Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 14 (Revelation 5:14)

The four beasts said, Amen - Acknowledged that what was attributed to Christ was his due.

The four and twenty elders - The word εικοσιτεσσαρες , twenty-four, is wanting in the most eminent MSS. and versions.

Fell down and worshipped - Επεσαν και προσεκυνησαν· Fell down on their knees, and then prostrated themselves before the throne. This is the eastern method of adoration: first, the person worshiping fell down on his knees; and then, bowing down touched the earth with his forehead. This latter act was prostration.

Him that liveth for ever - This clause is wanting in ABC, thirty-seven others, Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic, some copies of the Slavonic, Itala, and Vulgate; and in Andreas, and Arethas, ancient commentators on this book. It is also wanting in some editions, and is undoubtedly spurious. Griesbach has left this and the above twenty-four out of the text.

Now follow the least intelligible parts of this mysterious book, on which so much has been written, and so much in vain. It is natural for man to desire to be wise; and the more difficult the subject the more it is studied, and the hope of finding out something by which the world and the Church might be profited, has caused the most eminently learned men to employ their talents and consume their time on these abstruse prophecies. But of what use has all this learned and well-meant labor been to mankind? Can hypothesis explain prophecy, and conjecture find a basis on which faith can rest? And what have we better in all attempts hitherto made to explain the mysteries of this book?

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible