3:8-19 Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered merchants. Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.
17. Thy crowned—Thy princes (Re 9:7). The king's nobles and officers wore the tiara, as well as the king; hence they are called here "thy crowned ones."
as the locusts—as many as the swarming locusts.
thy captains—Tiphsar, an Assyrian word; found also in Jer 51:27, meaning satraps [Michaelis]; or rather, "military leaders" [Maurer]. The last syllable, sar means a "prince," and is found in Belshaz-zar, Nabopolas-sar, Nebuchadnez-zar.
as the great grasshoppers—literally, "as the locust of locusts," that is, the largest locust. Maurer translates, "as many as locusts upon locusts," that is, swarms of locusts. Hebrew idiom favors English Version.
in the hedges in the cold—Cold deprives the locust of the power of flight; so they alight in cold weather and at night, but when warmed by the sun soon "flee away." So shall the Assyrian multitudes suddenly disappear, not leaving a trace behind (compare Pliny, Natural History, 11.29).