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Revelation 17:3-5

Context
17:3 So 1  he carried me away in the Spirit 2  to a wilderness, 3  and there 4  I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 17:4 Now 5  the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet clothing, 6  and adorned with gold, 7  precious stones, and pearls. She held 8  in her hand a golden cup filled with detestable things and unclean things from her sexual immorality. 9  17:5 On 10  her forehead was written a name, a mystery: 11  “Babylon the Great, the Mother of prostitutes and of the detestable things of the earth.”

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the angel’s invitation to witness the fate of the prostitute.

2 tn Or “in the spirit.” “Spirit” could refer either to the Holy Spirit or the human spirit, but in either case John was in “a state of spiritual exaltation best described as a trance” (R. H. Mounce, Revelation [NICNT], 75).

3 tn Or “desert.”

4 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.

5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the detailed description of the woman, which is somewhat parenthetical in nature.

6 tn The word “clothing” is supplied to clarify that the words “purple” and “scarlet” refer to cloth or garments rather than colors.

7 tn Grk “gilded with gold” (an instance of semantic reinforcement, see L&N 49.29).

8 tn Grk “pearls, having in her hand.” Due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

9 tc Several mss (including 1611 1854 2053 ÏK pc) read “sexual immorality on/of the earth” (πορνείας τῆς γῆς, porneia" th" gh") instead of “her sexual immorality.” Other mss (א syh** [co]) read “her sexual immorality and the earth’s” (πορνείας αὐτῆς καὶ τῆς γῆς, porneia" aujth" kai th" gh"). The translation is a rendering of πορνείας αὐτῆς, found in {A 1006 2344 al}. It seems that the first reading “sexuality immorality on/of the earth” was a scribal mistake in which letters may have been confused (auths would have been read as thsghs), or was perhaps influenced by the presence of “of the world” (τῆς γῆς) at the end of v. 5. The original wording seems to be “her sexual immorality”; codex א has conflated the two readings.

10 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

11 tn Some translations consider the word μυστήριον (musthrion, “mystery”) a part of the name written (“Mystery Babylon the Great,” so KJV, NIV), but the gender of both ὄνομα (onoma, “name”) and μυστήριον are neuter, while the gender of “Babylon” is feminine. This strongly suggests that μυστήριον should be understood as an appositive to ὄνομα (“a name, i.e., a mystery”).



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