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Revelation 13 - IVP New Testament Commentaries

The Two Beasts and Their Deception

The NIV locates the sentence The dragon stood on the shore of the sea at the beginning of chapter 13. This is not the case, however, either in modern Greek editions of the text or in the NRSV, both of which include this sentence with chapter 12 (as 12:18, a verse that does not exist in the NIV). I for my part have followed the versification of the RSV, which also places the pronouncement in chapter 12, but as part of verse 17. The tendency to place it in chapter 13 seems to have begun with certain later Greek manuscripts that read estathen, "I stood" on the shore of the sea. The effect of this reading was to place John on the shores of Patmos, with the verb "I stood" preliminary to the I saw of 13:1. But the earlier, better manuscripts, as well as all modern translations (including the NIV), read estathe, "he stood," locating the dragon by the sea and linking him unmistakably with the beast's emergence out of the sea in 13:1 (see Michaels 1992:81-82). Because the latter reading is presupposed here, I have included the statement with chapter 12. The new character in the story is the beast coming out of the sea, and it is appropriate that chapter 13 should begin with him.

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