Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 17:9

Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Horn;   Seven;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;   Judges;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Cities;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Babylon;   Rome, Romans;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Mind/reason;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church;   Joy;   Order;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Revelation of John, the;   Rome;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Babylon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Antichrist ;   Mind;   Mount Mountain ;   Winter ;   Wisdom of Christ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon the Great ;   Head;   Horns;   Roman Empire;   Seventy Weeks of Daniel;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Babylon;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Rome;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Rome,;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Head;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Antichrist;   Babylon in the New Testament:;   Number;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Here is the mind which hath wisdom - It was said before, Revelation 13:18, Here is wisdom. Let him that hath A Mind, or understanding, (νουν ), count the number of the beast. Wisdom, therefore, here means a correct view of what is intended by the number 666; consequently the parallel passage, Here is The Mind which hath Wisdom, is a declaration that the number of the beast must first be understood, before the angel's interpretation of the vision concerning the whore and the beast can admit of a satisfactory explanation.

The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth - This verse has been almost universally considered to allude to the seven hills upon which Rome originally stood. But it has been objected that modern Rome is not thus situated, and that, consequently, pagan Rome is intended in the prophecy. This is certainly a very formidable objection against the generally received opinion among Protestants, that papal Rome is the city meant by the woman sitting upon seven mountains. It has been already shown that the woman here mentioned is an emblem of the Latin Church in her highest state of antichristian prosperity; and therefore the city of Rome, seated upon seven mountains, is not at all designed in the prophecy. In order to understand this scripture aright, the word mountains must be taken in a figurative and not a literal sense, as in Revelation 6:14; Revelation 16:20. See also Isaiah 2:2, Isaiah 2:14; Jeremiah 51:25; Daniel 2:35, etc.; in which it is unequivocally the emblem of great and mighty power. The mountains upon which the woman sitteth must be, therefore, seven great powers; and as the mountains are heads of the beast, they must be the seven Greatest eminences of the Latin world. As no other power was acknowledged at the head of the Latin empire but that of Germany, how can it be said that the beast has seven heads? This question can only be solved by the feudal constitution of the late Germanic league, the history of which is briefly as follows: At first kings alone granted fiefs. They granted them to laymen only, and to such only who were free; and the vassal had no power to alienate them. Every freeman, and particularly the feudal tenants, were subject to the obligation of military duty, and appointed to guard their sovereign's life, member, mind, and right honor. Soon after, or perhaps a little before, the extinction of the Carlovingian dynasty in France, by the accession of the Capetian line, and in Germany by the accession of the house of Saxony, fiefs, which had been entirely at the disposal of the sovereign, became hereditary. Even the offices of duke, count, margrave, etc., were transmitted in the course of hereditary descent; and not long after, the right of primogeniture was universally established. The crown vassals usurped the sovereign property of the land, with civil and military authority over the inhabitants. The possession thus usurped they granted out to their immediate tenants; and these granted them over to others in like manner. Thus the principal vassals gradually obtained every royal prerogative; they promulgated laws, exercised the power of life and death, coined money, fixed the standard of weights and measures, granted safeguards, entertained a military force, and imposed taxes, with every right supposed to be annexed to royalty. In their titles they styled themselves dukes, etc., Dei gratis, by the grace of God; a prerogative avowedly confined to sovereign power. It was even admitted that, if the king refused to do the lord justice, the lord might make war upon him. The tenants, in their turn, made themselves independent of their vassal lords, by which was introduced an ulterior state of vassalage. The king was called the sovereign lord, his immediate vassal was called the suzereign, and the tenants holding of him were called the arrere vassals. See Butler's Revolutions of the Germanic Empire, pp. 54-66. Thus the power of the emperors of Germany, which was so very considerable in the ninth century, was gradually diminished by the means of the feudal system; and during the anarchy of the long interregnum, occasioned by the interference of the popes in the election of the emperors, (from 1256 to 1273), the imperial power was reduced almost to nothing. Rudolph of Hapsburg, the founder of the house of Austria, was at length elected emperor, because his territories and influence were so inconsiderable as to excite no jealously in the German princes, who were willing to preserve the forms of constitution, the power and vigor of which they had destroyed. See Robertson's Introduction to his History of Charles V. Before the dissolution of the empire in 1806, Germany "presented a complex association of principalities more or less powerful, and more or less connected with a nominal sovereignty in the emperor, as its supreme feudal chief." "There were about three hundred princes of the empire, each sovereign in his own country, who might enter into alliances, and pursue by all political measures his own private interest, as other sovereigns do; for if even an imperial war were declared he might remain neuter, if the safety of the empire were not at stake. Here then was an empire of a construction, without exception, the most singular and intricate that ever appeared in the world; for the emperor was only the chief of the Germanic confederation." Germany was, therefore, speaking in the figurative language of Scripture, a country abounding in hills, or containing an immense number of distinct principalities. But the different German states (as has been before observed) did not each possess an equal share of power and influence; some were more eminent than others. Among them were also a few which might, with the greatest propriety, be denominated mountains, or states possessing a very high degree of political importance. But the seven mountains on which the woman sits must have their elevations above all the other eminences in the whole Latin world; consequently, they can be no other than the Seven Electorates of the German empire. These were, indeed, mountains of vast eminence; for in their sovereigns was vested the sole poorer of electing the head of the empire. But this was not all; for besides the power of electing an emperor, the electors had a right to capitulate with the new head of the empire, to dictate the conditions on which he was to reign, and to depose him if he broke those conditions. They actually deposed Adolphus of Nassau in 1298, and Wenceslaus in 1400. They were sovereign and independent princes in their respective dominions, had the privilegium de non appellando illimitatum, that of making war, coining, and exercising every act of sovereignty; they formed a separate college in the diet of the empire, and had among themselves a particular covenant or league called Kur verein; they had precedence of all the other princes of the empire, and even ranked with kings. The heads of the beast understood in this way, is one of the finest emblems of the German constitution which can possibly be conceived; for as the Roman empire of Germany had the precedence of all the other monarchies of which the Latin empire was composed, the seven mountains very fitly denote the seven Principal powers of what has been named the holy Roman empire. And also, as each electorate, by virtue of its union with the Germanic body, was more powerful than any other Roman Catholic state of Europe not so united; so was each electorate, in the most proper sense of the word, one of the highest elevations in the Latin world. The time when the seven electorates of the empire were first instituted is very uncertain. The most probable opinion appears to be that which places their origin some time in the thirteenth century. The uncertainty, however, in this respect, does not in the least weaken the evidence of the mountains being the seven electorates, but rather confirms it; for, as we have already observed, the representation of the woman sitting upon the beast is a figure of the Latin Church in the period of her greatest authority, spiritual and temporal; this we know did not take place before the commencement of the fourteenth century, a period subsequent to the institution of the seven electorates. Therefore the woman sits upon the seven mountains, or the German empire in its elective aristocratical state; she is said to sit upon them, to denote that she has the whole German empire under her direction and authority, and also that it is her chief support and strength. Supported by Germany, she is under no apprehension of being successfully opposed by any other power: she sits upon the seven mountains, therefore she is higher than the seven highest eminences of the Latin world; she must therefore have the secular Latin empire under her complete subjection. But this state of eminence did not continue above two or three centuries; the visible declension of the papal power in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, occasioned partly by the removal of the papal see from Rome to Avignon, and more particularly by the great schism from 1377 to 1417, though considered one of the remote causes of the Reformation, was at first the means of merely transferring the supreme power from the pope to a general council, while the dominion of the Latin Church remained much the same. At the council of Constance, March 30, 1415, it was decreed "that the synod being lawfully assembled in the name of the Holy Ghost, which constituted the general council, and represented the whole Catholic Church militant, had its power immediately from Jesus Christ; and that every person, of whatsoever state or dignity, Even the Pope Himself is obliged to obey it in what concerns the faith, the extirpation of schism, and the general reformation of the Church in its head and members." The council of Basil of 1432 decreed "that every one of whatever dignity or condition, Not Excepting the Pope Himself, who shall refuse to obey the ordinances and decrees of this general council, or any other, shall be put under penance, and punished. It is also declared that the pope has no power to dissolve the general council without the consent and decree of the assembly." See the third tome of Du Pin's Ecclesiastical History. But what gave the death blow to the temporal sovereignty of the Latin Church was the light of the glorious reformation which first broke out in Germany in 1517, and in a very few years gained its way, not only over several of the great principalities in Germany, but was also made the established religion of other popish countries. Consequently, in the sixteenth century, the woman no longer sat upon the seven mountains, the electorates not only having refused to be ruled by her, but some of them having also despised and abandoned her doctrines. The changes, therefore, which were made in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, in the number of the electorates, will not affect in the least the interpretation of the seven mountains already given. The seven electors were the archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Triers, the count palatine of the Rhine, the duke of Saxony, the marquis of Brandenburgh, and the king of Bohemia. But the heads of the beast have a double signification; for the angel says: -

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And here is the mind which hath wisdom - Here is what requires wisdom to interpret it; or, here is a case in which the mind that shows itself able to explain it will evince true sagacity. So in Revelation 13:18. See the notes on that place. Prof. Stuart renders this, “Here is a meaning which compriseth wisdom.” It is undoubtedly implied that the symbol might be understood - whether in the time of John, or afterward, he does not say; but it was a matter which could not be determined by ordinary minds, or without an earnest application of the understanding.

The seven heads are seven mountains - Referring, undoubtedly, to Rome - the seven-hilled city - Septicollis Roma. See the notes on Revelation 12:3. (d).

On which the woman sitteth - The city represented as a woman, in accordance with a common usage in the Scriptures. See the notes on Isaiah 1:8.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Here is the mind that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth:

Here is the mind that hath wisdom ... These words seem to be addressed to any temptation of taking an easy, literal view of the prophecy. As Plummer warned, any literal application as to the seven hills of Rome must not be considered to be the full significance of these words, despite the fact that, "They may indeed be a partial fulfillment, but not the whole signification."[36]

The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth ... In this there is a subtle extension of the harlot's stature, for she is represented as gathering up in herself all the authority and power of the first beast (Revelation 13:1), even as did the second beast (Revelation 13:12). "The seven heads" are here called seven mountains, just as they will be called seven kings in the next verse. Heads, mountains, kings ... they all mean the same thing. Oh yes, to be sure, Rome sat on seven hills, and it was quite natural to think of Rome in this context, for that was correct, in that Rome was indeed the sixth of the mountains, and the sixth of the kings, and the sixth of the heads. No mere "hills" are in view here.

"Rome dwells on her seven hills, but the Great Harlot in the vision sits among the great empires that have arisen, like mountains, in the history of the world."[37] This understanding completely clears up the perplexity mentioned by Ladd: "John immediately goes on to say in the next verse that they are also seven kings. It is difficult to see any connection between the seven hills of Rome and seven of its emperors."[38] Of course, there is not any connection, for the seven "hills" are not in it at all. There are no "mountains" in Rome. The seven mountains mean exactly the same thing as the seven heads and seven kings.

The seven mountains, kings, or kingdoms mentioned in this paragraph are seven manifestations of the beast in the successive eras of persecution suffered by God's people: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, the latter being the "one is" when John wrote; and the seventh appeared after Rome fell.[39]

Roberson fully agreed with this: "The seven mountains, or seven kings, are manifestations of the beast in successive eras of oppression suffered by the people of God."[40]

[36] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 417.

[37] W. Boyd Carpenter, op. cit., p. 612.

[38] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 227.

[39] Frank L. Cox, op. cit.. p. 102.

[40] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas; P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 130.

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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 17:9". "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 here is the mind which hath wisdom,.... This refers either to what goes before, concerning the beast, his various states, rise, and ruin, and his admirers; or to what follows after, concerning the meaning of his heads and horns, or to both; and the sense is, that notwithstanding the interpretation of these things by the angel, yet it requires a large share of wisdom to understand them; and here is enough to exercise the mind that is ever so well stored with knowledge and understanding; and so the Arabic version renders it, "here it is required that one should have judgment and wisdom"; for to a man that has not, the affair will still be obscure and unintelligible. The words may be rendered, "here is the mind, he that hath wisdom"; that is, let him make use of it, as in Revelation 13:18 and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "and this is the sense, he that hath wisdom"; this is the sense of the beast, and of his heads and horns; and he that has wisdom, let him consider it, and take it in, and apply it to proper persons, things, and times; and so the Ethiopic version, "he that has wisdom and understanding, let him know this"; or take cognizance of it, it being a matter of importance, and attended with difficulty:

the seven heads are seven mountains of which the woman sitteth that is, they signify seven mountains, or are symbolical representations of them; just as the seven good kine, and seven good ears, in Pharoah's dream, signified seven years of plenty, and seven thin kine, and seven empty ears, seven years of famine, Genesis 41:26. As the woman is a city, Revelation 17:18 these seven mountains, on which she sits, must be so many mountains on which the city is built; and what city can this be but Rome, which is so famous for being built on seven hills? This is taken notice of by VirgilF13Aeneid. 6. , HoraceF14In Carmine Seculari. , OvidF15De Trist. l. 1. Eleg. 4. , ClaudianF16L. 3. de Laud. Stilicon. l. 3. ver. 135. , StariusF17Syl. l. 1. Syl. 2. ver. 191. , MartialF18L. 4. Ep. 53. , and others; and indeed there is scarce a poet that speaks of Rome but observes it: hence it has been sometimes called, by writers, the seven hilled city, and sometimes Septiceps, the seven headed city, which comes near to the language here: the names of the seven mountains were these, Capitolinus, Palatinus, Aventinus, Esquilinus, Coelius, Viminalis, and Quirinalis; the four first of these were taken in by Romulus, the first founder of it, and the three last by Servius Tullius, when he enlarged it; and upon the addition of the seventh mountain there was a feast kept, called Septimontium; and which was kept in seven places in the cityF19Alex. ab Alex. Genial Dier. l. 6. c. 11. ; and was annually observed; and in this situation it was in John's time; for PlinyF20Nat. Hist. l. 3. c. 5. , who was contemporary with him, expressly says, that in his time it took in seven mountains; and that this refers to a city in John's time, then reigning over the kings of the earth, is certain from Revelation 17:18. Now there was no imperial city, so built in his time, but Rome: for though Constantinople is built on seven hills, yet this was not in being in John's time, but was built by Constantine many years after, in imitation of Rome; and though the situation is much altered now, being in Campus Martius, it being greatly reduced, and in a less compass, yet this hinders not but that it is the same city here designed: and this confirms that the beast before spoken of, on whom the woman sat, is the Roman empire, since she is here said to sit on the seven mountains, on which Rome, the metropolis of that empire, was built; and this shows the pope of Rome to be antichrist, the great whore, Babylon, the mother of harlots, since no other has his seat at Rome but he.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

16 And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The c seven heads 17 are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

(16) An exhortation preparing for the readers in the same argument, as that of Christ "He that hath ears to hear let him hear". I would rather read in this passage "Let there be here a mind, etc". So the angel passes to the second place of this description.

(c) Children know what the seven hilled city is, which is so much spoken of, and where of Virgil thus reports, "And compasses seven towers in one wall", that city it is, which when John wrote these things, had rule over the kings of the earth. It was and is not, and yet it remains to this day, but it is declining to destruction.

(17) This is the description of the beast by things present (as I said before) by which John endeavoured to describe the same, that he might be both known of the godly in that age, and be further observed and marked of posterity afterwards. This delineation has one tip, that is, his heads, but a double description or application of the type: one permanent, from the nature itself, the other changeable, by the working of men. The description permanent, is by the seven hills, in this verse, the other that flees, is from the seven kings, (Revelation 17:10-11). Here it is worthy to be observed, that one type has sometime two or more applications, as seems good to the Holy Spirit to express, either one thing by various types, or various things by one type. So I noted before of the seven spirits in {See (Revelation 1:4) }. Now this woman that sits on seven hills, is the city of Rome, called in times past by the Greeks, "upon a hill" i. of seven tops or crests and by Varro, "septiceps" i. of her seven heads (as here) of seven heads, and by others, "septem collis" i. standing upon seven hills.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Compare Revelation 13:18; Daniel 12:10, where similarly spiritual discernment is put forward as needed in order to understand the symbolical prophecy.

seven heads and seven mountains — The connection between mountains and kings must be deeper than the mere outward fact to which incidental allusion is made, that Rome (the then world city) is on seven hills (whence heathen Rome had a national festival called Septimontium, the feast of the seven-hilled city [Plutarch]; and on the imperial coins, just as here, she is represented as a woman seated on seven hills. Coin of Vespasian, described by Captain Smyth [Roman Coins, p. 310; Ackerman, 1, p. 87]). The seven heads can hardly be at once seven kings or kingdoms (Revelation 17:10), and seven geographical mountains. The true connection is, as the head is the prominent part of the body, so the mountain is prominent in the land. Like “sea” and “earth” and “waters  …  peoples” (Revelation 17:15), so “mountains” have a symbolical meaning, namely, prominent seats of power. Especially such as are prominent hindrances to the cause of God (Psalm 68:16, Psalm 68:17; Isaiah 40:4; Isaiah 41:15; Isaiah 49:11; Ezekiel 35:2); especially Babylon (which geographically was in a plain, but spiritually is called a destroying mountain, Jeremiah 51:25), in majestic contrast to which stands Mount Zion, “the mountain of the Lord‘s house” (Isaiah 2:2), and the heavenly mount; Revelation 21:10, “a great and high mountain  …  and that great city, the holy Jerusalem.” So in Daniel 2:35, the stone becomes a mountain - Messiah‘s universal kingdom supplanting the previous world kingdoms. As nature shadows forth the great realities of the spiritual world, so seven-hilled Rome is a representative of the seven-headed world power of which the dragon has been, and is the prince. The “seven kings” are hereby distinguished from the “ten kings” (Revelation 17:12): the former are what the latter are not, “mountains,” great seats of the world power. The seven universal God-opposed monarchies are Egypt (the first world power which came into collision with God‘s people,) Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Medo-Persia, Rome, the Germanic-Slavonic empire (the clay of the fourth kingdom mixed with its iron in Nebuchadnezzar‘s image, a fifth material, Daniel 2:33, Daniel 2:34, Daniel 2:42, Daniel 2:43, symbolizing this last head). These seven might seem not to accord with the seven heads in Daniel 7:4-7, one head on the first beast (Babylon), one on the second (Medo-Persia), four on the third (Greece; namely, Egypt, Syria, Thrace with Bithynia, and Greece with Macedon): but Egypt and Greece are in both lists. Syria answers to Assyria (from which the name Syria is abbreviated), and Thrace with Bithynia answers to the Gothic-Germanic-Slavonic hordes which, pouring down on Rome from the North, founded the Germanic-Slavonic empire. The woman sitting on the seven hills implies the Old and New Testament Church conforming to, and resting on, the world power, that is, on all the seven world kingdoms. Abraham and Isaac dissembling as to their wives through fear of the kings of Egypt foreshadowed this. Compare Ezekiel 16:1-63; Ezekiel 23:1-49, on Israel‘s whoredoms with Egypt, Assyria, Babylon; and Matthew 7:24; Matthew 24:10-12, Matthew 24:23-26, on the characteristics of the New Testament Church‘s harlotry, namely, distrust, suspicion, hatred, treachery, divisions into parties, false doctrine.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "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

Here is the mind which hath wisdom (ωδε ο νους ο εχων σοπιανHōde ho nous ho echōn sophian). “Here is the intelligence which has wisdom” (Charles). A variation of Revelation 13:18, but the same idea.

Seven mountains (επτα ορηhepta orē). Rome was known as the city on seven hills (Vergil, Horace, Ovid, Cicero, etc.).

On which (οπουεπ αυτωνhopou- οπουεκειep' autōn). “Where - upon them.” Pleonasm like hopou- ekei in Revelation 12:6. In Revelation 13:1. it is the beast that has the seven heads, while here the woman riding the beast has seven heads, a slight change in the symbolism, and the heads are further identified as kings.

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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 17:9". "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

Here is ( ὧδε )

Bespeaking attention and spiritual discernment for that which follows. See on Revelation 13:18.

The mind ( ὁ νοῦς )

I. Νοῦς is the organ of mental perception and apprehension - of conscious life, the mind, comprising the faculties of perceiving and understanding, of feeling, judging, determining.

(a) The intellectual faculty or understanding (Luke 24:45). So here, according to some.

(b) The reason, regarded as the faculty of perceiving divine things: of recognizing goodness and hating evil (Romans 1:28; Romans 7:23; Ephesians 4:17).

(c) The power of calm and impartial judgment (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

II. Νοῦς isa particular mode of thinking and judging: moral consciousness as a habit of mind or opinion. Hence thoughts, feelings, purposes (Romans 14:5; 1 Corinthians 1:10). Some render here meaning.

Seven mountains

Many interpreters regard this as conclusively defining the reference of the woman to Rome, which was built upon seven hills. Others deny the local reference, and understand the principle of worldly greatness and ambition. Others again claim that many cities besides Rome can boast of their seven hills, as Constantinople, Brussels, and especially Jerusalem.

Upon them

Redundant, the idea being already expressed by where. A Hebraism.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "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 here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

Here is the mind that hath wisdom — Only those who are wise will understand this. The seven heads are seven hills.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-17.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The mind; the meaning.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-17.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

Ver. 9. Here is the mind] q.d. Here is work for wise men to busy their brains about. Sapientia est vel codicibus vel cordibus. Wisdom is either from books or from the hearts.

Seven mountains] The Jesuits cannot deny but that Rome is here pointed at, as being set upon seven hills, επταλοφος. So the ancient Rome was, whereof the present Rome is but a carcase, retaining nothing of the old but her ruins, and the cause of them her sins.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-17.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here the angel cometh directly to declare and unfold the mystery of the beast, premising first, that it requires heavenly wisdom in a person to understand it, and apply the marks accordingly. Here is the mind that hath wisdom, that is, the mind that hath wisdom may here exercise itself.

The seven heads, saith the angel, are seven mountains, that is, signify seven mountains: a clear description of Rome, as to its local situation, being built upon seven hills. And there are seven kings, that is, seven forms of government, by, and according to, which Rome was governed, namely, by kings, consuls, tribunes, decemviri, dictators, and emperors, that were Pagans.

Five of these were fallen in St. John's time, that is, utterly extinct, namely, the government by kings, consuls, tribunes, decemviri, and dictators. And one is, to wit, the government by Pagan emperors, which was in St. John's time in being. And the other is not yet come, that is, the government by Christian emperors was not yet in being, and when it did come, it held but a little while before the bishops of Rome wrested the government out of their hands, and took it into their own.

Behold here! the great mutability of all earthly things; governments have their periods, kingdoms come to an end. Happy they who, serving God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, have secured to themselves a kingdom that cannot be moved! Hebrews 12:28

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-17.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 17:9. ὄρηβασιλεῖς, mountainskings) The seven mountains of Rome were formerly defended and adorned with seven citadels. Pacatus in Paneg.: “These things thou didst survey, O Rome, from thy hills; and, elevated with seven CITADELS, thou wast lifted up to a greater height through joy:” ch. 46. “These hills,” says G. Fabricius, in ch. 3 of his Rome, “Virgil in his Georgics, and Ausonius in his Epithalamium, on account of the royal dwellings which were at one time situated on them, called the seven Citadels.” Those seven mountains were the Palatine, the Capitoline, the Cælian, the Esquiline, the Viminal, the Quirinal, and the Aventine. But the prophecy regards the seven mountains according to the time of the beast, in which the Palatine is deserted, and the Vatican flourishes. The others are the same as they were of old. Nor indeed have the seven heads of the beast a double signification,—the one of the mountains separately, in a confused manner; the other of the kings separately, in a distinct manner: but they have one signification only, in such a way, however, that the thing signified is something compound, consisting of a mountain and a king. Some seek for the seven mountains at Jerusalem; but, as Wolf forcibly teaches, they do not make out their point. See Isaiah 10:32. But grant that there were formerly seven mountains there; there were never seven kings there also, much less were seven mountains joined with seven kings individually: the city itself was destroyed before John wrote; Jerusalem is never called Babylon, even when it is most blamed; and the order of the prophecy thrusts Babylon into much later times. All these things are in agreement with the city Rome. And the first head of the beast is the Cælian Mount, and on it the Lateran, with Gregory VII. and his successors: the second, the Vatican Mount, with the temple of St Peter, built by Boniface VIII.: the third, the Quirinal Mount, with the temple of St Mark, and with the Quirinal Palace, built by Paul II.: the fourth, the Esquiline Mount, with the temple of St Maria Maggiore, built by Paul V. Thus far the dwelling and the action of the Pontiffs perambulate these mountains; and that in such a manner, that to the first head there is added a second, but not so that the first immediately falls to decay; to these two a third; to the three a fourth; and afterwards to the four a fifth, until the five kings, and all things that have been established by them on the five mountains, fall. Turn over the Bullarium in order: you will observe four times from Gregory VII., in the first of which almost all the Bulls, given in the city, are dated from the Lateran; in the second, at St Peter’s; in the third, at St Mark’s and from the Quirinal; in the fourth, at St Maria Maggiore. No fifth, and undoubtedly no sixth or seventh mount, is seen to have been thus honoured by the Popes: and this very fact tends to prove the truth of this interpretation. The seven mountains will be distinctly seen, when the seventh is honoured.— ὅπουἐπʼ αὐτῶν) for ἐφʼ ὧν. Hebr. אשר עליהם.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". 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 here is the mind which hath wisdom; that is, here is that which requireth a mind endued with spiritual wisdom.

The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth; the seven heads which he saw the beast with, signified seven mountains or hills upon which Rome is situated; they were named before: See Poole on "Revelation 17:3". They tell us now Rome is situated in Campo Martio. Resp. Whatever it now is, certain it is, that in St. John’s time it was situated upon them, and they are now within the compass of Rome.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". 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

семь гор Переведенное так греческое слово часто употребляется для обозначения холмов (Мф. 5:1; 15:29; Ин. 6:15; 8:1). Многие толкователи считают, что это выражение обозначает Рим, который расположен на 7 холмах. В таких толкованиях истинно то, что заключительная лжерелигиозная система мира включает и Рим, но не обязательно ограничивается им. Вполне вероятно, что именно эти семь гор в контексте символизируют 7 царств и их царей (см. ст. 10).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hath wisdom; to understand the meaning of this description, and to whom it properly applies.

Seven mountains; on which Rome, the seat of her empire and that of the beast which supported her, was built.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "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

(3) The great wonder comprehended--17:9-11. "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: fire are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."

The mind which hath wisdom referred to the deep mystical import of these symbols which were here merely projected but not fully explained or interpreted--the full meaning is reserved for the following chapter.

Everything in the visions revolves around the Jerusalem of the Jews, Rome being only collateral to the accomplishment of the visions. The reference to the seven mountains was not subject to a literal application any more than the literalizing of the woman. Mountains were ordinarily the symbols of the seats and positions of political and governmental authority, where power was concentrated. And while that was true of Rome, surrounded literally by seven hills; it was true also that Jerusalem was the city where apostasy in the realm of religious power was concentrated; and Jerusalem was also surrounded by seven literal mountains: Zion, Acra, Moriah, Bezetha, Millo, Ophel and Antonio; all of which are mentioned in the history of Josephus in connection with the war against Jerusalem (Book 5, Section 5, 8). The application of these symbols to Jerusalem finds consistency in the context.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "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 angel prefaced his identification of the beast"s seven heads with a statement that understanding this part of the revelation requires wisdom (cf. Revelation 13:18). Evidently many would incorrectly identify these seven heads. Indeed various writers have suggested a multitude of different interpretations. The most popular of these include seven Roman emperors, [Note: Beckwith, pp699, 704-11; Swete, pp220-21. For refutation of this view, see Ladd, pp228-29.] the seven hills of Rome, [Note: E.g, Newell, p263; Mounce, pp313-14; Beasley-Murray, p256. For extensive evidence that these are kingdoms rather than literal mountains, see Seiss, pp391-94.] and various non-literal views, such as the following.

"By his use of seven, he indicates completeness or wholeness. The seven heads of the beast symbolize fullness of blasphemy and evil. It is much like our English idiom "the seven seas," i.e, all the seas of the world." [Note: Johnson, p559.]

Revelation 17:9-11 are an exposition or clarification of Revelation 17:8. The text is always its own best interpreter. The seven heads are "seven kings" ( Revelation 17:10). They are the heads and personifications of seven empires (cf. Daniel 7:17; Daniel 7:23). The angel also referred to them as "mountains" ( Revelation 17:9). In the Bible a mountain is sometimes a symbol of a prominent government (cf. Psalm 30:7; Psalm 68:15-16; Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 41:15; Jeremiah 51:25; Daniel 2:35; Daniel 2:44; Habakkuk 3:6; Habakkuk 3:10; Zechariah 4:7).

"The call for special wisdom in Revelation 17:9 a probably has in view the ability to grasp this double meaning of the mountains [i.e, as individuals and kingdoms]." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p296.]

The woman sits over the seven rulers and empires, but she is not one of them. She exercises authority over them.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-17.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Seven mountains. We have already observed that ancient Rome stood upon seven mountains. The same cannot be said of modern Rome, as some of the hills are not inhabited. --- The seven heads....are seven kings, or seven Roman emperors, who were particularly distinguished as the chief supporters of idolatry, and the most virulent persecutors of the Christian religion. Their names were Nero, Domitian, Severus, Decius, Valerian, Dioclesian and Antichrist. --- Five of them are fallen or gone, viz. Nero, Domitian, Severus, Decius, Valerian, who supported the idolatrous empire for a time; one is, viz. Dioclesian, with whom the reign of idolatry falls; and the other is not yet come, that is, antichrist.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

And. Omit.

mind. Same as "understanding" in Revelation 13:18.

wisdom. Compare App-132.

The . . . sitteth. This belongs to Revelation 17:10.

are. i.e. represent.

on. App-104.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "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 here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

Compare Revelation 13:18; Daniel 12:10. Spiritual discernment is needed to understand the symbolical prophecy.

Seven heads are seven mountains. The connection between mountains and kings must be deeper than the outward fact to which allusion is made, that Rome (the then world-city) is on seven hills [whence she observed a Septimontium the feast of the seven-hilled city (Plutarch); and on imperial coins she is represented as a woman seated on seven hills-Coin of Vespasian, 'Roman Coins,' p. 310; Ackerman, 1:, p.

87]. The seven heads can hardly be at once seven kings or kingdoms (Revelation 17:10), and seven geographical mountains. But, as the head is prominent in the body, so the mountain in the land. Like 'sea,' 'earth,' "waters

... peoples" (Revelation 17:15), so "mountains" have a symbolical meaning, namely, prominent seats of power. Especially such as oppose the cause of God (Psalms 68:16-17; Isaiah 40:4; Isaiah 41:15; Isaiah 49:11; Ezekiel 35:2); Babylon geographically in a plain, spiritually is "a destroying mountain" (Jeremiah 51:25), in majestic contrast to which stands mount Zion, "the mountain of the Lord's house" (Isaiah 2:2); Revelation 21:10, "a great and high mountain ... that great city, the holy Jerusalem." So in Daniel 2:35, the stone becomes a mountain-Messiah's universal kingdom supplanting the world-kingdoms.

As nature shadows forth spiritual realities, so seven-hilled Rome is a representative of the seven-headed world-power, of which the dragon is the prince. The "seven kings" are hereby distinguished from the "ten kings" (Revelation 17:12): the former are what the latter are not, "mountains," great seats of the world-power. The seven universal God-opposed monarchies are Egypt (the first world-power arrayed against God's people), Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Medo-Persia, Rome, the Germanic Slavonic empire (the clay of the fourth kingdom mixed with its iron in Nebuchadnezzar's image, a fifth material, Daniel 2:33-34; Daniel 2:42-43, symbolizing this last head). These seven might accord with the seven heads in Daniel 7:4-7, one head on the first beast (Babylon), one on the second (Medo-Persia), four on the third (Greece; namely, Egypt, Syria, Thrace with Bithynia, and Greece with Macedon); but Egypt and Greece are in both lists. Syria answers to Assyria (from which 'Syria' is abbreviated), and Thrace with Bithynia answers to the Gothic-Germanic-Slavonic hordes which, pouring on Rome from the North, founded the Germanic-Slavonic empire. The woman sitting on the seven implies the Old and New Testament Church conforming to, and resting on, the world-power, the seven world-kingdoms. Abraham and Isaac dissembling as to their wives, through fear of kings of Egypt, foreshadowed this. Compare Ezekiel 16:1-63; Ezekiel 23:1-49, on Israel's whoredoms with Egypt, Assyria, Babylon; Matthew 6:24; Matthew 24:10-12; Matthew 24:23-26; Colossians 3:5, on the New Testament Church's harlotry-namely, distrust, hatred, treachery, party divisions, false doctrine.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "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

(9) And here is the mind . . .—Better, Here (omit “and”) is the mind, &c. Attention is asked to the fuller explanation which follows. It needs true wisdom to behold many incidents of the world’s history and not find stumbling-blocks in them (Psalms 73:2-3; Psalms 119:165). The seven heads are seven mountains where the woman sitteth upon them. The description seems to be drawn from Rome, the seven-hilled city. This keeps the reference to Rome before us, but at the same time the further explanation (in Revelation 17:10) widens our thoughts, and shows us that the literalism on which the imagery is based is used to convey a broader symbolical meaning. The seven heads are seven mountains, &c., and they (the seven heads; the words “There are seven kings” in the English version are confusing) are seven kings: the woman rides on the seven-headed beast; even so Rome dwells on her seven hills, and so also the world-city, seen in vision, sits among the various empires which have risen, like great mountains, in the history of the world.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
here
13:18; Daniel 12:4,8-10; Hosea 14:9; Matthew 13:11; 24:15
The seven
3,7,18; 13:1
Reciprocal: Acts 28:16 - Rome;  Revelation 12:3 - seven heads;  Revelation 16:10 - upon

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-17.html.

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

The seven mountains have no special significance except as an item of geography and history by which to identify the city of Rome. On which the woman sitteth means that the apostate church rested upon the government of Rome for support.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". 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 17:9

Revelation 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

By wisdom here, we may understand the spirit of wisdom given of God, Ephesians 1:17; 1 John 5:20; Colossians 1:9 filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. By mountains here, we are to understand the seven hills on which old Rome was built. Durham on this verse, pg640 and Mystical Babylon unveiled, page2printed1679.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-17.html.

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

V:9. "And here is the mind that hath wisdom" or here is the place to exercise your mind and gain wisdom. Here we will see great light on these problems. "The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman siteth," the well known seven hills of Rome. That is a geographical identification. I presume no one in John"s day and we think no one in this day, could miss his meaning. The angel is telling John what that beast is that we have been talking about through all these chapters, and here he points out that the seven heads are seven hills. But there is another test of its identity, besides the geographical similarity there is a historical one that describes the beast in time rather than in place. This we have in verse ten: "And there are seven kings; five are fallen, and one Isaiah, and the other is yet to come, and when he cometh he must continue a short space." We had the beast located geographically on the seven hills, which meant Rome. Now we have him located in history to tell us what period of Rome we are dealing with. And there is no period of Rome"s history that will fit this description but the dynasty of the Caesars. Julius Caesar was the founder of the empire, he is the head that was wounded to death. But though that head was wounded to death, the empire continued to live. The beast did not die with one of its heads. The autocratic power of Rome was more absolutely exercised by succeeding kings, than Julius Caesar could ever have dreamed.

John says five of these kings are fallen, viz. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, all these five had passed away when John wrote this book; and one Isaiah, viz. Nero, who was then on the throne; and one is yet to come, Galba, and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. Accordingly Galba succeeded Nero, and his short space was a reign of seven months.

This mention of the seven hills and the seven kings, this geographical and historical identification, fixes with absolute precision the time of this writing and the subject with which it deals. There should be no more doubt about this after such plain indications in the text itself, that the beast is the Roman Empire, and not some King that is yet to reign over the world in the supposed "Tribulation" as the premillennialists say.

Even when the dynasty falls and the seven heads are all gone, the beast lives on. "He is the eighth and is of the seven." When Caesar"s dynasty fell, another dynasty succeeded and the beast still lived. That Empire did not perish with the Caesars. Nero went down, Galba went down, but Vespasian, and Titus and Domitian and others continued the empire which still persecuted the Christian Church.

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

Revelation 17:9. Here belongs the understanding, that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits, and are seven kings. The here belongs is properly here is, meaning that wisdom here has its right place, and intimating that a problem is presented here, which it is the province of the more profound spiritual insight to handle; comp. on ch. Revelation 13:18. That the mountains are to be understood spiritually is evident alone from ch. Revelation 13:3, where it is said that one of the heads was killed to death, which does not suit a natural mountain (as the seven hills of Rome, of which so many expositors think here). Then Revelation 17:3 is to be compared, in which the woman is described as sitting on a scarlet-coloured beast. To this manifestly corresponds the sitting on the mountains here. If by the first Rome is denoted, as the holder of the world's power, then the sitting upon the mountains will also have the same meaning. In the symbolical language of Scripture, and especially of the Revelation, mountains signify kingdoms. That they have this signification also here, is plain from the term "seven kings," or kingdoms, added by way of explanation. The seven phases of the ungodly power of the world were definitely marked at ch. Revelation 13:1. And from the remarks already made, the seven hills of Rome could only be pointed to as a symbol of the seven-formed worldly power.

That the kings here are not individuals, but ideal persons, personified kingdoms, is clear alone from the corresponding expression: mountains. For these denote, not single rulers, but kingdoms. In Revelation 17:12 also kings stand for kingdoms. That the heads of the beast here are called kings is decisive against the opinion which considers the beast to be the papacy. The horns, likewise expressly mentioned, must, according to Bengel, be "worldly kings," while he would regard the heads as "seven diverse popes succeeding each other;" though it is quite clear, that if in the former case worldly kingdoms or monarchies are spoken of, it must be these also in the latter.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-17.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9.Here is—Or rather, here let there be. To the interpreter who would solve what follows, let there be mind with wisdom.

The seven heads are seven mountains—That Rome is here meant even the ablest champions of Popery admit, such as Bellarmine, Baronius, and Bossuet, as quoted by Dr. Wordsworth, in his “Lectures.” “St. John, in the Apocalypse,” says Cardinal Bellarmine, “calls Rome Babylon; for no other city except Rome reigned in his age over the kings of the earth, and it is well known that Rome was seated on seven hills.” “It is confessed,” says Cardinal Baronius, “that Rome is signified in the Apocalypse by the name of Babylon.” Bossuet says, “The features (in the Apocalypse) are so marked that it is easy to decipher Rome under the figure of Babylon.” Romanistic authors maintain either that pagan Rome only is meant, or that the prophecies, as applied to Christian Rome, are to be fulfilled at some future day.

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-17.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 17:9. , cf. Prop. iii. 11, 57 (“Septem urbs alta iugis, quae praesidet orbi”), Verg. Georg. ii. 534.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 17:9". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-17.html. 1897-1910.