|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-12 Upon sounding the fifth trumpet, a star fell from heaven to the earth. Having ceased to be a minister of Christ, he who is represented by this star becomes the minister of the devil; and lets loose the powers of hell against the churches of Christ. On the opening of the bottomless pit, there arose a great smoke. The devil carries on his designs by blinding the eyes of men, by putting out light and knowledge, and promoting ignorance and error. Out of this smoke there came a swarm of locusts, emblems of the devil's agents, who promote superstition, idolatry, error, and cruelty. The trees and the grass, the true believers, whether young or more advanced, should be untouched. But a secret poison and infection in the soul, should rob many others of purity, and afterwards of peace. The locusts had no power to hurt those who had the seal of God. God's all-powerful, distinguishing grace will keep his people from total and final apostacy. The power is limited to a short season; but it would be very sharp. In such events the faithful share the common calamity, but from the pestilence of error they might and would be safe. We collect from Scripture, that such errors were to try and prove the Christians, 1Co 11:19. And early writers plainly refer this to the first great host of corrupters who overspread the Christian church.
Verse 8. - And they had hair as the hair of women. This (like the succeeding clause) seems merely the enumeration of an additional feature, in which these creatures resembled locusts, and which helped to establish their claim to the name. The antennae of the insect are probably referred to. Wordsworth sees here an allusion to the flowing hair of Mohammed and the Saracens. And their teeth were as the teeth of lions. The powerful nature of the teeth of the locust is a remarkable feature of the insect; and it is here more fully referred to in order to enhance the general terror of their aspect (cf. Joel 1:6).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they had hair, as the hair of women,.... Some locusts have smooth, others hairy heads (n): this fitly points at the Arabians or Saracens, who, as Pliny says (o), used to wear long hair without cutting it, and attired as women, and have their names also from women: they were called Hagarenes, from Hagar, Abraham's handmaid, by whom he had Ishmael, the father of these people; afterwards they took the name of Saracens, from Sarah, the wife of Abraham, whose posterity they would be thought to be; though they may have the latter name, either from to "rob" and "steal", with the Arabians, or from the same word, as it signifies to "comb", from the combing and plaiting: of their hair. This may also point at the effeminacy of the western locusts, the monks and friars, who dress more like women than men; and many of them claim the virgin Mary for their patroness; and may in general design the votaries of the church of Rome, who are under the vow of a monastic life, as those among the Jews, under a Nazarite's vow, wore long hair.
And their teeth were as the teeth of lions; so in Joel 1:6; which may denote the ravages and devastations of the Saracens in the empire, robbing, pillaging, and destroying all they met with; and is applicable enough to the devouring jaws of the Romish clergy, their plundering the estates of men, their cruelties and barbarities exercised by their Inquisition, &c. Pliny says (p), that locusts will gnaw the doors of houses.
(n) Gloss. in T. Bab. Cholin. fol. 65. 1.((o) Hist. Nat. l. 6. c. 28. (p) L. 11. c. 29.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. hair of women—long and flowing. An Arabic proverb compares the antlers of locusts to the hair of girls. Ewald in Alford understands the allusion to be to the hair on the legs or bodies of the locusts: compare "rough caterpillars," Jer 51:27.
as the teeth of lions—(Joe 1:6, as to locusts).
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