Isaiah 13:18
Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.
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(18) Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces.—These, as in Isaiah 22:6, Jeremiah 1:9-14, were the characteristic weapons of the Medo-Persian armies.

13:6-18 We have here the terrible desolation of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Those who in the day of their peace were proud, and haughty, and terrible, are quite dispirited when trouble comes. Their faces shall be scorched with the flame. All comfort and hope shall fail. The stars of heaven shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened. Such expressions are often employed by the prophets, to describe the convulsions of governments. God will visit them for their iniquity, particularly the sin of pride, which brings men low. There shall be a general scene of horror. Those who join themselves to Babylon, must expect to share her plagues, Re 18:4. All that men have, they would give for their lives, but no man's riches shall be the ransom of his life. Pause here and wonder that men should be thus cruel and inhuman, and see how corrupt the nature of man is become. And that little infants thus suffer, which shows that there is an original guilt, by which life is forfeited as soon as it is begun. The day of the Lord will, indeed, be terrible with wrath and fierce anger, far beyond all here stated. Nor will there be any place for the sinner to flee to, or attempt an escape. But few act as though they believed these things.Their bows also - Bows and arrows were the usual weapons of the ancients in war; and the Persians were particularly skilled in their use. According to Xenophon, Cyrus came to Babylon with a great number of archers and slingers (Cyrop. ii.1).

Shall dash the young men ... - That is, they shall dash the young men to pieces, or kill them by their bows and arrows. Vulgate, 'And with their arrows shall they slay the young.' The meaning of the word here rendered 'dash to pieces,' is to smite suddenly to the ground.

18. bows—in the use of which the Persians were particularly skilled. Their bows; under which are comprehended their arrows, and possibly other weapons of war; for so generally sometimes is the bow used in Scripture, as 2 Samuel 1:18 Psalm 78:9 Isaiah 41:2. Shall dash the young men to pieces; or, shall pierce the young men through, as the Chaldee readers it.

Their bows also shall dash their young men to pieces,.... That is, the bows of the Medes should dash in pieces the young men of the Babylonians. The meaning is, either that they should put them into their bows, instead of arrows, and shoot them upon the ground, or against a wall, and so dash them to pieces; or that they should first shoot them through with their arrows, and then dash them with their bows; according to Xenophon (l), Cyrus came to Babylon with great numbers of archers and slingers:

and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; even of those that were in the womb, but should rip up women with child, and cut them in pieces:

their eyes shall not spare children; in the arms of their parents, or running to them, shrieking and crying, and in the utmost fright; and yet their tender and innocent age would meet with no mercy. The Medes were notorious for their cruelty (m), and which issued at last in the ruin of their empire.

(l) Cyropaedia, l. 2. sect. 1.((m) Ammian. Marcellin. l. 23. c. 6. Diodor. Sicul. l. 13. p. 342.

Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
Verse 18. - Their bows (comp. Jeremiah 1:9, 14). Both the Medes and the Persians were skilled archers. Herodotus tells us that every Persian youth was taught three things - "to ride, to draw the bow, and to speak the truth" (1. 136). At Persepolis, Modes and Persians are alike represented as carrying bows and quivers. AEschyius regards the contest between the Persians and the Greeks as one between the arrow and the spear ('Persae,' 11. 135, 136). Isaiah 13:18"And bows dash down young men; and they have no compassion on the fruit of the womb: their eye has no pity on children." The bows do not stand for the bowmen (see Isaiah 21:17), but the bows of the latter dash the young men to the ground by means of the arrows shot from them. They did not spare the fruit of the womb, since they ripped up the bodies of those that were with child (2 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 15:16, etc.). Even towards children they felt no emotion of compassionate regard, such as would express itself in the eye: chuus, to feel, more especially to feel with another, i.e., to sympathize; here and in Ezekiel 5:11 it is ascribed to the eye as the mirror of the soul (compare the Arabic chasyet el-‛ain ala fulânin, carefulness of eye for a person: Hariri, Comment. p. 140). With such inhuman conduct on the part of the foe, the capital of the empire becomes the scene of a terrible conflagration.
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