Babylon Is Fallen
1After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, possessing great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his splendor and radiance. 2 And he shouted with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen [certainly to be destroyed] is [a]Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a dungeon haunted by every unclean spirit, and a prison for every unclean and loathsome bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk from the wine of the passion of her [sexual] immorality, and the kings and political leaders of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth and economic power of her sensuous luxury.”
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins and receive her plagues; 5 for her sins (crimes, transgressions) have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her wickedness and crimes [for judgment]. 6 Repay to her even as she has repaid others, and pay back [to her] double [her torment] in accordance with what she has done; in the cup [of sin and suffering] which she mixed, mix a double portion [of perfect justice] for her. 7 To the degree that she glorified herself and reveled and gloated in her sensuality [living deliciously and luxuriously], to that same degree impose on her torment and anguish, and mourning and grief; for in her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as a queen [on a throne] and I am not a widow, and will never, ever see mourning or experience grief.’ 8 For this reason in a single day her plagues (afflictions, calamities) will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire and completely consumed; for strong and powerful is the Lord God who judges her.
Laments for Babylon
9 “[b]And the kings and political leaders of the earth, who committed immorality and lived luxuriously with her, will weep and beat their chests [in mourning] over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing a long way off, in fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, the strong city, Babylon! In a single hour your judgment has come.’
11 “And merchants of the earth will weep and grieve over her, because no one buys their cargo (goods, merchandise) anymore— 12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet; all kinds of citron (scented) wood and every article of ivory and every article of very costly and lavish wood and bronze and iron and marble; 13 and cinnamon and spices and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat; of cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and carriages; and of slaves and human lives. 14 The ripe fruits and delicacies of your soul’s desire have gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and extravagant are lost to you, never again to be found. 15 The merchants who handled these articles, who grew wealthy from [their business with] her, will stand a long way off in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, for the great city that was robed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, gilded and adorned with gold, with precious stones, and with pearls; 17 because in one hour all the vast wealth has been laid waste.’ And every ship captain or navigator, and every [c]passenger and sailor, and all who make their living by the sea, stood a long way off, 18 and exclaimed as they watched the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What could be compared to the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, for the great city, where all who had ships at sea grew rich from her great wealth, because in one hour she has been laid waste!’ 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints (God’s people) and apostles and prophets [who were martyred], because God has executed vengeance for you [through righteous judgment] upon her.”
The Divine Sentence upon Babylon
21 Then a single powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone and flung it into the sea, saying, “With such violence will Babylon the great city be hurled down [by the sudden, spectacular judgment of God], and will never again be found. 22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flutists and trumpeters will never again be heard in you, and no skilled artisan of any craft will ever again be found in you, and the sound of the millstone [grinding grain] will never again be heard in you [for commerce will no longer flourish, and normal life will cease]. 23 And never again will the light of a lamp shine in you, and never again will the voice of the bridegroom and bride be heard in you; for your merchants were the great and prominent men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived and misled by your sorcery [your magic spells and poisonous charm]. 24 And in Babylon was found the blood of prophets and of saints (God’s people) and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.”
- Revelation 18:2 Whatever the exact city, Babylon here indicates human civilization arrayed in opposition to God and ready to be judged.
- Revelation 18:9 In the following verses, the kings (vv 9, 10), merchants (vv 11-17), and sailors (vv 17b-20) mourn the fall of Babylon, just as the same three groups mourn the fall of wicked Tyre in Ezek 26; 27.
- Revelation 18:17 Lit one who sails to a place.