In the book of Revelation at chapter 6 verse 1-8 (NIV), we read about the four horses which are released when the lamb that was slain opens the seals.Read here

Again in Revelation 9 verse 17, we read about the horses,and in this verse the author is giving a detailed description about the horses and riders that he saw in his vision.Read here

I am trying to understand what "breastplate", belongs to which rider of each horse.There are four horses and riders, but only three breastplates (each with a different colour),which could suggest that one of the riders does not receive a breastplate.

Revelation 9:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.

Is it the authors intent that the reader should be able to allocate a breastplate to each rider?

Related read here.

  • 2
    There are not three breastplates. Each horseman has a breastplate consisting of red, blue, & yellow.
    – user6503
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


This answer will serve to substantiate from the Greek text the impression of one commenter:

Καὶ οὕτως εἶδον τοὺς ἵππους ἐν τῇ ὁράσει καὶ τοὺς καθημένους ἐπ᾿ αὐτῶν, ἔχοντας θώρακας πυρίνους καὶ ὑακινθίνους καὶ θειώδεις... (NA-28)

The word θώρακας is from θώραξ (thorax, meaning breastplate); it is a masculine noun, here declined as accusative plural. What follows are three adjectives, each declined in the accusative plural (lexical form > inflected form):

  • πύρινος > πυρίνους ("fiery")
  • ὑακίνθινος > ὑακινθίνους ("hyacinth-like")
  • θειώδης > θειώδεις ("sulfur-like")

As you can see, each of the three adjectives is inflected like (and governed by) the accusative plural noun θώρακας. So to the OP's question:

Is it the authors intent that the reader should be able to allocate a breastplate to each rider?

No. Instead, all three adjectives apply to each of the three θώρακες: they are multi-colored.

  • Can you verify the link?
    – user15733
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 22:36
  • @TheNonTheologian Link appears to be correct. It points to a comment on the question (i.e. an anchor on this same page).
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 19:02
  • @Bagpipes In order to ping someone in comments, you need to put the @ sign followed by no spaces before the user's name, of which only three letters are actually required. So @the would work in this case, but your ping would not generally work. (Here it probably did, but not because of the @, just because the system guesses that the only other person in the comment thread should probably get pinged, which is also why you got pinged with the request to verify, which I assume was aimed at me.)
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 19:04

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