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Beast;   Revelation, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Body;   Devil ;   Eschatology;   Numbers;   Sepulchre;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Burial;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Day;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Body;   Burial;   Carcass;   Corpse;   Kindred;   Revelation of John:;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves - They shall be treated with the greatest barbarity. Refusal of burial to the dead was allowed to be the sum of brutality and cruelty. In popish lands they will not suffer a Protestant to have Christian burial, or to have a grave in a churchyard! Contemptible wretches!

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And they of the people - Some of the people; a part of the people - ἐκ τῶν λαῶν ek tōn laōnThe language is such as would be employed to describe a scene where a considerable portion of a company of people should be referred to, without intending to include all. The essential idea is, that there would be an assemblage of different classes of people to whom their carcasses would be exposed, and that they would come and look upon them. We should expect to find the fulfillment of this in some place where, from any cause, a variety of people should be assembled - as in some capital, or some commercial city, to which they would be naturally attracted.

Shall see their dead bodies - That is, a state of things will occur as if these witnesses were put to death, and their carcasses were publicly exposed.

Three days and an half - This might be either literally three days and a half, or, more in accordance with the usual style of this book, these would be prophetic days; that is, three years and a half. Compare the notes on Revelation 9:5, Revelation 9:15.

And shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves - That is, there would be a course of conduct in regard to these witnesses such as would be shown to the dead if they were not suffered to be decently interred. The language used here - “shall not suffer” - seems to imply that there would be those who might be disposed to show them the respect evinced by interring the dead, but that this would not be permitted. This would find a fulfillment if, in a time of persecution, those who had borne faithful testimony were silenced and treated with dishonor and if there should be those who were disposed to show them respect, but who would be prevented by positive acts on the part of their persecutors. This has often been the case in persecution, and there could be no difficulty in finding numerous instances in the history of the church to which this language would he applicable.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-11.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And from among the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations do men look upon their dead bodies three days and a half, and suffer not their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.

Peoples ... tribes ... tongues ... nations ... This is no isolated event in one particular city, but a worldwide phenomenon. It is seen in Houston, New York, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, Havana, etc., everywhere. It is simply impossible to refer the scene here to some Passover crowd in the literal Jerusalem, or to any other isolated and specific location and occasion. "Look upon their dead bodies three days and a half ..." Why do they do such a thing? Because unspiritual and apostate Christians take pleasure in the contemplation of the dead relics of what once was true and living faith. Long after churches have literally chiseled the name of the Son of God off the cornerstones of their houses of worship, and after they have denied his holy religion by the rejection of its great essential doctrine, and after they have made "their church" as worldly, unbelieving, and apostate as possible, do they "bury it"? No indeed! It becomes a favorite rendezvous of scoffing unbelievers. This example should not be misunderstood as a fabrication by this writer. Only compassion forbids our naming the mighty "church" near where this writer lived for seventeen years in Gotham, which actually did all that we have suggested. "The citizens of the great city are happy indeed to feast their eyes upon the dead witnesses. They are delighted now to see that the testimony of the Word to the nations will never be heard again."[58] And, as far as a given generation that rejects the word of God is concerned, this is exactly the way it is. However, in reality, neither the Word nor the Church, God's true witnesses, is ever actually destroyed, as indicated by Revelation 11:11.

And suffer not their dead bodies to be laid in the tomb ... Moffatt observed that the climax of pagan malice was "the refusal to let the bodies of the martyrs be buried by their friends."[59] Like many others, Moffatt here made the mistake of limiting the term "witnesses" to only one of its inherent meanings. These particular witnesses are indeed "martyrs," the Incarnate Word himself having died for all people, and the Church herself being entitled to the designation because of her countless sons who were actually martyrs; but here the far more appropriate meaning of "witnesses" is "those who testify to God's truth." We have already noted that a great many expositors seem to have "hung up" on this term as if it could only mean a certain class who gave up their lives for the faith. Moffatt also missed another point here, perhaps the biggest one in the passage, that being not the mere fact of the burial refused, but of the place where the dead were allowed to lie in the middle of the principal street! This absolutely forbids any literal understanding of this passage.

For three days and a half ... This does not mean merely half a week, but symbolizes a much longer period, but still far short of the thousand two hundred and three score days of the whole dispensation. Human nature being what it is, there is no way to imagine that actual dead corpses would be allowed to lie unburied on a literal city's principal street even for a literal three days and a half; not even the corpse of an animal would be allowed to remain in such a place for such a time. What is indicated is the attractiveness and acceptability of the witness of the "dead" churches.

Here is pictured the church accommodating herself to the ways of the world, proclaiming no unpleasant doctrine, demanding no painful sacrifices, and with the world hailing with satisfaction the prospect of an easy yoke and the cheap purchase of both time and eternity.[60]

Only this kind of a dead corpse would be allowed indefinitely a favored location on Broadway. Preachers and commentators indicating by every word they write or speak that they do not believe the Bible to be God's word at all have indeed "killed it" of any significance for those who are deceived by them; but do they "bury it" or even allow it to be buried? Certainly not. They continue to devote their lives to writing and talking about it.

How great is the delusion of the church, when her silver is turned to dross, her wine to water, and when her voice no longer torments them that dwell upon the earth.[61]

Many excellent examples of this phenomenon are visible in those scholarly enemies of the New Testament who deny, absolutely, that it is an inspired, divine revelation from God, but who nevertheless devote their whole lives to writing and lecturing about it. This writer's library is full of books which prove this. On these very verses describing the "great city" and its reaction to God's witnesses, one of those scholars commented that, "Like the monster (Satan), the great city is a myth!"[62] If that is the truth, why should he have favored mankind with a commentary on a myth? The very attention which he gives to the New Testament indicates that he knows that no part of it is a myth.

Inherent in this vision of the unburied dead is the amazing truth that:

Those who spurn the word, never get rid of it. The wicked cannot let it alone. The world cannot dismiss it. Their rejoicing over its silence keeps them busy.[63]

[58] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 345.

[59] James Moffatt, Expositor's Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 418.

[60] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 74.

[61] Ibid., p. 75.

[62] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 138.

[63] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 346.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations,.... These are either the enemies of the witnesses, who consisted of the people, kindred, tongues, and nations, out from among whom they were chosen, redeemed, and called; and before or against whom John, representing these witnesses, prophesied; and over whom the Romish antichrist sits and rules, Revelation 5:9; or else their friends, either real or pretended; since it is not said "the people", nor "all the people, kindred, tongues, and nations", as it is when the antichristian party are spoken of; and seeing "they that dwell upon the earth", in Revelation 11:10, are mentioned as a distinct company from these; and these are said to be some "of", or "out" of the people, &c. and accordingly the following words will admit of different senses:

shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. Now, though this is not literally to be understood, yet it may have some reference to the usages of the witnesses enemies, who sometimes have not allowed them a burial: so the bodies of John Huss, and Jerom of Prague, were burnt, and their ashes cast into the Rhine; the body of Peter Ramus was cast about the streets, thrown into ponds and ditches, then dragged out, and beat with rods; and some have had their bones dug up again, after they had been buried many years, and then burnt, and their ashes scattered abroad, as Wickliff and Bucer here in England: but as this is to be understood in a mystical and allusive sense, the meaning is, as it may refer to enemies, that they shall see, and look upon with joy and pleasure, and with scorn and contempt, and insult over the witnesses, being silenced and deprived of power and opportunity of prophesying:, and as quite dispirited, cast down, and trodden under foot; and whereas not to have a burial granted is always reckoned a piece of the greatest barbarity and inhumanity, as well as of ignominy and reproach, and is expressive of a most unhappy and miserable condition; see Psalm 129:2; so it here signifies, that the enemies of the witnesses having obtained power over them, will not only insult them, but treat them in a very cruel and inhuman manner, and expose them to scorn and contempt; and it represents their case as being very uncomfortable, and deplorable: or as it may respect friends, real or pretended, such as had been, or were, the sense is, that they shall see them in their unhappy condition, and look upon them with pity and compassion; and shall thoroughly consider, and lay to heart, their case and circumstances; and shall remember then, their doctrine and testimony, and their godly lives, and not suffer them to be buried in oblivion; and shall also call to mind this prediction concerning them, that they should continue in this state but three days and a half, and then revive; and therefore they shall entertain hopes of them, as persons sometimes do of their friends, when they are in doubt whether they are dead or not, and therefore keep them above ground for some time, and will not suffer them to be buried; for when put into the grave, there is no more hope, or when a person has been dead, as in the case of Lazarus, four days; so that this conduct may express the kindness and hope of these friends: or it may be, the meaning is, that they will not look at them but very shyly, and at a distance, as being ashamed of them, and having no heart to succour, relieve, and encourage them; but act as did the priest and the Levite towards the man that fell among thieves, and was left half dead, looked upon him, and turned from him, to the other side of the way; as also, that they will not entertain them, or give them any shelter and refuge among them, when, in this their distress, they shall apply to them: the grave is a resting place; there the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest, Job 3:17. Such resting places the witnesses in former times have found, as the English in Queen Mary's days found at Frankfort and Geneva, and other places, and since in Holland; and as now the French refugees here, who being killed in a civil sense in their own country, are put into graves, or are allowed places of rest and security here: but now these witnesses will find none; those who pretended to be their friends will look shy upon them, and not harbour them, yea, will not suffer any to do it; they will by some public act, through fear of the Popish party, forbid the reception and entertainment of them. The time that this will last will be "three days and a half"; after which, as in Revelation 11:11, they will live again, which cannot be understood literally of so many precise days; for it will; not be possible, that, in so short a time, the news of the slaying of the witnesses should be spread among the inhabitants of the earth, md they be able to express their general joy and rejoicing, and to send their gifts to one another upon his occasion, as is signified in Revelation 11:10; nor does this design so long a time, as the time and times, and half a time, elsewhere mentioned; or that it is a period of the same date and duration with the forty two months, in which the holy city is trodden under foot, and the 1260 days, or years, in which the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth; for during that time they will prophesy, and hold forth their testimony, though in sackcloth; but now they will be killed, and during this space will lie dead, and in entire silence: besides, it will be when they shall have finished their testimony, or towards the close of the 1260 days or years, that this war and slaughter will be, and when these three days and a half will take place, which are to be understood of three years and a half, according the prophetic style, a day for a year; and seems intended for the comfort of the saints, that this most afflictive and distressed condition of the witnesses should last but for a little while. It is made a question, whether this war with the witnesses, and the slaughter of them, and their lying unburied, are over or not: some have thought that these things had their accomplishment in the council of Constance, held about the year 1414, and which lasted three years and a half exactly, when those two witnesses, John Huss, and Jerom of Prague, were killed, insulted, and triumphed over by this council, which was made up of almost all nations. Brightman refers it to the Smalcaldic war in Germany in 1547, when the Protestant army was beaten, and John Frederick, elector of Saxony, and Ernest, the son of the landgrave, and after that the landgrave himself, were taken prisoners; which was a grievous blow to the Protestant cause, and occasioned great rejoicing in the Popish party; but in the year 1550, just three years and a half after that defeat, the men of Magdeburgh rose up with great spirit and courage, and revived the cause. About this time was the council of Trent; to which also the same writer accommodates these things, which consisted of men of all nations, and continued three years and a half; when the authority of the Scriptures was destroyed, which he supposes are the witnesses; when they were suppressed and silenced, and lay as a mere carcass, a dead letter, without any life in them: and it is easy to observe, that there have been several periods of time, in which there has been a seeming fulfilment of these things; the persecution under Queen Mary, and the burning of the martyrs in her time, continued about three years and a half; the massacre in France, in 1572, threatened an utter extirpation of the Protestant religion there, which yet revived in 1576, much about the same space of time here mentioned; and there are several others that have been observed by writers; but what seems most remarkable of all is the case of the Protestants in the valleys of Piedmont, commonly called the Vaudois. The duke of Savoy, their sovereign, by an edict, dated January 31, 1685-6, N. S. forbad the exercise of their religion on pain of death, ordered their churches to be demolished, and their ministers to be banished; which was published in the valleys April the 11th, and was put in execution on the 22nd of the same month, by Savoy and French troops, who killed great numbers of them, took others, and put them into prisons, whom they released about the beginning of December, 1686, and suffered them to depart into other countries, where they were kindly received, relieved, and preserved, particularly by the kingdoms and states of England, Holland, Brandenburgh, Geneva, and Switzerland, while the Popish party were rejoicing at their ruin: and toward the latter end of the year 1689, about three years and a half after the publishing of the edict, these people were inspired on a sudden with a spirit of resolution and courage; and, contrary to the advice of their friends, who thought their case desperate, secretly passed the lake of Geneva, and entered Savoy with sword in hand, and recovered their ancient possessions; and by the month of April, A. D. 1690, established themselves in it, notwithstanding the troops of France and Savoy, to whom they were comparatively few, and whom they slew in great numbers, with little loss to themselves; when the duke perceiving they were encouraged and assisted by foreign princes, and he having left the French interest, recalled the rest of them, and reestablished them by an edict, signed June 4, 1690, just three years and a half after their total dissipation, and gave leave to the French refugees to return with them. Now I take it, that these several things which have happened at certain times, in particular places, are so many hints and pledges of what hereafter will be universal to the witnesses in all places where they are. It would be very desirable if it could be ascertained, and concluded upon a good foundation, that this affair of the killing of the witnesses was over; but because of the following things it cannot be; for the outward court is not yet given to the Gentiles, at least not the whole of it, which must be, ere they can come at the witnesses in the inner court to slay them: they have indeed attacked it, and have taken some part of it, as in Germany, Poland, &c. but as yet not in Great Britain, Holland, &c. at least not thoroughly, though it is plain they are getting ground. Moreover, the witnesses have not finished their testimony, they are still prophesying: in sackcloth; whereas it will be when they have finished it, and towards the close of the 1260 days or years, that they will be killed: to which add, that the ruin of antichrist will quickly follow their rising and ascension; so that if any of the above instances had been the fulfilling of these things relating to the witnesses, antichrist must have been destroyed before now. And it may be further observed, that the second woe, which is the Turkish woe, will, upon the fulfilment of these things, pass away; and the third woe, or the sounding of the seventh trumpet, will immediately take place, which brings on the kingdom of Christ; whereas the Turkish government is still in being, and in great power (this was published in 1747. Ed.); and there is no appearance, as yet, of the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ. There may be an allusion, in this space of time, to the time that Antiochus, called Epiphanes, held Jerusalem in his hands, after he had conquered it, which was just three years and six monthsF19Joseph de Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 1. sect. 7. , during which time he spoiled the temple, and caused the daily sacrifice to cease: this term of time is much spoken of by the Jews; so long they say Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, and likewise Vespasian, and also three years and a half Adrian besieged BitherF20Echa Rabbati, fol. 43. 4. & 46. 3. & 48. 1. & 52. 2. & 58. 3. T. Hieros. Taanith, fol. 68. 4. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 93. 1. .

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies 15 three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

(15) That is, for three years and a half: for so many years Boniface lived after his Jubile, as Bergomensis witnesses.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

they — rather, “(some) of the peoples.”

peopleGreek, “peoples.”

kindredsGreek, “tribes”; all save the elect (whence it is not said, The peoples  …  but [some] of the peoples  … , or, some of the peoples  …  may refer to those of the nations  … , who at the time shall hold possession of Palestine and Jerusalem).

shall see — So Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic. But A, B, C, and Andreas, the present, “see,” or rather (Greek, “{(blepousin}”), “look upon.” The prophetic present.

dead bodies — So Vulgate, Syriac, and Andreas. But A, B, C, and Coptic, singular, as in Revelation 11:8, “dead body.” Three and a half days answer to the three and a half years (see on Revelation 11:2, Revelation )11:3), the half of seven, the full and perfect number.

shall not suffer — so B, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas. But A, C, and Vulgate read, “do not suffer.”

in graves — so Vulgate and Primasius. But B, C, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas, singular; translate, “into a sepulchre,” literally, “a monument.” Accordingly, in righteous retribution in kind, the flesh of the Antichristian hosts is not buried, but given to all the fowls in mid-heaven to eat (Revelation 19:17, Revelation 19:18, Revelation 19:21).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-11.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Men from among (εκ τωνek tōn etc.). No word for “men” (αντρωποιanthrōpoi or πολλοιpolloi) before εκ τωνek tōn but it is implied (partitive use of εκek) as in Revelation 2:10 and often. See also Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9 for this enumeration of races and nations.

Do look upon (βλεπουσινblepousin). Present (vivid dramatic) active indicative of βλεπωblepō days and a half (ημερας τρεις και ημισυhēmeras treis kai hēmisu). Accusative of extent of time. ημισυHēmisu is neuter singular though ημεραςhēmeras (days) is feminine as in Mark 6:23; Revelation 12:14. The days of the gloating over the dead bodies are as many as the years of the prophesying by the witnesses (Revelation 11:3), but there is no necessary correspondence (day for a year). This delight of the spectators “is represented as at once fiendish and childish” (Swete).

Suffer not (ουκ απιουσινouk aphiousin). Present active indicative of απιωaphiō late form for απιημιaphiēmi as in Mark 1:34 (cf. απειςapheis in Revelation 2:20). This use of απιημιaphiēmi with the infinitive is here alone in the Apocalypse, though common elsewhere (John 11:44, John 11:48; John 12:7; John 18:8).

Their dead bodies (τα πτωματα αυτωνta ptōmata autōn). “Their corpses,” plural here, though singular just before and in Revelation 11:8.

To be laid in a tomb (τετηναι εις μνημαtethēnai eis mnēma). First aorist passive of τιτημιtithēmi to place. ΜνημαMnēma (old word from μιμνησκωmimnēskō to remind) is a memorial, a monument, a sepulchre, a tomb (Mark 5:3). “In a country where burial regularly took place on the day of death the time of exposure and indignity would be regarded long” (Beckwith). See Tobit 1:18ff.

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Shall see ( βλέψουσιν )

Read, βλέπουσιν domen look (Rev.), and see on John 1:29.

Shall not suffer ( οὐκ ἀφήσουσιν )

Read ἀφίουσιν donot suffer.

To be put in graves ( τεθῆναι εἰς μνήματα )

Read μνῆμα atomb, as Rev. Compare Genesis 23:4; Isaiah 14:19, Isaiah 14:20.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-11.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

Three days and a half — So exactly are the times set down in this prophecy. If we suppose this time began in the evening, and ended in the morning, and included (which is no way impossible) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the weekly festival of the Turkish people, the Jewish tribes, and the Christian tongues; then all these together, with the heathen nations, would have full leisure to gaze upon and rejoice over them.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

Ver. 9. Three days and a half] i.e. For a short time, till out of their ashes others should arise to stickle for Christ. The pope never rested, but had one or other faithful witness to oppose him; either to his face (as Joannes Sarisburiensis, Qui praesens praesentem Pontificem redarguit; and Mancinellus, who reproved Alexander VI in a sermon at Rome, and had therefore his hands cut off, and his tongue cut out, whereof he died), or else in some more remote part of his dominion, as Savonarola (whom Guicciardin and Mirandula highly commend), Petrarch, who writeth thus, Babylon altera, nempe propinquior, atque recentior, adhuc stat, cito itidem casura, si essetis viri; Babylon would soon down, would you but play the men; besides a cloud of other witnesses, that might here be called in. (Jac. Rev.)

Not suffer their dead bodies] So fulfilling that, Psalms 79:2. Some they would not suffer to be buried; others they dug up again after burial, as (besides many of our martyrs) they unburied and burned the bones of Hermannus Ferrariensis after they had sainted him, because he was said to have followed the doctrine of the Waldenses, those ancient Protestants. (Jac. Rev.) Cardinal Pole had a purpose, if he had lived, to have taken up King Henry VIII’s body, and to have burned it. It was generally observed, that as Winchester and Bonner did always thirst after the blood of the living, so was Cardinal Pole’s lightning (for the most part) kindled against the dead; and he reserved this charge only to himself.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-11.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 11:9. καὶ βλέπουσινκαὶ οὐκ ἀφήσουσι) The present, followed by another tense. Thus soon after, χαίρουσι καὶ εὐφρανθήσονται. Comp. ch. Revelation 12:4, Revelation 13:12.— ἡμέρας τρεῖς ἥμισυ) 3½ days, not 3 or 4. This passage, even by itself, affords an irrefragable proof, how scrupulously, that is, how exactly, the interpreter, who trembles at the words of THE LORD, ought to take prophetic numbers, without proverbial roundness of numbers. See Erkl. Offenb., p. 99.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-11.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations; that is, a multitude of people of all sorts shall take notice of this suppression of these two witnesses in their bearing witness for God, and all the cruel dealings with them.

Shall see their dead bodies three days and an half: there are great disputes what time these three days and an half denote: it cannot be understood of three natural, or artificial days; for (as it is noted by the most judicious interpreters) this is much too short a time for all people to

see their dead bodies, to

rejoice over them, and to

make merry, and to

send gifts one to another in testification of the satisfaction of their lusts, upon the victory got over them. I find some understand these three days and an half of the one thousand two hundred and sixty years, wherein they prophesied in sackcloth, Revelation 11:3, which they thus make out; they first conclude, that these are prophetical days, and so signify three years and a half; then they resolve each of those years into days, and count three times three hundred and sixty days (for in those countries they say the year was counted to contain but three hundred and sixty days); to which they add one hundred and eighty, the half of three hundred and sixty, for the half day, which make up one thousand two hundred and sixty days, or forty-two mouths; which is the just time both of the beast’s reign, and of the woman’s abode in the wilderness, and of the witnesses’ prophesying in sackcloth, and of the Gentiles’ treading down the outward court.

1. But it seems very hard, thus first to make the three days three years in a prophetical sense, and then again to resolve those years, into days, and make those days so many more years; this looks as much like oppression to the text, as the counting interest upon interest to a debtor.

2. It plainly confounds the time of the prophesying of the witnesses in sackcloth, with the time of their lying dead.

Now although the time of their lying dead must be within the one thousand two hundred and sixty days, in the latter end thereof, (for it must be within the beast’s forty-two months, mentioned Revelation 13:5), yet it seems hard to make it as long as the beast’s reign. It certainly signifies a time toward the end of the beast’s reign, when there shall be a more eminent and universal suppression of the faithful witnesses of Christ than ever was before: it seemeth therefore rather to be understood more generally for a short time, as much such a phrase or way of speaking is used, Hosea 6:2, or else for a determinate time of such three years and a half as we ordinarily count. I must confess the half day being added, makes me more incline to the latter; for though it be usual with us to express a short time by, two or three days, and this seems by that text of Hosea to have been an ancient way of speaking, yet we do not use to put in half days when we so speak. I do therefore agree with those who think the time here specified is to be understood of three ordinary years and a half; and the rather, because this is the very time that Christ was under the power of the Pharisees. As three days (that is, part of them) was the time of his being under the power of death, so three years and a half was the just time of all the indignity that he suffered from his manifestation to the world, to his death: and (as we read in 1 Macc.) it was the just time of Antiochus’s oppressing of the Jews, whom divines judge that Daniel, in his 11th chapter, {Daniel 11:1-45} makes a type of antichrist.

And shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves: divines are divided whether these words be to be understood of enemies or friends. If it be to be understood of friends, the death being a civil death principally that was spoken of, it signifieth the providence of God so working for his witnesses, by the adherence of a party to them, that their adversaries the popish party should not wholly extinguish them; which hath been seen all along the story of the church: though their adversaries have been warring against them, overcome and killed them, yet they have not been able to bury them; nor shall they be able to do it at this last pinch, when they shall have a greater victory over them than ever before, and kill them to a further degree. But methinks the phrase rather signifies this an act of enemies, who, to show their further malice to them, and contempt and scorn of them are said to be so inhuman, as not to suffer their dead bodies to be buried.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-11.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

три дня с половиною Весь мир будет смотреть на трупы свидетелей Божьих (несомненно, благодаря самым современным средствам массовой информации) и прославлять антихриста. Тела убиенных пророков начнут разлагаться.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-11.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Three days and a half; a limited and short period.

Not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves; showing the dishonor and contempt with which the faithful servants of God would be treated, not only while they lived, but after they were dead.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-11.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And from among the peoples and tribes and languages and nations do men look on their dead bodies for three days and a half, and do not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.’

These ‘peoples and tribes and languages and nations’ are in direct and deliberate contrast with the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Revelation 5:9), and the faithful servants of Christ out of every nation, and of all tribes and peoples and tongues (Revelation 7:9) who come from the same source. They thus have no excuse, for their compatriots have responded to Christ. It was to them that John was to prophesy (Revelation 10:11). Their behaviour is inhumane and abominable, and is shown to be even worse in the next verse, but there is no limit on man’s behaviour when he seeks revenge on those who make him feel uncomfortable.

When he speaks of many peoples and nations John may have thought in terms of people gathering to Jerusalem for the feasts, or he may have had in mind the armies of the nations who were treading it down. But he intends us to see Jerusalem as a microcosm of the whole earth, just as the church in Jerusalem is the microcosm of the whole church. (He could never have dreamed of television and computers and things yet to be invented). The three and a half days clearly parallels the three and a half years. God allows the crowds to enjoy, a day of shame for every year of the ministry they have rejected. That is all they have.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-11.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Evidently people from all over the world will be able to view the corpses, probably by television. Alternatively people from all these groups (cf. Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9) may be in Jerusalem at this time and will see them. The correspondence of three and a half days to the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation may only be coincidental. Nonetheless it draws attention to the fact that God"s servants will only suffer a short time whereas those under His wrath will suffer much longer.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-11.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 11:9. The spectators mentioned in this verse come from the whole world in its fourfold designation of peoples and tribes and tongues and nations. All look upon the ‘dead body’ of the witnesses without commiseration for the miserable state in which it lies. This they do for three days and a half, not literal days but, according to the analogy of three and a half years, a broken, incomplete, and probably short period. That during this period the world suffers not their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb heightens the picture of contempt and injury (comp. Genesis 23:4; Isaiah 14:19-20).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-11.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

of. App-104.

people = peoples.

kindreds = tribes. as Revelation 1:7.

shall see = see, with texts. App-133.

shall. Omit.

three days and an half. A literal period.

shall not suffer = suffer not.

graves = a tomb, a word destructive of interpretations of the two witnesses as the O.T. and N.T.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

They - rather, '(some) of the peoples.'

Kindreds - `tribes:' all except the elect; or, some of the peoples, etc., may be those of the nations, etc., who at the time shall hold possession of Palestine and Jerusalem.

Shall see. So Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Andreas, present [ blepousin (Greek #991)], 'look upon.' Prophetic present.

Dead bodies. So Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Coptic, singular, as Revelation 11:8, 'dead body.' Dead bodies. So Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Coptic, singular, as Revelation 11:8, 'dead body.' Three and a half days answer to the three and a half years (notes, Revelation 11:2-3); half of seven, the perfect number.

Shall not suffer. So B, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas; but A C 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, 'do not suffer.'

In graves. So Vulgate, Primasius; but 'Aleph (') B C, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas, singular, 'into a sepulchre,' a monument. In righteous retribution, the flesh of the anti-Christian hosts is not buried, but given to all the fowls in mid-heaven to eat (Revelation 19:17-18; Revelation 19:21).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-11.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
the people
10:11; 13:7; 17:15
three
2,3,11
and shall not
5:8; 19:17,18; Psalms 79:2,3; Ecclesiastes 6:3; Isaiah 33:1; Jeremiah 7:33; Matthew 7:2
Reciprocal: Psalm 141:7 - bones;  Jeremiah 25:33 - they shall not;  Haggai 2:6 - and I;  Hebrews 11:5 - and was;  Revelation 5:9 - out;  Revelation 11:8 - their dead;  Revelation 11:18 - the nations

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-11.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The Bible continued to be a prohibited book all through the Dark Ages or the1260 years. That is the period represented here by three days and a half. The term is obtained by reducing three and a half years to days (1260), then remembering that a day in symbolic language stands for a year. Not suffer . . . put in graves. A refusal to give burial to a body that has been slain would indicate much disrespect for the body. The figure is used to denote the low esteem the church of Rome had for the word of God.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-11.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 11:9

Revelation 11:9-10 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

The two witnesses being killed, some pity them, others

rejoice over them,

and most of the people will

not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

The beast having killed the witnesses, would have them buried, that their names and their testimony might not be remembered: But they of the peoples, etc, would not suffer their names to perish, nor their testimony to be forgotten; they would not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. Which some expositors understand to be an act of pity and good will, and favour towards the two witnesses, and their testimony. Other expositors interpret their not suffering of the dead bodies of Christ's witnesses to be put in graves, to be an act of enmity and cruelty in those of the peoples, etc, that rejoiced over them after they were killed, who would not let them have a Christian burial.

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, etc.

As the killing of these two witnesses, is the last act of the papal power of the beast; so the rejoicing over their dead bodies is the last act of the Whore's joy; and both these acts are the last sufferings of the ministers of Christ, and churches of saints. For we never read of the beasts power, the whores joy, nor the saints sufferings, after these their1260 days, or forty two months be fulfilled. And these three days and an half, are the ending time, and full period of the witnesses1260 days, and of the beasts forty-two months. And Christ hath sworn { Revelation 10:6-7} that there should be time no longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, etc, which is the very next dispensation after this sixth trumpet. { Revelation 11:14-15} And the seventh angel sounded, etc, the reason why the inhabitants of the earth, that is earthly minded professors (who mind earthly things) { Philippians 3:19} do rejoice at the killing of Christ's two witnesses, and are so merry, when they see their dead bodies lying in the street of the great City, Isaiah, because these two Prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth { Revelation 11:10} which happened, first, by the power of their testimony upon some of their consciences, which cut them to the heart, as St. Stephen's testimony did theirs. { Acts 7:51-54} Secondly, by the guilt of the blood of the martyrs and witnesses of Jesus, which wounded their spirits, whereby they were filled with indignation against them, as the scribes and pharisees were, saying { Acts 15:17-33} Ye intend to bring this mans blood upon us, etc. And thirdly, by bearing their witness against their murders, as Elias did, when he said to Ahab { 1 Kings 21:19-20} Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? and against their whoredoms and adulteries, as John the Baptist witnessed against Herod and Herodias {Mark 6:17-24} and against all other their wicked Abominations.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-11.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9.Three days and an half—A miniature of the forty and two months, or three years and a half of Revelation 11:2; being “a day for a year.” It is an adverse number, the sacred seven broken into two equal parts. The reduction to a miniature amount, corresponds both to the miniature reduction of the witnesses to two, and to the necessary brevity of time for a corpse to lie unburied.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-11.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 11:9. Cf.2 Chronicles 24:19 f., Matthew 23:34 f., Job 1:12.— , for other N.T. assimilations of irreg. to reg. verb (Win. § Revelation 14:16; Blass, § 23:7), cf.Mark 1:34, Luke 11:4. In Ep. Lugd. the climax of pagan malice is the refusal to let the bodies of the martyrs be buried by their friends. . The rendering of burial honours to the dead was a matter of great moment in the ancient world; to be denied pious burial meant ignominy in the memory of this world and penalties in the next. The two witnesses are treated as the murdered high priests, Ananus and Jesus, were handled by the Jewish mob in the seventh decade (Jos. Bell. iv. 5, 2).— , the onlookers, who evidently sympathise with anti-christ (cf. on Revelation 16:12), include pagans as well as Jews (Andr.).— , . . ., three and a half as the broken seven (cf. on Revelation 11:2) here in days. This trait (cf. on Revelation 11:12) shows that their fate was not originally modelled on that of Jesus.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 11:9". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-11.html. 1897-1910.