|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:8-21 Those are ripening apace for ruin, whose hearts are unhumbled under humbling providences. For that which God designs, in smiting us, is, to turn us to himself; and if this point be not gained by lesser judgments, greater may be expected. The leaders of the people misled them. We have reason to be afraid of those that speak well of us, when we do ill. Wickedness was universal, all were infected with it. They shall be in trouble, and see no way out; and when men's ways displease the Lord, he makes even their friends to be at war with them. God would take away those they thought to have help from. Their rulers were the head. Their false prophets were the tail and the rush, the most despicable. In these civil contests, men preyed on near relations who were as their own flesh. The people turn not to Him who smites them, therefore he continues to smite: for when God judges, he will overcome; and the proudest, stoutest sinner shall either bend or break.
Verse 19. - Is the land darkened; rather, burst up (συγκέκαυται, LXX.). The root used occurs in Arabic in this sense. It is not used elsewhere in Scripture. The people shall be as the fuel of the fire. Though the general ravage, devastation, and desolation of the laud, with its buildings, its trees, and its other vegetable products, is included in the image of the fire devouring the thorny brakes and tangled thickets of a dense forest, yet the threat is intended still more against the Israelite people, who were the true "fuel of the fire," since the ravage would go on until the land should be depopulated. No man shall spare his brother. We have here a new feature. Not only shall foreign enemies - Syrians and Philistines - dew, up Israel, but the plague of civil war will also be let loose upon them (comp. ver. 21, and see 2 Kings 15:30, where we find that Pekah fell a victim to a conspiracy headed by Hoshea).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened,.... Brought into great distress and affliction; sore judgments and calamities being upon it; for not darkness in a natural, but in a figurative sense, is intended, see Isaiah 8:22 the allusion is to the ascending of the smoke before mentioned, through fire being kindled in the thickets of the forest, which filled the air with darkness; as smoke arising in great quantity does. This sense of the word, which is only to be met with in this place, is given by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, from the use of it in the Arabic language, in which it signifies (f) darkness; but the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "the whole land is burned"; and which is confirmed by the Targum, which so interprets it; and this sense well agrees with the context:
and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire; this explains who are meant by the briers and thorns, and thickets of the forest, the inhabitants of the land of Israel; who, as they are the fuel of fire, were the objects of divine wrath and fury:
no man shall spare his brother; which may be ascribed either to the darkness and confusion in which they should be, and so not be able to discern a friend from a foe, as persons surrounded with smoke; or to their malignant spirit, cruelty and inhumanity, not only doing ill to their enemies, but to their own friends and relations, to their own flesh and blood.
(f) "obscura evasit", ---- "tertia pars noctis, a fine crepusculi, tempus quo posterior peragitur precatio vespertina", Golius, col. 1521, 1522. Castel col. 2944. So Schindler, col. 1410. "ateme, caligo, tenebra, crepusculum".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. darkened—namely, with smoke (Isa 9:18). The Septuagint and Chaldee render it, "is burnt up," so Maurer, from an Arabic root meaning "suffocating heat."
no man … spare … brother—intestine discord snapping asunder the dearest ties of nature.
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