Revelation 2:22, 23: Cast into a Bed, not of Fornication, but of Sickness

Verse 22:[1] Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.



[I will cast (or, cast down [Vatablus, similarly Beza, Piscator]) her into a bed] Not of pleasure, of luxury (Pareus), of love (Grotius), but of languor and suffering (Pareus, similarly Tirinus out of Arethas), or, in which the sick lie: concerning which see 2 Samuel 13:5, 6; 2 Kings 1:4 (Grotius).


[Those that commit adultery with her] Either, 1. spiritually (Durham), by Idolatry, which is everywhere called adultery (Beza): or, 2. bodily (Durham), simply (Grotius) [or properly].


[In tribulation, etc.] Either, internal, that is, the torment of the conscience: or rather, external; either, by the magistrate, who is about to punish those most filthy impurities, or by enemies (Pareus). She committed adultery with many men of her own sentiments: against whom God threatens grievous ills. See on Ezekiel 13:18 and following (Grotius).


I will cast her into a bed; another kind of bed than she hath sinned in and by, not a bed of ease and pleasure, but of pain and torment. Nor shall the seduced escape, they shall also be cast into great tribulation, pains and torments of conscience, or afflictions more corporal, either from the more immediate hand of God, or the hands of men.



[Except repentance, etc.] Behold the longsuffering of God. He recalls that most filthy harolot unto repentance (Pareus, similarly Durham). Therefore, severe was the sentence of Tertullian and the Novatians, by which they were denying to the faithful, having lapsed into harlotry or other mortal sins, the pardon and reconciliation of the Church and God (Cluverus).


Except they repent of their deeds; this is to be supposed to all God’s threatenings of judgments, the execution of them ordinarily may be prevented by repentance, and such is the patience of God, that he gives the vilest sinners a space to repent.


Verse 23:[2] And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that (1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Chron. 28:9; 29:17; 2 Chron. 6:30; Ps. 7:9; Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; John 2:24, 25; Acts 1:24; Rom. 8:27) I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and (Ps. 62:12; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6; 14:12; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:5; Rev. 20:12) I will give unto every one of you according to your works.



[Her children (that is, her adulterous offspring [Grotius, thus Durham, Pareus], children and domestics [Ribera]; or, her disciples [Cotterius, Lightfoot’s Harmony, Chronicle, and Order of the New Testament 155]) I will kill with death] Namely, the second (Ribera): or, with a plague (Grotius, Drusius, Lightfoot’s Harmony, Chronicle, and Order of the New Testament 155), which κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, par excellence, is called death, as in Matthew 24:7 (Grotius), and in Revelation 6:8 (Drusius). Or it is an emphatic Hebrew Pleonasm, that is to say, With extermination I will expunge (Beza), with slaughter I will slaughter: Doubling augments the signification among the Hebrews: I will completely destroy (Ribera), lest they arrive at a hereditary succession not due to them (Grotius).


[All the Churches shall know] Which Churches are in Lydia, Mysia, and in the neighboring regions (Grotius).


[Searching reins and hearts] That is, the intimate thoughts and affections of the heart (Ribera), in Jezebel (Menochius). The same expression is in Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; 20:12. By reins are understood Desires, as in Psalm 139:13; Proverbs 23:16; Jeremiah 12:2. By heart are understood Thoughts, as in 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; etc. Christ signifies this, How shall adulteries, although carefully hidden, escape my attention, who looks upon the first lusts and deliberations tending to that (Grotius)? He says this because that woman and her companions were feigning sanctity, and covering their sins; now, the others were not giving themselves up to bad influence, but were nevertheless complying with them (Ribera, similarly Pareus). But, says He, her impostures are not at all unknown to me; all shall acknowledge my omniscience and Divinity (Pareus).



[And I will give to each one of you, etc.] He transitions from the third person to the second, as it is often done in the Prophets (Ribera). This speech pertains unto those of Thyatira that allowed themselves to by deceived by the false Prophetess. The Bishop is commanded to say these things to those; but to the good, those things which follow (Grotius).


And I will kill her children, those who are seduced by her, with death; I will destroy them; unless some special death, such as the plague, be here threatened. So shall all the churches near Thyatira know, that I am a God who does not only take notice of overt, scandalous acts, but of the secret thoughts, motions, counsels, and designs of men’s hearts, Psalm 7:9; Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; and that I am a just God, who will deal with all according to their works.

[1] Greek: ἰδού, ἐγὼ βάλλω αὐτὴν εἰς κλίνην, καὶ τοὺς μοιχεύοντας μετ᾽ αὐτῆς εἰς θλίψιν μεγάλην, ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσωσιν ἐκ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῶν.


[2] Greek: καὶ τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς ἀποκτενῶ ἐν θανάτῳ· καὶ γνώσονται πᾶσαι αἱ ἐκκλησίαι ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἐρευνῶν νεφροὺς καὶ καρδίας· καὶ δώσω ὑμῖν ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν.

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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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