VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Babylon - is fallen. The Rev. improves on the A.V. by placing fallen in the emphatic position of the Greek: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon." Compare Isa. xxi. 9.
Is become (egeneto). Lit., became.
Devils (daimonwn). Properly, demons, which Rev., strangely commits to the margin. See on Mark i. 34. See Isa. xiii. 20-22; xxxiv. 13-15. Also on Luke xi. 24.
Hold ( fulakh). See on 1 Pet. iii. 19, and Acts v. 21. Rev., in margin, prison.
Cage (fulakh). The word rendered above hold. Rev., hold. Some, however, explain it, not as a cage where they are kept, but as a place of safety to which they resort.
Bird ( orneou). Only in Revelation, here, xix. 17, 21. Compare Jeremiah i. 39.
Of the wine (ek tou oinou). Thus if we read have drunk. If we adopt have fallen, ejk is instrumental, by. So Rev.
Of the wrath. The wine of fornication has turned to wrath against herself. Merchants (emporoi). The word originally means one on a journey by sea or land, especially for traffic. Hence a merchant as distinguished from kaphlov a retailer or huckster.
The abundance of her delicacies (thv dunamewv tou strhnouv authv). Lit., as Rev., the power of her luxury. Strhnov is akin to stereov firm, hard, stubborn (see on steadfast, 1 Pet. v. 9). Hence over-strength, luxury, wantonness. Only here in the New Testament. The kindred verb strhniaw to live deliciously occurs ch. xviii. 7, 9.
Have fellowship with (sugkoinwnhshte). This compound verb is not of frequent occurrence in the New Testament. It is found only in Ephesians v. 11, Philippians. iv. 14, and here. On the kindred noun sugkoinwnov companion, see on ch. i. 9.
Torment (basanismon). Only in Revelation. On the kindred word, basanov torment, see on Matt. iv. 23, 24.
I sit a queen and am no widow. See Isa. xlvii. 8; Zeph. ii. 15.
Who judgeth (o krinwn). Read krinav judged.
Purple (porfurav). See on Luke xvi. 19.
Silk (shrikou). Properly an adjective, meaning pertaining to the Seres. From Shrev Seres, a people of India, perhaps of modern China. Before the time of Justinian, when silkworms were first brought to Constantinople, it was thought that the Seres gathered or combed the downy substance woven by the worms from the leaves of certain trees. Hence Virgil speaks of the Seres, how they comb (depectant) the fine fleeces from the leaves ("Georgics," ii., 121).
Silk was a costly article of luxury among the Romans, so that Tacitus relates that in the reign of Tiberius a law was passed against "men disgracing themselves with silken garments" ("Annals," ii., 33). "Two hundred years after the age of Pliny," says Gibbon, "the use of pure or even of mixed silks was confined to the female sex, till the opulent citizens of Rome and the provinces were insensibly familiarized with the example of Elagabalos, the first who, by this effeminate habit, had sullied the dignity of an emperor and a man. Aorelian complained that a pound of silk was sold at Rome for twelve ounces of gold" ("Decline and Fall," ch. xl.). At the time of Justinian the Persians held a monopoly of this trade. Two missionary monks residing in China imparted to Justinian the project of introducing the eggs of the silkworm into Europe, and returning to China concealed the eggs in a hollow cane and so transported them.
Scarlet. See on Matt. xxvii. 6.
Thyine wood (xulon quinon). Ony here in the New Testament. From quia or qua the citrus, a North-African tree, a native of Barbary, used as incense and for inlaying. Pliny speaks of a mania among the Romans for tables made of this wood. The most expensive of these were called orbes, circles, because they were massive plates of wood cut from the stem in its whole diameter. Pliny mentions plates four feet in diameter, and nearly six inches Thick;. The most costly were those taken from near the root, both because the tree was broadest there, and because the wood was dappled and speckled. Hence they were described by different epithets according as the markings resembled those of the tiger, the panther, or the peacock. Vessel ( skeuov). See on 1 Pet. iii. 7, and Acts ix. 15. Also on goods, Matt. xii. 29; Mark iii. 27; and strake sail, Acts xxvii. 17.
Of ivory (elefantinon). Only here in the New Testament. References to ivory are frequent in the Old Testament. The navy of Tarshish brought ivory to Solomon with apes and peacocks (1 Kings x. 22). His great throne was made of it (1 Kings x. 18). Ahab's ivory palace (1 Kings xxii. 39) was probably a house with ivory panels. "Ivory palaces" are mentioned in Psalm xlv. 8, and "houses of ivory" in Amos iii. 15. The Assyrians carried on a great trade in this article. On the obelisk in the British Museum the captives or tribute-bearers are represented as carrying tusks. The Egyptians early made use of it in decoration, bringing it mostly from Ethiopia, where, according to Pliny, ivory was so plentiful that the natives made of it door-posts and fences, and stalls for their cattle. In the early ages of Greece ivory was frequently employed for ornamental purposes, for the trappings of horses, the handles of kegs, and the bosses of shields. Homer represents an Asiatic woman staining ivory with purple to form trappings for horses, and describes the reins of chariot-horses as adorned with ivory. The statue of Jupiter by Phidias was of ivory and gold. In the "Odyssey" of Homer, Telemachus thus addresses his companion, the son of Nestor as they contemplate the splendor of Menelaus' palace:
"See, son of Nestor, my beloved friend, In all these echoing rooms the sheen of brass, Of gold, of amber and of ivory; Such is the palace of Olympian Jove." "Odyssey," iv., 71-74.
Marble (marmarou). From marmairw to sparkle or glisten.
And spice (kai amwmon). These words are added by the best texts. A fragrant Indian plant, with seed in grape-like clusters, from which ointment was made. Preparations for the hair were made from it. Virgil, describing the coming golden age, says: "The Assyrian amomum shall spring up as a common plant" ("Eclogue" iv., 25; Compare "Eclogue" iii., 89). Forbiger (Virgil) says that the best was raised in Armenia, a poorer quality in Media and Pontus.
Fine flour (semidalin). Only here in the New Testament.
Cattle (kthnh). See on Luke x. 34.
Merchandise of horses. Merchandise is not in the text. It resumes the construction of gomon merchandise with the genitive in ver. 12.
Chariots (redwn). A Latin word though of Gallic origin, rheda. It had four wheels.
That thy soul lusted after (thv epiqumiav thv yuchv sou). Lit., of the desire of thy soul.
Dainty (lipara). From lipov grease. Hence, literally, fat. Only here in the New Testament. Homer uses it once in the sense of oily or shiny with oil, as the skin anointed after a bath. "Their heads and their fair faces shining" ("Odyssey," xv., 332). So Aristophanes ("Plutus," 616), and of oily, unctuous dishes (" Frogs," 163). Of the oily smoothness of a calm sea, as by Theocritus. The phrase liparoi podev shining feet, i.e., smooth, without wrinkle, is frequent in Homer. Thus, of Agamemnon rising from his bed. "Beneath his shining feet he bound the fair sandals" (" Iliad," ii., 44). Also of the condition of life; rich, comfortable: so Homer, of a prosperous old age, "Odyssey," xi., 136. Of things, bright, fresh. Of soil, fruitful. The city of Athens was called liparai, a favorite epithet. Aristophanes plays upon the two senses bright and greasy, saying that if any one flatteringly calls Athens bright, he attaches to it the honor of sardines - oiliness ("Acharnians," 638, 9).
Goodly (lampra). A too indefinite rendering. Better, Rev., sumptuous. See on Luke xxiii. 11; Jas. ii. 2. Mostly in the New Testament of clothing. See on ch. xv. 6.
All the company in ships (pav epi twn ploiwn o omilov). The best texts substitute oJ ejpi topon plewn, that saileth anywhere, lit., saileth to a place. So Rev.
Trade by sea (thn qalassan ergazontai). Lit., work the sea, like the Latin mare exercent, live by seafaring. Rev., gain their living by sea.
With violence (ormhmati). Lit. with an impulse or rush. Only here in the New Testament.
Musicians (mousikwn) Only here in the New Testament. There seems to be no special reason for changing the rendering to minstrels, as Rev. The term music had a much wider signification among the Greeks than that which we attach to it. "The primitive education at Athens consisted of two branches: gymnastics for the body, music for the mind. Music comprehended from the beginning everything appertaining to the province of the nine Muses; not merely learning the use of the lyre or how to bear part in a chorus, but also the hearing, learning, and repeating of poetical compositions, as wel as the practice of exact and elegant pronunciation - which latter accomplishment, in a language like the Greek, with long words, measured syllables, and great diversity of accentuation between one word and another, must have been far more difficult to acquire than it is in any modern European language. As the range of ideas enlarged, so the words music and musical teachers acquired an expanded meanings so as to comprehend matter of instruction at once ampler and more diversified. During the middle of the fifth century B.C. at Athens, there came thus to be found among the musical teachers men of the most distinguished abilities and eminence, masters of all the learning and accomplishments of the age, teaching what was known of Astronomy, Geography, and Physics, and capable of holding dialectical discussions with their pupils upon all the various problems then afloat among intellectual men" (Grote, "History of Greece," vi., ch. lxvii.).
Pipers (aulhtwn). Rev., flute-players. Only here and Matt. ix. 23. The female flute-players, usually dissolute characters, were indispensable attendants at the Greek banquets. Plato makes Eryximachus in "the Symposium," say: "I move that the flute-girl who has just made her appearance, be told to go away and play to herself, or, if she likes, to the women who are within. Today let us have conversation instead" (" Symposium," 176). Again, Socrates says: "The talk about the poets seems to me like a commonplace entertainment to which a vulgar company have recourse; who, because they are not able to converse and amuse one another, while they are drinking, with the sound of their own voices and conversation, by reason of their stupidity, raise the price of flute-girls in the market, hiring for a great sum the voice of a flute instead of their own breath, to be the medium of intercourse among them" (Protagoras," 347). Compare Isa. xxiv. 8; Ezek. xxvi. 13.
Millstone. Compare Jer. xxv. 10; Matt. xxiv. 41.
Great men (megistanev). Rev., princes. See on ch. vi. 15.
By thy sorceries (en th farmakeia sou). See on ch. ix. 21. Rev., more literally, with thy sorcery.
Were deceived (eplanhqhsan). Or led astray. See on Mark xii. 24.