Revelation 18:3
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) For all nations have drunk . . .—Better, Because by the wrath of her fornication (comp. Revelation 14:8, and Note there) all the nations have drunk (or, according to another reading, have fallen; the readings are akin: the drinking of it leads to their degradation and fall), and the kings of the earth committed (not “have committed”) fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth waxed rich out of the strength of her luxury. She has been an enemy to mankind viewed in three great aspects: nations, kings, and merchants. She has brought delirium upon nations; she has reduced kings; she has bribed merchants: her sins are strong sins; with both hands earnestly has she sinned.

18:1-8 The downfal and destruction of the mystical Babylon are determined in the counsels of God. Another angel comes from heaven. This seems to be Christ himself, coming to destroy his enemies, and to shed abroad the light of his gospel through all nations. The wickedness of this Babylon was very great; she had forsaken the true God, and set up idols, and had drawn all sorts of men into spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury kept them in her interest. The spiritual merchandise, by which multitudes have wickedly lived in wealth, by the sins and follies of mankind, seems principally intended. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of this Babylon, but assist in her destruction. God may have a people even in Babylon. But God's people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually, while those that partake with wicked men in their sins, must receive of their plagues.For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication - See the notes on Revelation 14:8. This is given as a reason why this utter ruin had come upon her. She had beguiled and corrupted the nations of the earth, leading them into estrangement from God, and into pollution and sin. See the notes on Revelation 9:20-21.

And the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her - Spiritual adultery; that is, she has been the means of seducing them from God and leading them into sinful practices.

And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies - The word rendered "abundance" here, means commonly "power." It might here denote influence, though it may also mean number, quantity, wealth. Compare Revelation 3:8, where the same word is used. The word rendered "delicacies" - στρῆνους strēnous - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means rudeness, insolence, pride; and hence "revel, riot, luxury." It may be rendered here properly as "luxury," or "proud voluptuousness"; and the reference is to such luxuries as are found commonly in a great, a frivolous, and a splendid city. These, of course, give rise to much traffic, and furnish employment to many merchants and sailors, who thus procure a livelihood, or become wealthy as the result of such traffic. Babylon - or papal Rome - is here represented under the image of such a luxurious city; and of course, when she falls, they who have thus been dependent on her, and who have been enriched by her, have occasion for mourning and lamentation. It is not necessary to expect to find a literal fulfillment of this, for it is emblematic and symbolical. The image of a great, rich, splendid, proud and luxurious city having been employed to denote that anti-Christian power, all that is said in this chapter follows, of course, on its fall. The general idea is, that she was doomed to utter desolation, and that all who were connected with her, far and near, would be involved in her ruin.

3. drunk—Re 14:8, from which perhaps "the wine" may have been interpolated. They have drunk of her fornication, the consequence of which will be wrath to themselves. But A, B, and C read, "(owing to the wrath of her fornication all nations) have fallen." Vulgate and most versions read as English Version, which may be the right reading though not supported by the oldest manuscripts. Babylon, the whore, is destroyed before the beast slays the two witnesses (Re 11:7), and then the beast himself is destroyed.

the wine—so B, Syriac, and Coptic. But A, C, and Vulgate omit.

abundance—literally, "power."

delicacies—Greek, "luxury." See on [2732]1Ti 5:11, where the Greek verb "wax wanton" is akin to the noun here. Translate, "wanton luxury." The reference is not to earthly merchandise, but to spiritual wares, indulgences, idolatries, superstitions, worldly compromises, wherewith the harlot, that is, the apostate Church, has made merchandise of men. This applies especially to Rome; but the Greek, and even in a less degree Protestant churches, are not guiltless. However, the principle of evangelical Protestantism is pure, but the principle of Rome and the Greek church is not so.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; that is, her fornications which have brought this wrath upon her.

And the kings of the earth have committed, &c.; she hath not only herself committed idolatry, but allured others to it, teaching them to break the commandments of God, and hath influenced princes to establish, and propagate, and to uphold, and maintain it; and all sorts of men have been bewitched by her, growing rich by her abundance, and being drenched in her luxury. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,.... That is, all the nations of the Roman empire, the European nations, otherwise the Pagan and Mahometan nations have not; but these have, being made to drink by her, and made drunk therewith, that is, with her idolatries; See Gill on Revelation 14:8.

And the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; joined with her in her idolatrous worship and practices, and encouraged the same, and obliged their subjects to them in their dominions; See Gill on Revelation 17:2.

And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies; or "luxury"; which is not to be understood in a literal sense; though it is true that many merchants, in all ages, have enriched themselves by sending their commodities to Rome, where, through the vast consumption and luxuriousness of the place, they have bore a good price; but this is to be interpreted of spiritual merchants; these are such who do not merchandise by sea, but are land merchants, the merchants of the earth, and are said to be the great men of the earth, Revelation 18:23 such as are equal to princes, lords, and nobles; such are the cardinals, archbishops, and bishops; though the inferior clergy of the Romish church, who are under these, may be included: to which may be added, that one part of their wares is said to be the souls of men, Revelation 18:13 which plainly shows what sort of merchants these are; they are such who make merchandise of men, and pretend to sell them heaven, and the salvation of their souls; these are they that deal in pardons and indulgences, which they sell to ignorant people, and for a sum of money say Mass to fetch souls out of purgatory: all things have been saleable at Rome, crucifixes, priests, altars, temples, prayers, heaven, Christ, yea, God himself, as the poet Mantuan expresses it; and because of these idolatries, and wicked practices, Rome will be at last destroyed.

{3} And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

(3) The prediction of her ruin, containing both the fall of Babylon, in this verse, and the cause of it uttered by way of allegory concerning her spiritual and carnal wickedness, that is, her most great impiety and injustice, in Re 18:3. Her fall is first declared by the angel, and then the greatness of it is shown here, by the events when he says it shall be the seat and habitation of devils, of wild beasts, and of cursed souls, as in Isa 13:21 and often elsewhere.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the wine of] Should perhaps be omitted: it may have come in from the parallel passage, Revelation 14:8.

the kings of the earth &c.] Revelation 17:2.

the merchants of the earth] Merchants are alluded to as frequenting the literal Babylon in Isaiah 47:15; but the prominence given to them suggests the analogy, not of Babylon but of Tyre: see on Revelation 17:1. Rome was in St John’s day a wealthy and luxurious city, not a commercial city primarily, in the same sense as ancient Tyre and modern London, but a city with an immense commerce, the commerce really belonging to the city, though the port of Ostia was considerably further from the Capitol than the Docks are from Westminster. What Rome was then it may, and probably will, be again: and there is thus no need to look elsewhere than at Rome for the literal fulfilment of St John’s description, though some have thought it inappropriate to the geographical position of the city.

abundance of her delicacies] More literally, power of her luxury.Verse 3. - For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. "The wine" is omitted in A, C, but it is inserted in א, B, and retained in the Revised Version. "The wrath" is omitted (cf. the expression in Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 17:2). And the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. (On the figure employed, as well as the identical language, see Revelation 17:2.) And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. The "abundance" (Greek, δύναμις, which Vitringa renders by copia, referring to Job 31:25; Ezekiel 28:4, LXX.). "Delicacies." (Greek, στρῆνος, occurs in the New Testament only here, and as a verb in vers. 7, 9, and (compounded) in 1 Timothy 5:11. It signifies overweening pride and insolence and wantonness, arising from superfluity of wealth and gifts. Cf. the warning to the Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:17). Have drunk (πέπωκεν or πέπωκαν)

Some, however, read πέπτωκαν have fallen. So Rev.

Of the wine (ἐκ τοῦ οἴνου)

Thus if we read have drunk. If we adopt have fallen, ἐκ is instrumental, by. So Rev.

Of the wrath

The wine of fornication has turned to wrath against herself.

Merchants (ἔμποροι)

The word originally means one on a journey by sea or land, especially for traffic. Hence a merchant as distinguished from κάπηλος a retailer or huckster.

The abundance of her delicacies (τῆς δυνάμεως τοῦ στρήνους αὐτῆς)

Lit., as Rev., the power of her luxury. Στρῆνος is akin to στερεός firm, hard, stubborn (see on steadfast, 1 Peter 5:9). Hence over-strength, luxury, wantonness. Only here in the New Testament. The kindred verb στρηνιάω to live deliciously occurs Revelation 18:7, Revelation 18:9.

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