|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.
Verse 6. - Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. Peoples or nations writhe in pain or tremble at the sight of them, lest they should settle on their fields and gardens, destroying the "golden glories" of the one, and the "leafy honours" of the other. In the second member the word פָארוּר is
(1) generally connected with פָרוּר, a pot, rad. פדר, to break in pieces, and translated accordingly. Thus the Septuagint: "Every face is as the blackness of a pot;" the Syriac also: "Every face shall be black as the blackness of a pot;" in like manner the Chaldee: "All faces are covered with soot, so that they are black as a pot."
(2) But Aben Ezra connects the word with פֵאֵר, to beautify, glorify, adorn, and translates, "They withdraw (gather to themselves)their redness (ruddiness);" that is, they become pale. The 'Speaker's Commentary ' adopts this view of the expression, and illustrates it by Shakespeare's fancy of the blood being summoned from the face to help the heart in its death-struggle -
"Being all descended to the labouring heart;
Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,
Attracts the same for aidance 'gainst the enemy:
Which with the heart there cools and ne'er returneth
To blush and beautify the cheek again." The parallel usually cited in favour of asaph being employed in the sense of withdrawing is, "And the stars shall withdraw their shining" (Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15). This proceeds on the supposition that asaph and qabhats have the same meaning of "gathering " - gathering up, gathering in, withdrawing. But D. Kimchi quotes his father (Joseph Kimchi) as objecting to this rendering, on the ground of the distinction which he asserts to prevail between them. Asaph, he says, "is used of gathering together, or in, that which is dispersed, or net present; but qabhats is not so used."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Before their face the people shall be much pained,.... Or, "at their presence"; at the sight of them they shall be in pain, as a woman in travail; into such distress an army of locusts would throw them, since they might justly fear all the fruits of the earth would be devoured by them, and they should have nothing left to live upon; and a like consternation and pain the army of the Assyrians or Chaldeans upon sight filled them with, as they expected nothing but ruin and destruction from them:
all faces shall gather blackness; like that of a pot, as the word (m) signifies; or such as appears in persons dying, or in fits and swoons; and this here, through fear and hunger; see Nahum 2:10.
(m) "fuliginem", Montanus; "luridum ollae colorem", Tigurine version, Tarnovius; "ollam pro nigore ollae", Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. much pained—namely, with terror. The Arab proverb is, "More terrible than the locusts."
faces shall gather blackness—(Isa 13:8; Jer 30:6; Na 2:10). Maurer translates, "withdraw their brightness," that is, wax pale, lose color (compare Joe 2:10; Joe 3:15).
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