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Revelation 18:3

Context

18:3 For all the nations 1  have fallen 2  from

the wine of her immoral passion, 3 

and the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her,

and the merchants of the earth have gotten rich from the power of her sensual behavior.” 4 

Revelation 18:11-19

Context

18:11 Then 5  the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn for her because no one buys their cargo 6  any longer – 18:12 cargo such as gold, silver, 7  precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, 8  scarlet cloth, 9  all sorts of things made of citron wood, 10  all sorts of objects made of ivory, all sorts of things made of expensive wood, bronze, iron and marble, 18:13 cinnamon, spice, 11  incense, perfumed ointment, 12  frankincense, 13  wine, olive oil and costly flour, 14  wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and four-wheeled carriages, 15  slaves and human lives. 16 

18:14 (The ripe fruit 17  you greatly desired 18 

has gone from you,

and all your luxury 19  and splendor 20 

have gone from you –

they will never ever be found again!) 21 

18:15 The merchants who sold 22  these things, who got rich from her, will stand a long way off because they are afraid of her torment. They will weep 23  and mourn, 18:16 saying,

“Woe, woe, O great city –

dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet clothing, 24 

and adorned with gold, 25  precious stones, and pearls –

18:17 because in a single hour such great wealth has been destroyed!” 26 

And every ship’s captain, 27  and all who sail along the coast 28  – seamen, and all who 29  make their living from the sea, stood a long way off 18:18 and began to shout 30  when they saw the smoke from the fire that burned her up, 31  “Who is like the great city?” 18:19 And they threw dust on their heads and were shouting with weeping and mourning, 32 

“Woe, Woe, O great city –

in which all those who had ships on the sea got rich from her wealth –

because in a single hour she has been destroyed!” 33 

1 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “Gentiles” or “nations”).

2 tc ‡ Several mss (א A C 1006* 1611 1841 2030 ÏK), including the best witnesses, read “have fallen” (πεπτώκασιν or πέπτωκαν [peptwkasin or peptwkan]). The singular πέπτωκεν (peptwken), which is better grammatically with the neuter plural subject πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (panta ta eqnh, “all the nations”), is read by 1854 2062 pc; 2042 pc read πεπότικεν (pepotiken). A few mss (1006c 2329 pc latt syh) read “have drunk” (πέπωκαν/πεπώκασιν, pepwkan/pepwkasin); the singular πέπωκεν (pepwken) is read by P 051 1 2053* al. The more difficult reading and that which has the best ms support is “have fallen.” That it is not too difficult is evidenced by the fact that the great majority of Byzantine minuscules, which have a tendency to smooth out problems, left it stand as is. Nonetheless, it is somewhat difficult (TCGNT 683 says that this reading is “scarcely suitable in the context”), and for that reason certain mss seem to have changed it to “have drunk” to agree with the idea of “wine” (οἴνου, oinou). One can understand how this could happen: A scribe coming to the text and seeing the term “wine” expects a verb of drinking. When he sees “have fallen” and knows that in Greek the verbs “have fallen” and “have drunk” are spelled similarly, he concludes that there has been a slip of the pen in the ms he is using, which he then seeks to correct back to the “have drunk” reading. This appears to be more reasonable than to conclude that three early uncials (i.e., א A C) as well as a great number of other witnesses all felt the need to change “have drunk” (πέπωκαν) to “have fallen” (πέπτωκαν), even if “fallen” occurs in the immediate context (“fallen, fallen, [ἔπεσεν ἔπεσεν, epesen epesen] Babylon the great” in the preceding verse). The preferred reading, on both external and internal grounds, is “have fallen,” and thus the Seer intends to focus on the effects of wine, namely, a drunken stupor.

3 tn See the notes on the words “passion” in Rev 14:8 and “wrath” in 16:19.

4 tn According to BDAG 949 s.v. στρῆνος and στρηνιάω, these terms can refer either to luxury or sensuality. In the context of Rev 18, however (as L&N 88.254 indicate) the stress is on gratification of the senses by sexual immorality, so that meaning was emphasized in the translation here.

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

6 tn On γόμος (gomos) BDAG 205 s.v. states, “load, freightcargo of a ship…Ac 21:3. W. gen. of the owner Rv 18:11. W. gen. of content…γ. χρυσοῦ a cargo of gold vs. 12.”

7 tn Grk “and silver,” but καί (kai) has not been translated before most of these terms since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more

8 tn On this term BDAG 924-25 s.v. σιρικός states, “per. to silk from Ser, subst. τὸ σιρικόν silk cloth or garments w. other costly materials Rv 18:12.”

9 tn On the translation of κόκκινον (kokkinon) as “scarlet cloth” see L&N 6.170.

10 tn On the phrase πᾶν ξύλον θύϊνον (pan xulon quinon) L&N 3.63 states, “pertaining to being made or consisting of citron wood (that is, from a citron tree) – ‘of citron wood.’ καὶ πᾶν ξύλον θύϊνον καὶ πᾶν σκεῦος ἐλεφάντινον ‘and all kinds of things made of citron wood and all kinds of objects made of ivory’ Re 18:12. The citron tree belongs to the citrus family of plants, and it produces a pale yellow fruit somewhat larger than a lemon, the rind of which is often candied. In Re 18:12, however, the focus is upon the fine quality of the wood.”

11 tn On the term ἄμωμον (amwmon) L&N 5.23 states, “a generic term for any kind of spice, though often a specific reference to amomum, an Indian type of spice – ‘spice, amomum.’ κιννάμωμον καὶ ἄμωμον καὶ θυμιάματα ‘cinnamon and spice and incense’ Re 18:13. In most translations ἄμωμον is interpreted as spice in general.”

12 tn Or “myrrh,” a strong aromatic ointment often used to prepare a body for burial (L&N 6.205).

13 tn The Greek term λίβανος (libano") refers to the aromatic resin of a certain type of tree (L&N 6.212).

14 tn On σεμίδαλις (semidali") L&N 5.10 states, “a fine grade of wheat flour – ‘fine flour.’ οἶνον καὶ ἔλαιον καὶ σεμίδαλιν καὶ σῖτον ‘wine and oil and fine flour and wheat’ Re 18:13. In some languages ‘fine flour’ may be best expressed as ‘expensive flour.’ Such a rendering fits well the context of Re 18:13.”

15 tn Or “and wagons.” On the term ῥέδη (rJedh) see L&N 6.53: “a four-wheeled carriage or wagon used for travel or the transportation of loads – ‘carriage, wagon.’ The term ῥέδη occurs only in Re 18:13 in a list of products bought and sold by merchants.”

16 tn Grk “and bodies and souls of men.” This could be understood (1) as a hendiadys (two things mentioned = one thing meant), referring only to slave trade; (2) it could be referring to two somewhat different concepts: slavery (bodies) and the cheapness of human life – some of the items earlier in the list of merchandise were to be obtained only at great cost of human life; or (3) a somewhat related idea, that the trade is in not just physical bodies (slavery) but human souls (people whose lives are destroyed through this trade).

17 tn On ὀπώρα (opwra) L&N 3.34 states, “ἡ ὀπώρα σου τῆς ἐπιθυμίας τῆς ψυχῆς ‘the ripe fruit for which you longed’ Re 18:14. In this one occurrence of ὀπώρα in the NT, ‘ripe fruit’ is to be understood in a figurative sense of ‘good things.’”

18 tn Grk “you desired in your soul.”

19 tn On λιπαρός (liparo") BDAG 597 s.v. states, “luxury Rv 18:14.”

20 tn On τὰ λαμπρά (ta lampra) BDAG 585 s.v. λαμπρός 4 states, “splendor…in which a rich man takes delight (cp. Jos., Ant. 12, 220 δωρεὰς δοὺς λαμπράς) Rv 18:14.”

21 tn Verse 14 is set in parentheses because in it the city, Babylon, is addressed directly in second person.

sn This verse forms a parenthetical aside in the narrative.

22 tn Grk “the merchants [sellers] of these things.”

23 tn Grk “her torment, weeping.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started in the translation by supplying the words “They will” here.

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

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

26 tn On ἠρημώθη (hrhmwqh) L&N 20.41 states, “to suffer destruction, with the implication of being deserted and abandoned – ‘to be destroyed, to suffer destruction, to suffer desolation.’ ἐρημόομαι: μιᾷ ὥρᾳ ἠρημώθη ὁ τοσοῦτος πλοῦτος ‘such great wealth has been destroyed within a single hour’ Re 18:17.”

27 tn On κυβερνήτης (kubernhth") BDAG 574 s.v. 1 states, “one who is responsible for the management of a ship, shipmaster, lit. Rv 18:17.”

28 tn Or perhaps, “everyone who sails as a passenger.” On πλέων (plewn) BDAG 825 s.v. πλέω states, “πᾶς ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον πλέων everyone who sails to a place = seafarer, sea travelerRv 18:17. The vv.ll.…have led to various interpretations. Some render: everyone who sails along the coast…See EbNestle, Einführung in das Griech. NT 1909, 182; AFridrichsen, K. Hum. Vetensk.-Samf. i Upps. Årsb. ’43, 31 note ὁ ἐπίτοπον πλέων=one who sails occasionally, a passenger. – S. also IHeikel, StKr 106, ’34/’35, 317).”

29 tn Grk “and as many as.”

30 tn Here the imperfect ἔκραζον (ekrazon) has been translated ingressively.

31 tn Grk “from the burning of her, saying.” For the translation “the smoke from the fire that burned her up,” see L&N 14.63. Here the participle λέγοντες (legontes, “saying”) has not been translated because it is redundant in contemporary English.

32 tn Grk “with weeping and mourning, saying.” Here the participle λέγοντες (legontes) has not been translated because it is redundant in contemporary English.

33 tn On ἡρημώθη (Jhrhmwqh) L&N 20.41 states, “to suffer destruction, with the implication of being deserted and abandoned – ‘to be destroyed, to suffer destruction, to suffer desolation.’ ἐρημόομαι: μιᾷ ὥρᾳ ἠρημώθη ὁ τοσοῦτος πλοῦτος ‘such great wealth has been destroyed within a single hour’ Re 18:17.”



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