Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 18:2

And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Birds;   Cage;   Fellowship;   Scofield Reference Index - Babylon;   Babylons;   Thompson Chain Reference - Babylon;   The Topic Concordance - Judges;   Partaking;   Plague;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Poetry of the Hebrews;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - City;   Government;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Peter, First, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cage;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bird;   Cage;   Owl;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Babylon, History and Religion of;   Birds;   Gentiles;   Habitation;   Satyr;   Spirits in Prison;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Babylon;   Bird;   Cage;   Devil;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Demon;   Hatred;   Peter Epistles of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon the Great ;   Cage;   Demon;   Elephant;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Babel;   Babylon;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Rome;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Cage;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Bird;   Cage;   Foul;   Old - golden;   Habitation;   Unclean;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Azazel;   Babylon in the New Testament:;   Cage;   Foul;   Fowl;   Hold;   Prison;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bird-cages;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen - This is a quotation from Isaiah 21:9; : And he said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. This is applied by some to Rome pagan; by others to Rome papal; and by others to Jerusalem.

Is become - the hold of every foul spirit - See the parallel passages in the margin. The figures here point out the most complete destruction. A city utterly sacked and ruined, never to be rebuilt.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And he cried mightily - Literally, “he cried with a strong great voice.” See Revelation 10:3.

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen - See the notes on Revelation 14:8. The proclamation here is substantially the same as in that place, and no doubt the same thing is referred to.

And is become the habitation of devils - Of demons - in allusion to the common opinion that the demons inhabited abandoned cities, old ruins, and deserts. See the notes on Matthew 12:43-45. The language here is taken from the description of Babylon in Isaiah 13:20-22; and for a full illustration of the meaning, see the notes on that passage.

And the hold of every foul spirit - φυλακὴ phulakēA watch-post, station, haunt of such spirits - That is, they, as it were, kept guard there; were stationed there; haunted the place.

And a cage of every unclean and hateful bird - That is, they would resort there, and abide there as in a cage. The word translated “cage” is the same which is rendered “hold” - φυλακὴ phulakēIn Isaiah 13:21, it is said, “and owls shall dwell there”; and in Isaiah 14:23, it is said that it would be a “possession for the bittern.” The idea is that of utter desolation; and the meaning here is, that spiritual Babylon - papal Rome Revelation 14:8 - will be reduced to a state of utter desolation resembling that of the real Babylon. It is not necessary to suppose this of the city of Rome itself - for that is not the object of the representation. It is the papacy, represented under the image of the city, and having its seat there. That is to be destroyed as utterly as was Babylon of old; that will become as odious, and loathsome, and detestable as the literal Babylon, the abode of monsters is.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-18.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he cried mightily with a strong voice,.... Which shows not only the vehemence and affection of the ministers of the word, who will publish what follows, but the greatness and importance of it; and this loud voice may be, as for the sake of the whole church in general, that all may bear, so for the sake of those of the Lord's people in particular, that will be in Babylon at this time; and it may have regard to that deep sleep and spirit of slumber that Babylon itself will be in, which, notwithstanding this loud cry, will remain insensible of its ruin till it comes upon her, as was the case of old Babylon, Jeremiah 51:39,

saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen: the whole world is not designed by Babylon, for it is distinguished from all nations in the following verse; nor Babylon in Chaldea, which was fallen long before John saw this vision, but Rome Papal; See Gill on Revelation 14:8 so the woman is called in Revelation 17:5 who sits on seven mountains, and is that great city, the city of Rome, that reigns over the kings of the earth, Revelation 18:9 this is said to be fallen, because, in a very little time after this declaration, it will fall; for as yet it was not destroyed, since after this the Lord's people are called upon to come out of her, and are bid to reward her double; and it is declared, that her plagues, should come in one day, and she should be burnt with fire; and an angel after this throws a millstone into the sea, saying, that so should Babylon be thrown down, Revelation 18:4 and it is repeated to denote the certainty and utter destruction of her: and which is more fully expressed by what follows,

and is become the habitation of devils; as old Babylon was of satyrs, Isaiah 13:21 demons, which appeared in a hairy form, like goats, and the word is rendered devils in Leviticus 17:7 and the inhabitants of Rome now are no other; the pope and his cardinals, the priests, Jesuits, monks, and friars, are the spirits of devils, and their doctrines the doctrines of devils; see Revelation 16:14

and the hold of every foul spirit: devils are frequently called unclean spirits, and these appear in desert and desolate places, Matthew 12:43 where they are either of choice, or rather are obliged to it; and so the word translated "hold" signifies a prison, or place of confinement; and such as are comparable to unclean spirits now haunt and abound in Rome, and its territories; see Revelation 16:13

and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird; such, as vultures, kites, owls, &c. which generally reside in desolate and uninhabited places; the Alexandrian copy, the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, add, "and the hold", or "seat of every unclean and hateful beast"; and so the desolation of old Babylon is described by wild beasts and doleful creatures dwelling in it, Isaiah 13:21. Some consider all this as a reason of the destruction of Babylon or Rome, because it now is the residence of persons comparable to devils, foul spirits, hateful birds, and beasts of prey; but this account rather describes its state and case in which it will be after its ruin, being never more to be inhabited by men, in allusion to old Babylon, Isaiah 13:19.

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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
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

(3) The prediction of her ruin, containing both the fall of Babylon, in this verse, and the cause of it uttered by way of allegory concerning her spiritual and carnal wickedness, that is, her most great impiety and injustice, in (Revelation 18:3). Her fall is first declared by the angel, and then the greatness of it is shown here, by the events when he says it shall be the seat and habitation of devils, of wild beasts, and of cursed souls, as in (Isaiah 13:21) and often elsewhere.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

strong — not supported by manuscripts. But A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, “with (literally, ‹in‘) a mighty voice.”

is fallen, is fallen — so A, Vulgate, Syriac, and Andreas. But B and Coptic omit the second “is fallen” (Isaiah 21:9; Jeremiah 51:8). This phrase is here prophetical of her fall, still future, as Revelation 18:4 proves.

devilsGreek, “demons.”

the hold — a keep or prison.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "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

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great (επεσεν επεσεν αβυλων η μεγαληepesenπιπτωepesen Babulōn hē megalē). The very words of Revelation 14:8: “Did fall, did fall Babylon the great.” Prophetic aorists of εγενετοpiptō repeated like a solemn dirge of the damned.

Is become (κατοικητηριονegeneto). Prophetic aorist middle.

A habitation of devils (κατοικεωkatoikētērion). Late word (from πυλακη παντος πνευματος ακαταρτουkatoikeō to dwell), in N.T. only here and Ephesians 2:22. Devils should be demons, of course. So Isaiah prophesied of Babylon (Isaiah 13:21-22) and also Jeremiah (Jeremiah 50:39) and Zephaniah of Nineveh (Zephaniah 2:14). Both Babylon and Nineveh are ruins.

A hold of every unclean spirit (Πυλακηphulakē pantos pneumatos akathartou). πυλακη παντος ορνεου ακαταρτου και μεμισημενουPhulakē is garrison or watch-tower as in Habakkuk 2:1, rather than a prison (Revelation 20:7).

A hold of every unclean and hateful bird (Ορνεουphulakē pantos orneou akathartou kai memisēmenou). Orneou is old word for bird, in N.T. only Revelation 18:2; Revelation 19:17, Revelation 19:21. “The evil spirits, watching over fallen Rome like night-birds or harpies that wait for their prey, build their eyries in the broken towers which rise from the ashes of the city” (Swete). Long ago true of Babylon and Nineveh, some day to be true of Rome.

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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 18:2". "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

Mightily with a strong voice ( ἐν ἰσχύΐ́ φωνῇ μεγὰλῃ )

Lit., in strength with a great voice. Omit μεγάλῃ greatand read ἰσχυρᾷ φωνῇ witha mighty voice. So Rev.

Babylon - is fallen

The Rev. improves on the A.V. by placing fallen in the emphatic position of the Greek: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon.” Compare Isaiah 21:9.

Is become ( ἐγένετο )

Lit., became.

Devils ( δαιμόνων )

Properly, demons, which Rev., strangely commits to the margin. See on Mark 1:34. See Isaiah 13:20-22; Isaiah 34:13-15. Also on Luke 11:24.

Hold ( φυλακὴ )

See on 1 Peter 3:19, and see on Acts 5:21. Rev., in margin, prison.

Cage ( φυλακὴ )

The word rendered above hold. Rev., hold. Some, however, explain it, not as a cage where they are kept, but as a place of safety to which they resort.

Bird ( ὀρνέου )

Only in Revelation, here, Revelation 19:17, Revelation 19:21. Compare Jeremiah 50:39.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "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.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

And he cried, Babylon is fallen — This fall was mentioned before, Revelation 14:8; but is now declared at large.

And is become an habitation — A free abode.

Of devils, and an hold — A prison.

Of every unclean spirit — Perhaps confined there where they had once practised all uncleanness, till the judgment of the great day. How many horrid inhabitants hath desolate Babylon! of invisible beings, devils, and unclean spirits; of visible, every unclean beast, every filthy and hateful bird. Suppose, then, Babylon to mean heathen Rome; what have the Romanists gained, seeing from the time of that destruction, which they say is past, these are to be its only inhabitants for ever.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-18.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The habitation of devils; of demons, which are often spoken of as dwelling in desert and desolate places. This an the subsequent clauses express desolation and abandonment, not mere moral corruption.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-18.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Babylon

Babylon, "confusion," is repeatedly used by the prophets in a symbolic sense (See Scofield "Isaiah 13:2"), note 2. Two "Babylons" are to be distinguished in the Revelation: ecclesiastical babylon, which is apostate Christendom, headed up under the Papacy; and political babylon, which is the Beast's confederated empire, the last form of Gentile world-dominion. Ecclesiastical Babylon is "the great whore" Revelation 17:1 and is destroyed by political Babylon Revelation 17:15-18 that the beast may be the alone object of worship.; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:15. The power of political Babylon is destroyed by the return of the Lord in glory. (See "Armageddon,"); Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:17. The notion of a literal Babylon to be rebuilt on the site of ancient Babylon is in conflict with Isaiah 13:19-22. But the language of Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:18 seems beyond question to identify "Babylon," the "city" of luxury and traffic, with "Babylon" the ecclesiastical centre, viz. Rome. The very kings who hate ecclesiastical Babylon deplore the destruction of commercial Babylon.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 18:2". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-18.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Ver. 2. And he cried mightily] So to awaken Babylon, that slept no less securely than that old Babylon, whose king Shesach was feasting and carousing in the bowls of the sanctuary, when the city was taken the same night. The people also did so little fear it, that it was three days after the city was taken by Cyrus ere some of them heard what was befallen them. (Herodot. Arist. Pol.)

Is fallen, is fallen] Certo, cito, penitus, or, with a double fall. They have fallen culpably, and shall fall penally. This was also long since foretold by Sibylla in the eighth book of her oracles:

" και συ θριαμβος εση κοσμω, και αοιδος απαντων".

" Tota eris in cineres quasi nunquam Roma fuisses."

Rome (during the Roman felicity) was never taken but by the Gauls; but since it became pontifical, it hath been made a prey to all barbarous nations, and never besieged by any that took it not. There yet stands, near at hand, a second Babylon (saith Petrarch), cito itidem casura, si essetis viri. This would soon be down, if you would but stand up as men.

The habitation of devils] Which, by a sweet providence of God, for the good of mankind, are banished (as likewise fierce and wild beasts are) to deserts and unpopulated places. See Matthew 12:43. (It is an allusion to Isaiah 13:20; Isaiah 14:23; Jeremiah 50:39) Yet not so, but that, by Divine permission, they haunt and pester the greatest throngs of people, yea, the holiest assemblies. Some take the words in another sense, thus, it is become a habitation of devils, that is, of idols; and this hath wrought her ruin. In the year 610, Boniface IV instituted the feast of All Saints, after that he had begged of the emperor the Pantheon of Rome, which he consecrated to the honour of All Saints, and set up the Virgin Mary in the place of Cybele, the mother of the gods. (Alsted. Chron.)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-18.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 18:2. καὶ ἔκραξεν ἰσχύϊ φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγων) A noun of cognate signification is often added to a verb, for the sake of emphasis, in the Dative case, by the LXX. ἀληθείᾳ ταπεινοῦν, βίᾳ ἀχθῆναι, βρώσει φαγεῖν, δάκρυσι κλαίειν, δεήσει λαλεῖν, θανάτῳ τελευτᾷν, θυμῷ ὀργίζεσθαι, ὀργῇ θυμοῦσθαι, μέτρῳ λαμβάνειν, σοφίᾳ ἀριθμεῖν, τόλμῃ ἐπικεῖσθαι, ὓβρει τρέχειν, ὕβρει φέρεσθαι, ὑπερόψει ὑπεριδεῖν, φόβῳ δειλιᾷν, φυγῇ πορεὑεσθαι, φωνῇ καλεῖν. See also Acts 2:30; Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 1:18; 1 John 3:18. So here κράζειν ἰσχύϊ, and Revelation 18:21, ὁρμήματι βληθῆναι. ἰσχύϊ itself is used absolutely, 2 Chronicles 28:6, ἀνδρῶν δυνατῶν ἰσχύϊ.— ἔπεσεν ἔπεσε, is fallen, is fallen) Some MSS. and translators, ch. Revelation 14:8, and here, put ἔπεσε, is fallen, once only(195): and the one of these passages may appear to have been moulded so as to be in conformity with the other. Sometimes Epizeuxis (Append.) increases the emphasis; but Babylon is fallen, is fallen, is said in Isaiah 21:9, long before its fall; nay, even before its flourishing condition: Babylon is suddenly fallen, Jeremiah 51:8, not long before its very overthrow. Therefore, if one reading is not to be followed in both passages of the Apocalypse, I would read it twice in the first passage, and once only in the second; almost in the same manner in which there are at first set forth three woes, afterwards two, and lastly one: so that, is fallen, is fallen, expresses an overthrow gradually coming on; is fallen, expresses an overthrow sudden, total, and final. For once for all [at once] is often the same as entirely: Numbers 20:8; 1 Samuel 26:8. But the copyists not unfrequently wrote once only words which ought to have been written twice: and ἔπεσεν ἔπεσε is found in many copies at ch. Revelation 16:8, and ch. Revelation 18:2. It is plain, that the actual overthrow is not now to be here understood, but that it is a prophecy respecting the overthrow which is certainly and quickly about to follow; for in Revelation 18:4, and not until then, the people of God are commanded to go forth. But the people of God are not those whose pastor is the Roman Pontiff, as some one has wished to wrest the Apocalypse. It is said, My people, not the people of the Roman Pontiff; as Acts 18:10, the Lord is said to have much people in the city of Corinth, without any particular reference to Paul or any other pastor there.(196)

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". 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

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen: whoever was meant by the angel whom John saw, Revelation 18:1, his business was to give warning to the whole world, (therefore he crieth with a strong voice, ) that Rome, the great city, the mother of spiritual harlots, should fall. This angel was a prophet, and the messenger of him who calls the things that are not as if they were; and therefore he speaks in a Divine, prophetic style: the prophets (ordinarily) speaking of things to come as past, or present, to denote the certain futurity of them, and doubling their words to assure us of it; for this, is fallen, is; expounded by shall be thrown down, Revelation 18:21. We read of this angel, Revelation 14:8; but it is ordinary with prophets to repeat the same things, and it is done as to the Chaldean Babylon, the type to this antitype, both Isaiah and Jeremiah declared in more than one sermon its certain approaching ruin. These words are taken from Isaiah 21:9, where the word fallen is doubled, as here. They are found also, Jeremiah 51:8. God here explaineth what he had said before, Revelation 14:8.

And is become the habitation of devils, &c.: the words are such as might signify a sinful fall, or apostacy; and what is here, is true of it in that sense; idols in Scripture being ordinarily called devils: but they seem rather to be understood of a penal fall, for such is that spoken of Isaiah 21:9, after which it should become a habitation of devils, and a cage of unclean birds. See the like spoken of literal Babylon, Isaiah 13:19-21; wild beasts and hateful birds usually frequenting desolate places.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". 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

пал, пал Вавилон Ср. 14:8; см. пояснение к Ис. 21:9, к стиху, из которого взяты эти слова. Греческий текст рассматривает это как результат, как будто это уже произошло (см. пояснение к 14:8). Здесь упоминается седьмая чаша, которая только должна появиться в этот момент (16:17-21). Когда это произойдет, будет иметь место опустошение и уничтожение, земля останется пристанищем бесов и птиц, питающихся падалью.

вином блудодеяния своего Религия Вавилона (гл. 17) вовлекает народы в духовное опьянение и прелюбодеяние с ложными царями (17:2, 4). Купеческий Вавилон (гл. 18) вводит неверующий мир в материалистическое оцепенение, так что люди мира будут опьянены страстью их взаимоотношений с Вавилоном.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-18.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The habitation of devils-every foul spirit-every unclean and hateful bird; the meaning is that Babylon is abandoned, as a place utterly desolated and uninhabited, to be the abode of these unclean beings. Compare what is said of ancient Babylon, Isaiah 13:21-22; Jeremiah 50:39; and of Edom, Isaiah 34:11-15. From these passages the imagery is plainly taken. Bodies of men, as well as individuals, are responsible to God for their conduct; and when they have filled up the measure of their sins, and he comes out in judgment, no numbers, wealth, or power can withstand or ward off his wrath.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-18.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And he cried with a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird.

It should be noted that it is not merely the fall of Babylon (a symbol of pagan Rome) that is announced, but of "Babylon the great," the symbol of something far more extensive.

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great ... "Here is portrayed not merely the doom of an ancient city, but the sure collapse of all human organization, commercial and otherwise."[15] See chapter introduction for an elaboration of this. "Mystical Babylon is the representative of religious degeneracy, not wickedness."[16] This announcement is not made so that the earth will know it; the earth will already know it when this occurs. "Babylon is in ruins and does not need to be told. The announcement is because the destruction is so vast and terrible."[17]

That the actual city of Rome is in some way to be identified with Babylon cannot be denied. "There can be no doubt that the preterists are right in asserting this; but the historicists may be right in applying it to the Papacy."[18] They are both right. Just as Jesus' prophecy had reference to: (1) the fall of Jerusalem, and also to (2) the end of the world, this prophecy also is big enough to take care of both events. Rome is properly identified both as the pagan city and also as the later headquarters of the harlot. It is the vain effort to nullify and discard this second meaning that we reject.

And is become a habitation of demons ... The pagan city made "demons" of its dead emperors and worshipped them; but the papal city did exactly the same thing with its dead "saints," making them objects of worship and invoking their names in the public worship.

And a hold of every unclean spirit ... This also was true both of the pagan city with its sorcery, witchcraft, and savage cruelty exhibited daily in the Coliseum, and likewise later of the apostate Christianity with its inquisitions, persecutions, and vicious politics.

And a hold of very unclean and hateful bird ... "This probably alludes to the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31,32), indicating the demonic forces at work in the apostate system."[19] See our exegesis of that parable in my Commentary on Matthew, pp. 192-194. Hendriksen's view that "hold" here should be understood in the sense of a prison, with the meaning that, "The unclean spirits and hated birds consider it a prison,"[20] does not appear to be correct. "This meaning as a place where unclean spirits are confined seems hardly appropriate."[21] It merely means that "they have built their nests in the church," after the analogy of the parable. "It is their natural and fitting stronghold, rather than a place where they are involuntarily confined."[22]

[15] Ibid.

[16] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 134.

[17] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 515

[18] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 598.

[19] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1968), p. 105.

[20] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 207.

[21] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919), p. 713.

[22] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 431.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And he cried with a mighty voice saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great, and is become a habitation of devils, and a haunt of every unclean spirit and a haunt of every unclean and hateful bird”.’

The angel declares that Babylon the Great is fallen. Becoming a haunt of birds is a favourite indication of dreadful judgment (Isaiah 34:11; Isaiah 34:14; Zephaniah 2:14). ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen’ comes from Isaiah 21:9 where emphasis is laid on the destruction of its idols and images (compare Jeremiah 51:8). The future desolation of Babylon is described in Isaiah 13:19-22. So Babylon was not only a symbol of overweening pride and idolatry, but also of destruction and emptiness. In this chapter it is as a symbol of world cities and what they signify (commercialism and worldly control), that she is described. In John’s day Rome was the commercial centre of the world. All things poured into Rome. But she received rather than gave. Today commercialism is more widespread, but it is still basically the enemy of God and His ways.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-18.html. 2013.

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

The dirge of fallen Babylon in verse two, was an extension of the same vision in chapter 14:8, and was substantially the same lamentation over the fall of the ancient Babylon recorded in Isaiah 21:9 : "Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground." The Babylon of this chapter was symbolic of Jerusalem, and the voice of verse two was crying a threnody--a dirge of lamentation--on the day of doom for the once faithful but apostate city.

The latter part of the verse describes Jerusalem as the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. The severance of all commercial affiliations by the siege of Jerusalem and the devastation of Judea, had reduced the city to a haunt, symbolized by the demoniac habitation of evil spirts, devils and vultures. The visions of the overthrow of Tyre and Babylon in the Old Testament were combined in these same symbols.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-18.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The repetition of the word "Fallen" (cf. Revelation 14:8; Isaiah 21:9; Jeremiah 51:8) probably indicates that God guaranteed this judgment and that it will happen quickly ( Genesis 41:32; cf. 2 Peter 3:8). This is another proleptic announcement in which the angel described a future action as already having happened. The prophetic aorist tense of the Greek verb makes this clear.

"It is the prophetic way of declaring that the great purpose of God in triumphing over evil is a fait accompli." [Note: Mounce, p323.]

The description of Babylon in this verse is what it will be after God judges it (cf. Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:11; Isaiah 34:14; Isaiah 47:7-9; Jeremiah 50-51; Ezekiel 26-28; Nahum 3; Zephaniah 2:15). Ancient Babylon fell to Cyrus the Persian in539 B.C, but that fall did not fulfill Old Testament prophecies about Babylon completely (cf. Isaiah 47:11; Jeremiah 51:8). [Note: Kiddle, pp359-60; Wilcock, p168; Bullinger, p553.] John had described God only through hymns of worship to this point, and he now similarly described the fall of Babylon through the laments of onlookers. [Note: Caird, p227; Sweet, p267; Mounce, p323.]

"The prophecy thus indicates that before the advent of the warrior-king in Revelation 19:11-16, Babylon will rise to its greatest heights, not only of idolatry (chap17), but also of luxury (chap18).... Babylon of the future, therefore, will be the center for both false religion and world economic prosperity." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p317.]

Apparently it is the city that will be the prison of demons, a place where they are safe but kept against their wills (cf. Isaiah 13:21-22; Isaiah 34:11-17; Jeremiah 51:37). A prison (or haunt) for unclean birds is a figure of desolation (cf. Isaiah 34:11; Isaiah 34:13; Jeremiah 50:39). Babylon will become utterly desolate.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-18.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 18:2. He cried with a mighty voice. This is the only passage in the book in which a voice is spoken of as ‘mighty,’ the usual appellation being ‘great.’ In chap. Revelation 19:6 we read of ‘mighty thunders’ and it is impossible to doubt, therefore, that this voice is described in a similar way, not because all men are to hear it, but because it is to strike all with awe and terror (comp. Revelation 18:8).

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. These words have already met us at chap. Revelation 14:8 (comp. Isaiah 21:9), but the description is now enlarged, Old Testament passages such as Isaiah 13:21, Jeremiah 51:37, supplying the particulars.

Everything about the city is chanced into a wild and hateful desert. The unclean beasts and birds themselves that are driven into her ruins regard them as a prison.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-18.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. Idolatrous Rome is fallen. That mighty seat of power and dominion is fallen. The long fixed abode of voluptuousness and luxury, for the merchants of the earth have become rich by the strength of her delicacies, and now the hand of God hath struck her. It is utterly destroyed; not a human being in it. Thus it is become an accursed place, given up for an habitation of devils and a hold of every unclean spirit, or of frightful spectres and ghosts, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird, of owls, ravens, vultures, &c. &c. (Pastorini)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-18.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

mightily. The texts read "with (Greek. en) a mighty (compare App-172.) voice (Greek. phone)".

Babylon . . . fallen. See Revelation 14:8. Isaiah 21:9. Jeremiah 51:8.

the = a.

habitation. Greek. katoiketerion. Only here and Ephesians 2:22, which see.

devils = demons. See App-101.

hold = prison, or cage, as below. See Revelation 2:10; Revelation 20:7.

foul = unclean, as below.

spirit. App-101.

cage. See "hold" above.

unclean. See "foul" above.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "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

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Mightily ... strong. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic, read [ en (Greek #1722) ischura (Greek #2478) foonee (Greek #5456)], 'with (literally, IN) a mighty voice.'

Is fallen, is fallen. So A, Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') B, Coptic, omit the second "is fallen" (Isaiah 21:9; Jeremiah 51:8). This is prophetic of her fall, still future, as Revelation 18:4 proves.

Devils - `demons.' The hold - a prison.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) And he cried . . .—We must omit “mightily,” and render, And he cried in a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become an habitation of demons, and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hated bird. Those who walk in darkness, and whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded through their lusts, look only on the material side, upon prosperous times, large revenues, rapidly developing resources. The great city of the world looks fair and glorious in their eyes, and even the godly are dazzled by her beauty; but when the light of heaven shines, her fall is seen to be inevitable, for she is seen to be hateful; her palaces are seen to be prisons, her highest wisdom little more than low cunning, her most exalted intelligence base-born, her sweetest songs discordant cries; the evil spirit, welcomed back, has come in seven-fold power; for the dry places afford no rest to those who still love sin and the pleasures of sin. The description in this verse is drawn largely from Isaiah 13:21-22; it is a picture of desolation and degradation, but it has its moral counterpart.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
cried
1:15; 5:2; 10:3; 14:15; Jeremiah 25:30; Joel 3:16
Babylon
10,21; 14:8; 16:19; 17:5,18; Isaiah 13:19; 21:9; Jeremiah 51:8,60-64
become
Leviticus 11:13-19; Isaiah 13:20-22; 14:23; 21:8; 34:11-15; Jeremiah 50:39,40; Jeremiah 51:37; Mark 5:3-5; Luke 8:27,28
Reciprocal: Leviticus 11:16 - GeneralNumbers 24:24 - and he also;  Deuteronomy 32:43 - avenge;  Psalm 87:4 - Babylon;  Psalm 102:6 - a pelican;  Isaiah 13:11 - I will punish;  Isaiah 13:21 - But;  Isaiah 24:10 - of confusion;  Isaiah 25:2 - palace;  Isaiah 26:5 - the lofty;  Isaiah 26:14 - dead;  Isaiah 32:14 - for;  Isaiah 34:13 - an habitation;  Isaiah 35:7 - in the;  Jeremiah 5:27 - cage;  Jeremiah 9:11 - a den;  Jeremiah 27:7 - until;  Jeremiah 49:33 - a dwelling;  Jeremiah 50:2 - Babylon;  Jeremiah 51:29 - every;  Jeremiah 51:64 - Thus shall;  Daniel 4:14 - aloud;  Nahum 3:4 - the mistress;  Nahum 3:19 - upon;  Zephaniah 2:14 - flocks;  Zechariah 13:2 - unclean;  John 12:29 - An angel;  1 Timothy 4:1 - seducing;  Titus 3:3 - hateful;  1 Peter 5:13 - at;  Revelation 11:8 - the great;  Revelation 12:9 - the Devil;  Revelation 16:10 - upon

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "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

The preceding chapter pictures conditions just prior to the revolution of the Reformation. The present chapter will extend the vision on through that period, showing the effects it will have among the nations of the world, and will predict the permanent end of the union of church and state. We should keep clearly in mind the truth that we are studying a book of symbols, and therefore we will not try to make a literal application of the symbols. However, even political and religious advantages may sometimes bring material gains to men of selfish character, hence we should not be surprised to see indications of that in some instances. The angel cried with a strong voice, which signified that his announcement was of interest to many. Babylon here means the institution formed by the union of church and state. That body had been in control since the time of Constantine, but now it is destined to be dissolved by the work of the Reformation. Babylon is fallen, is fallen; the repetition is for emphasis. The fall refers to the disolving of church and state through the influence of the Bible that had been given to the people by Luther and his fellow workers. Is become the habitation, etc. This is symbolic and the language is formed from what literally happened to the ancient city of Babylon after it was destroyed by it.s conqueror. The description of that destruction from which our verse gets its symbols may be seen in Isaiah 13:19-22 and Jeremiah 50:35-40.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-18.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 18:2

Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

By crying

mightily with a loud voice,

we may understand a most clear and open declaration of the utter ruin, and final destruction of Mystical Babylon, Rome papal;

saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.

This declaration of Rome's destruction, is borrowed from Isaiah 13:19-22; Isaiah 34:13-15, ( Jeremiah 51:37 and Revelation 18:21). Rome material and mystical, shall be utterly ruined, papists and popery shall be destroyed root and branch.

And is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

As it was with old Babylon, { Isaiah 13:19-22} And Babylon the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldee's excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts, of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall try in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged. So it shall be with mystery Babylon, Rome papal, burnt and destroyed. Their monasteries, abbies, priories, nunneries, and all their religious places, shall be made utterly desolate, and haunted with devils. {as Mark 5:2-5; Matthew 8:28}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-18.html.

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

Revelation 18:2. And he cried in strength and said, She is fallen, she is fallen, Babylon the great, and has become an habitation of demons, and a hold of all unclean spirits, and a hold of all unclean and hateful birds. The expression, in strength, alludes to Psalms 29:4, "The voice of the Lord is in strength." What is declared there of the yoke of Jehovah, is here transferred to the voice of Christ, exactly as in Revelation 18:1 that is affirmed of Christ, which in the fundamental passage of Ezekiel is spoken of Jehovah.[Note: The LXX. render Psalms 29:4, φωην̀ κυριου ἐ ν ἰ σχύ ι. The significant allusion to this verse is in favour of what is here certainly the reading, that has least external support, ἐ ν ἰ σχύ ι; the more ao, as also in what immediately precedes that is transferred to the angel, Christ, which in the Old Testament is declared of Jehovah. The Hebraistic ἐ ν ἰ σχύ ι was an occasion of offence to the copyists. They therefore substituted for it the plain ἐ ν ισχυρᾷ φωνῇ. We cannot understand how any should have thought of the heterogeneous ἐ ν ἰ σχύ ι. The thoughtful allusion to Psalms 29:4 can neither be conceived of as a matter of accident, nor as the design of a copyist. The variations in respect to the placing and omitting of the ἐ ν as connected with ισχυρᾷ φωνῇ; also seem to bespeak the fabrication of this reading, as does the combined reading followed by Luther ἐ ν ἰ σχύ ι, φωνῇ μέ γαλη.] The power in the calling afforded a pledge for power in the doing, and was, therefore, full of consolation for those who were oppressed by the city that then had the name of power.

In regard to the words, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great," comp. on ch. Revelation 14:8, Revelation 16:19. The preterite there is a prophetical one; it denotes a fact, which even as a part of the vision was still future. But here it is used of a fact which, viewed in respect to the vision, had now entered—comp. ch. Revelation 17:3. For the vision the victory was even in the preceding chapter a completed fact; the judgment of the great whore was already put in force; the woman was already placed in the wilderness; only the exposition of the symbol there makes use of the futures. If we give due attention to this, and to the continuous use of the preterites in the discourse of the angel, we shall not doubt that proclamation is here made of what has already been done.

In regard to the demons, evil spirits, see at ch. Revelation 9:20, Revelation 16:14. The fundamental passages are Isaiah 13:21, where it is said of ancient Babylon as fallen, "And bucks dance there," in connection with owls and ostriches; and Isaiah 34:14, "And one buck calls to another, there also reposes the night-spectre and finds rest to itself." From the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, with its idolatrous worship of buck or he-goats, the heathen gods were primarily called among them bucks (comp. Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15; and Egypt and the Books of Moses, p. 213, also Beitr. II. p. 118, ss)., and then evil spirits, which constituted the back-ground of idolatry. The LXX. in Isaiah 13:21 have, "and demons shall dance there;" and in Baruch 4:35 it is said, "and has been inhabited by demons for a very long time." Now, if the passage before us and the fundamental passages of Isaiah were all, then with some justice we might speak, with Vitringa, of rhetorical descriptions of desolation, with Bossuet of the manner of speech drawn from popular discourse, although this is certainly not, as regards the usage of the prophets, what most readily occurs. But there are indications in other parts of Scripture, which place evil spirits in connection with the wilderness and desolation, and in which we cannot avail ourselves of such a resource. Satan bears, in Leviticus 16, the name of Azazel, the separated (see Egypt and Books of Moses, p. 166), and the he-goat is sent to him into the wilderness, as to his proper place of abode. In the declaration of the Lord, in Matthew 12:43, the waste and dry places appear pre-eminently as the seat of evil spirits, and the manifest allusion there to Isaiah 34:14 seems to withdraw this passage from the sphere of a simply poetical representation. In Luke 8:27 it is said of a man who had demons, "he abode not in the house, but was in the tombs." In accordance with these indications of Scripture is the disagreeable horror which comes over us in such places. Analogous representations fetched from beyond the region of Scripture cannot properly be brought to invalidate its intimations, but rather tend to strengthen them, as a kind of consensus gentium.

The unclean or impure spirits are personal spirits. Bengel remarks, "Between these two kinds (demons and unclean birds) stand impure spirits, which may consequently be human spirits, that in the bodily life had hardened themselves in impurity. In waste places, where men cease to dwell, such spirits rush in and take possession of them.

Unclean spirits, as distinguished from devils and fallen angels, are departed souls of unholy men. This is a very clear passage for such spirits, which are called spectres when they appear to the living. That which during the bodily life had continued in impurity, in uncleanness, and other sins, remains impure in death and after death. Therefore should we prize purification through the blood of Jesus." But in ch. Revelation 16:13-14, unclean spirits are first mentioned, and then the spirits of demons. Hence, and likewise from the common designation of demons as impure spirits, we cannot suppose that any essential distinction is meant to be introduced here between demons and impure spirits. Otherwise, countenance would be given to the manifestly false imagination that ruins are a dwelling for demons, a place of custody for all impure spirits. We ought rather to suppose that demons are spoken of under another name, for the purpose of placing them along with unclean birds, and to bring out the new and additional element, that their dwelling is there, where such birds are obliged to make their resort. At the most, we might suppose that the designation of unclean spirits is a comprehensive one, so that it may also comprise the spirits of dead men. It may, however, be asked if these also are not comprehended in the class of demons. But in any case we must not put the unclean spirits as contradistinguished from the demons in a separate class.

A hold or place of custody is mentioned in connection with the unclean spirits. Bengel says, "Habitation—hold, two different words. The first denotes a much freer place of sojourn, while the second means a prison or guard-house, and in the Greek occurs also in ch. Revelation 2:10, Revelation 20:7." The unclean spirits are banished to a place which is a true image of their state. As in the case of the unclean birds, so in theirs it is the law of their nature that banishes them thither. A ruined existence is at home among ruins. They leave them only to make others partakers of their misery.

The unclean birds (comp. Psalms 102:6, " I am like the pelican of the wilderness, I am as an owl of ruins," Isaiah 13:21-22, Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39; Zephaniah 2:14), on account of the natural impulses implanted in them by God, are in a manner banished to the haunts of desolation, from which all living creatures, it might seem, would shrink with horror.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-18.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.He cried’ with a strong voice—As announcing a stupendous event! The words that were prophecy in Revelation 14:8, are now become history.

Devils—Demons. See note on Revelation 16:14. The idea occurs more than once in Scripture—and we do not know that it was an illusion—that there are invisible as well as visible beings to whom solitudes and desolations are a congenial abode. If devils haunt human society, why may they not haunt the deserts? Perhaps the devils which seduced the living populations of Babylon still haunted the scenes after the populations were no more.

Hateful bird—Averse from the society of man, and at home amid damp and desolation.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 18:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-18.html. 1874-1909.