Poole on Revelation 3:9: The Synagogue of Satan

Verse 9:[1] Behold, I will make (Rev. 2:9) them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, (Is. 49:23; 60:14) I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.



[Behold, I will give, etc., δίδωμι ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς, etc.] I will give (or, I give [Erasmus, Tigurinus, Syriac]: An enallage of tense [Piscator, thus Beza]: I will present [Illyricus, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator], understand, to thee [Zegers, Menochius, Tirinus]; that is, I will reduce them unto this state and condition so that they do this [Beza]: or, I will compel [Castalio], and understand, them [Illyricus, Pagnine, Beza], or, some [Piscator, thus Grotius] that are [Beza, Piscator, etc.]) of the synagogue of Satan (that is, Jews and Judaizers, who conspire against Christ and Christians [Menochius out of Lapide]: that is to say, I will extract from the Synagoue of Satan (Gagnæus): δίδωμι, I give, is the same as the following ποιήσω, I will make: for the Hebrews thus use נָתַן, to give, in the place of שִׂים or שִׁית, to set: See Genesis 3:12[2] in comparison with Genesis 1:17;[3] Ezekiel 34:26[4] in comparison with Psalm 21:6[5] [Grotius]: I give, that is, I summon to thee these adversaries, to seek thee out, etc. [Pareus]: Others: I will give, that they might be humbled [Cluverus], and converted [Menochius, thus Lapide, Cluverus, Ribera, Durham]) men saying (or, those that say [Erasmus], of those that say [Piscator], or, that is, of them that say [Beza, Pagnine]: The preposition ἐκ/of is to be repeated ἀπὸ κοινοῦ, as shared by both clauses, for λεγόντων,[6] those saying, coheres with συναγωγῆς/synagogue,[7] by Apposition [Piscator]) that they are Jews, etc.] That is, the covenanted people of God, etc. (Durham). Interpret it like Revelation 2:9 (Grotius, thus Menochius, etc.).


Them of the synagogue of Satan; so he calleth all Jews that opposed Christianity, or all pretended but not real professors. Which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie: For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is of the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, etc., Romans 2:28, 29. By this term also he may mean all false and hypocritical professors, who would make themselves the church, the only church of God, but are far enough from it, hating, maligning, and opposing those who would keep stricter to the rule of the gospel.



[I will make, etc., ποιήσω αὐτοὺς ἵνα ἥξωσι, etc.] It is a Pleonasm, concerning which we spoke on Revelation 2:15, 23. Then ποιήσω ἵνα ἥξωσι, I will cause to come. Thus in Luke 5:34, ποιῆσαι νηστεύειν, to make to fast, in the Syriac, to cause that they fast (Grotius). [Thus they translate:] I will compel (or, make, I say [Beza, Piscator]: An epanalepsis[8] of the verb δίδωμι, to give, as far as the sense [Piscator]) that they come and worship (or, bow [Drusius]) before (or, at [Menochius]) thy feet (Ersamus, Beza, Piscator, etc.); that is, that they fall prostrate unto the earth, after the fashion of the East (Drusius), namely, civilly, holding thee in honor (Piscator), prepared to do whatever thou commandest (Ribera, Menochius); that they might fall to thee as suppliants, as to their father and Bishop, so that thou mightest admit them into the number of thy sons (Tirinus); or, that they might become Christians, and then that they, appointed to inferior places, might present honor to thee as Bishop. See Acts 22:3. Προσκυνεῖν, to worship, is in fact properly to kiss the hand, but by κατάχρησιν/katachresis, analogical application, to exhibit any kind of sign of honor. Now, to be prostrated at the feet is the greatest submission, 1 Samuel 25:24; Luke 4:7, with Matthew 4:9 added; Revelation 22:8, 9 (Grotius). The sense: Some of them will be truly converted; others will feign a profession and reverence, etc. (Durham).


Behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet; I will by my providence so order it, that these men shall come and honour thee, paying a civil respect and homage to thee.


[And they will know (that is, then they will recognize [Grotius, similarly Menochius]) quia/that (or, quòd/that [Cluverus]) I have loved thee] That is, that thou are true and pious, and dear to God (Ribera, Menochius); or, of what great value I have made thee, who have desired to make use of thee, as an elect instrument, for their conversion (Grotius).


And to know that I have loved thee; and to know that I have a greater kindness for thee than for them.

[1] Greek: ἰδού, δίδωμι ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς τοῦ Σατανᾶ, τῶν λεγόντων ἑαυτοὺς Ἰουδαίους εἶναι, καὶ οὐκ εἰσίν, ἀλλὰ ψεύδονται· ἰδού, ποιήσω αὐτοὺς ἵνα ἥξωσι καὶ προσκυνήσωσιν ἐνώπιον τῶν ποδῶν σου, καὶ γνῶσιν ὅτι ἐγὼ ἠγάπησά σε. [2] Genesis 3:12: “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest (נָתַתָּה) to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.[3] Genesis 1:17: “And set (וַיִּתֵּן) God them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth…[4] Ezekiel 34:26: “And I will make (וְנָתַתִּי) them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.[5] Psalm 21:6: “For thou hast made him (תְשִׁיתֵהוּ) most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.[6] In the Genitive case. [7] In the Genitive case. [8] An epanalepsis is a repetition.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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