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Revelation 13:3-10

Context
13:3 One of the beast’s 1  heads appeared to have been killed, 2  but the lethal wound had been healed. 3  And the whole world followed 4  the beast in amazement; 13:4 they worshiped the dragon because he had given ruling authority 5  to the beast, and they worshiped the beast too, saying: “Who is like the beast?” and “Who is able to make war against him?” 6  13:5 The beast 7  was given a mouth speaking proud words 8  and blasphemies, and he was permitted 9  to exercise ruling authority 10  for forty-two months. 13:6 So 11  the beast 12  opened his mouth to blaspheme against God – to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place, 13  that is, those who dwell in heaven. 13:7 The beast 14  was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. 15  He was given ruling authority 16  over every tribe, people, 17  language, and nation, 13:8 and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, 18  everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world 19  in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed. 20  13:9 If anyone has an ear, he had better listen!

13:10 If anyone is meant for captivity,

into captivity he will go.

If anyone is to be killed by the sword, 21 

then by the sword he must be killed.

This 22  requires steadfast endurance 23  and faith from the saints.

1 tn Grk “one of its heads”; the referent (the beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

2 tn Grk “killed to death,” an expression emphatic in its redundancy. 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. In this instance, the appearance of the beast’s head did not match reality, because the next phrase shows that in fact it did not die. This text does not affirm that the beast died and was resurrected, but some draw this conclusion because of the only other use of the phrase, which refers to Jesus in 5:6.

3 tn The phrase τοῦ θανάτου (tou qanatou) can be translated as an attributive genitive (“deathly wound”) or an objective genitive (the wound which caused death) and the final αὐτοῦ (autou) is either possessive or reference/respect.

4 tn On the phrase “the whole world followed the beast in amazement,” BDAG 445 s.v. θαυμάζω 2 states, “wonder, be amazedRv 17:8. In pregnant constr. ἐθαυμάσθη ὅλη ἡ γῆ ὀπίσω τ. θηρίου the whole world followed the beast, full of wonder 13:3 (here wonder becomes worship: cp. Ael. Aristid. 13 p. 290 D.; 39 p. 747 of Dionysus and Heracles, οἳ ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν ἐθαυμάσθησαν. Sir 7:29; Jos., Ant. 3, 65. – The act. is also found in this sense: Cebes 2, 3 θ. τινά = ‘admire’ or ‘venerate’ someone; Epict. 1, 17, 19 θ. τὸν θεόν).”

5 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.

6 tn On the use of the masculine pronoun to refer to the beast, see the note on the word “It” in 13:1.

7 tn Grk “and there was given to him.” Here the passive construction has been simplified, the referent (the beast) has been specified for clarity, and καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

8 tn For the translation “proud words” (Grk “great things” or “important things”) see BDAG 624 s.v. μέγας 4.b.

9 tn Grk “to it was granted.”

10 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the permission granted to the beast.

12 tn Grk “he” (or “it”); the referent (the beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 tc The reading “and his dwelling place” does not occur in codex C, but its omission is probably due to scribal oversight since the phrase has the same ending as the phrase before it, i.e., they both end in “his” (αὐτοῦ, autou). This is similar to the mistake this scribe made in 12:14 with the omission of the reading “and half a time” (καὶ ἥμισυ καιροῦ, kai {hmisu kairou).

14 tn Grk “and it was given to him to go to war.” Here the passive construction has been simplified, the referent (the beast) has been specified for clarity, and καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

15 tc Many mss omit the phrase “it was given to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Ì47 A C 2053 ÏA sa). It is, however, found in Ì115vid א 051 1006 (1611) 1841 (1854) 2329 2344 2351 (ÏK) lat syph,(h) bo. Although the ms evidence is somewhat in favor of the shorter reading, the support of Ì115 (a recently-discovered ms) for the longer reading balances things out. Normally, the shorter reading should be given preference. However, in an instance in which homoioteleuton could play a role, caution must be exercised. In this passage, accidental omission is quite likely. That this could have happened seems apparent from the two occurrences of the identical phrase “and it was given to him” (καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ, kai edoqh autw) in v. 7. The scribe’s eye skipped over the first καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ and went to the second, hence creating an accidental omission of eleven words.

16 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.

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

18 tn Grk “it”; the referent (the beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn The prepositional phrase “since the foundation of the world” is traditionally translated as a modifier of the immediately preceding phrase in the Greek text, “the Lamb who was killed” (so also G. B. Caird, Revelation [HNTC], 168), but it is more likely that the phrase “since the foundation of the world” modifies the verb “written” (as translated above). Confirmation of this can be found in Rev 17:8 where the phrase “written in the book of life since the foundation of the world” occurs with no ambiguity.

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

21 tc Many mss (C 051* 2351 ÏA pc) read “if anyone will kill with the sword, it is necessary for him to be killed with the sword” (εἴ τις ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτενεῖ, δεῖ αὐτὸν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι). Other mss (א 1006 1611* 1854 al) are similar except that they read a present tense “kills” (ἀποκτείνει, apokteinei) in this sentence. Both of these variants may be regarded as essentially saying the same thing. On the other hand, codex A reads “if anyone is to be killed by the sword, he is to be killed by the sword” (εἴ τις ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι). Thus the first two variants convey the idea of retribution, while the last variant, supported by codex A, does not. (There are actually a dozen variants here, evidence that scribes found the original text quite difficult. Only the most important variants are discussed in this note.) The first two variants seem to be in line with Jesus’ comments in Matt 26:52: “everyone who takes up the sword will die by the sword.” The last variant, however, seems to be taking up an idea found in Jer 15:2: “Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.” Though G. B. Caird, Revelation (HNTC), 169-70, gives four arguments in favor of the first reading (i.e., “whoever kills with the sword must with the sword be killed”), the arguments he puts forward can be read equally as well to support the latter alternative. In the end, the reading in codex A seems to be original. The fact that this sentence seems to be in parallel with 10a (which simply focuses on God’s will and suffering passively and is therefore akin to the reading in codex A), and that it most likely gave rise to the others as the most difficult reading, argues for its authenticity.

22 tn On ὧδε (Jwde) here, BDAG 1101 s.v. 2 states: “a ref. to a present event, object, or circumstance, in this case, at this point, on this occasion, under these circumstancesin this case moreover 1 Cor 4:2. ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίνRv 13:18; cf. 17:9. ὧδέ ἐστιν ἡ ὑπομονή…13:10; 14:12.”

23 tn Or “perseverance.”



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