Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 17:4

The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Colors;   Horn;   Idolatry;   Pearl;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Pearls;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;   Judges;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Precious Stones;   Woman;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Babylon;   Cup;   Pearls;   Scarlet;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Color, Symbolic Meaning of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church;   Joy;   Order;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abomination;   Antichrist;   Colour;   Cup;   Pearl;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Achan;   Antichrist;   Babylon, Mystical;   Cup;   Fornication;   Lucifer;   Marriage;   Pearl;   Prophet;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abomination, Abomination of Desolation;   Babel;   Colors;   Crimson;   Cup;   Fornication;   Harlot;   Minerals and Metals;   Prostitution;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abomination ;   Clothes;   Colours;   Fornication ;   Gold ;   Pearl ;   Precious;   Precious Stones ;   Sin (2);   Trade and Commerce;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon the Great ;   Fornication;   Horns;   Pearl;   Prophets, the;   Purple;   Scarlet;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Babylon;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Colors;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Cup;   Pearl;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fornication;   Old - golden;   Palm;   Purple;   Stone;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Abomination;   Purple;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Array;   Color;   Crime;   Filth;   Gold;   Worm;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication - This strikingly represents the most pompous and costly manner in which the Latin Church has held forth to the nations the rites and ceremonies of its idolatrous and corrupt worship.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour - On the nature of the scarlet color, see the notes on Revelation 17:3. The purple color - πορφύρα porphura- was obtained from a species of shellfish found on the coasts of the Mediterranean, which yielded a reddish-purple dye, much prized by the ancients. Robes dyed in that color were commonly worn by persons of rank and wealth, Mark 15:17, Mark 15:20; Luke 16:19. The purple color contains more blue than the crimson, though the limits are not very accurately defined, and the words are sometimes interchanged. Thus the mock robe put on the Saviour is called in Mark 15:17, Mark 15:20, πορφύραν porphuran- “purple,” and in Matthew 27:28, κοκκίνην - “crimson.” On the applicability of this to the papacy, see the notes on Revelation 17:3.

And decked with gold - After the manner of an harlot, with rich jewelry.

And precious stones - Sparkling diamonds, etc.

And pearls - Also a much-valued female ornament. Compare the notes on Matthew 7:6; Matthew 13:46.

Having a golden cup in her hand - As if to entice lovers. See the notes on Revelation 14:8.

Full of abominations - Of abominable things; of things suited to excite abhorrence and disgust; things unlawful and forbidden. The word, in the Scriptures, is commonly used to denote the impurities and abominations of idolatry. See the notes on Daniel 9:27. The meaning here is, that it seemed to be a cup filled with wine, but it was in fact a cup full of all abominable drugs, leading to all kinds of corruption. How much in accordance this is with the fascinations of the papacy, it is not necessary now to say, after the ample illustrations of the same thing already furnished in these notes.

And filthiness of her fornication - The image here is that of papal Rome, represented as an abandoned woman in gorgeous attire, alluring by her arts the nations of the earth, and seducing them into all kinds of pollution and abomination. It is a most remarkable fact that the papacy, as if designing to furnish a fulfillment of this prophecy, has chosen to represent itself almost precisely in this manner - as a female extending an alluring cup to passers by - as will be seen by the engraving on this page. Far as the design of striking this medal may have been from confirming this portion of the Book of Revelation, yet no one can fail to see that if this had been the design, no more happy illustration could have been adopted. Apostate churches, and guilty nations, often furnish the very proofs necessary to confirm the truth of the Scriptures.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication,

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet ... The color strongly stresses her identity with the beast and her accommodation to his principles.

And decked with gold and precious stone and pearls ... These indicate vulgar wealth lavished upon herself. Extreme riches is an outstanding mark of the apostate church this very day, which is richer by far than any human government, even including that of the U.S.A. One little Boy's Ranch in Nebraska has recently been exposed in the public press as having a cash endowment in stocks, bonds and securities of over $300,000,000, and that at a time when their full-fledged fund-raising activities are going full blast. All of this vast horde of wealth was solicited and raised from the public for the ostensible purpose of taking care of a few run-away boys at "Boy's Town."

And a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication ... This "'golden cup" may be seen at every communion service in the apostate church, not in the hands of the Bride to whom it belongs, but in the hands of the hierarchical priesthood who withhold it from the Bride and drink it all themselves! And what is that, if it is not the unclean things of her fornication? That which belongs to the Bride has been taken away from her. Is not this spiritual fornication?

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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 17:4". "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 woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour,.... Which may be expressive of her grandeur, authority, and power, sitting as a queen, and sovereign in the empire, ruling over kingdoms and nations in it; and also of her bloody disposition to the saints, with whose blood she is afterwards said to be drunk;

and decked with gold and precious stones, and pearls; which may denote her hypocrisy, she being gilded with these things, as the word signifies, when she was inwardly rotten, corrupt, and filthy; and may point out the things by which persons have been enticed into the communion of the church of Rome, and to comply with her idolatrous worship and practices; and may also respect the prodigious riches, which have, by various methods, been brought into the pope's coffers; these, with other things, are reckoned among the merchandise of Babylon, Revelation 18:12 and particularly this may have reference to the adorning of their temples, or churches, and the decking of their images, with those things; which gaudy pompous shows strike the minds of carnal men, amuse them, and engage their attention. So PhiloF11De Mercede Meretricis non recip. p. 861. the Jew describes an whore as arrayed in purple, and adorned with gold and precious stones; see Proverbs 7:10.

Having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication; in allusion to Babylon, Jeremiah 51:7 and also to harlots, who give philters or love potions to men, to excite lust, and draw their affections to them; and this being a golden cup may design the external lustre and splendour of the worship of the church of Rome, by which many have been drawn into a compliance with it, which is attended with many abominable, filthy, and idolatrous practices: and perhaps some regard may be had to the golden chalice, in which, it is pretended, is the very blood of Christ, which the priests take as such, and worship and adore, and is no other than an abominable and filthy piece of idolatry; and such are the persons that partake of it; like the Pharisees of old, they make clean the outside of the cup and platter; glister, and make a great show of devotion, but within are full of extortion and excess.

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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 17:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 4 the woman was arrayed 5 in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having 6 a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

(4) That harlot, the spiritual Babylon, which is Rome. She is described by her attire, profession, and deeds. {(5)} In attire most glorious, triumphant, most rich, and most gorgeous. {(6)} In profession the nourisher of all, in this verse and teaching her mysteries to all, (Revelation 17:5) setting forth all things most magnificently: but indeed fatally besetting miserable men with her cup, and brings upon them a deadly giddiness.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The color scarlet, it is remarkable, is that reserved for popes and cardinals. Paul II made it penal for anyone but cardinals to wear hats of scarlet; compare Roman Ceremonial [3.5.5]. This book was compiled several centuries ago by Marcellus, a Romish archbishop, and dedicated to Leo X. In it are enumerated five different articles of dress of scarlet color. A vest is mentioned studded with pearls. The Pope‘s miter is of gold and precious stones. These are the very characteristics outwardly which Revelation thrice assigns to the harlot or Babylon. So Joachim an abbot from Calabria, about a.d. 1200, when asked by Richard of England, who had summoned him to Palestine, concerning Antichrist, replied that “he was born long ago at Rome, and is now exalting himself above all that is called God.” Roger Hoveden [Annals, 1.2], and elsewhere, wrote, “The harlot arrayed in gold is the Church of Rome.” Whenever and wherever (not in Rome alone) the Church, instead of being “clothed (as at first, Revelation 12:1) with the sun” of heaven, is arrayed in earthly meretricious gauds, compromising the truth of God through fear, or flattery, of the world‘s power, science, or wealth, she becomes the harlot seated on the beast, and doomed in righteous retribution to be judged by the beast (Revelation 17:16). Soon, like Rome, and like the Jews of Christ‘s and the apostles‘ time leagued with the heathen Rome, she will then become the persecutor of the saints (Revelation 17:6). Instead of drinking her Lord‘s “cup” of suffering, she has “a cup full of abominations and filthinesses.” Rome, in her medals, represents herself holding a cup with the self-condemning inscription, “Sedet super universum.” Meanwhile the world power gives up its hostility and accepts Christianity externally; the beast gives up its God-opposed character, the woman gives up her divine one. They meet halfway by mutual concessions; Christianity becomes worldly, the world becomes Christianized. The gainer is the world; the loser is the Church. The beast for a time receives a deadly wound (Revelation 13:3), but is not really transfigured; he will return worse than ever (Revelation 17:11-14). The Lord alone by His coming can make the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. The “purple” is the badge of empire; even as in mockery it was put on our Lord.

decked — literally, “gilded.”

stonesGreek, “stone.”

filthiness — A, B, and Andreas read, “the filthy (impure) things.”

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "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

Was arrayed (ην περιβεβλημενηēn peribeblēmenē). Periphrastic past perfect indicative of περιβαλλωperiballō to fling round one.

In purple and scarlet (πορπυρουν και κοκκινονporphuroun kai kokkinon). Accusative retained after this passive verb of clothing, as so often. ΠορπυρουςPorphurous is old adjective for purple (from πορπυραporphura), in N.T. only here and John 19:2, John 19:5. See preceding verse for κοκκινοςkokkinos (κεχρυσωμενηkechrusōmenē). Perfect passive participle of χρυσοωchrusoō old verb, to gild, to adorn with gold, here alone in N.T.

With gold and precious stone and pearls (χρυσιωι και λιτωι τιμιωι και μαργαριταιςchrusiōi kai lithōi timiōi kai margaritais). Instrumental case. ΧρυσιωιChrusiōi is cognate with the participle. Λιτωι τιμιωιLithōi timiōi is collective (Revelation 18:12, Revelation 18:16; Revelation 21:19). There is a ζευγμαzeugma also with μαργαριταιςmargaritais (Revelation 18:12, Revelation 18:16; Revelation 21:21), for which word see Matthew 7:6. Probably John is thinking of the finery of the temple prostitutes in Asia Minor.

Full of abominations (γεμον βδελυγματωνgemon bdelugmatōn). Agreeing with ποτηριονpotērion “cup” (neuter singular accusative). Some MSS. read γεμωνgemōn (nominative masculine like εχωνechōn in Revelation 17:3, quite irregular). For βδελυγματωνbdelugmatōn (genitive after γεμονgemon) see Matthew 24:15; (Mark 13:14), common in the lxx for idol worship and its defilements (from βδελυσσωbdelussō to render foul), both ceremonial and moral. See Jeremiah 15:7.

Even the unclean things of her fornication (και τα ακαταρτα της πορνειας αυτηςkai ta akatharta tēs porneias autēs). Either the accusative after γεμονgemon as in Revelation 17:3 (and full of the unclean things of her fornication) or the object of εχουσαechousa like ποτηριονpotērion f0).

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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 17:4". "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

Purple ( πορφύρουν )

See on Luke 16:19.

Decked ( κεχρυσωμένη )

Lit., gilded.

Precious stones ( λίθῳ τιμίῳ )

Lit., precious stone.

Golden cup

Compare Jeremiah 51:7.

Abominations ( βδελυγμάτων )

See on Matthew 24:15.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "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.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

And the woman was arrayed — With the utmost pomp and magnificence.

In purple and scarlet — These were the colours of the imperial habit: the purple, in times of peace; and the scarlet, in times of war.

Having in her hand a golden cup — Like the ancient Babylon, Jeremiah 51:7.

Full of abominations — The most abominable doctrines as well as practices.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Ver. 4. In purple and scarlet] Clothing for kings and nobles, over whom this whore domineers much more than the concubines did over the kings of Persia.

And decked with gold] Gr. κεχρυσωμενη, gilded with gold, to note her hypocrisy and outsideness, gold without, copper within. The pope styles himself the servant of God’s servants, but yet stamps in his coin, "The nation and country that will not serve thee shall be rooted out." At the absolution of King John of England, 8000 marks of silver were presently delivered to Pandoffus the pope’s envoy, who trampled it under his feet as condemning that base matter, but yet received it and sent it away to Rome. (Daniel’s Hist.)

And precious stones and pearls] Besides the rich stones that are in the pope’s triple crown of inestimable price and value, he carries in his pantofle {a} (which he holds out to be kissed) the picture of the cross, set in pearls and precious stones, Ut plenis faucibus crucem Christi derideat, saith Hiedfeld. Pope Sixtus quintus five was wont to give to Tiresa, his harlot, pantofles covered with pearls. He spent two hundred and threescore thousand crowns upon a conduit, which he built for his pleasure; and yet he brought in fifty hundred thousand crowns into the new treasury built by himself in the castle of St Angelo. At the coronation of Pope Leo X, a million crowns are said to have been spent in one day. Pope Paul II was wont to sleep all day, and spend whole nights in weighing monies and beholding jewels and precious pictures, uno eo die 1,000,000 aureorum expendit. (Jac. Rev 261.)

A golden cup full of abominations] Gold, if it be right, they say discovers and expels poison. Put poison into a cup of gold, and it will hiss and send up certain circles like rainbows. Hereby is signified (saith an author) that God threateneth judgment and fire to those that pour poison into divine doctrine, as the pope doth with his mad mixtures. He that argued from the letters of Papa, P. Poculum, A. Aureum, P. Plenum, A. Abominationum, argued no less wittily than that other, who of Roma made Radix omnium malorum, the base of all evils.

{a} A slipper; formerly applied very variously, app., at one time or another, to every sort of in-door slippers or loose shoes; esp. to the high-heeled cork-soled chopins; also to out-door overshoes or goloshes; and to all manner of Oriental and non-European slippers, sandals, and the like. (In Scottish use from 15th c.; in common Eng. use from c 1570 to c 165060; after that chiefly an alien or historical word.) ŒD

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And the woman was arrayed in a purple and scarlet colour; purple was the colour of kings and princes: this woman, Revelation 18:7, said she was queen.

Scarlet also was a rich and noble colour, anciently most used in a time of war. How much it is in use with the pope and his cardinals, is sufficiently known.

And decked with gold and precious stones and pearls; this shows the worldly riches of the papacy.

Having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication; alluring and tempting persons to idolatry, as whores use to do with their philters, or enchanted cups, allure and provoke men to sensual satisfactions.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". 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

в порфиру и багряницу Цвета величия, благородства и богатства. Эта женщина благодаря успеху в своем ремесле стала очень богатой.

украшена Часто блудницы носят изысканные одежды и драгоценности, чтобы заманивать свои жертвы (ср. Пр. 7:10). Религиозная блудница Вавилон – не исключение; она украшает себя, чтобы заманить народы в свои сети.

золотую чашу Еще одно свидетельство большого богатства блудницы (ср. Иер. 51:7); но чистое золото запятнано мерзостью ее аморальности. Подобно блуднице, которая старается сначала опьянить свою жертву, развратная система духовно усыпляет народы, чтобы совратить их к совершению духовного блудодеяния с ней.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Purple-scarlet-gold-and pearls; indicating her vast wealth and luxury, and the gorgeous and splendid decorations by which she dazzled and captivated the deluded multitude. Great external parade, pomp, and show are given in the Bible as characteristics of that corrupt secular and ecclesiastical power denominated antichrist, the mystery of iniquity, the beast, the great whore, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-17.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication.’

What an absurd picture. While pretending piety in the wilderness her outward appearance tells a different story. She is decked out like a prostitute, enjoying all that comes from wealth and influence because of what she offers in her golden cup. She is the epitome of a pretence piety, of false religion.

‘Abominations’. This word is constantly used in the Old Testament to represent idolatry and idolatrous worship with all that accompanied it, including spiritualism, magic, witchcraft and divination (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; 2 Kings 23:24; Deuteronomy 29:17; Deuteronomy 32:16; 1 Kings 14:23-24; 2 Kings 16:3-4; 2 Kings 21:2-3; Ezekiel 8:6 and often; Revelation 11:18; Ezekiel 16:15-26 - linked with harlotry). It is often described in terms of whoredom and uncleanness because of its accompaniments. For her golden cup see Jeremiah 51:7, ‘Babylon has been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations have drunk of her cup, therefore the nations are mad’. This is what Babylon symbolises.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-17.html. 2013.

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

The description in verse four, of the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and bedecked with all adornments of gold, jewels and pearls, were highly extended symbols of the harlots sources of seduction; and the golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication were all descriptive of the lewd character of the harlot woman, and symbolic of the unfaithfulness of Jerusalem, "the faithful city become an harlot." It was a lurid picture of the spiritual condition of Jerusalem and all Judea.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "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 woman"s clothing was purple, symbolic of royalty, and scarlet, representing luxury ( Revelation 17:3; cf. Matthew 27:28; Mark 15:17; Mark 15:20; John 19:2; John 19:5). Her ornaments included gold, precious stones, and pearls-jewelry that made her look like a queen. Contrast the bride of the Lamb whom John saw adorned with bright, clean linen ( Revelation 19:8). The cup in her hand added to her royal appearance, but it contained idolatrous abominations (cf. Deuteronomy 18:9; Deuteronomy 29:17; Deuteronomy 32:16; Jeremiah 51:7; et al.), namely, unclean things connected with her spiritual immorality. The harlot wore expensive, attractive garments and accessories that made her externally appealing, but she is a counterfeit beauty. What is inside her is unclean.

"Any institution or facet of culture that is characterized by pride ..., economic overabundance, persecution, and idolatry is part of Babylon." [Note: Beale, p856.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "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 17:4. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold and precious atone and pearls. In these words we have a general description of the woman’s royal magnificence (comp chap. Revelation 18:16). ‘Arrayed’ is more than adorned. She has not merely ornaments of gold and precious stones and pearls, so numerous that she sparkles with them; they are thought of as a golden and costly gilding to her (comp. chap. Revelation 2:17).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-17.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Cup....full of the abomination, &c. These are common scriptural expressions for the abominations of idolatry, with which ancient Rome had notoriously polluted herself. For not content with worshipping her own heathenish gods, she adopted those of all the countries and nations she had subdued. In Rome itself there were no less than 420 heathenish temples, so that one of their most famous poets, Ovid, (lib. i. Trist.) says: Sed quæ de septem totum circumspicit orbem,

mortibus Imperii, Roma, Deumque locus.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

decked. Literally "gilded".

stones = stone.

golden cup. Compare Jeremiah 51:7.

abominations. Greek. bdelugma, used in Septuagint of an idol (2 Kings 23:13, &c.); in plural, of idolatry (Deuteronomy 18:9, &c). Called "abominations" because of the uncleanness practiced in the worship.

and filthiness = and having the unclean things; as the texts.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "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 woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Scarlet is the colour reserved for popes and cardinals. Paul II. made it penal for any but cardinals to wear scarlet hats: cf. 'Coeremoniale Rom.,' 3:, see. 5, 100: 5. This book was compiled more than 340 years ago by Marcellus, a Romish archbishop and dedicated to Leo X. In it are enumerated five articles of dress, all scarlet; a vest studded with pearls. The pope's mitre is of gold and precious stones. The very characteristics outwardly which Revelation thrice assigns to the harlot or Babylon. Joachim, an abbot from Calabria, 1200 AD, when asked by Richard of England, who summoned him to Palestine, concerning Antichrist, replied that 'he was born long ago at Rome, and is now exalting himself above all that is called God.' Roger Hoveden ('Angl. Chron.,' 1:, 2) wrote, 'The harlot arrayed in gold is the Church of Rome.' Whenever and wherever the Church, instead of being "clothed (as Revelation 12:1) with the sun" of heaven, is arrayed in earthly gauds, compromising the truth of God through fear, or flattery, of the world's power, science, or wealth, she becomes the harlot seated on the beast, and doomed in righteous retribution to be judged by the beast (Revelation 17:16).

Soon, like the Jews of the apostles' time leagued with pagan Rome, she becomes persecutor of the saints (Revelation 17:6). Instead of drinking her Lord's "cup" of suffering, she has "a cup full of abominations." Rome, in medals, represents herself holding a cup with the self-condemning inscription, 'Sedet super universum.' Meanwhile the world-power gives up its hostility, and accepts Christianity externally: the beast gives up its God-opposed character, the woman gives up her divine one. They meet half-way by mutual concessions: Christianity becomes worldly, the world Christianized. The gainer is the world, the loser the Church. The beast receives a deadly wound (Revelation 13:3), but is not really transfigured: he will return worse than ever (Revelation 17:11-14). The Lord alone by His coming can make the kingdoms of this world His kingdoms. The "purple" is badge of empire: as in mockery it was put on our Lord.

Decked - `gilded.'

Stones - `stone.'

Filthiness. 'Aleph (') A B, Andreas, read, 'the filthy (impure) things.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "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

(4) And the woman was arrayed . . .—Better, arrayed (or, clad) in purple (the colour of the robe which was in mockery put on our Lord—John 19:2) and scarlet, gilded (not “decked”) with gold, &c. Her appearance is one of imperial splendour. (Comp. the description of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:13.)

Having a golden cup in her hand . . .—Translate, Having a golden cup in her hand teeming with abominations and with the unclean things of the fornication of the earth. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:7) called Babylon a “golden cup in the hand of the Lord.” The cup had made all the earth drunken; the cup of intoxication, splendid and attractive, was full of an evil power, which robbed men’s senses and degraded them. The great city of the world ever holds out such a glittering cup, which

“Most do taste through fond intemperate desire.

Soon as the potion works, their human countenance,

Th’ express resemblance of the gods, is changed

Into some brutish form. . . . . . .

—Comus, 68-77.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
arrayed
18:7,12,16
decked
Gr. gilded.
Daniel 11:38
golden
14:8; 18:6; 19:2; Jeremiah 51:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10
abominations
Deuteronomy 29:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 2 Kings 21:2; Isaiah 66:3; Ezekiel 20:30; Hosea 9:10
filthiness
Ezra 9:11; Lamentations 1:9; Ezekiel 24:11,13; 36:25
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 27:15 - an abomination;  Joshua 1:14 - the mighty;  Judges 8:26 - purple;  1 Kings 11:7 - abomination;  1 Kings 18:4 - cut off the prophets;  2 Kings 9:22 - the whoredoms;  2 Chronicles 15:8 - abominable idols;  Job 28:18 - pearls;  Isaiah 47:12 - GeneralJeremiah 4:30 - Though;  Jeremiah 44:4 - this;  Ezekiel 28:13 - every;  Daniel 2:32 - head;  Habakkuk 2:19 - it is;  Luke 16:19 - clothed;  1 Peter 4:3 - and;  Revelation 12:3 - a great;  Revelation 17:1 - the great;  Revelation 17:3 - a woman;  Revelation 21:21 - the twelve;  Revelation 21:27 - worketh

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-17.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE WOMAN IN HER GLORY.

Revelation 17:4. — "And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and had ornaments of gold and precious stones and pearls." Having had the state in the Beast, we again turn to witness the Church in the woman, and her ascendancy for a time over the civil power. She rides the Beast, and controls it for her own selfish ends and purposes. But she is by far the more dangerous of the two. The Beast openly blasphemes and persecutes the saints then standing for the rights of God. The woman is seductive and attractive, and having gathered to herself the weight and splendour of courts, palaces, and, in short, the tinsel glory of the world, she sits as a queen, and wins by her arts and seductive flatteries the heart of Christendom. God is displaced in the thoughts of men.

Her vesture, purple and scarlet, is that which particularly distinguishes pope and cardinal. Her ornaments of gold, precious stones, and pearls are amongst the chief symbols of papal pride and glory. Silver is not here named. In the services of the papal Church silver is being discarded for gold. But whatever resemblance there may be between Babylon and the Romish Church, the great point is that the woman is arrayed and decked out in the world's tinsel and finery. She surrounds herself with what the world regards as its highest and most valued possessions and material wealth; that, too, which it lives and labours to amass and accumulate.

4. — "Having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations, and the unclean things of her fornication." Babylon as a system is covered with an external grandeur and glory that attracts the natural heart and imagination of man, dazzling and bewildering him. But, worse still, she holds in her hand a golden cup. How tempting! The cup is of gold, but its contents reveal the depths of iniquity to which she has sunk. The scarlet Beast, the colour of the dragon (Revelation 12:3), was full of names, or expressions, of blasphemy, so here the woman's cup was "full of abominations, and the unclean things of her fornication." These two evils, idolatry and corruption, characterise the last phase of the professing Church on earth. "Abominations" refer to idolatry (2 Kings 23:13; Isaiah 44:19; Ezekiel 16:36), and "fornication" to gross corruption (Revelation 2:21 : Revelation 9:21). Idolatry and the worst forms of wickedness characterise the woman. Her cup is full of horrible evils. The climax has been reached. These things might have been looked for in the midst of the heathen, but for Christendom, now the scene of light, of grace, and truth, to become the very hotbed and cesspool of all that is religiously filthy and vile is indeed a marvel. Yet this chapter sketches in plain word and symbol the future of these lands. Now the Holy Ghost dwells in the professing Church, then Satan will fill it, both with his presence and awful deeds. We thank God for the sure testimony of Jesus that the Church which He builds is invulnerable (Matthew 16:18), and its ultimate triumph secured (Ephesians 5:27).

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "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

Since the state color of the beast (Rome) was scarlet and purple, it was appropriate that the rider of the beast should be robed to match. It is literally true that the clergy of the church of Rome wear these colors in their church ceremonies. It is also appropriate that such colors be used in the symbols of that church, in view of the faithful people of God who had their blood taken from them in the persecution at the hands of that wicked institution. Being decked with precious stones and pearls also was appropriate because the church of Rome possesses and uses great wealth in her ceremonies. The symbolic cup represents the corrupt practices that the church of Rome forced upon her subjects. It is symbolized in the form of a person filling a cup with vile and abominable materials then forcing some helpless person to drink it.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". 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 17:4

Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

By these purple, and scarlet garments, decked with gold, pearls, and precious stones, wherewith this woman, the great whore was arrayed, we may understand the riches, pomp, and pride of the Roman papal church. { Judges 8:26; Ezekiel 27:7-10} And also, the

golden cup in her hand

signifies the whores allurements, and enticements of all sorts of persons, kings, people, and nations, unto her superstitious and idolatrous false worship, worshipping images, crucifixes, etc. For this golden cup is full of the abominations and filthinesses of the whores fornication and spiritual whoredoms; wherewith she makes them drunk, as with wine.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-17.html.

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

V:4. This woman was arrayed in gorgeous apparel, and decked with jewels, and held in her hand a cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. What a combination! a gaudy body and a filthy heart! and how natural it is; people try to cover up with dazzle the rottenness within. Paint on the outside and slime on the inside.

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

Revelation 17:4. And the woman was clothed with purple,[Note: Comp. with the ἦν περιβεβλημένη πορφυροῦν, John 19:2 : καὶ ἱμάτιον πορφυροῦν περιέβαλον αὐτὸν, while Matt. in ch. 27:28 has: περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ χλαμύδα κοκκίνην.] and scarlet colour, and gilded with gold and precious stones and pearls, and had a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations, and of the filthinesses[Note: τὰ ἀκάθαρτα, the accus. after the Heb. idiom, in order to avoid the threefold genitive.] of her fornication. The apparel and the adorning of the woman is significant of the rich and proud pomp of a sovereign, comp. ch. Revelation 18:12; Revelation 18:16, and Ezekiel 28:13, where Tyre is radiant with gold and gems. In regard to the golden cup, comp. at ch. Revelation 14:8, and the fundamental passage quoted there, Jeremiah 51:7, "The golden cup of Babylon is in the hand of the Lord," etc. From this passage, and from the standing use of the figure of the cup, (comp. on ch. Revelation 14:8) the cup can only be filled with what renders those, to whom it is given, helpless. The abominations and impurities are the wine of the cup. The point of comparison is the overpowering, the casting to the ground, the reducing to a state of impotence. Hence, we cannot think of the abominations of idolatry, but only of political enormities. The additional expression, "of her fornication," might hold either way. But fornication can only mean love-feigning policy, according to the usage of the Revelation. The abominations and filthinesses, therefore, are the shameful transactions of that artful policy, by which Nome reduced the nations to a state of utter impotence.[Note: The word βδέ λυγμα is used of all actions of a shocking nature in Leviticus 18:27; comp. Luke 16:15, ὅτι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ὑψηλὸν βδέλυγμα ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ; in this book, ch. 21:27, καὶ οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτὴν πᾶν κοινὸν καὶ ποιῶν βδέλυγμα καὶ ψεῦδος.] That the cup is golden points, in accordance with what precedes, to the glory of the person who has it, and who presents it to the nations, that they may drink of it.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-17.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.Decked with gold and precious stones and pearls—The pomp and glare, and lavish richness of the Romish equipage and worship, are notorious to all the world. The Italian historian Platina, quoted by Newton, says of Paul II: “In his pontifical vestments he outwent all his predecessors, especially in his regno or mitre, upon which he had laid out a great deal of money in purchasing, at vast rates, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, chrysolites, jaspers, unions, and all manner of precious stones, wherewith adorned, like another Aaron, he would appear abroad somewhat more august than a man, delighting to be seen and admired by every one.”

A golden cup in her hand—And so it was said of ancient Babylon, Jeremiah 51:7: “The nations have drunken of her wine, therefore the nations are mad.”

Full of’ filthiness’ fornication—Not wine alone is in her cup, but drugs and philters, and stimulants to fornication.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-17.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 17:4. . goes by an awkward zeugma with (collective) ; “with ornaments of gold and precious stones and pearls” (like Ezekiel’s doomed prince of Tyre). The harlot in Test. Jud. 13:5 was also decked and poured out wine for her victims. Rome is pronounced luxurious, licentious and loathsome. Here, as in the contemporary 4 Esd. 3:2, 29, it is felt to be a mystery that prosperity and permanence should belong to a state flaunting its impiety and oppression, not merely enjoying but propagating vice.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 17:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-17.html. 1897-1910.