Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 18:17

for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!' And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Thompson Chain Reference - Poverty-Riches;   Riches, Earthly;   Treasures, Earthly;   The Topic Concordance - Judges;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Commerce;   Riches;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Poetry of the Hebrews;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - City;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hour;   Shipmaster;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Babylon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Arts;   Debt, Debtor;   Governments;   Living;   Master;   Mourning;   Numbers;   Sea ;   Ship ;   Smoke ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon the Great ;   Master;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Babel;   Babylon;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Babylon in the New Testament:;   Lively;   Nought;   Ships and Boats;   Trade;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Every shipmaster - Captains of vessels; some think pilots are meant, and this is most likely to be the meaning of the original word κυβερνητης . This description appears to be at least partly taken from Ezekiel 27:26-28.

And all the company in ships - Και πας επι των πλοιων ὁ ὁμιλος· The crowd or passengers aboard. But the best MSS, and versions have και πας ὁ επι τοπον πλεων, those who sail from place to place, or such as stop at particular places on the coast, without performing the whole voyage. This sufficiently marks the traffic on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Some might debark (in sailing from Rome) at the island of Sicily, others at different ports in Greece; some at Corinth, others at Crete, or the various islands of the Aegean Sea; some at Rhodes, Pamphylia, etc., etc.; as in those times in which the compass was unknown, every voyage was performed coastwise, always keeping, if possible, within sight of the land.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For in one hour - In a very brief period - so short, that it seemed to them to be but one hour. In the prediction Revelation 18:8, it is said that it would be “in one day” (see the notes on that place); here it is said that, to the on-lookers, it seemed to be but an hour. There is no inconsistency, therefore, between the two statements.

So great riches is come to nought - All the accumulated wealth of so great and rich a city. This should have been united with Revelation 18:16, as it is a part of the lamentation of the merchants, and as the lamentation of the mariners commences in the other part of the verse. It is so divided in the Greek Testaments.

And every ship-master - This introduces the lamentation of the mariners, who would, of course, be deeply interested in the destruction of a city with which they had been accustomed to trade, and by carrying merchandise to which they had been enriched. The word “ship-master” - κυβερνήτης kubernētēs- means, properly, a “governor”; then a governor of a ship - the “steersman” or “pilot,” Acts 27:11.

And all the company in ships - Prof. Stuart renders this “coasters.” There is here, however, an important difference in the reading of the text. The commonly received text is, πᾶς ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων ὁ ὅμιλος pas epi tōn ploiōn ho homilos- “the whole company in ships,” as in our common version; the reading which is now commonly adopted, and which is found in Griesbach, Hahn, and Tittmann, is ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων ho epi topon pleōn- “he who sails to a place”; that is, he who sails from one place to another along the coast, or who does not venture out far to sea; and thus the phrase would denote a secondary class of sea-captains or officers - those less venturesome, or experienced, or bold than others. There can be little doubt that this is the correct reading (compare Wetatein, in loco); and hence the class of seamen here referred to is “coasters.” Such seamen would naturally be employed where there was a great and luxurious maritime city, and would have a deep interest in its fall.

And sailors - Common seamen.

And as many as trade by sea - In any kind of craft, whether employed in a near or a remote trade.

Stood afar off - notes on Revelation 18:10.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-18.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought,.... That is, in a very short time, expressing the suddenness and speediness of Rome's destruction, the quick dispatch and expedition that will be made in it, by the instruments of it, as in Revelation 18:10. Rome was always famous for its great wealth and riches; the Jews have a sayingF12T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 49. 2. , that if ten kabs of riches descend into the world, the ancient Romans take nine of them, and the other the whole world:

and every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off; the lamentation of the kings and merchants of the earth being ended, masters of ships, sailors, and seafaring men begin theirs: by "ships" are meant dioceses, abbeys, priories, and monasteries; and by the masters, or governors of them, bishops, abbots, priors, the heads of monasteries, and of the several orders of the Franciscans, Dominicans, &c. and by "all the company in ships", or "every shipmate", the fellows that belong to every religious house and order; and by "sailors" and "traders at sea", all such who compass sea and land to make proselytes to the Romish religion, like the Pharisees of old, and who, as they, make them two fold more the children of hell than themselves; and, in general, these traders abroad may design the pope's legates, sent by him into various parts, to collect his revenues, and the Jesuits, who are everywhere sent abroad to sow sedition and false doctrine, and the priests that travel about to sell pardons and indulgences: these

stood afar off; as the kings and merchants before, for fear of sharing in the condemnation and punishment of Babylon; knowing full well that they deserved it, having been associates with her in her crimes.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

11 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

(11) The manner of mourning used by them that trade by sea.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

is come to naughtGreek, “is desolated.”

shipmasterGreek, “steersman,” or “pilot.”

all the company in ships — A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac read, “Every one who saileth to a place” (B has “ … to the place”), every voyager. Vessels were freighted with pilgrims to various shrines, so that in one month (a.d. 1300) two hundred thousand pilgrims were counted in Rome [D‘aaubigne, Histoire de la Reformation]: a source of gain, not only to the Papal see, but to shipmasters, merchants, pilots, etc. These latter, however, are not restricted to those literally “shipmasters,” etc., but mainly refer, in the mystical sense, to all who share in the spiritual traffic of apostate Christendom.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-18.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Shipmaster (κυβερνητηςkubernētēs). Old word (from κυβερναωkubernaō to steer), helmsman, sailing-master, in N.T. only here and Acts 27:11. Subordinate to the ναυκληροςnauklēros (supreme commander).

That saileth any whither (ο επι τοπον πλεωνho epi topon pleōn). “The one sailing to a place.” See Acts 27:2, τους κατα την Ασιαν πλεονταςtous kata tēn Asian pleontas (those sailing down along Asia). Nestle suggests ποντονponton (sea) here for τοπονtopon (place), but it makes sense as it is.

Mariners (ναυταιnautai). Old word (from ναυςnaus ship), in N.T. only here and Acts 27:27, Acts 27:30.

Gain their living by the sea (την ταλασσαν εργαζονταιtēn thalassan ergazontai). “Work the sea.” This idiom is as old as Hesiod for sailors, fishermen, etc. See Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:15.

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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 18:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-18.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Shipmaster ( κυβερνήτης )

From κυβερνάω togovern. Strictly, steersman. Only here and Acts 27:11.

All the company in ships ( πᾶς ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων ὁ ὅμιλος )

The best texts substitute ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων , that saileth anywhere, lit., saileth to a place. So Rev.

Trade by sea ( τὴν θάλασσαν ἐργάζονται )

Lit., work the sea, like the Latin mare exercent, live by seafaring. Rev., gain their living by sea.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-18.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

Ver. 17. So great riches come to nought] Gr. ηρημωθη, is desolated, or become a wilderness. Petrarch writeth, that in the treasury of Pope John XXII were found by his heirs two hundred and fifty tons of gold. And of Boniface VIII it is recorded that he was able to show more money than all the kings in Christendom.

And every ship master] i.e. Cardinal, patriarch, archbishop, though but titular and imaginary, without jurisdiction, as are the patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, which the pope successively consecrates, ever since the Holy Land and the provinces about it were in the hands of Christian princes, A.D. 1100, so loth is the pope to lose the remembrance of any superiority or title that he hath once compassed. (Spec. Europ.)

And all the company] The cardinals and archbishops’ train and retinue, those in office especially. What a pompous family kept Wolsey, consisting of one earl, nine barons, very many knights and esquires, and others, to the number of four hundred. (Rex Platen., p. 26.)

And sailors] Bishops, abbots, priors, &c. In a parliament holden here at Leicester, A.D. 1413, in the reign of Henry V, a complaint was exhibited against the Popish clergy’s excess. This bill (saith E. Hall the chronicler) made the fat abbots to sweat, the proud priors to frown, the poor friars to curse, the silly nuns to weep, and all her merchants to fear that Babel would then down. But God’s time was not yet.

And as many as trade by the sea] All the clergy, the Jesuits especially, without whose lusty help (saith Mr Brightman) St Peter’s fishing boat had stuck in the sand, and had rushed against the rocks long since.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-18.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

The last sort of mourners for Babylon's ruin are sailors and seamen; all spiritual seamen that have an oar in St. Peter's boat shall lament greatly, whose life and livelihood did depend upon the merchant trade of that great city; these, though they stuck close to her, and trafficked with her in the day of her prosperity, yet now with the rest they stand afar off from her, lamenting her ruin, and their own loss, in the day when her desolation cometh.

And, as an evidence of the greatness of their sorrow and mourning, they are here said to cast dust on their heads; which amongst the ancients was used as a special token of extraordinary grief and sorrow, Job 2:13. In a time of deep affliction we may express our outward sorrows by our outward gestures: those mourners for Babylon express their sorrow for her and themselves, by casting dust upon their heads.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-18.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 18:17. πᾶς ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων) I was not right, I think, in disparaging this reading in my Apparatus.(204) It is supported by the best copies, and denotes indeed a class of men differing from pilots, to whom however it is subjoined, and from sailors, and from all, who trade by sea. Therefore ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων must be he, who repeatedly directs his ship to one place, mart, or country. Others read, πᾶς ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων πλέων; others, πᾶς ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων ὅ΄ιλος. The former reading arose from haste, as it seems; the latter from a paraphrase of the genuine reading.— καὶ ὅσοι τὴν θάλασσαν ἐργάζονται) ἐργάζεσθαι is not only to effect anything by labour, but also, which is the meaning here, to be engaged upon, to have to do with. Thus LXX., ἐργάζεσθαι γῆν, παράδεισον, ἀμπελῶνα, πόλιν, χρυσίον, κ. τ. λ.

ABCh Vulg. read ἐπὶ ( τὸν, B) τόπον πλέων. Rec. Text, without good authority, ἐπὶ τῶν πλοίων ὅμιλος.—E.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-18.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In one hour; that is, suddenly. The term denotes rather the surprisal of this judgment, than the short space of time within which it should be effected.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-18.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

кормчие Капитаны кораблей будут оплакивать потерю Вавилона и прибыльный транспортный бизнес, который ушел вместе с ним.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-18.html.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

for in one hour so great riches is made desolate. And every shipmaster, and every one that saileth any whither, and mariners, and as many as gain their living by sea, stood afar off,

For in one hour ... The triple mention of this (Revelation 18:9,17,19) makes it imperative to relate these events to the brief ascendancy of the final "ten kings" (Revelation 17:12-17). See comment there.

"It is the loss of the wealth, not any concern for people, that the merchants express."[56]

ENDNOTE:

[56] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 220.

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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 18:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The first clause of this verse concludes the mourning of the merchants. It expresses the reason for their sorrow.

The second part of this verse begins the description of the mourning of sea people. The four groups of sea people represent helmsmen (Gr. kybrnetes), passengers (pas ho epi topon pleon), sailors (nautai), and those who work the sea (ten thalassan ergazontai) such as fishermen and divers for pearls. [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p339.] These too stand at a distance watching the city burn. Perhaps these sea people are of special interest because they represent distributors of goods.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-18.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

in one hour. See Revelation 18:19.

come, &c As "made desolate", Revelation 18:18.

all . . . ships. The texts read "every one that saileth any whither", indicating travellers of all kinds.

trade . . . sea. Literally work the sea, i.e. for a living.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

Is come to nought - `is desolated.'

Shipmaster - `pilot.'

All the company in ships. 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Syriac, read, 'every one who saileth to a place' (B has ' ... to the place'): every voyager. Vessels were freighted with pilgrims to various shrines, so that in one month (1300 AD) 200,000 pilgrims were counted in Rome (D' Aubigne, 'Reformation'): a gain, not only to the papal see, but to shipmasters, merchants, etc. These are not restricted to literal 'shipmasters,' etc., but mainly refer to all who share in the spiritual traffic of apostate Christendom.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-18.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
in one
10; Isaiah 47:9; Jeremiah 51:8; Lamentations 4:6
And every
11; Isaiah 23:14; Ezekiel 27:27-36; Jonah 1:6
Reciprocal: Esther 4:1 - and cried;  Job 6:21 - ye see;  Job 20:28 - increase;  Psalm 107:23 - go down;  Isaiah 2:16 - the ships;  Isaiah 9:14 - in one day;  Isaiah 23:5 - so shall;  Jeremiah 51:54 - GeneralLamentations 1:1 - How doth;  Ezekiel 27:29 - all that handle;  Amos 5:5 - come;  Amos 6:3 - put;  Acts 27:27 - the shipmen;  1 Corinthians 1:28 - to bring;  1 Peter 1:7 - that;  Revelation 14:7 - hour;  Revelation 17:16 - and naked;  Revelation 18:8 - shall her

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-18.html.

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

One hour calls for the same comments that are offered at verse10. The chapter as a whole is a vision in symbolic form, yet the institution of Babylon or Rome was so widespread, that it was logical to include many of the activities of the members of it. Hence the people interested in the traflic of the see. are brought into the picture, among those whose selfish practices were to be cut off by the downfall of the city.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-18.html. 1952.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17.Enumeration of the various marine mourners.

Shipmaster—The helmsman who steered, and was, generally, also the ship captain.

Company in ships—Literal Greek, every one sailing to a place; rendered by Alford, “Who saileth any whither.” Stuart renders the phrase, “Every coaster,” understanding those who do not put out to broad sea, but ply from place to place on the coast. They gathered, perhaps, the commodities to be shipped in larger craft to the metropolitan market.

Trade by sea— Literal Greek, whoever work the sea; as if taking care, comprehensively, that all should be included.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-18.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 18:17. . . . = “whose business is on the sea”. The passage reflects the importance of Rome especially for the trade of the Levant. Pliny (H. N. vi. 101, xii. 84) gives the large figures of Oriental imports and their cost, adding sarcastically tanti nobis deliciae et feminae constant (Friedländer, iii. 48–51). The regret of the mariners for the grandeur that was Rome passes rapidly into a sense of commercial loss.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 18:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-18.html. 1897-1910.