Revelation 18

Chapter 18

The Fall of Babylon the Great.[a] 1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and his splendor illumined the earth. 2 He cried out in a mighty voice:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit
and for every filthy and loathsome bird.
3 For all the nations have drunk
the wine of the wrath of her harlotry.
The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich
from her wealth and luxury.”

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying:

“Depart from her, my people,
so that you will not take part in her sins
and share in her plagues.
5 For her sins are piled up as high as the heavens,
and God has remembered her crimes.
6 Pay her back as she has done to others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix her a double portion of her own poison.
7 Give her torment and grief
to equal the measure of her glory and luxury.
In her heart she says,
‘I rule as a queen.
I am not a widow,
and I will never experience grief.’
8 Therefore, in a single day
her plagues will come upon her:
pestilence and mourning and famine.
And she will be consumed by fire,
for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

Funereal Ode over Rome.[b] 9 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication with her and shared in her luxury will weep and mourn over her when they behold the smoke of her immolation. 10 In terror at her torment, they will keep their distance and say:

“ ‘Woe, woe, O great city,
mighty city of Babylon.
In one hour your judgment has come.’

11 “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, since no one buys their cargo anymore: 12 their cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; purple and scarlet cloth, silks, and fine linens; all sorts of fragrant wood and all kinds of objects of ivory, all kinds of objects of expensive wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 cinnamon and spices; incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and olive oil; fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and chariots; and slaves, that is, human lives. They will say:

14 “ ‘The fruit you longed for
is no longer available to you.
All your riches and splendor are gone,
and you will never find them again.’

15 “The merchants of these things who made a fortune from her will stand far off, weeping and mourning aloud, and terrified as they behold her torment:

16 “ ‘Woe, woe, O great city,
clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold, jewels, and precious stones!
17 Within one hour
all this wealth has been destroyed.’

“All the ship captains and voyagers, all the sailors and those who make their living by trading upon the sea, will stand far off 18 and exclaim as they see the smoke caused by her immolation, ‘Has there ever been a city to compare with this great city?’ 19 Then they will throw dust on their heads and with mourning and weeping cry out:

“ ‘Woe, woe, O great city,
where all who had ships at sea
became rich through her wealth!
Within one hour
she has been brought to ruin.
20 Rejoice over her, O heaven,
you holy ones, apostles, and prophets!
For God has passed judgment on her for you.’ ”

21 Then a mighty angel picked up a stone the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying:

“This is how
the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
never to be found again.
22 The sound of harpists and minstrels,
flute players and trumpeters,
will never be heard in you again.
Craftsmen of every trade
never will be found in you again.
The sound of a millstone
will never be heard in you again.
23 The light from a lamp
will never be seen in you again.
The voices of a bridegroom and bride
will never be heard in you again.
Since your merchants were the world’s great men,
all the nations were led astray by your enticements.
24 In you[c] was found the blood of the Prophets,
of the saints,
and of all who have been slain on the earth.”

Footnotes

  1. Revelation 18:1 The fall of Rome is described as if the empire were already collapsing.
  2. Revelation 18:9 Drawing upon the laments of Ezekiel over the fall of Tyre (Ezek 26–28), the author greets the fall of Rome as already complete. This satire on the ruins of the empire also harbors, in its final lines, a tone of poignant complaint. The tableau nicely sketches the maritime grandeur of Rome, the development of commercial exchanges—without forgetting the traffic in slaves and prostitutes (v. 13)—and the extraordinary accumulation of riches.
  3. Revelation 18:24 You: the Greek has “her.”

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