|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-14 The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the Divine judgments. It is the work of ministers to warn of the fatal consequences of sin, and to reveal the wrath from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The striking description which follows, shows what would attend the devastations of locusts, but may also describe the effects from the ravaging of the land by the Chaldeans. If the alarm of temporal judgments is given to offending nations, how much more should sinners be warned to seek deliverance from the wrath to come! Our business therefore on earth must especially be, to secure an interest in our Lord Jesus Christ; and we should seek to be weaned from objects which will soon be torn from all who now make idols of them. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, weeping, and mourning; tears for trouble must be turned into tears for the sin that caused it. But rending the garments would be vain, except their hearts were rent by abasement and self-abhorrence; by sorrow for their sins, and separation from them. There is no question but that if we truly repent of our sins, God will forgive them; but whether he will remove affliction is not promised, yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent.
Verses 4-6. - These verses describe the appearance of the locusts and the alarm which their presence causes. Verse 4. - The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses. They arc said to resemble horses in the shape of the head; hence the Germans call them Heupferde, or hay-horses, and the Italians cavalette. This resemblance had been noticed long ago by Theodoret, who says, "If any one should examine accurately the head of the locust, he will find it exceedingly like that of a horse." And as horsemen, so shall they run. In rapidity of motion they resembled running horses (parashim). Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap. This is the next circumstance noticed about them, viz. the noise of their motion. Their motion was peculiar; it was springing or leaping, and, when they sprang or leaped, the noise they made resembled the rattling of a jerky two-wheeled war-chariot over a rough mountain-road.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses,.... in their running, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; they came with, as much swiftness and eagerness, with as much fierceness and courage, as horses rush into the battle. Bochart (h) has shown, from various writers, that the head of a locust is in shape like that of a horse; and Theodoret on the text observes, that whoever thoroughly examines the head of a locust will easily perceive that it is very like the head of a horse; see Revelation 9:7. The Chaldeans are often represented as strong and mighty, fierce and furious, and riding on horses exceeding swift, Jeremiah 4:13;
and as horsemen, so shall they run; with great agility and swiftness. The particle "as" is observed by some, against those interpreters that apply this wholly to the enemies of the Jews, and not the locusts; and it seems indeed best to favour them; but Theodoret observes, that the "as" here may be taken, not as a note of similitude, but as used for the increase and vehemency of the expression.
(h) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 5. p. 474, 475.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. appearance … of horses—(Re 9:7). Not literal, but figurative locusts. The fifth trumpet, or first woe, in the parallel passage (Re 9:1-11), cannot be literal: for in Re 9:11 it is said, "they had a king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit"—in the Hebrew, Abaddon ("destroyer"), but in the Greek, Apollyon—and (Re 9:7) "on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men." Compare Joe 2:11, "the day of the Lord … great and very terrible"; implying their ultimate reference to be connected with Messiah's second coming in judgment. The locust's head is so like that of a horse that the Italians call it cavalette. Compare Job 39:20, "the horse … as the grasshopper," or locust.
run—The locust bounds, not unlike the horse's gallop, raising and letting down together the two front feet.
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