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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Revelation 16



Other Authors
Verse 1

The vials

Add seven.

Verse 2

And the first went

Each angel, as his turn comes, with draws ( ὑπάγετε , see on John 6:21; see on John 8:21) from the heavenly scene.

There fell ( ἐγένετο )

Lit., there came to pass. Rev., it became. Elliott, very aptly, there broke out.

Noisome and grievous ( κακὸν καὶ πονηρὸν )

Similarly the two cognate nouns κακία and πονρία maliceand wickedness occur together in 1 Corinthians 5:8. Πονηρός emphasizes the activity of evil. See on Luke 3:19.

Sore ( ἕλκος )

See on Luke 16:20. Compare the sixth Egyptian plague, Exodus 9:8-12, where the Septuagint uses this word ἕλκος boilAlso of the boil or scab of leprosy, Leviticus 13:18; king Hezekiah's boil, 2 Kings 20:7; the botch of Egypt, Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:35. In Job 2:7(Sept.) the boils are described as here by πονηρός sorei0.

Verse 3

It became ( ἐγένετο )

Or there came.


Compare Exodus 7:19.

As of a dead man

Thick, corrupt, and noisome.

Living soul ( ψυχὴ ζῶσα )

The best texts read ψυχὴ ζωῆς soulof life.

Verse 4

The third angel

Omit angel.

They became ( ἐγένετο )

There is no necessity for rendering the singular verb in the plural. We may say either it became or there came.

Verse 5

The angel of the waters

Set over the waters as other angels over the winds (Revelation 7:1) and over the fire (Revelation 14:18).

O Lord


And shalt be

Following the reading ὁ ἐσόμενος . Read ὁ ὅσιος ThouHoly One.

Thou didst thus judge ( παῦτα ἔκρινας )

Lit., Thou didst judge these things.

Verse 6

For they are worthy

Omit for.

Verse 7

Another out of the altar

Omit another out of, and read, as Rev., I heard the altar. The altar personified. Compare Revelation 6:9, where the souls of the martyrs are seen under the altar and cry how long.


Add the article: the Almighty.

Verse 8

The fourth angel

Omit angel.

Power was given ( ἐδόθη )

Rev., it was given.

With fire ( ἐν πυρί )

Lit., “in fire.” The element in which the scorching takes place.

Verse 9

Repent to give Him glory

Glorify Him by repentance.

His kingdom was darkened

Compare Exodus 10:21, Exodus 10:22.

They gnawed ( ἐμασσῶντο )

Only here in the New Testament.

For pain ( ἐκ τοῦ πόνου )

Strictly, from their pain. Their, the force of the article τοῦ .

Verse 12


See on Revelation 9:14.

Of the east ( ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου )

Lit., as Rev., from the sunrising. See on Matthew 2:2; and see on dayspring, Luke 1:78.

Verse 13


Possibly with reference to Exodus 8:1-14.

Verse 14

Of the earth and of the whole world

Omit of the earth and.

World ( οἰκουμέης )

See on Luke 2:1.

The battle ( πόλεμον )

Rev., more literally, war. Battle is μάχη .

That great day ( ἐκείνης )

Omit. Read, as Rev., “the great day.”

Verse 15

Behold - shame

These words are parenthetical.

As a thief

Compare Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10.

Watcheth ( γρηρορῶν )

See on Mark 13:35; see on 1 Peter 5:8.

Keepeth his garments

“During the night the captain of the Temple made his rounds. On his approach the guards had to rise and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep when on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire. The confession of one of the Rabbins is on record that, on a certain occasion, his own maternal uncle had actually undergone the punishment of having his clothes set on fire by the captain of the Temple” (Edersheim, “The Temple,” etc.).

Shame ( ἀσχημοσύνην )

Only here and Romans 1:27. From ἀ notand σχῆμα fashionDeformity, unseemliness; nearly answering to the phrase not in good form.

Verse 16


The proper Greek form Ἃρ Μαγεδών . The word is compounded of the Hebrew Har mountain, and Megiddon or Megiddothe mountain of Megiddo. On Megiddo standing alone see Judges 1:27; 1 Kings 4:12; 1 Kings 9:15; 2 Kings 9:27. See also Judges 5:19; Zechariah 12:11; 2 Chronicles 35:22; 2 Kings 23:30. “Bounded as it is by the hills of Palestine on both north and south, it would naturally become the arena of war between the lowlanders who trusted in their chariots, and the Israelite highlanders of the neighboring heights. To this cause mainly it owes its celebrity, as the battle-field of the world, which has, through its adoption into the language of Revelation, passed into an universal proverb. If that mysterious book proceeded from the hand of a Galilean fisherman, it is the more easy to understand why, with the scene of those many battles constantly before him, he should have drawn the figurative name of the final conflict between the hosts of good and evil, from the 'place which is called in the Hebrew tongue Harmagedon'” (Stanley, “Sinai and Palestine”).

Megiddo was in the plain of Esdraelon, “which has been a chosen place for encampment in every contest carried on in Palestine from the days of Nabuchodonozor king of Assyria, unto the disastrous march of Napoleon Buonaparte from Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Christian crusaders, and anti Christian Frenchmen; Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs, warriors of every nation that is under heaven, have pitched their tents on the plain of Esdraelon, and have beheld the banners of their nation wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon” (“Clarke's Travels,” cit. by Lee). See Thomson's “Land and Book” (Central Palestine and Phoenicia), p. 208 sqq.; and Stanley, “Sinai and Palestine,” ch. ix.

Two great slaughters at Megiddo are mentioned in the Old Testament; the first celebrated in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:19), and the second, that in which king Josiah fell (2 Kings 23:29). Both these may have been present to the seer's mind; but the allusion is not to any particular place or event. “The word, like Euphrates, is the expression of an idea; the idea that swift and overwhelming destruction shall overtake all who gather themselves together against the Lord” (Milligan).

Verse 17

Temple of heaven

Omit of heaven.

Verse 21


See Exodus 9:18.

Every stone about the weight of a talent ( ὡς ταλαντίαια )

The adjective, meaning of a talent's weight, agrees with hail; hail of a talent's weight; i.e., having each stone of that weight. Every stone is therefore explanatory, and not in the text. Hailstones are a symbol of divine wrath. See Isaiah 30:30; Ezekiel 13:11. Compare Joshua 10:11.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 16:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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