|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
50:1-3 Those who have professed to be people of God, and seem to be dealt severely with, are apt to complain, as if God had been hard with them. Here is an answer for such murmurings; God never deprived any of their advantages, except for their sins. The Jews were sent into Babylon for their idolatry, a sin which broke the covenant; and they were at last rejected for crucifying the Lord of glory. God called on them to leave their sins, and prevent their own ruin. Last of all, the Son came to his own, but his own received him not. When God calls men to happiness, and they will not answer, they are justly left to be miserable. To silence doubts concerning his power, proofs of it are given. The wonders which attended his sufferings and death, proclaimed that he was the Son of God, Mt 27:54.
Verse 3. - I clothe the heavens with blackness (comp. Jeremiah 4:28; Ezekiel 32:7, 8; Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; Revelation 6:12). The Egyptian plague of darkness (Exodus 10:21-23) is not adequate to the expressions here used. God means to assert his power of leaving all nature in absolute darkness, if he so choose - a power necessarily belonging to him who said, "Let there be light; and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). I make sackcloth their covering (see Revelation 6:12, "The sun became black as sackcloth of hair").
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I clothe the heavens with blackness,.... With gross and thick darkness; perhaps referring to the three days' darkness the Egyptians were in, Exodus 10:12, or with thick and black clouds, as in tempestuous weather frequently; or by eclipses of the sun; there was an extraordinary instance of great darkness at the time of Christ's crucifixion, Matthew 27:45.
and I make sackcloth their covering; that being black, and used in times of mourning; the allusion may be to the tents of Kedar, which were covered with sackcloth, or such like black stuff. The fall of the Pagan empire, through the power of Christ and his Gospel, is signified by the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair, Revelation 6:12. Jarchi interprets this parabolically of the princes of the nations, when the Lord shall come to take vengeance upon them; as Kimchi does the sea, and the rivers, in the preceding verse, of the good things of the nations of the world, which they had in great abundance, and should be destroyed.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. heavens … blackness—another of the judgments on Egypt to be repeated hereafter on the last enemy of God's people (Ex 10:21).
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