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τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τῆς μεγάλης

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  • τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τῆς μεγάλης

    This is a non-debate, non-cabala, non-esoterica, and non-gematria (except as occurs in the text of Rv 13:18) thread.

    I specifically request that Geert van den Bos not post in this thread or in any other thread that I may start.

    I propose to confine myself to factual information; however, if anyone wishes to take exception to what I may present herein, please do so in a debate thread started for that purpose.

    Revelation 17:1b NA27: δεῦρο, δείξω σοι τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τῆς μεγάλης (ESV: Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated upon many waters)

    Via Accordance, from Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (The Anchor Bible, 1975), by J. Massyngberde Ford (maroon emphasis added by John Reece):
    Commentators have observed that the last of the Egyptian plagues, the death of the firstborn, does not feature in our apocalypse. Yet the author has followed carefully, albeit with ingenuity, the Levitical and Deuteronomic warnings, even to the point of portraying three seven–fold punishments as in Lev 26:18, 21, 24, and taking very literally the text of Deut 28:60–61, that if the Israelites do not obey “the words of this law” (cf. Rev 17:17b, “the words of God”), then Yahweh would turn all the plagues of Egypt back on them, and add even those not mentioned in the book of the law. In the light of this, has the author omitted the last plague or has he concealed it under his powerful imagery by bringing together inspiration from the Pentateuch and the prophetical writings?

    In Lev 26 there are four references to seven–fold punishment (vss. 18, 21, 24, 27). The author appears to have modeled the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls upon the first three and one may suggest that the fall of the harlot comprises the last: it is a seven–fold (in the metaphorical sense of “complete,” “perfect”) punishment inflicted with “fury” (vs. 28; cf. Rev 16:1). In Revelation the fury is brought to a climax in chs. 17, 18, 19. Seven figures suffer loss: the harlot (18:1–8), the kings of the earth (18:9–10), the merchants (18:11–17a), the sailors (18:17b–19), the seven or nine classes of men (19:17–18), the first and second beasts (19:19–20), and Satan (20:1–3, 7–10). The Levitical text (26:27–33) suggests that one should look for cannibalism (cf. Rev 17:16, “and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire” and Rev 19:17–21), for desolation (cf. Rev 17:16b, 18:17), and for a devastation of the land which will astonish the enemies (cf. Rev 18:10, the kings of the earth in fear of the harlot’s torment; 18:15, the merchants; 18:18, the sailors crying out). These are creatively displayed in the remaining chapters.

    The author has blended the prophetic theme of “harlot” (cf. Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) with the Levitical text. A study of the metaphorical use of “harlot” in the OT shows a marked tendency to depict faithless Israel thus. There are five principal texts which refer to Jerusalem or Israel as a harlot and only two which refer to non-Israelite cities with the same image.

    Hosea 2:5, 3:3, 4:15 speak of the harlotry of Israel; there is no suggestion that her Canaanite neighbors are so designated. The whole book of Hosea seeks to bring the adulteress back to her true husband, Yahweh. In Isaiah 1:4 the prophet addresses Israel as “a people laden with iniquity” (RSV) and in 1:9 calls her by the names of Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. Rev 8). Then in 1:21 he exclaims: “how the faithful city has become a harlot, she that was full of injustice” (RSV). In Jer 2:20 (cf. 3:1, 6, 8–10) once again Israel is called a harlot and in 5:7 Jerusalem is accused of harlotry and adultery. Micah 1:7 makes the same complaint against Samaria and Jerusalem. This theme is resumed in Ezek 23, where Jerusalem is seen as the worse of the two. In Ezek 23:31–34 the metaphor of the cup occurs; cf. Rev 17:4.

    The text that influences the author of Revelation most is Ezek 16, which is a prophetical attack on Jerusalem. The prophet finds no kind word for her. His description is as graphic as in Rev 17–18, for he describes how God has seen Israel in her poverty, had compassion for her and caused her to live and grow to full maidenhood. When she reached the age of love He spread His skirt over her and plighted His troth to her and entered into a covenant with her. She became his. He washed her, clothed her, decked her with ornaments (cf. Rev 17:4) and placed a crown upon her head (cf. the reference to “queen” in Rev 18:7). She reached a regal estate and her renown went forth among the nations (cf. Rev 17:18) because of her beauty. However, she trusted in her beauty and played the harlot with Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. Unlike other harlots, she gave gifts rather than received them. On account of her sins, Ezekiel says that God threatens to gather her lovers against her and uncover her nakedness to them; cf. Rev 17:16. He will judge her as an adulteress or a murderer would be judged. He says that she is more sinful than Sodom and Samaria. Yet Ezek 16 ends with a promise of forgiveness and establishment of an everlasting covenant.

    To be continued...
    Last edited by John Reece; 03-08-2014, 11:18 AM.

  • #2
    Continued from last post above ↑

    Continuing excerpts, via Accordance, from J. Massyngberde Ford's exegesis of chapters 17-18 in Revelation (The Anchor Bible, 1975):

    The two texts which apply the epithet “harlot” to non-Israelite cities are Isa 23:15–18 and Nahum 3:4. In Isa 23:17 it is predicted that Tyre “will play the harlot with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth …” (RSV); cf. Rev 17:2, etc. However, Tyre may be different from other pagan cities because, although she was a non-Israelite city, she had contracted a covenant with Israel and was closely associated with the building of the first temple. King Hiram of Tyre was a close friend of both David and Solomon. The second non-Israelite harlot is Nineveh, in Nahum 3:4. However, the Qumran scroll 4QpNah has accommodated the whole text to Jerusalem so that the prophetical attack on Nineveh becomes one upon the Holy City. It is Jerusalem that has become a den of lions, the lions being the wicked of the nations; Nahum 2:12a. In 4QpNah Demetrius, the king of Greece who sought to enter Jerusalem, is called “the lion,” and the priests in Jerusalem who will be slain are called young lions; as in Revelation animal symbolism is used for political leaders. Further, Ephraim is graphically described as the harlot (4QpNah 2; DJD, V, 40):
    “… The multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that sellest nations through her whoredom and families through her witchcraft” [its] interpretation [con]cerns those who lead Ephraim astray, who by their false teaching and their lying tongue and lip of deceit, (cf. Rev 16:13) will lead many astray … they say “Behold, I am against thee, says Yahweh of hosts, and thou shalt lift up [thy] skirts over thy face and show nations thy nakedness and kingdoms thy shame.”

    If Ephraim was seen in such a light and such metaphors were used of her at the time when the Qumran commentaries were written, the same accommodation might well have been made years later with reference to Jerusalem under the Romans. Similar evidence is given in another Qumran text, the lamentation over Jerusalem (4QLam 179). This speaks of her breaking her covenant and of her desolation (cf. Rev 17:16) and compares her to a hated wife. It refers to the children who were brought up in purple and pure gold (cf. Rev 17:4). The end of the fragment describes Jerusalem, who was a princess of all nations (cf. Rev 18:7), as a lonely city. Her children weep and mourn; cf. Rev 18:7, 10. Further, from Qumran Cave 5 we have a substantial portion on the harlot who utters vanities (5Q 184). The harlot is given no name but she is portrayed as a woman who has no inheritance among those who gird themselves with light; her garments are shades of twilight. There is some similarity with the picture of Mistress Folly, the harlot, in Prov 7:10–27, but it is mingled with Qumran motifs, e.g. light and darkness, the waves of the pit, etc. These texts from Qumran suggest, therefore, that there is a line of continuity with the classical prophets in the portrayal of Jerusalem as a harlot and the prediction that she will be attacked by her enemies as a consequence of her sin. Perhaps the most important text for interpreting Rev 17 is 1QpHab. This speaks against Jerusalem; 9:2–6 (D-S) reads:
    And as for that which He said, Because thou hast plundered many nations all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you, the explanation of this concerns the last Priests of Jerusalem who heap up riches and gain by plundering the peoples. But at the end of days, their riches, together with the fruit of their plundering, will be delivered into the hands of the army of the Kittim; for it is they (the Kittim) who are the remnant of the peoples.

    Cf. also 12:5–9 concerning the wicked priest:
    For God will condemn him to destruction even as he himself planned to destroy the Poor. And as for that which He said, Because of the murders committed in the city and the violence done to the land, the explanation of this is (that) the city is Jerusalem, where the Wicked Priest committed abominable deeds and defiled the Sanctuary of God; and the violence done to the land, these are the towns of Judah where he stole the goods of the Poor.

    These texts together with the OT ones indicate that the harlot in Rev 17 is Jerusalem, not Rome. Indeed, if it is the covenant relationship with Yahweh which makes Israel his special people, his bride, how could a non-Israelite nation be called “harlot” except in a much less precise sense? It is the covenant which makes the bride, the breaking of it which makes the adulteress.

    To be continued...
    Last edited by John Reece; 03-10-2014, 07:07 PM.


    • #3
      Continued from last post above ↑

      Continuing excerpts, via Accordance, from J. Massyngberde Ford's exegesis of chapters 17-18 in Revelation (The Anchor Bible, 1975):
      It might be objected that the great city in Revelation appears too important among the nations to be identified with Jerusalem rather than Rome. However, Jerusalem was thought to be the “navel” or center of the earth (Gen R [Rabbinic Commentary] 59:5), “destined to become the metropolis of all countries” (Exod R [Rabbinic Commentary] 23:10), and the Psalms (e.g. 48:2–3, 50:2); Lamentations (e.g. 1:1, 2:15) and Prophets (e.g. Zech 14:16–21, Isa 2:2–4, Micah 4:1–3) speak in the loftiest terms of Jerusalem’s place among the nations. Rev 17:18 is probably a similar hyperbole; cf. 4QLam which describes her as “princess of all nations.”

      Moreover, the author does use dual symbolism, so even if it is correct to identify the harlot with the faithless Jerusalem, this does not preclude her identification also with one particular character or office within the city. The liturgical setting of much of Revelation, especially ch. 16, together with the stress on the priesthood in Jerusalem and the wicked priest in the Qumran scrolls, might lead one to suppose that the harlot depicts particularly the condition of the high priesthood. Many Jews were not satisfied with the choice of high priest in the days preceding the capture of Jerusalem. Josephus, in War 6.151–92, cites a notable and scandalous example on the occasion when the Zealots occupied the temple and selected in the primitive way a high priest by lot instead of following the hereditary succession. He was a fool who could be used as a puppet by the Zealots, who joked about the whole affair, to the infinite horror of the pious. After this sacrilegious action Ananus spoke to the general assembly, his eyes filled with tears and constantly directed toward the temple. He spoke of the house of God “laden with such abominations” (cf. Rev 17:4) and the “hallowed places crowded with the feet of murderers” (cf. Rev 17:6), of his own high priestly vestments and the fact that he bore “that most honoured of venerated names” (cf. Rev 17:5), and upbraided the people for their apathy in the face of these atrocities and such domestic tyrants. It would seem that Rev 17, 18 were perhaps written in a climate similar to the one described above.

      There are several further reasons for arguing that the harlot is Jerusalem rather than Rome. First, if one identifies the first beast (13:1; see third NOTE on 17:3) with the Roman empire one must argue for a different identity for the harlot: Rome cannot be seated upon Rome. Some have argued that the beast is the Roman empire and the harlot the city of Rome, but this appears to be contradicted by the text. In 17:9 the woman is said to be seated on the seven hills (equal the seven heads) and these surely symbolize the city of Rome. Secondly, Rome is never mentioned in our text, but the new Jerusalem does occur and there is great emphasis on Jewish temple imagery, etc. Further, the phrase “the great city” first found in 11:8 appears to refer to Jerusalem, not Rome, and one would expect the same identity when the phrase recurs in Rev 18:16. Thirdly, the blood of the martyrs and the saints is found in our city (18:24) but it was Jerusalem, not Rome, who slew the prophets. Fourthly, if the beast imagery is taken from Daniel then it would seem to depict a foreign power against the Jewish nation. Lastly, the symmetry of the apocalypse might urge us to inquire whether the true counterpart of the new Jerusalem (ch. 21) is not rather the old, defiled Jerusalem, rather than Rome. This would be in keeping with the theology of Qumran.

      To be continued...
      Last edited by John Reece; 03-10-2014, 07:05 PM.


      • #4
        Continued from last post above ↑

        Continuing excerpts, via Accordance, from J. Massyngberde Ford's exegesis of chapters 17-18 in Revelation (The Anchor Bible, 1975):
        The opening verses of ch. 17 show it is closely associated with ch. 16; one of the angels with the bowls comes to the seer and offers to show him the judgment of the great harlot. The harlot “is established upon many waters”; in vs. 15 these are identified as “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.” The text may be influenced by Jer 51:11–13, which is an oracle directed against Babylon who will be destroyed “for that is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance for his temple” (vs. 11, RSV). Jeremiah proclaims, “O you who dwell by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, the thread of your life is cut” (vs. 13, RSV). But the interpretation of the metaphor is closer to 1QpNah. Here the “sea” and “waters” have several meanings. In 1QpNah 1:3–4 in the commentary on “he rebukes the sea and dries it up” the following explanation is given: “… ‘the sea’ is all the Ki[ttim ...] to exe[cute] against them judgment and to exterminate them from the face of [the earth] with their [rul]ers whose dominion will be brought to an end” (DJD, V, 37). But in 3:8 one reads: “… ‘Art thou better than Am[on that dwelt by] the rivers?’ Its interpretation: ‘Amon’ is Manasseh, and ‘the rivers’ are the nobles of Manasseh, the honoured ones of thee […] ‘Waters are around her, whose rampart is the sea and waters her walls.’ Its [inter]pretation: they are her warriors, mighty men of [w]ar.… (DJD, V, 40).

        The harlot, therefore, is probably in political alliance with the Romans, with nobles and warriors. Associated with these seem to be the kings of the earth (17:2) who have committed adultery with her. Adultery may mean pagan practices arising through trade. Ezek 16:28–29 utters a similar sentiment: “You played the harlot also with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable … You multiplied your harlotry also with the trading land of Chaldea …” (RSV). Through commerce the Jews could be involved in idolatrous practices and customs unacceptable to their brethren; hence the separation of communities like Qumran from mainline Judaism. Both 4QpNah 1:11 and 1QpHab 9:3–7 mention the wealth amassed by the priests in Jerusalem, and the latter text predicts that the fruit of their plundering will be handed over to the army of the Kittim; cf. Rev 18, which elaborates the trading and riches.

        Along with the kings of the earth are mentioned the earth–dwellers who are said to be drunk with the passion of the harlot’s impurity. It is difficult to tell whether the earth–dwellers are to be identified with the kings of the earth or [Rev, p. 287] whether the kings belong to the “class” of earth–dwellers. However, if the earth–dwellers are intoxicated, this vice may be predicated also of the kings of the earth. The idea of drinking the harlot’s cup is found in Ezek 23:33–34. Speaking to Jerusalem, the Lord says: “A cup of horror and desolation, is the cup of your sister Samaria; you shall drink it and drain it out, and pluck out your hair, and tear your breasts” (RSV). The Qumran scrolls use this metaphor of drunkenness, as in 4QpNah 4:4–6, which refers to the “wicked ones of Ephraim whose cup will come after Manasseh” (DJD), and 1QpHab 11:13–14, which specifies of the priest whose ignominy was greater than his glory and who walked in the ways of drunkenness that the cup of the fury of God either “swallow him up” or “befuddle” him (the text is not clear) and humiliation poured upon him. However, it is not actually said in this text that the nations drink of his cup, but rather that he drinks of the cup of Yahweh.

        In order to see the vision, vs. 3 says the seer is carried away to a wilderness. The noun, Gr. erēmon, is anarthrous and in this way is contrasted with “the desert” in 12:6, 14, in which erēmon does appear with the definite article. In order to keep a distinction we have translated “wilderness” instead of “desert” although the Greek word is the same. A wilderness symbolizes the absence of God, the place of demons and impure spirits; cf. 18:2. The wilderness would conjure up the picture of the Exodus when God was present in the desert. The author may have been influenced by Isa 21:1, where the vision of the fall of Jerusalem is entitled “the oracle of the wilderness of the sea.” He intends to contrast 1) the true Israel, clothed in heavenly glory, the mother of the male child, who was persecuted by the red dragon, who escapes to the desert as a place of sanctuary prepared by God (12:6) with the harlot, clothed in worldly luxury, upon the scarlet beast, and 2) the new Jerusalem seen from a high and lofty mountain (21:10), with the fallen harlot Babylon. The color of the beast on which the woman is seated matches her own dress (vs. 4); it is scarlet or crimson, Gr. kokkinon, in distinction from the dragon in 12:3 who was fiery red, Gr. purros. Kokkinon is crimson blended with dark blue (cf. Isa 1:18). It was a color used to attract attention, e.g. the scarlet thread attached to the first twin of Tamar (Gen 38:28) and to the home of Rahab (Josh 2:18); cf. NOTE on 17:3, its use on the scapegoat. Both references are indirectly associated with the theme of harlotry. Whereas the color may denote splendor and distinction, it also indicates ungodly conduct, e.g. Isa 1:18, sin like scarlet; cf Ps 51:7. It stands in sharp contrast to the white robes of the redeemed and the riders on the white horses.

        In vs. 4 scarlet again appears, but this time in conjunction with purple. This combination, together with the mention of gold, precious stones, and pearls, might remind the Jewish reader of the offerings for the sanctuary which comprised gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple and scarlet, fine linen, goat’s hair, ram’s skin, acacia wood, oil, spice, incense, and for the ephod onyx stones (Exod 25:3–7 and the products in Rev 18). Similar materials and colors are mentioned in Exod 26:1 (the tabernacle curtains), 26:31 (the veil for the tabernacle), 26:36 (the screen for the door of the tent), and 27:16 (the gate or screen for the court). The garments for the priests have similar colors gold, blue, purple and scarlet, fine linen; cf. Exod 28:5, 15, 23.

        These colors were not associated only with the sanctuary but also with the vestments of the high priest. These required much more gold work as well as jewels for the ephod; Exod 28:31–35, Josephus Ant. 3.159–61. In Ant. 3.151–78 Josephus describes the apparel of the ordinary priests and the high priest, including the ephod (Exod 28:6) and the turban or crown of gold (Exod 28:36–39). This account of the headdress in Ant. 3.172–78 (there is a similar one in War 5.235) is peculiar to Josephus:
        For headdress the high priest had first a cap made in the same fashion as that of all the priests; but over this was stitched a second of blue [or violet] embroidery, which was encircled by a crown of gold wrought in three tiers, and sprouting above this was a golden calyx recalling the plant which with us is called saccharon, but which the Greeks expert in the cutting of simples term henbane. [Josephus then describes this] … It was, then, on the model of this plant that was wrought the crown extending from the nape of the neck to the two temples; the forehead, however, was not covered by the ephielis (for so we may call the calyx), but had a plate of gold [or band or garland of filet], bearing graven in sacred characters the name of God. Such is the apparel of the high priest.

        The harlot here has two characteristics. She holds a golden cup (vs. 4) and she has a name of mystery upon her forehead (vs. 5). One recalls that the sacred utensils were made of gold. Simon the high priest is depicted with the cup of libation in Sir 50:14–15; the occasion is probably the Day of Atonement, and the wine is described as “the blood of the grape” (RSV). In the picture of the adulteress what one may have is a parody of the high priest on the Day of Atonement wearing the vestments specially reserved for that occasion and holding the libation offering. However, instead of the sacred name upon his brow the “priest-harlot” bears the name Babylon, mother of harlots and the abominations of the earth, a title illustrating Ezek 16:43–45 (RSV), where Yahweh speaks of the lewdness of Jerusalem.

        To be continued...
        Last edited by John Reece; 03-10-2014, 07:04 PM.


        • #5
          Continued from last post above ↑

          Continuing excerpts, via Accordance, from J. Massyngberde Ford's exegesis of chapters 17-18 in Revelation (The Anchor Bible, 1975):
          The irony is heightened because the symbol of the high priestly miter, like the sacrifices, represented the forgiveness of certain sins; e.g. Rabbi Hanina said, “Let the miter on high combat the high spirit of the arrogant” (Arakhin 16a). Ch. 17, therefore, brings to a climax the parody in ch. 16. A touch of painful reality is added when it is recalled that the vestments of the high priest were in charge first of Herod and then of the Romans at least until Tiberius (Ant. 15.403–9). The bedecked harlot could only have her finery at the whim of the beast. The woman is intoxicated with the blood of the saints (vs. 6). Jerusalem was traditionally the murderer of the prophets; cf. Matt 23:29–39. Josephus, too, in War 5.355, referring to the factions within Jerusalem during the Roman siege, speaks of the war party being able to feed upon public miseries and “to drink of the city’s life blood.”

          In vss. 7–18 an interpreting angel explains the vision to the seer. If the name on the forehead of the harlot is a mockery of the sacred name on the high priest’s miter, the character of the beast which “was and is not” is a parody of the divine name; cf. Exod 3:14, Rev 1:4, 8, 4:8. There may be some association with the healing of the mortal wound. We have suggested in NOTES on vs. 11 that this refers to Vespasian. Vs. 8 may take the symbolism a step further. The beast “was” (Vespasian was in favor with Nero) and “is not” (he fell from favor) and will come from the abyss (he was restored with the help of the “men of the pit,” an epithet for perverse men from Qumran). Vespasian stands parallel to “he who is to come.” In a sense the empire passed through the same stages; “it was,” from Caesar to Nero, “was not” in the critical year of the four emperors, and came again with Vespasian. Does vs. 8, using the present tense “is not,” point to the year A.D. 69 for the date of this apocalypse? Cf. Rev 17:11.

          To be continued...
          Last edited by John Reece; 03-10-2014, 07:04 PM.


          • #6
            Continued from last post above ↑

            Continuing excerpts, via Accordance, from J. Massyngberde Ford's exegesis of chapters 17-18 in Revelation (The Anchor Bible, 1975):
            The seven heads are said to be seven mountains upon which the woman is sitting (vs. 9). The “and” (Gr. kai) may mean either “and there are seven kings” or, “indeed,” or, “namely,” seven kings. A parallel is found in the Targum of Isaiah. In Isa 41:15 the prophet predicts that the hills will be blown away like chaff, but in the Targum this is interpreted as “kingdoms as chaff.” Vs. 10 informs the reader that five of the kings have fallen, one is present, and the other has yet to come, but when he does come he will only remain a little time.

            The identity of these kings has exercised many scholars. Most would identify them with the Roman
            emperors, but they differ in deciding where the calculation should be begun, with Julius Caesar or Augustus or even Galba. Charles considers the five fallen kings to be Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. The one who “is” is Vespasian (A.D. 69–79) and the one who “is not yet come” is Titus (79–81); Titus comes last as the seventh and is the destroyer of Jerusalem, but he dies after a short reign. The writer may have known of the poor physical health of Titus; cf. Suetonius Titus 7, Dio Cassius 64.26.2. For the convenience of the reader a list of the emperors and the main lines of interpretation is given in the following table devised by Father Edward Siegman [apologies to those who try to understand the table viewed on hand held devices -JR]:

            EMPERORS............................................ HEADS
            .................................................. ... I........ II....... III........ IV

            Caesar (49–44 B.C.)..................... 1
            Augustus (31 B.C.–A.D. 14)........ 2....... 1
            Tiberius (A.D. 14–37).................. 3....... 2
            Caligula (37–41).......................... 4....... 3
            Claudius (41–54)......................... 5........ 4
            Nero (54–68)............................... 6........ 5......... 1.............. 1
            Galba (68–69) .................................................. . 2............. 2
            Otho (69).................................................. ......... 3.............. 3
            Vitellius (69).................................................. ... 4............. (3)
            Vespasian (69–79)................................. 6.......... 5............. 4
            Titus (79–81)......................................... 7.......... 6............. 5
            Domitian (81–96).................................. 8.......... 7............ 6
            Nerva (96–98).................................................. ................. 7
            Trajan (98–117).................................................. .............. 8
            Hadrian (117–138)

            Column 1 under “Heads”: Boismard and Giet reconstruct according to this scheme: a) Although Caesar did not take the title emperor, he was actually the founder of the empire. According to this interpretation the mortal wound in 13:3 could refer to the assassination of Caesar. The empire, which seemed to be destroyed so soon after its birth, took on a new and stronger life in the person of Augustus. b) The wonder of the nations at the vitality of the beast could allude to the fact that Augustus was the first to assume the title of emperor, and he received divine honors during his lifetime. c) This part of Revelation could therefore have been written toward the end of Nero’s reign. d) The number 7 is symbolic and could, therefore, be no precise reference to one particular emperor. e) However, to reconcile the two texts from which our apocalypse seems to be derived (Boismard) when they were fused under Domitian, Rev 17:11 was added; it likens Domitian to Nero (because he reopened the persecution) and alludes to the legend of the Nero redivivus. Giet adds considerable validity to this theory. He notes (p. 449) that it is usual to identify the seven hills with Rome and the beast with the Roman empire and refers one to Pliny Natural History 3.9 and to Stauffer, p. 173, who mentions a medallion made in the reign of Vespasian which showed the goddess Roma on the seven hills. He remarks that some do not count Caesar and Augustus in their calculations, but according to Josephus, from the battle of Pharsalus to the reign of Vespasian there were ten emperors and their reigns form the framework for his chronology of the Jewish war. This pattern of counting is not peculiar to Josephus, for it is used by Suetonius as well and by some of the patristic writers. Giet gives a table on p. 54. The only legitimate way of counting for Josephus was to begin with Julius Caesar, even if he were not really counted as “king.” But Giet also remarks that Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, although they exercised power, did not belong to the series of Caesars. This distinction is not without interest. Only the Caesars of the Julian and Flavian dynasty had effective power over the territory inhabited by the Jewish people.

            To be continued...


            • #7
              Continued from last post above ↑

              Continuing excerpts, via Accordance, from J. Massyngberde Ford's exegesis of chapters 17-18 in Revelation (The Anchor Bible, 1975):
              My choice would be to start with Caesar, omit the three interim emperors, make Vespasian the seventh and Titus the eighth. If these kings are the “kings of the earth” (vs. 2), one might suggest further that their association with the harlot is reflected in the following historical situations: a) Caesar associated with Antipater and Hyrcanus (War 1.187–203). After the death of Pompey, Antipater paid court to Caesar and rendered him assistance with an army of three thousand Jewish infantry together with other services. b) Augustus cooperated with Herod (War 1.386–400). After Augustus’ defeat of Anthony, Herod “presented himself before him without a diadem, a commoner in dress and demeanor, but with the proud spirit of a king” (War 1.387). After a suitable speech Augustus confirmed the kingdom of Herod and replaced his diadem. Later he extended his kingdom. c) Pilate, while not a Jew, sought to implement the command of Tiberius to introduce into Jerusalem the effigies of the Caesar (medallions which are attached to the standards; War 2.169–74). However, this was not effected. Later he committed atrocities with regard to the Samaritans. d) Caligula liberated Agrippa and made him king (War 2.181). e) Agrippa acted as mediator between the emperor “elect” Claudius and the senate (War 2.206–8). On his accession the emperor extended the kingdom of Agrippa by confirming the annexation of the kingdom of Lysanias (War 2.214–16). f) Nero extended the kingdom of Agrippa II (War 2.252).

              Similar alliances occurred with regard to the three successors of Nero. Indeed Josephus dismisses their history quite briefly (War 4.494–96). Vespasian and Titus were conquerors of the Jews. Josephus speaks of Titus “under divine impulse” hurrying to join his father (War 4.501). This remark is consonant with the purported promises which Titus received from a priest, Sostratos, in the temple of Venus at Paphos (Tacitus Histories 2.4, see n. 4; see also Giet, p. 60, n. 4). Josephus records that the Flavians had put an end to the period of revolution. Vespasian was a man of providence who reestablished order and peace and in a way revived the days of the Julian Dynasty. Besides, all this was exactly what Josephus had predicted (War 3.401). We may also compare Vespasian’s words when he was elected (War 4.626) and what is said about Titus (War 4.337). The work above is elaborated from Giet (pp. 49–62).

              To be continued...


              • #8
                Continued from last post above ↑

                Continuing excerpts, via Accordance, from J. Massyngberde Ford's exegesis of chapters 17-18 in Revelation (The Anchor Bible, 1975):
                A horrendous example of famine is recorded by Josephus in War 6.197. He speaks of the famine in Jerusalem during the siege and he tells how the victims stripped off the leather from their bucklers and chewed it. He describes the horrors of the famine which gave rise to internal fighting, panic, and unbelievable brutality even toward relatives. He emphasizes the case of a woman who even cooked and ate her own baby (War 6.201–13; cf. 2 Kings 6:28–29). However, it is God who has put this intention into the minds of the kings represented by the horns (Rev 17:17). This concept, that God uses the pagan nations to punish his people, is common in the OT. This is a permissive decree of God. The word “decree,” Gr. gnomē, lit. “his purpose” or “his royal decree,” is employed frequently in I and II Ezra, and Daniel, LXX, where it refers to the edicts of the Persian kings. The implication is that God who is the supreme King unites the others, making them of one mind to give their allegiance to the beast. When this is done the word of God will be fulfilled. This fulfillment is highly significant; it may refer to the words of the prophets but it may go back to the Holiness Code and the Deuteronomic precepts, as in Deut 28. Deut 28:58 refers to the “words of this law which are written in this book” (although there is no linguistic affinity between the LXX and our text). On the other hand “words,” Gr. logoi, might simply mean “oracles.”

                Vs. 18 explains that the woman is “the great city,” a phrase already used of Jerusalem, in 11:8, 16:19. The image recalls IV Ezra 9:38–10:24. Here the prophet sees a woman mourning; her clothes are torn and there are ashes upon her head. She has lost her son on his wedding night, a son for whom she had waited for thirty years. The prophet reproaches her for mourning in the light of the desolation of Jerusalem, but as he looks at her, her countenance changes and becomes brilliant. Then she is no longer visible to him but instead there is a city built with large foundations. The angel then explains to the prophet that the woman whom he saw was Zion. Now he sees her as a built city (IV Ezra 10:25–49). The angel explains different details in the vision. But what is of interest for our apocalypse is the fact that the son symbolized “the (divine) dwelling in Jerusalem” (vs. 48) and his entry into the marriage chamber and his death represented the fall of Jerusalem. The importance of the IV Ezra vision is that it gives us an example of a vision in the apocalyptic era which symbolizes both the fall and the rise of Jerusalem. In the same way, Rev 17 looks forward to the new Jerusalem in ch. 21. However, the description in IV Ezra 10:21–24 of the fate which befell Jerusalem is akin to that which we shall find in Rev 18; see Jacob M. Myers I & II Esdras, AB, vol. 42 (1974), 266, 273–74, 279.

                To be continued...


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