© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Book of Revelation Chapter 17 Summary

Beauty and the Beast

  • Next up, John gets to see the Whore of Babylon. She is a woman riding the Sea Beast (except this time it's scarlet-red) dressed in red and purple robes and dripping with gold and jewels and pearls. On her forehead, she has written: "Babylon, the great, mother of whores." Bet she regrets that tattoo.
  • She's also pretty drunk. John tells us she's been drinking the blood of the faithful. Eek.
  • John is pretty amazed, but one of the angels asks him why. Fair question. He has seen some pretty amazing things up until now.
  • The angel then goes on to explain what the deal is with this woman. Oh, do tell.
  • Basically, the short version is this: the woman represents Rome who seduces everyone with its beauty and charm, but is really just a prostitute. The Beast she rides on is Rome as well, specifically one of its emperors, Nero, who was especially nasty to Christians and liked to have them executed. We also hear he's pretty good with a fiddle, too

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...