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Revelation 5

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The Opening of the Scroll

5:1 Then 1  I saw in the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the front and back 2  and sealed with seven seals. 3  5:2 And I saw a powerful angel proclaiming in a loud voice: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?” 5:3 But 4  no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it. 5:4 So 5  I began weeping bitterly 6  because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5:5 Then 7  one of the elders said 8  to me, “Stop weeping! 9  Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; 10  thus he can open 11  the scroll and its seven seals.”

5:6 Then 12  I saw standing in the middle of the throne 13  and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. 14  He had 15  seven horns and seven eyes, which 16  are the seven 17  spirits of God 18  sent out into all the earth. 5:7 Then 19  he came and took the scroll 20  from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne, 5:8 and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders threw themselves to the ground 21  before the Lamb. Each 22  of them had a harp and golden bowls full of incense (which are the prayers of the saints). 23  5:9 They were singing a new song: 24 

“You are worthy to take the scroll

and to open its seals

because you were killed, 25 

and at the cost of your own blood 26  you have purchased 27  for God

persons 28  from every tribe, language, 29  people, and nation.

5:10 You have appointed 30  them 31  as a kingdom and priests 32  to serve 33  our God, and they will reign 34  on the earth.”

5:11 Then 35  I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their 36  number was ten thousand times ten thousand 37  – thousands times thousands – 5:12 all of whom 38  were singing 39  in a loud voice:

“Worthy is the lamb who was killed 40 

to receive power and wealth

and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and praise!”

5:13 Then 41  I heard every creature – in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea, and all that is in them – singing: 42 

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb

be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power 43  forever and ever!”

5:14 And the four living creatures were saying “Amen,” and the elders threw themselves to the ground 44  and worshiped.

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1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “written on the inside and the outside” (an idiom for having writing on both sides).

3 tn L&N 6.55 states, “From the immediate context of Re 5:1 it is not possible to determine whether the scroll in question had seven seals on the outside or whether the scroll was sealed at seven different points. However, since according to chapter six of Revelation the seals were broken one after another, it would appear as though the scroll had been sealed at seven different places as it had been rolled up.”

4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of no one being found worthy to open the scroll.

6 tn Grk “much.”

7 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

8 tn Grk “says” (a historical present).

9 tn The present imperative with μή (mh) is used here to command cessation of an action in progress (ExSyn 724 lists this verse as an example).

10 tn Or “has been victorious”; traditionally, “has overcome.”

11 tn The infinitive has been translated as an infinitive of result here.

12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

13 tn Perhaps, “in the middle of the throne area” (see L&N 83.10).

14 tn Or “slaughtered”; traditionally, “slain.” The phrase behind this translation is ὡς ἐσφαγμένον (Jw" ejsfagmenon). The particle ὡς is used in Greek generally for comparison, and in Revelation it is used often to describe the appearance of what the author saw. This phrase does not imply that the Lamb “appeared to have been killed” but in reality was not, because the wider context of the NT shows that in fact the Lamb, i.e., Jesus, was killed. See 13:3 for the only other occurrence of this phrase in the NT.

15 tn Grk “killed, having.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation by supplying the pronoun “he.”

16 sn The relative pronoun which is masculine, referring back to the eyes rather than to the horns.

17 tc There is good ms evidence for the inclusion of “seven” (ἑπτά, Jepta; Ì24 א 2053 2351 ÏK). There is equally good ms support for the omission of the term (A 1006 1611 ÏA pc). It may have been accidentally added due to its repeated presence in the immediately preceding phrases, or it may have been intentionally added to maintain the symmetry of the phrases or more likely to harmonize the phrase with 1:4; 3:1; 4:5. Or it may have been accidentally deleted by way of homoioteleuton (τὰ ἑπτά, ta Jepta). A decision is difficult in this instance. NA27 also does not find the problem easy to solve, placing the word in brackets to indicate doubts as to its authenticity.

18 sn See the note on the phrase the seven spirits of God in Rev 4:5.

19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

20 tn The words “the scroll” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

21 tn Grk “fell down.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב. has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion or humility, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”

22 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

23 sn This interpretive comment by the author forms a parenthesis in the narrative.

24 tn The redundant participle λέγοντες (legontes) has not been translated here.

25 tn Or “slaughtered”; traditionally, “slain.”

26 tn The preposition ἐν (en) is taken to indicate price here, like the Hebrew preposition ב (bet) does at times. BDAG 329 s.v. ἐν 5.b states, “The ἐν which takes the place of the gen. of price is also instrumental ἠγόρασας ἐν τῷ αἵματί σου Rv 5:9 (cp. 1 Ch 21:24 ἀγοράζω ἐν ἀργυρίῳ).”

27 tc The Greek text as it stands above (i.e., the reading τῷ θεῷ [tw qew] alone) is found in codex A. א 2050 2344 Ï sy add the term “us” (ἡμᾶς, Jhmas), either before or after τῷ θεῷ, as an attempt to clarify the object of “purchased” (ἠγόρασας, hgorasa"). A few mss (1 vgms) delete the reference to God altogether and simply replace it with “us” (ἡμᾶς). This too is an attempt to remove ambiguity in the phrase and provide an object for “purchased.” The shorter reading, supported by the best witness for Revelation, best accounts for the other readings.

28 tn The word “persons” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

29 tn Grk “and language,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

30 tn The verb ἐποίησας (epoihsas) is understood to mean “appointed” here. For an example of this use, see Mark 3:14.

31 tc The vast majority of witnesses have αὐτούς (autous, “them”) here, while the Textus Receptus reads ἡμᾶς (Jhmas, “us”) with insignificant support (pc gig vgcl sa Prim Bea). There is no question that the original text read αὐτούς here.

32 tn The reference to “kingdom and priests” may be a hendiadys: “priestly kingdom.”

33 tn The words “to serve” are not in the Greek text, but are implied by the word “priests.”

34 tc The textual problem here between the present tense βασιλεύουσιν (basileuousin, “they are reigning”; so A 1006 1611 ÏK pc) and the future βασιλεύσουσιν (basileusousin, “they will reign”; so א 1854 2053 ÏA pc lat co) is a difficult one. Both readings have excellent support. On the one hand, the present tense seems to be the harder reading in this context. On the other hand, codex A elsewhere mistakes the future for the present (20:6). Further, the lunar sigma in uncial script could have been overlooked by some scribes, resulting in the present tense. All things considered, there is a slight preference for the future.

35 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

36 tn Grk “elders, and the number of them was.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

37 tn Or “myriads of myriads.” Although μυριάς (murias) literally means “10,000,” the point of the combination here may simply be to indicate an incalculably huge number. See L&N 60.9.

38 tn The words “all of whom” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to indicate the resumption of the phrase “the voice of many angels” at the beginning of the verse.

39 tn Grk “saying.”

40 tn Or “slaughtered”; traditionally, “slain.”

41 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

42 tn Grk “saying.”

43 tn Or “dominion.”

44 tn Grk “fell down.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב. has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion or humility, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”



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