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Revelation 9:17

    Revelation 9:17 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates as of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone: and the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceedeth fire and smoke and brimstone.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And so I saw the horses in the vision, and those who were seated on them, having breastplates of fire and glass and of burning stone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire and smoke and a smell of burning.

    Webster's Revision

    And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates as of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone: and the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceedeth fire and smoke and brimstone.

    World English Bible

    Thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those who sat on them, having breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of lions. Out of their mouths proceed fire, smoke, and sulfur.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates as of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone: and the heads of the horses are as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceedeth fire and smoke and brimstone.

    Definitions for Revelation 9:17

    Brimstone - Sulphur.
    Jacinth - A precious stone.

    Clarke's Commentary on Revelation 9:17

    Breastplates of fire - jacinth, and brimstone - That is, red, blue, and yellow; the first is the color of fire, the second of jacinth, and the third of sulphur.

    And the heads of the horses - Is this an allegorical description of great ordnance? Cannons, on the mouths of which horses' heads were formed, or the mouth of the cannon cast in that form? Fire, smoke, and brimstone, is a good allegorical representation of gunpowder. The Ottomans made great use of heavy artillery in their wars with the Greeks of the lower empire.

    Barnes' Notes on Revelation 9:17

    And thus I saw the horses in the vision - That is, he saw them as he proceeds to describe them, for the word "thus" - οὕτως houtōs - refers to what follows. Compare Robinson's Lexicon on the word (b), and see Matthew 1:18; Matthew 2:5; John 21:1; Hebrews 4:4. Prof. Stuart, however, refers to what precedes. The meaning, as it seems to me, is, that he fixed his attention on the appearance of the immense army - the horses and their riders, and proceeded to describe them as they struck him.

    And them that sat on them - He fixed the attention on horse and rider. Their appearance was unusual, and deserved a particular description.

    Having breastplates of fire - That is, those who sat on them had such breastplates. The word rendered here as "breastplate" denoted properly a coat of mail that covered the body from the neck to the thighs. See the notes on Ephesians 6:14. This would be a prominent object in looking at a horseman. This was said to be composed of "fire, and jacinth, and brimstone"; that is, the part of the body usually incased in the coat of mail had these three colors. The word "fire" here simply denotes red. It was burnished and bright, and seemed to be a blaze of fire. The word "jacinth" - ὑακινθίνους huakinthinous - means "hyacinthine." The color denoted is that of the hyacinth - a flower of a deep purple or reddish blue. Then it refers to a gem of the same color, nearly related to the zircon of the mineralogists, and the color mentioned here is deep purple or reddish blue. The word rendered "brimstone" - θειώδης theiōdēs - means properly "sulphurous," that is, made of sulphur, and means here simply yellow. The meaning of the whole then is, that these horsemen appeared to be clad in a special kind of armor - armor that shone like fire, mingled with blue and yellow. It will be necessary to look for the fulfillment of this in cavalry that was so caparisoned.

    And the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions - Resembled, in some respects, the heads of lions. He does not say that they were the heads of lions, or that the riders were on monsters, but only that they, in some respects, resembled the heads of lions. It would he easy to give this general appearance by the way in which the head-dress of the horses was arrayed.

    And out of their mouths issued - That is, appeared to issue. It is not necessary to understand this as affirming that it actually came from their months, but only that, to one looking on such an approaching army, it would have this appearance. The pagan poets often speak of horses breathing out fire and smoke (Virgil, Geor. vol. ii. p. 140; iii. 85; Ovid, Met. vol. vii. p. 104), meaning that their breath seemed to be mingled smoke and fire. There is an image superadded here not found in any of the classic descriptions, that this was mingled with brimstone. All this seemed to issue from their mouths - that is, it was breathed forth in front of the host, as if the horses emitted it from their mouths.

    Fire and smoke and brimstone - The exact idea, whether that was intended or not, would be conveyed by the discharge of musketry or artillery. The fire, the smoke, and the sulphurous smell of such a discharge would correspond precisely with this language; and if it be supposed that the writer meant to describe such a discharge, this would be the very language that would be used. Moreover, in describing a battle nothing would be more proper than to say that this appeared to issue from the horses' mouths. If, therefore, it should be found that there were any events where firearms were used, in contradistinction from the ancient mode of warfare, this language would be appropriate to describe that; and if it were ascertained that the writer meant to refer to some such fact, then the language used here would be what he would adopt. One thing is certain, that this is not language which would be employed to describe the onset of ancient cavalry in the mode of warfare which prevailed then. No one describing a charge of cavalry among the Persians, the Greeks, or the Romans, when the only armor was the sword and the spear, would think of saying that there seemed to be emitted from the horses' mouths fire, and smoke, and brimstone.