The Reign of Christ, 17:1-22:5
1. The ruin of the harlot, Babylon, 17:1-19:10
ii] The beast, the harlot and the ten kingsSynopsis
John is left confused by the visions and so an angel, one of the seven, sets out to explain its mystery. The red beast represents the one who was, "is not" at the moment, but "will come", and when he does, those whose names have not been written in the book of life will marvel. His seven heads, like seven mountains with the woman astride them, represent seven kings - five fallen, one is, and one to come - the one to come will only be around for a little while. The ten horns represent ten kings who are yet to reign, but when they do they will wage war on the Lamb, but he will defeat them. Finally, "the waters" represent the peoples of the nations, and "the woman" represent "the great city." Tying this altogether, the angel explains that the day is coming when the red beast will set about to destroy the woman, "the great city", and "burn her with fire."
The kingdom of God is at hand; the secular city is set to self-destruct.
i] Context: See 17:1-6a.
ii] Background: See 1:1-8.
iii] Structure: The beast, the harlot and the ten kings:
The vision of the harlot, v1-18:
she is astride the waters.
The vision described, v3-6a;
she is astride the beast.
The vision explained, v6b-18:
The woman astride beast, v8-14:
The beast, v8-9a;
The seven heads, v9b-11;
The ten horns, v12-14;
The woman astride the waters, v15-18.
As one would expect, this passage has the capacity to stimulate our imagination, but like the parables of Jesus, the more we stray into allegory the more we leave truth behind. The format of the passage is typical of apocalyptic; John is mystified by the vision and so an angel explains its meaning - although after "the mystery" is explained, it remains a mystery!
As evident in the synopsis, each element of the vision is explained by the angel. First, there is the red beast. Like God, who was, is, and will be, the red beast is a god-like being one who was and will become evident in the last day, although he is not evident to the senses now. Even so, those who worship him (those marked with 666 = BEAST) marvel at his power. He is described as "an eighth king" due to his close association with the seven kings (the secular city, v9-11). Unlike Christ who will come from above, he will come from beneath, and will be rendered powerless in a final confrontation with Christ. All the clues are there to indicate that the red beast represents Satan, the anti-god, the motivating power of the secular city, while at the same time integral to the image as a whole. For example, for John in his day, Rome and its vassal states would be the whore herself, the whore astride the waters, astride the red beast, astride the seven hills. The whole is Babylon, the secular city, founded on the powers of darkness.
The woman, representing Babylon, the secular city (the beast from the sea, political power + the beast from the land, political ideology - the servants of Satanic power) sits astride seven hills = seven kings, v9-11. This image probably represents the pervasive authority and power of the secular city. "Kings" point in that direction, as do orh, "mountains", the high places ruled by the gods (Israel met God on Mount Sinai). Manifestations of corrupt secular society come and go ("five have fallen"), and we presently experience that corruption now ("one is" - for John it was Rome), but the end is near and the final manifestation of the evil city will be but for a short time, cf., Mk.13:20.
Next we have the ten horns, v12-14. Again we are told that they are "kings" (secular authority) and that they are "not yet", so presumably they are an extension of the last head / king, the one "not yet come." We usually identify this last manifestation of Babylon / the secular city with the antiChrist. There is a sense in the Revelation that in these last days that will be "cut short" "for the sake of the elect", we reach a climax of evil. The fact that the one is ten indicates a multiplication of evil power, rule and authority.
Finally, the last element requiring explanation is "the water", v15-18. The image of the woman astride the waters represents her authority and rule over "peoples and multitudes and nations and languages." The seemingly close bond between the woman / harlot ("the great city", the secular city) and the red beast (Satan) is nothing but a sham. The red beast hates the harlot and will ultimately bring her to ruin. Osborne suggests that the instrument Satan uses to bring down "the great city" is the very people who worship it, so the image depicts civil war, and this brought about by divine authority.
Deciphering John's apocalyptic imagery: John's eschatology is primarily realized; he repeatedly takes us to the day of judgment, the Great Day of the Lord, the parousia. Sometimes the aspect changes, although the view is usually from heaven, certainly the descriptions are varied (seals, trumpets, bowls, ..), but in the end, it is the same event - the day of judgment. Yet as well as the now of God's reign in Christ, John reveals the tribulations of the not yet. In these visions his perspective changes; its as if he is in the church looking out on a world falling apart. The difficulties faced by the Christian community at the time of writing has probably contributed to John's perspective - the day draws near as the tribulations compound.
The players in this drama are depicted in many and varied ways, so much so it is sometimes difficult to define who or what they represent. Yet, the actual players are not hard to identify. There is God (the Father) and Jesus (the Lamb) and the children of God, believers, the Christian community (the woman and her offspring). On the opposing side we have Satan (the red dragon, probably the scarlet beast, ...) and his minions (the beast from the sea [corrupt political power], the beast from the land [corrupt ideology]. Then there is the whore, Babylon, the woman astride the waters / hills, .........., the antiChrist) and associates (those with the mark of the beast, those who worship the beast). It is the many and varied descriptions of the minions of Satan that tend to confuse, although in the end they all represent one entity, namely, corrupt human society; "satanic institutions throughout history which have espoused corrupt religious, moral and economic values", Smalley. John had the perfect example in the Roman Empire: it's emperor, governance, ideology, religion, ....., standing against, and at time oppressing, the Christian community.
In simple terms, the minions of Satan entail all that makes up the secular city. This entity is like a beast from the bog, put down, wounded, but back again in a different form, sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh, but always leaning toward the darkness, rather than the light. The message of the Revelation is that the days are numbered for the Whore of Babylon, so let the reader persevere in faith.
Text - 17:6b
The beast, the harlot and the ten kings, v6b-18: i] Introduction, v6b-7. John is awestruck with wonder, and so the mystery of the vision is revealed to him, cf., Dan.7. The vision is in two parts, the woman astride the waters, and the woman astride the beast. The second part of the vision is covered first, with the focus on the beast and its heads and horns.
kai "-" - and. Transitional. Probably indicating a step in the narrative; used instead of de; "Astonished, I rubbed my eyes, and shook my head in wonder", cf., Peterson.
Edwin (oJraw) aor. part. "when I saw" - having seen [i marveled, wondered a great marvel, wonder]. The participle is best viewed as adverbial, temporal; "I was struck with great amazement when I saw this", Cassirer.
moi dat. pro. "to me" - [and the angel said] to me. Dative of indirect object.
dia ti "why" - because of what = why [did you marvel]? Interrogative construction. The purpose of the question is not to seek an answer, but to pave the way for an explanation of the "mystery".
soi dat. pro. "[I will explain] to you" - [i will tell the mystery] to you. Dative of indirect object; "I will explain to you the secret meaning", Barclay. An explanation of a vision provided to the prophet by an angel is a common feature of apocalyptic literature, cf., Zech.1:7-6:15. Here the angel provides "the hidden meaning", Koester, "secret meaning", Smalley.
thV gunaikoV (h koV) gen. "of the woman" - As with tou qhriou, "of the beast", the genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, limiting "mystery" by specifying it.
tou bastazontoV (bastazw) gen. pres. part. "[she] rides" - carrying [her]. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "beast"; "I will tell you the mystic meaning of the woman, and of the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns, that carries her", Berkeley.
tou econtoV (ecw) gen. pres. part. "which has" - having [the seven heads and the ten horns]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "beast".
ii] The woman astride the beast, v8-14: a) The beast, v8. It is not possible to be 100% sure, but the qhrion kokkinon, "scarlet beast", is the same character as the drakwn megaV purroV, "enormous red dragon", here in a slightly different form. So, John probably wants us to see the beast as Satan, the demonic power of evil, although his focus will be on the heads and horns, namely, the manifestations of Satanic power and how these interrelate with the whore of Babylon. The beast possesses godlike / christlike characteristics, although they are a parody of the divine - he "is not", and his ascending / coming is to destruction, cf., ch. 9, Dan.7:3-26. There is no glorious parousia for the beast (the minions and manifestations of Satan - the anitChrist is the encapsulation of them all), although his ascension to power in the last day will be admired by his adherents - whatever that's worth!
anabainein (anabainw) pres. inf. "will come up" - [the beast which you saw was, and is not, and is about] to come up. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "is about" - together they virtually serve as a finite verb in the future tense. Koester sees a possible allusion to funeral epigrams, but it more likely reflects the divine who was, is, and will be - ascending / coming to glory. Koester also sees something of the Nero myth in the language - he was, is not now, but is coming back, cf., 13:3. It is unclear how much we should push John's imagery, but it is true that Satan and his minions / manifestations (the whore of Babylon, the secular city, .... antiCrist) is here one minute, and gone the next, but like Arnie, "I'll be back!" - back for destruction!!
ek + gen. "out of [the Abyss]" - from [the abyss]. Expressing source / origin; "from the bottomless pit", ESV.
uJpagei (upagw) pres. "go [to its destruction]" - [and] goes [into destruction]. Variant uJpagein, inf. exists. This aligns with the infinitive "to come up", even possibly to express purpose, but these would be good reasons to change it from an indicative.
oiJ lkatoikounteV (katoikew) pres. part. "the inhabitants [of the earth]" - the ones dwelling [upon the earth will marvel, wonder (admiration rather than astonishment)]. For John, the ones dwelling on the earth are those who carry the mark of the beast - the adherents of the beast apart from the adherents of Christ.
w|n gen. pro. "whose [names]" - [the name] of whom [has not been written]. The genitive relative pronoun is possessive.
thV ghV (h) "[the book] of life" - [upon the book] of life. The genitive is adjectival, attributive / idiomatic; "the book which lists all those who are gifted eternal life by the Lamb"; "the book of life of the Lamb", 13:8.
apo + gen. "from [the creation of the world]" - from [foundation of world]. Temporal use of the preposition.
blepontwn (blepw) gen. pres. part. "when they see [the beast]" - seeing [the beast]. Attendant circumstance participle, or adverbial, causal, although better temporal, as NIV. A nominative case would be expected, rather than a genitive. Smalley argues that it may be attracted to the genitive w|n, but it is more likely a genitive absolute, so also Aune. Mathewson argues the opposite case.
oJti "because" - that [it was, and is not, and will be present]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the people will be amazed (with admiration) at what they see, namely ...... What do they actually see? Osborne suggests a counterfeit resurrection of the antiChrist - "the ascension of the antiChrist to power", cf., 13:3, 12, 14.
w|de adv. "This calls for" - here requires [the mind]. This local adverb can be inferential, "thus", but it seems to serve as a backward referencing substantive, something like "this beast." The verb must be assumed, so "is" = requires; "this beast requires a mind which has wisdom", ie., the beast referred to in v8 is very dangerous and in handling him/it a believer needs to be very thoughtful / take extra care - "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith", 1Pet.5:8-9a.
oJ ecwn pres. part. "with [wisdom]" - having [wisdom]. The participle is adjectival, attributive; "which has wisdom."
b) The seven heads, v9b-11. So, we have seven hills = seven kings, five in the past, one now, and one coming, with the beast itself an eighth king. John is probably saying nothing more than that corrupted secular authority will come and go, with its last manifestation before the parousia the worst of the lot, although only for "a little while" - an antiChrist, Satan in secular garb. Of course, Rome would have shaped John's perception, as does society for us today; he could well have imagined a resurrected Nero (Nero redivivus) as the antiChrist, the eighth king, but John doesn't say this, so it is a stretch to argue that his point is that "Roman tyranny was a temporary phenomenon about to be completed (in the seventh short-lived ruler) and would lead to the eschaton", Osborne; see also Bauckham. John's apocalyptic imagery applies to all ages and so lining up the seven kings with Roman rulers (Swete, ....), or empires (Hendriksen, ....), is a waste of time. We are dealing with apocalyptic symbolism, so Sweet, Caird, Beasley-Murray, Mounce, Aune, ...... Cf., Daniel 7:17, 23.
eJpta orh "seven hills" - [the seven heads are] seven mountains. Quite a few commentators link the seven hills with the seven hills of Rome and some go on to link the seven kings with seven Roman emperors, Augustus, 30BC-AD14, through to Domitian, AD81-96. "Mountains" in Jewish literature often symbolizes kingdoms / political entities, and seven is used as a complete number, so we are again looking at a symbolic image representing the secular city - corrupt human society, political and cultural (see interpretation above).
oJpou "[on which the woman sits]" - where [the woman sits on them]. The clause is somewhat awkward. The local conjunction "where" is referring to the "seven hills", so indicating where the woman sits, namely, ep, "on / upon", the "seven hills" = autwn, "them"; "the seven heads are seven mountains, on them (namely oJpou, "where" = the seven hills) the woman is seated."
kai "[they are] also" - also [they are seven kings]. Adjunctive.
oJtan + subj. "when [he does come]" - [the five fell, the one is, the other did not yet come and] when [he comes]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause.
meinai (menw) aor. inf. "[he must] remain" - to remain [is necessary]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb "to remain, abide, continue."
oligon adj. "for only a little while" - little. The adjective "little" may function adverbially of space, or, as here, of time / temporal; "a short time." Again John reminds us that the final manifestation of the secular city, the closest thing to Satan himself (the antiChrist), will be but for a short time "for the sake of the elect", Matt.24:22.
The imagery becomes even more complicated with the beast, who was and is not, referred to as an eighth king with, or after, the seventh king, the one "not yet come" who will remain "a little while." John seems to imply that the 8th. is an extension of the 7th. such that they are one entity, the last and most corrupt / satanic manifestation of the secular city (the antiChrist). The number eight may allude to the eighth day, ie., the first day of the week, the day of Jesus' resurrection - so possibly a symbol of the beast's miraculous resurrection / parousia which will "deceive the nations into worshipping him as god", Osborne; see Beale.
kai "-" - [and the beast which was and is not], both [he is the eighth] and [from the seventh is, and to/into destruction goes]. Here serving to form a correlative construction, "both .... and ...." The preposition ek, "from", may be partitive, so "one of the eighth kings", but source / origin seems best.
autoV pro. "-" - he [is the eighth]. Emphatic use of the pronoun given the presence of estin, "he/she/it is". Again we see a masculine personal pronoun not in concord with its antecedent, namely "beast", which is neuter. Obviously a constructio ad sensum, according to sense, ie., the beast is Satan, a "he".
c) The ten horns, v12-14. The implication is that the ten horns are on the seventh head. They too are symbols of authority and power, as is the seventh head and its 8th extension. Together they make up the final manifestation of corrupt human society, the antiChrist, set to wage war against the Lamb, and then the antiChrist +++ is, as we say in Australia, done like a dog's dinner. Some commentators have attempted to identify the ten horns with 10 separate states, or ten vassal kings under Rome (Aune), Roman governors (Moffatt), political entities who will bring about the destruction of the Roman Empire (Swete), etc...., but we are best to interpret the image as symbolic. Sure, John would have seen something of the "ten horns" in the Roman Empire, but then so do we as we witness the Christian church under the thumb of godless secular governments. Note how John develops his imagery from Daniel 7:7-24. In Daniel the horns signify kings ruling in succession, "but in Revelation the kings act as a coalition", Koester - an amalgam of evil violently opposed to the Lamb.
basileian (euV ewV) "[have not yet received] a kingdom" - [and the ten horns which you saw are ten kings]. Direct object of the verb "to receive." Aune suggests that the phrase "receive a kingdom" means "become a king"; "they have not yet assumed their royal rule", Cassirer.
oiJtines rel. pro. "who" - who [did not receive a kingdom]. Originally qualitative, "who of such a sort that", but by the koine period just "who".
alla "but" - Adversative.
wJV "[will receive authority] as [kings]" - [receive authority] as [kings]. This comparative particle is functioning adverbially here, expressing manner; "the ten horns ..... will receive (the present tense is futuristic) authority for one hour, in like manner to the way a king receives authority." Note again the limitation set on the "horns"; it is only for "one hour" = "a moment."
mian wJtan "for one hour" - one hour. The accusative is adverbial, temporal, so "for one hour", as NIV.
meta + gen. "along with [the beast]" - with [the beast]. Expressing accompaniment / association. In the same way the seventh head is an extension of the beast (ie., the eighth head), so also the ten horns are an extension of the beast; "they (the horns) not only reign with Satan, but also submit to his rule", Smalley.
ou|toi pro. "they [have one purpose]" - these [have one intent, purpose]. Demonstrative pronoun referring to the ten kings. These kings have one purpose; "they are of one accord in yielding their authority to the beast", Osborne. The kings are in unanimous harmony, not only with themselves, but with the seventh head, and the one they serve, the scarlet beast. This coalition amounts to the antiChrist. Their purpose is outlined in v14, namely, to make war on the Lamb, and obviously that includes his "faithful followers."
autwn gen. pro. "their [power]" - [they give the power and the authority] of them. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, expressing a derivative characteristic, as NIV, although Mathewson suggests it is verbal, subjective, expressing the exercise of power and authority by the kings. Osborne suggests that "power and authority" is a hendiadys; "their powerful authority."
tw/ qhriw/ (on) dat. "to the beast" - Dative of indirect object.
The Christian community is included in this battle with the powers of darkness, although it is unclear whether it is active or passive; see Aune who argues that in the Revelation it is both. The Lamb will fight for us and overcome the red dragon and his cohort, but we will play a part in that battle. And who are those who participate with the Lamb in this cosmic war? They are the invited ones, those who have heard the call of the gospel and accepted it; they are those who are members of God's elect people, his set-apart people; they are the ones who persevere in faith. John's eschatology at this point is inaugurated, the final battle is not yet, but even now we "wrestle against .... the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places", Eph.6:12. This battle is most evident in evangelism - the communication of the gospel. It is no easy task, but when we see a person come to Christ, released from the bondage of the red dragon, it is then we witness the triumph of the Lamb.
ouJtoi pro. "they" - these. Demonstrative pronoun, referring back to the ten kings.
meta + gen. "[will wage war] against [the Lamb]" - [will make war] with [the lamb and the lamb will conquer them]. One engages in battle "with" an enemy, such that the preposition expresses accompaniment / association, but expressed in English as "against", or "make war on the Lamb", ESV.
oJti "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why the Lamb will conquer the kings.
kuriwn (oV) gen. "[he is Lord] of lords" - [he is lord] of lords [and king of kings]. As with "of kings", the genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "Lord over lords, and king over kings."
oiJ "[and with him]" - the ones [with him]. The article serves as a nominalizer, turning the prepositional phrase "with him" into a substantive, "those with him", ESV.
klhtoi adj. "will be called]" - are called, invited [and chosen, elected and faithful, trustworthy]. Predicate adjective. These three key words are variously interpreted depending on a person's theological perspective. Those who lean toward a Calvinist position take "called" and "chosen" as elements of divine predestination whereby a person is incorporated into Christ's community by an act of God's sovereign will. Those less inclined to a hard-line Reformed position view "called" in the terms of "invited", and "chosen" in the sense of incorporated into God's elect people by grace through faith in Christ / faithfulness of Christ. "Faithful" may similarly be understood in a number of ways, but in the Revelation John constantly calls for the perseverance of faith, of conquering in the face of difficult times, of remaining true to Christ, of persevering in faith; "sharing the Lamb's battle and victory are those who are called and chosen and loyal", Barclay.
iii] The woman astride the waters, v15-18. We are now given the interpretation for "the waters" (note some commentators think such an obvious interpretation is a gloss - an insertion into the text). We have learnt that the woman, the whore, is the whore of Babylon, and with her associate beasts etc., she represents the secular city, and now we learn that "the waters" represent the inhabitants of the city, the inhabitants of the world. John has already used this title for humanity, usually unbelieving humanity, but sometimes the people of God, cf., 7:9. It's not overly clear whether John has in mind unbelieving humanity here, or whether he is including those "in the world but not of the world", ie., believers - so "the peoples under Babylon's control", Koester, "subjects of the Babylonian king", Beale, cf., Daniel. So the secular world, under the authority of the whore, represents "the waters". In one sense the Christian community is not under that authority, but in another sense, is (unhappily) under that authority. Boring thinks that John has in mind unbelievers because the whore (for Boring that = Rome) not only rules over the people, but has "engineered an idolatrous relationship with them ..... and has employed them in its war against the Lamb."
kai "then" - and. Again this conjunction is used to indicate a step in the narrative.
moi dat. pro. "[the angel said] to me" - [the angel says (historic present)] to me. Dative of indirect object.
ou| adv. "where [the prostitute sits]" - [the waters which you saw] where [the prostitute sits, are peoples and crowds and nations and tongues]. This genitive relative pronoun is used as a local adverb; "who" = "where". Note the unusual placement of the verb to-be eisin, "are", between the pairs "peoples and crowds" and "nations and tongues". Plummer DDG suggests it is for euphonic reasons, ie., pleasing to the ear when read aloud.
"John's most vivid symbol of the self-destructive power of evil", Caird, cf., 6:1-8 - "everyone's sword will be against his brother", Ezk.38:21. John seems to draw on Ezekiel 23:25-29, a passage which addresses the destruction of apostate Jerusalem, a destruction realized in the invasion of the Babylonians. Note how the imagery of the ruin of the secular city is like that of Jezebel whose dead body was eaten by dogs.
ou|toi pro. "they" - [and the ten horns which you saw and the beast], these. This demonstrative personal pronoun is resumptive, referring to "the beast and the ten horns." Again John defies concord with a masculine personal pronoun whose antecedent is neuter. Corrupt political power is at present in the hands of humans, certainly at John's point of time, males (this may not be the case if robotic artificial intelligence gets loose!!!).
hrhmwmenhn (hremow) perf. mid./pas. part. "[they will bring her] to ruin" - [they will hate the prostitute and they will make her] having been made desolate. The participle serves as the complement, along with "naked", of the object "her" in a double accusative construction; "they will make her desolate and naked." Corrupt political power is self-destructive, turning in on itself to become desolate, naked and devoured by fire. Satan (the powers of darkness) destroys the very thing he creates.
en + dat. "[burn her] with [fire]" - [and naked and they will eat the flesh of her and will consume her] in [fire]. Instrumental use of the preposition, "burn her up by fire"; "they will devour her flesh and burn her up", REB.
The self-destructive forces unleashed within the powers of darkness are all "under the sovereign control of God", Osborne.
gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why the "beast" and "horns" turn on the "prostitute", namely, "because God has prompted them to fulfill what was in origin his judgmental purpose", Smalley.
poihsai (poiew) aor. inf. "to accomplish" - [god gave] to do [the purpose of him into the hearts of them, and to do one mind, and to give the kingdom of them to the beast]. The infinitive, as with the following infinitives, poihsai, "to do", and dounai, "to give", serves as a substantive, object of the verb "to give." They may be classified as introducing dependent statements of cause expressing what God "gave" / caused to happen. The presence of kai before the second and third infinitival construction coordinates all three, although Smalley is surely right when he suggests that the second and third further specify the first - "the first clause is general, whereas the second and third are more specific", Smalley. God fulfills his sovereign will by giving (putting) the will to do (fulfill / carry out) the divine intent / purpose in their hearts (Semitic idiom), ie., to do (make) of one mind, and to give (surrender) ......., ie., surrender political authority. The autwn, "them", is obviously the horns / kings.
tw/ qhriw/ (on) dat. "to the beast" - Dative of indirect object.
acri + fut. "until" - Introducing a temporal clause expressing time up to a point. We would have expected acri + a subjunctive, and in some manuscripts the verb "to fulfill" is subjunctive, but John often uses a future tense in the place of a subjunctive.
tou qeou (oV) gen. "God's [words]" - [the words] of god [will be fulfilled, completed]. The genitive may be expressing possession, or action (verbal, subjective; "the words proclaimed by God"), or source / origin, "from God."
As if in an allegory, John continues to identify the players in his vision. The woman, the whore, Babylon, represents "the great city", the secular city, 17:5. It is very unlikely that she is actually Rome, so Boring, Aune, ..., nor even Jerusalem, so Barker, but certainly for John Rome ("the greatest of cities and the master of the world", Koester) is like the woman.
hJ ecousa (ecw) pres. part. "[the great city] that rules" - [and the woman whom you saw is the great city] the one having [a kingdom]. The participle may be viewed as a substantive standing in apposition to "great city", or adjectival, attributive, as NIV. "The woman in your vision represents a great State, the State that tyrannizes the rulers of the earth."
epi + gen. "over" - For the sense "over" we would expect + acc., but John continues to stretch us with his favorite spacial preposition.
thV ghV (h) gen. "[the kings] of the earth" - The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "the kings who rule over the earth.