Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Revelation 13:18


This calls for wisdom: 1  Let the one who has insight calculate the beast’s number, for it is man’s number, 2  and his number is 666. 3 


De 3:11; Ps 107:43; Da 12:10; Ho 14:9; Mr 13:14; Ro 3:5; Re 1:3; Re 15:2; Re 17:9; Re 21:17

NET © Notes

tn Grk “Here is wisdom.”

tn Grk “it is man’s number.” ExSyn 254 states “if ἀνθρώπου is generic, then the sense is, ‘It is [the] number of humankind.’ It is significant that this construction fits Apollonius’ Canon (i.e., both the head noun and the genitive are anarthrous), suggesting that if one of these nouns is definite, then the other is, too. Grammatically, those who contend that the sense is ‘it is [the] number of a man’ have the burden of proof on them (for they treat the head noun, ἀριθμός, as definite and the genitive, ἀνθρώπου, as indefinite – the rarest of all possibilities). In light of Johannine usage, we might also add Rev 16:18, where the Seer clearly uses the anarthrous ἄνθρωπος in a generic sense, meaning ‘humankind.’ The implications of this grammatical possibility, exegetically speaking, are simply that the number ‘666’ is the number that represents humankind. Of course, an individual is in view, but his number may be the number representing all of humankind. Thus the Seer might be suggesting here that the antichrist, who is the best representative of humanity without Christ (and the best counterfeit of a perfect man that his master, that old serpent, could muster), is still less than perfection (which would have been represented by the number seven).” See G. K. Beale, Revelation, [NIGTC], 723-24, who argues for the “generic” understanding of the noun; for an indefinite translation, see the ASV and ESV which both translate the clause as “it is the number of a man.”

sn The translation man’s number suggests that the beast’s number is symbolic of humanity in general, while the translation a man’s number suggests that it represents an individual.

tc A few mss (Ì115 C, along with a few mss known to Irenaeus {and two minuscule mss, 5 and 11, no longer extant}), read 616 here, and several other witnesses have other variations. Irenaeus’ mention of mss that have 616 is balanced by his rejection of such witnesses in this case. As intriguing as the reading 616 is (since the conversion of Nero Caesar’s name in Latin by way of gematria would come out to 616), it must remain suspect because such a reading seems motivated in that it conforms more neatly to Nero’s gematria.

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