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Revelation 9:5

ESV They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.
NIV They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes.
NASB And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a person.
CSB They were not permitted to kill them but were to torment them for five months; their torment is like the torment caused by a scorpion when it stings someone.
NLT They were told not to kill them but to torture them for five months with pain like the pain of a scorpion sting.
KJV And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

What does Revelation 9:5 mean?

Verse 3 referred to locust-like creatures having a power like that of a scorpion—an animal most infamous for its painful sting. Here, this is further explained. The torment brought by these creatures compares to that of a scorpion's sting. Scorpions sting with the end of their tail, not normally producing death, but the experience can be extremely painful and the effects can last several days. The Lord puts specific restraints on these locusts. They can torment only unbelievers, and only for a period of five months. Further, they are not allowed to kill them.

The locust-like demons released from the bottomless pit are given a specific target: those not marked with the seal of God. In other words, they can only attack non-believers (Revelation 9:4).

Deuteronomy 8:15 reminds the Hebrews that the Lord led them safely through the Negev, "the great and terrifying wilderness," that housed "fiery serpents and scorpions." Just as the Lord protected His people from scorpions during their journey to the Promised Land, so He will exempt His sealed believers from the sting of scorpions in the tribulation, when the fifth angel blows his trumpet. Allegedly, scorpions are still common in the Negev, and a mountainous region that touches Palestine is called Akrabbim from the Hebrew Akrib, meaning scorpion.
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