Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 17:16

And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Horn;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;   Judges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Babylon;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church;   Joy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Harlot;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abomination of Desolation;   Antichrist;   Babylon, Mystical;   Beast;   Euphrates;   Marriage;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Horn ;   River ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon the Great ;   Horns;   Naked;   Numbers as Symbols;   Prophets, the;   Roman Empire;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Babylon;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Name;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Desolate;   Horn;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And the ten horns which thou sowest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire - Here is a clue to lead us to the right interpretation of the horns of the beast. It is said the Ten horns shall hate the whore; by which is evidently meant, when connected with what follows, that the whole of the ten kingdoms in the interest of the Latin Church shall finally despise her doctrines, be reformed from popery, assist in depriving her of all influence and in exposing her follies, and in the end consign her to utter destruction. From this it follows that no Roman Catholic power which did not exist so late as the Reformation can be numbered among the horns of the beast; the horns must, therefore, be found among the great states of Europe at the commencement of the Reformation. These were exactly ten, viz., France, Spain, England, Scotland, The Empire, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, and Portugal. In these were comprehended most of the minor states not styled monarchies, and which, from their first rise to the period of the Reformation, had been subdued by one or more of the ten grand Roman Catholic powers already named. Consequently, these ten constituted the power and strength of the beast; and each minor state is considered a part of that monarchy under the authority of which it was finally reduced previously to the Reformation.

But it may be asked, How could the empire, which was the revived head of the beast, have been at the same time one of its horns? The answer is as follows: Horns of an animal, in the language of prophecy, represent the powers of which that empire or kingdom symbolized by the animal is composed. Thus the angel, in his interpretation of Daniel's vision of the ram and he-goat expressly informs us that "the ram with two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." One of the horns of the ram, therefore, represented the kingdom of Media, and the other the kingdom of Persia; and their union in one animal denoted the united kingdom of Media and Persia, viz., the Medo-Persian empire. In like manner the beast with ten horns denotes that the empire represented by the beast is composed of ten distinct powers, and the ten horns being united in one beast very appropriately show that the monarchies symbolized by these horns are united together to form one empire; for we have already shown, in the notes on Revelation 13:1, that a beast is the symbol of an empire. Therefore, as the horns of an animal, agreeably to the angel's explanation, (and we can have no higher authority), represent all the powers of which that domination symbolized by the animal is composed, the Roman empire of Germany, as one of those monarchies which gave their power and strength to the Latin empire, must consequently have been A Horn of the beast. But the Germanic empire was not only a Latin power, but at the same time was acknowledged by all Europe to have precedency of all the others. Therefore, as it is not possible to express these two circumstances by one symbol, it necessarily follows, from the nature of symbolical language, that what has been named the holy Roman empire must have a double representation. Hence the empire, as one of the powers of the Latin monarchy, was a horn of the beast, and in having precedency of all the others was its revived head. See a similar explanation of the tail of the dragon in the notes on Revelation 12:4.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast - Revelation 17:3. The ten powers or kingdoms represented by those horns. See the notes on Revelation 17:12.

These shall hate the whore - There seems to be some incongruity between this statement and what was previously made. In the former Revelation 17:12-14, these ten governments are represented as in alliance with the beast; as “giving all their power and strength” unto it; and as uniting with it in making war with the Lamb. What is here said must, therefore, refer to some subsequent period, indicating some great change in their feelings and policy. We have seen the evidence of the fulfillment of the former statements. This statement will be accomplished if these same powers, represented by the ten horns, that were formerly in alliance with the papacy, shall become its enemy, and contribute to its final overthrow. That is, it will be accomplished if the nations of Europe, embraced within the limits of those ten kingdoms, shall become hostile to the papacy, and shall combine for its overthrow. Is anything more probable than this? France (see the notes on Revelation 18:8.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire.

And the horns ... Ah yes, the horns! For ages, the whore would use these only for goring the saints, but another age is coming, when the horns shall be turned upon the wanton whore herself. The horns had always been on the beast, an essential element of his character; but the whore accommodated to these as long as they could be used in her selfish interests; but this verse prophesies a radical change.

They shall hate the harlot ... Even Apostate Christianity has far too much truth and righteousness in it for the devil ever to love it. The beast hated the harlot even while they were using each other. The godless state can never willingly accept a rival.

And shall make her desolate and naked ... Intermittently, here and there, since the Reformation, evil states have exhibited samplings of that phenomenon which is here prophesied to become general, as, for example, when all of the monasteries and religious institutions of France were plundered, confiscated, and liquidated during the French Revolution. The same thing took place during the current decade in China, and in Russia before that. However, the fulfillment of this will be on a far grander scale than these isolated occurrences.

And shall utterly burn her with fire ... The ten final (understood as a symbolical indefinite number) kingdoms will at the time of fulfillment of this prophecy be finished with all religion, apostate or not, and they shall burn and eat their former paramour.

And they shall eat her flesh ... The ultimate and final destruction of Apostate Christianity is prophesied here, an event that must be assigned to a time yet future. This coming destruction should not be the cause of any rejoicing on the part of the true Christian; because, in all probability, all of them will also perish (except perhaps a few) in the ensuing holocaust. One cannot help pondering the thought that if the harlot herself would repent, clean up her act, purge out the idols, give up the arrogance, and re-enthrone Christ instead of a man, and turn to the Lord, the ultimate disaster might be postponed; but it appears to be a vain thought.

Our interpretation of this happens to coincide with that of W. A. Criswell:

The prophecy is that the kingdoms of the world, some day, are going to get weary of the idolatrous church. They will get tired of being told by a Nuncio or a legate what they shall, or shall not, do. They will hate the whore, make her desolate, rob her of all her riches, make her naked and strip her of her scarlet robes, purple gowns, and of the pearls and precious stones; and they shall appropriate all of her riches."[52]

Thus we see, as Plummer observed, that, "The fulfillment of this chapter lies in all time."[53]

Moffatt actually wrote that what John prophesies here is that, "Rome perishes at the hands of Nero and his ruthless allies, a belief loudly echoed in the Talmud."[54] This, of course, was to take place after Nero rises from the dead! This ridiculous conclusion is exactly what the Nero Redivivus theory means; and what does that say? It says that John here prophesied a lie. Satan has surely blinded the mind of any Christian who could swallow such a theory.

[52] W. A. Criswell, op. cit., III, p. 188.

[53] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 418.

[54] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 454.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast,.... Revelation 17:3 and which are interpreted of ten kings, Revelation 17:12. The Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, and the Syriac Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, read, "and the beast"; and then the sense is, that the ten kings and states in particular, who have defended antichrist, and the whole empire in general, which has bore up and supported the whore of Rome:

these shall hate the whore; her principles and sentiments, her doctrines, which are doctrines of devils, her wicked practices, her idolatries, adulteries, murders, and thefts; they will repent of their fornications with her, and cease from them; their love will be turned to hatred, and the latter will be greater than ever the former was, like Amnon's to Tamar; and as it usually is with men towards harlots, when they see their follies, and how they have been deceived and abused by them:

and shall make her desolate; leave her, quit her communion; no more commit fornication with her, or join with her in her idolatrous worship; but come out from that apostate church, and renounce all fellowship with her, and persuade and engage as many as they can influence to do the same:

and naked; strip her of her purple, scarlet colour, gold, pearls, and precious stones; cease to give their power and strength, withhold their taxes and tribute, deprive her of her power and authority, civil and ecclesiastical, in their realms, and take away even her patrimony from her; and not only so, but expose her shame and filthiness, her abominable principles and practices, to all the world; which has been in part done already:

and shall eat her flesh; not literally, but mystically; not out of love, but hatred; they shall take that to themselves, and make use of, which have fattened her, as bishoprics, and other benefices, lands, endowments belonging to abbeys, and monasteries, and other religious houses; an instance and example of which we have in King Henry the Eighth's time; so some understand this phrase of devouring the substance of others, in Psalm 27:2. So the Targumists often interpret "flesh and fatness"; by "riches, goods", or substance; the phrase in Isaiah 17:4 "the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean", is paraphrased, עותר יקריה, "the riches of his glory shall be carried away"; and the words in Micah 3:3 who shall also eat the flesh of my people", &c. are rendered, "and they who spoil" נכסי עמי, "the goods", or "substance of my people, and take away their precious mammon, or money, from them. And again, Zechariah 11:9 "let the rest eat, everyone the flesh of another", is in the Targum, "let a man spoil" נכסי, "the goods or substance of his neighbour"; and in Revelation 17:16 he shall eat the flesh of the fat; the paraphrase is, "he shall" spoil נכסי, "the goods or substance of the rich".

And burn her with fire: alluding to the law in Leviticus 21:9 which required that the daughter of a priest, that played the whore, should be burnt with fire; and this is to be understood literally of burning the city of Rome, the seat of the whore, with fire; of which see Revelation 18:8. It has been very near being burnt in times past, as by Alaricus the Goth, Attila the Hun, Genseric the Vandal, and by Totilas, and in later times by Charles the Fifth; and would have been, had they not been dissuaded or diverted from it; and which were so many preludes and warnings of its future fate: and we may learn from hence, that Rome, and the Romish antichrist, will not be destroyed by the Turks, but by the Christians; and by the same states, and kingdoms, and princes, by which the whore of Rome has been supported in her grandeur, power, and authority, who will revolt from Popery, and embrace the pure Gospel of Christ: and this shows, that the ten horns, or kingdoms, into which the Roman empire has been divided, will subsist in this form at the destruction of Rome; wherefore, it has been rightly observed by some, that not one of these kingdoms shall ever be able to rise to universal monarchy. France has been for many years attempting it, but in vain; and we may sit down easy and satisfied, assuring ourselves with the greatest confidence, that all attempts this way will be fruitless; there never will be another universal monarchy on earth but that of Christ's; see Daniel 2:37.

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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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the ten 33 horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

(33) The ten kings, as (Revelation 17:12). The accomplishment of this fact and event is daily increased in this our age by the singular providence and most mighty government of God. Therefore the facts are propounded in this verse, and the cause of them in the verses following.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

upon the beast — But A, B, Vulgate, and Syriac read, “and the beast.”

shall make her desolate — having first dismounted her from her seat on the beast (Revelation 17:3).

naked — stripped of all her gaud (Revelation 17:4). As Jerusalem used the world power to crucify her Savior, and then was destroyed by that very power, Rome; so the Church, having apostatized to the world, shall have judgment executed on her first by the world power, the beast and his allies; and these afterwards shall have judgment executed on them by Christ Himself in person. So Israel leaning on Egypt, a broken reed, is pierced by it; and then Egypt itself is punished. So Israel‘s whoredom with Assyria and Babylon was punished by the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. So the Church when it goes a-whoring after the word as if it were the reality, instead of witnessing against its apostasy from God, is false to its profession. Being no longer a reality itself, but a sham, the Church is rightly judged by that world which for a time had used the Church to further its own ends, while all the while “hating” Christ‘s unworldly religion, but which now no longer wants the Church‘s aid.

eat her fleshGreek plural, “masses of flesh,” that is, “carnal possessions”; implying the fullness of carnality into which the Church is sunk. The judgment on the harlot is again and again described (Revelation 18:1; Revelation 19:5); first by an “angel having great power” (Revelation 18:1), then by “another voice from heaven” (Revelation 18:4-20), then by “a mighty angel” (Revelation 18:21-24). Compare Ezekiel 16:37-44, originally said of Israel, but further applicable to the New Testament Church when fallen into spiritual fornication. On the phrase, “eat  …  flesh” for prey upon one‘s property, and injure the character and person, compare Psalm 14:4; Psalm 27:2; Jeremiah 10:25; Micah 3:3. The First Napoleon‘s Edict published at Rome in 1809, confiscating the papal dominions and joining them to France, and later the severance of large portions of the Pope‘s territory from his sway and the union of them to the dominions of the king of Italy, virtually through Louis Napoleon, are a first installment of the full realization of this prophecy of the whore‘s destruction. “Her flesh” seems to point to her temporal dignities and resources, as distinguished from “herself” (Greek). How striking a retribution, that having obtained her first temporal dominions, the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the state of Rome, by recognizing the usurper Pepin as lawful king of France, she should be stripped of her dominions by another usurper of France, the Napoleonic dynasty!

burn  …  with fire — the legal punishment of an abominable fornication.

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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 17:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-17.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

These shall hate the harlot (ουτοι μισησουσιν την πορνηνhoutoi misēsousin tēn pornēn). Future active of μισεωmiseō ουτοιHoutoi is resumptive demonstrative pronoun (masculine) referring to the ten horns and the beast (neuter); construction according to sense. The downfall of Rome will come from the sudden change in subject peoples.

Shall make her desolate and naked (ηρημωμενην ποιησουσιν αυτην και γυμνηνērēmōmenēn poiēsousin autēn kai gumnēn). Future active of ποιεωpoieō and perfect passive predicate accusative participle of ερημοωerēmoō old verb (from ερημοςerēmos desolate), again in Revelation 18:16, Revelation 18:19. ΓυμνηνGumnēn (naked) is predicate adjective.

Shall eat her flesh (τας σαρκας αυτης παγονταιtas sarkas autēs phagontai). Future middle of the defective verb εστιωesthiō to eat. Note plural σαρκαςsarkas portions of flesh (James 5:3) as in Psalm 27:2; Micah 3:3.

Shall burn her utterly with fire (αυτην κατακαυσουσιν εν πυριautēn katakausousin en puri). Future active of κατακαιωkatakaiō to burn down (perfective use of καιωkaiō). John wrote before the days of Alaric, Genseric, Ricimer, Totila, with their hordes which devastated Rome and the west in the fifth and sixth centuries. “No reader of the Decline and Fall can be at a loss for materials which will at once illustrate and justify the general trend of St. John‘s prophecy” (Swete).

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-17.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Upon the beast ( ἐπί )

Read καὶ and: “the ten horns - and the beast.”

Desolate ( ἠρημωμένην )

Lit., desolated, the verb being in the perfect participle.

Shall eat her flesh

A token of extreme hostility. See Psalm 27:2; Micah 3:3. Xenophon, speaking of the hatred between the pure Spartans and the Helots, says that no one of the pure Spartans could conceal his readiness to eat the Helot raw. Notice the plural σάρκας fleshand see on James 5:3.

Burn ( κατακαύσουσιν )

Rev., giving the force of κατά downburn utterly. According to some interpreters the figure is changed from the woman to a city; but this is unnecessary, as the language is probably taken from the punishment of fornication on the part of a priest's daughter (Leviticus 21:9; compare Leviticus 20:14).

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-17.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The ten horns; kings, as is explained Revelation 17:12.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-17.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Ver. 16. These shall hate] As base fellows use to hate their harlots when they find them false.

And shall make her desolate] Shall deny to defend her.

And naked] By denying her maintenance, and laying her open to the world by their remonstrances. King Henry VIII and the French king, some half a year before their death, were at a point to have utterly rooted the bishop of Rome out of their realms, and to exhort the emperor to do the same, or else to break off from him. The realm of France was ready (upon the pope’s refusal to rebless King Henry IV upon conversion to them) to withdraw utterly from the obedience of his See, and to erect a new patriarch over all the French Church. The then archbishop of Burges was ready to accept it; and but that the pope, in fear thereof, did hasten his benediction, it had been effected, to his utter disgrace and decay. (Spec. Europ.)

And shall eat her flesh] Be so bitterly bent against her, that they could find in their hearts to tear her with their teeth. See Job 19:22. We read of two notable thieves in the kingdom of Naples (the one called himself Pater noster, and the other Ave Maria) that had slain 116 men at different times and in different places. These two were at length taken and tormented to death by the command of the magistrate, with hot burning pincers, &c., and made to die piecemeal. It were but reason that Christian princes should use like zeal and severity against that grand soul-murderer the pope.

And burn her with fire] For an old bawd. {a} It is reported that in Meroe, the priests of Jupiter had so bewitched the people with their superstition, that they would sometimes send to the king of Ethiopia for his head; which was never denied them, till it came to King Erganes, who upon so insolent a demand slew them all, and took away their priesthood. Why is not the same now done to the bridge maker of Rome?

{a} fig. He who or that which panders to any evil design or vicious practice. ŒD

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-17.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

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.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-17.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast: see Revelation 17:3,12.

These shall hate the whore, &c.; the ten kings shall apostatize from the papacy, and be great instruments of God to ruin it. When we see some other kingdoms, now in vassalage to the pope, do as much as hath been done in England, and Scotland, and Sweden, and some other places, we may possibly understand this prophecy better than we yet do.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-17.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

возненавидят блудницу После использования лжерелигиозной системы для объединения всех царств земли и установления контроля над всеми антихрист с помощью 10 подчиненных ему правителей выступит против системы, разграбит и разрушит ее, захватит власть и заставит поклоняться себе. Но и в этом будет выполняться Божия воля (ст. 17). Ср. Быт. 50:20.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The ten horns which thou sawest; that nations which for a time supported the persecuting power.

Shall hate the whore-make her desolate-eat her flesh, and burn her with fire; shall turn against her, and help to destroy the persecuting power which she represented. Though she may for a time and to a great extent succeed in deceiving the nations, yet it will be only so long as God shall suffer it, and till his word concerning it is fulfilled. Then many will be undeceived, see their folly and her abominations, and turn in wrath against her, and she shall come to her end and have none to help her.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-17.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

It is declared in verse sixteen that the kings of the empire, represented by the ten horns, hated the Harlot. This is solid proof that the harlot city was not Rome--assuredly the Roman kings did not hate the capital city of the Roman Empire. But they did hate Jerusalem and coordinated their efforts with the emperor to reduce it to the condition here described: make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire. The Lord's account of the siege of Jerusalem together with the history of Josephus were a graphic fulfillment of these apocalyptic pronouncements on apostate Jerusalem, the faithful city become an harlot.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-17.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The beast and his allies will eventually throw off the harlot and thoroughly destroy her. They will plunder her wealth, expose her corruption, and utterly consume her, as dogs ate Jezebel"s flesh ( 1 Kings 21:23-24; 2 Kings 9:30-37; cf. Psalm 27:2; Jeremiah 10:25; Micah 3:3; Zephaniah 3:3). They will completely desecrate her, as the Israelites burned the bodies of people who committed detestable fornication (cf. Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 21:9; Joshua 7:15; Joshua 7:25). This will probably occur in the middle of the Tribulation when Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and demands that everyone on earth worship him or die ( Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:26-38; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 13:15). Satan"s kingdom will divide and turn against itself, the sure sign that it cannot endure (cf. Mark 3:23-26). [Note: Wilcock, p165.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-17.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 17:16. And the ten horns which thou sawest and the beast. The ten horns and the beast are mentioned in combination because the latter is the essence of the former, and the former are the expression of the latter.

These shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire. What an unexpected result! The woman has been sitting on the beast, reckoning on it as her servant and ally, and guiding it in perfect harmony with its temper and designs. All at once the scene is changed. Defeat has taken place, and what is the effect? The bond which in prosperity had bound the wicked co-labourers together is dissolved, the partners in evil fall out, the one section turns round upon the other, and she who had found ready instruments in the beast and its heads for accomplishing the work to which she had spurred them on sees them, in the hour of common despair, fall upon herself and mercilessly destroy her. The individual expressions do not call for much remark: (1) Desolate is the word corresponding to the ‘wilderness’ of Revelation 17:3,—she is to be made truly a wilderness; (2) Flesh is plural in the original, probably because of the many who perish, or of the many possessions that the harlot owns; (3) The thought of thus eating flesh is taken from the Old Testament; ‘when the wicked came upon me ... to eat up my flesh’ (Psalms 27:2); ‘who also eat the flesh of my people’ (Micah 3:3); (4) Shall burn her utterly with fire. The language is most probably taken from the Old Testament, in which to be so burned is the punishment of fornication on the part of a priest’s daughter (Leviticus 21:9). The whole is a picture of complete destruction.

To seek historical fulfilment of his in such events as Nero’s burning Rome will appear to most men, in the simple statement of it, absurd. A great principle is proceeded upon, one often exemplified in the world,—that combinations of the wicked for a common crime soon break up, leaving the guilty associates to turn upon and destroy one another. But it is difficult not to think that there was especially one great drama present to the Seer’s mind, and suggestive of this lesson—that drama which embodied in intensest action all the great forces that move the world—the drama of the life and death of Jesus. He thought of the alliance that had been made between the Jews and the Romans to crucify the Redeemer, an alliance so soon broken and followed by the destruction of Jerusalem. In that he beheld the type of similar alliances in all future time.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-17.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

upon. Greek. epi; but the texts read "and".

shall = will.

her. i.e. the city. Compare Jeremiah 50:32.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Upon the beast. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syriac, read, 'and the beast.'

Shall make her desolate - having first dismounted her from her seat (Revelation 17:3).

Naked - stripped of all her gaud (Revelation 17:4). As Jerusalem used the world-power to crucify her Saviour, and then was destroyed by that very power, Rome, so the Church, having apostatized to the world, shall have judgment executed on her by the world-power, the beast and his allies. These afterward shall have judgment executed on them by Christ Himself. So Israel leaning on Egypt, a broken reed, is pierced by it, then Egypt itself is punished. So Israel's whoredom with Assyria and Babylon was punished by the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. So the Church going a whoring after the world, as if it were the reality, instead of witnessing against its apostasy, is false to its profession: being no longer a reality herself, she is judged by that world which for a time used her to further its ends, while all the while 'hating' Christ's unworldly religion, but which no longer wants her aid.

Eat her flesh - plural, 'masses of flesh;' i:e., 'carnal possessions;' implying the gross carnalities into which she is sunk. The judgment on the harlot is again and again described: first, by an "angel having great power" (Revelation 18:1), then by "another voice from heaven" (Revelation 18:4-20), then by "a mighty angel" (Revelation 18:21-24), then by the jubilant voice of much people in heaven (Revelation 19:2). Compare Ezekiel 16:37-44, originally Israel; further applicable to the New Testament Church when fallen into spiritual fornication. On "eat ... flesh," for prey upon one's property, character, and person, cf. Psalms 14:4; Psalms 27:2; Jeremiah 10:25; Micah 3:3. The first Napoleon's edict at Rome, in 1809, confiscating the papal dominions, and lately the severance of large portions of territory from the pope's sway, for union to the kingdom of Italy, through Louis Napoleon, are a first instalment of the whore's complete destruction. "Her flesh" points to her temporal resources, as distinguished from 'herself.' How striking a retribution, that having obtained her first temporal dominions, the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the state of Rome, by recognizing the usurper Pepin as lawful king of France, she should be stripped of her dominions by another usurper of France, the Napoleonic dynasty! After temporal sovereignty and possessions shall be lost to the apostate church, she may prove to be the "false prophet," combining with the beast and dragon. The Reformation saved Christianity from the infidelity with which it was threatened under Pope Leo.

Burn her with fire - the legal punishment of abominable fornication (Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 21:9).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) And the ten horns . . .—Translate, And the ten horns which thou sawest (not, as in English version, “on the beast,” but), and the wild beast, these shall hate the harlot. The harlot was seen in splendid apparel riding on the wild beast; now the wild beast, in the day of the seventh head, turns with the ten horns of his power upon her, makes her deserted, strips her of her adornments, consumes the spoil—for this is what is meant by “eating her flesh”—and burns her with fire. The woman in the days of the Evangelist was Rome (Revelation 17:18), but great and resistless as her power seemed, it was doomed; the day would come when other kingdoms would rise who would hate her for her tyranny, envy her splendour, and covet her wealth. Then the great Babylon would fall, like Jezebel of old; the painted cheek, the pencilled eyebrow, and the amorous glance have lost their fascination; those who have pandered to her vices would turn against her, and cast her out to be trampled under foot. So did the Babylon of St. John’s day fall—perishing in the blood that she had spilt, or left “childless and crownless in her voiceless woe.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
the ten
2,10,12
these
1,2,13; 16:12; Isaiah 13:17,18; Jeremiah 50:41,42
and naked
18:16,17; Ezekiel 16:37-44; 23:45-49
eat
Job 31:31; Psalms 27:2; Daniel 7:5
and burn
18:8,16; Leviticus 21:9
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 13:15 - destroying it utterly;  Joshua 6:24 - burnt;  Psalm 53:4 - who eat;  Isaiah 13:9 - cruel;  Isaiah 14:6 - is persecuted;  Jeremiah 4:30 - in vain;  Jeremiah 12:9 - the birds;  Jeremiah 27:7 - until;  Jeremiah 50:10 - all that;  Jeremiah 50:38 - A drought;  Jeremiah 50:45 - hear;  Jeremiah 51:11 - the Lord hath;  Jeremiah 51:42 - GeneralJeremiah 51:56 - the spoiler;  Lamentations 1:2 - among;  Ezekiel 16:25 - and hast made;  Ezekiel 16:27 - delivered;  Ezekiel 23:9 - GeneralEzekiel 23:22 - I will raise;  Ezekiel 23:26 - strip;  Ezekiel 31:12 - gone;  Daniel 7:24 - the ten;  Hosea 2:3 - I strip;  Zechariah 14:12 - Their flesh;  Matthew 12:25 - Every kingdom;  James 5:3 - and shall;  Revelation 12:3 - ten;  Revelation 13:1 - having;  Revelation 19:2 - judged;  Revelation 19:21 - and all

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-17.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

DESTRUCTION OF THE HARLOT.

Revelation 17:16-17. — "And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the Beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire. For God has given to their hearts to do His mind, and to act with one mind, and to give their kingdom to the Beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled." "The ten horns and the Beast" (see R.V. for this important emendation). The ten kingdoms combine with the Beast in hatred to the whore. What a change! It is evident that the Beast and confederate kings exist after the destruction of Babylon, as they, i.e., the Beast and the horns, are the human instruments in inflicting the Lord's vengeance on that guilty and apostate system. The secular power is reserved for destruction at the hands of the Lord in Person and at His Coming in power (Revelation 19:1-21). The ten horns act in conjunction with the Beast in hatred to the whore. All were united in supporting the claims and pretensions of the woman, and now they are equally agreed in effecting her ruin.

The world's glory and might is but a passing dream. All not founded on God withers, fades, and perishes. Babylon, when on the highest pinnacle of pride and greatness, in the zenith of her glory, is cut down. Her ruin is complete and final. In righteous retribution her partners in crime become the active instruments in her political overthrow and displacement from power over the nations.

There seems a gradation in the punishment meted out to the harlot. First, hated; this refers to the loathing and disgust with which her late confederates and supporters regard her. Second, made desolate; despoiled of her wealth, and utterly wasted (Revelation 18:19). Third, naked; stripped of her purple and scarlet robes, she appears before all in her true character as a shameless and abandoned woman (Ezekiel 23:29; Revelation 3:18), her moral nakedness and shame apparent to all. Fourth, "eat her flesh;" there is significance in the fact that flesh is in the plural; the abundance of her wealth and all she gloried in is devoured by her late admirers, now her bitterest enemies (compare with James 5:3; Psalms 27:2; Micah 3:2-3). Fifth "burn her with fire;" utter social and political ruin is here indicated. The main element in the destruction of the literal Babylon was water (Jeremiah 51:1-64). The mystical city of that name "shall be utterly burned with fire" (Revelation 18:8). Both Babylons are doomed to everlasting desolation. The one has fallen; the other is sure to follow. There is "no healing of the bruise."

UNION OF THE POWERS IN MIND AND ACTION.

The powers who destroy Babylon glut their vengeance on the guilty system which had so long enslaved them. But here the veil is drawn aside, and we find that whatever they thought they were simply carrying out the divine will. God had decreed the destruction of the worst system on the face of the earth, and the Beast and his vassal kings are His instruments in doing so. "God has given to their hearts to do His mind." Note the distinction, "their hearts" and "His mind." Heartily they enter on the work of destruction, but, after all, they unknowingly accomplish the set purpose of God. The heart and mind of the destroying powers are united. They love the service to which, while they know it not, they have been divinely set apart, and they execute it with fixed determination. Such seems to be the thought conveyed in our text.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-17.html.

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

The ten horns are the kings or kingdoms which are named in the comments at Revelation 18:1. Shall hate the whore is literal, for when the kings and people of the smaller units of the Empire come to realize how deeply they have been deceived by her they can have no other feeling toward her. The rest of the verse is a symbolical vision of the resistance that will be put up by these ten kings and their people when they "get their eyes open."

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-17.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 17:16

Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

These

ten horns

are expounded by the angel. { Revelation 17:12} (see the exposition of that verse See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:12 ) to be ten kings.

These shall hate the whore,

that Isaiah, the Church of Rome; that Isaiah, the Popedom, the priesthood, and her false idolatrous worship.

And shall make her desolate and naked;

that Isaiah, they shall waste the Church of Rome, take away all her revenues, which the Pope, cardinals, abbots, friars, nuns, priests, and Jesuits, have in possession. They

shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire;

that Isaiah, they shall utterly ruin the City of Rome, the Church of Rome, and all national papal churches, by taking away all popish lands forever. See the exposition of Revelation 16:19-20. See KNOLLYS on Revelation 16:19 - See KNOLLYS: Revelation 16:18& See KNOLLYS: Revelation 16:20

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-17.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 17:16. And the ten horns, which thou sawest, and the beast,[Note: Luther has: the ten horns, which thou sawest upon the beast, after the false reading ἐ πὶ τὸ θηρί ον, which merely arose from people not knowing how to begin with καὶ τὸ θηρί ον (the reading which is found in all the best authorities), on account of the false idea they had formed of the beast. For the same reason, some MSS. altogether omit the words; Grotius would read καιτὰ τὸ θηρί ον; and the Coptic version has, quae vidisti cam bestia. Bengel remarks against the reading ἐ πὶ τὸ θηρί ον: Ipsa phrasis cornua vidisti ἐ πὶ τὸ θηρί ον hiulca est, et dissimilis phrasibus, quibus nomen in fronte scriptum ac bestia cornua habens dicitur.] these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire. The angel says to John, in Revelation 17:1, "Come, I will shew thee the judgment of the great whore." This shewing takes place even in Revelation 17:3. The angel conducts John in spirit into the wilderness, and lets him there see the woman. Here the meaning of what is shewn to John and seen by him, is disclosed. Here, therefore, the future is introduced. For, as to its import what was now seen as present belonged to the future. The ten horns are known to us already from the preceding verses, as the new holders of the worldly power. Here, where the angel arrives at the proper theme, the judgment of the woman, it is expressly declared, what in the preceding portion had been already indicated, that the horns shall put an end to the woman. The ten horns sit upon the seventh head. It is thereby intimated, that the new holders of the ungodly power of the world, with all their independence and self-sufficiency, are still bound to each other by a certain unity. We must not, therefore, draw into the number the Parthians or the Mahommedans, which has also against it Revelation 17:14; but must only think of nations of the Germanic race, and such as were immediately conjoined with them.

On the expression. and the beast, comp. in Revelation 17:12 with the beast, according to which all the undertakings of the ten kings are placed under the auspices of the beast.

The οὗ τοι, these, is employed with as much emphasis as the he in Revelation 17:11. It is designed to direct attention to those, who were destined by God to avenge the poor cause of Christ upon the persecutor Rome.

The whore here represents not the city Rome as opposed to the kingdom, but the city as the mistress and centre of the kingdom, so that every assault, which is directed against the land, is also directed against it; every injury which affects the kingdom, also affects it.[Note: This, the only correct meaning, is found even in Berengaudus, when he remarks on the burning of her with fire: Scimus plurimas civitates, vicos et castella, quae Romano imperio subjacebant, ab hia gentibus fuisse concremata.]

They shall make her bare or naked, while before she had been arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bespangled with gold and gems and pearls, sitting upon her throne.

The flesh in the plural. Bengel gives the meaning correctly: "her much flesh." By the flesh is denoted the material power and the kingdom. The powerful and rich evil-doer appears even in the Old Testament as thick and fat—comp. for example Psalms 73:4; Psalms 73:7.

Nothing occurs, which does not suit the symbol of the woman; nothing that constrains us to go back immediately to the subject denoted by it.[Note: As Züllig, for example remarks, They shall hate her—the whore, and shall make waste her—the city, and make her—the woman, naked, and shall burn with fire her—the city.] The being made desolate or waste not unfrequently occurs also of persons, since these are represented under the image of a city prostrated by enemies, or of a devastated country. So in Judges 5:27; Psalms 17:9; Sirach 16:4. Accordingly we should refer also the words: and shall burn her with fire, not primarily to the city, but to the woman, of whom it is also spoken in ch. Revelation 18:8. The fire is here, according to ch. Revelation 8:7, not so properly material fire, as the fire of war.[Note: How the representation in the verse passed into fulfilment, may be learned from the following declarations of those, who lived at the time of the fulfilment. Jerome Says, in his ep. 123 ad Ageruchiam: Praesentium miseriarum pauca percurram. Quod rari hucusque residemus, non nostri meriti, sed domini misericordiae est. Innumerabiles et ferocissimae nationes universae Gallias occuparunt. Quidquid inter Alpes et Pyrenaenm est, quod Oceano et Rheno includitur, Quadus, Vandalus, Sarmata, Halani, Gipedes, Heruli, Saxones, Burgundiones, Aleminini et, O lugenda republica, hostes Pannonii vastarunt. He says also of the taking of Rome by Alaric in ep. 127 ad Principiam: Capitur urbs quae totum cepit orbem, imo fame perit antequam gladio, et vix pauci qui caperentur inventi sunt. Ad nefandos cibos erupit esurientium rabies, et sua invicem membra laniarunt, dum mater not parcit lactenti infantiae, et recipit utero, quem paulo ante effuderat. See also his introd. to his Comm. on Ezekiel and at the commencement of the seventh book for his lamentation on the destruction of Rome. Salvian says, De gubernatione dei B. VI. p. 115: Arsimus, arsimus, et tamen flammas, quibus jam arsimus, non timemus. P. 129: Ubi namque sunt antiquae Romanorum opes atque dignitates? Fortissimi quondam Romani erant, nunc sine viribus. Timebantur Romani veteres, nos timemus. Vectigalia illis solvebant populi Barba-rorum, nos vectigales Barbaris sumus. Vondunt nobis hostes lucis usuram. Tota admodum salus nostra commericum est. B VII. p. 143: Quid enim vel de nobis vel de Gothis ac Vandidis deus judicet, res probat. Illi crescunt quotidie, nos decrescimus; illi proficiunt, nos lumiliamur; illi florent, et nos arescimus, etc.]

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-17.html.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 17:16. Rome perishes at the hands of Nero and his ruthless allies—a belief loudly echoed in the Talmud. In Sib. Or. iv. 145, 350 f. the East then and thus regains the treasures of which the Oriental provinces had been despoiled.— the doom of a Semitic harlot (Ezekiel 23:45 f., Ezekiel 28:17-18). But no details of the disaster are given.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 17:16". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-17.html. 1897-1910.