Poole on Revelation 4:9, 10: Response to the Call to Worship, Part 1

Verse 9:[1] And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, (Rev. 1:18; 5:14; 15:7) who liveth for ever and ever…


[And when, etc., καὶ ὅταν δώσουσι, etc.] A magnificent description of God. Thus also in Revelation 5:14 (Grotius). And when they were attributing, etc. (Beza, Piscator), or, gave (Montanus), were giving (Vulgate, Zegers, Erasmus); verbatim, they shall give. An enallage of tense (Piscator). Δώσουσι, they shall give, [and in the next verse] πεσοῦνται, they shall fall down, προσκυνοῦσι, they shall worship (Mede’s Works 544), are in the Future in the place of whatever tense, after the manner of the Hebrews[2] (Grotius); they do not reference what was done by the living Creatures and Presbyters at that time in the Vision, as some think; but what was to be done by them by reason of office for an emergent circumstance, and which he afterwards saw in the progress of the Visions was done by them, if ever an occasion occurred for extolling God (Mede’s Works 544, 684). For Future verbs to the Hebrews are wont to denote an act, either a custom, like אֵשֵׁב, I should sit, in 1 Samuel 20:5;[3] or an obligation, like יֵעָשֶׂה, it is done, in 2 Samuel 13:12,[4] and יִשְׁמְרוּ, he should keep, in Malachi 2:7[5] (Mede’s Works 1112). Glory is given to God on account of His power, honor on account of His attributes, thanks on account of His benefits. Εὐχαριστία/thanks is תּוֹדָה/thanksgiving,[6] in the place of which the Latin interpreter here sets benedictionem/benediction: concerning which exchange of words see what things we said on Matthew 26:26[7] (Grotius). Glory has respect to that glorious majesty and excellence of God: Honor, to that relationship which creatures have with their creator, from whom they receive their being, to whom therefore they owe honor: the giving of thanks has regard to benefits received (Durham). Glory is the widespread fame of someone with praise. Honor is the testification of the excellence of some one, etc. (Ribera). The sense of the verse: As often as the Churches hold sacred assemblies (Mede’s Works 544).


And when those beasts, the living creatures before expressed, signifying the ministers of the gospel, give glory, etc.; when they praise God who is eternal.

Verse 10:[8] (Rev. 5:8, 14) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, (Rev. 4:9) and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, (Rev. 4:4) and cast their crowns before the throne, saying…



[They were falling prostrate, etc.] This denotes profound reverence and their full submission (Tirinus). The Presbyters of Jerusalem faithfully follow the Apostles. To fall upon the earth and προσκυνεῖν, to worship, which in this place is to kiss the feet, are the highest signs of honor. See Isaiah 49:23 (Grotius). This shows both a high opinion concerning God, and a low opinion of the self (Durham).


[The One living forever, etc.] They portray God in such a way that they show that they do not worship an unknown God, or an Idol; but the true God, by way of Contrast with Pagan and Antichristian worshippers (Durham).


[They were throwing (or, casting down [Beza, Piscator]) their crowns before the throne] That is, before the feet of Him from whom they had received them (Cluverus), bringing to Him alone themselves and all their own which they received (Cluverus, similarly Durham, Zegers); thus testifying that whatever they have of right with respect to the Kingdom they received from God. Thus Tiridates places before the effigy of Cæsar the royal ensign,[9] in Tacitus’ Annals 15 (Grotius). They show their zeal for the glory of God, after which they strive to a singular degree (Durham), and a sense of their unworthiness, etc. (Durham, similarly Cluverus). Of this custom the interpreter of Æschylus[10] makes mention, Πότε στέφη, etc., When will we cast upon the earth the crowns and robes of state, if not now, while we are turned to prayers, both for ourselves and for our city? (Mede’s Works 1112).


The four and twenty elders, etc.:The whole church also paid an homage of reverence and adoration to the same God; acknowledging all the good done to them, or wrought in them, to proceed from God, and the glory of it to be due unto God alone. The ministers of the gospel are, by their preaching unto people their duty, an occasion, or instruments, of that homage and adoration which he hath from all his people.

[1] Greek: καὶ ὅταν δώσουσι τὰ ζῶα δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν καὶ εὐχαριστίαν τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου, τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. [2] The Hebrew future/imperfect can serve multiple time references. [3] 1 Samuel 20:5a: “And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit (יָשֹׁב־אֵשֵׁב) with the king at meat…” [4] 2 Samuel 13:12: “And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done (לֹא־יֵעָשֶׂה) in Israel: do not thou this folly.” [5] Malachi 2:7: “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge (יִשְׁמְרוּ־דַעַת), and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.” [6] See, for example, Psalm 26:7: “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving (תּוֹדָה), and tell of all thy wondrous works.” [7] Matthew 26:26, 27: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed (εὐλογήσας) it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks (εὐχαριστήσας), and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it…[8] Greek: πεσοῦνται οἱ εἴκοσι καὶ τέσσαρες πρεσβύτεροι ἐνώπιον τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου, καὶ προσκυνοῦσι τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, καὶ βάλλουσι τοὺς στεφάνους αὐτῶν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου, λέγοντες. [9] As an aspect of the resolution of the Roman-Parthian conflict over Armenia, although the king of Armenia was to be a Parthian prince, he was to be crowned by the Emperor of Rome. In 66 AD, Nero crowned Tiridates I King of Armenia. [10] Æschylus (525-456 BC) was perhaps the earliest of the Greek tragedians.

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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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