Revelation 17:15

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

And he saith unto me,.... That is, the angel, who proposed to give John the interpretation of the vision, he went on with it as follows:

The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth,

See Gill on "Revelation 17:1",

are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues; denoting the vast multitude of people, of which the several kingdoms, of divers languages, consist, which belong to the jurisdiction of Rome Papal: it is an eastern way of speaking, and is particularly used to express the various kingdoms, and infinite number of people belonging to the Babylonish monarchy, which was an emblem of the antichristian state, Daniel 3:4 and these are compared to waters, to many waters; which phrase sometimes is used for the sea,

Ps 107:23 because of the vast numbers of them; the whole world wondered after the beast, and the kings and inhabitants of the earth have been subject to the see of Rome; and because of their overbearing force, carrying all before them; see Isaiah 8:7

Revelation 13:3 and because, like waters, they are continually upon the flux, one generation succeeding another; and because of their instability, fickleness, and inconstancy, as in religion, so in their constitution, they will hate the whore they love; and as they frequently change and alter in their form, at last they will utterly cease: so the Jews {w} interpret many waters, in Song of Solomon 8:7 of all people, and of the kings of the earth, and of the nations of the world; and they say, that many waters never signify any other than all the nations, and those that are appointed over them {x}. So, "he drew me out of many waters", Psalms 18:16 is by the Targum on the place explained, he delivered me from many people. And so Psalms 46:4 is paraphrased by the Targumist;

"people, "as rivers", and their streams, shall come, and make glad the city of the Lord;''

see the Targum on Isaiah 8:7 and in Ezekiel 32:2 where it is observed kingdoms are compared to waters {y}.

{w} Targum in Cant. viii. 7. Shirhashirim Rabba fol. 26. 1.
{x} Zohar in Gen. fol. 51. 3. & Raya Mehimna in ib. & in Numb. fol. 105. 3. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 179. 4.
{y} Yaikut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 93. 2.