Isaiah 13:18
Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces.—These, as in Isaiah 22:6, Jeremiah 1:9-14, were the characteristic weapons of the Medo-Persian armies.

13:6-18 We have here the terrible desolation of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Those who in the day of their peace were proud, and haughty, and terrible, are quite dispirited when trouble comes. Their faces shall be scorched with the flame. All comfort and hope shall fail. The stars of heaven shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened. Such expressions are often employed by the prophets, to describe the convulsions of governments. God will visit them for their iniquity, particularly the sin of pride, which brings men low. There shall be a general scene of horror. Those who join themselves to Babylon, must expect to share her plagues, Re 18:4. All that men have, they would give for their lives, but no man's riches shall be the ransom of his life. Pause here and wonder that men should be thus cruel and inhuman, and see how corrupt the nature of man is become. And that little infants thus suffer, which shows that there is an original guilt, by which life is forfeited as soon as it is begun. The day of the Lord will, indeed, be terrible with wrath and fierce anger, far beyond all here stated. Nor will there be any place for the sinner to flee to, or attempt an escape. But few act as though they believed these things.Their bows also - Bows and arrows were the usual weapons of the ancients in war; and the Persians were particularly skilled in their use. According to Xenophon, Cyrus came to Babylon with a great number of archers and slingers (Cyrop. ii.1).

Shall dash the young men ... - That is, they shall dash the young men to pieces, or kill them by their bows and arrows. Vulgate, 'And with their arrows shall they slay the young.' The meaning of the word here rendered 'dash to pieces,' is to smite suddenly to the ground.

18. bows—in the use of which the Persians were particularly skilled. Their bows; under which are comprehended their arrows, and possibly other weapons of war; for so generally sometimes is the bow used in Scripture, as 2 Samuel 1:18 Psalm 78:9 Isaiah 41:2. Shall dash the young men to pieces; or, shall pierce the young men through, as the Chaldee readers it. Their bows also shall dash their young men to pieces,.... That is, the bows of the Medes should dash in pieces the young men of the Babylonians. The meaning is, either that they should put them into their bows, instead of arrows, and shoot them upon the ground, or against a wall, and so dash them to pieces; or that they should first shoot them through with their arrows, and then dash them with their bows; according to Xenophon (l), Cyrus came to Babylon with great numbers of archers and slingers:

and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; even of those that were in the womb, but should rip up women with child, and cut them in pieces:

their eyes shall not spare children; in the arms of their parents, or running to them, shrieking and crying, and in the utmost fright; and yet their tender and innocent age would meet with no mercy. The Medes were notorious for their cruelty (m), and which issued at last in the ruin of their empire.

(l) Cyropaedia, l. 2. sect. 1.((m) Ammian. Marcellin. l. 23. c. 6. Diodor. Sicul. l. 13. p. 342.

Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 18. - Their bows (comp. Jeremiah 1:9, 14). Both the Medes and the Persians were skilled archers. Herodotus tells us that every Persian youth was taught three things - "to ride, to draw the bow, and to speak the truth" (1. 136). At Persepolis, Modes and Persians are alike represented as carrying bows and quivers. AEschyius regards the contest between the Persians and the Greeks as one between the arrow and the spear ('Persae,' 11. 135, 136). The prophet now hears again the voice of Jehovah revealing to him what His purpose is - namely, a visitation punishing the wicked, humbling the proud, and depopulating the countries. "And I visit the evil upon the world, and upon sinners their guilt, and sink into silence the pomp of the proud; and the boasting of tyrants I throw to the ground. I make men more precious than fine gold, and people than a jewel of Ophir." The verb pâkad is construed, as in Jeremiah 23:2, with the accusative of the thing punished, and with על of the person punished. Instead of 'eretz we have here tēbel, which is always used like a proper name (never with the article), to denote the earth in its entire circumference. We have also ‛ârı̄tzı̄m instead of nedı̄bı̄m: the latter signifies merely princes, and it is only occasionally that it has the subordinate sense of despots; the former signifies men naturally cruel, or tyrants (it occurs very frequently in Isaiah). Everything here breathes the spirit of Isaiah both in thought and form. "The lofty is thrown down:" this is one of the leading themes of Isaiah's proclamation; and the fact that the judgment will only leave a remnant is a fundamental thought of his, which also runs through the oracles concerning the heathen (Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 21:17; Isaiah 24:6), and is depicted by the prophet in various ways (Isaiah 10:16-19; Isaiah 17:4-6; Isaiah 24:13; Isaiah 30:17). There it is expressed under the figure that men become as scarce as the finest kinds of gold. Word-painting is Isaiah's delight and strength. 'Ophir, which resembles 'okir in sound, was the gold country of India, that lay nearest to the Phoenicians, the coast-land of Abhira on the northern shore of the Runn (Irina), i.e., the salt lake to the east of the mouths of the Indus (see at Genesis 10:29 and Job 22:24; and for the Egypticized Souphir of the lxx, Job 28:16).
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