|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 8. - They shall be afraid; rather, dismayed. Pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; literally, they shall take hold of pangs and sorrows. They shall be amazed; rather, look aghast. Their faces shall be as flames. I know no better explanation than that of Dr. Kay, that a sudden transition is intended flora despondency to extreme excitement.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they shall be afraid,.... Troubled, dismayed, frightened, at the sudden taking of the city, and at the sight of Cyrus's troops marching up into the very heart of it, and to the king's palace:
pangs and sorrow shall take hold of them; as convulsions, pains in the bowels, &c. more fully explained in the next clause:
they shall be in pain, as a woman that travaileth; that is in labour, and ready to bring forth her child, whose pains are very sharp, and agonies great; the same is said of the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 50:43,
they shall be amazed one at another; that so great a city should be so surprised, and so suddenly taken; and that they shall not be able to help one another; and that such as were so famous for courage and valour should be at once so dispirited:
their faces shall be as flames; not red with blushing, through shame, as Kimchi; but pale with fear, as the colour of flame, or, as the faces of smiths, that work at a forge: the words may be rendered, "their faces are as the faces of Lehabim" (d); the name of a people mentioned in Genesis 10:13 the same with the Libians, which were of a blackish or tawny colour; so Jarchi interprets it, and says they were a people of a yellow complexion: and Aben Ezra observes, that some interpret it of a nation like the Ethiopians; and so it denotes, that the Babylonians, their faces should be black with distress and anguish; see Joel 2:6.
(d) "ut facies Lehabim, sive Lybiorum facies eorum", Gataker.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. pangs—The Hebrew means also a "messenger." Horsley, therefore, with the Septuagint translates, "The heralds (who bring word of the unexpected invasion) are terrified." Maurer agrees with English Version, literally, "they shall take hold of pangs and sorrows."
woman … travaileth—(1Th 5:3).
amazed—the stupid, bewildered gaze of consternation.
faces … flames—"their visages have the livid hue of flame" [Horsley]; with anguish and indignation.
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