Previously: Merchants’ lament – Revelation 18:11-17
Rev. 1:17b –And every shipmaster, seafarer, the sailors, and all who do business by sea, stood far off 18 as they watched the smoke from her burning and kept crying out: “Who is like the great city?” 19 They threw dust on their heads and kept crying out, weeping, and mourning: Woe, woe, the great city, where all those who have ships on the sea became rich from her wealth, for in a single hour she was destroyed. 20 Rejoice over her, heaven, and you saints, apostles, and prophets, because God has executed your judgment on her!” (HCSB)
Shipmaster, seafarer, sailor
Shipmasters and other seamen who have grown rich by transporting the world’s treasures to satisfy Babylon’s appetite for luxury now add their lament to that of the kings and merchants. John records that all who do business by sea stand far off as they watch the smoke from Babylon’s burning and continuously cry out, “Who is like the great city?” This cry is similar to the one in Rev. 13:4 as the earth’s inhabitants worship the beast and say, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to wage war against him?”
These cries acknowledge more than allegiance; they reveal dependence upon the beast and upon the great city for security and privilege. Now that the city has been destroyed, the seafarers do not know where to turn for their business transactions. When the beast is cast into the lake of fire in Revelation 19, his followers will have nowhere to turn for their salvation. As Satan’s kingdom disintegrates and Christ takes His rightful place as the earth’s king, unbelievers will realize their folly in trusting their souls to sinful men and worldly institutions. An interesting side note: One day the seafarers will find that even the sea is gone (Rev. 21:1). Continue reading
Rev. 18:11 – The merchants of the earth will also weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any longer – 12 merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; fine fabrics of linen, purple, silk, and scarlet; all kinds of fragrant wood products; objects of ivory; objects of expensive wood, brass, iron, and marble; 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine wheat flour, and grain; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and slaves and human lives. 14 The fruit you craved has left you. All your splendid and glamorous things are gone; they will never find them again.
15 The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand far off in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 saying, Woe, woe, the great city, dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls, 17 for in a single hour such fabulous wealth was destroyed! (HCSB)
The merchants’ lament
The merchants’ lament echoes that of the kings but focuses on the prostitute’s costly apparel and accessories. They mourn the fact that such wealth is laid waste in so short a time.
The Greek word translated “weep” in verses 9 and 11 means a loud lamentation as opposed to private grief. Those who built their empires with merchandise cannot buy a storehouse large enough to contain their anguish. Take note that the merchants do not sorrow over the fate of the prostitute but over the loss of their business with her. It is a most excruciating grief because it is completely self-absorbed.