|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:10-22 The taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans seems first meant here, when idolatry among the Jews was done away; but our thoughts are led forward to the destruction of all the enemies of Christ. It is folly for those who are pursued by the wrath of God, to think to hide or shelter themselves from it. The shaking of the earth will be terrible to those who set their affections on things of the earth. Men's haughtiness will be brought down, either by the grace of God convincing them of the evil of pride, or by the providence of God depriving them of all the things they were proud of. The day of the Lord shall be upon those things in which they put their confidence. Those who will not be reasoned out of their sins, sooner or later shall be frightened out of them. Covetous men make money their god; but the time will come when they will feel it as much their burden. This whole passage may be applied to the case of an awakened sinner, ready to leave all that his soul may be saved. The Jews were prone to rely on their heathen neighbours; but they are here called upon to cease from depending on mortal man. We are all prone to the same sin. Then let not man be your fear, let not him be your hope; but let your hope be in the Lord your God. Let us make this our great concern.
Verse 16. - All the ships of Tarshish. "Ships of Tarshish" meant originally "ships built to sail to Tarshish;" but was used by the later writers for ships of a certain class or size (1 Kings 22:48; Psalm 48:7; Ezekiel 27:25). Tarshish was Tartessus, in Spain, and voyages thither were regarded as long and dangerous (Herod., 1:163). Consequently, the ships which were built for the Tartessian trade were of unusual size and strength. Uzziah had "built [i.e. rebuilt] Elath," in the eastern arm of the Red Sea, early in his reign (2 Kings 14:22), and no doubt maintained a fleet there, as Jehoshaphat had done (1 Kings 22:48). Elath remained in the possession of the Jews till the reign of Ahaz, when it was taken by Rezin, and restored to Edom (see 'Speaker's Commentary' on 2 Kings 16:6). Upon all pleasant pictures; Revised Version, all pleasant imagery. The exact word here translated "pictures" does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament; but a cognate word is not uncommon. From the passages in which this cognate word occurs (especially Leviticus 26:1; Numbers 33:52; Proverbs 25:11; Ezekiel 8:12), it is concluded that works of art, of some sort or other, are intended. More than this can scarcely be determined. Dr. Kay thinks the term to include "sculptures and fresco-paintings." Mr. Cheyne translates "all delightful works of imagery." The sentiment is that the judgment of God will fall on the most valued contents of palaces and grand houses, no less than upon the forests and the mountains, the fortified places, and the national navy. All wilt be involved in one sweeping destruction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And upon all the ships of Tarshish,.... Upon all the merchants and merchandises of Rome. The Targum is,
"and upon all that dwell in the islands of the sea.''
See Revelation 16:20. Tarshish, as Vitringa observes, designs Tartessus or Gades in Spain, which must bring to mind the memorable destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1558, as he also notes.
And upon all pleasant pictures; of Christ and the Virgin Mary, of angels, and of saints departed, the Papists make use of to help their devotion. The Targum is,
"and upon all that dwell in beautiful palaces;''
such as those of the pope and his cardinals at Rome, and of archbishops and bishops at other places. The Septuagint version is, "and upon all the sight of the beauty of ships"; such were the ships of the Phoenicians, which were very much ornamented, and beautiful to behold.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Tarshish—Tartessus in southwest Spain, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, near Gibraltar. It includes the adjoining region: a Phonician colony; hence its connection with Palestine and the Bible (2Ch 9:21). The name was also used in a wide sense for the farthest west, as our West Indies (Isa 66:19; Ps 48:7; 72:10). "Ships of Tarshish" became a phrase for richly laden and far-voyaging vessels. The judgment shall be on all that minister to man's luxury (compare Re 18:17-19).
pictures—ordered to be destroyed (Nu 33:52). Still to be seen on the walls of Nineveh's palaces. It is remarkable that whereas all other ancient civilized nations, Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome, have left monuments in the fine arts, Judea, while rising immeasurably above them in the possession of "the living oracles," has left none of the former. The fine arts, as in modern Rome, were so often associated with polytheism, that God required His people in this, as in other respects, to be separate from the nations (De 4:15-18). But Vulgate translation is perhaps better, "All that is beautiful to the sight"; not only paintings, but all luxurious ornaments. One comprehensive word for all that goes before (compare Re 18:12, 14, 16).
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