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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 18 - Verse 12

Verse 12. The merchandise of gold, and silver. Of course, these constitute an important article of commerce in a great city.

And precious stones. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, etc. These have always been important articles of traffic in the world, and, of course, most of the traffic in them would find its way to great commercial cities.

And pearls. See Barnes on "Mt 7:6; Mt 13:46 ".

These, too, have been always, and were particularly in early times, valuable articles of commerce. Mr. Gibbon mentions them as among the articles that contributed to the luxury of Rome in the age of the Antenines: "Precious stones, among which the pearl claimed the first rank after the diamond," vol. i.p. 34.

And fine linen. This was also a valuable article of commerce. It was obtained chiefly from Egypt. See Barnes on "Isa 19:9".

Linen among the ancients was an article of luxury, for it was worn chiefly by the rich, Ex 28:42; Le 6:10; Lu 16:19.

The original word here is bussuv, byssus, and it is found in the New Testament only in this place, and in Lu 16:19. It was a "species of fine cotton, highly prized by the ancients." Various kinds are mentioned—as that of Egypt, the cloth which is still found wrapped around mummies; that of Syria, and that of India, which grew on a tree similar to the poplar; and that of Achaia, which grew in the vicinity of Elis. See Rob. Lex.

And purple. See Barnes on "Lu 16:19".

Cloth of this colour was a valuable article of commerce, as it was worn by rich men and princes.

And silk. Silk was a very valuable article of commerce, as it was costly, and could he worn only by the rich. It is mentioned by Mr. Gibbon as such an article in Rome in the age of the Antenines: "Silk, a pound of which was esteemed not inferior in value to a pound of gold," i. 34. On the cultivation and manufacture of silk by the ancients, see the work entitled, The History of Silk, Cotton, Linen, and Wool, etc., published by Harper Brothers, New York, 1846, pp. 1-21.

And scarlet. See Barnes "Re 17:3".

 

And all thyine wood. The word here used—yuinon—occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It denotes an evergreen African tree, from which statues and costly vessels were made. It is not agreed, however, whether it was a species of cedar, savin, or lignum-vitae, which latter constitutes the modern genus thuja, or thyia. See Rees' Cyclo., art. Thuja.

And all manner vessels of ivory. Everything that is made of ivory. Ivory, or the tusk of the elephant, has always been among the precious articles of commerce.

And all manner vessels of most precious wood. Furniture of costly weed—cedar, the citron tree, lignum-vitse, etc.

And of brass, and iron, and marble. Brass or copper would, of course, be a valuable article of commerce. The same would be the case with iron; and so marble for building, for statuary, etc., would likewise be.

{d} "gold" Re 17:4 {1} "thyine" "sweet"

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