Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 18:22

And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Harp;   Mill;   Music;   Thompson Chain Reference - Arts and Crafts;   The Topic Concordance - Judges;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Martyrdom;   Mills;   Music;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Corn;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - City;   Food;   Music;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Mill;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Occupations and Professions in the Bible;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Craft;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Arts;   Harp ;   Millstone ;   Minstrel ;   Pipe Flute ;   Trump Trumpet ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon the Great ;   Craftsman;   Mill, Millstone;   43 Builder Maker Artificer,;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Babel;   Babylon;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Handicraft;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Mill;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The voice of harpers, etc. - This seems to indicate not only a total destruction of influence, etc., but also of being. It seems as if this city was to be swallowed up by an earthquake, or burnt up by fire from heaven.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the voice of harpers - Those who play on the harp. This was usually accompanied with singing. The idea, in this verse and the following, is substantially the same as in the previous parts of the chapter, that the mystical Babylon - papal Rome - would be brought to utter desolation. This thought is here exhibited under another form - that all which constituted festivity, joy, and amusement, and all that indicated thrift and prosperity, would disappear. Of course, in a great and “fun” city, there would be all kinds of music; and when it is said that this would be heard there no more it is a most striking image of utter desolation.

And musicians - Musicians in general; but perhaps here singers, as distinguished from those who played on instruments.

And of pipers - Those who played on pipes or flutes. See the 1 Corinthians 14:7 note; Matthew 11:17 note.

And trumpeters - Trumpets were common instruments of music, employed on festival occasions, in war, and in worship. Only the principal instruments of music are mentioned here, as representatives of the rest. The general idea is, that the sound of music, as an indication of festivity and joy, would cease.

Shall be heard no more at all in thee - It would become utterly and permanently desolate.

And no craftsman, of whatsoever craft - That is, artificers of all kinds would cease to ply their trades there. The word used here - τεχνίτης technitēs- would include all artisans or mechanics, all who were engaged in any kind of trade or craft. The meaning here is, that all these would disappear, an image, of course, of utter decay.

And the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more - Taylor (Frag. to Calmet, Dictionary vol. iv. p. 346) supposes that this may refer not so much to the rattle of the mill as to the voice of singing, which usually accompanied grinding. The sound of a mill is cheerful, and indicates prosperity; its ceasing is an image of decline.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "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 the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters,.... Which were for mirth, delight, and pleasure:

shall be heard no more at all in thee: the words seem to be taken from Isaiah 24:8 and may not only regard the loss of every thing that was delightful and pleasant to the ear in private houses, at festivals, and nuptials, and the like, but the ceasing of church music; there will be no more bells, nor organs, or any other instruments of music; no more chanters, and sub-chanters, choristers, singing men and boys:

and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be shall be, found any more in thee; which are very useful and necessary in cities and societies; it is threatened to Judah, that the cunning artificer should be taken from her, Isaiah 3:3 and it is reckoned as a considerable part of the distress of the captivity that the carpenters and smiths were away from Jerusalem, Jeremiah 24:1 and this judgment may fall on Rome for her worshipping idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, the works of men's hands, artificers and craftsmen, and who are employed in making other trinkets and wares for antichrist:

and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; to grind corn with, see Jeremiah 25:10 there will be a famine at the time that Rome is besieged, Revelation 18:8 and after it is destroyed, there will be no corn to grind, nor inhabitants to eat it, and so no use of the millstone; this is said in opposition to her luxurious and delicious living, Revelation 18:3 and this may also refer to feasts and rich entertainments, for which spices were ground and prepared by an hand millF13Schindler. Lex. Pentaglott. in Voce רוח, Col. 1712. in the house; and so may signify here that there would be no more of such entertainments and rich living; with which sense agrees what follows. This clause is wanting in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

14 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft [he be], shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

(14) The events are two, and one of them opposite to the other for amplification sake. There shall be no mirth nor joy at all in Babylon, he says in this and the next verse, (Revelation 18:23) but heavy and lamentable things, from the bloody slaughters of the righteous and the vengeance of God coming on it for this.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

pipers — flute players. “Musicians,” painters and sculptors, have desecrated their art to lend fascination to the sensuous worship of corrupt Christendom.

craftsman — artisan.

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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 18:22". "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

The voice (πωνηphōnē). Cf. Ezekiel 26:13. Or “sound” as in 1 Corinthians 14:8 with σαλπιγχsalpigx (trumpet). For this song of judgment see Jeremiah 25:10.

Of harpers (κιταρωιδωνkitharōidōn). Old word (from κιταραkithara harp, and ωιδοςōidos singer) as in Revelation 14:2.

Of minstrels (μουσικωνmousikōn). Old word (from μουσαmousa music), here only in N.T., one playing on musical instruments.

Of flute-players (αυλητωνaulētōn). Old word (from αυλεωauleō to play on a flute, Matthew 11:17, αυλοςaulos flute, 1 Corinthians 14:7), in N.T. only here and Matthew 9:23.

Of trumpeters (σαλπιστωνsalpistōn). Late form for the earlier σαλπιγκτηςsalpigktēs (from σαλπιζωsalpizō), here only in N.T.

Shall be heard no more at all (ου μη ακουστηιou mē akousthēi). First aorist passive subjunctive of ακουωakouō with the double negative as below, with πωνη μυλουphōnē mulou (sound of the millstone), and as in Revelation 18:21 with ου με ευρετηιou me heurethēi and again with πας τεχνιτηςpās technitēs (craftsman). This old word is from τεχνηtechnē art, as here in some MSS. (“of whatsoever craft,” πασης τεχνηςpasēs technēs). ΤεχνιτηςTechnitēs occurs also in this sense in Acts 19:24, Acts 19:38; and in Hebrews 11:10 of God as the Architect. There is power in this four-fold sonorous repetition of ου μηou mē and the subjunctive with two more examples in Revelation 18:23.

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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 18:22". "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

Harpers

See on Revelation 14:2.

Musicians ( μουσικῶν )

Only here in the New Testament. There seems to be no special reason for changing the rendering to minstrels, as Rev. The term music had a much wider signification among the Greeks than that which we attach to it. “The primitive education at Athens consisted of two branches: gymnastics for the body, music for the mind. Music comprehended from the beginning everything appertaining to the province of the nine Muses; not merely learning the use of the lyre or how to bear part in a chorus, but also the hearing, learning, and repeating of poetical compositions, as well as the practice of exact and elegant pronunciation - which latter accomplishment, in a language like the Greek, with long words, measured syllables, and great diversity of accentuation between one word and another, must have been far more difficult to acquire than it is in any modern European language. As the range of ideas enlarged, so the words music and musical teachers acquired an expanded meanings so as to comprehend matter of instruction at once ampler and more diversified. During the middle of the fifth century b.c. at Athens, there came thus to be found among the musical teachers men of the most distinguished abilities and eminence, masters of all the learning and accomplishments of the age, teaching what was known of Astronomy, Geography, and Physics, and capable of holding dialectical discussions with their pupils upon all the various problems then afloat among intellectual men” (Grote, “History of Greece,” vi., ch. lxvii.).

Pipers ( αὐλητῶν )

Rev., flute-players. Only here and Matthew 9:23. The female flute-players, usually dissolute characters, were indispensable attendants at the Greek banquets. Plato makes Eryximachus in “the Symposium,” say: “I move that the flute-girl who has just made her appearance, be told to go away and play to herself, or, if she likes, to the women who are within. Today let us have conversation instead” (“Symposium,” 176). Again, Socrates says: “The talk about the poets seems to me like a commonplace entertainment to which a vulgar company have recourse; who, because they are not able to converse and amuse one another, while they are drinking, with the sound of their own voices and conversation, by reason of their stupidity, raise the price of flute-girls in the market, hiring for a great sum the voice of a flute instead of their own breath, to be the medium of intercourse among them” (“Protagoras,” 347). Compare Isaiah 24:8; Ezekiel 26:13.

Millstone

Compare Jeremiah 25:10; Matthew 24:41.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "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 the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

And the voice of harpers — Players on stringed instruments.

And musicians — Skilful singers in particular.

And pipers — Who played on flutes, chiefly on mournful, whereas trumpeters played on joyful, occasions.

Shall be heard no more in thee; and no artificer — Arts of every kind, particularly music, sculpture, painting, and statuary, were there carried to their greatest height. No, nor even the sound of a mill-stone shall be heard any more in thee - Not only the arts that adorn life, but even those employments without which it cannot subsist, will cease from thee for ever. All these expressions denote absolute and eternal desolation.

The voice of harpers — Music was the entertainment of the rich and great; trade, the business of men of middle rank; preparing bread and the necessaries of life, the employment of the lowest people: marriages, in which lamps and songs were known ceremonies, are the means of peopling cities, as new births supply the place of those that die. The desolation of Rome is therefore described in such a manner, as to show that neither rich nor poor, neither persons of middle rank, nor those of the lowest condition, should be able to live there any more. Neither shall it be repeopled by new marriages, but remain desolate and uninhabited for ever.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-18.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

voice

Cf. Isaiah 24:8 contra, Revelation 14:1-3.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 18:22". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-18.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

Ver. 22. And the voice of harpers, &c.] Thine organs and sackbuts, thy chanting and churchmusic, shall cease.

And the sound of a millstone] Anciently they used handmills, which did make a great noise in the cities, as Diodate here noteth.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". 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 18:22. (206) ΄ουσικῶν) of musicians, that is, singers: for these are the chief [part of musicians]. שרים, LXX. μουσικοὶ, Genesis 31:27; Ezekiel 26:13.— τεχνίτης, craftsman) Nowhere do the arts of painting, sculpture, etc., together with music, flourish more than at Rome: as the Topographies and Itineraries show; for instance, Keyssler’s, Part i. Ep. 49, etc.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". 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

Ver. 22,23. And the voice of harpers, &c., shall be heard no more at all in thee; all these seem to me but the expression of an utter ruin and desolation, by various phrases and expressions; they should have no more occasion of mirth, nor any more business done in their city. If any will understand these expressions, of their organs, and other musical instruments used in worship, and of spiritual craftsmen, I shall not contradict it; but I think it more proper to understand the words more largely.

For thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived: though thou hast had a trade with great men, and by thy enchanted cups of the wine of thy fornication hast intoxicated many in all nations, yet thou shalt use that trade no more; the nations shall be deceived no more by thee; here shall be an end of thee. And one thing that brings thee to thy ruin, shall be thy seducing others to idolatry, so as they have seemed to reasonable men to be bewitched by thee.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-18.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The sound of a millstone; compare Jeremiah 25:10. The orientals grind their meal daily in hand-mills. The cessation of the sound of the millstone is therefore a sign of utter desolation.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-18.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the voice of harpers and minstrels and flute-players and trumpeters shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft, shall be found any more at all in thee; and the voice of a mill shall be heard no more at all in thee;

This verse merely catalogues the phases of city life that shall perish forever when judgment falls.

No more at all ... This is the refrain. "Civilization is as though it had never been."[66] Was the fabled city of Atlantis a historical type of this?

ENDNOTE:

[66] Michael Wilcock, I Saw Heaven Opened (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1975), p. 66.

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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 18:22". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

any more = no more, as above.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "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 the voice of harpers and musicians and of pipers and trumpeters shall be heard no more at all in And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

Pipers - flute-players. "Musicians," painters, sculptors: desecrated art to lend fascination to the sensuous worship of corrupt Christendom.

Craftsman - artisan.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-18.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
the voice
Isaiah 24:8,9; Jeremiah 7:34; 16:9; 25:10; 33:11; Ezekiel 26:13
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 24:6 - shall take;  Job 3:7 - solitary;  Psalm 137:2 - we hanged;  Isaiah 23:1 - for it is;  Isaiah 23:12 - Thou shalt;  Jeremiah 48:33 - joy;  Jeremiah 49:33 - a dwelling;  Jeremiah 51:55 - destroyed;  Lamentations 5:14 - the young;  Daniel 6:18 - and passed;  Hosea 2:11 - cause;  Amos 6:5 - to the;  Zechariah 6:8 - quieted;  Revelation 14:2 - harpers;  Revelation 18:21 - and shall;  Revelation 18:23 - the voice

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-18.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

22.The three silences—of music, of manufacture, and of sustenance. Harpers, on the chords; musicians, vocalists; pipers, flute-players; trumpeters, with rousing martial music.

Craftsman’ craft he be— Literally, the artisan of every art.

Sound—Greek, voice of the personified millstone.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-18.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 18:22. “minstrels or musicians” (1 Maccabees 9:41); the occurrence of the generic term among the specific is certainly awkward and would favour the rendering “singers” (Bengel, Holtzm.) in almost any other book than this. On these musical epithets see Friedländer, iii. 238 f.; the impulses to instrumental music at Rome during this period came mainly from Alexandria. For coins stamped with Nero as harpist see Suet. Nero, xxv. , the daily accompaniment of Oriental life. The sound of the mill meant habitation, but in the desolation of Rome no more pleasant stir of mirth or business would be heard (Isaiah 47:5). The fanatic Jesus, son of Ananus, who howled during the siege of Jerusalem and for four years previously (Jos. Bell. vi. 5, 3) “woe to Jerusalem,” denounced upon her “a voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the temple a voice against bridegrooms and brides, and a voice against the whole people”.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 18:22". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-18.html. 1897-1910.