(Rev 13:18) Here is wisdom: He who has understanding, let him calculate
the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man. And its number is 666
We all know the calculations that 'prove' Nero, Hitler, Elvis or Obama is the beast of Revelation.
Could there be another interpretation of the verse? The beast stands before a jury and received 666 black stones. Meaning the number 666 is the number of jury members?
While the stones were used for regular counting they had also had a prominent place in the ancient legal system. Also in the Bible. The white stone Jesus gives is a voting stone. When the high priest went in the Holies of Holies he held a bag with 1 black and 1 white voting stone. (Drawing lots)
So is the verse about "counting stones" or "voting stones"?
Bit of a stretch but ignoring the symbology of the stones....
1) to count with pebbles, to compute, calculate, reckon
2) to give one's vote by casting a pebble into the urn
3) to decide by voting
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer's/Strong's Number: from G5586
Citing in TDNT: 9:604, 1341
1) a small worn smooth stone, a pebble
1a) in the ancient courts of justice the accused were condemned by black pebbles and the acquitted by white
2) a vote (on account of the use of pebbles in voting)
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer's/Strong's Number: from the same as G5584
Citing in TDNT: 9:604, 1341
psḗphos/ψήφος [pebble, vote],
psēphízō/ψηφίζω [to calculate, reckon],
sympsēphízō/συμψηφίζω [to reckon],
(katapsēphízomai/καταψηφίζομαι [to resolve, condemn]),
synkatapsēphízomai/συγκαταψηφίζομαι [to be chosen]
A. Normal Greek Usage.
1. psḗphos. This word means "little stone," "pebble," "dressed stone," or "stone" used in mosaics or board games. The plural, for "stones" used in counting, can denote "account." Other uses for small stones are in astrology, soothsaying, and especially voting. The latter use leads to the meaning "vote" or "voice," then "opinion," and in the legal sphere "voting" and "verdict."
2. psēphízō, sympsēphízō, (katapsēphízomai ), synkatapsēphízomai.
a. psēphízō means "to count" or "calculate" with stones, in a transferred sense "to reach a verdict," and middle "to vote with a stone," "to vote," "to resolve."
b. sympsēphízō, an uncommon word, means "to reckon up," "to agree on."
c. katapsēphízomai means "to pronounce guilty" or "to resolve," middle "to be condemned."
B. The LXX and Hellenistic Judaism.
1. The LXX.
a. We find psḗphos in Lam. 3:16 for "little stone" and in Ex. 4:25 for the sharp stone used for cutting the foreskin. The plural in Sir. 18:10 is used for little stones in the sand. The sense of "voting stone" occurs in 4 Macc. 15:26.
b. psēphízō is a variant in 1 Kgs. 3:8; 8:5 for "counting." sympsēphízō occurs in Jer. 49:20 Cod. AQ for "counting" (sheep).
a. Josephus uses psḗphos for "resolve" or "vote."
b. psēphízomai in Josephus means "to resolve" or "to reckon."
c. katapsēphízomai has the meaning "to condemn."
a. Philo uses psḗphos for "pronouncement" or "verdict." Pronouncements may be just and legal or unjust and illegal.
b. psēphízomai has in Philo the sense "to decree" or "to resolve."
c. katapsēohízomai means "to condemn."
C. The NT and Apostolic Fathers.
1. Paul in Acts 26:10 says that he gave his "voice" against believers, i.e., condemned them.
2. The white stone of Rev. 2:17 may have been an amulet. It serves to ward off evil forces. The color denotes its new and distinctive character or category.
3. In Lk. 14:28 psēphízō means "to reckon." As the builder should count the cost before starting, so disciples should consider their resources. They must also consider the cost of the required renunciation. "Reckon" is also the meaning of sympsēphízō in Acts 19:19 when those who had burned their books of magic valued them and found they came to a very high sum.
4. The number of the beast is counted in Rev. 13:18. Numerical value is ascribed to the letters, and the total is 666. One interpretation of this number is that it is the sum of the numbers 1 to 36, and that 36 is the sum of the numbers 1 to 8. In Gnosticism the number 8, the ogdoad, is identical to sophía, so that Gnostic wisdom might be the enemy. Others arrive at the emperor Domitian.
5. katapsēphízomai in Acts 1:26 seems to indicate that Matthias is officially given a place with the eleven.
6. sympsēphízō means "to reckon," "to add up," "to calculate" in Hermas Visions 3.1.4.
[G. Braumann, IX, 604-07]