1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Vol II Introduction 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 Alexander's Works
This chapter contains a description of the prevalent iniquities of Judah, and of the judgments which, in consequence of these, had been or were to be inflicted on the people. The form of the prophecy is peculiar, consisting of a parable and a commentary on it.
The Prophet first delivers his whole message in a parabolic form. vs. 1-7. He then explains and amplifies it at great length, vs. 8-30.
The parable sets forth the peculiar privileges, obligations, guilt, and doom of Israel, under the figure of a highly favoured vineyard which, instead of good fruit, brings forth only wild grapes, and is therefore given up to desolation, vs. 1-6. The application is expressly made by the Prophet himself, v. 7.
In the remainder of the chapter, he enumerates the sins which were included in the general expressions of v. 7, and describes their punishment. In doing this, he first gives a catalogue of sins with their appropriate punishments annexed, vs. 8-24. He then describes the means used to inflict them, and the final issue, vs. 25-30.
In its general design and subject, this prophecy resembles those which go before it; but it differs remarkably from both in holding up to view exclusively the dark side of the picture, the guilt and doom of the ungodly Jews, without the cheering contrast of purgation and deliverance to be experienced from the same events by the true Israel, the Church of God.
This chapter, like the first, is applicable not to one event exclusively, but to a sequence of events which was repeated more than once. although its terms were never fully realized until the closing period of the Jewish history, after the true Messiah was rejected, when one ray of hope was quenched after another, until all grew dark for ever in the skies of Israel.
1. The parable is given in vs. 1-6, and applied in v. 7. It is introduced in such a manner as to secure a favourable hearing from those whose conduct it condemns, and in some measure to conceal its drift until the application. The Prophet proposes to sing a song, i.e. to utter a rhythmical and figurative narrative, relating to a friend of his, his friend's own song indeed about his vineyard. In the last clause he describes the situation of the vineyard, its favourable exposure and productive soil. I will sing, if you please (or let me sing, I pray you), of my friend (i.e. concerning him), my friend's song of his vineyard (i.e. concerning it). My friend had a vineyard in a hill of great fertility (literally, in a horn, a son of fatness, according to the oriental idiom which applies the terms of human kindred to relations of every kind). The common version, now will I sing, seems to take now as an adverb of time, whereas it is a particle of entreaty, used to soften the expression of a purpose, and to give a tone of mildness and courtesy to the address. Sing and song are used, as with us, in reference to poetry, without implying actual musical performance. The Prophet must be understood as speaking of a human friend, until he explains himself. Horn is here used, as in various other languages, for the sharp peak of a mountain, or, as in Arabic, for a detached hill. The preposition does not properly mean on but in, implying that the vineyard only occupied a part, and that this was not the summit, but the acclivity exposed to the sun, which is the best situation for a vineyard.
2. Not only was the vineyard favourably situated, but assiduously tilled, protected from intrusion, and provided with every thing that seemed to be needed to secure an abundant vintage. And he digged it up, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with Sorek, mentioned elsewhere (Jer. 2:21) as the choicest kind of vine, which either gave or owed its name to the valley of Sorek (Judg. 16:4), and built a tower in the midst of it, partly for protection from men and beasts, and partly for the pleasure and convenience of the owner, and also a wine-vat, to receive the juice from the wine-press immediately above, he hewed in it, i.e. in a rock (or hewed may be simply used for excavated in the ground, a common situation in hot countries for the lacus, reservoir, or wine-vat), and he waited for it, i.e. he allowed it time, to make, (produce, bear, bring forth,) grapes, and it produced wild grapes.
3. Having described the advantageous situation, soil, and culture of the vineyard, and its failure to produce good fruit, he submits the case to the decision of his hearers. And now, not merely in a temporal but a logical sense, 'this being the case,' oh inhabitant of Jerusalem and man of Judah, the singular form adding greatly to the individuality and life of the expression, judge I pray you, pray decide or act as arbiters, between me and my vineyard. The people are here called upon to judge between a stranger and his vineyard, simply as such, unaware that they are thereby passing judgment on themselves. The meaning and design of the appeal are perfectly illustrated by that which Christ makes (Matt. 21:40) in a parable analogous to this and founded on it. There as here the audience are called upon to judge in a case which they regard as foreign to their own, if not fictitious, and it is only after their decision that they are made to see its bearing on themselves. So too in Nathan's parable to David (2 Sam 12:1), it was not till" David's anger was greatly kindled against the man," i.e. the stranger of whom he understood the Prophet to be speaking, that'' Nathan said to David, Thou art the man." A disregard of these analogies impairs both the moral force and the poetical unity and beauty of the apologue. The same thing may be said of the attempt to put a specific figurative sense on each part of the parable, the wall, the tower, the hedge, etc., which is not more reasonable here than it would be in explaining Esop's fables. The parable, as a whole, corresponds to its subject as a whole, but all the particulars included in the one are not separately intended to denote particulars included in the other. A lion may be a striking emblem of a hero, but it does not follow that the mane, claws, etc. of the beast must all be significant of something in the man. Nay, they cannot even be supposed to be so, without sensibly detracting from the force and beauty of the image as a whole.
4. This verse shows that the parable is not yet complete. and that its application would be premature. Having called upon the Jews to act as umpires, he now submits a specific question for their arbitration. What to do more (i.e. what more is there to be done) to my vineyard and I have not (or in the English idiom, that I have not) done in it (not only to or for but in it, with reference to the place as well as the object of the action)? Why did I wait for it to bear grapes and it bore wild grapes? Some supply was instead of is in the first clause, what was there to do more, i.e. what more was there to be done, or was I bound to do? But this, though grammatically unexceptionable, does not agree so well with the connection between this verse and the next, as a question and answer. Still less exact is the English Version, what more could have been done? The question whether God had done all that he could do for the Jews, when the Scriptures were still incomplete and Christ had not yet come, however easy of solution, is a question here irrelevant, because it has relation not to something in the text but to something supplied by the interpreter, and that not only without necessity but in violation of the context; for the next verse is not an answer to the question what God could have done but what he shall or will do.
5. He now proceeds to answer his own question, in a tone of pungent irony, almost amounting to a sarcasm. The reply which might naturally have been looked for was a statement of some new care. some neglected precaution, some untried mode of culture; but instead of this he threatens to destroy the vineyard, as the only expedient remaining. The rhetorical effect of this sudden turn in the discourse is heightened by the very form of the last clause, in which the simple future, as the natural expression of a purpose, is exchanged for the infinitive, denoting the bare action without specification of person, time, or number. And now (since you cannot tell) I will let you know if you please (or let me tell you) what I am doing to my vineyard (i. e. according to the idiomatic use of the participle, what I am about to do, suggesting the idea of a proximate futurity), remove its hedge and it shall become a pasture (literally, a consuming, but with special reference to cattle), break down its wall, and it shall become a trampling-place (i. e. it shall be overrun and trampled down). Remove and break are not imperatives but infinitives, equivalent in meaning to I will remove and break, but more concise and rapid in expression.
6. To the threatening of exposure he now adds that of desolation arising from neglect of culture, while the last clause contains a beautiful though almost imperceptible transition from the apologue to the reality. By adding to the other threats, which any human vine-dresser might have reasonably uttered, one which only God could execute, the parable at one stroke is brought to a conclusion, and the mind prepared for the ensuing application. And I place it (render it) a desolation. It shall not be pruned, and it shall not be dressed, and there shall come up thorns and briers. And I will lay my commands upon the clouds from raining rain upon it, i.e. that they rain no rain upon it. The addition of the noun rain is emphatic and equivalent to any rain at all. The English Version lay waste is perhaps too strong for the original expression, which rather signifies the letting it run to waste by mere exposure and neglect. To command from or away from is to deter from any act by a command, in other words to forbid or to command not to do the thing in question. In this sense only can the preposition from be said to have a negative meaning.
7. The startling menace at the close of the sixth verse would naturally prompt the question, Who is this that assumes power over clouds and rain, and what is the vineyard which he thus denounces? To this tacit question we have here the answer. As if he had said, do not wonder that the owner of the vineyard should thus speak, fur the vineyard of Jehovah of Hosts is the House of Israel. the church, considered as a whole, and the man of Judah is the plant of his pleasures. or his favourite plant. And he waited for judgment, practical justice, as in ch. 1:17, and behold bloodshed, for righteousness and behold a cry, either outcry and disturbance, or more specifically the cry of the oppressed, which last is more agreeable to usage, and at the same time more poetical and graphic.
8. Here begins a detailed specification of the sins included in the general expressions of v. 7. We have first two woes pronounced against as many sins, each followed by a threatening of appropriate punishment. and a general threatening which applies to both, vs. 8-17. The first sin thus denounced is that of ambitious and avaricious grasping after property in opposition not merely to the peculiar institutions of the law, but to the fundamental principles of morals, connected as it always is with a neglect of charitable duties and a willingness to sacrifice the good of others. The verse before us may be understood, however, as descriptive rather of the tendency and aim of this ambitious grasping. than of its actual effects. Woe to the joiners of house with house, or those making house touch house, field to field they bring together, literally, cause them to approach, even to a failure (or defect) of place, i.e. until there is no room left, and ye, by a sudden apostrophe addressing those of whom he had been speaking, are made (or left) to dwell by yourselves in the midst of the land, owning all from the centre to the circumference, or simply within its bounds, within it.
9. The inordinate desire of lands and houses shall be punished by the loss of them, vs. 9, 10. And first, he threatens that the valuable houses which they coveted, and gained by fraud or violence, shall one day be left empty, an event implying the death, captivity, or degradation of their owners. In my ears Jehovah of Hosts is saying, as if his voice were still ringing in the Prophet's ears, of a truth (literally, if not, being part of an old formula of swearing, 'may it be so and so if etc.; so that the negative form conveys the strongest affirmation, surely, certainly) many houses shall become a desolation, great and good (houses), for want of an inhabitant.
10. As the sin related both to lands and houses, so both are mentioned in denouncing punishment. The desolation of the houses was in fact to arise from the unproductiveness of the lands. Ruinous failure of crops and a near approach to absolute sterility are threatened as a condign punishment of those who added field to field and house to house. The meaning of this verse depends, not on the absolute value of the measures mentioned, but on their proportions. The last clause threatens that the seed sown, instead of being multiplied, should be reduced nine tenths; and a similar idea is no doubt expressed by the analogous terms of the preceding clause. For ten acres of vineyard shall make (produce) one bath, a liquid measure here put for a very small quantity of wine to be yielded by so large a quantity of land, and the seed of a homer, i.e. seed to the amount of a homer, or in our idiom, a homer of seed, shall produce an ephah, a dry measure equal to the liquid bath, and constituting one tenth of a homer, as we learn from Ezek. 45:11-14.
11. The second woe is uttered against drunkenness and heartless dissipation, with its usual accompaniment of inattention to God's providential dealings, and is connected with captivity, hunger, thirst, and general mortality, as its appropriate punishment, vs. 11-14. The description of the sin is contained in vs. 11, 12, and first that of drunkenness, considered not as an occasional excess, but as a daily business, diligently prosecuted with a devotion such as would ensure success in any laudable or lawful occupation. Woe to those rising early in the morning to pursue strong drink (literally, strong drink they pursue), delaying in the twilight (until) wine inflames them. The idea of continuing till night is rather implied than expressed. The allusion is not so much to the disgracefulness of drinking in the morning as to their spending day and night in drinking, rising early and sitting up late. Strong drink differs from wine only by including all intoxicating liquors, and is here used simply as a parallel expression.
12. This verse completes the picture begun in v. 11, by adding riotous mirth to drunkenness. To express this idea, music is joined with wine as the source of their social enjoyment; but the last clause shows that it is not mere gaiety, nor even the excess of it, that is here intended to be prominently set forth, but the folly and wickedness of merriment at certain times and under certain circumstances, especially amidst impending judgments. The general idea of music is expressed by naming several instruments belonging to the three great classes, stringed, wind, and pulsatile. The precise form and use of each cannot be ascertained, and is of no importance to the meaning of the sentence. And the harp and the viol, the tabret (tambourine or small drum) and the pipe (or flute), and wine (compose) their feasts; and the work of Jehovah they will not look at (or regard), and the operation of his hands they hive not seen, and do not see. The work of Jehovah here meant is not that of creation but his dealings with the people in the way of judgment. Compare ch. 10:12. 22:11. 28:21. Hab. 1:5. 3:2. Ps. 64:9, and especially Ps. 28:5, from which the expressions there used seem to be taken.
13. Here again the sin is directly followed by its condign punishment, drunkenness and disregard of providential warnings, by captivity, hunger, thirst, and general mortality, vs. 13, 14. But instead" of the language of direct prediction (as in vs. 9,10) the Prophet here employs that of description. Therefore (for the reasons given in the two preceding verses) my people has gone into exile (or captivity) for want of knowledge (a wilful ignorance of God's providential work and operation),and their glory (literally his, referring to the singular noun people) are men of hunger (i. e. famished), and their multitude dry (parched) with thirst.
14. As the effect of the preceding judgments, the Prophet Bow describes a general mortality, under the figure of the grave, as a ravenous monster, gaping to devour the thoughtless revellers. Here, as in v. 13, he seems to be speaking of events already past. Therefore (because famine and captivity have thus prevailed) the grave has enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure, and down goes her pomp and her noise and her crowd and he that rejoices in her. The sense of the term grave here corresponds almost exactly to the poetical use of grave in English, as denoting one great receptacle, to which the grave of individuals may be conceived as inlets. It is thus that we speak of a voice from the grave, without referring to the burial-place of any individual. The idea of a place of torment, which is included in their present meaning, is derived from the peculiar use of *** in the book of Revelation, and belongs to the Hebrew word only by implication and in certain connections.
15. To the description of the punishment the Prophet now adds that of its design and ultimate effect, to wit, the humiliation of man and the exaltation of God, vs. 15, 16. The former is here foretold in terms almost identical with those of ch. 2:9. And man is brought low and man is cast down and the eyes of (he lofty (or haughty) are cast down. "Let a man be ever so high, death will bring him low; ever so mean, death will bring him lower." (Matthew Henry.)
16. The same events which humble man exalt God, not by contrast, but by the positive exhibition of his attributes. And Jehovah of Hosts is exalted in judgment (in the exercise of justice), and the Mighty, the Holy One, is sanctified) shown to be a Holy God) in righteousness. In judgment and in righteousness are used precisely in the same sense, ch. 1:27.
17. Having paused, as it were, to show the ultimate effect of these judgments, he now completes the description of the judgments themselves, by predicting the conversion of the lands possessed by the ungodly Jews, into a vast pasture-ground, occupied only by the flocks of wandering shepherds from the neighbouring deserts. And lambs shall feed as (in) their pasture, and the wastes of the fat ones shall sojourners (temporary occupants) devour.
18. The series of woes is now resumed and continued without any interruption, vs. 18-23. Even the description of tho punishment, instead of being added directly to that of the sin, as in vs. 9 and 13, is postponed until the catalogue of sins is closed, and then subjoined in a general form, v. 24. This verse contains the third woe, having reference to presumptuous sinners who defy God's judgments. They are here represented not as drawn away by sin (James 1:14), but as laboriously drawing it to them by soliciting temptation, drawing it out by obstinate persistency in evil and contempt of divine threatenings. Woe to the drawers of iniquity (those drawing, those who draw it) with cords of vanity, and sin (a parallel expression to iniquity) as (or as with) a cart-rope, i.e. a strong rope, implying difficulty and exertion. Vanity may be taken in the sense of falsehood or sophistical reasoning by which men persuade themselves to sin. The true interpretation of the verse supposes the act described to be that of laboriously drawing sin to one's self perhaps with the accessory idea of drawing it out by perseverance.
19. The degree of their presumption and depravity is now evinced by a citation of their language with respect to God's threatened judgments, an ironical expression of impatience to behold them. and an implied refusal to believe without experience. The sentence is continued from the verse preceding, and further describes the sinners there denounced, as the ones saying (those who say), let him speed, let him hasten his work (his providential work, as in v. 12), that we may see, and let the counsel (providential plan or purpose) of the Holy One of Israel (which, in the mouth of these blasphemers, seems to be a taunting irony) draw nigh and come, and we will know (i. e. according to the Hebrew idiom and the parallel expression) that we may know what it is, or that it is a real purpose, and that he is able to accomplish it. (Compare Jer. 17:15. Amos 5:18. 6:13. Isai. 30:10, 11. 28:15. 2 Peter 3:4.)
20. The fourth woe is against those who subvert moral distinctions and confound good and evil, an idea expressed first in literal terms and then hy two obvious and intelligible figures. Woe unto the (persons) saying (those who say) to evil good and to good evil (who address them by these titles or call them so), putting darkness for light and light for darkness, putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. These are here combined, not merely as natural opposites, but also as common figures for truth and falsehood, right and wrong. See ch. 2:5. Prov. 2:13. Ec. 2:13. James 3:11.
21. Here, as in the foregoing verse, one sin follows another without any intervening description of punishment. This arrangement may imply a very intimate connection between the sins thus brought into juxtaposition. As presumptuous sin, such as vs. 18. 19 describe, implies a perversion of the moral sense, such as v. 20 describes, so the latter may be said to presuppose an undue reliance upon human reason, which is elsewhere contrasted with the fear of God (Prov. 3:7), and is indeed incompatible with it. Woe unto the wise in their eyes (i.e. their own eyes, which cannot be otherwise expressed in Hebrew) and before their own faces (in their own sight or estimation) prudent, intelligent, a synonyme of wise. The sin reproved, as Calvin well observes, is not mere frivolous self conceit, but that delusive estimate of human wisdom which may coexist with modesty of manners and a high degree of real intellectual merit, but which must be abjured, not only on account of its effects, but also as involving the worst form of pride.
22. The sixth woe, like the second, is directed against drunkards, but with special reference to drunken judges, vs. 22, 23. The tone of this verse is sarcastic, from its using terms which commonly express not only strength but courage and heroic spirit, in application to exploits of drunkenness. There may indeed be a particular allusion to a species of fool-hardiness and brutal ambition not uncommon in our own times, leading men to show the vigour of their frames by mad excess, and to seek eminence in this way no less eagerly than superior spirits seek true glory. Of such it may indeed be said, their god is their belly and they glory in their shame. Woe to the mighty men or herons (who are heroes only) to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink, (i.e., according to the usual interpretation, to mix wine with spices, thereby making it more stimulating and exciting, a practice spoken of by Pliny and other ancient writers. Some understand the Prophet as referring to the mixture of wine with water. In either case the mixing is here mentioned only as a customary act in the offering or drinking of liquors, just as making tea might be mentioned as a common act of modern hospitality, whatever part of the preparatory process the phrase may properly denote.
23. The absence of the interjection shows that this is a continuation of the woe begun in the preceding verse, and thus explains the Prophet's recurrence to a sin which he had denounced already (vs. 11, 12) as productive of general inconsideration, but which he now describes as leading to injustice. and therefore as a vice peculiarly disgraceful in a magistrate. The effect here ascribed to drunkenness is not merely that of incapacitating judges for the discharge of their official functions, but that of tempting them to make a trade of justice, with a view to the indulgence of this appetite. Justifying (i.e. acquitting, clearing, a forensic term) the guilty (not simply the wicked in a general sense, but the wrong-doer in a judicial sense) for the sake (literally as the result) of a bribe, and the righteousness of the righteous (i.e. the right of the innocent or injured party, or his character as such) they will take from him (i.e. they do and will do so still).
24. To the series of sins enumerated in the six preceding verges there is now added a general description of their punishment In the first clause, the Prophet represents the divine visitation, with its sudden, rapid, irresistible effect, by the familiar figure of chaff and dry grass sinking in the flames. In the second clause he passes from simile to metaphor, and speaks of the people as a tree whose root is rotten and its growth above ground pulverized. In the third, he drops both figures, and in literal expressions summarily states the cause of their destruction. Therefore (because of the abounding of these sins) as a tongue of fire (i.e. a flame, so called from its shape and motion, Acts 2:3. 1 Kings 18:38) devours chaff (or stubble), and as ignited grass falls away, their roots shall be as rottenness, and their blossom as fine dust shall go up (i.e. be taken up and scattered by the wind). For they have rejected the law of Jehovah of Hosts, and the word (the revealed will) of the Holy One of Israel they have treated with contempt.
25. Having declared in the foregoing verse what should be, he recalls to mind what has already been. As if he had said, God will visit you for these things; nay, he has done so already, but without reclaiming you or satisfying his own justice, for which purpose further strokes are still required. The previous inflictions here referred to are described as a stroke from Jehovah's outstretched hand, so violent as to shake the mountains, and so destructive as to fill the streets with corpses. Therefore (referring to the last clause of v 24) the anger of Jehovah has burned against his people (literally in them, i.e. in the very midst of them as a consuming fire), and he stretched forth his hand against them (literally him, referring to the singular noun people) and smote them, and the mountains trembled, and their carcass (put collectively for corpses) was like sweeping (refuse, filth) in the midst of the streets. In all this (i e. even after all this, or notwithstanding all this) his anger has not turned back (abandoned its object, or regarded it as already gained), and still his hand is stretched out (to inflict new judgments). It is not necessary to suppose, although it is most probable, that what is here described had actually taken place before the Prophet wrote. In this, as in some other cases, he may be supposed to take his stand between a nearer and a more remote futurity, the former being then of course described as past.—The trembling of the mountains is referred by some to the earthquake mentioned Amos 1:1. Zech. 14:5. It is most probable, however, that these strong expressions were intended simply to convey the idea of violent commotion and a general mortality. There is no need of referring what is said exclusively to evils suffered in the days of Joash and Amaziah or in those of Ahaz, since the Prophet evidently means to say that all preceding judgments had been insufficient and that more were still required.
26. The former stroke
having been insufficient, a more effectual one is now impending, in
predicting which the Prophet does not confine himself to figurative
language, but presents the approaching judgment in its proper form, as
the invasion and ultimate subjection of the country by a formidable
enemy, vs. 26-30. In this verse he describes the approach of these
invaders as invited by Jehovah, to express which idea he employs two
figures not uncommon in prophecy, that of a signal-pole or flag, and
that of a hiss or whistle, in obedience to which the last clause
represents the enemy as rapidly advancing. And he raises a signal
to (he nations from afar, and hisses (or whistles) for him
from the ends of the earth; and behold in haste, swift, he shall come.
The essential idea is that the previous lighter judgments
should be followed by another more severe and efficacious, by invasion
and subjection. The terms are most emphatically applicable to the
Romans.—The hissing or whistling, probably alludes to the ancient mode
of swarming bees, described at length by Cyril. In the last clause a
substantive meaning haste, and an adjective meaning light,
are both used adverbially in the sense of swiftly.
27. The enemy whose approach was just foretold, is now described as not only prompt and rapid, but complete in his equipments, firm and vigorous, ever wakeful, impeded neither by the accidents of the way nor by defective preparation. There is no one faint (or exhausted) and there is no one stumbling (or faltering) among them (literally in him). He (the enemy, considered as an individual) sleeps not, and he slumbers not, and the girdle of his loins is not opened (or loosed), and the latchet (string or band) of his shoes (or sandals) is not broken. It is most probable that this last clause relates to accidental interruptions of the march.
28. The description is
continued, but with special reference to their weapons and their means
of conveyance. For the former, bows and arrows are here put; and for
the latter, horses and chariots (see ch 2:7). Whose arrows are
sharpened and all his bows bent (literally trod upon); the
hoofs of his horses like flint (or adamant) are reckoned, and
his wheels like a whirlwind, in
rapidity and violence of motion. From what is said of the bows
immediately afterwards, the prominent idea would seem to be not that
the arrows were sharp, but that they were already sharpened,
implying present readiness for use.—The bows being trod upon has
reference to the ancient mode of stringing, or rather of shooting, the
bow being large and made of metal or hard wood. Arrian says expressly,
in describing the use of the bow by the Indian infantry, "placing it
on the ground, and stepping on it with the left foot, so they shoot,
drawing the string back to a great distance."
29. By a sudden
transition, the enemy are here represented as lions, roaring, growling,
seizing their prey, and carrying it off without resistance; a lively
picture, especially to an oriental reader, of the boldness, fierceness,
quickness, and success of the attack here threatened. He has a roar
like the lioness, and he shall roar like the young lions, and shall
growl, and seize the prey, and secure
it, none delivering (i.e. and none can rescue it).
30. The roaring of the
lion suggests the roaring of the sea, and thus a beautiful transition
is effected from the one figure to the other, in describing the
catastrophe of all these judgments. Israel is threatened by a raging
sea, and looking landward sees it growing dark there, until, after a
brief fluctuation, the darkness becomes total. And he (the
enemy) shall roar against him (Israel) in
that day like the roaring of a sea. And he shall look to the land, and
behold darkness! Anguish and light! It is dark in the clouds thereof (i.e.
of the land, the skies above it).— The Prophet speaks of the vast
multitude that was coming up, as a sea. On that side there was
no safety. It was natural to speak of the other direction as the land
shore, and to say that the people would look there for safety. But,
says he, there would be no safety there; all would be darkness.