World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
The earth quakes before them,
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
Then he adds, Before their face shall the earth tremble, and in anguish shall be the heavens; the sun and the moon shall become dark, and the stars shall withdraw their brightness. The Prophet speaks here more hyperbolically; but we must ever remember that he addressed men extremely stupid: it then behaved him to speak in an unusual manner, that he might touch their feelings; for it avails nothing to speak in all ordinary way to perverse men, especially to those who have divested themselves of all shame, and whom Satan has fascinated, so that they fear nothing and grieve at nothing. When therefore each stupidity lays hold on the minds of men, God must thunder that his word may be heard. As then the listlessness of the people was monstrous, so it was necessary, so to speak, for the Prophet to utter monstrous words. This is the reason why he now says, Before their face (namely, that of the enemies) shall the land tremble; and then he adds, The heavens also shall be in anguish; not that the heavens would fear the Assyrians; but the Prophet intimates that such would be the vengeance, that it would terrify the whole world; and this he intimates, that the Jews might cease to expect any subterfuges, for they flattered themselves, as though they could fly on the clouds, or could find for themselves some hiding-places or some corners at a distance. The Prophet gives them to understand that the whole world would be full of horror, when the Lord would come furnished with his army. He speaks also of the sun and the moon; as though he said, “There will be no more any hope of aid from created things; for the vital light itself shall fail, when the Lord shall pour forth the flood of his fury: The sun and the moon, he says, shall become dark; and the stars shall withhold their brightness. Though then ye lift up your eyes, not even a spark of light will there be to comfort you, for darkness on every side will cover you; and ye shall know by heaven as well as by earth that God is angry with you. Here, in short, he shuts up against the Jews every avenue to hope; for not only the Assyrian will rage on earth, but God will also give signs of vengeance from heaven, so that the sun will be constrained to show such a sign, as well as the moon and all the stars.