|<< Isaiah 24 >>|
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
INTRODUCTION TO Isaiah 24
This chapter contains a prophecy of calamities that should come upon the whole world, and the inhabitants of it, for their sins; of the preservation of a remnant; of the visitation of the kings of the earth; and of the appearance of Christ in his glory and majesty. The miserable condition of the world, and its inhabitants, especially all within the Romish jurisdiction, is set forth by various phrases, Isaiah 24:1 the causes of which are the transgression and mutation of the laws and ordinances of Christ, Isaiah 24:5 the effects of which are the cursing and burning of the inhabitants, Isaiah 24:6 cessation of all joy among them, Isaiah 24:7 and the destruction of their chief city, Rome, Isaiah 24:10 then follows a prophecy of a remnant that shall escape, and be brought into a very comfortable condition, and sing for joy, and glorify God in the midst of the earth, and in the uttermost parts of it, Isaiah 24:13 but it is intimated it shall go ill with others for their perfidy and treachery; fear and danger shall attend them everywhere, Isaiah 24:16 yea, in the issue, the world shall be shaken, and moved and removed, and be utterly dissolved, fall and not rise more, Isaiah 24:19 when the kings and great ones of the earth shall be taken prisoners, and punished by the Lord, Isaiah 24:21 and then Christ shall take to himself his great power, and reign with his people gloriously in the New Jerusalem state, Isaiah 24:23.
1Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty,.... Some, by the "earth", only understand the land of Israel or Judea, and interpret the prophecy of the captivity of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, as Kimchi, and other Jewish writers; and others, of the destruction of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar; but some take in along with them the neighbouring nations who suffered by the same princes at the same time. Vitringa interprets the whole of the times of the Maccabees, as also the three following chapters Isaiah 25:1; though it is best to understand it of the Papal world, and all the antichristian states; and there are some things in it, at the close of it, which respect the destruction of the whole world. The Septuagint version uses the word by which Luke intends the whole Roman empire, Luke 2:1 and the Arabic version here renders it, "the whole world": the "emptying" of it is the removal of the inhabitants of it by wars and slaughters, which will be made when the seven vials of God's wrath will be poured upon all the antichristian states; see Revelation 16:1 and this being a most remarkable and wonderful event, is prefaced with the word "behold":
and maketh it waste; or desolate; the inhabitants and fruits of it being destroyed. R. Joseph Kimchi, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, renders it, "and opened it" (n); and explains it of the opening of the gates of a city to the enemy, so as that men may go out of it; to which the Targum inclines paraphrasing it,
"and shall deliver it to the enemy:''
and turneth it upside down; or, "perverteth the face of it" (o); so that it has not the form it had, and does not look like what it was, but is reduced to its original chaos, to be without form and void; cities being demolished, towns ruined, fields laid waste, and the inhabitants slain; particularly what a change of the face of things will there be in the destruction of the city of Rome! see Revelation 18:7. The Targum is,
"and shall cover with confusion the face of its princes, because they have transgressed the law:''
and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; who will be obliged to fly from place to place from the sword of their victorious enemies. All is spoken in the present tense, though future, because of the certainty of it.
(n) So "aperuit totam portam", Golius, col. 321. (o) "et pervertet faciem ejus", Piscator.
2And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest,.... Or, "prince" (p); no order or rank of men will fare better than another; their dignity, in things civil or ecclesiastical, will not secure them from ruin; it will be no better with princes and priests than the common people; they shall all alike share in the common destruction. Not Jeroboam's priests, but rather the Romish priests, are here meant, who have led the people into superstition and idolatry; blind leaders of the blind, and so both fall into the ditch together:
as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; there shall be no distinction of superiors and inferiors; as not of prince and subjects, so not of master and servant, mistress and maid; no respect will be had to persons, but the one shall be treated even as the other:
as with the buyer, so with the seller; the one that bought an estate, and thought to enjoy it, will be no better off than he that sold it, and perhaps spent the money; the one will be possessed of no more than the other, seeing what the one had bought, and the other sold, will now be in the possession of a third:
as with the lender, so with the borrower; their condition will be equal; he that was so poor that he was obliged to borrow to carry on his business, or for the necessaries of life, and so he that was so rich that he was capable of lending, now the one will be no richer than the other, but both on a level; the substance of the lender being taken from him:
as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him; this was forbidden the Jews by a law, Deuteronomy 23:19 wherefore not the land of Judea is here meant, but the antichristian states, among whom this practice has greatly prevailed.
(p) "ac praesidi", Junius & Tremellius; "sic gubernator", Piscator.
3The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word.
The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled,.... Entirely emptied of its inhabitants, and wholly spoiled of its riches and substance; this is repeated, and with greater strength, to confirm what is before said, and which receives a greater confirmation by what follows:
for the Lord hath spoken this word; who is able to perform it, and who is faithful to his threatenings, as to his promises; not a word of his shall ever fail; the judgments threatened to the antichristian world are his true and faithful sayings; and the ruin of Rome is certain, because strong is the Lord that judgeth her, Revelation 18:8.
4The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
The earth mourneth, and fadeth away,.... It mourns, because of its inhabitants being destroyed; and it fades away, because stripped of its wealth and riches: so the kings of the earth, and merchants of it are represented as weeping and mourning at the destruction of Rome, because of its judgments, and the loss of its trade and riches, Revelation 18:9,
the world languisheth, and fadeth away: the inhabitants of it are like a sick man, that is so faint and feeble that he cannot stand, but totters and falls; and like the leaves of trees and flowers of the fields, whose strength and beauty are gone, and fade and fall:
the haughty people of the earth do languish: the kings and merchants of the earth before mentioned, who grow sick and faint through fear of what is coming upon them.
5The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants of it,.... Or, "and the earth"; or, "for the earth is defiled" (q); and so it is a reason why it is emptied and spoiled, because polluted and corrupted with the fornication of the whore of Rome, with her idolatries and superstitions, with which the inhabitants of the earth are defiled; or with her rapine and violence, cruelties, bloodshed, and murders; for blood defiles a land, Numbers 35:33 all which are committed by the inhabitants of the earth, subject to the see of Rome, by reason of which it may be said to be corrupted or defiled; so the phrase may be interpreted "for", or "because of the inhabitants of it": thus Jarchi and Kimchi, because of their wickedness and impieties; see Revelation 11:18 or, "the earth is deceitful" (r), or plays the hypocrite; promising and showing as if it would bring forth fruit, and brings forth none, but is barren and unfruitful, because of the sins of the inhabitants of it; see Revelation 18:14,
because they have transgressed the laws; of God and man, as antichrist and his followers have done; who is that wicked that "lawless one", that sets up himself above laws, and takes upon him to dispense with the laws of God and man, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and in innumerable instances has transgressed both, casting all contempt upon them, and bidding all defiance to them, as being not at all bound and obliged by them:
changed the ordinance; or "ordinances"; the singular for the plural, a collective word; the ordinances of divine revelation, of the Gospel dispensation, those of baptism, and the Lord's supper; the former of these is changed, both as to subjects and mode, from adult baptism to infant baptism, from immersion to aspersion; and the latter, in it the bread and wine are pretended to be changed into the very body and blood of Christ, and is only given in one kind to the laity, and made a real sacrifice of, when its end and use are only to commemorate the one sacrifice already offered up; moreover, by the "ordinance" may be meant the Scriptures, which are the "the rule of judgment"; which antichrist has most miserably perverted, and has changed and altered the sense of them; taking upon him to be the infallible interpreter of them, and judge of all controversies, forbidding the reading of them to the people, and setting up his own decrees, definitions, and determinations, above them; and is "that throne of iniquity, that frameth mischief, by a law", or ordinance, of his own making, and which he puts in the room of the divine law or ordinance, Psalm 94:20 where the same word is used as here; and he is that little horn, that thought to change times and laws, Daniel 7:25,
broken the everlasting covenant; not the eternal law of nature, nor the everlasting covenant of circumcision, or that made with Israel on mount Sinai; but the new covenant, or the administration of the covenant of grace under the Gospel dispensation, which is to last to the end of time, and lies in the ministration of the word, and administration of ordinances; which antichrist has done all that in his power lies to break, make null and void, by corrupting the word, and changing the ordinances, and setting up his own institutions above them, and against them.
(q) "et terra", V. L. "nam terra", Piscator. (r) "hypocrita est", Montanus, Tigurine version.
6Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth,.... The inhabitants of it, and the fruits upon it, alluding to the earth being cursed for the sin of man, when it brought forth briers and thorns; this may denote the seven vials of God's wrath poured upon the earth, or the antichristian states. Some, by the curse, understand perjury or false swearing; so the Targum,
"therefore, because of perjury (or a false oath) the earth is become a desert;''
of which popes, and Popish princes, cardinals, priests, Jesuits, &c. have been notoriously guilty:
and they that dwell therein are desolate: for want of houses, cities and towns being destroyed by war; or through famine, for want of provisions, the earth being cursed for their sins: or the words may be rendered, "for they that dwell therein are guilty" (s); of idolatry, bloodshed, perjury, thefts, sorcery, and all other abominations, Revelation 9:20,
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned; their cities burnt with fire, and particularly the city of Rome; or their persons, their bodies burnt with burning fevers, and pestilential diseases; and their minds with envy, fury, and madness: this may be the same with the fourth vial poured upon the sun, when men will be scorched with fire and great heat, and blaspheme, Revelation 16:8. The Vulgate Latin version here renders it, "shall be mad"; through the wrath of God poured out upon them:
and few men left; but what shall be consumed by fire or sword, by famine or pestilence, or by one or other of the vials; and those that remain shall be frightened, and give glory to the God of heavens Revelation 11:13.
(s) Sept. "peccabunt", V. L. "quia deliquerunt", Tigurine version; "rei aguntur, sive luunt", Cocceius.
7The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh.
The new wine mourneth,.... For want men to drink it, or because spilled by the enemy; or the inhabitants of the land mourn for want of it, not having their vintages as usual:
the vine languisheth; or is sickly, and so barren and unfruitful, does not bring forth its clusters of grapes as it used to do; there being none to prune it, and take care of it, and being trodden down by hostile forces. The Targum is,
"all that drink wine shall mourn, because the vines are broken down.''
So the Romish harlot, and those that have drank of the wine of her fornication, and have lived deliciously, shall have, in one hour, death, and mourning, and famine, Revelation 18:7,
all the merryhearted do sigh; such, whose hearts wine has formerly made glad, shall now sigh for want of it; and such who have lived deliciously with the whore of Rome, and have had many a merry bout with her, shall now bewail her, and lament for her, when she shall be utterly burnt with fire, Revelation 18:9.
8The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.
The mirth of tabrets ceaseth,.... Or of drums, and such like musical instruments, used at junketings and jovial feasts. So when Babylon is fallen, the voice of harpers and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters, shall be heard no more therein, Revelation 18:22,
the noise of them that rejoice endeth; the tumultuous noise of revelling persons at feasts and banquets, at marriages, and such like seasons; and so it is said, that when Babylon is destroyed, the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all therein, or the joy expressed on such occasions by their friends and companions, Revelation 18:23,
the joy of the harp ceaseth; an instrument of music used on joyful occasions; the voice of harpers is particularly mentioned in Revelation 18:22.
9They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.
They shall not drink wine with a song,.... They that have wine to drink shall not drink it with that pleasure they have heretofore done; nor shall their drinking be attended with merry songs, such as are sung by drunkards, who, while they are quaffing, are chanting to the sound of the viol, or other musical instruments; see Amos 6:5,
strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it; they shall have no gust for it, or relish of it, as they formerly had; either through bodily diseases upon themselves, or because of the calamities upon the nations and states in which they dwell: this will be the case of her that says, "I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow", Revelation 18:7.
10The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in.
The city of confusion is broken down,.... Or "of vanity", as the Vulgate Latin version; or of "emptiness" or "desolation"; the word is "tohu", used in Genesis 1:2 this is to be understood not of Bethel, where one of Jeroboam's calves was, called Bethaven, or "the house of vanity"; nor Samaria, the chief city of the ten tribes; nor Jerusalem; but mystical Babylon, whose name signifies "confusion"; even the city of Rome, in which there is nothing but disorder and irregularity, no truth, justice, or religion; a city of vanity, full of superstition and idolatry, and devoted to ruin and desolation; and will be broke to pieces by the judgments of God, which will come upon it in one hour, Revelation 18:8,
every house is shut up, that no man may come in: or, "from coming in"; not for fear of the enemy, and to keep him out; but because there are no inhabitants in them, being all destroyed by one means or another, by fire or sword, or famine or pestilence, so that there is none to go in or out.
11There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.
There is a crying for wine in the streets,.... Not to them that have it, to come and sell it, as Kimchi; but for want of it: there shall be a howling and lamentation in the streets of Rome, during the siege of it, when there will be a famine of bread and of wine, as in Revelation 18:8 by those who used to drink wine, and make glad their hearts; but now shall be without it. This is put for all desirable things, which their souls lusted after; but now will be departed from them, Revelation 18:14,
all joy is darkened: or come to an eventide; the light of joy is turned into the darkness of misery and distress; this will be, when the fifth vial is poured out on the seat of the beast, and his kingdom will be full of darkness; and men will gnaw their tongues for pain, and yet not repent of their sins, but blaspheme the God of heaven, Revelation 16:10,
the mirth of the land is gone; not Jerusalem, the joy of the whole earth, as Jarchi; but the mirth and joy of the city of Rome; See Gill on Isaiah 24:8.
12In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction.
In the city is left desolation,.... And nothing else, palaces, houses, and temples burnt, and inhabitants destroyed; none but devils, foul spirits, and hateful and unclean birds, inhabiting it, Revelation 18:2,
and the gate is smitten with destruction; or "gates", the singular for the plural; none passing and repassing through them, as formerly, and themselves utterly destroyed. This, according to Kimchi, shall be in the days of the Messiah, in the times of Gog and Magog.
13When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.
When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people,.... When the above judgments shall be executed, the city of Rome shall be destroyed, and the vials of God's wrath are poured but on all the antichristian states, on all the followers of the beast, throughout the whole Romish jurisdiction:
there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning of grapes, when the vintage is done; as when an olive tree is shaken, or beaten with a staff, which was the usual way of gathering olives, and which the word (t) here signifies, there are some few left upon the uppermost or outermost branches, which cannot be reached; and as, after the vintage is got in, there are some grapes to be gleaned and gathered from the vines; see Isaiah 17:6 so it is here insinuated that there should be some, though but a few, a remnant, according to the election of grace, that should escape the above calamities, and be preserved as a seed for the church of God; and so it will be, that just before the destruction of mystical Babylon, the Lord's people will be called out of her, that they partake not of her sins, and of her plagues, Revelation 18:4. The Targum is,
"for now shall be left alone the righteous in the midst of the earth, among the kingdoms, as the shaking of olives, as the gleaning of grapes after the vintage;''
and to olives and grapes are these gracious persons fitly compared, for the goodness, loveliness, and fruitfulness of them, through the grace of God.
(t) "similes olivis destrictae oleae", Junius & Tremellius; "tanquam strictura oleae", Cocceius.
14They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.
They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing,.... That is, as the Septuagint version adds,
"they that are left upon the earth;''
these shall lift up their voice, in singing the praises of God, for his judgments on Babylon, and avenging the blood of his saints; and for their deliverance and salvation, and the inestimable blessings they are now put into the possession of; these are they, who, having gotten the victory over the beast and his image, sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, Revelation 15:2,
for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea: so the Hebrew accents distinguish these clauses; and the sense is, that from the west, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it, from the western nations, where Protestantism chiefly prevails; or from the Mediterranean Sea, which lay west of Judea; from the maritime countries, the countries bordering upon it, where at this time will appear many that will embrace the Gospel of Christ; or from the isles of the sea, as the phrase is explained in the next verse Isaiah 24:15, such as our isles of Great Britain and Ireland; great acclamations will be made unto the Lord, on account of his glorious majesty, seen in the destruction of antichrist, and in setting up his own kingdom and glory: these are the four and twenty elders, who will fall down, and give thanks to Christ, for taking to himself his great power, and reigning; and these triumphant and victorious persons are represented as standing on a sea, while they make their shouts and hallelujahs; see Revelation 11:16 this, with what follows in the two next verses Isaiah 24:15, belong to the Philadelphian church state, or spiritual reign of Christ, and express the light and joy that will attend that.
15Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
Wherefore glorify ye the Lord, in the fires,.... These are the words of the remnant, now triumphing and singing, calling upon others also to glorify the Lord in the fires of affliction and tribulation, in which they had lately been, and had themselves done: or, "in the valleys" (u); in low estates and conditions: or, "in holes" (w); dens and clefts of rocks, where they fled from their persecuting enemies; but neither of these versions suit the state of the true church, as it will be at this time. The word "Urim", here used, which is one of the names of what was put into the breastplate of the high priest, signifies "lights"; which sense of the word the Vulgate Latin version retains, rendering it, "in doctrines glorify the Lord", and so the Targum,
"therefore, when light cometh to the righteous, they shall glorify the Lord;''
and so the words may be rendered, "glorify the Lord for the Urim", or "the lights"; for Christ, who has the true "Urim" and "Thummim", lights and perfections; for the light of his Gospel, and the truths of it, which will now be spread in a most wonderful manner throughout the world; to which times may be applied those words, "arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee--and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising", Isaiah 60:1 and which will be a just and sufficient reason for giving glory to the Lord:
even the name of the Lord God of Israel, in the isles of the sea; whose name will now be known, not in Israel, or among the Jews only, but in all distant and foreign countries, which are sometimes meant by the isles of the sea; and in all islands, even the most remote, who will have reason to join with them on the continent to glorify God, whose name will now be great in all the earth.
(u) "in vallibus". So Kimchi, Ben Melech, Munster, Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator. (w) "In cavernis vel speluncis", Forerius, Sanctius.
16From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.
From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs,.... Of praise and thanksgivings, on account of the judgments of God on antichrist; for the glorious appearance of Christ's kingdom; for the spread of his Gospel throughout the world; for the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles everywhere; wherefore these songs are heard from all parts of the world, and the uttermost parts of them; these are the voices said to be heard in heaven, or in the church, everywhere, Revelation 11:15 so some Jewish writers (x) interpret the words of the days of the Messiah, and of the songs then to be sung:
even glory to the righteous; to the righteous One; meaning either the righteous God, who is essentially righteous in himself, and declaratively in his works of providence and grace, and in the judgments he executes on his enemies; on account of which, particularly, glory is here ascribed unto him, even for his judgments on the great whore, they being just and true, Revelation 16:6 or to Christ the righteous One, who is so as God, and as Mediator, and is the author of righteousness to his people; who ascribe the glory of deity, of salvation, and of righteousness to him, who is crowned with glory and honour now, and will be glorified on earth at this time; for then he, and he alone, will be exalted, and will reign before his ancients gloriously: or to righteous men, such who are made righteous by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them: it is a glory to have on the righteousness of Christ; and such as have it are all glorious within, and will be remarkably glorious in the latter day, a crown of glory in the hands of the Lord; and especially in the New Jerusalem church state, when they will have the glory of God upon them, as well as in the ultimate state. Ben Melech observes, that signifies desire and good will; and so may suggest, that the righteous at this time will have all that their hearts can wish for and desire, as well as visibly appear to be the objects of God's light and pleasure. Some think that the word "tzebi", translated "glory", signifies the land of Judea, called "the glory of all lands", Ezekiel 20:6 which will at this time be restored to the Jews, who will now be converted, and be all righteous:
but I said, my leanness, my leanness, woe unto me: the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously: this the prophet said, which brought leanness upon him; he either pining and fretting at the present state of his people, so very unlike to that which he now had a view of; they being a set of treacherous men, there being no faith in them, with respect to God or one another; no religion or truth, no honour nor honesty among them: or having in view the future state of this people when the Messiah should come; whom they would reject, and treacherously betray into the hands of the Gentiles, and crucify: or else, rather foreseeing, by a spirit of prophecy, the sad times that would be previous to those glorious ones before mentioned; as great declensions among professors; great coldness and lukewarmness in religious affairs, the consequence of which is leanness of soul; the interest of Christ brought very low, his witnesses being slain, and prophesying at an end; and all this through the treachery of false teachers that lie in wait to deceive: unless, rather, it can be thought that this refers to the Laodicean state, when there will be great lukewarmness and indifference in the professors of religion; great carnality and security, and much spiritual leanness, though great boasts of riches and fulness; and which will issue in the dissolution of the world, and the personal appearance of Christ, to which the following part of the chapter seems to relate. The Targum interprets the word "razi", which is repeated, and rendered "leanness", by a "secret" or mystery, thus,
"the prophet said, a secret, a reward for the righteous is shown unto me; a secret punishment for the wicked is revealed unto me;''
and so Jarchi explains it of two secrets, the secret of punishment, and the secret of salvation; but of the latter especially the prophet would not say woe unto me, nor indeed of the former; for as the one is desirable, so the other is but just and righteous, and neither of them secrets, or mysteries: rather, if the idea of a mystery or secret is to be retained, the prophet may be thought to be thrown into distress, in the foreview of the blindness that should happen to Israel, and continue till the fulness of the Gentiles came in, which the apostle calls a mystery, Romans 11:25 and of their rejection, because of their disbelief of the Messiah, and their perfidious usage of him and his followers, dealing very treacherously with them, and betraying them into the hands of wicked men.
(x) Midrash Kohelet, fol. 62. 3.
17Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. This is to be understood not of the land of Judea only, and the inhabitants of it, but of all the earth; Kimchi interprets it of the nations of the world, particularly the Greeks and Turks; but the whole world, and the inhabitants of it, are meant, as the following verses show. There is an elegant play on words in the Hebrew, which cannot well be expressed in English, in the words "pachad, pachath, pach", fear, pit, and a snare; which are expressive of a variety of dangers, difficulties, and distresses; there seems to be an allusion to creatures that are hunted, who flee through fear, and fleeing fall into pits, or are entangled in snares, and so taken. Before the last day, or second coming of Christ to judge the world, there will be great perplexity in men's minds, great dread and fear upon their hearts, and much distress of nations; and the coming of the Son of Man will be as a snare upon the earth; see Luke 21:25.
18And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear,.... From the fearful noise that will be made, the voices and thunderings heard in the heavens above, the sea and waves roaring below; or from wars, and rumours of wars, and terrible armies approaching and pursuing, Luke 21:25 or rather at the report of an object to be feared and dreaded by wicked men, even the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, Revelation 1:7,
shall fall into the pit; of ruin and destruction, dug for the wicked, Psalm 94:13 just as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell into the slime pits, when they fled from their conquerors, Genesis 14:10,
and he that comes up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare; the meaning is, that he that escapes one trouble should fall into another, so that there will be no safety anywhere. Jarchi's note is,
"he that escapes the sword of Messiah ben Joseph, shall fall upon the sword of Messiah ben David; and he that escapes from thence shall be taken in a snare in the war of Gog:''
for the windows from on high are open; not hereby signifying, as Jerom thinks, that the Lord would now see all the sins of men, which, because he did not punish before, he seemed by sinners to be ignorant of; but the allusion is to the opening of the windows of heaven at the time of the deluge, Genesis 7:11 and intimates, that the wrath of God should be revealed from heaven, and the severest judgments be denounced, made manifest, and come down from thence in a very visible, public, and terrible manner, like an overflowing tempest of rain:
and the foundations of the earth do shake: very probably the dissolution of the world may be attended with a general earthquake; or this may denote the dread and terror that will seize the inhabitants of it.
19The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
The earth is utterly broken down,.... Still alluding to the deluge, when the earth broke in upon the waters under it, if Mr. Burnet's theory of the earth can be supported:
the earth is clean dissolved; it will be an entire dissolution, nothing shall remain; all these things, as Peter says, the heavens and the earth, and all in them, shall be dissolved, 2 Peter 3:11,
the earth is moved exceedingly; out of its place and form, and shall fall into its original chaos and confusion. The Targum is,
"moving, the earth shall be moved; agitating, the earth shall be agitated; breaking or dissolving, the earth shall be broken or dissolved;''
which seems to express the more gradual and natural dissolution of the world. These expressions are used, and repeated, to declare the certain and complete destruction of it.
20The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,.... When it shall be moved and agitated to and fro, and dissolved; or this may be meant of the inhabitants, who shall be at their wits' end, and in the utmost confusion, not knowing what to do, nor where to go, having no more thought, nor sense, nor command of themselves, than a drunken man; and this is in just retaliation, that as they have been drunk with sin, having drank up iniquity like water, they shall now be drunk with punishment, which being heavy upon them, will make them stagger like a drunken man:
and shall be removed like a cottage; or, "a tent" (x); either of soldiers or shepherds, which are easily taken down and moved; or like "a lodge" (y), as the word is rendered Isaiah 1:8. The Septuagint render it a "fruit watch"; and, according to the Jewish writers, it signifies a booth or tent, in which the keepers of gardens or vineyards watched in the night; which Jarchi says was built on the top of a tree, and Kimchi on a hill; and, being made of light wood, was easily moved to and fro with the wind. The Targum is,
"and it goes and comes as a bed;''
that is, rocks as a cradle:
and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; that is, the punishment of transgression, which, like a talent of lead, in Zechariah 5:8 shall crush it, and the inhabitants of it, to pieces:
and it shall fall, and not rise again; in the form it now is; for there will be new heavens and a new earth, in which the righteous, who will share the first resurrection, will dwell; for as for the first earth, or present one, it shall pass away, and no place be found for it, Revelation 20:11.
(x) "quasi tabernaculum", V. L. (y) "Ut diversoriolum", Piscator.
21And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
And it shall come to pass in that day,.... Not at the precise exact time the earth shall be dissolved, but previous to it, within that dispensation that is called the last day:
that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high; which is not to be understood of the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, as some; nor of the visiting of angels, as Aben Ezra; nor of the punishment of Satan, and his principalities and powers, who are reserved to the judgment of the great day; much less of the people of the Jews, their kings and rulers; nor the great monarchs of the earth, the Assyrian, Chaldean, and others; but of antichrist and, his dignified clergy, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, &c. who are the "host or army of that high one" (z), as it may be rendered; of him that exalts himself above all that is called God, sitting in the high place in the temple of God, as if he was God; him, with all his mighty ones, will Christ, who is the true Jehovah, destroy with the breath of his mouth and the brightness of his coming; see 2 Thessalonians 2:4,
and the kings of the earth upon the earth; the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with the whore of Rome; and who will make war with the Lamb, and shall be overcome by him, Revelation 17:2 or, "the kings of he earth" with "their earth" (a); both they and their land shall be visited.
(z) "super exercitum excelsi", Pagninus, Montanus, So Cocceius. (a) "cum terra ipsorum", Junius & Tremellius.
22And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
And they shall be gathered together,.... First to the battle of the great day of God Almighty at Armageddon, Revelation 16:14 and there being overcome and taken, they shall be gathered together
as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; in the prison or the grave, and in hell; as captives are, till such time as something is determined and ordered what to be done with them:
and after many days shall they be visited; or punished, that is, after the thousand years are ended, when the wicked dead will be all raised; after the battle of Gog and Magog, when Satan, the beast, and false prophet, and all their adherents, shall be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, Revelation 19:20.
23Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed,.... Either literally understood; and the meaning is, that they shall be darkened, their light being eclipsed by the superior light of Christ, the sun of righteousness; see Matthew 24:29 the New Jerusalem church state, which is referred to, will have no need of the light of the sun, or of the moon, Christ being the light thereof, Revelation 21:23 figuratively it may be interpreted of the kings and great men of the earth, as Aben Ezra; whose glory will be outshone by the transcendent lustre and glory of Christ, the King of saints. The Targum paraphrases it of idolaters thus,
"and they shall be confounded that worship the moon, and they shall be ashamed that worship the sun;''
perhaps this may have reference to the fourth vial, which shall be poured out upon the pope and his clergy, Revelation 16:8,
when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; who is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Jehovah, the Lord of hosts or armies, of the sun, moon, and stars, the host of heaven, and of the heavenly host of angels, and of men on earth; who was King from eternity, and reigned during the Old Testament dispensation; came a King into this world, though his kingdom was not of it, nor was with observation: upon his ascension to heaven was made and declared Lord and Christ; and now rules in the hearts of his people by his Spirit and grace, and whose spiritual reign will more manifestly appear in the latter day; but here it is to be understood of his reign on earth, which will be personal, visible, and glorious, and in a different manner from what it now is, when he will be King over all the earth. Zion and Jerusalem, where he will reign, may be literally understood as the chief place of his residence during this state, the spot of ground where he was most despised and ill treated; see Zechariah 14:4 or mystically, the church in the New Jerusalem state, Revelation 21:2 here he will reign,
and before his ancients gloriously: or, "in glory"; in his own glory, both as God and as man, and Mediator; and in his Father's glory, and in the glory of his holy angels, in which he will come and appear; and therefore his appearing is called a glorious one, Luke 9:26, Titus 2:13 and this "before his ancients", the ancient patriarchs both before the flood, as Adam, Abel, &c. and after the flood, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others; the old Jewish church, the prophets and saints of the Old Testament dispensation; the apostles and elders of the Gospel churches under the New; the four and twenty elders, the representatives of the Gospel churches, so often spoken of in the book of the Revelation; very probably with reference to this text; and all the saints, in all ages, who will now be raised from the dead, and live and reign with him; these are his ancients, who are loved with an everlasting love, chosen in him before the foundation of the world, with whom a covenant was made in him, and grace given to them in him, before the world began; in the midst and presence of these he will reign, and they shall behold his glory; yea, these shall appear in glory; for so the words may be construed, "before his ancients", who are "glory", or "in glory" (b); for they shall appear with him in glory, both in soul and body, having the glory of God upon them, Colossians 3:4.
(b) "et coram senibus suis, gloria", Pagninus, Montanus.