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Revelation 18:3-5

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 

18:4 Then 5  I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so you will not take part in her sins and so you will not receive her plagues, 18:5 because her sins have piled 6  up all the way to heaven 7  and God has remembered 8  her crimes. 9 

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 within the narrative.

6 tn On ἐκολλήθησαν (ekollhqhsan) BDAG 556 s.v. κολλάω 2.a.β states, “fig. cling to = come in close contact with (cp. Ps 21:16; 43:26 ἐκολλήθη εἰς γῆν ἡ γαστὴρ ἡμῶν. The act.=‘bring into contact’ PGM 5, 457 κολλήσας τ. λίθον τῷ ὠτίῳ) ἐκολλήθησαν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι ἄχρι τ. οὐρανοῦ the sins have touched the heaven = reached the sky (two exprs. are telescoped) Rv 18:5.”

7 tn Or “up to the sky” (the same Greek word means both “heaven” and “sky”).

8 tn That is, remembered her sins to execute judgment on them.

9 tn Or “her sins.”



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