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Revelation 17Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Woman and the Scarlet Beast

17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the judgment of the notorious prostitute[a] who sits on many[b] waters. The kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on the earth became drunk on the wine of her sexual immorality.” So he carried me away in the Spirit[c] to a desert. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered[d] with blasphemous names and had seven heads and 10 horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her[e] prostitution. On her forehead a cryptic name was written:




Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.

The Meaning of the Woman and of the Beast

Then the angel said to me, “Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again.

“Here is the mind with wisdom:[f] The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. 10 They are also seven kings:[g] Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must remain for a little while. 11 The beast that was and is not, is himself an eighth king, yet he belongs to the seven and is going to destruction. 12 The 10 horns you saw are 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

15 He also said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. 16 The 10 horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His plan by having one purpose and to give their kingdom[h] to the beast until God’s words are accomplished. 18 And the woman you saw is the great city that has an empire[i] over the kings of the earth.”


  1. Revelation 17:1 Traditionally translated the great whore
  2. Revelation 17:1 Or by many
  3. Revelation 17:3 Or in spirit
  4. Revelation 17:3 Lit was filled
  5. Revelation 17:4 Other mss read of earth’s
  6. Revelation 17:9 Or This calls for the mind with wisdom
  7. Revelation 17:10 Some editors or translators put They are also seven kings: in v. 9.
  8. Revelation 17:17 Or sovereignty
  9. Revelation 17:18 Or has sovereignty or rulership

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