|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 7-9. - The prophet, having mentioned the consternation and terror occasioned by the approach of locusts, proceeds to compare them to an army well equipped and overcoming all impediments. Verse 7. - They shall run like mighty men. This either refers to their extreme nimbleness or rapidity of motion (compare the Homeric πόδας ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς ποδάρκης, and the like), or describes their running to an assault with intrepid valour and unwearied vigour. They shall climb the wall like men of war. This marks the success of their assault; they scale the walls and make good their attack. And they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks. Their march is as irresistible as it is orderly. In their onward march each pursues his way, allowing no obstacle to arrest or retard his course; while in a collective body they proceed and maintain their serried ranks unbroken. The verb עבט is probably cognate with עבת, to twist, and thus to turn aside. Thus the LXX.: "They shall not turn aside their tracks;" so also the Syriac and Jerome translate it; but the Chaldee compares it with עבוט, a pledge, and, as the deposit is detained till the pledge is redeemed, takes in the meaning of delay. Rosenmuller explains it in the sense of change or exchange, from the Qal, signifying "to receive on loan," and the Hiph., "to give on loan." Otherwise it is to "interweave" (equivalent to עבת), "change." The sense of the whole is their not diverging to either side, nor straggling out of rank.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They shall run like mighty men,.... Like men of war, in a hostile way, as soldiers run upon their enemy with undaunted courage and bravery. Bochart from Pisidas describes the locusts' manner of fighting, who says, they strike not standing, but running:
they shall climb the wall like men of war; scale the walls of cities as besiegers do; walls and bulwarks cannot keep them out; all places are accessible to them, walled cities, towns, yea, even houses, Exodus 10:6;
and they shall march everyone on his ways; in his proper path, following one another, and keeping just distance:
and they shall not break their ranks; or "pervert their ways", as the word signifies in the Arabic language, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, observe; that is, decline not from their paths, as the Septuagint version; proceed in an orderly way, keep rank and file; so they are said to go forth in bands, Proverbs 30:27; and to encamp, Nahum 3:17. Jerom on the text relates what he saw with his own eyes:
"this we lately saw (says he) in this province (Palestine); for when swarms of locusts came, and filled the air between heaven and earth, they flew in such order, by the disposition and command of God, that they kept their place like chequered squares in a pavement fixed by the hands of artificers; so as not to decline a point, nor even I may say a nail's breadth;''
they keep as exact order as if military discipline was known and observed by them. Some render it, "they shall not ask their way" (n); being unconcerned about it, moving on in a direct line securely.
(n) "non interrogabunt isti ab illo de semitis suis", some in Vatablus, and others in Kimchi and Abendana.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7-9. Depicting the regular military order of their advance, "One locust not turning a nail's breadth out of his own place in the march" [Jerome]. Compare Pr 30:27, "The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands."
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