Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Bowl Six (16.12–16)


And the sixth poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates and its water dried up so the way would be ready for the kings from the eastern sun. And I saw three impure spirits like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the wild animal and from the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of daimons performing signs, which go to the world’s kings to gather them for the battle of the great day of God the Almighty.

‘See, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his clothes so he will not walk naked and they see his shame.’

And he gathered them together at a place called Har-Megiddo in Hebrew.


The frog imagery probably comes from the Exodus plague, as several of the the bowl plagues do in this chapter. The Euphrates was seen as the approximate edge of both the Israelite world and the Roman world, and kingdoms east of it were regarded as wild and uncivilized. The notion of armies from beyond the Euphrates is mentioned earlier in chapter 9. The details of these two chapters may suggest the author had in mind the military of the the Parthians. Jesus ‘interrupts’ the sixth bowl briefly with a warning lifted from chapters 2 and 3. The Hebrew name ‘Har-Megiddo’ (often translated from the Greek text as ‘Armageddon’) literally means ‘Mount Megiddo’. The city Megiddo was the site of several battles in the ancient world. The location is now a tel, but at the time of the author could not have been considered a mountain except in the loosest sense. This has led some interpreters to identify a nearby mountain as the place in the author’s mind, such as Mount Carmel or Mount Tabor. The image of a mountain as the site of eschatological judgment may derive from Zechariah 14 or a similar passage.



44.27–28 [Yhwh] who says to the deep, ‘Be dry, I will dry up your rivers’; who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall carry out all my purpose’


46.6 The swift cannot flee away, nor can the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen. […] For the Lord Yhwh of armies holds a sacrifice in the land of the north by the river Euphrates.


18.20–22 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.’ You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a word that the Lord has not spoken?’ If a prophet speaks in the name of Yhwh but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that Yhwh has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it.


5.19 ‘The kings came, they fought; then fought the kings of Canaan, at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; they got no spoils of silver.’


1.22.22 ‘a spirit came forward and stood before Yhwh, saying, “I will entice him.” “How?” Yhwh asked him. He replied, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.”’

2.23.29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him; but when Pharaoh Neco met him at Megiddo, he killed him.


39.2, 4 I will turn you round and drive you forwards, and bring you up from the remotest parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. You shall fall in the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples that are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every kind and to the wild animals to be devoured.


15.18 On that day Yhwh made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates’


8.1–6 Then Yhwh said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says Yhwh: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. The river shall swarm with frogs; they shall come up into your palace, into your bedchamber and your bed, and into the houses of your officials and of your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your officials.”’ And Yhwh said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, the canals, and the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.”’ So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.


14.1-5 See, a day is coming for Yhwh, when the plunder taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; half the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then Yhwh will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that half of the Mount shall withdraw northwards, and the other half southwards. And you shall flee by the valley of Yhwh’s mountain, for the valley between the mountains shall reach to Azal; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then Yhwh my god will come, and all the holy ones with him.


3.2 Come quickly, all you nations all around, gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O Yhwh. Let the nations rouse themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the neighbouring nations.

1 Enoch

56.5–6 In those days, the angels will assemble themselves, and hurl themselves toward the East against the Parthians and Medes. They will stir up the kings, and a spirit of agitation will come upon them, and they will shake them off their thrones. They will break out like lions from their lairs, and like hungry wolves in the midst of their flocks. They will go up and trample the land of my chosen ones

Sibylline Oracles

3.611–612 A great king will come from Asia, a blazing eagle, who will cover the whole land with infantry and cavalry.

4.137–139 Then the strife of war being aroused will come to the west, and the fugitive from Rome will also come, brandishing a spear, having crossed the Euphrates with many myriads.

6 Ezra

15.28–33 What a terrifying sight, appearing from the east! The nations of the dragons of Arabia shall come out with many chariots, and from the day that they set out, their hissing shall spread over the earth, so that all who hear them will fear and tremble. Also the Carmonians, raging in wrath, shall go forth like wild boars from the forest, and with great power they shall come and engage them in battle, and with their tusks they shall devastate a portion of the land of the Assyrians with their teeth. And then the dragons, remembering their origin, shall become still stronger; and if they combine in great power and turn to pursue them, then these shall be disorganized and silenced by their power, and shall turn and flee. And from the land of the Assyrians an enemy in ambush shall attack them and destroy one of them, and fear and trembling shall come upon their army, and indecision upon their kings.

Greek Revelation of Ezra

6.4–5 And the prophet said, ‘And whence can you bring forth my soul?’ And the angels said, ‘We can cast it forth through your mouth.’

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