I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire - Pure gold; such as has been subjected to the action of heat to purify it from dross. See the notes on I Peter 1:7. Gold here is emblematic of religion - as being the most precious of the metals, and the most valued by human beings. They professed to be rich, but were not; and he counsels them to obtain from him what would make them truly rich.
That thou mayest be rich - In the true and proper sense of the word. With true religion; with the favor and friendship of the Redeemer, they would have all that they really needed, and would never be in want.
And white raiment - The emblem of purity and salvation. See the notes on Revelation 3:4. This is said in reference to the fact Revelation 3:17 that they were then naked.
That thou mayest be clothed - With the garments of salvation. This refers, also, to true religion, meaning that what the Redeemer furnishes will answer the same purpose in respect to the soul which clothing does in reference to the body. Of course it cannot be understood literally, nor should the language be pressed too closely, as if there was too strict a resemblance.
And that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear - We clothe the body as well for decency as for protection against cold, and storm, and heat. The soul is to be clothed that the "shame" of its sinfulness may not be exhibited, and that it may not be offensive and repellent in the sight.
And anoint thine eyes with eye-salve - In allusion to the fact that they were blind, Revelation 3:17. The word "eye-salve" - ́ kollourion - occurs no where else in the New Testament. It is a diminutive from ́ kollura - collyra - a coarse bread or cake, and means properly a small cake or cracknel. It is applied to eye-salve as resembling such a cake, and refers to a medicament prepared for sore or weak eyes. It was compounded of various substances supposed to have a healing quality. See Wetstein, in loco. The reference here is to a spiritual healing - meaning that, ill respect to their spiritual vision, what he would furnish would produce the same effect as the collyrium or eye-salve would in diseased eyes. The idea is, that the grace of the gospel enables people who were before blind to see clearly the character of God, the beauty of the way of salvation, the loveliness of the person and work of Christ, etc. See the notes on Ephesians 1:18.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Revelation 3:18:
2 Peter 2:1
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